Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tips on what to give an elderly loved one for Christmas.

"Christmas, my child, is love in action. ... Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas."

-- Dale Evans Rogers

I've seen some presents go terribly wrong! 
The worst example of an unworkable unthoughful gift to an elderly friend is all mine. Shame on me, I did it!
I bought a small plastic travel size bottle of cologne bath gel for an elderly man. He still could manuever around quite well. He was still coherant so I thought he would enjoy it.  A couple of days later, I started to notice a rash on his face. "Must be from shaving." he said. The rash became worse until his face was all itchy and welts started to appear. "What happened to your face?" I asked. "My son came and threw away that shaving gel you gave me. He said I shouldn't have used it on my face."
"Oops!" (I'm certain his son wondered what goof ball woman gave his father that gift! ) I felt terrible.
Tips on what to NOT give an elderly loved one for Christmas.

  • If you bring something to eat, make sure to find out if they can chew, swallow and enjoy it.  
  • If your gift is something for them to wear, make sure it's wash and wear and can be put on with ease.. Don't give them anything that’s too difficult to put over their head! Something with a large V-neck or an easy snap or button down is better. Socks that are soft and easy to put on.
  • I'm certain you love grandma but don't give a turtle neck sweater to a woman who only gets her hair done once a week at the facility's beauty parlor. 
  • Notice the size of the small bathroom cabinets and drawers that are available. Don’t bring a lifetime size (or let’s just say the rest of their lifetime) bottle of lotion or bubble bath. I’ve seen visitors with loving intentions give huge gallon jugs of lotion they must have bought at Sam’s or Costco. Bring something that fits in their drawer for goodness sake!     

Here's  useful tips on what an elderly loved one really desires for Christmas? It's easier to buy them something but if you really want to make them happy, this is what they would say!

I'd like you to come and visit me. You need to have understanding kind eyes and sit down. Stay as long as my energy lasts and that's not very long. I'd like you to listen to me and not be in a hurry. (Everyone I see every day is working and busy.)
ü  I'd like to tell you about how my life is going without you trying to fix it. (I know you can't.) 
ü  I'd like you to bring in a child to see me. A child with bright eyes and an innocent heart. It's great if it's one of my grandkids or family but it really doesn't matter to me. It's just so nice to see people that age. (It helps me remember when I was younger. It reminds me of when my kids were younger. I miss that time in my life.) 
ü  I’d like you to bring in a dog or a cat for a visit! I want to see it, love it, run my fingers through its hair and look in its eyes. I want to talk silly to it like I always used to talk to my pet.  (I miss my loving family pet and the time in my life when I could have pets.) 
ü  Forgive them! You know good and well who I'm talking about! They mean a lot to me! They are most likely in our family. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt or uncle. Just forgive them, let them know about it and tell me that you did! They don't have to change in order for you to forgive them. They don't have to say they are sorry first. (I don't want to die being worried that you never forgave them and that stubborn, stinkin ugly, bitterness continue as an example for future generations). It's the most difficult gift I ever ask for. Isn’t it!
ü  I'd like you to be cheerful and loving toward me, no matter how grumpy I am. Hug me and kiss me!  Tell me how much you appreciate me and how much I have always meant to you. 
That's the best gift ever! Be it Christmas or any other day of the year!

"It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. 

The the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... 
He thought  ...means a little bit more."


 I appreciate the followers of this blog so much  and how much you love my mother Nancy Wright and /or how much you love and care for the elderly folks in your family. Thanks for your support and understanding!  Love, Ramona Ann Thompson

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


            This is my family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Words from a hymn written in the 1500's, still familiar to most Christians today, one of my Mom's favorites.

