Adjusting/Readjusting

I just miss you.

I am still adjusting to life without you in it,and it is still quite odd.    There are still times that I hear you call for me, although that is happening less and less.    I am just starting to realize that I don’t need to rush home for your  day care bus and  that I don’t need to buy your ensure shakes at the grocery store. That you are not sleeping late.  That I don’t need to get your prescriptions.  No plate for you at dinner.They called from the doctors office  the other day – to schedule your annual hearing check.   All little adjustments to the day.  

Those realizations are…….. well I am not quite sure what they are, not really a slap in the face, but more like a simple awareness that momentarily saddens me.  I’m not as sobbing kind of sad as I was at first mom, but, times like,  right now as I’m writing this, I get that lump in the throat back, and my eyes well up,  but I’m okay, really.  I just miss you. We all do.  We are supporting each other.

Talking about you in the past tense is difficult.

I wish you would show me “a sign” or “visit” me so I would know you are okay too.

 Is that stupid/silly of me?  I just miss you.

 I still expect to share everything with you, I want to explain how Iraida’s surgery went, or that Barbara is doing great at quitting smoking and that Megan almost hit a deer today, Katie is at her last class tonight, Rookie licked a hole in your chair, and yes the chickens are fine in the cold weather.   I borrowed your scarf, the one you had hanging on your mirror in your room, it coordinates with my new gloves perfectly and I didn’t think you would mind.

Our mother /daughter plant has so many new shoots on it and Megan’s has actually started to regrow!

Last year when you were sick with the flu and pneumonia  and our mother/daughter plant started wilting, I thought it was a sign that you were not going to pull through.  This plant has so much significance for us,  however I guess I read too much into it, a little bit like I am doing now, what do all these new shoots (daughters) mean?  If anything?

It has been emotionally difficult trying to get all of your “affairs” in order.  Although, the odd side to that is that when everything is finally done, what will I have to do for you?  I think I will miss the time with you, if that is what it is.

I’ve had to explain so many times;

  “my mom has recently passed away…”

 … when selling your car.  … when cancelling your car insurance.  … when closing accounts.  … when sending paperwork to the life insurance company.  … when ordering your marker for the cemetery. etc.

Although everyone,  in each situation has been kind and offering their condolences, I have started to feel they are just words that I really can no longer hear or find meaning in them.  It is not their fault, there isn’t much else people can say.

However my responses have started to be a little bit more involved, rather than the simple thank you, I expand a little, just letting them know a little bit more. …

” I am sorry, please accept our condolences for the loss of your mother”

my response:

“thank you , I still , I think I  always  will miss her terribly, but I am so grateful for the years we had together, she was just so much more than my mom”

Sometimes that response creates a little more conversation  but certainly a smile or another comment that places you someplace other than a simple condolence and then I can always find something fun to say.

“I am so lucky, luckier than most, and I  have so many great memories”

or

“Strong, funny woman, she was”

or

“She was definitely my hero in so many ways”

I feel that empty spot where you always were – I just miss you.

 

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It’s about Balance (figuratively & literally)

”I haven’t fallen yet”

”Mom, you need to have your walker with you”

as she heads toward the bathroom,

”I’m not going very far”

grabbing the furniture for support along the way

“I know but sometimes you are  just so wobbly, I don’t want you to fall”

“well, I don’t want to become dependent on it”

UGH.

I wish sometimes,  that I could just tell her what to do and she would simply do it without an argument or discussion or defiance, but that does not ever happen,  and it never worked when she tried telling me what to do either.

Sometimes, I think;

“I’m busy, just do what I tell you” 

Again, my once extremely independent mom, being told what to do.  I need to take a step back and remind myself of the changes she has had to make, and how difficult these transitions must be for her.  I need to find balance too.   So I take her arm and assist her with the rest of the short journey to the bathroom.

Her balance has declined so much this year.   I do always  hold her hand or take her arm when she is on her way to the car or if we walk outback, places she can’t use her walker. Although she most often reaches for an outstretched assistive hand, she also comments:

“don’t you think I can do it”

or

“you don’t have to walk with me, I know I’m slow”

or

“I’m fine just go ahead”

 

once upon a time she did have great balance
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———— and I believe she thinks she still does —————-

I read a lot about how to handle different situations with an aging  loved one with dementia and although none are specific to any one person,  they often do offer many possibly helpful tips. As a caretaker, it is important to have an emotional  balance.  Mom is not my child, she is my dependent.

