What I’ve been doing

Letter I wrote to my sisters yesterday.

Hey Sisters,
Although I am trying to get the time off, I may not be able to attend the meeting on Thursday (what time??) at the nursing home – I left work early on Friday to attend last week’s meeting.

I have spent a lot of time at the nursing home over the weekend. I am horrified that they have Daddy in the dementia unit. He is forced to sit in his wheelchair from 9:00 – 1:00 when they eat lunch. He is in absolute agony with his back which is exacerbated by the wheelchair. After I met with the “Team” on Friday, I was able to persuade them to allow Daddy to take a two hour nap in his bed every day after lunch.

He is then put back in his wheelchair where he remains until 7:00 when they start wheeling them back to their bedrooms.

When he is not in his room, he is forced to sit in the uncomfortable wheelchair in the “dining room” where they have daily activities. The room is full of women and each day I’ve been there, I’ve only seen three other men – one man stole daddy’s glasses. None of the men talk to each other – daddy tried to strike up a conversation with the man next to him, but the man just babbled. You two and I know that Daddy is not going to participate in the activities – not because he’s Daddy – because he’s a man – as a matter of fact the other 3 men don’t participate either

What I am saying is DADDY DOES NOT BELONG ON THE DEMENTIA UNIT. He’s completely oriented to time and place whenever I am there. He asks about Don and the kids – he knew I had left early from work on Friday by looking at this watch. It is not OK to me that he is on that unit – he is well aware that every one has dementia and he even said to me, “I’m no freak – I don’t crawl on the floor”.

I even spoke to his nurse (coincidentally, her name is Joan) who agrees that Daddy should not be on that unit – she stated to me she felt that from the very beginning. But Mom just keeps saying, well we won’t worry about that until Thursday when we meet.

I am afraid that Mom is just glad that she doesn’t have to watch him every minute and she is afraid to cause a ruckus for fear that they will send him home. Mom feels that the three or four hours she sits with him is enough to make up for the bedlam he is exposed to daily. IT’s NOT!!!! What about the other hours he’s alone???!!!

I am concerned that they are now giving him the Ativan 4 times daily now and he even said to me, “Joanie, this medicine is making me dopey”. I actually felt he was getting better, stronger until they started giving him that crap again.

Listen, if he were laying in his bed (which is on the floor now) , watching TV, having his meals brought to his room, slowly fading away – that would be one thing. But he’s not!! He is being forced to sit in that chair – forced to stay awake – forced to sit next to these drooling, babbling, crying, shouting people and he looks horrified. My heart is breaking!! I cant eat, sleep. I’m constantly looking at my watch trying to figure out where he is and how alone he must feel.

I am going to bring him in a TV and will look into his getting a cable hook-up as the man next to him has a TV but never turns it on.

Does he need daily care – yes. Does he have dementia – NO!!! He needs to be off of that unit!!!!!!

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Afternoon Tea

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I had a lovely get together with some of the girls in my family yesterday. In the above picture is my niece, Katie – myself – my cousin,Terry – my sister, Pat – my sister, Kathy and my daughter, Laura.

We had planned the get-together to spend time with my Mom, but early that morning, she had to call an ambulance to have my Dad take to the hospital as he has stopped eating and drinking. All he wants to do is sleep and when he’s not sleeping ( which only happens at night when he SHOULD be sleeping), he’s begging, threatening, shouting, crying for more pain meds or At1van. Now what is frustrating is that when he gets to the hospital, he never complains about any pain and starts eating again.

My mother is exhausted and we wanted her to have a day out, but my dad screwed that up. ( can you tell I’m fed up with his addictions?!?!) Mom insisted we get together anyway and I’m so glad we did!

We went to A Taste of Britain and as soon as we sat down we toasted out grandmother Primrose McCann, a Welsh immigrant. We also toasted our two Aunts, Peggy and Polly who may not be here with us but are always in our hearts.

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I ordered pumpkin, butternut squash and 4 tea sandwiches and creme brulee tea. For dessert, I ordered a delicious lemon scone with lemon curd.

My cousin ordered Spotted Dick….which of course made us all giggle…and then wish we had ordered it when it was delivered…see below. It looked delicious!!!!

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After lunch we stopped at the hospital to visit Dad and to pick up Mom. I brought her back to my house and made her scrub her hands before she touched anything. I brewed her a lovely cup of tea and she enjoyed that with some danish. I’m so worried that she is going to get sick with the horrible flu that is going around…as a matter of fact, I am not going to let her visit my Dad today. The less time she spends at the hospital, the healthier she may stay.

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The Wedding!!!