Just wandering around the main dining hall where 75 resident's eat their dinner. I'm looking for a stack of warm ( fresh from the dryer) striped towel bibs. Why? I don't really work here but I help out when I can. I hear little scratchy voices that ask politely, "Ann, Can you help me with this?" Even though these bibs are easy to just lap around your neck, it's a struggle for elderly people like Mom, especially if they have only one workable hand. Then from another table I hear, "Ann, can you help me open this?" Even when they do have workable hands, getting their stiff little aged fingers to open a small container of yogurt or a bag of saltine crackers is a frustrating time consuming experience.  Spoons, forks and napkins often flip off the table accidentally and fall to the floor which usually requires getting a new clean one unless you believe in the 3 second rule. By the time I hear "Ann?" that rule does not apply anyway.

Elderly people are generally impatient, they want what they want now and they don't like to wait.  In fact, when you can't do anything for yourself, that's what you do every waking moment. You wait for someone to help you, you wait for someone to bathe you, you wait for someone to come and take you to the bathroom, you wait for someone to bring your dinner and then you wait for someone to tie your bib. "Ann, my bib fell down, can you help me?"

A nice pleasant looking woman calls me over to her table and looks me in the eye. I haven't met her before but I have smiled at her from across the room. She's not a person who needs much help, so I wonder what she wants. "Ann, I've seen you here every day, helping your mother and I just want you to know that we all look forward  to seeing your smiling face and we look forward to spotting what interesting outfit , hat or shoes you wore to work today. It's just a nice break from seeing scrubs on everyone else. I want you to know that not only your Mom is blessed by you being here. We are all blessed by you being here." In just that moment, my eyes overflow with tears. "Thank you" I answer in sort of a quiet blubber and head back to my seat. 

Fred, who sits next to Mom at dinner sees me and asks, "What happened?" My tears give me away. "Oh that lady over there said she appreciated me being here to see mom and it made me cry." Another table mate, Helen chimes in, " My daughter says she comes because I helped her when she was a baby and now it's her turn. She owes me!"  Seeing my mother nod in agreement with Helen, I add " My mother not only raised me but ended up helping me raise two baby boys when I got divorced!"

"OH! Then you owe double time, big time!" Fred declares with a giggle.

 (Your family and friends aren't perfect. Sometimes, God blesses you in mysterious ways.)

Thanks giving is about remembering all the good things your family and friends do for you!  All those things they have done, put up with and continually do to bless you. Be thankful for the people and situations God has blessed you with. Count your blessings.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving ! Love Mom and me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What are you afraid of?

This is my mother Nancy passing out Candy at the Wesleyan for trick or treaters. Always a wonderful time for the residence and the kids alike.
It's that time of year. Time to dress in silly outfits, carve pumpkins and tell scary stories. This will be the 3rd  year Mom has been at the Wesleyan in Georgetown for Halloween. Usually around 100 kids , family and family of the staff , arrive for a night of trick or treating at the Wesleyan. I just can't describe how tender and sentimental an event it really is. It always makes me dewy eyed when I think about it. There's nothing better for OLD people than YOUNG people!

Oddly, the night the young trick or treaters come , the senior residents are energetic and wide awake!

Ordinarily by that time of night, the senior residents are wanting to go to bed. Of course they all want to go to bed at the exact same time. This doesn't work out because there's not enough staff to possibly do that but every day irregardless, they  still urgently push those "give me assistance" buttons over and over , asking to be put to bed.
One of Mom's roommates, forgets where her "give me assistance" button is. She goes around the room picking up her remote to the TV and pushing that, she pushes on her bed post,  she finds my cell phone on mom's dresser and pushes that. "I need to go to bed!", "Can I get some help here!"  she squawk's.

What are you most afraid of? That's the question I've been asking residents for the last couple of weeks.

From my little amount of research. most the responses to that question were the same answers you would get from people of any age.  Snakes, spiders, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and ghosts.  The most common answer was death.  A 99 year old man I asked explained it best!

 Mom's friend Fred,  still able to walk with the help of a walker and obviously very stubborn about losing his independence, told me this: "You see, before you live in a nursing home, you are most afraid that someone will put you there!" "After that, you are just afraid of dying, not the part that happens after, just the actual dying part."

