Puppy Love

A new puppy is the perfect companion to a person suffering with Alzheimer's.

They say that dogs are man’s best friend, and I find that to be true. They are loyal, kind, and give unconditional love. Beyond that they are great for therapy and can be life changing.

My grandma is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and it is a HORIBLE disease. It causes her to forget who we are, and even who she is, sometimes. She can still do a few things on her own; but, for the most part, she needs constant care. We cook for her, bathe her, dress her, and try and help her to remember things as much as we can. Each day with her is different – some days she wakes up thinking she is ten years old, other days she thinks she is 13, 18, or 42. When we tell her that she is really 83 years old, she usually gets upset and thinks we are lying to her.

She often lives in the past and daily she asks, “Do you know where my mother is?” Daily we have to re-break the news to her that not only are her parents both gone but so is her brother and her husband of fifty years. Some days she just doesn’t believe us, but on the days that she does, it is heartbreaking. Her eyes fill up with tears and she quietly sobs and asks why everybody is gone. Loosing family is hard the first time, but to have to live that pain and sorrow day after day is just cruel. We tried to avoid the questions about her parents, but it just didn’t work; she thought that no one loved her since her family didn’t come to see her.  (This post was written a while ago. We no longer tell her that her family has died, instead we say they are on vacation or out of town. That small change has made a big difference.)

A new puppy is the perfect companion to a person suffering with Alzheimer's.

We wanted to do something to help her, so we looked into getting her a dog. After looking at a few different shelters, we just couldn’t find the right fit for grandma. Most of the dogs were too big, too wild, or too old (we couldn’t take a chance of her outliving the dog). Sadly, we had to put the idea off for a while. Then, when I was browsing Facebook, I came across this message on a friends time-line:

 “This puppy needs a home, she was found wandering around my work and there are no homes anywhere near. Help us find her a home!”

 The picture made my heart melt. She was a cute little puppy and her eyes just sparkled. After talking about it, we made the phone call and picked up the little puppy who was later  named Chloe. After a quick trip to PetCo for a few essentials, we brought Chloe home to grandma.

 

It was a perfect fit! Chloe jumped up on her lap and kissed her face while grandma just kept talking to her and petting her. The change in grandma was instant. Her eyes lit up and she had someone to love. Chloe is still a young puppy (only 4 months old), so she gets a little hyper with grandma and she loves to try and steal her milk, but she is learning.

Puppy3

A few amazing things have happened since Chloe’s arrival. She was trying to eat grandma’s cookie and grandma said, “You can’t have my cookie, go see Gayle (my mom) for a while.” That might not seem like much, but it has been months since my grandma has called anyone by name without help. She has been out of bed a little more, and she smiles every day. She has even been remembering that there is a puppy and what it looks like which is a major change.

I know Chloe can’t reverse or stop any of the horrible effects of Alzheimer’s, but if she can bring happiness, love, and joy even for a moment it is worth it.

My grandma has found a new happiness in life and a new reason to get out of bed. The poor little puppy that was abandoned in a field and my grandma who is lost in her own mind have made a connection and a friendship. It is most definitely a case of puppy love!

Chloe has been with Grandma for a little over two years now, and she is still the perfect companion. On bad days Chloe will sit on Grandma’s lap while Grandma pets her and loves her. She has become a constant in her life. Grandma asks for the spotted dog almost every day and gets so excited when she comes running to her. Chloe and Grandma make a great pair! I am so thankful we found her because Chloe really is the perfect companion to Grandma.

Real Life Homeschooling – Finishing Out the Week

I can’t believe that this is the final day of the real life homeschooling Blog Hop. Today I will share how we ended up finishing out the week.

We had a successful week, everything was finished and she ended up with almost an entire extra day of Spring Break.

When I looked at the spreadsheet Tuesday night I was happily surprised. AJ had finished her spelling, math,  and literature for the week. She only had Bible, Science and History left.

