Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sandwich Generation

I'm beginning to truly understand and grasp the full meaning of this expression and I think my head is going to explode with the pressure of it.

My mother totalled her car yesterday. With no way of getting it replaced. We only have one car. When something goes wrong with ours, we borrow hers. So her car is our back up car.
We were a bit concerned with her totalling the car and it being our back up car.

Our son has a rotten driving record and we've not been able to get him his own car. (he's buying it, but but we have to take him to get it ... and we've not had the time or ..well ...we've just not done it.)

My husband is sitting talking about how much trouble we're going to be in if Samuel wrecks our car again. 3 times in the last 6 months he's wrecked our car. 2 times seriously.

He has bent the frame 2 times ... $1000 a pop! (yes, he's paying for it, but paying our credit card back)

He'd also jammed the door closed that was going to cost $600 to fix, but we were getting the $2000 paid off before worrying about getting the door fixed.

So, Don is talking about how much trouble we'd be in if he wrecked the car ... and the phone rings ....

Dad .... it's raining ...and someone cut me off ...

he hit the concrete barrier on the free way ... it took him 15 minutes on the phone to admit he was sitting in the ambulance.

He's bruised ... he's shaken ... he had a fireman's witness that a car did indeed cut him off ..and he was not ticketed.

He doesn't get that he doesn't realize that he may not be legally at fault ...but he is RESPONSIBLE ...

He could have killed himself ..or someone else.

She doesn't realize that she could have killed herself ..or someone else ...

Teenager boys and elderly drivers ...

no wonder their insurance is so high!

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Well ...

Mom made the news! And it's not good news .... At least in my family fued going on I got an email before I found out on the news! (although I'd not know because they didnt' have video feed or say who it was).

She hit the gas instead of the break ... ran over a tree ... a bike rack and into a light pole!

totalled her car.

her airbags deployed.

She had slowed down enough to park ..and yet accelerated enough to plow over a tree, a bike rack and get the airbags deployed.


Thank GOD there were no children in her pathway!

She will not have enough money to replace the car, so she is carless .... no more wheels. So we do not have to take away the keys.


If somehow, she gets restless and tries to get another car, I will get the keys, by hook or by crook, I will. She's already not talking to me over my niece, it can't get any worse.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Long time since posting

I didn't realize it'd been so long since I'd checked in.

I got busy with the month of August! The month flew by before I even knew it was over.

A friend got married on August 8th and had asked me to sign for her wedding. I've been exposed to sign language my whole life. My father taught at California School for the Deaf in Riverside before I was born and until 1972. I was taught to sign and say the alphabet at the same time. (very early since I was reading at age 3).

I grew up knowing the essentials in sign, I had a deaf cousin that I can remember talking to in Portland and having real conversations with when I was all of 8 years old.

However, my real love for sign, and becoming fluent/conversational was when I was 15. A young woman moved to Pueblo where I was living and came to our church. She'd just moved there from having gone to Christ for the Nations in Texas. She was an interpreter for the Deaf and Lorrie taught a bunch of us young teenaged girls sign language. We hung on her every word and sign. She taught us not only the signs, but the ins and outs of interpreting as well as artistic sign.
I considered Lorrie, not only a friend, but a mentor, both in sign and spiritual as well. To Lorrie Sluder, I owe much.

So, my friend met me about 8 years or so ago, and decided then that I'd sign at her wedding ...when she met the guy she'd marry.
So, here we were 8 years later and I'm signing ... however, I rarely sign anymore because I have tremors and my coordination is not what it was.
Thankfully, the tremors, while worse than normal that day (not so much by the wedding since I took my medication an hour before the wedding rather than at bedtime) were visible, they did not seem to be so much visible to the average person to interfere with the artistry of the sign. FOR ME however, it felt weird, and disrupted my concentration. It was difficult and I found the signs difficult to do. After to close to 30 years of signing without thinking ... that is a hard pill to swallow.

I think, I've gone into retirement with my signing, my friend, got the last song. I didn't think she understood how hard it was, till she asked for a wedding picture with me and her, and with tears in her eyes, she thanked me for doing it, even though it wasn't easy. Ok, so she did I'm so glad I did.

Then, was getting myself and my 18 year old ready for school! WOW .. what a process!