Who isn't afraid of death! Death is the ultimate unknown experience, something we all have to face . We go through that veil of death all alone even if there are many loved ones around us.
Here's a comforting thought! Medical studies say that because of the altered body chemistry, there are moments of euphoria right before you die. I'd say we can thank God for that!

Happy Halloween to you! Here's some (kind of) spooky stuff...

 I've learned that it's very common for people in hospice to see their relatives that have passed on just as if they were actually there in the room.  My opinion is that perhaps these loved ones are just hallucinations or perhaps they are spirits who are really there just trying to comfort them, encouraging them to cross over that river and not be afraid.

I've also heard  there's a well known ghost story about a haunted "give me assistance" button that goes off as if it were pressed but when the staff responds, it's just an empty room. Who pressed it? (I can assure you it wasn't Mom's roommate.) :)  Bwaahhahhahaa!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The hearing is the last to go.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

"I heard the voice of Jesus say"  one of Mom and Dad's favorite hymns. We can all hope that when we die, this is the voice we hear. 

I was talking to a very knowledgeable nurse yesterday and she told me something comforting. She said that people need to tell anyone who is dying how they feel right then because "the hearing is the last to go.." I thought to myself, is that just something said to make us feel better? Doing some research on the subject, I found that it's widely believed and proven that the hearing of a dying person IS the last thing to go. What if they are deaf? If they are deaf, they are still deaf but very sensitive to touch. What does this mean? Why is it comforting? 

Thinking how fun it would be,  I brought a beautiful picture of my parents on their wedding day to show Mom. Mom wheeled around the Westleyan, showing the picture to all her friends. Of course they all responded in love describing  what a good looking couple they were and how in love they looked. After returning to Mom's room, a tear came to my eye. I studied the picture and said "I still miss him, from time to time, I still miss him."  To my surprise, she started to wail. " Oh Mom, I'm sorry I know you miss him too." I added trying to pacify her and thinking I shouldn't have ever brought that picture in, considering this result.

She sobbed,"No, it's that he died of a broken heart. He didn't think I loved him."  Hugging my mother and kissing her cheek, "No, Mom he died of leukemia." Mom answered, "He didn't think I loved him after my stroke, he told me he didn't feel like I loved him.."she sobbed.  "Well Mom, you had a massive stroke and he had leukemia! That's certainly not very romantic. He was suffering at the time and that  made him say or feel that feeling just for one moment , just that one moment. He knew Mom, in his heart, after 65 years of marriage, you cared deeply for him!." She calmed down as we continued to discuss what a loving wife she was and how Dad knew that. 

Mom has no reason to feel guilty, none at all , we all know that but it made me consider, what about those who do? What about those who were not so kind,  not caring or forgiving enough to a loved one in the past? What if you are that person who exists in most of our families who has held a terrible grudge against someone for years over something really horrible or something really stupid but you  still need to be graceful, love them, release them and let it go?  What can you do if you have done something  you know has hurt this seemingly lifeless loved one in their last moments? It's not too late. 

Just in case, to let you know, the hearing is the last to go. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

"I can't remember!' "Perhaps you will remember tomorrow."

Wright Family
The picture above is of the Wright Family, taken in Louisiana  in the 1960s.. Mom is standing in front of Dad around the center in the back row. I'm all the way to the right in the front row pulling up my dress. My two brothers are in this picture also. Below, I reposted the unusual story of Nancy Wright's birth, in celebration of her birthday August 1st. I plan on writing about the rest of her childhood next but haven't had time. Last week, when I ask her about a time when she lived in New Mexico, she said she couldn't remember. She just said this over and over,  "I can't remember" and got a frustrated look on her face. Trying not to make her more upset, I just replied calmly, "Mom, your just tired today, Perhaps you will remember tomorrow." I asked for three days and finally she did remember. So I better get a move on if I'm going to write more of her story. We are running out of time AND memory it seems. I hope  you enjoy the story of Mom's birth , it's unusual. 

The Story of Nancy Wright's Birth. 