Tuesday night was a late one. I didn’t get to go to bed until 5am because Grandma had an accident around 1 in the morning and had to be showered and changed. I threw her sheets in the washer and then she ended up wanting breakfast. After a few hours she was tired and happily went to bed. At that point I crashed! Things like this happen quite often around here and that is one of the main reasons we don’t have a strict schedule. I didn’t end up waking up until about 11 am.

I decided to take a shower before even thinking about school work. That is until AJ walked in the bathroom and read the Bible reading for the day to me. She told me that she already finished the worksheet for it, and she was ready to work on her history next. When I got out of the shower I found her, already showered, dressed, and hair kind of done working on her history. (We are working on how to do her own hair so she will be ready when she goes to camp this summer.)

Working on History flash cards - Real Life Homeschooling

A few minutes later she was finished with her vocabulary and we went over the book of Joshua in the Kids Bible Handbook. I have to say that book has made Bible time so much easier! It breaks down what happened in each section and really helps both of us to understand the Bible.

We finished up the day by re-watching the science videos and looking through the library books on weather. At about 12:30 school was over and she was officially on Spring Break.

We had a very successful week, but it isn’t always that way. Sometimes Grandma is up all night and we don’t get any sleep, on those days school work doesn’t really get done.

You may have also noticed that there was not any art, grammar, or writing on our schedule this week. We aren’t doing a formal art program. Art is done as it fits in with science and literature, and is really focused on one week in every history unit. The history program is actually very hands on and fun, but this was the first week in the new unit where we had a lot of reading and listening to do.

We have been using copy work for grammar for the last few months. Spelling You See has taken the place of copywork for now. If we continue with it after the review period (which I am almost positive we will) then we will probably add back in some additional copy work a few times a week. We also use the daily grammar from schoolhouseteachers.com. Once we get more use to the new schedule I plan to add that back in.

Writing, the dreaded subject, wasn’t on the list because we finished the last unit in composition and I didn’t want to start a new one and then have a week off for Spring Break in the middle. I haven’t found the perfect program for writing and am looking for a way to make it more enjoyable for AJ.

A successful week where everything was accomplished!

So that was our week. She finished everything on the spreadsheet and had almost an entire extra day of Spring Break!Thanks for joining me and I hope you were given a real life look into our homeschool!

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
Here are a few of the other bloggers who are participating in the blog hop, check them out!
Indy Homeschool
The Open Window-An Autism Blog
Creative Madness Mama
Hopkins Homeschool
Tots and Me…Growing Up Together
Our Journey
Crystal Starr
A Little This … A Little That
For the Display of His Splendor

Real Life Homeschooling – Fitting It All In

Today is day 2 of the Real Life Homeschooling Blog Hop. (You can see day 1 here) I will be taking you through a typical homeschooling week at our house. This week we decided to do school Sunday through Wednesday. (This post is based on the week before Easter, because we are on Spring Break this week.)

Sundays are busy around here. It is our day that we do the major cleaning, so it is not the “best day” to do school, but we have to fit in school when we can. Here is how our day went.

My alarm went off at 8:30 and I woke AJ up about 9am. She didn’t want to get up until I reminded her that she had church that night and if her work wasn’t done (As long as she puts in a decent effort she can go, even if everything isn’t finished.) she couldn’t go to church.

Homeschooling in Real Life - Fitting it all in

From about 9 to 11 she got up, ate breakfast (eggs, toast, and an apple), took a shower, and made her bed. She moves so SLOWLY in the mornings sometimes. So slowly that it drives me nuts!

From 11 to about 1:30 we cleaned. The floors were swept and mopped, everything was dusted, and then……. Grandma woke up. She had a wet diaper so we changed her and made her some breakfast. I put a Shirley Temple movie on to occupy Grandma and then supervised as AJ vacuumed the house. Then it was time for lunch. Lunch was simple, a tuna sandwich, chips, pickles, and cucumber.

At about 2pm we started school. I was afraid we wouldn’t get much finished since church was at 5:45. We do the majority of her school work in the garage.

