Today dawned a little to early for me. The alarm clock was set for 6 am, but as usually my internal body clock went off at 5:22am. I didn’t want to be late for picking Cam-Man up today. Friday’s are usually VERY long days. I peaked at the clock and made myself go back to sleep for a half an hour. I guess I had just drifted off when the alarm clock rudely interrupted .
I got up and decided to forgo the usual and I went and picked up Cam-Man in my p.j.’s. It was kinda fun and daring. Cam-Man was in his bed, when I arrived, his little butt stuck up in the air, and him just snoozing. The Nursing student woke him up, and I grabbed some clothes and down the road we went. Cam-Man kind of woke up when we drove into my little home town. When we passed the graveyard and drove a few more minutes and turned down my street, he woke up and YELLED..”We’re HERE POPPA”.
That lil kid woke UP, and when I parked in front of the house, instead of the driveway, (because I was leaving the Rav4 for them and I still had to leave, I was taking the truck.) Cam-Man came flying out of the Rav4 and kept looking at the door, when it opened and his Poppa was on the other side, well…I don’t have words to describe BOTH of them.
Cam-Man KNEW he was going to spend the day with his Poppa, and he didn’t have a hard time telling Geema BYE, after blowing me kisses from the window, and waving until I was out of sight.
I went down the road to the Farmer’s. I was a little later than usual, but this was all part of my plan. (hehehe, yea right I have a plan?) I got to the Farmer’s and he had an appointment that he had to go to, so, I sent him on his way. The Farmer had already given Momma her 8 am meds, so I just changed her bed stuff, making her roll, like a jelly roll all over the bed. When she was clean and dry, I told her the secret. “Psst…Momma, today is friday and you get to sleep in for a while, is that ok with you?” “Yep, I’ll let you know when I’m ready to get up ok?”, was what she told me.
So, while Momma slept in, I got all of the Farmer’s laundry done, Some of Momma’s laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, mopped all the floors, and straightened up some. I gave Momma her meds, and changed her stuff and rolled her over, and she was still sleeping.
The Farmer got back home and I made him a meatloaf sammich, Momma still slept. I finally went in and told Momma it was time to get up and I raised her window blinds and let the sun in. She looked at me and asked “A few more minutes, PLEASE?”. Ok, I gave in.
About 15 minutes later, I went in and it was time to get up. Momma was ready, her limbs were “loose”, and she had no problem going through the morning routine (although it was now afternoon). Momma got up and walked to her chair with barely any assistance, (although a note to the Farmer, Don’t tell Momma she is doing it on her own, she get’s scared and then acts crazy).
Momma sat in her chair for a few minutes and I got stuff ready, and the Farmer did too. We were going to have Momma walk to the kitchen sink and get her hair washed today. We have the “caps” that we use to wash her hair, and while they work, sometimes it’s just nice to get a good scalp massage and get all the oils back to normal.
Everything was in place and the Farmer and I got Momma up and into the kitchen, she stared out the window for a minute or two and remarked she missed looking out this window. We got busy and got Momma’s hair washed (the newly mopped kitchen floor kind of went through the wringer but it was worth it).
Folks, Momma did so good that the Farmer, and I AND Momma were so proud. She did everything we asked her to do and then some. Momma needs to learn trust, and I think she learned that today. The Farmer and I kept her SAFE and she realized that today. She remarked to me when her hair had been washed and she was in her chair after I had blow-dryed her hair. “Joanne, you and your Dad love me don’t you?”
“Yes, Momma we do, and we would never hurt you or let you fall” She replied to me…
“I’m learning that. Thank you for today, I really enjoyed having my hair washed, and you two keep me safe, I Love both of you”.
“We love you Momma”
Today in my world, we switched it up. This morning, I woke up at 5:30 am because I was afraid I would be late picking Cam-Man up at 7 am. So, I got up and drank some coffee and hit the road at 6:30. I left a few minutes early because I had to drive by a certain residence in my small town (which will be another post). After driving by, I giggled.
