Another Deep Breath, Just Two More Days!


Another Deep Breath, Just Two More Days!

push-finger-blackI am not sure if we've been down this road before which means, possibly, we are walking in circles!

Not what I wanted for this week. We've had control issues with Elly but the button pushing just wasn't letting up in the past few weeks. It comes naturally with hot weather, over 100's and started when the air conditioner wasn't working properly. So, Awesome Hubby replaced the thermostat which was great because it was different and it kept Elly from touching it! We have the temperature set at 79 degrees so that it is comfortable even when we are moving around. Elly won't let us keep the ceiling fans going on high to circulate the air inside the house or even when it's cool enough, when the doors are open! We can't pinpoint why and even suggesting she get a sweater doesn't elicit an honest response! Open doors/vents, closed/vents, it was just too much when the humidity is higher than we are used to. ;)

What happened was a conversation with AH and me about how we approach Elly. We feel, again, that we need to assert the caregiver language and not allow a sentence to invite her opinion nor make it a command, Just What Is Going to Happen Now. So, we had to get over our feelings of respectfulness or demanding or anger and find the language that made it more impersonal to get things accomplished without it feeling like a push-pull session! I was successful in using this language appropriately without much of a response from Elly. We were going to run the fans, the thermostat will keep it at 79 day AND night if the nights were not cool AND we would pay part of the bill if she needed help. There were other instances where I had to say, "That decision doesn't make sense to me and as your caregiver, I will double check that with so and so."

This morning was epic! I saw the huge struggle of wills between Elly and AH! It was nice and cool outside but the sliding door was barely open two feet of the five- to six-feet possible. The fans were not running but it was still 79 without the A/C on. Elly has been shown the new thermostat that shows the temp in the house, the time and if the A/C is actually on: Cool On. I went out to water the quarter acre of backyard and left the door open all the way - screen door is closed.

After I came in from one of my trips, Elly gets up from her chair, walks in front of AH and me and closes the door to one-foot open. AH asked her why she closed it. Elly said, "Because the A/C is on." This started the discussion about how it is cooler outside than inside; we normally in our house use fans to pull the cooler air through the house. Elly used to do that too before we moved in but now acts like it's the stupidest thing but is concerned about running the A/C.

So AH, goes on to explain how we want to communicate with each other in order to live together without arguments about how things are done. All Elly can do is say that the new thermostat doesn't work like the old one. AH keeps on about how she needs to say why she is doing things like closing the door even when it's cool and that she needs to trust us with decisions if we say it is cooler and the door should be open. Elly continues to say that the AC is on (but it never did go on...) and AH says it's not and that she should look at it to see not just assume it is because the lamp is swaying (her usual barometer). Oiy Vey!! If AH were speaking to a rational person it would be proper and respectful. It just didn't go anywhere. He had to then leave for work.

So, after AH left, Elly continue a conversation with me where I said that there needs to be change because even though I have been told not to say this, I am going to try... "Grandma, you asked me to make sure I told you when you were not making good sense. This is the moment." I told her that she just contradicted herself and said some other things instead of answering the question we ask. She said to give examples, I refused. I said that she would just have to trust me because that is what we talked about 10 years ago and then three years ago when she decided she couldn't take care of the yard or the house by herself.

I emphasized that we have to be her caregivers until she doesn't want to live here anymore. I told her that I have watched her put things in different spots and be frustrated with finding them again or not able to figure out how to do something she once knew well. She defended herself with the excuse that I didn't know her that well, she likes to change things and put things in different places every so often. Elly is OCD, no questions asked! I then said well, but the chairs around the table always have to be exactly in the same place and meals have to be at the same time every day. I couldn't not say it, just came out, but nicely.

I was left very frustrated with that early part of the morning and still had to go out moving sprinklers. She often makes very weird comments about my coming and going which reinforces that she doesn't understand what I am doing. I see that a debate, discussion or argument stimulates her brain and she can follow a short rabbit trail but it's all in defense mode. I don't know what to make of this, I assume it is a form of dementia? What's the best way to handle the situation since communicating doesn't work on her end? It never did because of the way she was raised.

