Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two years & 3 months ago...

I let another woman move into my house. My MIL. She wasn't moving in so I could squeeze free housekeeping, errand running or babysitting from her. Nope. She needed care, couldn't live alone, couldn't care for herself & other family members couldn't care for her anymore (you still rock Linda, Betty, Karen & Beth!!).
So we pulled our Grandma Patty away from all her other family in Ohio & brought her to Michigan. The state with horrid winters (so she stated). To live with us; her son, her 2 granddaughters (ages 2 & 4 at that time) & me, her DIL!!

The time I had to spend with Patty before the onset of her dementia (approx. 8 yrs. ago) proved her to be a fun loving, go out & have fun kinda woman! She loved to shop, eat out & catch a good movie.

Mostly she loves he family....especially her 4 granddaughters!
The two years we've had Patty there was a slow but steady decline. She could dress herself, then she couldn't. She could feed herself & then we were. She could bath & care for her toileting needs & then she couldn't find the bathroom.

For the past 3 months it has been a rapid decline. Greg & I knew that we would not be able to continue the caregiving, certainly not when the girls were out of school for the summer.

So a couple months ago we started looking into homes that would be able to take GP & give her some special love & care. Thankfully, the Kindergarten teacher @ our daughter's school mentioned a home close to where she lives. It's a place that they had heard good things about from some friends.
Then the long process began.... calls all day long to dr's, case workers, Medicaid, the home's director!! Whew!

At this point GP was pacing & crying/wailing non-stop from the time she woke to when we could get her to bed. Now, before you think sainthood should be bestowed on us....we had some really bad days. Stressed, short-tempered (w/GP & the girls)yelling, cajoling, name it. It finally came down to sitting her in her room with her favorite music, shutting the door (which she couldn't open) & letting her go at the crying alone for a couple hours each day. For our sanity's sake.

Making this long post as short as possible...last week Friday after a week of refusing to eat or drink GP had a severe UTI & was extremely dehydrated. We took her to ER, & they admitted her to the hospital from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon. The dr's in hospital wanted her to go right to the home we had found, but they were not quite prepared to take her (as she was scheduled to go in this Friday). So we brought her home....for one more night.
Bless those dr's @ the hospital they found some medication to not only clear up the UTI, but to make GP calm & happy! FINALLY!

So today went better than expected. No crying, only smiles & laughs. Most important, eye contact....she looked @ us & the girls this morning & smiled!! Yeah for GP!!

Here's a few pics of the day.....

It's rainy, but we're on our way!

GP & some of her things...on the way!

Pulling into Margaret's Meadows. A 20 bed facility, specializing in Memory Care. It sits on 5 acres & is beautiful inside & out.

Here we are....ready to walk into a new beginning!

A view from the hall, dining area on right, sitting/TV area on left. It's a secure unit so GP doesn't decide she wants to walk home!

GP got comfy real quick....she spoke to people, looked @ them with smiles & laughter for all!!

This is a pic of her room, due to the early move in date we didn't have all her personal items to decorate'll come!

This was her smiling as we left! No tears, no fear! I'm soooo happy for our GP!!

Oh, this is the director Maggie, er Susan (behind the papers of course). Maggie is actually a 4 month old Boston Terrier that comes to work everyday. They also have a huge, fluffy home cat that makes the ladies & gentlemen feel at ease!!

A BIG, HUGE THANK YOU GOES OUT FROM all our friends & family who have supported us in this leg of our life's journey. GP is loved, to the moon & back!!

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What time is it?

Time to stay inside out of this.....

Warm & snug with this.....

Because yesterday I worked all morning doing this.....

And today I don't even want to think about dealing with this....

Yep, I knew I ate that bucket of ice cream for a reason!!

Seven hours of this.....

Makes for a puddle here.....

Darn that leaky skylight!!

Hope you all stay dry today!!

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When you need to get away...

On Saturdays we double up on our 3 hour caregiver allotment. It gives us more time away from caregiving responsibilities, & gives us time to get groceries, run errands, have time to go to the park or other activities GP can no longer do with us.

This Saturday morning is no different. We have to get the MacBook to the Apple store because some how the hubs lost EVEYTHING, um mm yeah! We are gonna grab breakfast & prob'ly lunch since we will be out a while. We are going to an Aldi's grocery store (because I can get food/paper product/hygiene items/animal food for a month for around $300) an hour away 'cause they don't have one closer. Then if we have time we will hit a couple new thrift stores that I've only seen in passing....that is if we have time!

You see sometimes things & plans don't always go the way we want them too (very hard for little girlies to understand). Surprisingly we got out of the house a little after 8 a.m. Headin out to Krispy Kreme's donuts where the "HOT" sign will be flashing!
It was rainy & yucky, but we were feeling pretty good to be getting away......

