Friday, November 25, 2011

Inspiring others

Picture was taken yesterday morning, Thanksgiving, at the rehab. Mom is always so glad to see either Bobo or Rita! And, the dogs are really surprised to see her too. I've got Matee and Hops signed up to visit also. I rarely make it through the hallway without some of the residents stopping me to see whichever dog I'm toting along. It's sweet to see the smiles on these elderly patients. For some of them, it's the highlight of their day.


Mom is working hard at her rehab but I'm having a problem getting calories into her. I've got her on her appetite enhancer but she's not particularly interested in eating. Without calories, there's not much reserve energy for rehab so she knows the importance of eating. My new goal for her is 1500 calories a day. We'll see how that goes.


I've always been in awe of Mom's internal strength but, each and every day now, I'm inspired more and more by her will. She so wants to come home and I so want her home. She's really working hard to make that dream a reality.


I'm always surprised to read the nice comments left on my Squidoo articles but the comment below is one of my favorites. It's from a new online friend, Leslie - she left it on my Death and Dying - the final moments of life on earth article. I'm reposting with her permission.


Such a beautiful lens. My mother died this Memorial Day. She chose hospice since she wanted to (and succeeded in this) discontinue all her meds in the hospital and nursing home - but she only lived for four days of the hospice care. She was in such great pain that living had become torture.

You present a passage that I can relate to, as I was the only family present for the last months and especially the last weeks and days. Thanks for emphasizing the beauty of sending the dying parent off with loving statements of care, and reminders of how glad you are to have had them for a parent. That's what I did (after we had used every moment possible during the dying month to express our caring), along with prayers - it just seemed the right thing to do.

I read this lens before and it was such an encouragement to me, but I never really thanked you. Presenting information like this is a real gift, and I congratulate you. You did encourage me to not only concentrate on what is really important, you also caused me to think twice about becoming active in the squidoo community, and for that I thank you also.



Leslie also added the below in an email to me:


We are all in this life together and we need to support one another.


Boy, she's right on that one! Leslie is a 12 year cancer survivor (!) and writes some beautiful articles about her experiences. Please visit her profile at squidoo by clicking the following link: Papier's Lensmaster page. 


I'm very thankful to my online friends and my personal friends for supporting Mom and me through this latest health scare. Your visits to the nursing home really brighten her day, and mine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


And, a special thank you to Kim and her family for the visit yesterday (Thanksgiving) and the food you made us take along. Kim's son, Alex, entertained us with some great tunes on the piano - he's very gifted. In fact, Kim is raising two wonderful young men - her youngest son, Mitchell, is quite the artist!


And, a big thank you to Bobbi for the food you prepared for mom and the laughter you shared with us last night. John and I had probably the most memorable Thanksgiving ever. It turned out to be pretty wondrous. And, again, for that, I'm very thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mom's physical therapy yesterday

video
I couldn't post a video on Mom's caringbridge.org site but here is a video of her morning session of PT yesterday.

Satisfaction

I started writing online with eHow a few years ago just to have something to do. I had no idea one could make money monthly by writing online but quickly fell into the "make more" trap. Today, things are different.

eHow shut down their program so I've moved over to Squidoo where I write mostly about dessert shooters or articles about the elderly. The dessert shooter articles actually make money but the ones about the elderly? Not so much. What I do reap from my elder care articles though are wonderful comments like the below which I'm posting anonymously but with permission:

it is indeed what we have is very special! and we have come to know each other through our work, so as your work is very special to you and mine to me then that makes our friendship special too! my mum was diagnosed with Cancer, we were very "young" carers, my little brother just could not handle it, as my dad had passed suddenly the year before too, and she just wanted to come "home". I have never written about it as it is a hard one, but I follow your writing and think if you can do it and help others (already you have helped Eveyln and her family and relieve their worries etc) then I could too, so really you are an inspiration. and yes we had some wonderful times with mum, who throughout everything kept her sense of humour and I see the same twinkle in your mums eye ;-) Have a great Day Lori!