The flood was coming! The entire drainage area between Hutchinson and Arkansas City received excessive rains. Major flooding occurred all along the Arkansas River carrying away most of the bridges. In Huntsville Arkansas, little Ada Whitten sat on the porch of her meager home with her legs crossed Indian style. She watched the high waters coming closer and closer to her scanty little dwelling with fear in her heart. Ada was with child. She had gone out to see the water rising the day before and within it, she saw several little black snakes. Startled, she ran inside. At church that evening, she told several of her friends “I saw black snakes in the water and I’m afraid of snakes, more than the flood!” Fearfully, suspiciously, they whispered to Ada, “Do not look at those snakes, don’t speak of them or even think of them for you will mark your unborn child!” Ada reached down and felt her swelled pregnant belly, the baby moved and kicked at her as if it were warning her too. Ada sat on the church pew that night and listened intently to her beloved husband David preaching the gospel of Christ and chased away the thoughts of the black snakes by praising the Lord. She sang the hymns passionately and faith took the place of her fear. 

Ada didn’t like Arkansas. Ada was proudly from Texas. She followed her husband, a preacher with immovable conviction to spread the truth and help the church grow there. She came to this foreign state and foreign people against her will but she never mentioned how miserable she was to David. Ada believed that her husband David knew what was best for her and her family and she had promised to obey him. She honored him and sat at his knee happily every evening as he prayed. 

Many of the folks in these parts disagreed with David Whitten’s “Campbellite” Church of Christ gospel. They were downright hostile about it and it frightened her. David had been beaten up and run out of towns in the past after winning his Bible debates. She worried those who disagreed in this place were so backward, they would kill him! “Those ladies at Church have got me spooked over nothing!” she thought. Unfortunately, ideas of the baby being marked by the snakes kept cropping back up in her mind. Ada knowing her Bible by memory came up with Genesis 1:24-25 for c omfort. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” Ada said proudly out loud to herself, “God made snakes! Snakes are good! This baby will not be marked with evil but with good and God’s love!” There she stood proudly outside the small and meager little shack she unwillingly called home. There she stood with her hands in the air praising her almighty God, her tiny pregnant body, about to pop! It started to rain and she noticed the waters were still rising. It’s perfectly dry in Texas she thought. “You can always tell a Texan, but not much,” she giggled. 

Ada started feeling the pains of labor coming on the next morning while fixing breakfast for her family. She and David had been blessed by four female children and they both secretly hoped this one was a boy. Doris, the oldest of the girls noticed her mother squirming around oddly and took over her duties. “You go and lay down; I’ll take care of it.” Doris was able to sense that the birth may be coming because she had watched while the other three were born. Ada whispered to David, “It’s coming, get the Dr.!” David then reluctantly revealed the dreadful news he already knew but was keeping to himself and hoping he didn’t have to bare. “The doctor can’t get here because of the flood. He will come as soon as he can but he can’t come now.” David looked at his small but sturdy little wife with love and as much certainty and optimism as he could muster, “We will do this without the Dr., the Lord will be with us and you and the baby will be fine!” he said. 

On August 1st, 1923 in Huntsville Arkansas, the Lord blessed David and Ada Whitten with yet another little girl. She was carefully delivered by her father. She came fairly quickly with no complications. They affectionately named her Nancy Lou and oddly she was born with two little front teeth and a squiggly looking birthmark on her forehead. It looked kind of like a little black snake. 

The Dr. traveling in his black buggy finally arrived a few days later at the home of David and Ada Whitten. After examining Nancy and her mother, he found them to be healthy. Ada asked about the two little teeth. “Have you ever heard of a baby born with teeth?” The Dr. reassured her, “it’s rare but it does happen and they may fall out in a few days and they might just stay right there.” He added with a smile, “Nursing could be a little painful though.” Ada was a little embarrassed by that remark and didn’t respond. “And the mark on her head?” she continued curiously. The Dr. responded kindly, “it’s a birthmark and as she grows it will move right up to the top of her head under her hair.” “Don’t worry about it, your little Nancy is just fine!” he said confidently.

