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Saturday, July 31

Jumping for Joy

Thank you God for the gracious gift of my mother.  Tonight uplifted my spirits and brought me to such a joyous state.  After my mother has refused to take anymore medication, she is unbelievable.  Ok fellow individuals with a loved one with alzheimer's-I need some answers.  My mother stopped taking risperdone, her b-12, her pain medication, and her namenda (well she takes it when she cannot remember words).  Despite this, she is better than ever.  Yes her mood swings are horrid and explosive.  yes her mouth is destructive and vulgar. And yes her catastrophic reactions are longer and crazier than ever.  However, she is back.  She actually laughed tonight and cracked jokes.  She got into the tub and out of it by herself.  She washed her hair her body, her face.  She talked with amazing clarity.  She was able to read some of the Bible. She could operate the air conditioner and the fan.  She even asked why the faces looked funny on the tv and if I could zoom it in and out to fix it.  She explained how the risperdone made her feel like she was locked inside her body and she was dying inside.  Everything felt like she was struggling to make sense of her world and nothing was real.  At times, she was so much like my mother that despite only having two hours of sleep last night, I was excited and invigorated.  After the day I had, it was a treat.  Kids got up at 7:30 after I fell asleep at 5 (due to every critter and child waking up sequentially one after the other).  Off to VBS and then I toured different schools for Kenzie.  I stopped to visit with my uncle who edited my home video to make a dvd after many failed attempts on my end.  From there I picked up the kids and headed home.  My father was at my house working on my dishwasher-the poor guy hurt his back and it pained me to see him having so much difficulty.  After getting the kids settled, the neighborhood kids all showed up for an impromptu birthday party.  So there were 7 children all gathered around eating fast food and cake.  No nap time for the children.  Jason came home early and took the little ones to the children museum while I cleaned up and made dinner.  Out I left at 6:30 to bring groceries to my grandmother and dinner for mom and dad.  Get to mom's and spent the night bathing and enjoying Center Stage.  Mostly enjoying her company.  If you ever wonder why I list the events of my day, it is not to demonstrate how busy we are-it is for me to keep track of what I do and when I do it.  I am increasingly becoming more forgetful-forgetting to visit someone I said I would, forgetting items on a to do list, forgetting to bring things to people, etc.  I can barely remember what I did on Wednesday and it is through this blog that I can track my life.  See tomorrow I have to visit Mrs. Fischer, bring leechies to my uncle's house, bring my mother over for a play date (Dad does not know this and I can picture his smile as he reads this tomorrow morning-Yes you may actually get some alone time in your own house for a brief moment tomorrow morning :)
Back to my mother-She went to the doctor this week and they found gallstones in her gall bladder.  Her reports also mention a weak heart with a systolic ejection heart murmur and arrhythmia.  I am curious to talk to her doctor about all this and am wondering what the effects of this will be.  I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and be praying for me-it is finals week and i have lots of schoolwork left :)
Oh one more amazing thing happened this week.  My husband was outside in the pool area with my children.  Mackenzie was swimming and connor was playing with the water.  Jason went to latch the gate (20 feet away) when he hears a splash and looks over at the pool  There is Connor in the water being pushed by the current in our pool.  Mackenzie swims over to him (no swimmies) and puts one arm around his waist.  She manages to keep both his and her head out of the water and swims to the edge of the pool where she holds on until Jason gets there.  This all takes place in less than thirty seconds with Jason there the entire time.  With the pool and so many fatalities, we are very diligent to watch our children near the pool.  The amazing thing is that Mackenzie kept her cool and managed to "save" her little brother.  When she did the lessons for swimming at the YMCA, they spent a week teaching water safety and how to rescue someone.  At the time, I chuckled as I watched these itty bitty children trying to help the instructor.  I thought to myself that this was over the children's head and how impractical.  I know see how wrong I was.  Mackenzie retained all of it and applied it perfectly. 

Tuesday, July 27

Dad is the Golden Boy???

What a strange reversal of roles that transpired today.  Yesterday, my brother headed over to my mom's and spent five hours watching movies, feeding her, cleaning up her poop (yes she had an accident just when he was leaving)  Nothing like watching your mother come outside crying with her dainties wrapped around her ankles hobbling through the door to the outside world. After getting her back in the house, he had to clean up the area and the mess. Yuck-Kevin you earned a gold star for your work with her.  She was in a great mood when I arrived shortly after Kev left.  When my dad showed up, she lost it.  I believe there was too much auditory, olfactory, and visual stimulation and my mother jsut lost it.  She started to cuss my dad out in front of the wee ones and I removed them to another room.  When I thought she had calmed down, I went back in to check on her.  Dad was in the shower and mom was seemingly ok.  She started to cuss about my dad and I gently reminded her of the children. She said go home then and tossed a wooden bowl on the floor.  She proceeded to kick the bowl around the room.  She grabbed my stuff and handed it to me and yelled for me to GET OUT.  I decided to leave-unfortunately I did not get to talk to my dad before I left.  She ranted on Dad until 8 or so and then was fine. 

