As usual, when I have a snarky day, the next day is better than the average. Today rated right up there.
I woke up early and did a load of laundry before even leaving home. Got busy and headed over to the Farmer’s. First thing there, I made a cup of coffee, and then went in to chat with the Farmer. We have kind of gotten away from this little “morning routine”, and I have missed it. We chatted for a bit and then I went in to start making breakfast. The “girls” followed me into the kitchen and sat waiting for a little piece of bacon. I put it in the pan and turned it low.
I had gone back to the Farmer’s den and told him, we needed to order some more supplies for Momma. So, the Farmer logged onto his internet, and then we figured we would need his little “password book”. Both of us started searching, while I say this as generally as possible, Dad, your room is a friggin mess. I ran back to the kitchen and realized, uhm…oops, I burned the bacon. I salvaged what I could, turned off the pan and then went back to Dad’s room to search. I finally found it, and both of us were giggling, because it was in a place, that…well, no one would have thought of.
I went back to the kitchen, re-made some bacon, gave the “girl’s” a piece each, finished up breakfast, and then did the dishes. I went back to grab the Farmer’s plate and he was staring at some ad that was in with his phone bill. You see, the Farmer has internet, but it is “dial-up”. I have been bugging him to get wi-fi or at least high-speed internet, but because he lives in the boonies, it isn’t available unless you want to pay major $$$ for it.
Well, we called. The Farmer let me handle the phone call, the reason being is because I know more about it. The true reason? The Farmer does not hear as well, as he likes everyone to think he does. After I explained that I was the Farmer’s daughter, and he was sitting right next to me and we wanted to pull his internet into the 21st century, the dude at the phone company bent over to help us.
Long story short, with quite a few giggles between the Farmer, Mark the service dude and I, the Farmer is getting high-speed internet, AND saving money in the process. WOOHOO!!! We have set up the date for them to come install it, and the Farmer was advised by both the service dude Mark, AND myself, he has to clean his room though.
After all of this was accomplished, I went in and checked on Momma and asked her if she was ready to get up, to which the reply was “Well…do you think I should get up now, or should I sleep some more?” ”Well Momma, it doesn’t matter to me if you want to sleep a bit longer, or you want to get up now, how do YOU feel about it?” ”Come back in a bit ok?”. I had to giggle, simply for the fact, after I told her she could stay in bed, she grabbed Mr. Teddy and snuggled further down in the pillows and was asleep before I had even left the room.
I got all Momma’s laundry together and started that, and then waited about 30 minutes and then started getting all of her bath and other stuff ready. I was going to wash her hair today. I went in and snapped up her window shades, and told her “Hey pretty lady, how about we give your hair a good old scrubbing?”. Just waiting for 30 minutes made all the difference.
I got her all ready, and proceeded to wrap her up in a towel, put the plastic over her and then started to wash her hair. By the way, the 2 bucket method works really good. I managed to scrub her hair, and not drown her, along with not getting one inch of the bed wet either. We finished up her bath and got her dressed and we went for the regular “walk about”.
We have a semi new routine these days. As soon as Momma hits her chair and has her box of kleenex and her wash rag and the daily paper in front of her, she demands orange juice on her mouth swab. I will admit, the past few days we have stretched the limits and Momma has been able to swallow 2 teaspoons of hot tea, and she is also asking for the orange sherbet again. I did advise the orange sherbet was only for special occasions though.
After finishing up at the Farmer’s, I drove home. I went the back was as usual, and then as I passed the Nursing Student‘s house, I thought briefly about stopping. I kept going and made it down the street and then turned around. The garage door was open, so I parked and went in through the garage. I knocked on the door, because I thought it was locked. Cam-Man saw me and started yelling, the Fisher dude poked his head around the corner and yelled at me to come in.
Cam-Man was very happy to see me and got a little excited. He hugged me and asked about his Papa. So, I told Cam-man he had to ask his Momma if he could go home with me for a few hours and she could come get him. When his Momma said yes, but only if he picked up his toys first. Lil dude started picking up all of his toys and putting them back into his room in the toy box. He then got his shoes and jacket and down the road he and I went.
When we arrived at my house, we pulled up to the mailbox, and found out that there was a package to be delivered, but we had to go to the post office to pick it up. I asked Cam-Man if he had ever been to the post office, to which he said “no”, so off we went. To get to the post office in my town you have to go by the park, and Cam KNOWS the park. It was too cute at the Post office though, because the mail lady asked Cam if he knew what we were here for, when he replied “Mail, and Papa’s package”, we all busted up.
After finally arriving at my home, at first Cam-man was upset because his beloved Papa was not here, but he got really excited when he found out we had to make cookies for Papa.
