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Archive for August, 2012


My problems resulting from the car accidents I was in were getting worse.  I even went under some painful procedures to help.  It would only take one incident of Clara having trouble getting out of her chair with no one else being home to help and I had to help lift her up that would undo all the progress I made.  I finally sat down with Clara, and as kindly yet firmly as I could explained that I wanted to take care of her and never wanted her to go to a nursing home.  I told her I had observed when the physical therapist was coming, she made quite a bit of improvement, but after the therapist released her from her care, she would refuse to do any of the exercises, most of which were done while sitting in her chair.  Clara just listened.  I told her in order for her to stay living with us I required three things from her; that she be able to get up out of her reclining chair by herself without assistance, be able to get out of my car without me pulling her up, and to be able to get off of the toilet by herself.  I asked Clara if she felt that was unreasonable and she said it was not.  Then I added that if she could not do any of those three things, I would no longer be able to care for her because my health was being compromised.  Before I finished my sentence Clara was marching her legs in place while sitting, one of the exercises she previously refused to do.  I knew Clara trying to do more for herself was good for her, and I really needed it.  After that, there were many times she said she could not get up, and I would remind her that I could not help her and she would try a bit harder and be successful.  There were other times that she wasn’t feeling her best and she refused to try again.  At first I would end up helping her, then feeling frustrated and resentful because it would cause muscle spasms in my neck and back, often resulting in a migraine with vomiting.  

One day I was helping her in the car and somehow she sat on the ledge of the car frame instead of the seat.  I was in disbelief that she missed the seat.  There was just no way she could ever get up from sitting so low to the ground, and of course no one was home and I said a cuss word at her.  I have always worked hard not to use foul language, I thought the words many times, but always wanted to set a good example for my family and just didn’t say them.  Here I have my eighty-one year old mother-in-law sitting on the edge of the car saying she was going to fall out on the driveway, scared to death, and I pick this day to mutter my frustration by saying, “Oh SHIT!!  I can’t believe you missed the seat.”  Then I felt like a big bully.  I told her not to fall off the ledge that we would work it out together.  I had her wrap her arms around my neck and I wrapped my arms around her waist and on the count of three I picked her up.  I wanted to pick her up to the seat but she wanted to stand back up and then try sitting again.  So I got her standing up, but she is now so out of sorts, her legs were buckling under her.  With authority I said, “Clara, stand straight, strengthen your legs” and she did.  Our way of getting her into the car was to back her up until her calves felt the frame of the car, then she would sit on the seat, and I would swing her legs into the car.  It was a good system.  We worked together and got her in, by now I was drenched with perspiration and embarrassed that I cussed at Clara.  As I got in the car and turned the air conditioner on, I apologized to Clara for saying a bad word to her out of frustration and she sweetly said, “I didn’t even hear it.”  Her hearing was bad, but not that bad, those were the things she would say that would endear me to her.  Off we were to dialysis and we got laughing about something else.  After that day, she would try to grab her pants leg with her hand to help lift her own legs into the car, she was trying.

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11:00 and ONLY 11:00 :-)


After being involved in several car accidents (none were my fault) I was having trouble healing because of the physical demands Clara put on me with helping lift her up.  I arranged for a physical therapist to come to the house for Clara to help strengthen Clara’s arms and legs.  I would go out to receive physical therapy or other treatments for myself.  At bedtime Clara could sit on the edge of her bed, but needed me to pick up her legs and put them into bed.  I asked my husband if he could help with that and that became his duty.  Clara was a stickler for her schedule.  She wanted to be put to bed at 11:00 p.m., not a minute before and if we were not there at 11:00 p.m. exactly, by 11:01 p.m. the phone would be ringing.  Clara could look sound asleep in her lazy girl chair but the moment the 11:00 p.m. news came on she would pop up and be ready to go to bed.  On days my husband was out of town for work, sometimes I was tired and wanted to go to bed earlier, but Clara would be resistant to going to bed early.  For the most part, she was sweet and easy to get along with, but she was a creature of habit and it would rattle her to try to change her schedule.  On those nights I would ask my son Zack to put her to bed, and he usually didn’t pay strict attention to the clock, but knew his grandmother would call by 11:01 p.m.

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I became friendly with the nurses and technicians, but it was not the same burden that keeping tabs on so many patients had become at the other center.  When I run into the staff at the mall or grocery store, we  stand and chat for some time.  Often they would express the respect they had for me for the care I gave to Clara.  I had never received any commendation from Clara’s other children for the care I gave their mother, so that meant a lot.  

Taking Clara to and from dialysis two times a week didn’t seem like a big deal anymore.  I still had to arrange my day around her, but it was better.  Since Clara was getting stronger, I would often make her lunch in the morning and put it in the refrigerator, so she could get up and get it out herself.  After dialysis, she always wanted a bowl of soup.  She loved the soup from a restaurant that was only about fifteen minutes from our house.  I would often drop her off, go pick up her soup order then go about my day until it was time to pick her back up.  Once she was home I would warm the soup up and make her nightly cup of hot tea.  Providing her meals was no longer the ordeal it was when I was carefully cooking each meal according to her dietary restrictions.  I would consider Wednesday my day off because after I went over in the morning to take care of her, I would not have to worry about her again until the evening.  By now Clara’s dialysis time was moved up to noon, so on Wednesday her one daughter would come and take her to breakfast, then to dialysis, and the other daughter would pick her up on her way home from work.  At first I would still have to be available when she got home to give her a light meal and her hot tea.  In time I asked her daughter to take care of that which she did, so until 11:00 p.m. when Clara was ready to go to bed, I was off duty. 

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My strange man encounter ends


I had to deal with the strange man and had until Friday to practice my speech.  I told Clara on the way what the plan was.  So after getting her situated, I walked over to this man’s chair.  He was smiling flirtatiously and I began my practiced speech in a stern and authoritative voice, “Sir, I’m not sure how you could have gotten the wrong impression of me, but let me assure you, I do not appreciate the tone and manner in which you have been speaking with me.”  With that he interrupted me and said, “I don’t know what you are talking about, you always come over to my chair, you are the one that comes over to see me!”  Oh, I realized how I had been set up, that is why he was always so discreet in his hand gestures and waiting for no one else to be around.  I was furious at this point, but he interrupted my speech and threw me off for a moment.  I thought if I don’t take control of this situation right now, I will never get it back.  So I interrupted him and said, “Sir, you know what I am speaking about and I am here to tell you that I do not appreciate how you have been talking to me, my husband does not appreciate how you have been talking to me, and my grown sons do not appreciate how you have been talking to me.”  Again he says, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”  I continued, “Yes you do, I’m telling you – it is stopping right now.”  With that I turned on my heel and left.  My heart was beating a mile a minute but I felt like I got my control back.  After that when I would walk into the treatment area with Clara, I could see him turn his head the other way.  A short time later I did not see him anymore and was told he received a kidney transplant and the entire staff was glad to see his treatment end.   Me too!!!

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