Thursday, January 26, 2012

YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN GOD IS GOING TO PULL THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER YOU

but, when He does, you just go with it using prayer, His strength and deep breaths (you, not God).
and it happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
i'm still reeling but i'm sure it will all settle down soon.
ah, heck, who am i kidding?
it won't settle down until my mother passes or gets to the point that she needs to return to a memory care facility.
But, it's okay. She's my mom.

long story short, my mom has early stage dementia.
i have four amazing brothers and sisters who have each taken a part of her care together up until the time that i arrived about 2 weeks ago. my mom lived in michigan. kalamazoo, specifically. she was diagnosed in this psychiatric hospital for geriatrics (love that my mom was in a psych hospital. special).
she was then moved to a memory care facility which was absolutely beautiful. had her own suite - it was huge - and an amazing staff. 
don't get the wrong idea - all of that beauty and good care comes at a price. 
You'd think if they were going to charge what they do, they'd lose the funeral drapes.

it was decided that she didn't need that much attention and after she had told three of my siblings that she wanted to live on the ranch with jan and the puppies (we have four rescue dogs), i got the phone call.
what am i supposed to say??
i said "yes", of course.

according to her O.T., she functions at the age of a 3 year old and needs constant supervision.
gre-a-a-a-a-a-a-t-t-t-t.
so, i drove up, spent two weeks, helped pack up everything she owns that she wanted to move to Texas - enough to fill a moving van partway - loaded her, her dog and her walker, etc. into the car and took off for Texas.

we're home. she's settling in.
keeps telling me she's taking a bus to kalamazoo for Christmas.
my mother on a bus?
horrors.
glad she doesn't know what she's saying. she'd freak.

here's a poem that i want you to read, especially if you are taking care of an early onset dementia patient.
it's an amazing read:

AN ALZHEIMER'S POEM
Do not ask me to remember
Don't try to make me understand
Let me rest and know you're with me
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I'm confused beyond your concept
I am sad and sick and lost
All I know is that I need you
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me
Do not scold or curse or cry
I can't help the way I'm acting
Can't be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you
That the best of me is gone
Please don't fail to stand beside me
Love me until my life is done.

Amen.

12 comments:

nancy lee said...

OK, now that the tears have subsided over that poem, I want to say hello and tell you how special you are that you have brought your mom to live with you there in Texas. That was not an option for any of us the past few years for our mom..... none of us would have been able to stay with her consistently enough. I don't have to tell you how hard it's going to be. I don't have to tell you that when the day comes that sweet Junie has gone to be with our Lord, you would probably never have forgiven yourself for not accepting this path laid in from of you. Yes there will be many days that you want to throw in the towel and run away, and you'll lose your patience more than you'll lose your keys, but keep every word of that poem in your heart and you will make it through each day, somehow in one piece.

I admit that I'm glad it's all behind us now, but there are so many moments that I would like back, even if it was just to hold mom's hand and listen to her ramblings.

You, June, and your whole family will be in my thoughts and prayers Jan girl. Take care of yourself..... or better yet, tell Frank I said to take extra special care of you while you help your dear sweet mom.

~Nancy

Shell said...

Recently? I walked through an "Assisted Living" Facility with a friend of mine that Runs the place.

They have a "Dementia" area,,,,,,and the rest, of course is for those that can no longer Physically, fully take care of themselves.

The rooms/homes were ALL lovely. She'd taken it upon herself to make it so, for each and every resident.

I told her, "When I get to THIS point, I want to come here." And THEN, I asked her,,,,,"Truly? If YOU had YOUR choice, do you want your MIND or your BODY to go first??" And she laughed and said, "I don't want to know what's going on."

My own Mom died a couple of years ago. She'd suffered from Severe Arthritis, and although a "trooper" overall, just finally gave up. Her MIND was still sharp,,,,but her body and will to live gave out.

There is NO "easy way 'OUT' for any of us. And the burden of elderly parents usually falls on a Female family member. On the other hand? "We" don't suffer the "would have's/could haves."

So now? I don't have a Mom to take care of anymore,,,,,but I DO talk to her BF Helen at least Once a day, I DO take her shopping, to the Bank, to the Pharmacy, to the Doc once in a while.....

