Friday, September 30, 2011

Doing What You Have to Do!

Dear Mom,

There were some interesting times this week. Tuesday night I decided to thoroughly cleaned the whole bathroom, because it just wasn't smelling as clean as I would like. I put the towels and washcloths in the hamper, cleaned the tub well, your bath chair, the walls, the towel rack, the toilet, the sink, and the mirror, then emptied the garbage can with your wet Depends. I was on a mission, had to get that stale smell out. I felt much better once I did! After working up a sweat, but getting all of that done, I was ready to go downstairs to relax. I was actually really looking forward to making some silk flower arrangements and wreaths for the Berlin Fair. My friend encouraged me to do some, I have done wreaths before and some of my art work, but since I'm not taking art anymore, those are things that I like to do. Plus, you get money if you get ribbons. As I was on my way downstairs, I hear you call me as you often do now. It gets to me a little because usually it's just to show me the scars on your arms and legs which I have seen plenty, or to show me how swollen your feet are, which I have already seen as well. This time it was much different than I expected. You told me that you had an accident, and made a mess. This was a poop accident. There was poop on your gown, your housecoat, your underwear (because you still wear underwear even though you wear Depends), your slippers, the toilet seat and all over your bottom. I wasn't sure I knew how to handle that, but somehow I did. I took your housecoat and robe off, got the socks, and then the underwear that you had put in the sink to try to rinse them out. I put all of those things in the hamper. I brought them downstairs and put them in the washer. I went back to check on you, you were still sitting on the toilet. I asked you if you wanted to take another bath and you said yes. I ran the bath water, as you got up you noticed the seat was a mess, so I gave you two washcloths, one for the toilet seat, the other for your bath. You used the one to clean off the toilet seat somewhat, then got into the tub on your seat. I told you to make sure to clean your bottom because there was still some on your bottom. I brought the other washcloth down to put in the laundry. After you said you were done with your bath, I came in and checked on you and brought you new pj's to put on. I noticed that you still had poop on your bottom, so I got the washcloth and finished cleaning you. Never thought I would have been able to do that, you know how I am. I know some people do it all the time and that was hardly anything compared to what they go through. But you know what you always told me, "You're too nice nasty!" Meaning I didn't do well with cleaning things that I thought were gross. You also always used to, and still do tell me, you hope you don't get sick, because I wouldn't take care of you. Well, look what I did! :) I felt proud of myself realizing that when it comes down to it, I think I would do what I needed to do to take care of you. I was proud that I never made you feel bad, you didn't even mention anything about a nursing home and being too much work for me. We just got through it and made it! But there I was cleaning the whole bathroom all over again, this time the rugs and the floor too, since some of the poop got on those, too. So, the bathroom got an extra cleaning on Tuesday!
Then Wednesday, I'm sure you didn't have any memory of the mess the night before, and of course I wasn't going to bring it up. I got your breakfast ready and got your medicine for you, and was getting ready for school. I had finally been able to get your new meds, Naproxen and your water pill, so those were there for you to take. I walked out the door for school, and said goodbye to you and Bella. I got to school and had a wonderful opportunity to share some of the tough things I was dealing with with a great friend. It was a tough morning. I talked to her for a while and she was wonderful with me, such an encouragement. I talked to her until my third graders came into my room for their few classes with me. As we were getting ready to do Arithmetic I think, my phone started vibrating and I noticed it was you. I was a little shocked and almost didn't answer it right away because sometimes you just call to tell me that someone called and it's usually just about a bill or something. I did answer and got a little freaked because you didn't sound good. You told me you weren't feeling well, your head felt weird and you felt like you were going to pass out. I told the kids to get their things together to go back to their class because I needed to go home and check on my mom. I gave them their work that they needed to do, went to the secretary to tell her I was leaving and to try to let her know what different places I was supposed to be in the rest of the day so she could let the other teachers, etc. know. She told me to just come on home and she would figure out who to tell. I came home, I was quite nervous. You were in bed, and seemed pretty tired. You said you were feeling a little better. I went to get you some water to drink, came back and you were pretty knocked out. I kept trying to get you to drink. I called your doctor to see if it could be the new meds, but the office was closed. My wonderful friend from that morning was texting with me and suggested that I call the pharmacist. I did and felt so much better as she told me, the water pill can give you vertigo-like symptoms. That made sense to me. So, I just stayed home with you the rest of the day, texting the many people who were checking on how we were doing. Once again, I had to do what I had to do, even leaving school early to get home to you. It's always worth taking care of you! You are definitely much better now. Now if I could only get you moving more, but that's a goal for another time. I love you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Through the Tough Times

Dear Mom,
I am really struggling right now...with loneliness, sadness, discouragement, and probably even some depression. You have been struggling lately, too...not wanting to do much, not wanting to go to church, not wanting to get out of the house, and not really wanting to get out of the bed. You are comfortable lying there watching your TV shows, I Love Lucy, Little House on the Prairie, The Talk, Dr. Oz, and others. That's where you spend most of your time and you seem most comfortable and happy there. This is hard for me to see. You can barely walk because your left hip is very weak, and your sciatic nerve in your left leg is bothering you so much. I have been running ragged to take you to physical therapy appointments twice a week. They have either been early in the morning before school or right after school, so it feels that either way I have been rushing a bit. You haven't been complaining as much about the spots on you...not as much as you had been. Now the big thing is that your feet and ankles have been very swollen. So you call me into the bathroom or your room or the living room to show me your swollen feet and ankles. I tell you that you need to move more, get more circulation flowing in the legs, but I know because you are hurting that is hard. I try to get you to do the exercises that the physical therapist showed me to do with you, but you often claim that you are too tired to do more than a couple of them at a time. I feel like you're giving up on me. It's breaking my heart. It's hard for me, because I am going through some of my own things and the place that would normally be my place of reprieve and solace has no longer been that. Partly for my own reasons, but also because people are so busy. So these struggles and frustrations and the sadness I feel go unmentioned because lately I have been feeling as if I have been complaining too much to people about some of the things I'm struggling with and it seems that they are getting tired of hearing me. So my natural tendency is to close myself off. I have to hide my true feelings and hurts at the place that used to be my place of solace, and I have to hide my hurts and feelings from you at home. Don't worry, mom, I have been going to the Lord for help through these things, but I can't help still feeling a little lonely. I have been a little short with you lately because I think I am just hurting and exhausted, and things just seem to keep getting crazier and crazier! Trust me, I'm not mad at you, just frustrated that it seems like you are giving in to depression and pain. And I guess part of the reason that frustrates me is because sometimes I would like to do that too, but I know I can't. So, I feel like I'm trying to hold on for both of us and many people can't seem to understand that. So, it's been hard lately, but I'm going to keep going and keep fighting for you, because I love you too much to let you go and give in to these things. I pray for you, I care about you, I need you, I miss you, and most of all...I LOVE YOU!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What a week!