I scooped up Cam-Man who was happy to see me peering into his crib asking “Hey Cam-Man you wanna wake up and go see Poppa?” After getting his pants changed, and me grabbing another set of clothes plus his shoes and socks, and having him grab his jacket, and his blankey. Kissing and hugging his Momma bye, off we went.
Cam-Man looked a little confused when I told him where we were going, as we got closer to my house, that lil dude livened up BIG TIME. We pulled up and got all our stuff and came inside, Cam-Man yelled “POPPA” when we got inside. Usually Poppa meets us at the door, but not this morning, he was uhm…busy. Poppa finally came upstairs and there was a squeal from Cam-Man.
I drank another cup of coffee, and fed Cam-man breakfast while the Electrician took a shower. Then, Poppa came up and told Camsgranny, “Hit the road k? I got this”.
Off down the road I went to the Farmer’s. When I got there, I gave Momma her meds, and got her dry. I made a cup of coffee and went in to chat to the Farmer. He was going to do a road trip today, so, I shooed him off, and he left.
I had a game plan today. It was raining and gloomy outside, and on days like this Momma usually does not do to well. So, we made an agreement, when I went in to get Momma up, I asked her, “do you want to get up now, or be lazy and sleep a little while longer?”‘ She replied with a little grin “Can I sleep in my bed a little longer?” “Yes, you can sleep in your bed a little longer but we have to make a deal”.. she looked at me and asked “what’s the deal?” I replied (trying to keep a straight face) “You can sleep as long as you want, but every 2 hours I am coming in here and you are going to change position, and I’m gonna change your pants, and you can’t complain when I tell you it’s time to get up and YOU have to help me ok?”. She giggled, folks, she looked me straight in the eye, gave me her hand and said “DEAL”.
So, I let her be lazy today. However, while she was sleeping I mopped the kitchen, bathroom and dining room floors, did ALL of the Farmer’s laundry, did ALL of Momma’s laundry, cleaned the Farmer’s bathroom, cleaned Momma’s bathroom, baked some Oatmeal raison cookies (for the Farmer, they are his favorite). Cleaned out the fridge (I think the Farmer is trying a science experiment with mold). Washed all the dishes and then read the paper.
After letting Momma sleep for a while, and I checked her and shifted her butt over 2 times, I finally went in and asked her if she was ready to get up. Folks, I got the Sunny smile and was told, sure, I feel great.
So, I gave her a bath, got her dressed and between the two of us, and Momma worked hard. We had therapy while she was in her bed, and then when she was sitting on the edge of the bed. I will tell you now, I was a little scared, and nervous. On a regular day it takes me and the Farmer to get Momma up and walking. Today, Momma and I did it together. I made sure she had all of her limbs “loose”, and I asked her if she was ready, and she told me “Joanne, you and I have this ok, trust me”. “I always trust you Momma, and I’m glad you trust me” was all I said.
SUCCESS story, We made it with bells ringing, (literally, there was an ambulance screaming down Route One with its sirens blazing). Momma sat in her chair and then her and I chatted. Momma looked out the window and she said, “Wow what a grey day, it reminds me of England”. “I know, Momma, how are you feeling?” “Sleepy”. was her reply. Yea, you guessed it, she fell back asleep in her chair. Me? I dozed off for a few minutes, until I heard the back door open, and in walked the Farmer.
“Can you help me unload?” he asked me as I walked into the kitchen. I spent the next few minutes unloading from all of the purchases from “Sam’s Club”. I put everything away (or so I thought) and I hugged both the Farmer and Momma and headed down the road to my house. Half way there I realized that I had not put the freezer things away, and I called the Farmer. “UHM, Dad, I think I forgot to put the butter and bacon in the freezer, I carried them downstairs and got sidetracked putting the paper stuff away, can you check for me please?”
I was right, I got completely sidetracked, and the Farmer put the freezer stuff away, I arrived home, and the Electrician had stuff he had to do, so he left Cam-Man (who was totally wiped out) with me. The rest I will save for another post.
My day today, as a switch up day, The Electrician had a FANTASTIC day with his Grandson, that he will never forget, I had a Great day with Momma, the Farmer got his road trip, and well…I’m kinda tired, so for tonite, My world is good and the FUNK is gone….
