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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Friday, February 22, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

This post was held in queue.

Thursday, February 21

As I said in prior postings, Mom’s doctor took her off trazodone because the increased dosage resulted in her getting one of the side effects of the drug or an allergic reaction—itching. She scratched and scratched until she scratched her skin sore, and in places broke the skin. She had a bout with dermatitis last year, so her doctor recommended I apply lotion a few times a day. I’ve been applying lotion on her entire body everyday ever since, but with this itching, I’ve been applying it more often. The few places she had scratched raw were healing nicely and she had very few spots compared to what she’d had before. The spots were on her forearms, between and just below the clavicle bone, and on the back of her hand, and a few on her cheek.

I told the day care facility more than a week ago that Mom had the itching side effect or allergic reaction from meds.. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, etc. She started with an itch here and there once in a while and then it stopped until he increased the dosage. The itching came back and a rash started. That’s when her doctor took her off trazodone and put her on seroquel. The seroquel is working wonders for Mom’s sleep and mine, but the itching and slight rash is taking its good old time subsiding.

Thursday I got a call from the day care asking me to pick Mom up. Mom was scratching her hand and the nurse noticed she had a spot / bump / rash on the top of her hand and supposedly on her belly that she suspected might be scabies. I told the nurse (who was standing in for the regular nurse and was aware of Mom’s med reaction) that Mom had been itchy from a reaction to meds and she said I had to pick up Mom and have her tested for scabies. Naturally, I called Mom’s doctor and asked that he fit her into his schedule that day to have her checked. The appointment was scheduled even before I picked up Mom from day care at 11:00 in the morning.

When I arrived at the day care, I said I had an appointment at 3:15 and they were shocked I was able to get her in so quickly. They told me they called the health department and I had to have Mom get a skin test and she wasn’t allowed to return until they had proof of the skin test from the doctor. Then I asked if anyone else was sent home with this same thing, and was told “yes, one other person.” Okay, no problem. I at least knew to tell Mom’s doctor that two people were sent home due to a “rash” and to be extra cautious with a diagnosis.

From my extensive reading over the years, I did know a few things about scabies. Yes, it does show in the form of a rash; it is an infestation of the skin caused by mites; it is contagious; and it is usually spread by personal close skin-to-skin contact between people in child-care facilities, nursing homes, and by sharing the same bed or clothes. I also knew that scabies normally appears in creases of the skin, between fingers, genital areas—none of the areas where Mom’s bumps are—with the exception of the small bump on the back of her hand between the knuckles of her ring and little finger.

I had nearly four hours to waste before Mom’s appointment, so being the conscientious person I am, I took her home, and sat her in the living room. First, I went upstairs and grabbed my magnifying glass and went back downstairs. Mom probably thought I was nuts when I took off her sweatshirt and began examining her forearms with the magnifying glass. I asked her to turn her head this way and that and checked the “bumps” on her cheeks, then got in close and looked at the “spots” on her hand. After inspecting Mom from head to foot, finding nothing that looked like these pesky little mites or tunnel-looking areas on her skin, I figured I’d take precautions anyway and ripped the sheets off her bed, threw them in the washer with the hottest water setting, added detergent and Clorox and disinfected her bed. Then, I went straight to the computer to research this nasty little parasitic monster that might have found its way into my mom’s skin.

The website for the PA Department of Health states that scabies is “pimple-like irritations, burrows or rash of the skin, especially the webbing between the fingers; the skin folds on the wrist, elbow, or knee; the penis, the breast, or shoulder blades.”

Other sources also mention scabies can be found “on the sides of fingers, armpits, inner thighs and around the waist (belt line).”

According to all the websites I checked (nearly a dozen), all the information I read and pictures I found, I felt confident that whatever it is making Mom itchy and causing her to scratch—it is not scabies. None of Mom’s bumps are in any of these areas and none of her rash-like bumps looked anything like the pictures on the websites.

Off to the doctor we went anyway armed with all the information I never really wanted to know about this little parasitic infectious skin irritation.

