Thursday, July 14, 2011

Are We There Yet?

As difficult as this trip has been, there have been bright spots of joy blended into the mix. I'll begin with those, then explain the current predicament and when we plan to return home.

We've spent time with our youngest son, his beautiful wife and their children—our grandchildren. I got real giggles from Aiden when I called him a "cheap date" at the frozen yogurt store. We met up there for an evening treat. Grandpa decided to buy for everyone, but Aiden is only four months old. He didn't get any. He was happily watching everyone enjoying their choices when I told him he was a cheap date, and he must have thought that was the funniest thing I had ever said. Laughing babies are such a blessing. Granddaughters enjoying frozen desserts are, as well.

It was more fun with a cold delicious bowl than I ever remember having before. By the way, I chose banana with miniature Reece's Cups on the top. From my point of view, it was perfect. We went from there to Target, where we walked around and the girls got to pick out their new backpacks and lunch boxes. They both wanted the same ones, so Ruth is going to have fun making sure each girl gets the right bag and box when it's time to leave home. Maybe she'll put names on them. Disney Princess bags and Tinkerbell lunch boxes won the competition in both little hearts.

Yesterday morning the local theatre had a free showing of How to Train Your Dragon. Neither of the girls had ever been to a show in public before, although they watch movies at home with the family. They did beautifully. John and I joined them, and Ben bought a huge bag of popcorn to share. It was a movie John and I had seen before, but it was much more fun with the girls. I was amazed at just how respectful and quiet they were. Kate isn't three yet. Ashley is just four. I figured their first trip to the movies would entail some hushed whispering about behavior. It never needed to happen.

Some memories are worth more than gold. Near the end of the movie, when things were getting really exciting, Kate reached up and kissed my cheek. I looked over and she smiled at me. I held out my arms and she climbed on my lap for the last ten or so minutes of the film. It reminds me of that wonderful old hymn... "Precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul."

These moments have kept us sane. We return to the home where my mom is dealing with deterioration and dementia. My step father is not doing well. It appears he has had new small strokes that effect his balance, and he can no longer walk properly. He keeps falling and wants no one to help but her. She can no longer leave the house. He won't cooperate with anyone else. He barely eats. Doesn't want the walker. Refused assistance from the nurses (2) and physical therapist who have come to the house to help Mom.

It's been a nightmare for her, and an exercise in frustration and patience for us. We can keep her grocery list filled. I can change her bandage twice a day while she heals from her surgery. I make sure she's not spending her energy on cooking or clean-up. I can lend an ear and a shoulder to lean on. What needs most to be done is beyond me. I cannot make her see the need for him to be in a care facility. I can't show her how emotionally fragile she's become without upsetting her more.

Big brother to the rescue. We'll leave for home Sunday after church. Pat and his wife will arrive Sunday afternoon. Already I know we've stayed beyond what is wise. I run out of my medications five doses before arriving home. It's the seizure medication that worries me most. I'll call my neurologist today and see if he can phone in a small prescription to get us home. The blessing, all problems aside, is knowing Pat & Betty will be here to support Mom. You can get a clear image of them. Think salt of the earth.

We can head for home knowing Mom won't be left alone to make impossible decisions.


John Paul McKinney said...

It must be hard for the infirm elderly to have to depend on those who depended on them for so many years, to give up independence, their own space, and ability to make decisions for themselves. And hard for the grown children to see it happen. You handle it with grace. Reminded me of this blog:
Safe travels home. JP

kerrie said...

Kathleen, this trip must have been bittersweet..the blessings of grandkids and those wondrous times and memory making...the toughness of dealing with your mom and stepfather...that is just hard and no easy answers. I always tried to remember that I may be there some day and even that did not make it easier. prayers to you...kerrie