Sunday, 14 August 2022

Highlights & Lowlights

It has been a relatively quiet week here.

Due to some crazy time recently with my mom, including this, I did a lot of reading about certain behaviors of dementia patients, and was able to pinpoint what I was doing to contribute to the crazy. Changing my own reactions to my mom's behavior has made the path much smoother. It's not perfect, of course. But I'm learning. (The essence of what I've learned is not to argue or try to use logic, no matter how unfair, untrue, or weird her conversation gets.)

There was another factor contributing to the crazy. Mom had family visiting from another province. She hadn't seen them since the summer before the pandemic started, and although she knew they were coming and was very much looking forward to their visit, when they arrived she did not recognize them and could not work out who they were, no matter how many times we explained it. After a three-day visit they left and she had some quiet time to think, and finally she realized who they were and she was distressed that she had, essentially, missed their visit. Fortunately, the two she most wanted to see were able to return for a day, and she was able to enjoy their second visit.

Remember how I mentioned I had returned to my workplace instead of working from home? When I went in Friday, my boss had a cough and some congestion. He had tested negative for Covid using a rapid test for two days running. On Saturday, however, he emailed staff to say he had tested positive.

So I've been exposed to the dreaded virus. I am a little freaked out, because I have iffy bronchial tubes (technically asthma) and I'm overweight, but I'll just have to wait (with dread) to see if I've caught it. I have had three Covid shots, but the most recent was way back in January. Our province recommends that my age group wait until this fall for the fourth shot.My mom has had a fourth shot, and although her age (92) is not in her favour, she is incredibly healthy, physically speaking. I'll be double-masking when I am around her, and keeping my visits to the briefest time possible. If I develop symptoms, I have a plan for getting her medication to her. I hope we have avoided the virus, or, if not, that our symptoms are mild.

We had a spell of very warm and humid weather which started two weeks ago and lasted for a little over a week. That doesn't sound like long, but I worried the whole time about my mother because prior to that she wouldn't use her air conditioner and seemed not to understand what it was for. When I tried to explain, she would get very upset at me. She somehow figured it out, though, and I mostly stayed away because when I visited her, she would follow me outside when I was leaving, leaving the door wide open and letting all the cool air escape from her house. I'm there every evening anyhow, so I could make sure she was okay at that time. I'm happy that the weather has moderated since then. That week was too stressful for my liking.

That's the highlights and lowlights reel from the Donkey's life recently.

Let's have a few funnies, shall we?


























My wish for you:

May your week be a great one; and if it can't be great, may it at least be good; and if it can't be good, may you at least not be squashed by a polar bear in your own home.

Stay safe, folks.





Elephant's Child said...

Thanks so much for the funnies - many of which I strongly relate to. And thank you for those wishes too. There are no polar bears here, so I am probably safe. Ish.
And I do hope you don't get covid.
Huge hugs. And more of them (from a safe distance).

Boud said...

I remember that point in my late husband's dementia when explanation no longer worked and it was more peaceful to let everything just pass by. At first he'd appreciated reminders and explanations, so it wasn't clear at first when that time had passed. It looks as if your mom is there now.

Red said...

Dementia is irrational. It's difficult to deal with the irrational as we think in rational terms. Good idea to check the net on how to deal with things.

jenny_o said...

Elephant's Child: Thank goodness for virtual hugs - safe at all times :) I do hope you have a quiet week, dear friend.

Boud: I think you're right. My mom has less and less ability to hold any kind of reciprocal conversation. So I try to just let her talk. I don't think I knew of your husband's dementia - I'm sorry you had to go through that. It's a difficult and cruel disease.

Red: The internet has been extremely helpful. I don't think I could cope without it. Certainly the local senior clinic has not been a source of much information at all. That surprised me.

Steve Reed said...

Scary about the Covid exposure! But take heart -- many, many people get exposed even to immediate family members and don't get sick. Who knows why this is.

Both my parents struggled with some degree of dementia, and I would always pretty much nod and smile whenever they said something outlandish. They weren't going to remember the conversation anyway so it was easier on all of us.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Oh, I so hope you do not catch the unmentionable virus!!! fingers, toes and everything crossed.
It sounds like you found a modicum of peace with your mother, I fervently hope the journey will become smoother from here on.
All the best wishes from Denmark.

dinthebeast said...

Good luck with the covid thing. I was worried a little after I went to the community meeting last month as it was the first time I had been unmasked among others without masks since the pandemic started. It was outside and apparently I need not have worried. I still wear an N95 at the grocery store, though very few others seem to wear anything on their faces.
So did they use the bear spray like insecticide or mosquito repellent?

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Marie Smith said...

I hope you can stay Covid free as well as your mother. You have enough to handle already. Take care!

messymimi said...

You are doing a tremendous job under great pressure.

Thanks for the laughs!

Martha said...

Thank goodness for all the online information available to us now to learn about how to deal with health issues like dementia! And I do hope you have a mild case if you test positive for COVID. Many people I know have caught it in the past couple of months and luckily they all did well. The funnies were hilarious! The one about the bear spray and the one about two favourites!

Joanne Noragon said...

Here's some encouragement. I was exposed to Covid, twice and a half. Both people in my house got it, one really bad, and one got it twice. I just stayed away (don't let your boss come to work!) Wash your hands and face everytime you must go into his office for something. If you must call him for any sort of resolution, do not let him come in the office.
Oh, the irony of it.
Love you.

e said...

I hope you stay well and double mask anyway just to be careful. It sounds like your mother's illness is teaching you a lot.

kylie said...

I hope you don't get covid but if you do, I hope it's mild and soon gone.

It's wonderful that your family members were able to come back to see your mom. That visit will be memorable for a long time

Mike said...

If I run short of jokes for next Saturday I may come back and steal most of these.

River said...

"I've lost control of the day.." Been there!
I hope you or your Mum don't get Covid. it's nice you've learned a way to cope, nice too that she got a second visit with family and was able to remember them and have a conversation.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Blogpost read in its entirety and approved for consumption in North Korea.

I am glad that I never had to witness my mother's descent into dementia. It must be tough. Keep up the good work Jenny and remember to put on your armour each time you visit - forged from kindness, patience, pragmatism, duty and love.

jenny_o said...

Steve: Yes, I'm hoping that this variant truly is less serious than the ones that came before! And, you were wise to nod and smile with your parents. The times it gets really hard for me is when she starts criticizing other people because she has forgotten the facts. Or when I am trying to help (say, suggesting lighter clothing on a hot day) and she immediately goes into oppositional mode. But I'm trying to just let it be :)

Charlotte: I think this approach will be better overall! Thank you for your good wishes.

Doug: I'm picturing using the bear spray like mosquito repellent - not sure if I read something about it somewhere else, maybe? I hope there was no bear around at the time because the person would have been easy pickings :) Yeah, far fewer people are wearing masks here now. I'm not really happy about that, despite being resigned to this being the reality.

Marie: Me, too - let's hope!!

Mimi: I'm a slow learner, but usually I EVENTUALLY learn :) lol Glad to provide the laughs as well.

Martha: There are a lot of cases in NS since the government lifted all restrictions. Which makes me think the restrictions were a good idea ... except we were all vulnerable once they were done away with. At least the current variant is less deadly for most people. I hope that if I get it, it's as mild as my boss's case is.

Joanne: My boss has chosen to stay home for the recommended time, which is good. And I am out of work at the moment, so I don't have to go to the office this week anyway. I'm amazed that you avoided the virus, given the circumstances, but very glad you did!

e: Yes, I am learning quite a bit. I wouldn't have chosen to do so, but isn't that the same way most people feel about hard times? It was hardest last year when I was trying to process my husband's death. It's somewhat easier now.

jenny_o said...

kylie: I am SO thankful my niece and her daughter could make another visit. It meant the world to my mom, and she has already forgotten the difficult visit that came before it, but not the "good" visit - that one, she remembers. Which is a bit strange, but I'll take it.

Mike: You can't steal what isn't mine to start with - lol Feel free, spread the fun :)

River: LOL! Me too :) Yes, I'm so glad my mom had a chance for a better visit. She had been looking forward to it for so long. My niece was also distressed about the first visit, and felt better after the second visit too.

Mr. Pudding: I feel your first line is not so complimentary as you are trying to make it out to be :) You know, your analogy to armour is very apt. That's how I feel most days. I physically brace myself for my visits and often have to give myself a pep talk. It's stressful. But I do my best, because there's really no choice, and many MANY other folks are dealing with worse situations (both dementia and otherwise). I appreciate your encouragement.

John M said...

Great post, I needed a smile.

Diane Henders said...

Thank you for the funnies, and I hope you and your mom both stay healthy. Fingers crossed for you!

baili said...

I am touched by your kindness and selflessness always dear Jenny!

Among all the odds you manage to look after your mom. How wise to take help from books and try to understand how you can keep it smooth.

I can only imagine your stress when you have to be careful about covid and that if you have it can pass to your mom such a concern my friend may you be blessed with ultimate strength to go through all of this.

I absolutely enjoyed the funnies. I didn't even know that bear spray existed though I remember long ago when my younger sister asked what she can bring for me from America I replied instantly " paper spray :) she did not brought this one even.

May your days ahead be blessed with peace health and joy amen

Mr. Shife said...

Loved all of the funnies but the first one really hit home because my 10-year-old thought this is how it worked. We were in Montana and in bear country so we had to keep spray on us when we were hiking. Fortunately we only saw deers and no bears. Hope you are still feeling well and the virus didn't get you. Take care, jenny_o.

jenny_o said...

John: Glad to provide the smile! I hope you are doing okay there.

Diane: So far, so good. It's been a week since my exposure ended, so I think I'm in the clear. And I hope I didn't just jinx myself :D

baili: Thank you for your good wishes. I have a feeling this will probably get worse before it ends, so I need to prepare myself for that. Hugs, my friend.

Mr. Shife: I think it's an easy mistake to make if you aren't familiar with bear spray already. I'm glad you didn't run into any bears! Have a good week :)

DB Stewart said...

We've had several covid exposures this month, sigh. Here's hoping. Glad to hear you feel like you are finding perspective on your Mom's dementia. Hang in there.

jenny_o said...

DB Stewart: It seems I have escaped the wrath of the covid gods, thank goodness. I hope you and yours escaped as well. As for Mom, it's one thing to know what I should do; it's something else again to be able to do it consistently. Well, at least I'm making some progress :)

Mr. Shife said...

Happy Thursday, jenny_o.

jenny_o said...

Mr. Shife: Thanks, you too :)

Anonymous said...

Oh hon I hope by now you’re well out if the Covid woods. So interesting about your mom’s guests. Glad she was able to see them again when she could appreciate their presence.

John M said...

Feel better

jenny_o said...

37paddington: I'm finding the memory problems with my mom are so unpredictable. Part of it is the time of day and how tired she is, part of it is how many people and conversations she is surrounded by, but part of it is just different from one moment to the next -- and that part is just the nature of dementia, I guess. I'm happy she had the second visit. It helped so much.

John M: I seem to have avoided Covid -- at least this time! I'm sure there will be more scares in the future :)