It’s weird – I’ve almost been afraid to blog again.
So many wonderful things have happened since I last wrote and so many heart-breaking things have happened.
Our daughter was married on December 8th and it was a wonderful, magical event! Everything fell into place effortlessly. There were no “hiccups”, or if there were, our guests were too polite to mention it! The venue was decorated like a winter wonderland, the food was out of this world, and the music was fantastic. Of course, I would have loved to sit down and visit with every single guest, but there’s never time for that at a wedding!
L. J. and her groom wanted a “smooth” wedding and smooth they got. There were no interruptions – no cake cutting ceremony with people screaming, “Smash it in his face!!!” L. J. refused to wear a garter which happily cut out the throwing of the bouquet and the garter to all the single guys and gals. Very few posed pictures. She and her father had a lovely dance to “The Way you Look Tonight” and Hub and I actually were able to dance to our wedding song, “Evergreen”, by Barbra Streisand.
I have to laugh because Hub cried all night, whereas I was pretty much dry eyed throughout the event. My Mom kept announcing to everyone who commented on my unruffled demeanor that I was on Effe%or – thanks, Mom…but it probably was the Effe%or that kept me so calm.
So, here are some pictures and yep, that’s Popeye walking me down the aisle. He made it to his sister’s wedding which was a wonderful thing…

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Nursing Nightmares

While my mom was at work the other day, my dad fell while hunting the elusive Percocet. He must have banged his head on the refrigerator on the way down and then lay unconscious in a huge puddle of blood for a while. From what we can tell, he eventually came to and unsuccessfully tried to dial 911. He then got up on his walker and made his way out to the apartment hallway where someone found him collapsed in front of the elevator.

He sustained a huge purple lump on his head and a large cut that needed stitches. The lump on his head reminds me of the third eye that all of my childhood goldfish developed, causing my mother to immediately flush them down the toilet.

Because Dad is too big to be flushed, the hospital sent him to a rehab for a few days. Unfortunately, they actually called two rehabs and the wrong one picked him up. Now, don’t get me wrong, the people that worked on the main floor seemed to be very nice; however, the people that worked on the first floor or cellar as I liked to call it were somewhat forgetful…of my father.

He was admitted Wednesday night. Thursday was Thanksgiving and my mother went to the nursing home by herself – she said he didn’t want any company. On Friday morning, I picked up mom and on the way over, she started telling me how horrible the room was and that he was in the basement.

The elevator doors opened to a cacophony of sounds. Hammers, drills, saws. A sign read, “excuse us for our appearance while we are under construction.” Dust was everywhere and the paint fumes were choking. Plastic sheets hung from the walls. Contractors were shouting. I could see that down the hall, there was a day room where many of the residents were holed up, watching TV, but my father wasn’t one of them.

I found his room or should I say, the somewhat refurbished broom closet, I discovered he had no phone or television. He was sitting in the dark ( the broken blinds were drawn and only the bathroom light was on). I asked him why he didn’t have a TV and he told me that when he asked the nurse about a TV and phone she said, “You ain’t got none.”

I blew up. I caused a shit storm. Within 5 minutes, two different men came to his room and tried to install a phone and a TV. I threw them both out. I ran upstairs and demanded to talk to the social worker who told me she had never seen the room he was in. I was yelling so loud that she eventually brought me into her office and shut the door. I made her go downstairs with me and there Mom told her that she wanted him out of there.

I immediately called the nursing home that he was supposed to be in and made arrangements for him to be admitted there the next morning. I volunteered to drive him over in my Durango that minute, but they weren’t able to get him a bed until the next morning. My sister took him over early the next day.

He is now in a lovely room at the new rehab center. I understand that this was a holiday weekend and they were short staffed, but this is just a word of warning for anyone who has an elderly parent or for that matter, anyone they care about in the hospital. Go visit them. Ask questions. Be their advocate, because no one else is.

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Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for all of you, my blog friends, who have laughed and sympathized with me this past year. My biggest thanks goes to whatever or whoever is helping Popeyes see the light. Without going into details, he hit the proverbial bottom and is climbing out of the well and I’m cautiously hopeful every day.

Wishing happiness to all of you.

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19 Days Daze

Wedding, wedding, wedding, wedding, wedding, wedding.
That’s where I’ve been. Flowers and music and photographers and invitations and vegetarians and angry Aunts and showers and sheets and tailors and money and more money and much more money.
The other day I tried to knit a hat from memory and the hat was big enough for two heads. I looked like that kid, Dumb Donald, from the cartoon “Fat Albert”.
I tore the whole hat apart, but I don’t want to throw out the yarn – even though it’s all knotted. To throw it out seems so wasteful to me. I’ve spent thousands in the last year for this wedding, but ruining that skein of yarn that cost me $5.99 is driving me crazy!!!

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Plus One

Plus One
Those two words will be the death of me.

We have a very tight guest list for our daughter’s wedding. I am actually more flexible than my daughter is regarding the list. None of the groomsmen or her fiancé’s friends is in long term relationships so none of them received a plus one invite.

My nephew and my son are not in long term relationships so they didn’t get a plus one.

Everyone else who is invited think it’s their God-given right to add a plus one to the invitation. Starting with the unwed mother next door who wrote in a man’s name on the card and let us know that he wanted the filet mignon. The jury is still out on whether we are allowing him to come.

The best man’s mother (divorced – not in a relationship) wants a PLUS ONE because she has anxiety issues and doesn’t want to drive that far by herself. SHE WAS DENIED.

The groom’s Aunt and Uncle want a fu@king PLUS TWO so that their 45 year old daughter and her husband (whom the groom barely knows) can drive them because they don’t like to drive at night. THEY WERE DENIED.

The groom’s Uncle demanded a fu@king PLUS TWO so that his two middle school children (one of whom defecates when angry) can attend – HE WAS DENIED.

Everyday, I am afraid to open my own mailbox.

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