Mom’s appointment went well. I told her doctor that the day care said they wanted a skin test and she couldn’t return until they received written documentation of the test and he cleared her to return. He looked at the small bumps on her forearms and shook his head “no”. He said, “it’s highly unlikely that she has scabies and it doesn’t form on the face.” He looked at her clavicle area and said it looked like the dermatitis she had last year. Then, he said, “I’m not going to test her for scabies. It takes longer to get the test results than it does to treat it. So I’m just going to treat her for it.”

“So we don’t know if she has it or not?” I asked.

He said, “She’s had this itching and bumps for a while. As close as you are with your mom, if she had scabies, you’d have it by now, too. You’re not showing any signs of itching or rash.”

“No,” I said. “I don’t have a mark on me, and I wasn’t itchy until we started talking about this. I already washed her bedding before I came here.”

He laughed and I did, too.

“You realize scabies doesn’t mean a person or their surroundings are dirty, right?”

I said, “Yes, I know that. It’s just the old-fashioned ideas of scabies bother me, and I’m not real thrilled with having to be treated for something I know I don’t have.”

“Yes, I understand,” he said. “Everyone acts like it’s a big epidemic and gets so alarmed by the word, but it’s really quite a common thing.” Then, he said, “It’s very evident that you take very good care of your mother, Joanne. Knowing you, and seeing the report from the social worker who went to your mom’s house when you wouldn’t place her in rehab several months ago, you wouldn’t need to worry about it anyway. They noted that you kept your mom’s house spotless.”

He added, “If it hadn’t been that you said another person was sent home with a rash, I wouldn’t treat her, but we’ll treat this as if it were scabies just to protect your mom and you. I’ll write a prescription enough for both of you. You treat yourself as well. As long as it’s treated, she’s not contagious and if the day care were open on weekends, she could return by Saturday.”

I reminded him that the day care wouldn’t allow her return without the test. Mom’s doctor is well known in our area for working with nursing home residents. He said, “When there’s one person diagnosed with scabies in our facilities we treat that person and everyone on the floor just as a precaution, including the staff. The day care can’t stop your mom from returning if she’s been treated. A person who has been treated is non-infectious to others on the day after treatment.” He added, “I’ll write a note that she’s been treated and is non-contagious. If that’s not good enough for them, you tell them call me directly.”

He wrote a prescription for Permethrin, enough for two people, and wrote a note on his prescription pad that Mom was treated for scabies, was non-contagious, and he wrote on his prescription note that the day care should alert their clients and suggested they and the day care workers in contact with Mom be treated as well.

He handed me the prescription and said, “If this is scabies, this will stop the itching in a day or so. If the itching doesn’t go away, call me and we’ll get your mom set up with a dermatologist.”

I thanked him for fitting Mom in between patients. I stopped at the day care and gave them the note from the doctor and said Mom would be back on Monday. I was told that the doctor’s note on the prescription might be a problem. They said, “We were told to tell you that she had to have the test, we have to have proof of the test, and she can’t return until then.”

I said, “Mom’s doctor said it takes less time to treat the supposed problem than it does to get the test. By Monday she’ll have been treated and non-contagious. If treatment and his note aren’t sufficient for your nurse, she can call him directly. We’ll see you Monday.”

Mom and I stopped at the pharmacy to pick up the medication and went home to dowse ourselves in Permethrin.

Oh joy! Are we having fun yet?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hit Me Like A Brick

Today I decided to get off my lazy butt and start cleaning MY house. I’ve not taken very good care of it since I moved in with Mom. Being so tired all the time, I don’t give my house the attention or the thorough cleaning I used to. I manage to swipe a feather duster around the corners of every room and all the shelves and knick-knacks every few weeks and mop the floor once a week, but it’s not the same.