We don't let a little wetness stop us!

There is something that can stop you though!

It's called running out of gas...yes folks, I'd just said, "take this exit & get some gas." The tank had been low since last night. His thinking..."we'll make it to the next exit surely."

My tongue is BLEEDING from biting back the "I told you so" remark!! I'm trying to be the supportive & loving wife...truly I am! That's why I'm posting this, so you know how supportive I tries to be!!

The good news?

The sun is trying to get out!! (hehe)

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We think they are plain....

folk! They live simple lives. They drive horses & buggies, they wear simple, dark clothes. They live peaceably with their neighbors.
If you don't live in an area where the Amish live, then you may not have a clue what they are like.
In our area (VERY rural Michigan) the Amish are Old Order sect. They wear only black, dark green & dark blue. They have no rubber on their tire rims (yeah, ur achin' back). They don't even allow kitchen countertops to be longer than 6' (too modern or something for their standards).
Oh, but people!!! When it comes to doing business, especially Maple tree tapping business, they are quite modern!!

I give you proof.....

HEHEHE! Very "space age" bags to catch the sap, don'tcha think!

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When it looks like the end....

of a 2 year caregiving lifestyle is almost done, there are some major emotions going on!

Two years ago Greg's mom came to live with us. She had a 6 year diagnosis of Frontotemperal Dementia. She had been unable to care for herself for the past 4 at least. Due to her older sister having some physical ailments causing her pain, she could no longer care for GP (we call her Grandma Patty @ our house to differentiate from my mom). So we moved her up from Ohio to Michigan.

When GP first moved in she could shower, dress & feed herself with a little guidance or minimal help. That has progressed to total care; feeding showering, dressing, EVERYTHING!!
A huge part of this dementia is the loss of communication! GP really hasn't been able to talk or form consecutive words for quite a few years. Yet to this day she will "talk" to you, non-stop lately! There is a difficulty in knowing if something is hurting, bothering or irritating her.

Her body language is one of constant motion & pacing (all day, every day) where it is hard to get her to even sit still for a meal. She cries off & on all day. She gets anxious when there is loud noises (um, yeah YOU try & keep 5 & 7 year olds quiet!), when she doesn't know what's going on or when Greg or I leave the house...thank God for caregivers who come & give us 3 hours each day of sanity.

Last week the final stages seems to have begun. She has always liked to go out to eat, shop or see a movie. That isn't the same anymore.....she is fighting with the seatbelt now, crying out that it's killing her & help from her many siblings (names of which she can still call out), or her mommy.

She doesn't realize Greg is her son anymore, he's more like someone she feels safe around. He calls her Patty, because she no longer answers to mom. She is constantly calling out for her, "mommy". She sees herself in the mirror & calls herself mommy. She talks in a little "baby voice", even though we don't know what she's saying.

The care, stress & strain on the family (let's just say this momma doesn't really wish for her girlies to live with someone who is now stripping her clothes & screaming like she's being killed) has gotten to be too much. No matter how much you love & care for your family, your parents, your mom....there is a reason why you move away & begin your own family, & they are first priority.

So the time has come to move GP to a safe place. A home where she doesn't have to go out on school pick up runs, where there are no loud children running & playing (she loved it when she first came), where there are people there who can focus totally on her care (& not have to barricade her in the living room to keep her away from the hot stove during meal prep) & well being.

It's time friends....summer is coming & there is no way we could not take our girls to the park, the beach, camping or amusement parks because we can't take GP. We can't justify taking away our girlies childhood for the sake of caring for GP. Even though we love her to bits!!

The girls have always had a child like understanding of GP's illness. GP's brain is sick, & it won't get better. We always have tried to explain her behaviors in a way that they feel compassion for GP & not anger (what kid wouldn't get a little ticked off @ someone standing in front of tv & blocking their view eh?!).

The girls are probably more ready for GP to go than Greg & I are (although we feel the relief & freedom of not being the caregiver anymore). There is still that dratted niggling guilt of, we should be the ones caring for her.

So what started me writing this blog 2 years ago (to relieve stress) is quickly coming to an end. There is a small (20 bed) home near us that specializes in memory loss care. They have an opening, & last week the paperwork was started. Sometime today, tomorrow or possibly Thursday will see the Frumpy House undergoing a major change!! I can't be dishonest here, it's already feeling like a great relief!



--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Monday, April 4, 2011

My first love affair...

I'm now sharing with my daughter!!

When I was around 7 or 8 I fell deeply in love with a certain little girl....Laura Ingalls Wilder. I mean IN LOVE!

