Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2012


Clara had to begin receiving kidney dialysis as she had become weaker and weaker.  With her frail condition, she needed to begin as an inpatient in the hospital so she could be closely monitored.  While in the hospital, Clara was unable to get out of the hospital bed without a lot of assistance.  She was pretty much blind and was overwhelmed by the buttons for the television and to call the nurse.  As a result, even if she had to go to the bathroom, she would wait until someone would come to her room, so she had a number of “accidents” in the hospital.  When it happened at home, it was a matter of picking up the phone next to her Lazy Girl chair and calling me.  Now at the hospital, quite some time would pass before an aide or nurse would come in for Clara to ask for help.  Her butt became quite chapped and some special cream was ordered to soothe her skin back there.  When either I or one of her two daughters would visit, she would ask us to rub some cream on her butt.  We all came to call it her “butt cream.”  She probably had the equivalent of a baby having diaper rash, so I could understand why she would ask, but it didn’t make the job any more pleasant.  After Clara’s broken arm healed, she was never able to reach behind her back with it, and now she was so weak with the heart failure from the fluid overload.  She improved and we were happy to leave the “butt cream” at the hospital when we brought her home.  Later that first day home, when I went over to check on Clara, she asked me to rub some butt cream on her.  I told her I was sorry, that I thought she was all better, and I didn’t pack it up with her belongings from the hospital.  She said not to worry, she asked the nurse to put a fresh tube in her bag of belongings.  Yes, outfoxed again by an old lady!  It ended up being a very long day, and around 10:00 p.m. I told my husband I was going upstairs to take a nice, long bath.  I wasn’t in the tub two minutes when he knocked at the door.  My voice wasn’t pleasant when I asked him what he wanted and he said, “I’m sorry, my mother needs you.”  I got out of the tub with a rotten attitude, got dressed feeling sorry for myself and angry that Andy couldn’t take care of his mother.  As I flung open the bathroom door, he was apologizing all over the place, saying he heard his mother calling my name and he went over to see what she needed and she was in the bathroom saying, “Don’t come in I’m not dressed, get Michele.”  My anger quickly faded and now I’m rushing over picturing her lying on the floor hurt.  When I got to her bathroom she was sitting on the toilet with the tube of butt cream in her hand and said, “Michele, would you rub some of this on my butt?”  I stood there thinking she was addicted to this stinkin’ butt cream and that the person that invented it should be arrested and jailed.  What do I do?  I put on a latex glove, applied the butt cream and thought if any one dares buy another tube of this stuff, well let’s just say no jury would convict me.  I helped her back to her chair, and told her I was going to take a bath and her son would be over in a bit to help her to bed.  It was always at those times she would thank me so sweetly that I would feel bad for allowing myself to get so frustrated.  When I was going back to get in the tub, Andy asked what was wrong.  I just started laughing and said she was having butt cream withdrawal.  He started apologizing again saying he would have never gotten me out of the tub if he knew that is what she wanted, but it was okay.  There were bigger things to worry about. 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


At first it bothered my conscience that I was falling down on my job as a caretaker.  Finally, the conversations that I had from the marina owner expressing her regrets that her mother was deprived of the little joy she had in life before her death, and Shirley’s conversation about her mother before she passed started to sink in.  I was working so hard to keep Clara alive for as long as possible, I lost sight that the quality of life along the way is important too.  As I reflected back on the four or so years that I strictly enforced her diet, I wondered if Clara was able to enjoy any of the meals I worked so hard to make for her.  Clara wasn’t a big sweet eater, so that wasn’t the problem.  Since she was in end stage renal (kidney) failure, she was supposed to have a limited amount of fluid and a very low sodium diet.  When I would steam vegetables, I would even have to estimate how much water the vegetables absorbed and deduct that from her allotted fluid for the day.  There were days she would ask for another bottle of water and I would have said she had her limit for the day and I would always feel bad.  Now that stress was off of me.

Check out this nice article in caregiver stress:

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Read Full Post »

I QUIT!!!