Dear Mom,

What a week it's been! It started out with a holiday on Monday. Usually we are heading over to Uncle John and Aunt Bertsie's on Monday. They weren't going to do a Labor Day picnic this year, because it is too much work for them as they are getting older. I'm glad they didn't put all of that on themselves, but boy, oh boy, did I miss not getting together with family and friends on the last holiday of the summer. We've been doing that for so many years now. I also hated not having you get out of the house. I did get out of the house,I was invited to a party. Three of my former students (siblings) were celebrating their birthdays together. I went over there for a few hours. It was a nice time of fellowship and good food. There was some amazing barbecue guys that had brisket, ribs, and chicken. I had the brisket and ribs, but was too full for the chicken sadly. I heard that was really good, too. I got home and made sure you had your dinner. Tuesday was back to work, but the thing that made it better was the fact that that night some friends and I were going to see the play Wicked!!!!! I got two tickets when a friend ordered them a few months ago, because I know you like doing that sometimes. The only thing is I wasn't sure if you would actually be up for it by the time it actually came around. Well, you haven't been up for much lately because your legs are bothering you so much. I knew it would be too much to try to have you go. But...then what was I going to do with that other ticket that I already paid for? I didn't mind asking someone, I just needed to find someone who would understand that they may not be able to go if you decided that you wanted to. Just a week or so ago I was talking to my friend Angie and asked her what she thought, and she said she would love to go, but would understand if you ended up going. I didn't even bother to mention it to you again, because you have been in lots of pain, the past couple of weeks. So, Tuesday I told you I would be going out with friends and would be back later. I went and had a wonderful time. That play was absolutely amazing!!!!! It was so incredible, I cried when it was over!! If you were the old you, I think you would have really loved it too, but I think it would have been too loud for you now and you probably would have been a little bit afraid at some parts. Lately, it hasn't taken much to in a sense "frighten" you. We watch kid's movies and you are bothered by the villain characters. I hated that we couldn't go together, but I'm thankful that the ticket was used and you and Bella were just fine. I was able recently to get you an appointment with a physical therapist, so hopefully you will start getting around better. Then hopefully we can go to something else together soon.
Well, Wednesday morning brought about something I never would have imagined would keep me from leaving for work on time. You were up and said you were looking for your wig. You always keep it on a styrofoam head by the closet. It wasn't there, it wasn't on either side of your bed, it wasn't under your covers or under your pillow. It wasn't in the bathroom anywhere. It wasn't in the living room anywhere. It wasn't in the kitchen, I actually even looked in the refrigerator, just to be sure. I think I even looked in the oven. I looked on all the kitchen chairs, everywhere I could think of that you go and did not see it anywhere. Finally, the Lord gave me the idea to check the front hall closet and to check the shelf on top. I found it in one of pappy's hats...thankfully!! That definitely made for an interesting morning. Little did I know that wasn't the half of it. I get to school, teach the couple of classes I do, then went to get some appointments for you. As I was getting one of the appointments made, the fire alarm goes off. It scared me to death, I was almost done with scheduling the appointment and didn't know what to do, so I just finished quickly. I quickly turned the lights off and went to the office, got my umbrella and wasn't sure what else to do, but went outside. Glenda had the keys to her car so we waited in there rather than waiting in the rain. Only then did I realize this was a strange fire drill. The poor kids were all standing in the rain. Even though we try to do different drills on different days, this was a little much with so much rain. When we got in Glenda's car she told me that there was a small chemical spill in the Chemistry lab closet. The fire marshall was called and had us evacuate the building until it could be determined how bad the spill was. About 5 or 6 fire trucks came and some police. The place looked quite interesting! And it was about time for the K-4/K-5 students to be picked up...poor parents. By that time the kids were told that they could wait in the gym until the DEP came to check out the spill. So K-4 - 12th grade were all in the gym We just stayed in the car until we were told it was safe to come back into the building...interesting day!! To say the least...
Thursday morning presented another couple of challenges. I got up to take Bella out, it was pouring rain. We only went out for a couple of minutes because the rain was coming down so hard. Bella and I got back into the house and you mentioned that your bed was soaking wet. So, I had to change your bed. I took off the wet sheets, cleaned the pad that's under the sheets, put the new sheets on, then went to bring the wet sheets and pajamas down to the laundry. Then I decided to check the carpet to see if it was wet, and it was. I checked in the little side room and it was very wet in there. So I got the blankets and rugs that I had just finished taking up from in front of that door and washing, and put them back down on the floor. I wasn't able to empty the dehumidifier because I didn't have time. I made your breakfast and made sure you were set with your meds, and then went off to work. Of course by that time I was quite worn out. Made it there and made it through the day, and the sun even came out for a minute or two, after about 4 days in a row of clouds and rain. We were able to get you to the dermatologist to see about the rash, he thinks it's just you scratching, kind of a behavioral thing really. He did give us a couple of medications for you. We'll see how this works. Definitely an interesting week. We made it though! Hope to have many more weeks...maybe a little calmer... together. Love you!