The Whitten family had become so pitiable by the time Nancy was born that the little newborn girl was diapered with old second-hand cut off shirts, provided by the other church members. The newly founded Arkansas church tried their best to help but they didn’t have any money either. David was dedicated to preaching the truth and spreading the word. He had expressed to Ada many times that this task took some sacrifice.

Ada just wanted to go back home! She remembered such better days, riding to their Texas church in their covered wagon with a plate of fried chicken to eat! She recalled the little girls all dressed up nicely and enjoying their chicken without spilling one little bite of it on their Church clothes. She thought of this and what happy times they had back then. She looked sadly at Nancy’s diapers. She felt embarrassed and ashamed for little Nancy. “My child deserves better!” she cried. At that very moment, Ada did something completely out of character, something she never would have thought that she would do, something she would never before have had the nerve to do! She marched right up to her devout willful husband like a mother hen! Standing there, the persevering young woman put her hands on her tiny hips obstinately, looked her husband right in the eye and declared her wishes. “Nancy Lou needs real diapers and we are going home!”

The poor little Whitten family moved back to Texas shortly after that exceptionally rare motherly declaration. David, the spiritual leader and father that he was, knew what was best for his family. They couldn’t live on faith alone. Not this time, not now! They needed to move home where Ada’s parents could help them. David knew he would find somewhere to preach the gospel there and farm for money like he did before. From then on, Nancy Lou giggled and cooed in her new bright white cotton diapers.

It was David’s decision to move back. Ada’s maternal instinct helped to inspire it. The new little mother was happy when Nancy’s two rare teeth fell out. It made nursing easier. New baby teeth came in and her strange little squiggly birthmark disappeared under her blonde braided hair just as the Dr. said it would. Nancy Lou was a good baby with a gentle temperament, just like her dear mother. Ada affectionately patted her lovely child on the head from time to time saying, “Nancy Lou, you were marked with God’s love and he has so many good plans for you!” God did have plans for Nancy Lou! Wonderful plans! Her parents with God’s help would make certain of that! 


Thursday, June 30, 2011

You can't always get what you want..

When one door closes, another one opens. The actual quote by Alexander Graham Bell goes like this.
"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
I often go with this version..."When one door closes, sometimes you have to bang ,bang , bang the next one open with a sledgehammer or find a window."  This is more of a "
sledgehammer but found a window story." 

When Mom first had a stroke, her anxiety was terrible. She had panic attacks. Who wouldn't panic? You suddenly do not have any control over half of your body and you can barely talk! 

Her anxiety is still an issue 3 years after the stroke.  She has to suffer this problem on a daily basis. She becomes anxious every time something like lunch is 5 minutes late. She becomes anxious if the med-aid hasn't brought her meds, even if the med-aid is only bringing her crushed up calcium mixed in pudding. She becomes anxious if her bed isn't made just right, if her bed isn't exactly a certain amount of inches away from the wall so her night light doesn't work properly. She becomes anxious if her sweater is being washed and hasn't come back from the laundry on time. She becomes anxious if she is not placed exactly in the middle of the bed. Want more examples? Naah, that's enough.

We went through an incredibly anxious spell recently where Mom could not be distracted from this anxiety. She couldn't really have a conversation, she was always miserable and worried. It breaks my heart to see her this way !

Deciding that giving her more meds was no longer a solution, I said to the nurses "I'm sick of doing that! Giving me some meds might be a solution, I don't know."  In fact, Mom was also starting to say things that were not really like her at all and that was upsetting as well. Every once in a while, she would actually say something mean! That is just not like my mother! Not ever before like my mother! I ask about alternatives treatments. I was informed about a psychiatrist that works specifically with stroke victims and anxiety. That's great! Let's try something different!