Today Kevin went up there again for another 5 1/2 hours.  He went to get her groceries, watched Charmed with her, and made her some food.  She was doing ok until he came back from shopping.  She did not like the sub he got for her and she had an extremely long fit.  Exchange bast*** for bi*** and it was the same rundown as Friday night.  He and I became the evil children and Dad for the first time ever became golden boy.  How funny that I am guilty by association now.  It seems if she is mad at Dad, she is mad at me and if she is mad at Kevin she is mad at me.  Very bizarre but it works since when she is mad, I get less phone calls which in turn equals more play time with my beautiful babies.  A few phone calls and she is ok again.  She had a brief episode this evening but way shorter and not as aggressive.  During this afternoon's fit, she hit herself, hit the bed, started her EHHHHEHHHHHEHHHHHHHHHH for twenty minutes, and then would not respond at all.  Kevin stepped out of the house to call me and she locked him out. 

This has been such a busy week-not the best for her to experiment without her medication.  Many projects due in school, crazy busy with Works in Faith-the grant is finished and I just have to print and mail.  I spent Saturday and Monday with clients and have a very full week ahead.  The saving grace is that my two little ones are going to VBS and I will actually have myself a 3 hour break on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Ahhhh peace I can hear it now.  I love my little dears but considering that I have not any babysitting for me to just be in my house alone in two years or more has me slightly giddy.  I am locking my doors tomorrow and finalizing some projects :). 

We have a blog now with worksinfaithinc.blogspot.com so if you want, check it out.  It just summarizes the work we do for our clients.  I thank you all for your support. I feel so blessed to have the support of my family and to be their support.  I am so fortunate that my father is doing so much for my mother.  I also am amazed at what my brother is doing. He is such a devoted and loyal son and it is comforting to go through this with both of them.  It is definitely an adventure and keeps us on our toes. 

Saturday, July 24

Almost full moon

Last night was a disaster at the beginning but tapered off throughout the evening.  She was upset with me for arriving late despite the fact that I called to tell her I would be there in a bit.  To her a bit meant a short while, whereas I meant a little longer than usual. She would not talk to me the first five minutes I was there, she sat on her bed and stared off into space.  Finally she got upset with me and told me I was a bit**.  I apologized and explained myself.  She quickly forgave me and we were able to have a pleasant start.  We found a movie (sabrina) and started it.  Not five minutes into the movie, mom starts to cry.  She is screaming about her teeth and cussing her dentist.  He is a fu***** bast*** to leave me like this.  Why why there is no thing for the one two things.  I hurt with all cavities. Here is one and there and this and that.  Two two two one in there.  She is poking her face with her fingers and trying to show me the cavities.  I try to explain that they are all fixed and that there is nothing there anymore, that there is nothing more anyone can do. She tells me I am a bit** again and to fu** off.  Her mouth is noticeable worse.  She started to cuss out the actress on the t.v You beep beep woman go beep beep you beep.  I am astonished considering that she has never cussed like this.  She starts pulling on her hair and shouting.  I manage to distract her with arranging an appointment.  She calms down and gets up.  She wants to show me her hair.  It takes a half hour to get back to the movie and she is calmer.  She looks completely frazzled and exhausted.  She is submerged in the Alzheimer's world and occasionally pops back to me.  She is completely frantic now during movies and has no enjoyment.  She yells at herself to shut up and at one point tells me how much she hates who she has become.  She misses herself and can no longer find herself. She tells me that it is getting worse, that she cannot control what comes out or how she is feeling.  She cannot understand simple statements anymore.  She wants to understand and tries so hard.  She will not give up until she understands it.  I think that is the reason her memory is so good. She obessess until it is solved.  We have a calm rest of the night.  When I got home, she calls me to cuss me out for messing with her t.v.  She wants me to head back over and fix it.  I tell her that is not possible but I can get Dad.  She starts screaming ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh over and over again.  She tells me she hopes I get this disease and will die. She tells me I am a god da** evil bit** that does nothing for her.  It continues until I finally hang up and call dad.  Dad to the rescue.  He fixes it and I can only imagine what it was like awakening to that.  I receive a phone call at 2 in the morning with her crying and apologizing.  This sparks a late convo with the hubby.  we had just sorted some pictures about an hour prior and there was one from a year and a half.  We started to discuss this picture and how quickly she has aged.  I look at my mother and see this very frail and elderly woman looking back at me.  There is no life no spark left in her eyes.  Eyes are supposedly the window to your soul and there is nothing in her eyes anymore. 
Today, she was in a very confused state.  She could not understand how to do her pills and she quickly gave them to my father to manage.  Dad said that she was very calm but could not figure out how to even put a garbage bag in the trash.  We tried to explain the pills to her and she could not figure it out.  Something has happened to her in the past few days that has made her decline again.  With my mom, it seems that we go in very pronounced stages.  She maintains for a bit and quickly drops.almost like going down a stairway.  travel travel travel and drop, travel travel travel then drop again.  She is taking greater steps in her downward spiral and they are happening faster.  I guess that is a good thing because she won't suffer as long.  It is hard to see the tiny sliver of my mother completely slipping away.  There is very little of her left and every so often we are graced with her old laugh or her old smile.  In that instant her entire persona changes and she even resembles the mother of the past.  Her wrinkles disappear, the zombie stare sparks with life, and her movements become graceful.  For that brief moment, a smile grows on my face and i share the enjoyment with her because I know it will disappear in a flash.  I praise God for the gift of her smile and just relish in the moment.