Staying Sane Caring for Mom or Dad  

                    – there are days when it is hard to stay sane trying to balance the right amount of nagging

Stay connected with your again parent

                    – the few minutes it takes to keep connected is worth that time at least ten fold.  Staying connect will give you both the emotional balance to help you through.

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We, (by we, I mean mom) are  however, at the point where the use of her walker can no longer be  negotiable.

As we all have done with our children, we pick our battles, and that is true with our  aging parents as well.   This particular battle is one for obvious safety, so I need to insist.

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FROM A PREVIOUS POSTING;

When the insurance and health care, committee, I’ll call them, came to evaluate moms mobility they told her she should be using a walker. One was provided for her through her insurance.    Mom would push the walker out of her way and wobbly walk around it to get where she wanted to be.

“Mom, you’re suppose to be using that”

”oh, I’m just going to the bathroom”

”I understand, but that is the point, your suppose to use it”

” oh, it’s too bulky”

and it went like that for a very long time, months. So I finally folded it up ant put it in the closet.

Every once in a while I bring it out and try to encourage her to use it, but she still pushes it out of her way and now even wobblier walks around it.

Is she being stubborn? I mean I believe that the stubbornness lies in her genes, and she definitely has that gene, but is that refusal to use her walker just being stubborn or is it more?

I have noticed lately when we are walking to the car or into the house she reaches  for  my hand with her free hand and uses her cane with the other, similar to the security of a walker, dang it.   But it is  another change and one more thing she would  need  to adjust too.   Again, the cane is familiar to her, it is what she understands.  Not stubbornness alone but also security in the familiar.

———————-

So here we are at the point where it is  a must to use that walker.

…again, getting up from her chair

”take your walker, Mom”

”oh leave me alone”

she chuckles at her own attitude and I do too

”I know it is a pain in the neck, mom,  but I don’t want you to fall”

”I haven’t fallen yet”

still with that grin on her face.

She HAS  fallen…… 3 times in as many months, she can no longer recall those falls, and  I can’t get them off my mind.  I can’t help thinking she will fall again, especially  when I see her holding furniture and walls on  her “shuffle-wobble”  as she attempts to maneuver from one place to another.

Just when I think I’m getting somewhere (she is using her walker everywhere) then I see this…

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…this is her walker outside of the bathroom door!  and she is inside!   I have cleared any possible obstructions in there and there is plenty of room, I mean the walker fits perfectly.

..and the other day she used her walker and walked into the kitchen  to get a paper towel to blow her nose (rough huh) …. as she was leaving the kitchen she left her walker behind, right in the middle of the floor.  It was right in front of her. She literally had to walk out from behind the handles to leave it behind.

————

“I’m  so nervous watching   you walk without your walker”

“then don’t watch”

that spunk can be exhausing

————

Getting up from her chair and pushing her walker out of the way…

”Mom take your walker”

she keeps moving, obviously ignoring me

A little louder

”Mom, your walker”

With a little grin and a lot of attitude

”I don’t want to”

..and she keeps going

 

I have cleared all of our floors of anything that may get in the way of her walker travels.  There are no area rugs, nothing on the floor that can get in her way. (Except maybe Moses) I made sure that  in her travels  around home she would not be running into any obstacles.  I moved the bookcase next to her bed to allow room for her walker to be right at her bedside.  I have tried to make it more convenient to use her walker.  I made her a pretty washable discreet bag that ties to her walker.

I’ll make more , maybe even seasonal ones.

moms walker bag

I bought a tray to go over the top if she needs/wants to carry something (again “letting her” hang on to some independence) and I tie a little trash bag to the side.

So it should be a relatively simple transition, wouldn’t you think?

We have used a wheelchair for a number of years with mom for a variety of situations.  We all did this to make sure she could attend whatever activity we were participating in.

 

 

So I’m questioning all of  this…. why is it okay for us to take her somewhere in a wheelchair but she balks at the use of a walker?  Is it because she doesn’t have to exert much effort to be pushed in a wheelchair and she is able to keep up with the rest of us, or actually we keep her up with us?  I understand if she thinks she is holding others back or slowing them down but at home, she impacts no one with the pace at which she moves.

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If you saw the way she wobbles you would understand my concern. She has such poor balance and often stumbles and sways.  I suppose that I am entitled to stumble and sway a bit too as I seek out my own “balance”.

I will continue to promote and encourage the walker use and I will always hold her arm when she decides to ignore the mention of the walker. Maybe eventually it will become the new normal for her to reach for her walker and she will simply forgot this transition.

Until then, I will stay near .

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