I was excited to hear what the psychiatrist had to say! The pschiatrist evaluated Mom and diagnosed her. He said she is starting to get dementia and when a stroke victim gets dementia, they often become more anxious. He prescribed a different type of depression medication and a patch that is time released and will slow down the dementia. So the psychiatrist was a good idea not because he could listen to her problems, and help her with his psychiatry as I was hoping. If he didn't find this, her dementia would have been diagnosed later and came upon her faster.  When it comes to my Mom, we have always been able to say, "At least she still has her mind."  We want to continue being able to say that as long as possible even if it's an anxious mind. 

So let's just go with that... and be happy about it.

As Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones so eloquently put it, "You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well you just might find,You get what you need."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm Scared to Death!

I'm selling and buying a house in the same 30 days. For those of you who do not know, there are lots of little details and major stress that goes on when buying or selling a house. We are doing both at the same time. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Going to see Mom makes me stop for a minute.

The other day Mom tilted her head to one side and asked "What exactly is it that you do?" I enthusiastically started explaining executive search, software developers, RF Engineers, what they do, how I find the one's who are hard to find, then assist in negotiations regarding their salary, bonus , vacations, relo costs and so on. She listened quietly and then replied, "so you just talk a lot." (I have never heard a better or more simple explaination of my job.)

Still worried and stressed about the inspector, the septic tank, the roof, the carpenter ants, I kissed her goodbye and hurried down the hall to leave. An elderly man I love who visits his wife everyday stopped me to talk. He had a very sad look in his eyes. His wife had stopped eating for the last 2 days and she was sleeping all the time. He looked at me with fear in the eyes and as I hugged him, he said. "I'm scared to death!"

You know, that old man just put my pest control worries to shame.

Of course, then my car broke down on the way home :) Oh well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

'The Good Wife's Guide" Bible Times, 1950s and Now.

(This is a recent picture of Mom in the Rose garden at the Wesleyan.)

Below is a quote from the 1950 Good Housekeeping article "The Good Wife's Guide"

"Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.  After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. - Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him."  

(Doesn't that just make you wanna gag?!!) It's awful.

Let's go back to the "Good Wife's Guide" Bible Times. 

Perhaps the differences in what is considered a "Good Wife"  was on my mind when in 7th grade I wrote an article about Proverbs 31:10-31. "The virtuous woman."  My father put it in the Church bulletin!  I decided I wanted to be a business woman like her, not a poor dominated house wife! This proverb says, "Who can find a virtuous woman for she is more valuable than rubies"  This virtuous woman of Bible times didn't clean her house and take care of her children all by herself.   She was the boss of their business.  It seems as if she did everything!  She had the best of both worlds. That Bible times " Virtuous Woman" was a workhorse! Poor thing!  
 I don't want to be her!   That's awful too.

 It's time for the "Good Wife's guide" 2011.

My husband and I have been going through the process of selling our home and buying a new one. I work full time, so does he. It's always been like that. Ordinarily in our marriage, when an important purchase or sale like this is made, I'm the one who deals with it. (Negotiation is one of my strong points.) Everyday I go in and tell Mom all the different things we are deciding with, explaining how we decided the starting listing price, how we reacted to the first offer, how we counter- offered and so on.

Mom doesn't seem to understand what I am talking about!  She just shakes her head and looks at me like I'm silly.  Finally I asked her , "Didn't you and Dad have to go through all these stresssful dealings  when you sold your houses? Don't you remember?" She answered , "why of course not! I didn't even ask what we sold them for? Your dad took care of all that."  No stress, no mess! 

You know, those 1950's house wives had it pretty good!  All those appliances were invented to make house hold chores easier, they could do other things after they cleaned their house,  they had more time to enjoy their children, hobbies,  family and Church.  They didn't even worry about whether they got enough "quality time". ( Yes, there was all that macho stuff but in my Mom's case, my dad was a nice man.) Besides that, those 1950's guys were the work horses working long hours and they got so stressed out trying to take care of everything, they had heart attacks and died way before their unstressed wives. Those women were taken care of and didn't have to work or deal with it. They were put on a pedistal. They had those men working for them

What have we done? What did we get? We turned ourself back into female equal to men work horses! Goofy Feminists!  Thanks a lot, for the freedom to work hard and have an opinion. She doesn't have to say it! It rings out loud and clear. 
Thanks Mom for pointing things like that out to me every once in awhile...putting things in a different perspective... in your own little way! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trying to stay in the present with those we love.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

The above is one of Mom's  favorite hymns.

