PS… New(ish) blog

I sort of let this other blog slide a bit but with my mother’s diagnosis the 0ther day, I decided to revive it and move it over to WordPress.

It is called “Mother Forgets“.

It’s an outlet for some of the stuff that happens, much of it funny/frustrating when Mom forgets or gets a bit “clouded” in her logic.

PSS… I also pried the “: ;” key off my keyboard. I was sick of typing n;t instead of n’t.

Sunday morning.

I forgot to post this. I was up all night Saturday night and just didn’t feel like hauling my ass out of bed to make it to church on Sunday morning.

Sometime after noon, I heard Mom come in from outside. I thought perhaps she had gone across to the store or for a little walk.

A few minutes later she came up and peeked in. When she saw I was awake she said that she had shown a couple of people her leg (where she scraped her skin off falling off a chair) and grossed them out. I assumed she meant some people in the co-op. “No!” she said “Maggie, for one.”….

Maggie? The only Maggie we know is at church. “How did you see Maggie to show her your leg?”

“When I went to church!”

It transpires that she took the bus right across town (about a 45 minute to an hour  ride with several transfers) and then walked 5 or six blocks from the bus station near the highway to the school where our Fellowship meets! Apparently, people at church gave her heck fro not calling someone to give her a ride. Luckily, it was not the Sunday when the Fellowship was meeting at a place we are thinking of moving to or she’d have had to turn around and come home.

I was both pleased and upset. Pleased because her not just feeling like trekking across town but actually DOING so means that she is feeling a LOT better. Upset because we are still trying to monitor her to make sure she doesn’t have one of her “turns”. However, she didn’t and she managed to walk all that distance without her hip hurting. Of course, she also forgot to take her cane so that if she HAD had problems, she wouldn’t have had it to help her.

Maggie drove her home.


Finally (maybe)…

After a couple of years, they THINK maybe they have gotten to the bottom of Mom’s fainting spells.

In the last while, she has had various monitoring devices attached to the which have annoyed and discombobulated her but which seemed not to have shown the “experts” anything unusual. In fact, the one I had the highest hopes for did not catch the one episode she had while wearing it and 5 minutes after handing it in, she had another one.

Last week, she was put on a blood pressure monitor which she was to wear for 24 hours (which OHIP doesn’t cover and for which we had to pay $100 out-of-pocket).

We were called in to the doctor’s office yesterday and it seems that aside from the first hour when Mom’s blood pressure was elevated slightly, it showed that her blood pressure was “way too low”.  After discussing it with her cardiologist, they removed two of her blood-pressure medications.

Hopefully, this will have an effect on her and she may feel better and have a bit more energy.

Poor thing has been lolling about with no desire or energy to do anything except drag herself to the kitchen or up the stairs to the bathroom. I have been afraid to take her anywhere because every time I do, she has a “turn”.

I certainly don’t like the idea of going to the theatre or anywhere when I’m not with her. If she had one at the theatre, getting her down to the floor and getting her water would be impossible and if she were out with anyone else, they wouldn’t know what to do and would likely call an ambulance, not to mention that unless you get her on the floor with her feet on a chair, she actually goes out and throws up which is awful for her.

With the exception of the time at the restaurant where I was so worried about upsetting the other diners and ended up upsetting them, anyway, when she passed out and was sick and the paramedics came, I have always managed to get her to come round without her actually going completely out or getting sick. It is so upsetting for her to have to go to the hospital and, really, completely pointless because she is completely normal by the time she gets there and they can’t figure out what happened, anyway. And then she comes home sick and disoriented and not quite herself for several days.

If I act quickly and get her feet elevated and some water into her, she comes round and is right as rain almost immediately and never suffers from the “wobblies” for days and weeks after the way she does if she actually gets sick and passes out. If she actually goes out and is sick, I do call an ambulance.

It is just too upsetting for her and I refuse to put her through it if there is no benefit.

On another note,

I will remember this whenever my mother asks me the same question for the 100th time…This a Greek short film made in 2007

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “What is that? 2007“, posted with vodpod



I took Mom down to The Heart Institute and got her fitted with the  ambulatory blood pressure monitor this afternoon about 2:30. We went from there to the chiropractor’s and then I drove her home. I went out to Sears and bought 2 pairs of shoes for myself and then got some shopping done. I arrived home, just before 6, and went to put the groceries away and Mom started complaining about the blood pressure monitor as soon as I got in the door. “We need to take this back.”

I asked if it was uncomfortable or something and then walked into the living room to find that she had taken it off. I asked why she’d taken it off. “Because I’m done with it!”