Lil’ Dude helped me with the cracking of the eggs, measuring the ingredients and using the mixer. He watched as they came out of the oven, and didn’t even get upset when he found out he would have to wait until Papa got home before he could eat one.
When Papa pulled up in the driveway, Lil dude was in the window waving and screaming at his Papa to hurry up. The reunion was made, and cookies were eaten. The snarkiness is gone.
This would be my Momma, although this picture is 17 years old, and Momma might be a bit “glammed up”. This is her.
She is truly a beautiful woman, that I cannot describe, other than always full of laughter, and giggles. Her sense of humor is amazing.
This was probably about 10 years ago. Momma decided it was high time we had a family picture of just the 3 of us.
This is Momma with the Farmer about 1 1/2 years ago. This is when Momma could still do a bunch of things for herself, and also be able to eat, without a tube.
This is Momma and the Farmer after we had a wheelchair ramp installed so we could take Momma outside without having to struggle, this was about 3 months ago….
Like I said, I have been a Caregiver for almost 2 years now. First and foremost, let me just tell y’all, I am not a CNA, Nurse or anything else, other than a daughter, and a Mother, and a Grandma.
I have no formal training. I have done tons of research, and tried to figure out things, to make things easier for Momma. My daughter The “Nursing Student” has taught me a bunch. When Momma lived in the Nursing Home, all of those CNA’s there and the Nurses did their best to teach me what they could.
I have done things, I never imagined I would do. I have faced situations, I never thought I would. But I have to confess, today was the first time I have ever lost it and become physically sick over something I had to do. Now, to be honest, I may be wuss. Simply because I am known to have a few things that will seriously make me gag every time.
I can not handle snot, which is silly in a way, because I can wipe the Grankids nose and clean up his snot no problem, I’ve handled Momma’s snot, no problem. I can clean up $hit, no problem. I may have to clothes pin my nose, but I can clean that up. I can wipe butts with the best of them.
But then we come to my problem. With PD, Momma has trouble swallowing. She starts to cough and then to choke. This has happened a bunch TO ME lately. I know she is not saving it up just for me, but it always seems to happen when her and I are alone together.
It happened to me today, as soon as the Farmer left to go get his monthly haircut. It was a good thing I was there by 7:30 and gave Momma her 8 am meds, while the Farmer got to sleep in. I made the requested batch of Oatmeal/raison cookies (which is part of his payment for the haircut). The Farmer had been gone for about 10 minutes, when I heard it.
Momma was choking, so I rushed in there. I pulled her into a sitting position, and then I remembered some advice given to me by a really good friend, so I turned her onto her left side, and it did not stop. So, then I remembered some other advice, and I went and got a glass of water and a mouth swab, and told Momma to open her mouth. I swabbed her mouth and almost tossed cookies at what I pulled out. I did it a couple of more times, and then Momma breathed easier, and calmed down and did her breathing exercises with me. Unfortunately for me, I had to run to the bathroom and I did toss my cookies.
I lost my breakfast and then sat with my head in the toilet bowl crying. I’m not sure what happened. I felt a little stupid. Jimmy Christmas, I was in the Air Force and handled some situations worse than this what the heck? That’s when I came to the conclusion, there was a reason I was never interested in being a Caregiver, or a Nurse or anything to do with the medical field.
I got myself together and checked on Momma, who was now fast asleep and snoring. The Farmer returned, looking all “spiffy” having his ears lowered. I told him what happened, but I’m not sure he understood what I said.
It was time to get Momma up, and she had no recollection of the previous hours events. When I asked her how she felt, she replied with pretty good for an old lady. When the Farmer came in to help me get her to do her “walkabout”, (that’s what we call her journey into the front room), we did the one, two, three….that’s when she told both of us, we would miss her when she was gone. I’m used to this line of conversation, but I think today was the First time the Farmer heard it. Simply because he looked at her and asked her “Where are you going?”. Momma did not reply, and the Farmer stated to her, we would not let her go, anywhere without us.
Momma was sitting all comfortable in her chair, when I was yelling from the kitchen about the Farmer’s dinner tomorrow night and about how I would be there to help him. That’s when I guess momma looked at the Farmer and said ‘What?” We told her Beth would be there to get her up tomorrow and I would be there tomorrow night to put her in bed. Momma didn’t say another word, until I was ready to go.
I finished everything up, and went to give them both kisses Goodbye, when Momma hugged me and kissed me and told me ‘I Love you Jo, Thank you for everything you do to make me comfortable.”.
I will admit I cried on the way home, I’m not sure if it was because I tossed my cookies, or because I know something is coming and I’m not going to like it. Some people say I am looking into tomorrow, when I don’t know what it holds. The funny thing about that is, I do know what’s coming, and while I don’t really like it. We all have to face it. I truly am not being negative, but maybe I am trying to get the courage to go through it.