We have finished the first 2 weeks. The first week knocked me off my feet. The computer let me into a class that had a math pre req that I'd not taken and about scared me into dropping out and quitting.
Instead, I dropped the class ...and to keep my full time status with financial aide I'm taking an 8 week computer concepts class starting in October.

I'm in Developmental Psych, Humanities and Algebra.
Having never had algebra ... EVER EVER EVER not even in high school ...this has been an interesting quest.
My instructor is having a ball with me. He is great with personalities and has me pegged.
When I started struggling with the "BUT WHY'S??" (which is what got me when I was 14 and my refusal to TAKE algebra to begin with) He started to laugh and said "um, you were a rebellious teen weren't you?"
I responded with : Nope, not at all, not even a little bit.
He looked at me with a horrified look and said "OH NO! REPRESSED REBELLION!"

We both laughed and are having a good time. We're about the same age in a class full of kids it's kind of fun to have someone to identify with.

My humanities class ..oh let's not go there. Shudder. Suffice it to say ..if you think you have a flake for a professor ... NEVER EVER GOOGLE THEM you will find more than you want to know!!! That, and she thinks the sonnet I wrote for an assignment was a 'great sonnet' ... YiKES ... took me 5 minutes ... I'd never written a sonnet in my life and I promise you it is THE worst poem I've written in my life! Making me question her taste in art (it's on my regular blog) I expected the full credit for the assignment (5 points) however I expected a 'funny' or a 'good effort' or the like ...not GREAT SONNET! eeghads!

Developmental Psych, I had to write a paper ... and I got a 100% A on it. Grade is posted on my online grading system, haven't gotten the paper back yet, so no feed back. Anxious to see what she has to say.

Family life ...which is what this blog is supposed to be about ...has been somewhat chaotic ...and I'd planned on catching that up, but this has already taken too much time and it's now time to get ready for school.

Suffice it to say, my sister is no longer talking to me, the relationship may have gone beyone reconcilliation. My mother is under her 'spell' and has betrayed my niece in a possibly unrepariable way ... and nothing on those lines is good. We are at the stage of a lawyer involved and possibly getting a protective order involved.

However, my niece is blossoming in her growth as an independent woman and learning the truth of what her rights as a woman both in God and as a person truly are. I'm so proud of her. She's under the good care of friends of mine who are helping her in ways I'd never imagined. They've taken her under their wings ...and now, we've formed a new family.

Guess, sometimes you can choose your family.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Picks, not much of a choice.

So, it looks like we have an answer. Picks disease.

So many things, have fallen into place ... the MRI's showing brain atrophy (why we've had three over the last 6 years showing increased atrophy, with increased white spots (I should remember what they're called, but I don't) and they keep telling me it's 'normal in the aging process ...we don't normally see it this young, but it is normal.'.

The lack of ability to control her inibihitions (ie ...the post on the sunday with the worship pastor's wife ...following me around church, interrupting like a child ... lack of social skills) lack of control of general behavior ...

Her inability to relate to someone else pain, and how it only relates to her. The seemingly increasing selfishness ... it's all listed as symptoms of Picks.

I've been stalling for several days to write this. But tonight I found out that ...she gave my son a $20 graduation present in the form of a check, then told him to not cash it ..AND borrowed $100 from him to cover bounced checks.

This makes month number 7 that she's bounced her checking account. Source number 10 or 12 ..lost track of it ... that she's borrowed from to cover those bounces ...

He tried to make me feel guilty for asking him not to do it again. How can I help her if I can't HELP HER?

Helping her in secret like that isn't really helping anything!

Somethin's gotta give.

I lost a friend this week. A dear friend. I blogged about it on my 'real blog'.

I am making an effort to make sure that my friends know how much I care ... and that nothing goes unsaid or undone as it did with this precious friend.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Several years ago, a very good friend of mine, and her husband built a huge house in a very nice neighborhood. Their children were fully grown, but they built a 6 bedroom house with an attic big enough for 2 families. A game room, a sewing room (my friend is a seamstress) and 2 offices (one for each) formal dining room and informal dining room ... it's HUGE ... our chuch had a party there once and 162 people came and it didn't even seem crowded.

They weren't throwing their money around, or bragging about their success ...they had a plan.

People get into trouble and need a place to stay. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few months, maybe even a year or so while they get back on their feet after an abusive marriage, a death of a spouse, or something life changing like that.

Someone needs tending to after surgery but has no family ...they have the room and the means to do so.