Normally, I would let AJ pick the order of the subjects for the day, but not today. Since we were in a time crunch I decided to start off with history. This week in history we are starting a new unit all about The Children of Israel. It covers quite a few books in the Bible, from Joshua to 1 Kings. Today on the schedule was reading the article, reading a few stories in the Action Bible, and reading a few major verses in her Bible.

Homeschooling in Real Life - History

We read the article and Bible verses together and then she read a few stories in the Action Bible.

The Action Bible - A great way to help kids understand the Bible.

After history was finished, she moved onto Bible. We are reviewing a Bible Study from Heidi St. John called; Firmly Planted The Gospels Part 1 Today we read the first part of Luke 1, and discussed it.

Firmly Planted Bible Study, Luke 1

Then she worked on the vocabulary section while I put dinner on. We need to get a better dictionary, because the one we have just isn’t cutting it any more. She had to use the computer to look up most of the words, and they were basic words.

Looking up words using Dictionary.com

Next on the list was spelling. We are reviewing Spelling You See, and so far AJ loves it. I was concerned about the amount of writing at first, but she has been doing very well with it.

Spelling You See - A hands on way to practice spelling.

First she reads it to me and then she chunks the words based on the vowels. After we go over the chunking, she copies the passage.

Spelling You See - A hands on way to practice spelling.

Spelling only took about 15 minutes total. Today for some odd reason she decided to cooperate and get her work done in a timely manner.  After spelling we moved onto math.

Today’s math was in 2 parts. First she did some online math (more on that tomorrow) then she worked on her Key to Percent book. Today’s lesson was on finding percent by using what she already knew. She had to find  49% by finding both 50% and 1% and subtracting, or find 35% by adding up 25% and 10% of a number.

No need for paper, we do math on the whiteboard!

She worked her problems out on the whiteboard after I went over what she had to do. While she worked on math I folded some laundry and checked on Grandma. Then I checked Facebook and my email. A few minutes later I checked her math and she had them all correct. I love this math! Everything is step by step and she enjoys doing it.

The last major subject for the day was science. We are using Digital Science Online and are working on Weather. Today she watched the video all about weather in action and filled out a worksheet. She watched it alone while I went inside and put my foot up because I was hurting a lot.

Using Digital Science online to promote independence

When she finished science (about 25 minutes) she asked if she could do her literature at bed time. I decided we would try it and she did her PE. I had to add PE to the schedule because otherwise I tend to put it off so that she gets more book work done. In all honestly, if it wouldn’t have been on the schedule I would have skipped it. She loves to ride her bike though, and I think seeing it on the schedule actually makes her work harder.

After PE she watered the plants, and then it was time to eat a snack and go to church. She ended up finishing up everything except literature by 5:15. She says that she really likes the new schedule and if more days go like today, I will gladly take the extra time to schedule each week.

After church, at about 7:15, we ate dinner. Tonight was ham, mashed potatoes, and steamed carrots. When it was time for her to do her literature, she gave a little attitude because she wanted to watch TV.

Working on independence in Home School

After a few minutes of moaning about how she could do it tomorrow, she went in and read her book and answered the questions. She actually ended up doing both Sunday’s and Monday’s work, because, “The book was just so interesting.” I don’t know who kidnapped my child and replaced her, but I am gladly keeping this one!

Each day is different and today everything seemed to work out well. AJ cooperated with her school work, Grandma willingly stayed out of trouble, and the house was cleaned. Most days are not this smooth, but I am thankful when days like today happen.

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

Real Life Homeschool Blog Hop
 Here are 10 more blogs that are participating in the blog hop, check them out!