Sure enough, it wasn’t that long before Clara was in the hospital with congestive heart failure.  That just reinforced my thinking that keeping her on the prescribed diet was essential.  Some time after that, her granddaughter, who was around twelve years old, was visiting for the day.  I could hear a lot of yelling going back and forth and then my niece appeared in my part of the house asking, “Aunt Michele, can Grand mom have this?”  She was holding up a big lollipop.  I praised her for checking and told her that Grand mom could not have that.  She replied, “I told Grand mom, but she keeps yelling at me to give it to her.”  I was so mad at Clara for yelling at her twelve year old granddaughter for a lollipop.  I marched right over, and with her lack of vision she didn’t even realize that her granddaughter had left. She was still fussing at her for the candy.  Normally, I could never raise my voice to Clara, I would feel certain things on the inside, but tried to show her the respect her age deserved.  This day I was stern as I told her that I could not believe she was yelling at her granddaughter when she was trying to do the right thing by her.  Clara seemed embarrassed that I knew what was going on.  I then announced that I was retiring as her food police, that I was sick and tired of doing the extra work to keep her healthy for her to sneak around and undermine my efforts.  I continued that I was tired of being the only one worried about keeping her healthy and I guess in dramatic fashion I told her to go ahead and eat the lollipop, she could eat five if she wanted to, I didn’t care.  My little tantrum seemed to take Clara aback and she said she didn’t want the lollipop and she was sorry.  I basically said too little too late and that I was retired and she could eat what she wanted.  Clara apologized and said for me to continue feeding her healthy foods.  In retrospect, I think her plea was because she felt like she hurt my feelings, not because she wanted more of the doctor approved foods.  Little did I know at that moment it was the best thing that I could have done. 

Check out this nice article in caregiver stress:

http://www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Read Full Post »


www.energytimes.com/pages/departments/1205/holistic1205.html

Claire Sykes wrote an article, Love’s Challenge:  Caring for an ill family member can be emotionally and physically wearying.

Read Full Post »

Food police, you are busted!!!


My oldest son, Mike had graduated from high school and we had a big cookout celebration at our house.  We had about one hundred guests coming, and I did just about all of the cooking for it myself and I did not want to worry about taking care of Clara that day.  By now, since Clara’s kidneys were failing, she had little strength and when she went out she used a wheelchair.  I called my sister-in-law and asked her if she could take care of her mother that day and she agreed that she would even wheel her mother outside to the cookout and I would not have to worry about her.  Since it was my first child graduating, I was quite excited and each day I probably bored Clara with the details, from the moon bounce we rented for the younger children coming to the canopy tents that would be set up, and of course Clara asked about the menu.  It was a beautiful day and I was glad Clara could enjoy it.  I was glad I did not have the added pressure of caring for her.  That is the day I discovered Clara’s food scam.  As I was checking to see what food items had to be replenished, one of our guests asked if there were any baked beans left.  I told her I had just put out a fresh, hot tray from the oven so her timing was perfect.  She replied, “Oh, it’s not for me, it’s for Clara.”  I went right into food boss mode and said, “She’s not allowed to have baked beans!”  She apologized saying she didn’t know, that Clara specifically asked her for baked beans.  I thanked her for her help but was fuming that her own daughter was not doing her job.  So I marched right over to her daughter, and told her that her mother was trying to get someone to get her baked beans.  She looked at me and said, “She isn’t allowed to have them?”  I was in disbelief at that question and told her they were so full of sodium and with her failing kidneys she would end up with congestive heart failure from the fluid backing up around her heart.  Her daughter said, “Mom said you said it was okay, she said you said for today it was okay for her to have hot dogs, baked beans, and that spicy macaroni salad you make.”  I looked at her wondering how she could not know those were the three highest sodium containing dishes I had.  She apologized for giving her mother the wrong foods, I said what was done was done and it was a special occasion.  I was telling one of my close friends that I was frustrated that the one day I didn’t want to worry about Clara, I still had too because no one else seems to realize how important her diet is to her health.  Then my friend said she felt terrible because Clara told her that I had promised she could have some baked beans but I must have forgotten with all that was going on, so she volunteered to get them.  I wondered at that point how many helping of beans Clara had!  So I went over to tell Clara she was busted and found her eating a piece of cake.  I asked how in the world she got the cake, and another guest spoke up and said that Clara said I was supposed to get it for her but must have forgotten so she got it for her.  That’s when I realized why Clara was always so interested in knowing what my menu was, so she could ask different people to get her stuff she wasn’t supposed to have.  I told Clara she was slick and she just laughed.  Later on I was telling some other friends about how my mother-in-law was slick as a fox and about her food scam.  I ended up with five different confessions and that is when I learned that for the past couple of years each time I had dinner guests, at least one of them was taking some dessert over to her without my knowledge because Clara insisted they didn’t bother me about it.  She would even ask them to wait and take the plate and fork back so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  They didn’t realize they were being asked to hide the evidence!  I had to laugh at how often I was outfoxed by this old lady.  Of course the food she ate at the graduation party was over the top, and the next day I paid the price with lots of “accidents.”  I was physically exhausted from all of the work that went into the graduation party and felt low on patience, but she had to be cleaned up. Image

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: