Sunday 20 March 2022

Update on My Mom, and a Blogger Hack

Mom's cataract surgery went very well. The ophthalmology day surgery unit is a well-oiled machine and she was in and out of the operating room in a very short time. She had minimal discomfort afterward and she has allowed me to do her eyedrops and has not complained about keeping the perforated patch over that eye ... yet. It could still happen, but it's gone better than I expected.

There are two kinds of drops: an antibiotic that is administered four times a day for one week, and a steroid four times a day for one month. During the first week, when both drops are being used, you are supposed to wait 20 minutes after the first drop to give the second one, to allow it to be well absorbed and do its work. 

So, along with time to remove and replace Mom's eye patch and clean her eyelid, giving the drops takes a minimum of three-quarters of an hour four times a day, for that first week. I expect the time will drop to about 30 minutes per visit once she is on one drop only. She likes having the visits because she is still very concerned about Covid (as am I) and doesn't go out much. So it is hard to just do the drops and leave, as she is a very determined talker.

All of that to say that I had to take a week off work and the next three weeks won't be a picnic either.

The eye patch is technically only required for the first night after surgery, but my mother has dementia (as most of you know) and habitually rubs her eyes a lot. She also doesn't wash her hands properly anymore, and certainly can't remember to wash them before touching her eye. So I told her a little white lie, which is that she has to wear the patch all the time "for a few days" until her eye heals, and she has accepted that.

All in all, things could have gone off the rails in so many ways, but they didn't, and hopefully she will manage everyday tasks more easily once the patch can come off. 

I am struggling with what feels like a marathon of visits for the rest of the month she needs drops, but at this point I try not to think about the whole month, just one day at a time.

It's basically the same approach I am now taking to my mother's care in general, because I get too upset if I think about how many more years I might be the only one responsible for her care while my own life is put on hold. I try to just think about today and this week, and not much beyond that.

I realize that for quite a few months I was having a hard time with this and it must have seemed to people reading here that I was being selfish for resenting the care of my mother so much. It was just so hard to be dealing with the loss of my husband AND the care of my mother. It was a rocky period of my life. It still feels unfair that I had this particular burden at that particular time, but now I am able to once more remember that an awful lot of people carry even worse burdens.

Still, I am tired, both physically and mentally. Every trip to my mom's is something I dread and have to push myself to do. It's hard listening to the same stories, complaints, and questions every visit, often multiple times in a visit, and not being able to have an actual conversation to ease the stress.



Now for the Blogger hack. I started having trouble leaving comments on numerous blogs a while ago. The only way I could comment was to use a different web browser. I had always used Firefox, but switching to Chrome allowed me to comment without problems again.

However, being the lazy donkey I am, I always start out reading using Firefox, because that's where all my bookmarks are, so then I have to switch to Chrome and search for the blog if I want to comment. Did I mention how lazy I am? Often I'd read the blog posts in Firefox and then not take the time to switch to Chrome to comment.

But I discovered yesterday, purely by chance, that if I have a blog open in one tab in Firefox and I can't comment on it, if I switch to a different open tab (my email, for instance, although it can be any tab) and then back to the blog tab, I am magically able to click on the comment box and see the blinking cursor that allows me to comment. Any action that takes me out of the tab allows me to comment once I click back on the blog tab again. For instance, I can also open a Word document and then switch back to the blog tab and am able to comment.

I have no idea what's happening, but it works. There must be some slight glitch in loading the blog that is cleared by going out of the tab and then returning. All I know is that I'm happy to have a quick workaround for the problem, because I haven't been leaving comments nearly enough on many blogs for some time now. Now I can. Yay!

I don't know if this trick will help anyone else with the problem, and you're probably all less lazy than I am, so maybe you don't need a shortcut or hack, but I'll put it out there anyhow.


Time for some distraction from regular life.






Wishing you all a week where things go unexpectedly well in difficult circumstances and you find life hacks that make you happy. 


crafty cat corner said...

This is the thing with carers, nobody knows quite what it entails until they have to do it themselves.
I am Tom's carer and sometimes feel as though I am a shadow because I am on the go all of the time for him but I have a life too.
Like you I tend to just do one day at a time, that's all I can do.
Love the cat pics.

Elephant's Child said...

I am glad that giving your mother eye drops is going better than expected. What a clever idea to tell her that she needs to continue wearing the patch for a few days.
And thank you for that hack - which I will try in a bit. Firefox is my preferred browser and at the moment I cannot comment on very many blogs at all. (I do resent going into another browser to comment).

jenny_o said...

Briony: I hear you. It's hard, isn't it? One foot in front of the other, that's the only way to get through it. I wish I had some other solution to share with you but I don't. Sending love to you and to Tom. xx

Elephant's Child: I hope the hack helps you. It's still annoying to have to take an extra step but at least it's a smaller step than switching browsers :) I wonder if the browser/blogger issue will ever get better or if this is permanent.

Mike said...

Did Firefox update to a new version recently? If so the next update may fix it. I think you can let Firefox know about your glitch. I just checked. Under help, there is a submit feedback.

dinthebeast said...

I think the other eyedrop is some kind of steroid? That's how I remember it, and using the medical tape to tape the little plastic cover over my eye before bed. They seemed very concerned about me getting things into my eye after the surgery, especially the second one, and when I went in for the final appointment after the second surgery I found out why: they had put a tiny stitch into my eye after the surgery and it had to come out. That was... interesting. Resting my chin on the pad and trying not to move my eye while Dr. Huang first cut the stitch with what looked like a syringe, and then pulled it out, which took three brand new pairs of tweezers before one could actually grab it...
Thanks for the hack. I haven't been having to use a different browser for any of the regular blogs I comment on for a while now, but if the problem shows back up, I'll try your method.
Perhaps your mom's mood will improve when she finds she can see again. I know mine did. I talked with my sister about it before my surgeries, as her eyes were really bad when she was born and required multiple correctional surgeries, and she told me that she had the cataract surgery five years previous and no longer needed glasses or contact lenses except for reading. She told me that I would probably end up looking back on it as one of the best things I ever did.
Did I ever mention how smart my sister is? No?
I have a very, very smart sister.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Anonymous said...

I did not think you were complaining about the care you giving to mother. You correctly painted that it was not easy. While your mother might not have liked it, a professional should've have been organised to administer the drops rather than you have to turn your life upside down, again.

The commenting problem is very interesting. I guess we have all found workarounds for problems, even though they make little sense.

Mt Canopener, haha

jenny_o said...

Mike: Firefox updates quite frequently, and since this started being a problem back in December, it should have corrected itself by now if it was going to. At the time it happened, I did submit feedback, as did at least one other blogger. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. :D Good suggestion, though. If you have any others, bring 'em on!

Doug: You're right, the second drop was a steroid, to reduce swelling. And YIKES on having a stitch in your eye! Did it hurt to have it taken out? Or maybe they froze your eye? Crikey. As for my mom's moods, that's part of her personality so I can hope but not with much conviction that she will be easier to get along with once she is seeing better :) And you DO have a very smart sister! Is she your only sibling?

jenny_o said...

Andrew: I appreciate your kind take on things; maybe it didn't sound like complaining but inside my head I was very, very resentful. And when she gets in one of her moods I still have a hard time blaming the disease when she was like this all her life. However. There's nothing can be done to change things. As for the eye drops, we had to fill out a form at the intake appointment last fall indicating if someone would be able to help her do the drops. I said yes because I didn't want the surgery to be stalled, and also because I was pretty sure they would just tell me to call the government home care folks and arrange for them to do it -- and I've tried to get Mom to allow them to come in already for meals, meds, and/or housecleaning and she absolutely refuses. Without her permission, they will not do it. Even worse, if she were to agree and then at some point get huffy and tell them not to come anymore and she still needed drops, it would still fall to me to do them or they wouldn't get done. I feel very trapped in the situation. Eventually it will resolve, I know, but I don't know when and that's why I just can't think beyond a week or so. It's too upsetting. I think maybe that's called denial rather than acceptance, but the label hardly matters :)

Joanne Noragon said...

