Wednesday, June 17, 2015

in the pocket universe

So, I'm at Mom's, but everything is completely weird.  I left the kids home and flew in last week on Monday, and Mom was slow but still getting around.  Her 88th birthday was Saturday, but she insisted she wasn't going to have a party.  So we said, that's OK, we'll have the party for you.

My oldest sister and youngest brother were here on Saturday with their respective others, but the big to-do was Sunday, when my oldest brother and all his children and their spouses and children came down, along with my other local brother and his family, and my other sister and her two daughters and their children.  Babies everywhere!

It was a really lovely day, very low stress.  I cleaned the house and the front yard up a bit, and made sure the grill's gas tank wasn't empty, and I baked mini cheesecakes and brownies, totally low stress prep.   Everyone else coordinated and brought food, and one nephew cheerfully manned the grill.  And when it was over, they packed up all their leftovers, because they have huge families and here it's just Mom and me, and Mom doesn't each much, and I don't eat wheat (which leaves out a surprising number of food items.)

And all that was lovely, and Mom was doing OK.   She has peripheral arterial disease and her legs are swollen.  She sometimes needed help getting up, but she could still get around using her walker.

All that changed on Monday morning, when Mom could barely make it from her bedroom to the dining room table.  I listened as she came so slowly down the hall, and I knew there was something wrong.  That short trip is the last time she walked.

The pain in her leg is much, much worse.  So much worse that she doesn't argue about taking her pain medication anymore.  So much worse that she pretty much doesn't argue about anything anymore - including the incontinence products she's using now, which are thankfully much more effective than those she was using.  But bathroom trips were exhausting until my sister told me we had a commode downstairs, which is a Godsend.

I don't know how I handled Monday, and on Tuesday when my brother called to tell me he couldn't make it, I described in detail this situation and the fact that I am so completely out of my depth here. So, God bless him, he came anyway, and it's so good to have another pair of eyes (and especially arms) here to help me figure this out.  There is so point in thinking she's going to get better, because she's not.  Thank God for my brother, though, since he figured out how we could get Mom to her blood test this afternoon -- wheelchair and stairs are a tough combination, but between the two of us, Mom didn't even get bumped a little.

I'm trying to keep Mom comfortable, well fed, and pain free, but I do feel like I could do everything better if I had a clue how.  I'm not sleeping very well.  My whole life feels wrong and weird, except now that the not-walking, extreme pain situation is ending Day 3, I'm actually kind of used to it, but I don't want to be.   My brain keeps rejecting what's happening while at the same time I'm trying to do what she needs me to do.

... Stupidly, I'm still trying to accomplish all the tasks I laid out for myself for these 3 weeks, before I even left home and when I had no idea I'd become a caretaker rather than a companion.  I need to plan my school project, and I have actually started it.  Then there's the landscape overhaul:  weed and mulch the front beds, clean out the side yard (jungle), clean up the back perimeter.  Some of that may have to wait until after the tree guys come, which should be before I had off to CT.  I'm working on house-clearing projects, too, and managed to clean out both freezers, so no more freezer burnt anything.  Huzzah! We're also getting windows replaced and the garage door in the summer kitchen removed and replaced with a sliding glass door, and having the window guy here necessitate straightening up more than I really wanted to, but I did it anyway.  I'm just bummed I won't be able to see that when it goes in, because everything is being custom built and it won't be installed until August.

Last but not least, I'm counting a victory against the scourge of spiders that has been plaguing us for years: Miss Muffet's Revenge, a spider killer and repellent.  Friday I vacuumed walls and ceilings, on spider patrol.  I sprayed all around the outside of the house and then the downstairs on Saturday.  Usually, we could vacuum on Friday and spiders would be back in residence, at least in the bathrooms, by Saturday evening, but so far the bathrooms (along with the rest of the house!) are spider-free and that's amazing.  It's supposed to last up to 12 months indoors. Oh, if only that were true! Here's hoping for a relatively spider-less summer.

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