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

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Location: United States

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.

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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Blogger rainbowheart said...

I am so sorry to hear that you are having a bad week. I think that I would be ready for the summer too after having a time with the power lines and downed trees. I will be glad when the Spring gets here myself. One day we get rain, then it is cold and then it is warm or either hot. That is the South for you. I hope that your gets better and that you and your Mom gets some rest. Take care my friend.

2/12/2008 9:40 PM  
Blogger Lori1955 said...

Oh sweetie, you have really had a time of it. All I can say is BREATHE.

2/13/2008 12:55 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

oh how my heart breaks for you. i had so many thoughts racing through my mind as i read your post. here are some of "my ramblings". i agree, the daycare should have tried to nip it in the bud earlier. do all 3 of the people involved go to daycare 5 days a week? if not maybe alternating days they attend so they are not there all the same days. are there different rooms with activities that could separate them? i also thought about trying a different daycare for your mom but my guess is that she feels pretty comfortable there and change is hard and routine is important so...

i would definitely talk to her physician and see about changing meds. besides risperadol that russ took, his neurologist also prescribed remeron (an antidepressant) for him at night. the side effect was drowsiness and it seems to minimize the number of times he would get up at night. just a thought. in her mind she could be depressed if she feels mr. n's attention is going elsewhere. i'm probably grasping at straws but i know how hard this is for you. the last thought would be is, if your mom goes 5x/week, maybe back off the number of days for a few weeks to see if she forgets some of this. i know this would be hard for you as that is your time to rest up so....why is it that what we want them to forget they don't and what we wish they wouldn't forget, they do. this disease really sucks!!

i feel so helpless for you joanne. please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. you were (and still are) so supportive of me during my journey with russ. i wish i could do more for you. hang in there and like lori said, BREATHE. (((hugs)))

2/13/2008 11:49 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

p.s. glad you were able to get out with two, even if only for a few hours. that's so important!

2/13/2008 11:52 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for reading, Gale. Hope all is well with you and your mom.

LOL Lori. Yep, I'm breathing. Big sighs most of the time. ROFL

Thanks, Nancy. I kept Mom home on Tuesday because of snow. She was up all night about this stuff even without seeing Mr. N. I kept her home again today due to bad weather. So we'll see if two days not being around him will make a difference. I have been considering trying to find a different day care, but so far I've had no luck with finding one close. Evidently they are far and few between around here.

We'll see what happens with the new prescription. Maybe that will help make a difference as well. Here's hoping. You're sure right about the things we'd like them to forget and don't, though. LOL

2/13/2008 6:08 PM  
Blogger Cinnamin said...

Sending you Big Bear Hugs, Joanne. Been there, done that, and I feel for you! Hopefully the new meds will help and things will get back on track soon! Trial and error with the meds, I remember that SO well.

2/14/2008 2:31 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

just checking in on you and hope you got some sleep last night. i also hope you and two can spend some time together today. happy 'tines day to you both!

2/14/2008 10:00 AM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

Good heavens Joanne. You certainly are having a time of it. When the wind blew in Sunday night with the absurd cold temperatures, I kept thinking to myself how difficult this winter would have been if Mom were still alive. From your writing, I can see my suspicions are correct. I'm so sorry things are so hectic for you right now.

I found the adult daycare situation in our area to be pitiful. I must have called a dozen places looking to find one. The closest to me here was in Harmarville. That's quite a hike for you and wouldn't be worth the price of gasoline to and from each day. I never searched Beaver county though, so I may have missed something there. Have you checked the Allegheny County Department of Aging website? Most of their listings are in the city of Pittsburgh, but they may have something in your area. It's certainly worth a google search.

Please know you and your family are in my prayers. I know that is of little consolation these days, but I usually felt better knowing I wasn't going it alone with Mom. And you aren't either. I want to extend the offer to you that I will gladly come and stay with your mom if you ever need me. Just say the word.

((hugs)) to you and Two on this Valentine's Day.

2/14/2008 10:38 AM  
Blogger steflovesnonna said...

Wow, your poor mom. I saw the same type of things going on at Nonna's nursing home. A man and woman would start showing affection and the nurses thought it was cute. So they encouraged it. But then one day Frank showed affection to someone else and the first lady got pissed. I know its a hard situation, because you with they could have a friendship but its just not possible. I hope your situation resolves itself in time. Hang in there friend. Have a good V-day.

2/14/2008 10:43 AM  
Blogger Cloudsitter9 said...

Hi mommalou. Hope you are having a better day. I am finally feeling a bit better. By the way, Val and Gus have a new blog with the baby on it - www.emmaanngreen.blogspot.com

check it out, she's cute.

talk to you soon.

2/14/2008 9:39 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for the hugs, Cinn. Back at you.

Nancy, The driveway as plowed and the weather was better, so Two and I did spend Valentine's Day together. He even made me a card. :D

Betsy, that is so sweet of you to offer staying with Mom. I really do appreciate your graciousness. Just knowing that you would extend that offer helps build strength. Thank you. You're right about the day care situation being pitiful around here. I think the one Mom goes to is the only one in Beaver County. I'm still checking on that. I have a call into the Office of Aging to see if there are any other day cares close by. Mom did sleep through the night last night, so I was able to recharge my battery. :)

Stef, I feel bad for the "first" lady at the nursing home where Nonna was. It's a shame that they are so vulnerable and end up being hurt by these things.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Hope you had a great day.

2/14/2008 10:06 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Hi Angel. Happy Valentine's Day! I'm so glad you're feeling better. I didn't want to call because you sounded like you needed your rest.

I checked out Val's blog. Emma is adorable! Val looks really good.

By the way, I love the Seal-A-Meal. It works great! We went shopping today and used it to vacuum pack all the meat we bought. :D Thank you, honey. Give Katie kisses and hugs for me. Love you.

2/14/2008 10:10 PM  
Blogger nancy said...

glad to hear your mom slept through the night 2 nights ago. i hope you were as lucky again last night. you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. keep us posted....

2/15/2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Isn't it amazing how a good night's sleep can turn things around?

I too wonder if I know how to be around people anymore.

2/15/2008 5:59 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Nancy, Two nights sleep in a row. We're on a roll. YAY!!

Hi Annie, an old friend called me tonight and I found I do still have the ability to talk in sentences. LOL

You're right! It is amazing how a few good night's sleep and talking to an old friend can turn things around. Felt great!

2/15/2008 9:00 PM