Thursday, July 22

A disease of Misery

One thing I have learned about this disease is that it is a disease of misery.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to wake up day after day knowing that I cannot do the things I once could.  Watching the world around me in broken pieces trying to fix the puzzle over and over again.  Each word is a challenge to retrieve, everything I once knew floating around my head and trying to jump up to reach them.  I watch her play with the children, struggling to tolerate the noise that amplifies from their little mouths.  She wants to relate to them and realizes she cannot.  It tears her apart to have Mackenzie try to show her how to do something or not going to her when she needs help.  My mother has one foot in our reality and one foot in the Alzheimer's world.  She is struggling to stay with us and I have noticed some reasons for her ability to remember and remind us of things. 
At one time I would have believed my mother to be obsessive compulsive and it is that one trait that has kept the ability to remember going.  I notice that when she wants something or has to tell you something, she will not complete something else until it is resolved.  I recall her saying that she has sat in her kitchen chair just waiting until I got there continuously thinking about what she had to give me.  I also noticed that often when I get there, she has items on the kitchen table that she must explain to me one at a time.  We cannot proceed until she has exasperated the entire items from the table. 

Yesterday, we went to her doctors office to discuss her last visit and clarify all the things that she was confused about.  The visit went rather well-she let me do more talking than ever before and often she seemed to have no understanding of what we were discussing.  She seemed to blank out every so often.  We got home and my mother asked me to make three ham sandwiches so we could give them to her friends down the street.  I had to leave to relieve my brother from watchcng my children and helped her get situated. She eventually called my father over to bring her to the pet store.  The poor guy.  It was rather hot the last few days and I cannot imagine the frustration of working in the hot sun, dirty, exhausted, and covered in leaves only to have the phone ring and having to drop everything to take care of the newest crisis.  That was yesterday.  My husband and father were trimming shrubs and I know it was brutal.  My hubby called to tell me that he will be worthless by the time he gets home (he breaks out in these large white lumps and cannot speak, walk well, or move well after working out in the sun for extended times).  Figuring that my dad would feel the same way, I decided to cut him a break.  I cannot fathom having to come home after working 9 hours in the 102 heat, cutting and hauling branches and jumping in the shower only to find that dinner must be made.  On top of that, having to handle my mother with extreme care and concentration or pay dearly.  So I grabbed dinner, headed up to their house with the kids, and spent the early evening being with mom. 
Today I had off from my mothers and was able to visit two of our clients and help my grandmother out.  I am now officially tired and going to work on my school work and the final proofreading for the grant.  Tomorrow believe it or not, I have nowhere to go until night time (movie night).  Ahhhhhhhhhhh I may just spend the day lounging by the pool with the kiddies.

Tuesday, July 20

Thank Goodnes he is back!!

