Posted in Life, Mom

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is Mom’s Birthday and it is a huge deal in so many ways. Besides it being her 80th, it is also the first time that she has been out of the nursing home. I will detail the day and tell you all about it at another time. I am prescheduling this post and my fingers are crossed that everything is going well. In the meantime here are a few thoughts.

Dear Mom,

You are a fighter and you have come a long way over the past weeks and even months. Perhaps nobody believed you would survive and even you had doubts on some days that you could pull through. I’m glad that I was by your side to share the pain as well as the scary moments.

You are defying me he odds and you are learning to walk again. You have fallen many times in your life, literally and metaphorically speaking. You have always got back up and this has been the longest you have stayed down. Yet you never gave up and there was a spark, a desire to live left that kept you going.

Dear Mom,

Life might have been tough in many ways for you, but still you managed to do many things right. Even now you still know what is going on and have much to be proud of. Things that required unimaginable strengths to go on and things of personable perseverance.

Dear Mom,

You raised me alone and I don’t think that I turned out all that bad. You left your influence on me and although we have our differences, you have had always someone that stood by your side and cared deeply. You might have felt that I abandoned you leaving for the states, but our bond could never be broken.

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Posted in Chronic illness, Life

Chronic pain

Chronic pain leaves you vulnerable and steals your strengths. It breaks you down. Most won’t understand what it is like to be in constant pain, day in and day out. Mom can’t and she struggles to see and understand what it is like. Perhaps it is hard to grasp and nobody can unless you have experienced it for yourself. Chronic pain lingers and follows you like a shadow that will never leave your side. The occasional break is so rare that it becomes a precious gift worth more than gold when it does happen. Chronic pain eats away at you, it nags at you and makes you weak. The only thing that changes, is the level of pain, sometimes a bit more and others a little less. But it’s always there, reminding you that life is just a little tougher and requires effort for the things that are second nature to a healthy person. There is always fatigue and the pain is hard to gauge from others due to the mostly invisible signs. Even you yourself might try to challenge yourself. You look pretty normal so therefore everything else should be normal too, right? I know there are many of you who fight this battle alongside with me every day. I see you my friends and join you in the battle. Your strength to do this every day is a force to be reckoned with.

Chronic pain is not always obvious and most may never know what battles you fight unless they look deep within your eyes. It is always there that it is reflecting, and if you take the time you will see it crying deep within the person’s soul.

I took a little bike ride with family Sunday night and was reminded of this once more. It was nothing strenuous, or so it appears, because for me the first slight incline at the beginning of the trek was killer. I pushed against the pain, tried to find my rhythm, and keep up, to the point where I nearly went to far. I had to stop for a moment because the pain got to great. I had to fight not to cry. The rest of the ride was fine and I had no more troubles. My loved ones are beyond understanding, even trying to justify it for me by making excuses to make me feel better, saying that I hadn’t warmed up. and this only happened because the ride started out uphill right from the beginning. Maybe so, but nobody else seemed to be affected by it….just me.

I hardly slept from Sunday into Monday. I couldn’t get comfortable and was in pain. I became restless. Trying to skip the pain pill that has become a part of daily life didn’t make things better. I woke up late, in pain and fatigued to greet the beginning week on Monday morning. I took a rest day from Mom and even that sounds horrible now. Things have been really good and I don’t need rest days from her, but what I do need are days to tend to myself, to take care of my own health and do a few chores. I have had more balance in my life lately then I ever had and I can’t complain. Yet I’m tired. The lack of sleep left me emotional for most of the day. I felt like crying and the pain persisted throughout the day. Steps had to be conquered sideways, one step at a time and everything took extra effort. A lingering storm system added to the trouble and I felt the pressure in my bones with swollen feet. An email from a dear friend left me emotional and in tears. In a good way but overcome by kindness. You know who you are Amanda and the connection we share is beyond special. Thank you for reinforcing that everything is ok, for your loyalty and a friendship I’m blessed to have received.

A teaser sprinkle brought minor relief towards the evening and tonight I will take two and call it a day. Tomorrow, I will try to visit Mom earlier in the day and may make a stop at the local outdoor pool. Swimming and the cool water will help my joints during the humidity I hope.

Posted in Celebration, Life, Mom

The big one

I spent quite a bit of time with Mom today and it was time well spent. She has been doing really well as of lately and it feels as if she is inspired about getting well. By no means has she adjusted to the nursing home or even considers being there forever, but there seems to be newfound hope that is flowing through her system these days. I’m not sure as to what she is holding on to, but whatever it is, it is positive and full of light and life. Let it be, I am enjoying these moments right alongside with her.

She loved the sunflower I brought her today, and it was as if it filled the room full of sunshine. She had to proudly show and introduce it to everybody entering the room, as if you could miss the huge, bold and bright bloom. The last three visits with Mom were full of laughter and we have laughed more in those days as in all the time I have been here. Perhaps all of the time we spent together in a lifetime. She always tells me that I’m just like my Dad when I make her laugh. Today she told me that she thinks that I am even worse then my Dad, meaning that I make her laugh even more. I will gladly take the compliment and honestly….it made my day.

