Helen's Most Recent Picture

Helen's Most Recent Picture
What a great smile!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Done with therapy.

This past Wednesday found us meeting with the speech and occupational therapists for the last time. Mom had met all the goals and it was time to turn her loose. We again note that her daily success is TOTALLY DEPENDENT on making a list of things to accomplish daily on her schedule. If it is not on the schedule and/or the schedule is not consulted (or found), there is little chance of being where needed or with the needed items unless one of us reminds her. Mom has always been a list maker until after the stroke. She still THINKS she is a list maker, but she has not been doing it. After much discussion with the speech therapist on Wednesday, Mom has started doing much better with making lists AND completing her daily schedule. This is one of the conditions for getting her driving privileges back. Dave let her drive to therapy on Wednesday and to his house afterward. She knew exactly what to do and where to go without any hesitation. The driving plan currently is that she can drive when Dave is with her. He still has her car and plans to keep it for a while. She sees her doctor on Friday and will discuss the driving again with her. Dr. Maurer had suggested that this be revisited in the spring (that is certainly okay by me). We still have very interesting conversations due to the short term memory loss. It often takes me a bit to figure out what she is asking and why. A couple of weeks ago I had a very difficult week and was very emotional. After spending some time with my thoughts and tears, I realized that I was grieving for the mother that is no longer present. Yes, she is still here but she is very different in what she is able to process and how she is able to relate to me. We no longer have the mother/daughter talks like we were able to in the past and our roles are very different. There is still much joy and sharing but in a more simplistic fashion. I am once again able to enjoy the moments and times that we are spending together in our new roles and changed relationship.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Merry Go Round

Whoa, stop the spinning... Our weeks are so busy and tiring. Mom is hanging in and participating in many activities. She still wants to do everything but the rest of us just can't do it all, work, and maintain a reasonable level of sanity. Last week, Mom saw her primary care doc for coumadin check and that is stable so can go for a month now. Follow up with cardiologist from being in the hospital and things are going well. Due to the medication, she will need thyroid, liver, and pulmonary function testing done but not return to cardiologist for a year!! Pulmonary function testing is next week. Tomorrow she will finally be able to stay home most of the day and most of it alone. I think she is looking forward to that time. I have to work since I took part of Tuesday off to take her to the cardiologist. We are leaving her alone for a few hours at a time. Dave and Monica are going to take Mom to their house this weekend so that I can have a weekend off and Aunt Betty has returned from her vacation. The support system is awesome with family and friends. Mom and Aunt Betty volunteered in Kelly's classroom today (Mom's niece, a 1st grade teacher). It sounded like she had fun and a good day. Mom's birthday is Saturday. Interesting week with granddog being sprayed by a skunk and our freezer/refrigerator quit cooling and we lost a lot of food. Fortunately a quick, easy, and fairly reasonable fix. We needed to clean out the fridge and freezer anyway. Stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still improving

Mom continues to improve...slowly but surely! She has good strength and has no trouble getting around. However, she still continues to struggle remembering things. Yesterday, she visited with some Noble County friends at the 'Soakem Festival'. She has the same desire to do 'everything' that she used to do which includes everything that is written in her old datebook. However, logistically, all of those activities can no longer be done because she is unable to drive and her prior schedule sometimes conflicts with the schedule of her caregivers.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Last week...(ending today 9/19)

It was a pretty average week again. Mom plateaued a little a couple of weeks ago and there's not been a lot of change. Mom is being challenged to continue update her daily journal. This is stoke therapy 101 where she needs to write down her daily activities both from a 'to do' list but also from a 'what I did' list. This is important so that she can refer back to it to see what she did earlier. Short term memory is still her biggest challenge.

She spends a lot of time on the computer reading and responding to emails. I don't want to be mean here but please be aware that not all of her messages are totally accurate. If you have any questions on anything she may send you, please do not hesitate to contact Deb or me via email or cell because Mom continues to get confused on dates and times.

Highlights for the week include Mom going to Vintage Voices, Church Choir, Drake's H.S. Football game on Friday (Drake plays in the band), and her almost cutting off both her thumbs! Just kidding (sort of). Mom did cut both thumbs while cooking earlier this week. She now needs to learn that she can't do things the way she used to do. She must now use a cutting board and no longer can she cut towards her thumb while paring things. A few bandages later and thumbs up above her heart slowed the bleeding down and she made a fine Fonzie impression.

Until next week...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New weekly updates are on the way...

Starting with this blog update, we have decided to make this a new WEEKLY blog. Unless there are major things to report, our plan will be to make one update each weekend as to mom's progress. We'll try to summarize events & activities from the week and post it probably on Sunday evenings.

Today, mom and Deb went to Lakeside, OH to attend Ruth & Bill Shannon's 50th wedding anniversary open-house. (Ruth was mom's roommate at Baldwin-Wallace College prior to her transferring to THE Ohio State University many moons ago).

Mom will be venturing into the personal training world next week as she works to improve strength and endurance.

To get her back into the sewing routine, I brought up some Boy Scout patches tonite so that mom can work on those in the near future.

She's mentioned that she may want to drive again sometime but has luckily realized that it will not be happening anytime soon due to two reasons:
1. She acknowledges that she probably forgot where she just was...and
2. She acknowledges that she probably doesn't know where she will need to go.
Obviously, we are VERY GLAD she has come up with these 2 reasons on her own.

Check back next weekend (probably Sunday evening) for our next update.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Role Reversal

I am finding it very difficult to find much to blog about as each day is so full, busy, and tiring for all of us at the Addis convalescent home. Mom continues to be a good sport and trying hard, especially around her friends. She had some very special visitors this week and made several special visits too. Yesterday, I took her to Caldwell to play bridge with the bridge group. It was very interesting for me. What a hard, thought processing game! Mom really did great but was tired from all the thinking. We stopped in Cambridge to surprise her special friend, Laura Belle, with a visit, then met Mark and Irene at PizzaHut for dinner. It was a long day but a good day. It also gave Mom and I opportunities to talk and share our feelings. Unfortunately, she doesn't remember that today! She remembers parts of yesterday but ... I have found several times this past week that I have become the mother and I don't like it. I never wanted to be anyone's mother! Fortunately, I had a wonderful role model and am trying to be very patient and follow training from the therapists and what I feel is also needed to help Mom be independent and successful. For those of you with children, it is very similar to dealing with a 4 year old at times and a teenager at other times such as easily distracted, not following through, constant reminders to get ready for bed, shower, go to bed, time to eat, wash hands... you get the idea. I am banning tetris (a handheld game). I love her so much and really am enjoying the time spent together and keeping her safe. Friends have commented that they barely notice a difference. Well.... you would have seen it here today. Ishcabibble, the mouse, became more important again today and he now has a lovely little handkerchief in his pocket. Mom also shared three ways that he is related to my Grandma Addis -- you really don't want to know! She is really hilarious at times. I finally drug her away from the computer to watch some of the OSU game. Most of you know that an OSU game commanded all of her attention previously and we planned our Saturday around not missing a minute. We planned our day around it today but... Now she is really into the Penn State game. My new word for things that happen -- "whatever."

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Adventures

Aunt Helen had a great visit on Thursday with her long time friend Mary Jo! When my mom called Aunt Helen she was SO excited to be sewing a present to take to a friend. She announced that she was having a WONDERFUL day! Life is certainly looking up!