My brother is back and I am jumping for joy.  What a crazy week this has been. After our mini vacation, we were thrown into our lives with such force and vigor.  The next day back I was head deep into obligations and necessities.  After tomorrow, I will have a slight break for a day. 
Last night, I headed over to my mom's to help her with her hair.  I believe last night will be the last time that we dye her hair.  She had no idea what was going on.  She was full of her vinegar spirit which made the task even harder.  After I applied the dye to her hair, she was very fidgety.  She kept asking how long and why it was taking such a long time.  When we were ready to rinse her hair, I brought her to the walk in shower.  She had a hard time stepping over the threshold and kept backing away from the water.  I had to use a cup to dump the water over her and the dye went all over her face.  She started to scream which made some dye fall over her mouth.  I tried to move the shower over to her head and she still backed away.  No matter how I moved the water she avoided it.  She got scared and could not find where she was.  It took a very long time to get the dye out and the conditioner in.  After the shower, she got dressed and I headed back home. 
Today, since Kevin was coming back, I had mom duty.  Dad left for the airport at lunch.  The plan was for me to head over to Mom's later in the day to pluck eyebrows (she still has the desire to look ok occasionally). She decided she wanted Wendy's and thought my father was bringing it to her.  I told her I would bring it up.  When my son awoke from his nap, he had mucus in his stools. He has had some weird issues the last few days and finally I decided it was time to take him in.  I was so pleased-we have not had to go to the doctors in awhile.  But thankfully, we were able to go right in.  I must say that the staff there is so amazing and sincere.  I have never had such a pleasant experience as at my children's pediatricians office.  We will find out test results later this week and see if this is just a bacterial infection of some sort.  Having been through this when he was a baby, I no longer fear the blood and mucus-just want to know what it is.  After Connor's office visit, we headed to my mothers to give her food and finish her beauty session.  The kids were so well behaved, we stayed for two and a half hours.  That is a record lately without someone freaking out. We left around 7 and I dropped off Connor.  Kenzie and I went to visit one of our clients until 9.  Tomorrow, I have the doctors office for my mother and a visit to my grandmother's and Mrs. Fischers.  After that, I believe I will be home :) I am ready for bed tonight and just thankful that God brought my brother back home safe and sound.  My Father watches over all of us and I love the challenges He brings into our lives.  It is through these challenges that I know I am being molded into something better.  There is so much to learn and these difficulties despite how much they hurt, are so beneficial to us.  It is often hard to remember that, but when I do, I usually am reminded of His amazing power and love. night!
Right now I am on the phone with her, listening to her cry about how no one likes her anymore.  It is enough to make the coldest person feel some emotion.

Sunday, July 18

Remembering my blessings

This week has been so busy but so rewarding.  We started bible verses with Mackenzie and what a tickle to the heart to hear her recite it tonight after practicing all week.  That girl has a great memory and really enjoyed learning a bit of God's word.  She was so proud of herself.  Psalms 61:2 Lead me to the rock that is greater than I.


Last night was another movie night and the selection was Made of Honor, another chick flick.  Ah one day I will get her to watch something that is slightly interesting:)  This was not a good time to do movie night for either of us.  My day was full and I was pretty exhausted.  Earlier in the day, I had a play date for the kids which lasted a few hours.  After the nap, we went to visit a client to bring leechie nuts which we forgot.  We took her to the bank to finalize some items and spent a little while visiting with her.  She has such a generous heart and was so sweet to the children.  We left with quite a bit of items that were the newest treasures for my two little ones.  When I arrived at the house, two of the neighborhood teens were there needing a ride to the bank where their mother was.  We met the mom on the way and brought them to the store.  Finally I arrived home to a quick meal, bath, and playtime then back to the client's house to drop of the leechis and over to my moms.


We were so blessed tonight by the client.  Mrs. B has emptied out her freezer and we are now completely stocked with every time of animal you can think of.  While we do not eat pork, red meat, or certain bottom feeding fish, my family and friends do.  My grandmother and Mrs. Fischer are going to love the roasts I will be making them.  Wow is all I can say.  I encountered only one problem, now my van has many bags of frozen food and my house is too far away to bring it home. Too much food for my mother's freezer so here is where the problems started.
Mom was not in the best of moods to start with considering she only slept an hour and a half in two days.  I guess the night before she did not sleep at all and only napped once during the day.  She got really confused by me trying to figure out what to do with the food.  I tried to explain to her that is was completely unexpected but how wonderful it was.  She wanted me to go home because she did not want the confusion.  Dad graciously offered to bring it to the house for me so that I could bathe mom and get movie night started.  Off he went and bath time began.


Mom used much more nonsensical words today and I had a very hard time following her.  She tried to ask for certain cheesecake and got really upset when Dad and I could not figure it out.  She would get very upset when I had no idea what she was trying to tell me.  In the bath, she tried to wash her hair and could not figure it out. She got soap in her eye and started to cry.  She was in a lot of pain in her legs, ear, eye, stomach, and hands.  Nothing felt right from the very soft mat under her to the clothing and towels.  Getting her out of the bath was just as difficult. 