I gave both bathrooms a thorough cleaning—the down-on-my-hands-and-knees-type cleaning like I used to. I scrubbed the walls and took the shower curtain down and cleaned it. The bathrooms looked so nice when I finished that I decided to move into the bedroom and start working on it. I opened every drawer of the dressers and neatly rearranged all the clothes, cleaned the dressers with Murphy’s Oil soap, and gave them a good waxing. I put clean sheets on the bed, ran the sweeper, and started the laundry.

Then, I decided to tackle the bedroom closet. When I moved to Mom’s most of my clothes moved with me, but the floor of my closet was piled with clothes I’ve been hauling back and forth. It was time to get them out of the piles and hang them or put them in drawers. It took me 30 minutes to pull all the clothes out and set them on the bed to go through and decide where I was going to put what. There were things in that closet I knew I’d never wear so I put those items in a box to take to Good Will.

I sat on the floor of my bedroom looking at the room, clean and fresh, and felt strange looking at a bed and cleaning a room I haven’t slept in for three years. That strange feeling turned to sadness as I glanced at all the wall hangings that had once been so neatly dusted and cared for. I turned my attention back to the closet as not to cry and arranged the half dozen pair of shoes on the shelf and pulled out another pile of things I had no idea what they were because I hadn’t been in the closet for so long.

Still in the bag, was an Indian blanket Two and I purchased at his reservation in North Carolina when we were there four years ago. Beneath that was a pillow heat/massager that would have come in handy the past few years had I remembered I had it.

Then, below that was what hit me like a brick! It was a treasure I’ll never forget nor one I’ll ever get rid of. My bed caddy! What’s a bed caddy and what’s so great about it you ask? A bed caddy is what you keep your book, eyeglasses, TV remote, and other essentials close at hand. It tucks easily under a mattress and hangs on the side of the bed. This bed caddy is special. I made it from a pair of my dad’s carpenter jeans.

After Dad died, I made one for Mom, both my sister-in-laws, and me. I’d taken it off my bed just before I moved to Mom’s since I wouldn’t be using it. When I pulled it out from the closet, all those strange feelings I’d had while glancing at the room boiled up inside and spilled from my eyes. I sat, on the floor of my bedroom, hugging my dad’s jeans and cried. The book I was reading when I left to live with Mom was still in the pocket with a bookmark Mom made me still holding the place. The pockets also still held my body lotion, reading light, extra pair of outdated glasses, and that darn TV remote Two Feather hasn’t been able to find for three years. I thought finding the TV remote would bring me to my senses when I chuckled, but the tears continued to flow. I held Dad’s jeans against my chest and ran down the hall to Two’s workroom, tears still streaming down my face.

“What’s wrong? What’s that?” he asked. Between sobs I managed the words, “My dad’s jeans.” The shocked look on Two’s face didn’t help stop the tears and neither did the bear hug he gave me when he realized what I was holding. I buried my face in his chest and sobbed, long and hard, whispering, “I miss you. I miss my dad. I miss my mom. I miss cleaning. I miss everything!”

I wiped the tears from my face, walked back to the bedroom, placed the TV remote on top of the TV, and put the bed caddy back in the closet. Two came in and asked why I didn’t put the caddy back on the bed and I told him I wasn’t putting it back until I could use it again.

He laughed and said, “In that case, you didn’t have to change the sheets on the bed. I haven’t slept in it since you left. I sleep on the couch.”

It was then that I realized how difficult our separation has been for him. In these three years I had no idea that Two didn’t sleep in our bed. All this time I thought he was sleeping comfortable and instead he’s been stretched out on a tiny couch in our living room. He’s always called it the “Joanne couch” because it’s only four foot long.

It’s strange how much our life has changed during this care giving journey and how little things like a bed caddy made from my dad’s carpenter pants can send me to tears. Dad died of Alzheimer’s and will be gone 10 years on the first full day of spring. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things to deal with. We caregivers tell each other it gets better, and it does eventually, but there are always those unexpected little things that take our breath away and reduce us to tears. Today, for me, it was my bed caddy and Dad’s jeans. Even after 10 years. Love you, Dad. I miss you.