“We have to take it back.”

I said “You aren’t supposed to take it off. It’s supposed to be left on!” We paid $100 for this test that isn’t covered by OHIP and I’m worried that we’ll have to pay another $100 to have it put on again. I am still trying to understand why she took it off. And then she says “Aren’t we supposed to take it back, today?”

I said that we are supposed to take it back Thursday that she’s supposed to wear it for two days!

“But I’ve been WEARING it for two days!”

I kept trying to tell her that she’s had it on for less than 4 hours, at this point. She’s looking at me like I’m crazy…

I told her what we did today and she’s convinced that that was 2 days ago…

I managed to get the thing put back on properly, though. Hopefully, it will STAY on for the next two days.

And every time the thing beeps before the cuff inflates, she’s asking “Is this going to go on all night?”. I explain that it only beeps for the first few hours and then before bedtime, it stops beeping and won’t beep at all before we take it off. It will take her blood pressure every half hour but it won’t beep…. It beeps again and she gets irritated and asks if it is going to go off all night long, again.

“It seems to be beeping every 2 minutes!”. It is 1/2 an hour by my count…..

Jesus and all the Saints preserve me….


Yesterday, Mom had another “turn”…

I had to take my niece to get her glasses and made a short stop at work to drop off some stuff at work. While I was in the building, Mom apparently started feeling woozy and when I came out, she was just on the edge of passing out. I managed to get her feet up on the dash so the blood could get to her head.

However, as she was wearing her monitor, it SHOULD have picked up… finally… the one baffling,  recurring problem that arises. Of course, it didn’t. My niece didn’t know to push the button for a manual activation and when I came out, I was too preoccupied in making sure she didn’t pass out to press the button. It wasn’t until she was almost feeling back to normal that I remembered. I pressed the button, but not hard enough to activate it and when I realized it wasn’t recording, I did it again but by then we were already driving and I think the bumps in the road were messing up the reading.

It is so frustrating and tiring to have to be so discombobulated all the time… I am making headway in getting certain things organized and under control and I know that I will eventually be able to have things work smoothly but it is a learning process.

The last weeks have shown a fairly significant memory change in Mom. But also a sense of compliance on her part to my taking away her medications and insisting on helping her with her showering. This is good for me but something I would have had to fight with her over a few months ago.

At least, I have the advantage of being able to work at home and to be able to time-shift my day to accommodate the little hiccups in my days. It also means that I don’t have to leave her at home alone and to her own devices.

It does mean, though, that I will have to start looking for outside help… some community resources to help out, probably sooner rather than later.

I worry, though, because of my own propensity to depression and anxiety. I did manage to weather the August doldrums better than I have in the past but I can never really let my guard down. I also find my mind inevitably turning to “what happens when…” either when things get to the point when I can’t manage or when… she’s gone… I know it’s stupid to worry about these things until they happen but that’s me. I worry. That’s my job in life.

♫ Memories… ♫

Today has been (and it is only 1pm) a “bad day” for Mom’s memory.

I have been noticing in the last couple of weeks a significant change in her memory. Usually, after she has been sick, the memory is worse but it improves as the days go by. It never gets quite back where it was before she was sick but there is a marked improvement from where she would have been when she was sick.

This time, however, I have noticed some subtle changes which seem to be getting worse, not better.

Firstly, she forgot which pills she needed to take, when. Formerly, she was more or less on top of this, managing her pills more or less properly.

One day last week, she said “I can’t figure out which pills I am supposed to be taking, when.” That night when I went to pick up a prescription refill, I mentioned this to the druggist and she showed me this great pill organizer. The ones I have seen in the past are big blocks with smaller blocks with lids.


The old-style organizer

They are all the same colour and I would have a hard time figuring them all out.

Anabox Pill Planner

Anabox Pill Planner

This one, on the other hand, is a tray with different-coloured boxes, like pencil boxes. Each one is marked for the day of the week and has “Morning”, “noon”, “evening”, “night”, and “as needed”  for pills you might take once a week or for specific symptoms. You can slip the Monday one out when you have finished your pills for that day, slide it in at the back of the tray and that pushes Tuesday’s pill box forward. You can also take your Saturday and Sunday boxes with you if you were going to the cottage for the weekend and didn’t want to haul the whole thing with you… Very handy.

It was more expensive than the other one but I figured it was worth the money. I just worried how Mom would take to it… She is very proud and just doesn’t want to admit when she isn’t “on top of everything”. However, I brought it home and later that evening when she mentioned that she was confused again about her pills, I brought it out. She was quite pleased with it and was willing to give it a go, which surprised me.