I’m just Blessed with alot of things, I’m thankful for a lot of things, and I’m whacked, kinda like Cam-man…so Nite y’all…
When I first started this blog, oh a few months ago (9/18/11), I was filled with such a sense of adventure. One that continues. I took myself down memory lane today, and read some of my previous posts. I found myself back in the situation at the time that I wrote it. I also saw a progression in Momma’s Parkinson’s. While this is not a bad thing, it is an eye-opening thing.
Today, I scooped up Cam-Man and off we went to the Farmer’s. We arrived and I went in to see Momma. I wanted to change her bed-clothes, and get her dry, then give her the morning meds, and breakfast. Cam-Man was all over the place this morning. He climbed up on the bed, while I was changing Momma’s pants, and promptly did something the Electrician had taught him. He grabbed his nose and went “pewee”. Cam-Man got run out of the room to go spend some quality time with the Farmer.
Momma was now dry and clean, and had her meds, and I let her go back to sleep for a while. Meanwhile, I fed Cam-Man some Apples and cinnamon oatmeal, with some fresh watermelon, While I made Bacon, scrambled eggs and toast for the Farmer, which, Cam-Man had some of that too.
Lil’ Dude was so all over the place this morning that, when it was time for me to get Momma dressed, I let him come in and climb on the bed with her, and hold her hand, until I sat her up. Cam-Man got bored and toddled off. I got Momma dressed and we were ready to stand up and finish the job, when I called the Farmer to come help me. Cam-Man came running in the room and reminded me about Therapy. So, Cam-Man led Momma in therapy, it was quite funny to watch. He did the leg lifts and then Momma did the leg lifts, watching Cam-Man the whole time. Those two just straight up crack me up.
Momma walked to her chair this morning and then I’m not quite sure what happened. I was running around the house trying to get everything done, laundry, cleaning the bathroom (after I dumped the WRONG bucket in the bathtub and it went EVERYWHERE). Going through Momma’s clothes, that no longer fit.
Cam-Man settled down with a mug of milk in the front room with Momma, they were watching “Word World”, (both of them participated to by the way.)
I wrapped up with giving Momma her noon meds, and then I took Cam-Man back to the Nursing Student. Then my Adventure began. You see, the Farmer gave me some money to do a little clothes shopping for Momma. I went to the store, and found some really cute clothes for Momma, that will fit her, and will be comfortable.
First, let me just say that I came in UNDER budget. Momma got 3 new Capri pants, and 4 new shirts. I will post a picture of my “frivolous” buy, I plan to dress her in it tomorrow.
I brought my purchases back to the Farmer’s and Momma was…well…she was awake, lively and Momma. We made a show out of taking things out of the bag for Momma to look at. She loved the capris I had picked out, and liked the generic shirts, I had found. But the last two, one shirt is blue and has sparkles on it, and it just straight up reminded me of Momma.
Momma saw it and smiled so big, WIN, for me. She just kept saying how soft it was. Then it was time for my “surprise” for her. For those of you that don’t know, My Momma is half Irish. Folks, this shirt is BRIGHT green, and has the following on it Half Irish, BUT all trouble”. While the Blue shirt was a Win, this shirt was a SCORE one for me. The Farmer straight up busted into a belly laugh and Momma, giggled, and then wanted a hug, and she told me, “I love you, Joanne”.
So, all in all my shopping trip was a success, but it wasn’t as good as the last one where Momma actually got to go with me to do shopping for her clothes.
After hanging up her clothes, I helped her again, and in Cam-Man’s words “pewee”. It’s not all smiles and giggles being a Caretaker of a Parkinson’s patient. It’s even a little weird wiping your Momma’s butt, BUT, at the end of the day, when I can reflect, remember, and realize, I am on a journey, and this one I would not miss for the world.
Hey y’all, for those that read my blog, I’m sorry if this first part is a no brainer.
My name is Joanne aka as Camsgranny, I am the daughter of a Parkinson’s patient. My Momma was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 4-7 years ago, it is really unclear at the time, because she was mis-diagnosed several times.
