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Someplace in Thyme

I have been creating since I was a little girl. I am happy to say that having my own website has opened up a whole new world for me. Trying new mediums is a joy and sometimes a real eye opener. I sell what I create on etsy and my website, someplaceinthyme. If you have questions,please email me at cpeterson72@q.com. I welcome new blog friends and am honored if you find my little piece of heaven interesting enough to follow.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

~~Where Have I Been The Past Month?~~

Sometimes life has a way of throwing you a curve ball and you never see it coming.
Every year, hubby and I load our two babies (in the photo above) into the car and take off for a week to Colorado Springs to visit my MIL and her second husband Bill.
This year was going to be difficult as Bill was moved into an Assisted Living facility back in Jan, leaving mom all alone in a large five bedroom home overlooking Pikes Peak. We knew changes were coming, we just didn't know what changes, or when.
Mom is 87 years old, Bill is 91. I knew that going into the home the first time and not being greeted by this very loving and warm man, would be hard, but I didn't know if would hurt so much.
About a month before we were getting to leave on our annual road trip, we were speaking with my brother and sister in law in Denver, when we realized mom was beginning to have some problems of her own. We had all agreed that she could not longer be alone, and she had spoke of moving into an apt or a small condo.
Learning that she was having memory problems, trouble knowing and remembering what day it was, reading a calendar, things like that, we knew that some serious decisions had to be made for her own good and safety.
I don't think I have ever spoken so much to my sister in law as we did in those few weeks. Mom's memory loss was coming on too fast. We wondered if there was something wrong that had not be diagnosed.
Dawn (SIL) told me of her mother that was hallucinating by seeing people in cars that were not there.
Did you know that women over the age of 70 can have hallucinations when they have a UTI? It's very common place, although I had never heard of it, but it was a starting point.
Off to the doctor in what we all hoped was going to be a very simple diagnosis. That was not meant to be.
O.k, maybe some silent strokes.....
We had her neurologist give her a head scan and we found lots of good information there, but not necessarily what you might want to hear.
There is a lot going on in mom's 87 year old brain. Like for instance, some evidence of silent strokes. Those are the strokes that kill the blood vessels and eventually kill the area of the brain that no longer received blood from those vital vessels. So, memory loss......
I think you could call it some "dementia."
I found out that day that dementia is not a disease of it's own, like I had always thought, but it's a symptom of anything disease, such as good old age. :) We'll all be there if we are lucky enough.
"she won't get any better", he said, "she is going to only get worse." Of course, no one can predict how long that could take, maybe years, maybe months. It's any ones guess.
So, the decisions are coming fast and have to be made. I told my hubby, I have loved your mom for 40 years, lets bring her here to live with us. She will be well cared for, be so close to her grand children and will be able to get to know her great grand children. It's perfect for all concerned.
We thought about it, talked it over with the rest of the family and it was final.
I didn't want mom in a locked down facility, she is not ready for that step yet. It's so hard when you are between being able to live alone and have to give up your independence.
We have no idea how long we will be together, but it's all good and we are up to the challenges this will bring our family. After all, what is family there for, is not to help each other in any way we can.
Needless to say, we didn't have a vacation after all, but instead spent four days packing boxes and cleaning up, changing addresses and getting all the medical things sorted out.
We cut our vacation short and along with the help of our nephew, we brought mom and her car back with us. One big happy family....well, not always, this is very hard on her. it's not easy to be told you can't live alone, your memory is suffering and decision making abilities are impaired, but we are getting there one day at a time, one step at a time.
Dawn did ask the neurosurgeon about mom being able to drive and this is the advice he uses when the decision comes down to take the keys away:
IF you have an accident
IF you get a ticket
IF you get lost, it's hand them over. Pretty good advice I think.
Since then, I have been busy creating and doing what I love to do. Here are some recently listed items on my website, Someplace in Thyme

More mom stories to follow.


Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I know what you're going through...been there and done that! My Dad came here and moved to assisted living. He should have come a lot sooner. I was in Texas, my sister in NC and my Dad in NJ. He was stubborn. After he moved here he found he really enjoyed assisted living, had a lady friend, and lived very happily for a couple of years until the memory got even worse. He even said that he would have moved sooner if he had known he was going to like it. We offered to have him live with us, but he didn't want to and I ended up being glad. I found he needed to be around people his own age. You might look into some senior organizations where you live, so she can spend time with people her own age too.

Shirley said...

I know it is very hard to make decisions where a parent is concerned and then you second guess that you made the right one. There is assisted living or retirement like facilities for seniors. They give them the assistance that they need and they are around other seniors with all kinds of things for them to do, but they don't completely take away their independence. I know two that live in one in our area and love it. It is something you might think about. I know you want to have her live with you, but that can over a period of time put added stress on all of you even though you love her dearly. Just something to think about. I was getting very concerned about you if you were all right or just busy. Even though she may forget try to let her make as many decisions as she is capable of doing and what she would like to do. Here I am giving advice. I don't mean to try to tell you what to do, just trying to give you something to think about. It is very hard and I will pray for you all. Your Missouri Friend.

Designing Lady Jane said...

Bless you Char, we are fast approaching that place with my MIL as well. She's living by herself still, but gets lonely and worries about her health to the point she becomes panicked and imagines that she is having a heart attack. At 82 she can still take care of herself for the most part, but no longer drives, and needs an arm to hold onto when she walks anywhere outside her home. Simple housework exhausts her. We hope to be able to get a large enough place for her to move into when I retire next summer and we relocate, but part of it is her fully agreeing to sell her place and move in with us. She knows she needs full-time help, but isn't quite at the point where she wants to give up her independence. We hope the transition goes smoothly, when it happens. I'm sure your family and your MIL will adjust nicely, she sounds like a lovely person, and she's very lucky to have you.

Paula ~ castleandcottagesigns said...

Char, so sorry to read this, my heart goes out to you! I have friends that are going through this and I know how much their lives have changed, but I know they wouldn't want it any other way. Praying for your family~ hugs,

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note.... I am having a Halloween Giveaway... Come on over!!

Mimi said...

Glad you are home, soon it will cool off and we can maybe get to that lunch date!!!
Glad you are busy crafting....I need to sew some things --be glad when it cools off!!

Stephanie Suzanne ♥ Queen of Dreamsz said...

Hi Char,

I'm so sad to hear what's happening. Especially for her to be separated from her husband. I guess I'd have to not know Thomas anymore to be able to not be with him...Oh, God, growing old sucks.

I'm glad that she has you. I was the caregiver to my MIL {in my prior marriage}. It is very hard on the caregiver too...don't forget that. Safe guard your back. I just about ruined mine. I know you probably haven't thought about it but you should be able to get some home healthcare 2 or 3 times a week. They will come in and help bathe her among other things. I had to do that after 6 months of catching her before she fell and then she'd get up in the middle of the night and ramble around the house and the falling down got worse. I guess what I'm trying to tell you is to let other people help you so you do not become overwhelmed.

By the way, My mom had the silent strokes at age 60. She just turned 79 and she still remembers me. Our conversations are so hard though. She forgets what she just said and she'll say it again and again...so I just answer her again as if nothing is wrong. It's just hard.

I didn't mean to go on and on...just it hit home with my momma.

Email or visit anytime,
Stephanie ♥

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Bless you all ... I hope my sweet DIL will take me in when/if the time comes.

Cathy Dickey said...

Dear Friend: It is very hard not to cry as I comment. I really missed seeing you while in Arizona. I hope your feeling better now. both of us are truly Blessed to have found each other after all these years. God did bring Den's family to Arizona so we could find each other and so very close. Your giving me strength today to stay strong and get through not only my health issues, but now Dennis with very serious cancer in his face. Continue to Make A Difference and I will see you in March if not sooner if up in Tracy.