Mom has been sleeping better with this low dose of Seroquel. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night she only got up twice to use the bathroom each night. YAY!! I slept pretty well on Friday night, but Saturday night I woke up five times. I think my body and mind had been so used to reacting these past three years that it doesn’t know what to do when it’s not called to duty—so it did what it was used to—woke up. It didn’t take me long to get back to sleep once I realized that there was no need to run to Mom. Sunday morning I did feel the effects of not sleeping sound, though. I felt like I was dragging.

It was a dreary day and Mom was having a difficult time deciding what she wanted to do so I decided to pack her up in the car and go visit my Uncle Joe. I normally visit him twice a month, but with everything that’s been going on lately, I hadn’t been to see him since Christmas. I called him in between, but that’s not the same as a personal visit.

He seems to be doing well at the nursing home. He still says the food is lousy but the nurses are good to him. We visited for a few hours and when Mom used the bathroom Joe said he’d follow us to the elevator when she came out. He looked tired and I guess he had had enough visit for one day.

When Mom and I got home, she wanted to eat and go to bed. I tried to keep her up until 5:30 but she was dozing off at the kitchen table after dinner. By the time I got her dressed for bed she was exhausted and fell right to sleep.

Monday was a nothing day. I did absolutely nothing. Guess I’m entitled to that once in a while. :D

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Friday, February 15, 2008

New Medication Working Good So Far

I kept Mom home from day care on Wednesday again because the driveway was solid ice after the storm. Had the driveway plowed and salted and by afternoon the sun had melted some of the ice.

By Thursday, we were on the road again and Mom went back to day care. When I picked Mom up I was told there was an incident at day care. Evidently, Mom was sitting with Mr. N. and one of the workers walked up to her and said, “You don’t belong here. You need to move to another table.” I was told she grabbed Mom by the shoulders and nudged her toward the other side of the room. Mom complained to the supervisor about the woman’s action and supposedly the worker was reprimanded and made to apologize to my mom. I was glad they told me about it, but I wasn’t happy with what happened. I felt more than a bit let down because I know the woman and I never expected her to act or treat Mom in this fashion. It must have bothered Mom because she remembered it and told me about it on the way home. She said she was glad the lady apologized and she was going to forget it for now. But if it ever happened again, she wasn’t going back. I picked up Mom’s new medication, Seroquel, on the way home and she took it for the first time Thursday evening. It's a low dose before bed. The doctor prescribed 25mg tablets and Mom's only suppose to take a half tablet at bedtime. She slept sound. YAY!! So did I. DOUBLE YAY!! I can’t remember the last time I had two good night’s sleep in a row, but it felt wonderful! That was a Valentine’s gift all in itself. :)

Two and I went grocery shopping on Thursday and spent the rest of the afternoon watching Saw IV. All four of these movies were good. Of course, I’m a horror and thriller fan, so naturally I’m going to say I loved them. That was our Valentine’s Day together. Watching a horror flick.

Today, when I took Mom to day care, the lady who was gruff with her on Thursday pulled up in front of the day care at the same time. She was very pleasant and held the door for Mom to walk in. She said “good morning” to Mom and Mom answered as if nothing had happened. I did say good morning and talked with her, but I didn’t bother mentioning the incident. I figured the supervisor reprimanded her and I didn’t need to make a big deal about it. I’m sure she knows me well enough that if anything like that happens again that I won’t be as courteous the next time. She probably felt lucky that I didn’t say anything this time. I can be very nasty when it comes to protecting my mom.

Today was a do nothing day. Even though I slept well the past two nights, I still feel run down so Two and I just talked all day. Mom had a good day at club and I was happy there were no reports of any kind.

Mom was extremely tired while she ate dinner. She didn’t eat much again tonight. Her appetite has diminished so much. All she wanted to do was finish eating and go to bed. By 5:30 she was snoring.