So what is Parkinson’s? The official definition is it is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As Parkinson’s progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.
Over the year’s I have done a lot of research on the topic, simply because I had no idea what the Farmer (My Dad) and I were looking at. Momma has gone through a progression of symptoms.
The Farmer and I are her main Caretakers. In recent events where things had gotten pretty bad and Momma was in ICU for about 1 1/2 weeks, and then sufficiently recovered to go to a Nursing home and she participated in TONS of therapy. Momma is now at home, and we have some people come in and assist us with her home life.
Through my blog I have met some other people who, while are not in MY shoes, they are in their own shoes. Spouses, Sons, and some really young people who have been diagnosed with this disease.
The biggest thing about this disease, is that it affects everyone differently. Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder. The cause is not known. It is also not necessarily an inherited disease. Researchers have found that people with an affected first-degree relative, such as a parent or siblings, have a four to nine percent higher chance of developing PD, as compared to the general population.
How many people have Parkinson’s? To me the number is staggering. An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s. In the United States alone, as many as one million individuals live with PD, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. Incidence of Parkinson’s increase with age, but an estimated four percent of people are diagnosed before the age of 50. Statistics have also shown that men are slightly more likely to have Parkinson’s than women. (Someone forgot to send THAT memo to Momma).
Parkinson’s does not have a cure. It is mainly controlled with medication. Levodopa is the most widely prescribed medication, with often several other medications to manage the disease.
The symptoms vary from person to person, but there are four key motor symptoms. Tremors in the hands, arms, legs or jaw; muscle rigidity or stiffness of limbs and trunk; slowness of movement (bradykinesia); postural instability (impaired balance and coordination). (I’ve seen this one first hand). Other common symptoms may include pain; dementia or confusion, fatigue, sleep disturbances; depression; constipation; cognitive changes; fear or anxiety; and urinary problems.
The next question (at least to me) is Can people die from Parkinson’s? Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder, and although it is not considered to be a fatal disease, symptoms do worsen over time and make life difficult. People with Parkinson’s experience a significantly decreased quality of life and are often unable to perform daily life activities. (In our case, Momma is unable to get out of bed, nor perform bathing, getting dressed or walk without assistance. She is also no longer able to swallow, and has a feeding tube that was surgically put in her stomach for her to get a food supplement and also all of her medications. ) There is a progression of the disabling symptoms. People have died from Parkinson’s related complications, such a pneumonia.
While some may look at Momma’s circumstance and say that’s not a life, believe me, she has days that she will charm the socks off you, and is the life of the party. But we also have days where Parkinson’s grips her and it gets rough.
The Parkinson’s Quilt Project is the first global quilt project to focus the world’s attention on the nearly one million people in the US and seven to 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s. The project aims to raise awareness of the impact that the disease has on people living with Parkinson’s – along with their families, caregivers and friends – and on our continued urgency to find a cure.
Over the past year, more than 600 people created quilt panels, each of which measures 2’ by 2’. Panels include photos, illustrations and items that express each quilter’s experience with PD.
After finding out that April is Parkinson’s Awareness month (ok, I may be a little late but someone forgot to send ME the memo). I am trying to raise awareness for this nasty disease. I’ve experienced it first hand, as the Caretaker of my Momma. Somedays are frustrating, some days are outstanding. It wears on you at times. Somedays you want to throw your hands in the air and say I give. But then you look at the person suffering from this disease, and you realize, if I feel like this, I can’t imagine how they feel. Momma has expressed her feelings to me, and sometimes it’s painful to remember these conversations. She is scared, terrified, frustrated, depressed, sad, mad. She has good days, and bad days. But then out of the blue, she comes around and it’s kinda like it was in the days pre-Parkinson’s, and we laugh and giggle and she’s full of piss and vinegar. But folks, that’s My Momma, and the Farmer and I are in this for the long haul.
Today my day was all upside down. I could not leave my house today, so the Nursing Student brought Cam-Man to me, and the Farmer and Momma fended for themselves, this morning.
