Sunday, April 25, 2010


Quarantine is voluntary or compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous. A few weeks ago I started noticing that every day there seemed to be less and less residents in the main dining room of Mom's nursing facility. At first, I assumed they went on an outing but when the dining area became obviously sparce, I asked someone,"where is everyone?" "They are quarantined in wing C" they said. The big door for wing C was closed for days and days. An upper respiratory virus had spread to several and upper respiratory often turns into pneumonia and we all know what often could happen after that. Thank Goodness Mom lives in wing A and didn't catch it....yet. It was a 12 day quarantine and yes they lost quite a few beloved mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends to the virus. In the mean time, we had a few die on Mom's side of a variety of other ailments. It's interesting to notice the calm way that residents in nursing homes take the death of their counter parts. Most the time, its just a shake of their head and a sigh. Me? I get more upset! I feel so sad for the daughters, sons, grandkids and all who love them. A wonderful lady across the hall that was over 100 passed away of congestive heart failure this week. You could tell she was a great person because she was so loved by her family and friends. I feel so sad when I look into her daughter's eyes and see the sadness and dread. That same face I've seen on several loving daughters in the past year, the expression that's there when you know it's only a matter of time and you wont be able to visit your mom anymore. She's going somewhere else where she can't be hugged or kissed or helped anymore. She's going somewhere where she can't be visited and told about a problem or a stressful day and count on being comforted. When I see those daughter's faces, I want to stay with Mom all day! I cry not for them but for me because I know that time will come and I won't have my mama to learn from, lean on, help or listen anymore. Recently I was having lots of trouble at work and I hugged Mom and told her, "Well at least I know you love me!" She smiled and looked me in the eye and said, "why yes I do and God loves you too! That's the most important thing that God loves you!" Thank you God for giving me some more time with her. Please make it as long as possible and help me to appreciate this time and how truly precious it is. Psalm 9:9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Brown, Green & White

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

I don't know about you, but to me delicious food is one of the greatest blessings in life. Diet experts often try to talk people into looking at it as just nutrition. "There's more to life than food" they say "change the way you think about food and only eat when you are hungry". I wonder what would happen if we all simply gave elderly people a choice.?
What if we all just said "choose between this healthy unseasoned low fat menu and you will live longer and feel better or you can just eat all your favorites just like you like them and be happy and enjoy your food now." If you were 80-100 years old and in a nursing facility, what would you choose?
One of Mom's table mates acts as if she is at a restaurant for every meal. She's a tough old bird, lived in Pittsburg, worked in a factory for years. Every time food is served to her, she immediately shakes her head no and groans a loud groan of discontent. Then she picks up her fork and pokes at her food as if it is a live frog ready for dissecting. "What the hell is this?" she questions. "Is that what they call chicken? There's hardly any meat on it. It's been cooked too long. It's all hard, I can't even stick my fork in it!" She moves on to her salad which always has healthy dark Romain lettuce mixed in, picking up the dark purple crinkled leaf and scrunching her nose at it, she adds" Who eats black lettuce? I've never seen such a thing. Lettuce is supposed to be green!" She then declares, "This isn't what I paid for!"
My mother has trouble swallowing as a result of her stroke. There have been times when she has had her menu changed to the dreaded pureed food. Most people who live or work in nursing homes know that they never want to have to eat the pureed menu. It's basically just a little glob of pureed meat, next to a glob of pureed green vegetable and third glob of pureed potatoes. Mom calls it "Brown green and white."
Lucky for her, she is now eating the "mechanical" diet, meaning ground up meats with gravy on them. As far as the brown, green and white goes, Mom shakes her head and moans,"No one could ever get any enjoyment out of that!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mom's on a NO streak.

"My neck hurts, my shoulder hurts" she says. "Would you like me to rub it?" I ask?
"NO, massage doesn't work with a stroke"she answers. "I have that neck thing that I can put in the microwave and we can put it on there to give you some relief, would you like that?"I ask. "NO, it's too hot and it's too much trouble." I say "Did they give you any medication for the pain?" She says "They gave me tylenol every 4 hours but it doesn't work" "Do you want me to get the nurse to give you the prescription pain killer?" "NO, it makes me feel bad and sad and anxious." She says,"I'm not sitting right in my chair, I'm not back enough and I feel like I'm going to fall out." I ask "Do you want me to get the nurse aids to come and situate you better in your chair?" She answers "NO, they can't do that right now, they are feeding the other people, I will just wait." I say, "Well mom you feel so uncomfortable and in pain, I guess I will talk to the Dr. about it tomorrow." "NO, she can't help me, she doesn't know what to do." I continue asking, "Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?" "NO, but that picture over there is out of place, it's supposed to be in the middle and it's too far to the side. Can you put it in the middle?" "Yes, I will do that for you. Now , tonight you will get a good night's sleep and tomorrow you will feel all better, that's what I think!"I say. "NO, this morning I woke up and I thought I had that fibor mialgia, that's what I woke up thinking!" "OK mom , here's the next question I have for you. Will I ever stop trying to make you feel better?" "NO" she answers.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rise up & start over! It's a new day!

The Apostle Paul declared triumphantly in 1 Cor. 15: "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep"

Most people think that Easter is a biblical holiday but it's not. The only time the word "Easter" is used in the Bible is in the King James Version and it was mistranslated. In all the other versions the word and celebration is called "passover". Easter is actually a Pagan holiday about fertility which is the reason for the Easter bunny and the eggs.

Oh yeah, this blog is about "caring for Mom". Well, it is Easter so I just added that little tidbit of info and yes this posting is related to rising up and starting over.

How many times do people have to rise up and start over in their life? How many times have you started over? A new school, a divorce, a new job, financial problems, the death of a spouse are just a few of the times we may have to rise up and start again. How many times has someone who is 100 years old had to start again? I suggest you ask them. Ask lots of them. You can learn all kinds of valuable knowledge about starting over after hard times from an elderly person. It's easy to think that people in nursing home are just "waiting to die". You ask yourself "what is the purpose of their life?" I know that when my mom wakes up everyday, she wonder this too. Then a nurse aid walks in and mom notices she's been crying. The next thing you know, that nurse aid is in Mom's arms telling her how much she appreciates her love and wisdom. As for me, I am an overwhelmed, anxious worry wort! My mom knows that and as soon as she notices this anxiety is getting to extreme levels in my life, she says "Now honey, listen to me, you can't do anything about that so quit worrying about it. Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."