Dad showed up with two different cheesecake and mom demolished them.  She snacked all night long.  During the movie, she completely zonked out-her eyes were open but she was completely unaware of  almost everything.  I left  around 12:00 and a funny thing happened when I pulled into my drive.  I had all my items out of the car and was walking into the house when I thought I dropped something.  I go to grab it and it starts fluttering in my hand.  I screamed like a little girl and realized something--I could be in serious trouble and no one in my neighborhood would come out.  I screamed so loud I thought for sure someone would inquire what was wrong.  Anyway.  I noticed that the fluttering critter I so graciously held for a brief moment was actually a bat.  I run in and grab the flaslight and bring Jason back with me.  Jason and I inspected this littler bugger and notice he is missing a wing.  Later we go back out and it was gone.  No idea what happened but eh at least I did not have to worry about Mackenzie wanting to keep it for a pet....


Today my mother was in another rare mood.  Oh so difficult. I spent the morning running around to visit friends and family.  First stop-Grandma's.  We spent an hour visiting with her and got some really cute pictures with the children.  Jason decided to meet us up there and you should have seen the light in my grandmothers face.  She loves Jason so much and always gets extra happy when he comes along.  From there we went to my mom's to pick up a plant I left there last night (she was still asleep) and then to Mrs. Fischers.  We made it home around 12:30 and everyone took a nap.  I was so tired, I did not even help put the children to sleep.  I think I read Kenzie a book before I got too tired to read anymore.  Jason finished up and I went to lay down.  I was out until 3.  Jason fell asleep, Kenzie fell asleep, Connor slept, Dad slept, Mom slept.  What a fantastic  sleep filled afternoon.  After all our naps,  I managed to talk my mother into letting us visit this evening but she was worse than ever.  So rotten, so bitter, so jealous.  At first, Kenzie and her had a great time.  Kenzie showed her the leapster and my mother tried to match some chickens.  She was so proud of herself for being able to touch the chickens.  Everything was going great until pizza. Mom did not want pizza but got upset that everyone had a plate but her.  She wondered why no one made her some first.  She stormed into her room and stayed there for a bit.  kenzie went to get her and enticed her to eat some food.  She came out but refused to eat.  She just wanted to insult my father and I kept reminding her to let it go because the kids will hear.  SHe actually listened which was interesting.  I got the kids ready for swiming and mom came out with us.  Something upset her and off she went into her room.  I checekd on her and she was trying to use the bathroom.  As we were swimming, dad went to check on her again.  She was walking around with her underwear down around her legs and told him she needed me.  I went in driping wet and helped her wipe herself.  I guess she no longer understands or knows how to do it.  She came back outside and started doing bubbles with Connor.  She got upset because "the bubbles suck and do not work"  I realized that she can no longer blow bubbles.  She got even mroe upset because Dad swam over to the edge. She felt that he was taking Connor away and trying to play with him.  Off to her room she went.  We finalize the swimming and go into the hosue to get ready to leave.  She is still quite out of it and very distracted.  As we are leaving, the ice cream truck was there.  My children were covered in icecream goo by the time we piled into the van.

Thursday, July 15

Lunch with mom

Today I got to take mom out for lunch at this quaint and cozy restaurant.  There are so many memories from this place since I once worked there.  My mother would come in to eat all the time.  They serve the most delicious potato soup with chicken salad sandwiches.  There are antiques upstairs and throughout the downstairs with delightful music playing in the background.   I arrived at her house and she was quite the bitter person.  She started with her hair "I should have washed it, it looks bad, I should not listen to you, you don't know anything, look at my hair it looks like sh**, you are messing it up.  Oh it looks nice.  Then her -teeth "I should not have had them done, they hurt so much (fillings- my mother is convinced that they drilled holes in her teeth and there are multiple cavities), you and dad did it on purpose, how do I stop my teeth from hurting. She tries to gather her items trying to remember what she needs.  She has forgotten everything she accomplished five minutes ago and rechecks again and again.  She decides she wants to wear a ring and goes to her jewelery box.  I actually got slightly sad to watch her.  She grabs a ring and cannot figure out how to put the ring on her finger.  She figures it out eventually but does not like the way it fits her.  She tries another and cannot figure that one either. She settles on one and gets it one.  Then to the car.  I forgot that her key does not work and I tried to start it.  Realizing it too late, I wonder how to get a key for the car.  I decide to put her in my car hoping she will not notice the new headliner smell.  No such luck-Your car smells like pee.  There is pee everywhere, we are cursed, I want to go back, I never should have done this.  I call Dad and he (the smart man that he is) tells me the key is in a location that I can access and I tell mom that I know how to start the car. I tell her that I did not push it completely into P.  So now I hear "how come you did not know that, your dad did it on purpose.  I start the car and off we go.  As soon as we enter the restaurant, my mother comes alive.  I have noticed that she is very well behaved if there are Christians and if they are pretty.  Just so happens that the owner and waitress are sisters and they are gorgeous.  They also are Christians.  Although she is completely confused and dazed, she is very happy and content.  I watch her throughout the entire meal and realize how far she has slipped.  Before the risperdol, she at least had some emotions and was able to function.  On this medicine, she is mellow and manageable, but cannot do the simplest tasks.  She had to use mouth wash last night and could not figure out how to put the rinse in her mouth.  Like my dad said, it is like watching a zombie-she is almost emotionless.  The only time emotion is emitted is when she is scared or confused. 
The rest of the meal when well-she ate like a pig and started to reminisce about the early years.  After the meal, we headed home and she was absolutely fantastic.  She did mention how things have changed with my daughter and she can no longer play with her the way she did.  It broke my heart! 
Jason and I started a blog for our non-profit at http://www.worksinfaithinc.blogspot.com/ if you get a chance to look at it or feel free to follow our progress!!!