I had a guest show up at my house this morning with a trailer filled with all the fancy bathroom stuff the Electrician and I had picked out about 2 months ago. Yes, ya’ll, we are FINALLY after all this time fixing the upstairs bathroom, before the bathtub lands downstairs. We found out how close that came today, when my bathroom was gutted and found the floor was rotten in about oh, all of it.
Let me back up here first, The Electrician and I had an appointment with a Re-Bath of Illinois consultant about 2 months ago, and picked out all the spiffy new stuff to go in my bathroom. It has taken this long for them to make them to the bathrooms specifications. And this is the week
we they are going to install it all. Although, what was supposed to take 2 days has now turned into 4, based on the state of the flooring.
Please bear with me, but the Electrician is an extremely neat and tidy person, I thought he was going to lose it when he arrived home and I had to leave to drop of Cam-Man and fly by the Farmer’s and Momma’s house. You see today was demolition day, and well…it was a little messy.
Although, Cam-Man sure enjoyed it, I kept him busy downstairs and then when it was his nap time, I thought we were going to have a problem, because his Momma forgot, wait for it, his blankey. Little man cried for a few minutes and then went into blissful slumber. (for a good 2 hours I might add) How he slept through all of the nailing, pounding, crashing and everything else I have no idea, but he did and I was happy.
I threw a roast and gravy in the crock pot, and worked on my project (it’s getting good kids, but I can’t tell you what it is, the Electrician reads my posts and I’m not giving it away).
The Electrician came home and we visited for a few, and then off the road I went. I was going to drop off Cam-Man first, but the Fisher-dude wasn’t home yet, so I just took Cam with me to the Farmer’s. We got there and unfortunately Momma was full-blown Parkinson’s. The Farmer and Cam played, and I got busy in the kitchen. I made Salisbury steaks with gravy over rice, with some green beans thrown in. That done, I flew back to the Fisher-dude’s and dropped off Cam-Man. Visited for a bit, although I told the Electrician that we didn’t speak about demolition day, well….yea, we did, and the Electrician was correct, the kid’s think he is going to expire because of how messy it is right now. The nursing student made a comment of “Yup, I can just see Dad following that poor guy around with a dustbuster”.
By the time I got back 2 1/2 hours later, the Electrician had pulled out the Vacume cleaner and was very busy. I just smiled and finished making our dinner, but I do have to say that the Electrician makes the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten, and he made them again tonite. So needless to say right now I am stuffed, can’t take a shower, and am really ready to go to sleep. (yawn)
That has been day one of remodelling, I don’t even want to think about other rooms in the house. I do know I will be spending some time with Momma and the Farmer tomorrow as well as Cam-Man.
I usually don’t wish my life away, but can we kinda fast forward to Thursday? hehehehe
Today was a Good day, altho..on the other hand not so good. But let me explain. I got up this morning and decided I was going to take some pictures of my drive to my parents house, because in the fall it is a really pretty drive.
To be exact, if I take the back way it is exactly 24 minutes (obeying the speed limit and no unforseen happenings). If I take the route through town well it’s a good 30 – 35 minutes, and NOT so pretty. (I usually go the back way UNLESS it’s dark cuz when it’s dark….critters and deer come out and I’m REALLY not into hitting critters or deer…but that’s another story).
This is one of the most beautiful spots in my drive, your in the country and it’s very peaceful, unless there is someone coming down the hill while you are on your way up.
Then you run into these…you see it’s Harvest season now and you run into these guys every now and then, my advice…slow down and get out of the way….
And this… I just stopped because I loved the sky and this is almost to my parents house….
When I was a kid I never appreciated any of this, it was just “beans on the left….corn on the right”, but that was before my Dad took me across the pond to England (that’s another story)….Now that I am older and have grown (okay maybe not that much I’m the same height I was when I was uhm…10…..) to appreciate all that is around me.
I digress…that’s becoming a habit…uhm..sorry… Oh yea… I get to my parents house and the battery on my camera dies…yup…who knew? So I swapped my memory card with my Dad’s camera and VOILA…
p.s. I REALLY like Dad’s camera…..
