Wednesday, April 28, 2010

you gotta laugh (or else you'll cry)

If you know what a duvet cover is you can skip down to the next paragraph. A duvet is a quilt (or a down comforter) usually with a washable cover, used in place of a bedspread and top sheet. (So says my dictionary.) So, a duvet cover is a huge fabric pillow-case shape object to keep the comforter clean. In my house it takes two of us to wrestle the freshly laundered duvet cover back onto the comforter.

Last month my Mother had been sick and had to launder all of her bedding. When I got up there, I wanted to make sure she had put her bed back together again, that she had got the mattress pad on, and had enough blankets to keep warm. So I went to the bottom corner of the bed and started leafing through the layers of bedding: quilt, quilt, blanket, sheet, sheet, sheet, sheet - what?!

What was going on? Then it hit me...
Mom had put her duvet cover on her mattress.
She had put this huge bag on her queen size mattress.

"Mom, you put the duvet cover on your mattress."
"Yes, it was really difficult" she said.

I stop myself before I blurt out: WHAT were you thinking?
"Yes Mom, I'm sure it was."

You've gotta laugh - or else you'll cry.
Can you picture her, with the mattress up on its end, trying to maneuver the duvet cover. This is a woman who can no longer lift a ten pound bag of birdseed. A queen size mattress!!!

I didn't point out that it was wrong, I didn't offer to remake her bed.

Mom, what were you thinking? I know, Mom, you weren't thinking, you weren't thinking like the rest of us do, you aren't logical or rational any more. You put clean bedding on the bed.

But, I still think I'm going to find the dirty bedding in a garbage bag in the back of the closet.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Spring is here, spring is coming. The return of color to the landscape, the blue sky, green grass, red quince, yellow daffodils, and purple crocus are a boon to my spirit. The hope of life and the promise of growth around me is a comfort.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

the finances

Over the past few months Mom has finally let me help her with her finances. She was loosing bills, she was paying bills twice, she was sending in bills with no checks. She was getting demands. Her ledger and check book are a mess.
Every time I visit my Mom, I scoop up another pile of important papers and bring it home to sort through. As I look back, the big financial mess began March/April 2008. Her ledger looks like a two year old was scribbling in it. Then she only made sporadic entries.
Now as I look more closely at her household expenses I find odd things.
She had been sending checks to all those junk mail requests - buy this insurance - support this cause - subscribe to this magazine - join this group.
I wonder how many $20 bills were sent out in envelopes to support campaigns like "Zebras Without Stripes".
I'm glad my Mother supports her college, her church, and her local public television station. But when I found she had sent four checks to the local public television station in two months, I told her she had to wait before she sends another contribution.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

shopping for assisted living

I have been shopping for an Assisted Living home for my Mother. I've been to some up near where she lives, and to others closer to my home. How do I get her to move? How can I get her to cooperate? How can I change her mind-set from "drag my dead body out of here" to "this would be a good thing"?

How can I make her understand that this is not like the horrid nursing home where her brother-in-law had to live.

They are not like the cancer wards of 60 years ago, where her mother died a slow painful death.

How can I make her understand that these are not jails?

They are not like the TB asylum of the 1950's where her little brother had to live for a year, leashed to a bed.

I'm sure all these images are running through her mind when she thinks of moving to a "home".

How can I make her understand that she'll have her own apartment, her own bathroom. All of the apartments I've seen are nicer than any I've ever had.
She'll get three meals a day cooked for her, and someone else will wash the dishes!
There will be people to socialize with, new friends to make, activities to attend, gardens to tend, bird feeders to fill. Some places would even let her bring her cat. She'll have a microwave and a fridge, where she can keep snacks and drinks.

Once again, I am overwhelmed by the emotion of it all. To see my mother in an Assisted Living setting, I can picture her two ways: one is sitting on her bed, clutching her purse and mumbling to herself over and over "I want to go home", and the other way is that she is the one leading the group sing-a-long or giving a talk on the history of Mt M__.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I am my mother's keeper

I am.
The responsibilities are almost too much to bear.
Take this cup away from me.
She is angry. She is mad.

I had to take away her pill bottles, and leave her enough in her daily pill keeper to last until my next visit. I thought that would be a solution. Now she yells at everybody that I have taken them away and that she doesn't have any pills. If she doesn't have any pills - then she has taken them all. *^${@*)>%(&$#&

She has a daily home aide now. Mom won't let the woman do any of the tasks I've asked/hired her to do.