Her OWN daughter is useless. And, she was MY dear moms BF.....So I do what I do. Her Vision is SO slipping away, and she gets frustrated with THAT.....And her memory is poor now, too. Even more than 6 months ago.

Patience? Some days. Impatience? Some times. Deep breaths and lending a hand? Done.

I don't think I want to live to 92.
But I DO think, LOL, I want to be a burden on my kids,,,,for a little while! But IF I am,,,,,I want to be aware of it,,,,,and milk it a BIT!

BIG,,,,,OH so BIG Hugs! I KNOW this isn't easy for you! Just know there are LOTS of friends and lots of women who have been in the same place!!

Love and an understanding BUS on the Cheek!
Shell

Robin said...

Been thinkin about you and wondering how you were doing now that you're back in Texas. The poem you posted is heart wrenching. I know that you will have trying times with your Mom, but I also know that you wouldn't have it any other way. I continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs,
Robin

Bettyann said...

oh Jan...you are now on a new journey of discovery...of your patience..your love and your lack of sleep...for your sake please, please make sure you get some respite care for your dear Mom...that way you are taken care of also...in my experience the care givers don't take care of themselves...remember the oxygen mask on the plane...take and ask for help....take care dear friend..

ImagiMeri said...

Hi Jan,

You're in my prayers sweet lady. Having spent all of last year dealing with the imminent death of my mother, five separate times, I can relate to what you're going through. My mom has been living with me since August of last year, and we've just recently gotten her to the point where we are moving her into an independent living facility. This place also has skilled nursing and attended care living (a huge complex) so should anything happen in the future she can be moved to another area of the complex, depending on the level of care needed. Just recently we were told that her Non Hodgkins Lymphoma has stopped growing/being active, and she is not required to take any more chemo until that changes (huge blessing). As I've blogged about my ordeal, I've been overwhelmed with the love and prayers that have come my way, and I am so grateful. I really do believe that all the prayers and well wishes have helped, and I wish as much for you, too.

God Bless and send an email should you wish to vent.

Hugs,
Meri

just me jan said...

I'm holdin' you in my heart dear friend...stay strong darlin'.

just me...thinkin' of you...the "other" jan

alteredstatesstudio said...

oh, Jan how i feel for you. i am sure that the poem says it all and i can't tell you how bad i feel for you and your family that unfortunately this is the situation that you have been given to get through. i don't have great words of wisdom or comfort probably- but, i do know that God will not bring you to this without knowing that you will also get through it- nothing more than what you can handle. i am sure at this point, you are thinking it is more, but, times likes this calls for blind faith. give it all to the good Lord- all of it, and he will get you through this. God bless you! kristin

Jody said...

thank you for sharing this sadness and the poem - I wish that I'd read it three years ago when my father began his journey into the alzheimer darkness. These are hard life lessons and I'm writing to say hang in there - you will never regret a moment spent with your mom. You have a special heart, God bless.

Canace said...

Glad to hear that you're back home with Mom.. You know my story, but I want to remind you that this could be some of the most precious times and memories with your Mom. Granted, it's exhausting.. how well I remember... but I also remember the sweet innocence of my mother and the moments that I will always remember in caring for her. You will too.. and as someone else mentioned.. be sure to ask for help. Sometimes people don't know what to do so be specific.. "Could you please sit with Mom so I can have a nice long bath?" "Can you please take her for a walk today so that I can have some quiet time?" etc. My thoughts are with you always. xoxox

vicki said...

Jan- I think of you often - wonder about how things are going for you in this new role as caretaker. My husband could talk with you about this- he has certainly been in your shoes. At one point a few years ago- he was living 5 days a week at his Mother's home- while I was doing duty at my own Mother's house- caring for her as she was dying.

The important thing is to know that you have done the right thing- have no regrets. I know this is surly a difficult time for you right now.

My love and prayers-
Vicki

Chris said...

Hi Jan, very touching. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.com/

Pandora said...

Jan,
I know its a tough time for you, but this too shall pass. Getting old is not for sissy's! You are such a strong person and on the "good" days you will never regret all that you have taken on and you are not alone.

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