Angel, (not my daughter) an old friend called my house and Two called to tell me she called. Angel and I used to pal around together in the 80s. We kept in touch for a long time and drifted apart due to life changes. I ran into her at a local store just before I moved in with Mom. She knew Mom had Alzheimer’s but we hadn’t seen each other or talked since so she didn’t know I’d moved in with Mom three years ago. It was really good talking to her after all this time. We were best buddies back then and it didn’t take but a few minutes on the phone to realize how much we’d missed talking to each other. Anyway, if you read this, Angel, thanks for calling. It was wonderful talking to you again.

I’m signing off for now. This new medication is really working wonders so I’m going to take advantage of the fact that Mom is resting peacefully. See you all soon. Joanne does a happy dance as she signs off for the night. :D

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Whole Bunch of Rambling

I haven’t blogged much lately because…quite frankly—I’m exhausted! After reading Robyn’s post about her mom getting up several times a night, I figured I’d finally talk about what I’ve been going through.

You all know about Mr. N. and how he and Mom have become such “great” friends. Well, this friendship and talking has turned to him holding her hand and kissing her on the cheek. The day care workers thought it was all cute and innocent and nothing indecent. Maybe not indecent, but still, he is a married man, Mom is vulnerable, and I told them I thought they should deter these kinds of actions because I didn’t want my mom to get hurt. I wasn’t only worried about Mom getting her feelings hurt when Mr. N. may put his attention elsewhere, but also I was worried that Mrs. N. may walk in and see this and maybe not be so understanding. I still don’t know if she knows about it.

It’s nice that Mom is enjoying the day care socially, but I spoke with the day care workers several times months ago asking them to discourage the hand holding and kissing. They all told me how Mom and Mr. N. would make plans to go out and how they thought it was so cute. Deep down I knew it was a catastrophe waiting to happen. I know my mom.

Now, another lady is paying attention to Mr. N. and Mom is not happy! For the past two months, Mom has been getting up nearly a dozen times a night talking to Mr. N. in her sleep, getting out of bed, thinking he’s in the living room, thinking this lady is here stealing him. Good grief. I’ve told the day care workers that he is on her mind constantly when she is at home and reminded them once again that they should have discouraged this type of affection between them.

The beginning of last week Mom became aggressive at day care toward the lady who is showing Mr. N. affection. Mom told her to move (in not so nice words) and when the lady argued with her, Mom told her to shut up! At the end of last week Mom became angry again when she saw this woman sitting by him. She clenched her fists and said she was going to go over there and punch the woman (also not in such nice language). The day care workers told me how she’s reacting and said something needs to be done. I said, “I’ve been telling you that for months. Oh, it wasn’t a problem until the snake came out and bit you in the face. I’ve been dealing with her up all night for a few months because of this situation. You are the one’s who thought it was so cute, so you deal with it here without being mean to my mother.”

I suggested that when Mr. N. reaches for Mom’s hand or kisses her on the cheek he be reminded that he is married, and suggested that Mom be reminded that he is married and these type things shouldn’t go on. If Mom didn't have Alzheimer's she wouldn't allow such a thing. She would be horrified if she were in her right mind and knew she was allowing a married man to show her affection. Dancing and talking is one thing, but she wouldn’t allow this. For crying out loud, my dad’s best friend who had been a widower for more than 20 years asked her out and kissed her on the cheek six years after Dad died and she told him off. Poor guy. That relationship would have been nice, but she didn’t want anything to do with it because he had been my dad’s best friend.

So…here I am, up nearly a dozen times every night with her cussing and yelling at Mr. N. and this woman because he’s cavorting with someone else. He’s still mainly interested in Mom but since the day care workers have been trying to change the situation (a little too late) Mom is becoming more and more angry.

Her anger wouldn’t change now even if they let them sit together because Mom would still carry on about the “other” woman. When something really matters to Mom, she doesn’t forget it. I told the day care workers they have to deal with it since they let it go on so long.