One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. I wish I could help more.

messymimi said...

You aren't complaining. As much as we love our family members, there are times when we need to express how we feel about the load we carry. You can love a person and still have a difficult time dealing with all the care s/he needs.

Thanks for the funnies!

Red said...

Once in a while blogger throws a glitch at me. Well, really it's probably something I've done. Most of the time it mysteriously corrects itself. It is extremely frustrating when things won't work as they are supposed to.

37paddington said...

At no point did it seem to me you were being selfish or complaining. I have walked this elder care walk and it is grueling, and that is regardless of how much you love the person. To be doing it while having just lost your husband, well, I can hardly fathom how you manage it. One day at a time is a good plan.

River said...

Aww, "you win kitty..." I love that one :)

I'm a bit worried about my own cataract surgery now, so many eye drops so many times? I have trouble with eye drops, I tilt my head back as far as I can, but still the stuff runs down my cheeks. I don't know how I'll manage the post-surgery ones. And I guess they can only do one eye at a time too, so people don't go stumbling around temporarily blind.

dinthebeast said...

I really almost didn't feel it come out. It was just strange having him do it. Man, I got good care at Highland Hospital in Oakland, they're just the best as far as I can tell.
There were three siblings in my family, but my older brother died in the early 2000's so my sister and I are all that's left.
He was a biker. 6'5", 230lbs., full beard, Harley, the whole bit.
As for the swelling, my first surgery, on my left eye, was the more difficult of the two, and the cataract was more severe, and I had some swelling post surgery that caused my vision to be foggy for a few days.
What was strange about that was that without the cataract, the dim yellow color was gone from everything, and seemingly replaced by a brilliant, white fog...

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Cherie said...

That doesn't sound like complaining to me Jenny. It sounds like a very realistic view of your situation right now. Those little funnies always make me smile. Please look after yourself. x

Marie Smith said...

It is quite a feat to have worked out a system for doing the drops for your mother’s eye care after cataract surgery considering she has dementia. Having gone through two recent surgeries I know what’s involved. You are doing an incredible job, Jenny. Don’t ever doubt it!

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Thanks for the update, sounds quite good medically spoken.
You're SO not complaining. The sentences: "... too upset if I think about how many more years I might be the only one responsible for her care while my own life is put on hold," describes it so well. I wish I knew a way out for us, but I don't - except for winning the lottery, paying in advance for a look-alike private nurse, and just getting the *** out of here to some tropical paradise.
Prayers for strength for you coming over the ocean.

jenny_o said...

Joanne: I know that feeling. I wish I could help more with things you need done!

Mimi: Maybe I edit my thoughts so much that what sounds terrible in my head comes out less terrible in writing :) But it is valuable to me to be able to vent some here, and I appreciate people reading and being so kind.

Red: Knock on wood, I don't have too many issues with the computer or Blogger. I'm glad yours seem to resolve quickly. This hack seems to be working well, thankfully.

37p: It's good to find others who have gone through something the same; makes me feel less alone. Grueling is an excellent word to describe the work.

River: So often the meme you pick as your favourite is mine, too! That picture just does something to my heart. Eye drops are tricky and if you are getting cataract surgery maybe you could ask for tips from the surgeon or even practice with saline drops. Giving them to my mom, I use the same instructions the optometrist use: Tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. Another tip I've read but it doesn't work for me or for my mom but it might for other people - with your thumb and one finger, pinch the lower lid slightly to form a pouch for the drop. It doesn't matter if we get more than one drop in, I made sure to ask the surgeon about that. There is no such thing as overdosing on eye drops. When in doubt I put another one in Mom's eye. I hope you manage okay. Would you be able to have a home care worker come in for the first week or so to do the drops? By then it wouldn't be so critical if you overshot or undershot on a drop now and then.

gz said...