For This Season
Unexpected Homeschool
For Him and My Family
As We Walk Along the Road
Growing in His Glory
Homeschool Coffee Break
Daily Life
There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining
Proverbial Homemaker
ElCloud Homeschool

 

Bed Wetting and Dignity

One major part of our daily life is dealing with the side effects of my grandma’s Alzheimer’s. Along with the memory loss there are many other side effects that she experiences. Some are from the medications, and others are just part of this horrible disease. One issue we deal with at least weekly is bedwetting. It happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes she doesn’t wake up, sometimes she is dizzy and can’t get to the bathroom fast enough, sometimes she doesn’t remember that she has to go, and a lot of the time she doesn’t know where she is or how to get to the bathroom.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Most of the time she acts like she doesn’t know why her bed is wet. Sometimes she will remake the bed in order to hide the fact that it is wet, and other times she will say she just spilled a glass of water. She has never admitted to wetting the bed, and I don’t know if that is because of her pride or because of the fact that she doesn’t know that she does it. I think it is a little bit of both.

Since bed wetting and midnight sheet changes are bound to happen, we have made some changes to make life a little easier in spite of the challenge. Here are six things that may make  bed wetting easier to deal with.

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Diapers – Grandma has been wearing adult diapers for over a year now. At first she refused to wear them, but now she usually will put them on without a fight. The problem is that they only hold so much and often they leak at night. We have found the Depends brand to be the most comfortable. They work wonders during the day, but unfortunately they leak a little too often at night. A major thing we have noticed is that calling them diapers will cause a problem. Not only does it make her feel badly about herself, but it makes her mad that she has to wear something that she doesn’t feel she needs. We call them pads. That way she can keep her dignity and we can ensure she wears what she needs.
  • Mattress Pad – When we first started staying with Grandma the accidents were few and far between. After the second time of having to shampoo her mattress we decided to get a plastic mattress protector. You really need the kind that go over the entire mattress and zip. The ones that go on like a fitted sheet can be easily removed…… I know from experience. The mattress protector can easily be wiped down with cleaner and makes shampooing a thing of the past. We wash down the mattress cover with a solution of cleaner and water and then spray it with Lysol.
  • 3 sets of sheets – Grandma may go 2 or 3 days with out an accident, and then wet through twice in one night. We have found that three sets of sheets works wonderfully. There is always at least one clean set, even if she wet through twice in the night.
  • White Sheets – Urine can have a very strong odor. We have found that sometimes the only way to get rid of the smell is with bleach. Having white sheets makes bleaching them simple. We had to throw away a few sets of colored sheets that became too stained.
  • Two Blankets – Two bed sized blankets really are essential. When the sheets get wet, the blanket may too. Often blankets can take a long time to dry, so having an extra available makes making the bed quickly possible.
  • Move the extras – Grandma likes her room to look neat, so a nice comforter is a must. The problem is that comforters are not made to be washed as often as sheets. The one that was on her bed for over 20 years finally had to be thrown away a few weeks ago from being washed so much in the last year. Now we take the comforter and extra pillows off of her side of the bed. They are within reach if she wants them, but having them get wet is a lot less likely.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Overall, patience, kindness, and understanding are the most important thing you can have when dealing with a bed wetter. There may be times when you have to wake up at two in the morning to change the bed. There will be times when you finally get to talk to someone on the phone, or the show you have been waiting for for months is finally on, and your loved one will need to be changed. Show them dignity. Show them grace, and show them love. Remember it is not something they can control. Just as you wouldn’t get mad at a baby for wetting through their diaper, don’t get mad at your loved one.

Caregiving is a difficult yet rewarding job, I hope what we have learned makes your experience a little easier.

Christmas 2014

I never did seem to get into the Christmas spirit, but we had a very nice Christmas. I did a lot of baking this year, so much that I don’t even want to see another cookie for a while! I ended up making 12 dozen chocolate drop cookies, 10 dozen sugar cookies, 7 pies, 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and 6 dozen butterscotch cookies. I am baked out!

Christmas 2014

For Christmas Eve we had a few family members come over. AJ was excited to see her brother and cousins. They played cards, talked, and just had fun together. We had a ham and turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, stuffing, Jello salad, and rolls.

It was a really nice evening. The kids opened presents, I read The Night Before Christmas, and we visited.