Angel came over on Saturday to sit with Mom from 1-4:00 so Two and I could visit a friend of his in Ohio. Nearly two hours driving and an hour visit. We were home by 3:30. It was good for Two to get out and see someone he hasn’t seen since November. The driving wasn’t much fun, but it was good for me to get out into different surroundings for a few hours. I realized how much my social skills are deteriorating. I barely talked and when I did, I stumbled over everything I said. Good grief, I need to get out and talk to people before I lose the ability to speak other than repeating myself all day long.

Sunday we had atrocious winds. The lady from church came and gave Mom communion at 1:00. When she came in the house, she said a tree had fallen over Mom’s driveway and was leaning on the power lines. The lines had been ripped off my neighbor’s house. My brother came at 1:15 and said the same thing. He parked his truck and walked up the drive because he didn’t think he could get under it with his truck. He told me I should call the power company. I said, “Of course, just one more thing for me to do because no one else does anything.” He was going into the hall to pick up the phone (which hasn’t been there for three years) and call the power company and said, “What’s the address here?” “You don’t even know your own mother’s addresss?” I asked. “Nevermind, I’ll call the power company.” He stayed until 3:15. I made Mom dinner and we chatted until 4:30. She was tired and wanted to go to bed. It was probably a good thing that she went to bed a tad earlier because the power went out at 5:00 and didn’t come back on until 7:00. Thank goodness the power came back on in such a short time. I was bored stiff for the two hours it was off trying to read a book with a flashlight. LOL Mom was up ten times during the night. This time she was whispering and telling Mr. N. she hopes he’s happy and then yelling at someone to get the hell away from her. I have no idea who she was talking to then.

Monday morning I had Mom in the car and down the driveway and had to back up all the way to the house. The power company cut the end of the tree off the power lines, tightened the lines, and called me at 1:00 in the morning to find out if our power was back on, but they left the tree on the driveway. I didn't know about the tree until I tried to leave in the morning. I called Two Feather to come down and cut up and move the tree so I could take Mom to day care. I called my brother too, figuring he should do something for a change and help Two, but he didn’t answer his phone. I didn’t bother leaving a message on his answering machine. He was home.

Mom’s medication needs changed because she’s getting the itching side effects from trazadone. The doctor took her off respiradol several months ago and I asked him if he would put her back on it but instead he said to try the trazadone. Mom's moods are worse and she's getting up at night more and more. Now, he’s going to order seroquel. They were suppose to call it in on Monday but the pharmacy said they didn’t. The office was closed by the time the pharmacy called to see what the doctor was going to order. The doctor’s office was closed today probably due to the snow, so I’ll have to call them tomorrow and find out when they will call it in.

I kept Mom home from day care today because it snowed overnight and she (and I) were up all night with her dreams, hallucinations, cussing, and wandering. She was a gem all day. She sat and colored while I went through stacks of receipts and got everything together for her taxes. Next, is getting my Uncle Joe’s paperwork ready and then I can finally get the taxes done. That will be a burden off my mind.

We got about six inches of snow today. Then it turned to freezing rain. I’m not sure what it’s doing out there now, but I can say that I’m truly looking forward to summer. Yes, I said summer. The heck with spring. Let’s just move onto the 70 and 80 degree days. I need a vacation!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Angel!

I love you! Even if you are making me older by turning the BIG 30 today. :D

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Daughter Without a Name, Ice Storms, & Wishing for Spring

Last weekend was a bit crazy and the week that followed wasn’t much better. I posted book reviews instead of talking about the goings on here at Mom’s. Last Sunday when the lady from church was here, she and Mom were talking about family. Mom told her that she had a sister and two brothers and her two brothers were still alive and work together. Alrighty then. Truth is, Mom had one brother and he’s been deceased for more than thirty years. Sunday, I also realized that Mom does know that I’m her daughter, but she had forgotten my name. Every day when I pick her up at day care and she sees me, she says, “There’s my daughter.” Sunday, after the lady from church left, Mom and I were talking. I figured I’d do the little memory quiz that I used to do once every couple weeks. I haven’t quizzed Mom for about two months. At least once a month I would joke with her and ask if she knows who I am and she always said, "You're my daughter." Never thought to ask her if she knew my name. I asked her birthday, address, phone number, all of which she didn’t know the answer. She did remember she was born in October, just not the day and year. I asked her how many kids she has. She did say three. That’s correct.