There were a few years in my childhood that we were without a t.v. in our house. My parents had the audacity to think that it may rot our brains (go figure). Let me tell you this though, every Monday night we went over to my grandparents house to watch "Little House on the Prarie"!!

There is & never will be anything that could replace the set of creamy yellow covered books that my mother had on the living room bookshelves. I think I read those books 10 times each or more! LOVE-LOVE!!

So now Lauryn is 7 (& 1/2) we have started reading the Little House in the Big Woods together. I am in mommy heaven! I am spending time with my girl, rereading some books that are close to my heart & sharing some awesome history!!

Of course, to make it even better.....I thrifted these (still on the lookout for the rest to make the complete set) for .49 each!! Can't beat that with a stick...can't beat the kids with one either can I?

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Surviving 5 years!

Yep, Liyah was 5 on the first of April...believe me, I prayed I'd make it past that date!

Her birthday was quite the day!!

She took treats to preschool. Wore the birthday hat & had all her friends sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
She invited 4 friends from church over for a little birthday party in the evening!

Since Greg had the day off, he was in charge of fixing dinner for the kiddoes!! I think he was a little worried about that, but after walking him through the pig in a blanket process....he did fine!!

The kids ate, played, had cake & ice cream, played & watched a movie!

A great time was had by all!!
I pray, Liyah, that you continue to grow, smile & love the next 5 years like you have the first 5!!!!

Happy about the cake--pink, purple & ballerina!!

Ah, the frenzy of opening exciting!

--Jeanette using BlogPress on iPhone

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Someone's Birthday....

Vogue!  Mar 2011--our Sweet Girly!
and I'm not Foolin'!!!

FIVE years ago this morning @ 3:45 am, in Murfreesboro, TN. This very large pregnant woman went into the story starts!  I laid there for an hour timing the contractions & found that they were about 5-7 minutes apart.  Having been induced with the first girly, I hadn't experienced the timing of the contraction fun!!

I woke the hubby up & we showered, dressed & got ready to go.  We went upstairs & told my parents, who had traveled down from Michigan to help out for the first week or so...that we were going to be going to the hospital, so keep an ear out for Lauryn waking up!

Well, we were actually back home by the time she woke up....yep, that's right the nurse sent me home to "rest & walk around", I was dilated to 3 cm & they thought that I would be more comfortable @ home until I was further along!

This is when it gets a little blurry....I guess the mommy/preggo hormones kicked in & my mind started obsessing focusing on the fact that I had no newborn Spring/Summer clothes (Lauryn was born in November).  So after eating some breakfast, and walking around, & waiting for my nephew to get some school work done (my mom was helping him). I convinced my mother that we had to go out & buy some clothes for the baby!!  So after lunch, around 1 pm. we took off, with my other nephew who was 4 months old at the time, & went SHOPPING!!

We made our way around town, (I was walking people!) stopping @ all the consignment stores, thrift stores I could find.  My contractions were still rocking about every 5 minutes...but I was determined to get them going so they wouldn't send me home again!!!

Well, at 5:30 pm I decided since I wasn't able to walk upright anymore that it was prob'ly time to head home, & maybe take a break!

So we got home @ 6 pm.  Called hubby to come home from a service @ church @ 6:30 pm.  Left for hospital @ 7 pm when he got home. Was in triage @ 7:30 pm.  Moved to delivery @ 8 pm.  Begged the anesthesiologist for an epidural, and as he was trying to insert needle....the water broke!  8:13 pm; my dark haired, tiny (7lb. 11oz. is small in my family) little girlie was born!!!

Our family hasn't been the same since!

Liyah Gail: happy, funny, opinionated, whirling dervish, & all around great kid has been a wonderful addition to the family.  I'm so glad God gave her to me.  There is no other that could be the foil to her sister's, shall we say, pessimistic attitude to life!

Of course, this blog wouldn't have come to being without the antics of Liyah!  She was a crawler (Lauryn wasn't) which meant I got to experience her getting into anything & everything she could reach!
She still to this day can empty a drawer in 3 seconds flat, & move on to something else while leaving that mess!!

If I could guesstimate what she would like to be when she grows designer, makeup artiste or chef/baker!  For those are her favorite things.....

If you happen to see my little girly today, wish her a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Christmas 2005

The Fashion Star!

If truth be told, she's rather dress like this most days!

How it used to be after she blew through the house all day!

I love you Liyah, here's another birthday hug for you!!!

PS.  I chose Liyah's name & spelling from an Oprah show.  She had an African super model on one day when the hubs & I were fighting  debating choosing names!  He wanted Lucy & I didn't.....anywhooo...
I told him he could have the "horizontal mamba" every night for a week, if I could name her Liyah.  Well, you know how that story ends (*wink*wink*).  Let's just say he bargained me down to 3 nights, and was satisfied, all around!