Aug 3 2012 in Elly's Granddaughter by EllysGdaughter
I’ve been away from here for quite some time it seems. I have just caught up with the posts from the end of July and my heart is very full with sadness, joy, caring deeply and laughter. It’s overwhelming and I would love to add my comments but the beautiful words you all have typed can be echoed by me, so there I stand, with you.
Elly has her ups and downs and I still haven’t had the heart to deal with taking the checkbook out of the drawer yet. She is obviously writing checks when I am not home but there isn’t anything that has gone awry yet! I am going to prompt her to make the house payment.
Elly is still sleeping quite a bit during the day so I am sure she isn’t sleeping at night. We’ve talked about it but no discussion allowed, she’s stoic and will “deal with it”. We’ve adjusted medications to Edarbi for blood pressure instead of using Valturna and it’s just as expensive but without the side effects. My only concern is that her blood pressure is still too low even as I am weaning her off of the Clonidine which she started two years ago when nothing would bring her pressures down.
Elly’s primary doctor agreed to the plan and we have an appointment with the Kidney Specialist in September. Elly is happy with taking less meds (she/we cut out some vitamins) and hopefully we’ll have some side effects knocked out also. Lately, Elly doesn’t seem to be as anxious. We notice that when she’s not feeling well, her humor wanes. Usually she has some good comebacks. The other day I bought some strawberries, cheap from the grocery store – didn’t look too bad. She and I were eating them at lunch and I asked her, “How are the strawberries?” (I thought they were okay – but I can’t “taste”). She looked at them then said, “Well,… they are bit like me, Old!” I did not laugh, but said, well, we can toss them out if they taste like that!! I’ve been laughing ever since! I lost my sense of smell which goes along with how things taste so I am always asking my family about the taste of things that I make or serve.
I am wondering how much of what she watches influences her on what she is processing. She sat for hours watching the Colorado Springs Fires (her son used to live there) and then the Aurora Colorado Shooting news on FOX. Now she has the Olympics on – so much better than her ritual FOX news after lunch!!! She doesn’t converse much now because the TV is on. I have also noticed that when she wakes up after nodding off in a deep sleep, she mumbles – usually she’s pretty clear or coherent, not so much anymore. I am not sure if she’s just sleepy or processing internally or low on blood pressure. Today she nodded off right after she looked up at me when I came in the door. Books have slid off her lap and I am hoping the iPad will not take a dive. I will mention this to the kidney specialist when we see him next month.
I found that I really have to be careful with negativity in my conversation too since Elly does so many things that are uncharacteristic or are offensive to me/us. I bite my tongue and try to scrape the gravy off the meatballs or chicken. She’ll toast five pieces of bread or microwave bread when no one else will eat it. She cooked up at least four chicken breasts – breaded & baked the last three times we’ve gone out of town. She does this even tho my NurseSister brings lunch and there are leftovers in the refrigerator as well as microwave meals in the freezer. Last weekend I put the frozen chicken breasts in the outside refrig/freezer to hide them from her.
I get served food that I don’t want and I can’t have my lunch I want or when I want it unless I go out. Knives and other things she hand washes without soap or hot water. Yikes!! I just saw her use the scissors to slit the packet of stuff she puts into the cut flowers I brought home – need to remember to wash those scissors. I really want to be grateful but when so much of my day is orchestrated around her without asking me – i just start to get negative. I don’t want my last words to be a negative blotch on her heart.
We are here to care for HER which is still a struggle. I got told yesterday to stop watering the garden – just once a week is fine. I gently argued saying that “it’s so pretty to look at with those happy marigolds and carnations that stand out.” She then said, “Well, it’s just too hot for you to be out there watering”. Aha! she is worried that I am too hot but has mandated me and my NurseSister several times to stop watering. My Awesome Hubby said to Elly, “Trust me, she won’t be out there when it’s too hot”. I hate the heat but even more so, wanted a date with my Hubby so I was watering for an hour at 7 pm (100+ degrees) so we could go out at 8. I am back to work so morning watering doesn’t happen until I get used to getting up earlier.
On positive notes: Camping went very well for me and Awesome Hubby! Our campsite was in a different loop than we usually pick and after asking about other sites stayed with the horribly uphill one since there was some shade at least. I was nervous with the trailer supports perched on wood and rock. To our surprise, our neighbors were a couple we hadn’t seen for over 10 years. We hugged and laughed when we found out.
I was humbled when reminded of how I had cleaned and cooked for this woman when she was so very sick – I didn’t remember the details only love for their family came to mind. After a couple of nights alone, we moved to our familiar Group Site to host about 42 folks for two nights of community camping. Everyone was grateful for the meals that were shared and fellowship in the cool, clean mountain air. The Saturday Night Talent Show was upstaged by several charming 3- and 4-year-olds.
I felt revived and hated to head back home. This camping spot disconnects us from all cell phone or internet interruptions. My NurseSister and LivingRoomSon did a fairly good job at watching over Elly while we were gone – she missed taking her pills only once – on the day we came back. Three days after we got back, Elly says to me, “You missed going camping with the church!” She had seen the announcement in her email – she hadn’t checked her email since the week before and didn’t connect that the trip she read about was us.
I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of you who’ve given advice and your wisdom so faithfully. I’ve been listening and understanding about how to care for myself as I give care to Elly and to that end I think I am doing okay. Last year I had a hysterectomy without Elly knowing that’s what I was doing – pretty easy to do nowadays with just one night in the hospital. I feel so much better this year!!! I am hoping to have a cataract removed in my left eye as soon as it is evaluated by the surgeon (in about 10 days) and the tendon tear in my left ankle is being checked out by a specialist.
Having my Grandma limping around with a knee that bends the wrong way and sorta inward as well as painful bunion on the other foot has pushed me to think about how I want to age. I wish she had taken care of her knee years ago when she was much healthier/younger – it would make a difference for her today.
Tonight my Awesome Hubby will be gone til late, he’s driving some parents to UCLA for a Migrant Parent Conference – round trip in one day and they left at noon for a 4.5 hour drive -probably longer with crazy Friday night traffic. I may not be awake when he gets home. He’ll drive back to pick up parents on Sunday and return earlier, I hope. So, I have a date night with my LivingRoomSon (his girlfriend is out of town) so we will sit in the living room and watch a movie (on the computer) together with Buttered Popcorn and IBC Cream Sodas!
My routine will begin this week getting back into working mornings at the High School Office and after next weekend will be working every weekend at Camp by the Lake just 1.5 hours away. It’s my fall routine that I’ve come to love after spending the summer working hard in the yard and eating Elly’s lunches every day. LivingRoomSon and Girlfriend will be working the weekends with me. Camp will give me exercise opportunities and different food choices – I won’t have to cook or even eat every meal being Camp Manager!!!
I’ll be checking in more regularly here, too; we have WiFi at camp.