what the hell is that on her head?

My mom is sitting down at the table having a cup of her fake coffee. AsI look down at her, I notice a thick smear of something light green stuck in her hair. Huh?
So, I touch it. It’s sticky. I smell it. It smells minty. Aha!


I have to admit it. I laughed a lot.

She has a spot on her scalp that always seems to itch her. When she tells me about it, I put Scalpicin on it, and that helps. I guess this time as she combed her hair in the bathroom mirror, she picked up the first thing that looked like an ointment tube and rubbed it on the itch.

The last time she rubbed something strange on her body, it was on her lips and they swelled to the point where I had to take her to the doctor’s. As far as anyone could tell, it was an allergic reaction to something, and I think she had been rubbing her 30-year-old Lancome cream on her lips. I cleaned out her beauty lotion drawer and it hasn’t happened since.

She always seems to be fidgeting. Mostly she takes sheets of Kleenex and folds them into squares and loads her pockets with them. She insists on having tops and pants with pockets. Sometimes I miss emptying a few when I do her laundry. Even if I use those scent-free dryer softener sheets, those little bits that stick to the clothes are a bitch to pick off.

She would love to fold blankets and other larger squares, but she has a torn muscle in her left shoulder. Not only can’t she raise that arm, but the whole shoulder is painful, even though she’s had a cortisone shot. After Thanksgiving, I am going to arrange for a physical therapist to come over and help her with that arm. I think I finally found a place that is certified for Medicare.

Very often, she snaps. No, literally. She snaps and unsnaps those closings on the tops I buy her so that they are easy to get on and off. Last night, she was desperately trying to snap closed the edges of a very old pillow case that she had long ago sewed snaps on to keep closed. (I guess she’s always been obsessed with snaps.) When she went to sleep, I resewed the ones that were coming off and sewed on a few additional snaps so that she could have yet another snap-happy fiddle thing.

Actually, I found a site on the web where you can buy fidget things for people with dementia. Other sites suggest these stress-reduction toys. My mom will not fiddle with toys. She will only fiddle with things that are familiar to her; things that she has used in her role as wife and mother. Safety pins are one of those things. She finds them and pins them to the inside of her slacks. The other day I found her picking her teeth with the point of a large safety pin. She has a drawer full of various dental picks that I bought her. But she uses a safety pin. Sigh.

I spend a lot of time Googling for ideas on how to calm my mother, since her fidgeting is associated with her nervousness and anxieties. As a result, I sent for a really soft furry teddy bear and made a sweater for it with a Polish logo. You’ve heard of Polar Bears? Well, this is a Polish Bear:


I thought that stroking the bear’s fur might relax her. I thought the Polish theme would attract her. Nope. She knows it’s a toy. Cute, but no cigar.

Well, I tried.

In another day I’m planning to try to leave to go to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving. Actually, I’m going no matter what. I don’t know how my brother is going to manage, but I’m leaving enough food, clean underwear, desserts etc. so that my mom will have whatever she needs. He just has to make sure that she gets it all.
I can’t wait to see my grandson, who has been unofficially adopted by the guys in the local firehouse that his mom takes him to visit periodically. The last time he was there, they gave him a piece of real fire hose (including nozzle) and a door chock (whatever that is). His firefighter suit, of course, is compliments of Grammy.


He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. Also the owner of a tree-cutting service. Or a road construction worker. Or some kind of para-medic/rescue worker.

I think he’s going to spend Thanksgiving rescuing his Grammy.

8 1/2

That’s eight and a half hours in the ER. We left at 5 p.m. It’s now almost 2 a.m. I haven’t eaten since lunch, and I’m sitting here eating baba ghannouj with a spoon and drinking V-8 Fusion because it hurts when I chew because I had a tooth extracted yesterday.