Tuesday, July 13

After travel

I must admit that it is hard being away from my in-laws.  I had such a good visit with them and truly love every minute I am there.  When I come back, I realize just how bizarre our life is and feel so bad for my dad.  We are all stuck in limbo just playing a waiting game.  We know that it is inevitable that my mother will die and we just watch as skills slip away.  With death, the loss is great but you can have closure and eventually move on with your life.  With Alzheimer's you suffer as your loved one suffers, you mourn the passing of the person you knew and are left with a stranger that you must love and take care of.  With my mother, it is horrible because she is aware of what is happening.  She forgets somethings, but never the fact that people do not call her anymore, that no one wants to talk with her, that people stop looking in her eyes, her friends had all but disappeared, family is slowly forgetting her. 

 It is amazing that this woman who took care of so many people and did for everyone now has a handful of people sticking by.  I must admit I am surprised at how much my uncle and aunt do for her.  There is no one on Earth like my aunt-so patient, sweet, caring, gentle, happy. In thirty four years I have honestly never heard her raise her voice above a gentle Spanish accented exclamation of joy.  The evidence of her amazing nature and my uncle's enduring spirit is in their son.  If you get a chance check out http://www.damoncastillo.com/.  This is his amazing and multi-talented band. 

Anyway, when my mother is with her, she is calm and happy-everyone around her is like that! Both my aunt and uncle are there for my dad, whisking him away and reminding him that life goes on.  Thank you Uncle George and Aunt Amparo for caring and helping.
So yesterday, after getting in the night before at 12:45 and sleeping for about 3 hours, I got my affairs in order and headed up to my mother's house.  According to my dad, she was pretty off the wall so I put on my actor's mentality and charged into the house like a peppy cheerleader on speed. I noticed that my mother finds it humorous if I break out into dance and song after movies or act like one that is in the movies.. At first it took all my strength to break out and act the fool.  I was so uncomfortable and so atypical of my behavior.  Now, it has become second nature to be the fool.  I skip, jump, dance my way to the bath, to her room, back and forth around the house.  Last night dad mentioned that I seemed so happy.  I looked at him and said Inside I am exhausted and want to crawl to bed for a 12 hour sleep marathon but I am in the actor's zone.  The show must go on and I am ready to play my part.  So I dance her into the bathroom and give her the bath.  She had a very difficult time expressing things and was quiet frustrated at the inability to say what she wants to say. 

During the bath she wanted the food I cooked for her.  I brought her BBQ chicken, purple hull peas (from Grandmama's garden in MS) and mashed potatoes.  She ate like a ravenous dog-shoveling it into her mouth.  This was the first time I saw her eat like that-literally pushing food into her mouth faster than she could swallow it (do not forget she is in the bathtub)  What a humorous sight.  She becomes relaxed and mentions this new idea she has.  One thing about my mom is there is still her crazy humor underneath all the rest of the stuff that this disease has brought. Early, my brother was visiting with her and she discussed youtube with him.  Here is what she wants to do.  She wants us to bring up  a topic like politics.  She will then speak about it and people will have the opportunity to guess what she is talking about.  The winner would receive whatever she felt like giving away on that particular day.  She also said that she probably would upset a great many people but that at least something funny would come out of this disease.  Kevin and I are actually considering it-I think for those who are so deep into the Alzheimer's world, it would bring some sort of comic relief. 

After bath, we cleaned up a bit and settled into her room for Emma.  She almost made me watch Simply irresistible but thankfully I was able to get out of it.  We start it three times over adding another half hour to the movie.  She is so distracted about her pills and the light/fan, the air conditioner, the bathroom.  throughout the movie, she keeps wanting to talk and stop the movie but then tells herself to shut up.  We eventually hold hands and she finally relaxes enough to enjoy the movie.
During this visit, I noticed such a decline in her appearance and her movements.  Everything has become jerky and uncontrolled.  She tries to put clothes on and takes them off forgetting what she was trying to accomplish.  She put her nightgown on as socks and her dainties over her head as a nightgown.  She spilled her drinks, her food, and the ice cream.  She walks hesitantly and nervously.  Her expressive language skills are becoming worse.