So, even if my Squidoo articles don't earn me much money, they are earning me more than money can buy - that ability to be supportive to others. And, isn't that nice?


Here's a few of my more recent articles:


Preventing bedsores in the elderly


American attitudes toward the elderly


Anatomy of a caregiver - what makes me tick

Handicapped bathroom needs for the elderly

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adjusting to a quiet home

Picture to the right is Mom after her very first physical therapy session. She worked so hard to get strong. Mom has always been my hero and I've always been aware of her inner strength but never more so than the last week. She battled her way out of horrible pain and is on the mend.

Last night was the first night ever that John and I were alone in the house. We've been together 4 years now so it was really going to be a special night - until I thought I was getting the flu.

I was in Mom's thousand degree rehab room all day yesterday, sitting in a chair. I was pale, shaky, dizzy, and sweaty all day yesterday. I had my temperature taken by the nurse: 98.3. Weird. No fever yet I felt like I had one. I made sure to stay as far away from Mom as I could while still tending to her needs - an interesting feat. Note to self: buy stock in antibiotic hand wash...

Anyway, John brought Gizmo to the rehab center at 4 and I had Rebecca coming in at 5. I briefed her and got her schedule so we're covered the rest of the week - mostly covered. I have Rebecca and Carina and possibly one other caregiver and me. But, I've digressed...

John and I came home and he gave me some Pho soup (great stuff). I almost immediately felt better. I think I was just dehydrated! And, when I think about it, I was in that stuffy, hot room all day and I don't think I even had a sip of water. I'm totally fine this morning but I scared myself enough to get a flu vaccine today.

Getting myself cleaned up and back to the hospital here in a bit. The house is just too quiet. Mom is a little thing but there is a pretty good amount of activity that happens around her. I hear noises and start to react and then remember that she's not here right now. At the moment, it's ok but, when the day comes that she's not here for good...well, that might be another story. That's where Key West comes in.

Off to get cleaned up and back to the rehab center as I want to make sure I'm there for her PT.

Here's an article I wrote yesterday about adjusting to rehab. I've gotten some beautiful comments from my online caregiver friends about this one.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hiatus...

Well, since I've last blogged, there's been a lot of excitement over here -

We had Mom's 95th birthday! An excellent time was had by all as we selected our local watering hole, La Mex, to have the party. It was beautiful. I'll expound more upon the occasion when I have time.

We took Mom on a cruise to Bermuda. 5 days out of Baltimore. Ron, Linda, Sharyn, Carina, John and I gave it the old college try. For John and me though, it was mostly a bust as we were in the cabin with Mom most of the trip - but, that was actually ok as the cabin was da bomb! We got the Owner's Suite on the ship and had 550 sq feet of cabin. Huge for a cruise! The balcony added another 110 sq ft so we were mostly content until the last 2 days when we had to go through a huge storm. 26 foot waves sent everyone reeling except Mom and Sharyn. Mom didn't even realize the boat was rocking!

And, finally, on Oct 11, 2011, Mom broke her hip. She suffered a pathological fracture which means the hip broke prior to the fall (a fairly common thing in the elderly). So, she had hip surgery on Oct 14, 2011 and stood for the first time on the 17th. I've been told by more than one hospital doctor or nurse how strong she is, emotionally and physically. We just moved her to rehab where she's expected to be for about a month but I'll bring her home earlier than that. I'm working on getting together a crew of support folks so we can care for her here.

Ok, I'm back off to the rehab for the day. I do have a caringbridge.org website set up - http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/getwellgertie

Feel free to dial in - I have the security set up to low so you don't need to log in to read the updates. Unfortunately, I have no internet at the rehab so can't update during the day. I hope this changes today when I transfer over to the iPhone and can use it as a hot spot.

So, dear readers, thanks for sticking by me. More later.