Thursday, October 18, 2012

Things are going pretty much the same. No word on when they will come do the swallowing x-ray for mom but I guess it will be soon. She's doing fine, a little wobbly when she walks and a lot confused in the afternoon. I did find a new term for a phenomena that a lot of caregivers experience. When caring for a dementia patient you sometimes find that they can appear as if nothing is wrong with them in front of strangers or people they do not often see. This behaviour is called 'Showtimers'. The patient can muster up the strength to be at their best, for a while and sometimes it can appear to others that they are not suffering from dementia. My mom has done this but it gets harder and harder for her to do it these days. Again, this disease is horrendous, maddening, and frustrating. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
We got some rain and today this morning the temperature is cooler but it was around 90 yesterday. Sigh, this up and down temperature mode is annoying but it's common for central Texas.
There photos here. Frank's brother Richard came into town for a conference and stopped by for supper and a visit with us. All the men came by as you can see. Second photo is of Richard and Frank. Third picture is of the flyover of the space shuttle. Not a good photo because it was misty and cloudy that morning and the plane was already gaining altitude by the time we saw it. Still it was fun to watch it fly by.

space shuttle flyover-austin, tx 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Time flies even when you are not having fun

Geez whatever I thought of posting has fled my mind. Guess it might be because my husband and I got to go out and eat at the Olive Garden, alone, and had a nice time. Our daughter Cyndi came by to sit with my mom and we thank her for that. Also got a break last weekend when our eldest daughter Pam came down and we got to scoot out of the house for a couple of hours to shop. It was nice.
Mom's skilled nursing is over as her orthostatic hypotension is now under control. A speech therapist came by on Friday, not to assess her speech, but to evaluate her swallowing. Mom coughs when she drinks any kind of liquids and it seems you use the same muscles to swallow that you do to talk, or something like that. Anyhow she put sent her report to her doctor and they will come and do an x-ray of her swallowing here at the house! Who knew they could do that? Not us for sure. It's better to have medical people come to the house because it is easier on my mom. We took her to the doctor this past Monday and aside from her having low potassium she was doing as well as can be expected. So I'm giving her liquid potassium once a day for three weeks and then they will repeat the test. My days are filled with care giving, doctor visits, health care nurses (now over) and the like. At least I know what is happening to my mom and she's not scared and alone in a strange place. Sometimes she doesn't think she lives here and thinks I'm someone else and I shudder to think what she would do in an unknown environment. End of life care especially when complicated by dementia of the Alzheimer's type is very hard but I draw strength from my family and that certainly helps. One thing I sorely wish for is for mom to let us bring in a paid home health care aide but I don't see it happening anytime soon. She barely let the nurse in the house and sometimes she had to see her out on the patio.
One day while helping to prepare dinner I had left mom on the patio and checked on her every fifteen minutes or so. Well while I was getting pans out from the cupboard we heard a knock on the door and it was a lady that said there was an elderly woman tyring to flag down cars (thankfully from inside the fence that had a locked gate). She told the lady she had been kidnapped and that we were going to kill her. Thank goodness the lady in question said she had gone through something similar with her dad and knew what was happening. So mom has to be watched much closer than I thought. Oh well you do what has to be done.
So kudos to all you caregivers out there. It's a tough job but one I think is doable. Just give yourself a break now and then, easier said than done, but something that is needed.
On a more upbeat note Frank's brother Richard came by for a nice visit and the two bros got to chat and chat for hours. It was fun having him here and listening to their stories. I know it did a world of good for Frank. I'll post a picture or two later on.