When I was done with the watering, I went to my room and opened my devotions (two different readings) for today. Both were on peace and the passages were inspiring me to follow more of a "Whatever" (thanks @ejourneys) attitude which is what I wanted to do anyway with the door and A/C issue.

I spoke with AH at work briefly and when he said that he wanted to "pound in" the communication piece in every conversation. I just calmly said that I think that Elly can't do that at all. An example was that after AH left and I was talking about something else with Elly, not even 20 minutes later, she got up and closed the door--didn't check the temps until I asked her. After relating that to AH, I mentioned that my devotions were on peace and that I felt it was the better road at this point. We can just do what we know what needs to happen, don't dialogue but maybe just reopen the door and be done with it. AH said that he will be mulling over a couple of points I brought up and we will talk about it tonight.

I don't know if I can breathe deep enough. Two more days before we leave for our vacation. I had already expressed angst due to our family who wanted us to tow our shared tent trailer on Friday as we were both headed to the family reunion. They were leaving later than us and just wanted it up at the reunion ready for them since it would be dark when they arrived and we were probably leaving earlier. AH is very willing to do this since BIL is more like a real brother to him.

I was resisting the urge to scream because I just wanted to have time with my AH and not be responsible for a stupid trailer that they rarely use but they can tow themselves--and we aren't even staying in it with them!!! I felt that straw break in the overwhelming sense of being tired of ALWAYS taking care of something or someone else even though they are capable. This family member has never fixed the light that he said he would on the trailer but I have had the trailer cleaned out and new beds made and now they want US to tow it!!!!

Okay, it's just a little thing, usually not a big deal and normally I would bend over backward because I love using the trailer. Now my Mantra is SELL IT!! SELL IT!!! AH is kinda shocked but I am sooo ready to downsize and get burdens out of the way even though it has been my escape in years past. I offered to explain to my family member my feelings that the trailer was not usually a problem but that we need this time to not be responsible for this favor. AH isn't sure we will even leave before they will but secretly said he may have the whole day off which if that happens, he really wants to take the trailer.

Well, I still feel the same about this situation but know that AH is trying to get us out of town early. We have a lovely house to stay in close to the beach (sharing with a friend's sister) that we may have some time alone to walk on Friday afternoon before we head to the family reunion that night. There is only one night we will have a room in a motel/house by ourselves in our 10-day getaway and, while I love my family and want to visit with them, it will still be a stretch to relax. I am praying that the rushing waterfalls and hiking in the mountains will encourage me to shed the feelings I am having, knowing that it can!

I will post pictures once we get back. We will only be home for two days and then we'll take the trailer up to the mountains close by and camp by ourselves for a couple of nights then host a group of 30 folks before it is time to go back to work! I think I heard AH promise me a trip to the beach in the fall...

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Thanks Pegi, there was so much more that I can only remember pieces of some! Right now I would just love to go far away, be pampered and enjoy AH.


Hi EG--I hope you have a wonderful time away. I totally understand about the trailer--it's like one more request is the straw that breaks the camel's back. You just want others to take care of what they can take care of. The requests just get to be too much. Honestly, sometimes I wonder: When did other people get so lazy? \r\n\r\nAnyhooo... I like your approach--simply make the changes that are required. I think Elly's memory loss means she simply can't remember what's been said or decided. \r\n\r\nThe challenge is separating a somewhat difficult personality from a very difficult disease process. And, the challenge both present is to not take it personally.\r\n\r\nI also like the idea of peace. What can you do that brings peace for all of you? \r\n\r\nI hope you have a wonderful time away. I think the break is arriving at just the right time. \r\n\r\nI can't wait to see the pictures!!


Oh, I hear you on the communications! :-) Partner has asked me repeatedly to tell her when she sounds psychotic to me. The one time I told her (when it was a safety issue) she rationalized like crazy. Also, asking for examples is her MO, too, and then she'll nitpick them.\r\n\r\nGlad Elly can't touch the thermostat!\r\n\r\nMy partner is very sensitive to fans; hot or cold makes no difference. And she doesn't like putting layers on -- except, um, when she does. In her case, I know part of that sensitivity is due to her MS.\r\n\r\nGlad my \"Whatever\" is helping! :-) Good luck over the next two days, and have a great getaway!