Friday, January 21

Somewhere over the rainbow

So dad had a great time in new Orleans and made it home safe.  I must say that this week went easier than I had expected.  With the exception of the first night when mom was awaiting dad's phone call to say he was safe, the entire time was relatively easy. I learned quite a bit from being up there, mostly how to keep things calm. Mom is happy when she is getting attention and feeling special.  When she feels like she is a burden or that she is inconveniencing you, she reacts.  When she feels like she is being ignored, she reacts.  She notices the intonation of frustration, the lack of eye contact, the body language and it hurts her.  Then she responds by getting angry.  That is the only time she reacts.  each time she needs help going to the bathroom, each time she wants the temperature to change, each time she wants something to eat but doesn't know what, she needs assurance that she is not bothering you.  It is hard especially when you are in the middle of a phone call or the middle of a project.  It reminds me of my children.  They come first-no matter what I want to do, I cannot do it when my children are up.  I must cater to their every need with a happy face or I pay dearly.  Ever notice how children feel your frustration and respond accordingly.  It seems the more frustrated you act, the worse they become. The same held true with mom.  She is confused, scared, and needs attention.  It is not her fault that she does not want to be by herself anymore.  She has resorted back to becoming a child or baby and I realized she needs to be treated as I would treat my children.  She dedicated herself to raising me with attempted patience and I owe her the same courtesy.  By scheduling time for myself and preparing mom for it, she adjusted and let me do some things for ten to twenty minute intervals.  I also made sure to take advantage of the time when she napped.  Just like my children.  In fact, I was surprised at how similar it was-I did all things when she slept or was distracted with a project. By complimenting her, praising her, reassuring her, and loving her, she didnot have one episode.  Despite being exhausted, both Kevin and I enjoyed being with her.  We played the wii with her (she would shake her arm and I would bowl behind her while Kevin praised her), we danced with her, reminisced with her. Tonight she and I danced to the song at the end of Meet Joe black.  Somewhere over the rainbow and what a wonderful world.  She was so happy and so snugly.  I placed my face against hers as we swayed to the music.  Her smile on her face was wide and she was at complete peace.  Her eyes actually sparkled.
I think to my day and find myself comparing her to my children more often now.  As I wake up and am assaulted with "mommy I want juice, apple juice, can I have the pink cup, Eggs please, I need help with the bathroom, mommy where is my dress, and fifteen more requests within a five minute time span, I cannot help but think of the requests my mom makes in rapid fire motion-kim I am hot, I am cold, I need some water, can I have a straw, I have to use the bathroom, I am hot, I need a shirt, where are my slippers. How can you get frustrated with that-especially when I think that this could be me in twenty years.  I have gotten my life insurance in order and my long term disability.  Now to save up money for the genetic test to find out if I carry the Early Onset Gene.  It is all in the Lord's hands; I am just grateful that He has given me the joy, patience, and love for caring for my mother.  I also praise Him for giving me my brother, my best friend, who has risen to such esteem in my eyes. If only I can get him to believe :). I am so thankful that we get along so well and I owe my mother for that-we were not allowed to fight...ever while we were growing up.  I can only remember one time that we actually argued and we were made to sit at the table until we were friends.  My mom gave us each a piece of paper and pencil and told us to draw each other.  By the end, we were giggling over the artwork we had created.  Whatever technique she used, it worked.  To this day, my brother and I are polar opposites and that suits us fine. Maybe that is why we work so well together.  I love you boo and thank you for everything. 


Anonymous said...

Great Post! Hopefully other people who read this will realize that sometimes, a person with alzheimers really is just a child with similar demands. You make a great point that we need to focus on their needs instead of our own, and I hope your blog inspires people to remember that.

Kimberly said...

It is important to focus on their needs. I am not saying that our needs are not important...they are-sometimes even more so-but by focusing on their needs when they are aware, we can sometimes find that space and time to take care of ourselves as well. When my brother and I take shifts to relieve Dad, he gets some down time. By giving my dad 50 hours of down time a week, he has the time to devote the attention to my mom.

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