Recovering from grief…or do we?

I’ve been away from posting for a long time. I take this as a positive sign of my recovery from grieving. But, do we ever fully recover?

Sure, I know grief is personal and subjective and everyone handles it differently; there is no right or wrong way. Everyone has their own timetable and needs to find their new normal.

But now and then those triggers pop up. Just when you think you have things under control – BOOM! – you see or read something that sets you back. This has happened to me a couple of times post-recovery. I try to avoid articles on dementia and Alzheimer’s because an uneasiness comes over me but at the same time, they draw me in; they’re so compelling. So, I’ll scan over them. Some are upsetting to me because I find myself second-guessing my care, reflecting on “should I have done this or that”, “why was I impatient at times….she couldn’t help it”, and the like.

Such an article, and a beautiful one, written by Dan Gasby set off that trigger recently. He is the husband and care partner to supermodel, restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef, and nationally known lifestyle expert  B. Smith, who has younger-onset Alzheimer’s,

The loss of my mother is still relatively new. In February it will be four years. I was depressed for the first 2 1/2 of those years during which I had a daughter and a son get married and welcomed two beautiful grandsons into our family; I now have a third due in a couple of months. Most days are good. When I think of my mother now I think of happy and fun times. I’m not bogged down by those deepest feelings of loss. That is a sign of recovery. I believe I have found my new normal.

Still, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of her or miss her.


It’s 3 a.m.

Image by wiwin.wr via Flickr

Well, it was about 40 minutes ago. All week I’ve been waking up between two and three in the morning. This is probably because I’ve been getting to bed between nine and ten. To say my days have been mentally exhausting is an understatement.

Mom moved to her senior community’s rehab floor yesterday. She’s settled in for now but waiting for a private room. It was comforting to see some key caregivers still there from her stay last year when she was recovering from pneumonia. In particular, Ben, her nurse, and Beata, head of PT.

As dinner time rolled around, mom seemed a bit tired; Beata had a mini PT/eval session with her. I also noticed at dinner, well, actually in the hospital, that it looked as though she had a little difficulty in her holding her fork in her right hand. She didn’t have a real good grip and had some eye-hand coordination trouble picking up her food. I’m wondering if she now did something to her right arm from the fall or maybe this is related to her dementia. I mentioned this to Ben and asked him to mention something to occupational therapy tomorrow so they can check this out.

I still can’t help but feel responsible for what mom is having to go through now. I was there! I should have known better. I should have just brought the car around. I don’t want to go back to work today. Heck, I don’t want to go to work at all, and if I could I’d quit. I just want  to stay with mom and help her through this.


Angry Talk (Comic Style)

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Today has turned into a two-post day. I’ve had to let my temper simmer down before attempting to write.

I got a phone call this afternoon from C., mom’s speech therapist, to tell me that no aide came up last night and thus, mom didn’t get her pills. Do I even have to describe the rage that came over me?

I promptly called the companion service and spoke briefly to the assistant director. After I explained the reason for my call she asked if she could quickly put me on hold to change phones because of background noise. Of course I complied but I didn’t expect to be left hanging on the phone waiting for her to get back. Instead the call went to her voicemail! I left a message.

I proceeded to leave another message for the executive director of the entire senior community. I then called the companion service back and left a message for its director. She called me back and got an earful.

I usually give the benefit of the doubt but after at least four screw ups on their part my patience has run its course. Apparently, they mixed up my instructions “no aides on the weekend” to mean “discontinue service!” After I ranted for a bit, she told me how sorry and how embarrassed she was,  blah, blah, blah.

I told her, “You should be embarrassed! I’m embarrassed for you!”

Tomorrow I tackle the community’s executive director!



Intuition (TNT album)

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If you have a gut feeling, a sixth sense about something, go with it. I’ve experienced this several times and so glad I acted upon each one. Wednesday night was one of them.

I’m getting ready to go out of town for a couple of days and had some last minute errands to run after work yesterday. I planned on going by my mother’s place on Thursday but was in the area Wednesday night so I went up not too long after she got back from dinner, close to 7.

I asked if she took her evening pills, if someone had come up yet. She answered yes. I commented with surprise at how early they came. I go in the kitchen to check the pill box and sure enough, Wednesday evening’s pill were gone. Great! An issue-free evening.

Five minutes later the doorbell rings. It’s the aide/companion to give mom her pills. Confusion ensues.
I again ask her if someone already came up and if she took her pills. She said no. The aide called her supervisor to relay what’s going on and I refuse to sign papers that my mother had taken her pills as well as not paying for that visit.

The only thing I could think of that happened is that when my mother didn’t want to take her pills earlier in the morning when the aide was there, that perhaps she took both sets later in the afternoon when I told her to take her morning pills. This was about 12:30. My mother said she did not take both sets of pills at that time. So, that’s that.

At least the message about my frustration of not being called by the aides if a problem arises was addressed. Taped on the counter by her pill boxes in the kitchen was a note to the aides directing them to call me if my mother refuses to take her meds, signed by the department’s assistant director. Again, I ask you, shouldn’t this be a part of their training? Shouldn’t common sense dictate that a call be made to a supervisor or a family member if a problem comes up?

Well, thankfully, finally, Thursday was an issue-free day. No problem in the morning although the aide came later than she should have, and the evening went without a hitch.

Rocky Mountains, here I come!