So, they broke ground on the property and that day friend and i went out to their house and walked the broken soil that had no building or foundation yet .... just a bunch of tape showing where the bottom floor rooms were going to be. She and I together prayed for all the people they'd be able to help.

She is also my prayer partner ..when something *needs* prayer, she's my first go to person, and I her. As good of friends as we are, we're not really into advising each other ... we spend a lot of time laughing, sharing ..and we pray for each other.

SO, when the issue with my niece came up, i called her and told her "Pray". She was on her way out of town ... but when she got back into town and done with her continuing education class, we got back into touch. She asked me when she got my niece.

That's what the house was built for ... issues like that. She was ready to take her that night. Um ... let me breathe here. ;o)

SO, a few days later, I took Niece over there to discuss it, and instead R took her on a tour of the house, told her she got the pick of the rooms, and the game room was hers for the use with her friends.

A week ago Monday, niece moved in with her ...and she feels like she has a home for the first time in as long as she can remember. My friends are introducing her as their serrogate daughter (including when introducing her to their own children!!) and when my friends husband called to get some tech information because the wifi wasn't working in his 'daughter's room.

I am delighted beyond belief. They've gone to extremes to give her not only a place to live until she gets married ... but they are making her part of her family. (I need to remind them, she was my niece first ;o) )

My niece is thriving in her independence and a beautiful, responsible young woman thriving in her new habitat. I do miss having another female around ;o)

School ... I'm registered, classes set, I've gotten into Voc Rehab to see if they help to make sure that I can get a few extra bit of help (like not taking tests on scantron sheets difficult with double vision) and I've talked with the disABILITY resource person at the college. I told her I 2 diseases, one fairly common, one she's probably never heard of. Lupus and Myasthenia Gravis.
Turns out that she knows about lupus professionally. She has an Aunt with MG. Go figure.

(for such a rare disease, I swear I keep getting professionals who have relatives with it!! ... A surgeon's wife, a pulmo's mother, a psychologists mother and her twin sister, a previous therapists grandfather and now the resource counselor ...statistically ... that's gotta be strange!!!)

(Although, the therapist with mom and aunt ..was a referral because of her understanding, so that wasn't a coincidence, and the pulmo was ... I Was friends with his mother through the MG Foundation, she found out I was in the hospital and she demanded he go check on me. He asked to consult on my case and has been my doc for 15 years since)

Hubby's doing ok. He's excited about me going back to school, and it's inspired him to return to his own working on some home therapy ... he'd kind of gotten feeling like it was useless ..not making progress so why bother ...besides prognosis was so bad ..why bother. If the nerves are dead, they won't return so why bother?

Well, in the last 3 weeks, he's gotten enough dexterity back in his hands to button his own jeans. That's ... major! He did some plumbing today ...
He'd been told that dexterity was gone forever ... it's now back to a degree ... and well ... he's now working to improve rather than waiting for it to take over.

The set backs of working too hard, then spending the next couple of days ... that's hard ...but we both have lived like that for longer than I can remember. I run 90 to nothing till my body gives up and forces me into bed. (that happened yesterday, I thought i was up to going back to errands etc, went to the library and wound up coming straight home)

Now if we can get my youngest son's teachers all on the same page with his special education modifications this next year .... I've got the special ed director on my side ... so ...and in a district with a great reputation. There were things in his IEP that were not supposed to be there (THey are not on my copy) and one thing that was supposed to have been added that never was ... not that any of it mattered because none of it was followed.

My son has a 10 year plan ... I told the special ed director ...that they have to help, they have to do understand that his academics are far below his social skills ... and that they need to understand ... it's not typical for a 16 year old to have a 10 year plan ... and anyone that is that focused ...deserves THEIR best!
She agreed.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stunned, Flabbergasted ... And all that entails

Ok, so those who care for my mental health .. and physical health ... have frequently tried to get me to take a step back from my mom's health care.

My feeling is that they don't quite *GET* it.

They see the stress it puts me under. They see that I have Myasthenia Gravis and Lupus and have a husband with health issues and to them's case closed.
Pk has a healthy sister ...let her take care of the mother. End of story.

With all that has gone on ... and over the last 2 months ... I've listened to those who care for me. I've stepped back ...and in the last 2 weeks with the family chaos, been shoved to the back seat.

I've just had a HUGE shock.

While I've been letting my sister take the lead on caring for my mom ... and letting my mom make decisions that she's claiming she's able to make ...