For a couple of days, things went smoothly. Then on Wednesday night, after she had just taken her night time pills and headed up to bed, I walked in to say goodnight to her and found her going through her pills. I asked what she was doing and she said she was trying to figure out which ones she needed to take before bed.

I reminded her that she had already had her bedtime pills and she swore up and down she hadn’t. Finally, she realized that she had. I decided that I was going to have to take her pills and put them in a safe place in my room if she did that again. This morning, I walked in and found that she was going through her pills again and had already taken one… She couldn’t recall which one… Finally, she settled on the one she THOUGHT she took and I removed that pill from today’s tray. I also took her pills into my room.

Another thing had cropped up last night, too. Last evening, I found she had taken some sandwich meat out of the fridge earlier in the day and left it under the coffee table. I took it and said that I was going to throw it away and she said it had “only been out a short time” (to my mind 6 hours is not a “short time”). I pointed out that quite probably, it was eating something that had been out of the fridge for a “short time” that had made her sick.

Her response was “Food being “off” couldn’t make my hip hurt!”.

I said “Mom, you’ve been sick for the last three weeks!”

“No, I haven’t!”

I reminded her that she had been sick all day three weeks ago on Tuesday and hadn’t been feeling well for the last three weeks and she said “No, I wasn’t. I haven’t been sick to my stomach in months!”

I reminded her about her hospital visit, the being sick and the fact that I actually had to take my holidays to be with her because she was sick. At that point, she seemed to recall and admitted that she had been sick. I said that it could have been from eating spoiled food…

Of course, she always brings up that when she was a girl, they used to keep things in the pantry for weeks without ill-effects. This was, of course, in Scotland back in the days when they didn’t have central heating and the temperature wasn’t nearly what it is her during the summer. AND, their pantry had thick stone walls which kept it cool even in summer… AND, as I pointed out… just because you ate food stored that way in the past didn’t mean that you SHOULD eat food food stored that way, now. (Of course, too, food arrived at your house fresher than it does today…)

She is also coping with the fact that until next Friday, she has to wear an event monitor which monitors any anomalies in her heart rate, pulse… whatever. If she feels something she is supposed to press a button and it will monitor things she might not feel. So far, it has done all the monitoring. If she has felt anything she hasn’t ever pressed the button and when I as, she says she hasn’t noticed any symptoms. Some days there are only a couple of “events” and some days, like yesterday, I downloaded probably 20… To download, I have to unplug the monitor and call a 1-800 number and press a button on the monitor and “download” the information over the phone. Basically, what “downloads” is an audio recording of her heart rhythms and this is loud enough for me to hear. It is speeded up but you can make out the heart-beats and I can hear a difference between the rhythms.

Either she has heart rhythms that are faster than normal or slower than normal. I can also hear what sound like skipped beats. It will be interesting to hear what the results of this are. Perhaps they will be thinking in terms of a pace-maker. Whether, at her age and with her health, they would give her one is another matter. If it would give her an improved quality of life, it would be worth the risk. Whether she would go for it is another matter.

The one good thing today was that there was a bit of a spring in her step today that has been missing in the last few weeks. I took her out to the Experimental Farm and sat her on a bench in the sun while I went and took photos and she really enjoyed it. She still walks like a drunken sailor… just a little springier drunken sailor, today…

Mom poisons the cat…

Just a little while before I was to head to lunch with a friend and just a few hours before we have to leave for Toronto, Mom decided to give Amber his pills… the ones I give him normally. Luckily, she told me she gave him “his pills” and asked “What was the large white one?” Ummmm What “large white one” would that be”????

The “large white one” would be her 250 mgs of Metformin, for her diabetes  Luckily just one of them… Unluckily, one that is toxic to cats.  So I had two choices, according to the vet. Make him sick at home or take him in and get them to make him sick. For future reference, two tablespoonfuls of Hydrogen Peroxide will make the cat sick.

He barfed and, while I didn’t see a pill, the cat food that went in before the pill came out, along with a lot of thick foam.

Now, we have to watch him and see that he is okay.

The questions I have been trying to avoid asking her is “Why did you not read the bottle?” and  “Why did you not check with me BEFORE giving him his pills?”

Rather late in the game, I have written on the top of her pill bottles NOT CAT’s and on his bottles CAT’S in black marker.

Hopefully, this will make her remember to check the labels first. Of course, once last year SHE took one of HIS heart pills.

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