Summary of her skills
Motor Skills
she cannot stand on tiptoes or on either foot for more2 seconds.  She creeps up stairs placing both feet on each steps.  The rare instances that she runs, it is stiffly and she stops with great difficulty.  She cannot jump over items or even on one foot.  Kicking, catching and throwing with purpose are no longer evident. 
Fine Motor Skills.  She does not exhibit a pincer grasp anymore and cannot play a simple game like pat a cake.  She cannot put items into containers with good grasp and release.  She has a hard time unwrapping items such as cough drops.  She cannot nest or stack objects or move fingers independently.   She can still cut with scissors though.

Self Help Skills
When eating I notice that she munches food-mouthing it more than biting.  She does pull food off the spoon but no longer keeps her lips shut as she eats.  She cannot insert a spoon or fork with out moderate spilling. She can still undress but has extreme difficulty with dressing herself.  She cannot unsnap, unzip or unbutton most items nor can she fasten them.  Her toileting habits are decreasing.  She has occasional accidents now and does not wipe her self appropriately.  In bathing, she can no longer wash herself, adjust her water temperature, or dry herself.  She no longer grooms herself-she cannot brush her hair or cover her mouth when she coughs.

Speech Language Skills
She cannot participate in conversations without monopolizing it and cannot answer when questions.  She does not use past tense and cannot take a simple message.  She is unable to recall any personal data except with regards  to her brothers and sister, kids, husband, grandchildren. Her vocabulary and comprehension are still remarkable. 

Social Skills
She is afraid of strangers, cannot take turns or share, decreased awareness of good/bad behavior, reacts to disappointments in an unacceptable manner, cannot remain on task for more than ten minutes, and cannot finish what she starts without prompts.

In cognito

I made it back from MS late late last night and am very tired.  Cannot believe I pulled off traveling to MS without her knowing.  Thanks to Dad and Kevin for keeping her occupied while I was gone.  She was so off the wall that I fear if she had known, she would have been much worse.  I did do movie night this evening and am getting ready to sleep.  I did take a quick snap shot of my mother and will share it with you.  Just being away from her for a week, I can see such a difference. 

Kevin heads out tomorrow so keep him in your prayers as he travels.  Let me know what you think of the new blog style.  I have played with many different ideas and have settled on this one for a bit.  I will fine tune it tomorrow or sometime this week.  New blog tomorrow to mention the progression of mom.  Night everyone.

Wednesday, July 7

It's been awhile since I have been hated

Friday night went rather ok.  I got to see Manfield's Park again and thankfully I do not mind the movie too much.  I do like those old fashion theme movies.  My mom was rather distracted and no longer seems to really watch the movies.  It seems more like an obligation to me-she shows little enjoyment at anything anymore. Even with Mackenzie, she can no longer play with her.  Kenzie's imagination has far exceeded hers and my mom cannot keep up with her.  It frustrates her and she gets angry. Mackenzie has been her pride and joy and she realizes that she cannot do anything with her. When my mother is talking to Kenzie, she cannot recall the words needed to explain or express.  In fact on Saturday, I had Kenzie spend time with both Jeep and Gigi.  My mother's language and behaviors were constantly inappropriate and I realized that the days of Kenzie going up there are over.  My mother is very jealous of my dd playing with Kenzie and gets upset.  She thinks nothing of calling my dad a f****** bas**** or telling Kenzie that Jeep is lying.  was on the phone with Kenzie as she tells my dad you lie Jeep you're lying. 



The rest of the weekend went ok-I came up on Monday with both kids to visit with mom after my brother spent the entire morning and afternoon at her house.  They went to Walmart, Blockbuster, CVS, Walgreens, and Publix.  Five hours later, they arrived home.  Kevin has been doing so much with Mom and I know that Dad appreciates it.  I came up int he afternoon with dinner so that Dad did not have to cook.  She was not doing so well-she was rather tired.  We stayed for a few hours and when the kids were finished, we left.  That night mom called asking me to come up to help her cut her pill in half.  On my way to her house, I get a phone call from her.  She is kicking my dad out because of smoke.  I tell her she cannot live alone anymore and cannot kick him out.  She started to cuss me out calling me a bi***.  The funny thing is after saying some mean things, she hung up on me and tried to call my brother.  When I answered she said to herself "oh shi* the bi*** answered.  Then to me she said I do not want to ever talk to you it is Kevin I want.  Ah well.  The good thing is I had to leave for my inlaws on Tuesday so at least it won't add to Kevin and Dad's day.  She did call today to say she was ok and is now not mad at me.  I still have not told her I am out of town and am going to try to keep it that way.  I am afraid she will freak if she knows. 
This morning she already freaked on my dad.  She called him to come home and check the washing machine.  When he did, she got upset that he smelled like gas and ran into the house. She came back out with a glass of hot water and proceeded to throw it at him and then throw the glass down.  Of course it shattered and Dad was left soaking wet with glass everywhere.  At least it is hot here and so maybe it cooled him down once the water cooled.  Now she is doing find.  Here is my thought.  We have not had major freak outs since she started risperdone.  Yesterday she took only a half of the pill since she wants to take half in the morning half in the night.  So she only had half the dose.  This morning she freaked out before she took the other half of risperdone.  She is doing great now.  She also got some niacin amide and will start taking that.  Has anyone tried it and if so how were the results.  I am going to keep an observation to see if there is any change.  She is taking 500 mg today and will eventually increase it to 1200 mg a day.  Let me know if you know anything about this!!!