I just let my mom's health be put at a HUGE risk.

My mom fainted in December, and their best guess ... TIA.
She has right sided weakness ... but it was hard to tell because of the severity of weakness due to Post Polio syndrome.

She's had a hip replacement and a knee replacement.

The weakness and balance issues caused by the issue in December were SO severe that she's been on a walker since then. The physical therapist graduated her to a cane in late May. Her first foray with a cane was my sons graduation. At which time, she fell.

In the fifteen months, she's had NINE falls ..yes .. NINE .. in those falls ..she's broken a total of 8 bones. 2 bones in her hand, one in her wrist, 2 ribs and a chip of bone off her knee and 2 fingers.

So ...what has knocked me off my kiester?
My brother in law brought the van to my niece (they borrowed it to help my mom move) at 11 pm last night. He told my husband about all the stuff she has that is just plain junk. (Mom is a horder, like her mom and sister). Then said what made it so very hard wasn't all the junk, but hauling it all *upstairs* ...


Mom has a second floor apartment?!?!?
On stairs ...with an outside staircase ..that will get ICED over during the winter ... and because it's a retirement home, not an assisted living, they are not required to salt or clear walkways.

No lifts, no elevators ... just a staircase .. a cement bouncing ground for her to fall down when she is weak ...or unbalanced !

Who in the WORLD allowed this. (besides myself?)

Yes, I'm feeling rather responsible. I stayed totally out of her moving, and I did it on purpose. I did not have anything to do with her getting a new place, or choosing an apartment ... or when she'd move. I did leave it up to my sister to help ...throughout the process.

I tried to force my sister into stepping up to the plate in helping to care for my mom. This, is what it gets me.

Today, my PCP referred me to a GI for evaluation for an ulcer ... you should be inside my gut right now. It's seizing up tighter than fort knox! If I had any doubt that it was an ulcer before this moment, I don't now.

I called my mom and said "SECOND FLOOR?"
"Yes, it would have been another 2 months before they had a first floor available"


(rent is identical to where she is)

"I wanted to get moving"

Then I asked the question I never should have asked.
"How are you going to afford gas to get to and from church when you couldn't afford it when you lived 2 blocks from church and where is your closest grocery store?"

"The closest grocery store is 2 miles from me. I figured if I couldn't afford gas I could ride with you."

"Mom, if I didn't have room in the car for you, your walker, Don and his walker when you lived 2 blocks from church, how am I going to have room now?" (our car rides 4 ... we have 4 in our family ... she also moved 3 miles the opposite direction from it'd be 6 miles on our gas)

"oh, well maybe you could take the boys and Don to church and then come back and get me?"

"Mom, driving makes me tired, and you want me to drive 8 miles to church, drop the guys off and then drive 11 miles to your place, pick you up, then drive 11 miles to church, drive 11 miles to drop you off and then drive 11 miles to pick up the guys and then drive 8 miles home? And who's going to stay at church to keep it open with them while they wait for transportation?"

"oh, I hadn't thought of that."

" Besides, there is still the issue of the walkers if you take it to church. Don doesn't take his remember, but it's still in the car if he needs it. If you take yours, then he's forced to take his to make room for yours. That's why I arranged for transportation for you when you couldn't drive."


"speaking of which, has the doctor cleared you for driving more than 2 miles?"
"And so you moved clear out of town"
"yes, I liked the apartments"

"how far is it to the grocery store?"

"2 miles"
"How far to the doctors?"

"well, she just moved, so that's not an issue"

"Mom, I've got the same group of doctors, they moved right across the street from where they are"
"oh, didn't think you were staying with them."

"how far?"

"10 or 12 miles"

And it was how far?
5 miles

So you've moved 11 miles from church
12 miles from doc
2 miles from food

and 10 miles from your closest friend ...

"But I like the apartment"


"but I like the apartment"

"keep your cell phone with you incase you fall " ...oh, and call Debbie first"

I didn't say that last part ... I oh so wanted to ... but I didn't. Besides ... look what letting my sister take the lead got me. A mother in a second story apartment. (which by the way, I can't climb the stairs to ....)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Not sure how coherant this will be, I've got a migraine going, I'm trying to get thoughts out while they are spinning around ... hoping that will take some of the pressure off my brain.

