Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Week of Ups & Downs

I want to give you a warning up front - usually my posts are of stories about my mom, that you can laugh & giggle at, even though its because of the Alzheimer's.  This post is somewhat different, & more emotional, at least for me.  Its long too - my way of talking it out.  Sorry!

Early last Sunday morning, I woke up to Hudson screaming & Wes calling for me.  Hudson had fallen off the bed at my parents' house.  Wes & I originally took him to the Minute Clinic Sunday morning thinking he had strep throat, only for Hudson to start complaining about his arm hurting while we were waiting to be seen.  They referred us to Urgent Care to get x-rays.  We were heading home that day with my mom & dad following us to spend a few days.  I ended up dropping Wes & Hudson off at Urgent Care & went back to get our stuff & Sadie & still made it back before they doctor saw him - turns out a cracked collar bone & most likely strep by the way it looked.   My parents waited until the doctor was almost done & just met us at the drug store to head on down the road.  So, at 4:45 PM, off we took on our adventure home!  My mom, looking annoyed, wasn't sympathetic like a Nana/Mom normally would be.  She was just tired of waiting & wanted to go!

We got home around 11:30, after several unexpected stops due to my daughter's car sickness - good times.  My mom was still in a good mood & I guess she had asked my dad several times where they were going, & I'm assuming his answer was "Jennifer's house!"  As I was bringing only the necessary items in from the car, she looked at me and asked, "well, Where's Jennifer?"  Lol, not sure who I was at that moment, & I was too tired to even go there.  

Monday was a good day.  My parents kept Hudson while I went on a field trip with Sadie, then we went out to dinner that night.  Tuesday, we ventured off to St. Augstine, just 30 minutes away, to look around & have lunch.  I could tell she was off that day.  She didn't want anything I had for breakfast (first time I felt like I had failed her that day).  We tried to walk around one of the national forts, but when we got up there, we discovered it was closed due to the stupid government shut down - slightly annoying!  We went to lunch then & the real fun began.  She talked about how many times she & my uncle Bob had been to that place before as we waited our 20 minutes for our table.  Once we got to our table, Hudson was getting fussy with his meds wearing off.  Mom insisted the place had fried squash because she had gotten it she didn't know how many times before.  They did not have fried squash by the way.  After 15 minutes & only a few looks from others around us in a small restaurant, we got our food ordered, ate, & got her a to-go drink to take with us.  We got back to my house about 1/2 an hour before I needed to go & pick up Sadie from school.  She had her drink & while I was busy doing something with Hudson, I heard my dad say, "take your drink back into the kitchen hun, they don't drink over here".  Mom got very defensive & said she was fine that she doesn't spill.  (We have a brand new house with carpet & Brand new furniture on top of that!)  I jumped in bc usually my sisters & I can redirect her easier than my dad (I look at it like I do my kids - they listen to their dad better than me because I'm with them all the time!).  I quickly explained that we don't allow Hudson to drink over there, & to make it easier for him to understand, we just don't drink over there.  Well, my mom quickly declared that "THAT ISN'T MY PROBLEM & THIS USE TO BE MY HOUSE THAT BOB BUILT & I DON'T SPILL SO I CAN DRINK OVER THERE".  Well, while I was trying to collect my thoughts on this & decide where to go next, she declared she should was just going to sit in the floor because I didn't think she was good enough to sit on the new furniture.  Have to admit, I did chuckle at that!  But then came the punch in the gut - my mom looked at me then look at my dad & said the words, "I can't stand her.  She's so hateful."  Wow.  The words "its the Alzheimer's, its the Alzheimer's, its the Alzheimer's" were repeatedly going through my head, but it didn't stop the tears from leaving my eyes or the hurt that hit my heart.  I quietly got up, rushed to get Hudson's car seat back into my own car because at this point, I can't leave him there with them, & with 5 minutes before school is getting out, head to get Sadie with Hudson.

Then, the sky opened up & it started to pour - figuratively.