I'm a manager of a staffing service. I always have a million things to do at once and I'm constantly deciding which of these tasks are the most urgent. I deal with the workers, my staff and my customers.

Added on to all that, this week someone from the corporate office came and did an audit. She did her job well, she found all our mistakes, pointed them out to us and graded us on everything,  She wasn't pleased that we hadn't really been paying enough attention to certain things. I wasn't pleased with the whole process in general.

I hate it when my life gets this way because by the time I see Mom, my cell phone is ringing constantly. I don't turn it off because I think I could miss something.  I'm completely tired of listening, my patience level is low and usually a little later than she would like me to be. When I see her , she immediately starts telling me about how her day went an it's usually not things I want to hear. She talks about how long she had to wait to go to the bathroom , or how her bed wasn't made right. I feel bad because she doesn't like anything on her plate and for the fourth time this week, I forgot to bring her something I made that she would like. 

This doesn't only happen to people who are trying to care for their elderly mom, it happens when you have babies and they want you to read them a story but you don't have time, when a friend calls to talk to you about a problem and you cut them short. It happens when you have too much going on in your life and so you short change the ones you love the most.

Don't you hate that!


I'm going to try to take a deep breath before I go in to see Mom today and stay in the present. She deserves my full attention and so do the other people I love. As they say, life is a gift, that's why we call it the present. By the way, Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Perhaps we all should have thought this through a little better.

When dealing with the elderly, you often come to the understanding that...well...ummm...perhaps we should have thought this through a little better.

This past weekend for some reason or another, the kitchen staff where Mom lives decided to use flimsy cheap plastic spoons, knives and forks instead of regular sturdy silverware. Perhaps they were trying to make it easier to clean up.  Perhaps one of the dishwashers broke. Perhaps they were trying not to spread germs. I don't know the reason. 
OK, I admit it, it was funny! Looking around the large dining area, I could see all the Wesleyan residents struggling with their insubstantial plastic utensils.  Many have some form of Palsy and shake, others like my mom, have suffered from strokes. Their tiny frail fingers trying to poke this pathetic excuse for a fork into their chicken. 

 Let's face it, Mom can only use one hand and that one hand isn't all that coordinated. Recognizing the problem, myself and several other visitors went around helping them maneuver around their meals. What the hell were they thinking, using these crappy plastic spoons and forks?   One lady at Mom's table couldn't cut up her teriaki chicken. "I can't cut anything with this!" she exclaimed. Mom just gave up and ate her yogurt and applesauce . I finally cracked when Lillian, one of Mom's friends broke her flimsy white  plastic spoon off in her ice cream.  "It's too hard" she said looking at me and her desert in dismay. Calling over one of the dining staff , I  said " My goodness, Get this woman a real silverware spoon!"

 "Perhaps you all should have thought this through a little better."

Mom got two gowns for Christmas.  I noticed she was always choosing her old gown and wasn't wearing her new gowns. "They're too long and bother my legs." she complained  My son Luke visiting for Christmas said "Don't worry Grandma, I'm sure Mom can hem them up for you and they will be fine." Mom said, "That would be great!" Why did Luke say that?  Perhaps he forgot that I have never sewn a stitch in my life. Every time I ever tried, it was like the residents of the Wesleyan and the plastic utensils. Price of gowns $$20.00.  Price of getting the hems sewn, $20.00. Problem solved! I find myself asking again, "Mom, why aren't you wearing your new gowns?" "I don't like long sleeves, they're too hot." she answered..

Perhaps I should have thought this through a little better.