Going With The Flow

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Going With The Flow

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It's been quite some time since I have posted so I thought I should update. My blogs are for me to remember what was going on in life but also to share thoughts and invite comments/wisdom if any!

I finished my last day of work for the school year and the next day was MIL's surgery for knee replacement. We had already set up the plan that MIL would come to our house for recovery - for as long as she wanted since we have no steps into or in our home. We also bought a foam ramp to make walking into our home possible for wheelchair/rollator/scooter riders. After a 2-night stay at the Hospital, MIL came home to our guest suite. I have always loved MIL but since she lives out of town, 20 minutes away, her daughter spends the most time with her and is her primary caregiver.

MIL was a fairly easy patient. Her daughter had already gotten 3 weeks worth of her meds/vitamins into pillboxes so everything was in order. I had made ice packs for school and had brought them home so that part was ready. We had a great time together. I made smoothies for her morning drink, AwesomeHubby made her oatmeal for breakfast. I helped her with leg machine - making sure she was getting the hours in every day by marking on the dresser mirror the times she exercised. We started taking walks around the block, the weather was great! I introduced MIL to one of my favorite wildlife series - Wild At Heart during lunch. My grandma's lift chair became the chair of choice for MIL to elevate her legs during the day. We even took her out to the zoo one afternoon - she traded off using her electric scooter and her walker!

I wasn't surprised but it was a bit startling at how much my MIL doesn't remember - short term memory. I knew she was being treated for Macular Degeneration - both kinds and is expected to go blind. I also knew that her daughter worries about her and they spend a lot of time together. I now understand, MIL has dementia. She has had some testing by her primary Dr. and is being monitored. I wasn't always sure what to believe in the morning when I asked how MIL slept...she would say she didn't sleep well but then in the evening, AH would ask, she would say, "Just fine." There were other things too but it felt natural to slip into the "grandma mode" to deal with some of the answers I would get. MIL is mostly a positive person so she was delightful to be around. We would stop at Starbucks after PT or the Dr. appointments.

MIL's daughter has been so very thankful for our help during the three weeks MIL stayed with us. I saw the relief in her eyes. We have made it clear that MIL is welcome anytime to stay overnight or whatever, especially when she has her eye appointment here in town. MIL does still drive, as soon as her knee is ready, but has gotten lost going to her eye appointments because she tries going different ways...not sure who suggested that but I made it clear that she should stick to the same route! MIL knows that she has memory problems, like most dementia patients doesn't always realize it in the moment. It was good to see MIL working on word searches and crossword puzzles. MIL also crochets, has made lots of afghans but doesn't make the intricate designs anymore, it's too hard to remember the combination. Variegated yarns make up for that!

We took MIL back to her daughter's place when we went out of town - camping with our kids. I miss her and enjoyed "spoiling" her with healthy meals and special smoothies to reduce inflammation! I am back to figuring out how to care for me...started my exercising on the WiiFit again. Our weather is super hot - 105+ and our A/C doesn't work at 95+ nor until about 8pm when the temps come down. It's a complicated situation that we hope to find the proper A/C technician to address because it will be a costly replacement of the condensing unit. So, for now, we've got a system to stay cool. I'll be putting away my winter clothes finally.

I have become aware of the number of caregivers there are in my church family, work family and neighborhood. This always gives me the opportunity to support, resource and encourage in the caregiving arena! I am so blessed! Our missionary friends who stayed with us right after we moved into this home last year are now faced with major caregiving as the wife has been diagnosed with ALS - some kind of brain affecting one. They are living on the East Coast finding the resources they need close to their kids and grandkids.

We'll see what other caregiving is in store for us as we continue to wear our Green Caregiving T-shirts! Meanwhile, I will be catching up on all that is happening here, hoping to make it to the Chicago Conference again!

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jan

So glad to catch up with your news, EGD! Thanks for remembering us here, and sharing how this \"thing\" is supposed to work; you share the load, you learn from each other, you respect the moment because you realize how close it is, all the time, for you and the ones you love. Take care, and hope you sort out the AC issue. Phew!

Lillie Fuller

Great post friend! Glad to see you are coming around. Sounds like a great experience with MIL. Enjoy your summer vacation. Let me know when you are in the area!!

Lark

I thoroughly enjoyed your post I particularly love and respect your response to your mother-in-law and her needs. The love and support is beautiful to read about and lifts up caregiving as an act of love and acceptance. Thank you for your post. I look forward to hearing more from you.