Christmas morning AJ woke me up at 4:30! She has never done that. Normally she sleeps until at least seven or eight even on Christmas. I hadn’t gone to bed until close to three that morning so I was a mean mom and told her I wasn’t getting up until 8:00am. She was so excited that Santa had brought her a desk and a tablet that she couldn’t go back to sleep. She sat and waited until finally I got up and she was able to open her stocking.

This year Santa didn’t put very much candy in her stocking. She received a few beanies, some gloves, lip gloss, face wash, deodorant, and a few other things.

After the stockings, she practically pulled me into the living room  to show me what Santa had left for her. She didn’t really ask for much this year. She wanted new pajamas, socks, (she loves socks) science stuff, and a desk. She has wanted a desk for a while – but not just any desk, one like kids in “regular” school have.

To both of our surprise Santa brought her a desk, a MobyMax tablet (that was won from a giveaway on homeschool encouragement) and a wonderful book from Bethany Hamilton – Body and Soul. She was ecstatic!

Then it was time for presents. Normally there are so many presidents under the tree for everyone, but not this year. AJ and Grandma were the only ones with presents and there were no where near the usual amount. I was so thankful that I had earned some gift certificates from Family Christian and I was able to get her a few things.

She opened a few different magic sets from the dollar store, two pairs of pajamas, some new socks, and the rest of the What’s in the Bible? series. She also got a doll and a few science kits. She was very happy and overall it was a good Christmas.

Later that day we spent Christmas with  my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. Grandma was in a fairly good mood and was even joking around a little bit. Chloe (Grandma’s puppy) came with us and had a ball playing with her puppy cousin. It was a really nice day.

All in all it was a nice Christmas and I am looking forward to the new year. How was your Christmas?

Health Update – Mom, Grandma, and Me

I have had a lot of reviews on my blog lately, and unfortunately I haven’t had time to do too much other blogging, because as usual our life has been hectic. In my last real post I shared how my mom had been diagnosed with Kidney disease and had to have two different surgeries.

The surgeries were a lot harder on her than we were expecting. She woke up in so much pain that they decided to keep her in the hospital an extra night. When she came home she was still hurting. A few weeks later they took the two stints out of her kidneys and she started feeling better. Not good, but better. So far the test results show that her kidney function has improved a little, now we just have to play the waiting game.

This week she went in for another surgery to fix her hernia. To say she was nervous would be the understatement of the year. After all of the pain she felt from the kidney surgeries, she was really afraid of how bad she would hurt after this surgery.

When she woke up she was relieved. The pain was nowhere near as bad as the other surgery. But as the days have gone by it is very difficult for her to get up and down. Right now we are taking it day by day. With her back hurting from the kidney surgery and her front hurting from the hernia surgery, she is uncomfortable all of the time. Thankfully my aunt was able to stay with us a few days to keep an eye on Grandma and help out. I am not much help right now because my leg and back are getting worse by the day. I did finally get an appointment with another new doctor next week so I am hopeful that she will have some answers.

Daily Life caregiving

How is Grandma doing? She has her good days and bad days. Lately she has been is a better mood, our problem is her sleeping. She tends to be up for 48 hours straight at times and that can be difficult. I am the first to admit that when I am in pain (always) and don’t get enough sleep I am not the nicest person. Some days you will find us sleeping in until noon because Grandma didn’t go to bed until 5 or 6 in the morning. This of course messes up our school schedule, but we are about where I had wanted to be curriculum wise. Grandma has joined in on school a few times recently and even enjoyed writing on the chalkboard. Her favorite subject is our read aloud time.

Merry Christmas

Memory wise Grandma is a little worse. She seems to know us better and even calls us by name at times, but her sense of time is completely off. She tends to think she is about 10 years old. She is happy most of the time though especially this time of year when the house is decorated for Christmas. We have stopped telling her that her parents and husband have died unless she asks directly. We avoid answering as much as possible by using phrases like…. I haven’t seen her today, They won’t be picking you up tonight, and Yeah, your mother knows where you are. Since we made this little change she cries way less. She still has a mouth on her and wants things her way but life is a little easier. Health wise she is good and we are praying she stays that way!