I’m so easily distracted… It was a good day because I took care of both my Mom and Cam…I had fun with both of them. They are both alot alike, altho some people would disagree, they both LOVE me and are both (one from age, the other from a disease that no-one understands) kinda on the same wave-length.
My Mom told me tonite when I put her to bed…I Love you Daughter of my heart….That to me is worth more than I could ever express in words.
The Electrician got hit today….(this is the bad part), he laughs it off and it scares me silly. I know he is an Electrician but to get hit with 220 volts…uhm… I don’t like it and will NEVER get used to it. There is a mark on his arm that REALLY scares me… I’ve told him to be careful, but ya know what? He’s an Electrician and I have to get used to it…I don’t like it any more than I like Parkinson’s….BUT…I’m dealin with it, so if I have the occasional meltdown…I’ll tell you what THEY all tell me…DEAL with it!!!
I can tell ya’ll about my day..it involved my Mom (of course). Today she got a new chair the Rialto Luxury Lift® Power Recliner made by La-Z-boy.
Yes, it is one of those fancy “lift” chairs. Dad got it to be able to help my Mom get up and out of the chair. (Yes, this is a slight problem because he cannot body lift her like I do).
Well…I guess I should tell you, I forgot about rule number 1. Rule number 1, is that you don’t mess with someone’s surroundings. After introducing my Mom to the new chair, my Dad went off to be a “farmer” (i.e. ride around the Combine and harvest some beans). (Ok, I’m a lil’ bit jealous) (Ok…I’m ALOT jealous, I’d like to ride in a Combine and harvest some beans.) But I digress.
Back to the chair and rule number 1, my Mom was actually a little bit scared of the chair, it wasn’t her old uncomfortable familiar chair. After finally calming her down enough to actually be interested in it, she actually started to have some fun. Once she figured out to hold the up or down button (okay it was up and down & I helped), she started to get the hang of it. At first she wasn’t to impressed especially when she confided in me that she thought the chair was going to throw her butt out of it. But after many (and I do mean many) attempts, she finally got the hang of it.
So, by the time my Dad who from this moment on shall AKA be the Farmer (hehe love ya Dad) got home my Mom was gently lounging in what she termed “the chair that won’t throw my butt out of it”
Tune in for many more stories about “the chair”.
Well Hello There!
Yup, I have started my own blog…uhm.. I’m a little nervous and antsy about this but I will give it my Best shot and try.
Why do I want to Blog? Well, I’m not quite sure other than to get some stuff off my mind, maybe to help other people in my shoes (there’s gotta be somebody else doing what I am doing) or..maybe just show to SOMEONE else how crazy my life can be and know that I am at least making someone else laugh or become inspired.
So…I am a caregiver to my Mother who suffers from a healthy case of Parkinson’s and VERY healthy dose of Dementia. I also am a Caregiver to my Grandson Camden Ross who is a character worthy of another blog spot…hehehe nah, I’m just a proud Granny of someone who loves me unconditionally and who makes me giggle on a regular basis.
There will also be mention of my family as in …my Hubbs…Eric, and children..ALL of them…sorry to Nate, Claire, Erica, Jason, & Marc..not to mention my kid’s spouse’s…. uhm…Josh, and also Misty…(the other kids are working on getting a spouse or are just not ready for a spouse)…hmmm that could be another blog….
I have 4 grandkids….Jason Jr, Kendra, Brayden and Camden…I love them ALL and do not have favorites but this lil guy Cam is really in my heart BIG time right now. Plus I watch him 4 days a week on most weeks and other times I just straight up kidnap him.
And my Mother, who is inbetween stage 4 and stage 5 of Parkinson’s with Dementia. I made a deal with my Husband and also my Dad that I would start giving her full time Daycare. So…I pretty much take care of her during the day and at least 1 night a week, and clean house, do laundry, and all of the cooking for them (Dad isn’t a Spring Chicken at age 78 and I think he likes me being there…I am still “the kid”).
This will be a chronicle of the Journey I am taking and hopefully other’s will enjoy it as much as I am…