I do know I have the UTMOST respect for anyone in the medical field. Be it a CNA, Nurse, Doctor, EMT, Caregiver or whatever. Simply because while I can do this for my Momma, I don’t think I could do it for anybody. My heart would break too much.
My day started off early after a VERY late night. I stayed up chatting with a couple of really good friends. I knew I had to get up early to go over and give the Farmer a little break and let him sleep in. But I was having fun chatting, so..
Anyway, I drove over to the Farmer’s at o’dark thirty this morning, and snuck into the house very quietly. I mixed up Momma‘s meds, and then went in, took her temperature (which the Farmer does every morning), and then listened to her feeding tube on the stethoscope (which the Farmer does every morning), and then proceeded to give her Med’s and a feeding and flush with water. Momma never woke up.
I came out and cleaned all of the paraphernalia, and went ahead and made up her next round of meds, grabbed a cup of coffee went into the front room and turned on the t.v. I was surrounded by the cats, both of them looking at me like something was wrong, because the beloved Farmer was not there to give them treats or pet them which I guess is the normal routine. I gave in and gave them both treats and petted both of them.
The Farmer surfaced a little while later, and I washed his sheets for his bed, and made us some breakfast. The Farmer was a in a cleaning mood, and went into the “forbidden territory of his den” and proceeded to start cleaning.
We chatted for a bit and then the Farmer took off and ran some errands, and I went in and changed Momma’s bed stuff and got her dry again, and uhm, she never woke up. I rolled her all over the bed, and she snored through it.
I had plans today, and so when I finished the cleaning I was doing and re-make the Farmer’s bed with clean sheets, put Momma’s stuff in the dryer, I went in and got ready to cut her toenails. I had the Farmer, smother her toes in vaseline last night and cover her feet with socks, so I could cut her toenails today without that much trouble.
Let me just insert here, a person with Parkinson’s has problems with their feet, and toenails. Momma’s feet have distorted and are oddly shaped now, and her toenails are, I can’t even begin to describe them. I use pedicure scissors to cut her toenails and then a device like a sander to get them totally cut back. The nails grow funky and sometimes if I leave it to long they grow back into her toes. It’s not pretty and it hampers her walking.
I cut and sanded her toenails, in the bed, while she was sleeping. When that job was done, I went ahead and gave her a manicure too, while she slept.
My next adventure was to wake her up and wash her hair. I did get her to wake up for that simply because I had to re-position her in the bed, and she woke up long enough to hear my game plan, and be moved. However, once I had her hair wet and then was in the process of giving her a really good head massage, I heard her snore. I woke her up to rinse and then gave her a bath and then she cooperated by waking up long enough to get dressed and I put her on the toilet.
She did her events and then I finished getting her up, but I think I embarrassed her, and for that I truly feel horrible. You see, when a person sits or lays 24/7 there is going to be some breakdown of her posterior skin. While Momma had some sores, they have all healed up, but she does have some breakdown in her skin.
The Farmer ordered some special thing for her chair today that will be here tomorrow, because Momma has complained her bum hurts. I saw why today. Unfortunately, I pointed it out to the Farmer, and I think Momma got embarrassed.
When we got her to her chair, and I went to get her mouth swab, when I gave it to her she was crying. Folks, Momma does not cry, EVER. When I asked her why she was crying, she mumbled something, and I asked her again, what was wrong. The look she gave me made me want to bust into tears. She told me not to worry about her, she was ok. That’s when I got a little fierce, and told her, I was worried about her because I love her, and I wanted to help anyway I can.
I walked away and went and told the Farmer, Momma needed some Farmer time. I wasn’t sure what I had done, but she was upset. I finished everything up, and then told Momma, that Beth would be there to get her up in the morning, and I would be there tomorrow night to put her to bed. When I left, I gave her a kiss and then the Farmer. As I was leaving and walking by her, she grabbed my hand and told me, “Thank you for everything, I really do love you Jo”.
I cried all the way home. I’m not sure why, I don’t know if I did something to upset her, or if she was just upset, Parkinson’s screws with people’s minds so much, sometimes it’s hard to keep up. Smiling and laughing one minute and crying the next.
I do understand about the dignity or lack of with Parkinson’s, I truly hate that. I do understand from her perspective how demeaning it could be when you must have your daughter wipe your butt, and be worried about the breakdown of your skin.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that Parkinson’s truly sucks the green twinkies, and that sometimes, even when it feels uncomfortable, for all involved, you still have to take care of the person who needs taking care of, and while your feelings may get hurt by something unknown, put yourself into their shoes, and then it makes it so painful, I can understand the tears. The funny thing is we are crying about the same thing.