G is for…..

Good Times With Grandma

Taking care of grandma is a lot of work, and unfortunately there are some not so pleasant things we have to to deal with. There are numerous questions, diapers, messes, and appointments. Sleepless nights and angry days are a weekly event. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease that I pray they someday find a cure for. Even though she doesn’t always remember we try to keep grandma as happy as possible. Every day is different and we have learned to never plan anything where the time is set in stone, but good times with grandma are possible.

We try to get grandma out of the house at least once a week. She has been on a real sugar kick recently and her favorite place to go is to the dollar store to buy cookies. She asks, “How much is this?” for every item and once she learns it is only a dollar she says, “Well I think we better get 3 or 4 packs then”. It is amazing that a simple trip to the store can brighten her day so much, but it does.

Sometimes grandma likes to go to the Plaza and get a smoothie and a Sees Candy sample. Whenever we go to the Plaza we try to let her look around a little bit too.

Sometimes she is in a great mood and even tries out a few hats and purses. Other times she doesn’t want to look at anything.

The last few days we have found a new way to keep grandma happy. We make a campfire. She loves to sit outside, look at the stars, and just be. She really likes s’mores too!  In fact the last time we had a camp fire grandma said that it was the best night in her entire life. 
Even though she doesn’t always remember these good times, she is able to be happy in the moment, and really that is all that matters!

Holiday Fun

I’m back! I took a little time off from my day to day blogging in order to enjoy the holidays with my family. I had quite a few reviews during that time but now I am ready to get back into the swing of things. We actually just finished Little House on the Prairie and are starting on On the Banks of Plum Creek. We learned a great deal and did a lot of fun things during our Little House journey so I am going to break up what we did over a few different posts.

I wrote two guest posts during the holidays as well, you can check them out here:

Resolutions vs. Goals – on Home and School Mosaic
Homeschooling and Only Child – on Bow of Bronze

Here is what we have been up to since Thanksgiving that was not school related.

Christmas is my favorite time of year! I have loved it ever since I was a kid. This year was a little different. Last year we were home with all of our Disney Christmas stuff, this year we were with my grandma. While I love my Disney ornaments and nick knacks it was nice to see the older Christmas stuff that I grew up with.

We decorated stockings together. (See those reindeer on the mantel, those were hand made by my Great Aunt who has passed away)

We decorated gingerbread houses two times! The first time AJ and her friends decorated them together. They had a blast and did a great job. It was so neat to see the ideas that they came up with for decorating their houses.

A few days later my friend came over and we kept with our tradition and decorated gingerbread houses together. I think that both sets of houses turned out great!

 

We made tons cookies to give as gifts. For about three days all we did was bake and decorate. We made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, mint cookies, and chocolate drop cookies. We received many complements about the cookies though, so it was well worth the effort.

 

We were able to look at lights and watch a lot of Christmas movies. Grandma wasn’t up to doing too much, but we were able to take her to Knott’s Berry Farm for breakfast and the craft fair. She was having a good day that day and seemed to really enjoy herself.
We had a really nice Christmas and I felt very blessed to be able to spend it with my grandma, I think this will more than likely be the last year that she is able to fully communicate and enjoy the holidays. I hope you had a great holiday season.

A is for Adapting

I am taking part in blogging through the alphabet hosted by Ben and Me. Each week I will be writing a blog post that will in some way be related to the letter of the week from A to Z.

 

If you would have told me six months ago that I would be living with my grandma Monday through Friday helping to take care of her, I would have never believed it. Our family has went through a lot of unexpected changes in the last few months and that has affected our homeschool. Months before I pulled AJ out of CAVA (California Virtual Academy) I was planning our homeschool year. Picking curriculum, making lists of projects, and planning all the details for our year. I even started reorganizing my bedroom to make it an even better school room.
 