Jenny that seems a useful technique for eye drops.
Once the antibiotic and steroid eye drops have finished, there will be the need for regular lubricating eyedrops every day. Pirate has it down to twice a day, morning and evening

Bonnie said...

I'm so happy to hear her cataract surgery went well. It's good also that she is wearing the patch. You were smart to tell her to keep doing that. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to go over there four times a day. You are a real trooper with all this. I know it's difficult and frustrating. You are smart to just take one day at a time. Remember to look at each day behind you as an accomplishment on your part. Please know, we do not think you are complaining! My goodness, you have been through more in the past couple of years all at one time than most people ever have to face! It is important for you to get your feelings out and I'm sure all your friends understand. We care about you!

It sounds like you've found a good hack for your browser problem. You are smart to figure that out. I use Chrome most of the time so I have not run into that problem but I have heard of others having it.

I love all the funnies! What would we do without our very special furry family members? Please take time for yourself between everything else!

Martha said...

That is wonderful news about your mom's cataract surgery. It's really difficult to be a caregiver. You are not complaining! You need to vent, so you can de-stress. So vent away. We're her to listen and support!

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I'm so happy your mom's cataract surgery went well. That is a plus. But so sorry your burden is heavy right now. Please know that my thoughts are with you!
And your funnies did--as usual--brighten my skies! Thank you!

John M said...

You are a good doughier.

e said...

I'm glad the surgery went well. Hang in there and thanks for the funnies and your visits.

LL Cool Joe said...

I can so relate to how you are feeling about your mother, and the way you dread going to see her all the time. I was just the same, and I hadn't lost my beloved partner. This is a very tough time for you, and I hope something changes to ease your situation.

Diane Henders said...

I'm glad to hear your mother's surgery went well, and I can only imagine how stressful it must be for you to deal with the after-care. Thanks for the jokes, and I hope you find some things that let you relax and smile in the coming days.

jenny_o said...

Doug: It's so weird that there would be no pain when the doctor removed your stitch. But it's good it was like that! I can kind of picture your brother from your description. It must have been hard to lose him. A sibling shares so much of your early life experiences.

Cherie: I must be complaining less here but more inside my head. Glad you like the memes :)

Marie: We're past the one week mark and things are getting easier! She is seeing so much better and is in better cheer!

Charlotte: Cloning is the answer!! I hadn't thought about that :) I'm sorry you are going through a similar thing. It's not fun at all.

gz: I think everyone's eyes are different after surgery - I had both eyes done and have never needed lubricating drops. It's good your Pirate has a regimen that works well for him to maintain comfort!

Bonnie: The worst week is over and I checked with Mom's surgeon about when her eye should be healed well enough to not worry about her rubbing it - apparently the eye is well healed after one week, and we've made it past that by two days! She is seeing really well with that eye and now realizes how dim her vision in the other eye is, and is considering accepting the offer of surgery on it. So ... another round of drops and patching that eye will likely be coming, but it's worth the investment of time if it helps her enjoy life more! Thank you for the encouragement you always give me (and other people), Bonnie. It brightens the day :)

Martha: It really does help to write about it. The kind comments from readers make it even more helpful :)

Diane: She's doing well; I'm so relieved! It makes the effort really worth putting in :)

John: I try (and fail more than I'd like). Partly it's that there is no one else to do it and I do care.

e: Things are easier with the first week over :) I'm so glad to be able to easily comment on blogs again. It felt like I just didn't have the energy to do what it took to set up all the bookmarks all over again in a different browser. Now it's so much easier.

Joey: You were a faithful and loving son to your mother under difficult circumstances. That counts for a great deal. I know you understand well, having gone through it yourself. Things have improved here with the first week post-surgery in the past. I can relax a bit :)

Diane: The first week was definitely the hardest so the next three will be a piece of cake! .....mmm, cake ..... Seriously, funnies have really helped reduce my stress. They lift that heavy feeling, even if it's just for a few minutes. Reading does that, too.