Thursday, July 1

Play time

Ah what fun today was.  It starts with a phone call from an old friend mentioning a job opening at my old school.  This is a great thing but very difficult to process.  I had discussed it with my hubby last week about returning to work and decided that the only way I would try to go back was if my old job opened up.  I was excited about Kenzie starting VPK and the time I would get to be with just Connor.  However, after prayers and thinking, I realized that if I returned to work, I could help so many more.  Since my mother wakes later and usually only calls me after 3, this should work out ok-if I get it. I am happy to return to the work force but torn inside because of leaving my children.  I have loved being a stay at home mother :). 

 After this call, I talked to my mother and drove over to her house.  My father was out mowing and my brother was with him.  I know that my dad was a very happy man this morning to be working with his son.  My brother has been spending so much time with mom and she is giddy.  Now my dad gets the reward of Kevin.  Golden Boy has been reinstated!!!!
Back to my mother: 
She was very frazzled this morning and was upset because of the time it took me to get there.  Once there, she immediately commandeered Kenzie.  She wanted to play with the Pamela doll that she gave to Kenzie a week ago.  The problem was she could not remember how to play with it.  First she takes out the cartridge and plastic stickie book.  Kenzie loves it and is playing with it.  My mother kept telling her it was not right.  She cannot play with it on the floor and the stickies had a certain place to go.  In my mother's mind, the monkey had to go where the monkey's home was, the popcorn stickie in the popcorn machine, the parrot in the cage etc.To Kenzie the monkey looked great in the sky with popcorn on his head.  I noticed mom getting much more agitated and angry.  She called me back in to tell me that Kenzie was too young and doing it all wrong.  Kenzie wanted to play with the stickers and my mother now wanted to show her the cartridge that goes in the back of the doll so that she will say things about the zoo.  The problem is that Kenzie was the least bit interested in the doll at the moment and my mother could not understand that.  She started getting angrier and decided that because Kenzie would not play her way, she could not have the doll or the stickies.  Understand that this is a doll Kenzie has had for a week now and enjoys very much.  My mother says that Kenzie is too young and won't listen to her.  Kenzie starts to cry and then mom starts to cry.  Kenzie runs out of the room and my mom starts yelling at me.  She tells me it is my fault and that I should not take it away.  I want to laugh but with a serious face, I ask mom how we can solve the problem.  She tells me that I should teach Kenzie the right way to play with the toy.  I go to Kenzie and hold her for a bit.  I talk to her and see if she wants to go home or try to play Gigi's way.  I remind her about her mind and how difficult it is for Gigi to play Kenzie's way.  She wipes her tears away and says she will help.  I smile inwardly and feel blessed to have this little girl.  Meanwhile, Connor is as content as a railroad conductor listening to Thomas the train songs on the Internet.   I bring Kenzie back in and show her what Gigi was trying to say.  Problem solved and the two resume playing like two little girls.  I go to dance with Connor and wait for the next issue. 
Later on, we all start playing together.  Connor is being a little ham and showing off for Gigi.  Love it.  We eat dinner and my mom starts playing a game with Kenzie.  She sits there pretending she does not know who Kenzie is.  She pretends the dog is Kenzie and keeps saying who are you?  What is your name?  You are that dog.  No you are that boy.  The entire time I cannot help thinking that in a few months this might be a reality. She has a hard time recalling Kenzie's name and often refers to her as that girl.  After a bit more, we pack up and head back home.  As we go to the car, my son grabs my hand and leads me to the door.  He then grabs Gigi's hand and walks with her to the car. My heart again flutters and I am blessed.  The topping to this wonderful morning, my father has given me a laptop!!!!!!!He got a great deal on one and decided to give me his.  Ah soo happy. 
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