Two minutes from the school, my phone rings.  I'm still trying to collect myself to answer it & find the school calling who has Sadie in the office crying hysterically from a sudden headache while packing up for the day.  I had to sit in car line because I couldn't get through & I finally got her in the car & they told me she had drank some water.  A minute in the car, she threw up everywhere.  Deep Breath, Jennifer, Deep Breath was all I was saying at this point.  I switched to mommy mode & pulled over, cleaned her up as best as I could & drove home.  I got Sadie changed, tylenol given, & into bed.  I knew at this moment, it was my fault, she had her first migraine, which with out a doubt, she inherited from me, which I inherited from the woman who currently can't stand me.

At this time, I go back out to clean my car, calling Wes to see if he could just pick up some pasta sauce on his way home from work.  Guess what?!  He had been to minute clinic that morning & was already on his way home because his boss sent him home because he sounded so terrible.  Joy!

Need a recap - 3 year old with strep & a cracked collar bone, 5 year old with a migraine, husband sick, & a mother who currently is so mad at me over not being able to have her drink on my new sofa, & nothing in my house to cook for dinner.

At this point, no matter how old, its pretty safe to say, that all I wanted was my mama.  Just a hug, someone to take over dinner, or just say it's going to be ok, none of which I got of course.  Sometimes I feel really selfish saying the words, "I miss my mama."  I have friends & family members, that don't physically have their mama & would do anything just to sit beside them, look at them, hear their voice, or see their smile.  And I was so lucky to get to have my mama for as long as I did because others haven't been as fortunate.  But I don't have my mama either, no matter if I can sit there and look at her.  She doesn't know me as her daughter, doesn't hug me like she's my mom.  And its so frustrating, looking at her & not seeing that love back.

At this point, I did the only thing I could do - I prayed, & I prayed hard.  I took a deep breath, then got started.  I stripped the car seats, & got the covers in the washing machine.  I cleaned the seat, floor, & floor mat of my car.  I checked on Sadie to find her still sleeping away & luckily with no fever.  Wes had gotten home & went straight to bed.  I put Hudson in the bed with him & turned on a movie.  I checked on my dad & mom & told them I was running to the store.  He suggested he could take me to get my mom out of the house.  I agreed, because a change of scenery usually helps when my mom is upset.  When we get to the store, of course its too cold for my mom & they go back to the car.  I find myself hurrying, just getting the essentials, not wanting to make her any more frustrated with me.  Of course, it didn't work!  I get home & whip up some spaghetti, my mom's go to meal on busy nights when we were growing up.  Sadie woke up, headache free & smiling.  The day might be looking up.  Spaghetti, even though I had gotten small penne pasta to make it easier to eat, did not turn out to be a good choice.  My mom kept dropping it on her, & with each drop, I got a dirty look (lost count by now on how many times I felt like I failed her that day).  By now, thank goodness, its time for my kids' baths & bedtimes.  When they finally went down, I had to put the car seats back together, that's never fun, & get them back in the car, then make Sadie's lunch & get everything ready for the next day.  I was exhausted.  I finally got in bed, cried a little, prayed a lot, & fell asleep.

I'm not sharing this to get any sympathy.  I don't want any.  I'm sharing it so you can see what a day is like for someone who has Alzheimer's & their care givers.  I truly don't know how my dad does it.  Granted, I was dealing with a sick family on top of her, but still.  It was just one day, not 24/7.  I know her days are full of ups & downs like this - some days are full of lots of ups, others are full of lots of downs.

Wednesday morning was somewhat better.  We all went to Sadie's school first thing to see her in her fun run for their school fundraiser.  I'm not sure if mom enjoyed it or not, but she seemed ok.  Sadie was happy that they were there to watch her run, & that made me happy.  We went to breakfast & then dad has decided they would go ahead & leave after that.  Mom was still off, I could tell.  I was sad to see them go.  I was sad that she didn't have a good experience the first time & possibly the only time, she visited my new house in Florida.  As a daughter, I want nothing more to protect her, & make her feel safe & happy as she goes through this journey of Alzheimer's.  I know I can't do that all the time, but I felt like a huge failure with this visit.  I felt like I failed my mother, even though I know it was things out of my control.

We don't use the word 'stupid' in our house, nor do we use 'hate'.  With that being said, I truly, with a passion, hate this stupid disease known as Alzheimer's.

Keep praying for a cure my friends & for strength for my dad & all care givers out there.  


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