Mom was severely dehydrated and we couldn’t seem to stop the diarrhea. So they took all kinds of her fluids for testing, stuck a hydrating infusion in her arm, X-rayed her and did a CAT scan of her stomach and intestines. They didn’t find anything that we didn’t already know was there — nothing that would be causing her to spend so much time sitting on the commode. So, just in case, they gave her an antibiotic and we loaded up on gatorade on the way home.

And just to make the day complete, as I was rushing around making sure I had her health insurance info and stuffing extra clothes for her in a bag, along with a water bottle, kleenex etc. etc., my flip-flop caught on something sticking out of her wheelchair and I did some damage to my second toe on my left foot. No time to worry about that, right?

At the hospital, my toe started throbbing; turning purple. I had the option of signing myself into the ER too and have my toe X-rayed, but that would have left my sib to deal with my mother all by himself. My toe hurt and looked gross, but I could bend it and move it, so I figured it’s just a bad bruise. I opted to tend to the reason we were there in the first place.

She is supposed to consume nothing but ginger ale and gatorade for the next two days. If she refuses to drink — as she has been doing midst fits of dementia — it’s back to the hospital and back on the IV.
I’m wondering how they ever manage situations like this in nursing homes. It took two of us to manage the care of one of her.

I’m still hungry. But I’m also tired. I don’t know which need I’ll fill after I post this. Either way, it’s been a hell of a day.

diarrhea, diarhea, diarrea

It doesn’t matter how you spell it, google will find it.

And my mother has had it for four days now. We called the doctor today and will be bringing a sample to the lab for testing.

Nothing has worked to get it under control. I’m trying to make her drink Pedialite, but she’s not very cooperative. Right now she’s up combing her hair with a toothbrush. I’m making her some chicken broth with cut up baked potato. That’s supposed to OK for her to eat.

We’ll soon see.

And chaos reigns supreme.

This is the view across the top of my roll-top desk, past my room divider, into my kitchen. Like my life. Chaos.

— Still getting over major tooth abcess and root canal work.

— Now mother hearing voices singing Polish Christmas Caroles while the podiatrist (who she insists is Polish but he’s not) is working on her hammer toe.

— While making broccoli soup in my Vita Mix, didn’t realize that the machine was set on high speed and the cover wasn’t on tight enough and — heh — broccoli bits all over everything, including me.

— Made batches of pesto with the harvested basil after I cleaned up the broccoli mess.

— Still not ready for the craft fair that I do once a year; need to print up signs, finish a few more items, and price everything. New items this year, thanks to a brainstorm of my breast-feeding daughter: washable nursing necklaces and shawls.

— Am almost done using putting transfers (that I printed up on my computer) on a special t-shirt to wear to BloggerCon.

— Finished harvesting my tomatoes, basil, and parsley; now have to clean out my garden before frost hits.

— Gotta get to the library to return Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, which was so enthralling to me that I read it in one day (instead of cleaning up some of the chaos). As an ex-Catholic who went to 13 years of Catholic school and is totally fascinated with the lore of Church and its roots in paganism, I just loved this symbol, taken from the book:

— Gotta pick up The Secret Life of Bees, which is waiting for me at the library, as well as one of Judith Jance’s’ mysteries-on-tape that I can listen to on my way back and forth to Boston.

— Next stop is at Hannaford to pick up my mother’s prescription for Quinine for her leg cramps and then to Joanne’s for fabric to cover seams that I let out from a jacket I love that I made smaller years ago when I WAS smaller.

When my friend P stopped by after the tap-dancing class that we’re taking but I missed because of my root canal, we commiserated about how being retired isn’t what we wanted it to be. (Her 87-year-old ex-mother-in-law, to whom she’s close, has just been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.) She thought that she would be spending her time resting, traveling, reading, having fun.

Whoever keeps trying to tell us that life can be just fun and games at any age is really selling us a bill of goods. I don’t know anyone whose life is that way.

Meanwhile, I’ve got to go battle chaos. And entropy. Always entropy.

Yes. America as a whole seems to have succumbed to entropy. And apathy.

Battle on, Xena.