Then things changed. Grandma got sick and now requires someone to be with her 24 hours a day. Instead of doing school in the comfort of our home, we now have to do school at grandma’s house. Boy has that made us have to adapt. At home I have all of our materials, although I brought all of our school books to grandma’s, a lot of the time there are little things that we don’t have. We have needed food color, sugar, brads, cardboard, card stock and other little things that I didn’t think to bring with us. Sometimes we  push a project back a few days until I can get the material where other times we  just use the closest thing we can find. It has been an adjustment but we are making progress.
 
One of the hardest things to adapt to so far has been grandma. Her Alzheimer’s has gotten a lot worse and that makes school difficult some days. So we adapt. Sometimes grandma sits in on school work so that we are able to keep an eye on her. Other days we wake up early and get some school work done before she wakes up. Then there are some days where grandma just doesn’t sleep and we are up for days at a time. On those days we are not able to do school. 
 
I have learned that we just have to go with the flow and keep a positive attitude. There may be some days where no book work is done and we may not always be on track with where I had thought we would be, but she is learning. Learning that you take care of your family and put others first. Learning compassion, patience, and understanding. We may get to the math and the grammar a few days later than I planned but we can work on the weekends and a little in the summer if needed. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. The school work will be here tomorrow, grandma may not.



One Day at a Time

Grandma soaking her feet in the pool

It is so hard to believe that a little over 2 months ago my grandma was fairly independent. She would walk to her neighbor’s house, take out her trash, and pretty much was able to walk and do most anything. In the last two months she has been in the hospital and a nursing facility, been put on and then taken off of oxygen, and gone from being unable to walk in a wheel chair to walking with little assistance. Each and every day is a new adventure. Here is a little taste of the last few days.

We went home on Friday evening for some much needed rest. Friday was a bad day. She was feeling better so she didn’t think that she needed her walker, but she did. She didn’t want anyone at her house and was angry all day. She got so mad at the fact that there was a potty chair in her bathroom that she slapped me hard right across the face. I know that it is not her, that it is the Alzheimer’s, but it definitely doesn’t make it any easier.

After we left for the weekend my aunt stayed with her. On Saturday and Sunday she refused to eat or drink. She only has one kidney so if she isn’t drinking it makes her very sick. She ended up wetting herself and throwing up. After she was cleaned up she ended up wetting the bed. By the time we came back on Sunday evening she was in very bad shape. She was still refusing to eat or drink and was not making sense when she was talking. She was babbling and just staying, “no, no, me oww, no” She wasn’t able to move at all. She looked so helpless. After hours of coaxing we finally got her to open her mouth so we could drop water into it. After a while of doing that it almost seemed as if she snapped out of her delusional state. She recognized me and said how she liked my curly hair.

The next morning she still couldn’t walk and she had wet the bed again. After she got cleaned up she ate a really good breakfast and had a serene attitude. We ended up putting her in adult diapers and overall the day went well. Then when night hit things changed. She thought we were trying to poison her and wouldn’t eat her dinner until we all ate it first. She thought that some big catastrophe had happened and that we were all sick in a hospital most of all she didn’t like the fact that AJ was with us. Then she wanted to go home. We explained over and over that it was her home, but she insisted that we were not at her house. By bed time she was able to walk to her room with the walker.

She got up about three different times through the night last night because she thought that someone was knocking at the door. At 8am we found her about to go out her back door to check if someone was in the back yard. All day she has been agitated and very confused. At one point she thought she was in jail. Then she said we had to hide everything in the house so that the neighbors don’t come in and rob us. Right now as I am writing this post she is in bed wanting to know who the dog in her room belongs to and why the cats are chewing on the snakes. (She doesn’t have any animals.)

Each day when she wakes up it is a surprise as to how her brain is working. Her mobility, attitude, and aggression level vary day by day and sometimes hour by hour. She can be so sick one day and then the next day be okay again. Some days she is so mean and then other times she is nice. It is a big job to stay with her and answer her never ending questions but the few good days make the many bad days a little easier. I do have a feeling that tonight is going to be a long night.