If you read this, then come back and it's different, you'll know I edited it post migraine. ;o)

I have watched my mom over the years make decisions I didn't always agree with. The choices that she made, I found not quite ...shall we say "tasteful". My mom and step father taught me to make decisions based on my morals, faith and beliefs, and that regardless of the consequences ..even if there might be some negative consequences (short term pain, financial cost, social cost or other wise negative outcome) you MUST stand by your prinicipals.

I was raised to believe that who a person is is seen in the times of pressure ..that when everything is stripped away ... they will still stand for who they are and what they believe in ... that is the meat of who they are.

However, from the time my stepfather died when I was 14 ... I've seen my mother compromise for her comfort on many occassions. It's hurt to watch her agree to contracts at work for better pay even though she didn't like moral clauses in the contracts. I have seen her make compromises with neighbors and ...on a couple of occassions, I've seen her dismiss her faith, to make things easier with a coworker.

So, I've known that what was drilled into me, didn't get practiced in her. I've known this, but it still never ceases to amaze me when I see it.

I TRY to write it off as part of the dementia type behavior, except ... that it started to happen when I was 15 ... shortly after my step father died.

I understand it, to a degree. My mom was a victim of some of the worst childabuse that I can even begin to explain. My grandmother, was absolutely evil. Emotional and physical, psychological and social abuse was meted out to my mother every day of her childhood. The emotional abuse continued to be handed out to my mother until the day my grandmother died in 1993.

That kind of abuse damages a person ...and who they are ... it changes what they can tolerate. I get that ... I really do.

Me getting it, is probably why I've never said anything to my mom about any of this. I've tried to gently keep my mom from compromising when I know that those compromises ..will each and every time do nothing but hurt her in the long run.

Each time she does it, she thinks the short term comfort they bring will be the benifit, and each and everytime they do nothing but bring pain. (which has served to let me know why we have to stand by our principals firmly, regardless of the short term losses and pain)

The frustrations I'm feeling at this point ... is with the conflict of my family.

My mom is moving ...and my sister and her family had planned on helping my mom to move. My husband and I because of our issues in health, can't do it.

My sister ... with all the emotional and spiritual superiority that she had to mete out over my niece decided to take it a step farther ... and lord it over my mom. My mom, who had been so compassionate for my niece, who'd seen the pain my niece was in, who had seen the wrong ...who had seen the absolute twisting of scriptures that my sister and her husband had been using to manipulate their family ... was told that if she supported my niece ...would get no help from them in moving.

If she talks with us, if she has contact with us ... she would get no help from them.
She (niece)must listen to them, and believe that my 22 year old niece is under their authority and must abstain from physical contact with her boyfriend (fiance) until marriage. She must agree with them that she must stop rebelling and come back under the family fold.
And my mother must support my sister in this foolishness ...or my sister will withhold all support in helping my mother move as well as any future support as an elderly parent. She will cut off future contact and she will be forbidden from seeing her other grandchildren (ages 6 and 16)

She must now consider if she is to stay at her church (we go to the same church) of 10 years. Because she is not supposed to stay in a relationship with the 'person' who helped the rebellious daughter.

Excuse me ... I AM this PERSON ... I am her DAUGHTER ... you are asking her to DISOWN her own daughter.

They have not disowned their daughter, they are infact, still including my niece in family dinners and actually helping in the move out. They've participated in some sabotage to try to insure that she's going to return with her tail between her legs which won't happen ...

but, my family is persona non grata for helping her daughter in this 'rebellion' and we are to be treated as such.

My mother, has compromised to allow it.

I'm upset that once again, to make life easier ... instead of going to the church and saying ...I need help moving, and to wait till things settle down (and they will, they always do) to see her other grandchildren ...she's given into this blackmail ... she took the easy road ... to take what serves her purposes.

I'm furious that my sister has chosen this path to blackmail my mom. I think it's a low blow and in a way, in a very big way, it's a form of emotional abuse.
I hope my sister is prepared to handle my mom's medical care ... because she's just blocked me out of the picture.

I guess, for the time being, I'm out of it.

My responsibility ...for now, is lessened.
(??? not really ...because I'm not that type of a person
what will happen, is that when I see the doctor on thursday, is I'll be telling her that she's being manipulated by my sister ... I'll tell my self I'll stay out of it ..and then I won't .... because I won't take the easy way out ... and I'll stand for what I believe ... and in the end, I've taken on the role of medical advocate for my mom
and she is
my responsiblity)