“What are they?” I asked.
“I think I have three boys,” she said.
I giggled and said, “If you have three boys, who am I?”
“You’re my daughter,” she said.
“Okay. So you can’t have three boys if you have a daughter, Mom.”
“I guess you’re right.”
“What are your kid’s names?”
“I think they are Bob and Ray.”
“What’s my name, Mom?”
She looked at me with such shockingly sad eyes and said, “I don’t know. What is your name?”
“Joanne. My name is Joanne, Mom.”

I knew one day Mom wouldn’t know who I am and I prepared myself for it. I guess it just shocked me that she knows I’m her daughter, but has forgotten my name. I tried to think back to when and how long it’s been since she’s called out to me by name, and I pinpointed it to mid-October when Mom was up and down half the night looking for Mr. N. She would call out to me by name back then, yelling up the steps, “Joanne, are you up there?” She hasn’t called me by name since. Mostly, I’m “her daughter” when she talks about me, and when she talks to me, I’m “honey” or I’m not addressed at all before asking something or looking for me. Wow! It very well could be that she hasn’t known my name for more than three months. We've gone through a few moments at times when she wasn't sure who I am. I've already mentioned those times. Strange, but I think I accepted the fact that she would someday not know me at all more than I accepted her not remembering my name. The two just seem to go together, but I never imagined she’d remember who I am and forget my name. Then again, she can’t understand how my daughter is her granddaughter, so I don’t think I want to ask if she understands what a daughter is. LOL

After realizing Mom didn’t know my name, the whole darn following week just kept getting worse. It was all sort of depressing, actually. I did log in long enough to post a “Happy Birthday” to my dad. That was part of the depressing week. The other part was that I felt lousy. I’m not running a fever and I don’t have a cold. I just felt tired and worn out. My muscles ached more than usual and my legs and knees are killing me. Mom may have Alzheimer’s, but she can certainly pick up on my emotions no matter how hard I try to hide them. She knew I wasn’t feeling well and she kept asking me if there was anything she could do for me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that if she would sleep all night long it would make a world of difference in my longevity.

By the end of the week, I still wasn’t feeling any better. Thursday I just curled up on the couch and slept after taking Mom to day care. Two and I watched a movie and I trudged through the day as if I were a zombie. The weather report showed an ice storm coming through and we were supposed to get hit after midnight. Two and I prepared for not having the day together on Friday.

Friday morning I got up at the usual time. I went downstairs, let Mom’s dog out and he slid off the porch and onto the sidewalk. The porch and sidewalk were solid ice. I got the salt out and sprinkled it over the porch and sidewalk and tested the gravel drive with my foot. It was like an ice rink. These pictures don't show the ice as well as I would have liked. The bushes, power lines, absolutely everything was iced over. Nothing like you guys had in the northwest and central part of the states last month, but still scary on this hill just the same.

I called the day care and they said they were open but I had to tell them that Mom wouldn’t be coming in because we couldn’t get off our hill.

I’ll drive in a foot of snow on Mom’s driveway, but there is no way I’ll drive on ice. You’ve seen pictures of my Mom’s driveway. It’s steep and winding. It’s a beautiful site when the leaves are changing colors and the sun is shining through the clouds, but there’s no way to stop on ice, unless of course you want to slide over the 50+-foot embankment and crash to the bottom. Nope. Not me. When it’s ice, I stay home—and so does Mom.

The ice didn’t thaw from the porch, the sidewalk, the drive, the power lines, and the trees until 4:00 Friday afternoon. Then everything that thawed on Friday froze overnight and left an icy mess this morning, too. I think we may get out of here on Monday morning as long as it doesn’t rain and freeze again.

Am I wishing for spring? You’re darn right I am!

Back to reading and writing my book reviews.

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