Mom has a big one coming up next week, her 80’s birthday. We will actually celebrate our birthdays together since they are only a day apart and I’m glad that I’m here for it. It’s a big deal, and this has only happened a few times over the past thirty years. I am excited for her and the big plans that are in the making for spending part of the day at Mom’s favorite fortress, Burg Colmberg. It will be the first time out of the nursing home and the hospital for her and it’s hard to put into words how meaningful this is for both of us. By no means will it be easy and it is a huge undertaking, but I believe where there is a will, there is a way. With joint forces and a little help, this will happen and brighten her life. I couldn’t ask for more and I would go to the end of the world to make this possible for her. Yes we can is my motto instead of focusing on what could go wrong. Something can go wrong as any given moment, with all of us, but it is not how I choose to live my life. Being a guardian for mom and responsible for her, it is my mission to bring as much of this light to her days, for as long as I can. I want her to believe that anything is possible. I want her to be positive and I want her to believe in the good of things. We truly do have a choice.

I will pick an outfit for her to wear, (oooolala) and she will look sharp. She promised me month ago that I get to dress her, perhaps during a time she didn’t think that she would pull through. Well, she did and a promise is a promise, and I never forget one being made. So hold on tight….

Posted in Life, Mom

Working through it

It’s been nearly a week that Mom returned from the hospital after the glucose scare. It happened once more that her blood sugar dropped to 50, but she was able to stay at the nursing home. Overall she has been good and her wounds continue to heal. Her sugar is still all over the place, dangerously low and then back to over 300. There is no consistency, and the spikes are huge. I know that her condition can change at a moments notice and so does she.

A ton of bills arrived today for all of her bandage material, and I tried to talk to her about some financial matters and transferring funds to cover the automatic deductions. I know I could easily take care of it myself through the power of attorney I already hold, and yet I try to keep her involved and in the know. It is and remains her money, I’m just the one ensuring that everything is taken care of. She didn’t want to take care of it and said that she is going to leave the nursing home soon. She is not to pay all this money going forward, money she has saved, to not be wasted like this. I could see where this one was heading a mile away and tried to divert. One thing led to another and she picked the garden apart by saying that I had no right to determine how it was going to look like. That it wasn’t mine, yada, yada. I was stumped at first as I looked at her in disbelief, while mumbling “Shouldn’t you be grateful that your garden is cleaned up?” I wish I would have taken a picture of how it looked before.

I let her be after that, trying to digest what had just happened. Honestly I didn’t care to talk to her and her words hurt and cut deep. They were unjustified, and finally I remembered that the illness spoke again, and that it is never a good thing when she is alone too long. I didn’t see her yesterday, and there is always a pattern noticeable when this happens. She has too much time to think and she sinks, falls into the darkness where I find the broken pieces that are waiting to be put together again, to be lifted by me. Shortly later her mood changed and became lighter. Either she forgot what she was mad about or it truly lifted from not feeding fuel to the fire. For today we worked through it once again, but I know it is taken a toll…

Posted in Life, Mom

Weekend scare

I finally felt better after two days rest and mainly spending time laying down. It was Saturday and I was able to get up without the migraine headache and feeling sick to my stomach with dizziness. I hadn’t seen Mom in two days and luckily felt good enough to attempt going today. Still not a 100%, but so much better than the previous days, I was looking forward to bring her some goodies and make her smile.

Arriving at the senior home, I caught the look of two workers that seemed to be surprised to see me. I have spent so much time with Mom, almost daily, that when I’m gone and not there for a day, questions arise to where I am at. Mom always tells me that so and so asked again where I was and if I was not coming today. I guess you could say that I have become a bit routine, a daily sighting at the nursery home. Except I was sick and hadn’t been there for a few days. Still I wondered and tried to justify the surprised looks that I had caught. I continued walking towards Mom’s room as I heard one of the two employees call after me. I waited until they caught up with me and indeed they were surprised to see me. They quickly mentioned that they thought I had returned to the US. All because I hadn’t shown my face in two days was my initial thought, but actually wasn’t the issue at all. I learned that Mom was admitted into the hospital late last night because she fell. It was my turn to look surprised. Fell? Out of bed? How did she fall, being unable to walk? “Oh I’m sorry that was another senior that fell last night” was the response in correction. It was a confusing moment and in the end Mom was still in the hospital and I was advised to wait on someone that would have more detail of what happened.

Mom’s blood sugar dropped to 33 that night, and I didn’t know that you could survive such low levels. She was quickly fed a few spoon full of Marmelade which brought her levels to 50, but still they remained at a life threatening below average. The call for the ambulance was made and Mom was on her way to the hospital. I almost got angry that I wasn’t called once the initial scare subsided. It was simply overlooked, dropped and forgotten. Even if someone thought that I had left to go back to the states, Mom’s sister wasn’t called either and it’s upsetting to me. How scary for the patient, first to experience the whole thing and then having nobody there from your family and having to be all on your own. I found it rather inconsiderate and this is not something that, oh well just happens, or a mistake was made, something forgotten and overlooked. It’s a human life we are dealing with and I’m sorry if I might sound harsh, I just have little compassion for behavior like this and this is simply not ok.

Scared and shaky I left the senior home and luckily had my cousins car to be able to drive to the hospital. I was nervous, about Mom’s health and how she would behave. Something had to happen that her glucose was measured at 1 AM in the morning which is not standard operating procedure. I’m sure she was talking crazy stuff, acting irrationally, for someone to notice that something was wrong. Mom looked normal and acted just as usual. There were no signs of any distress from the previous night and her appetite was good as well. Her blood sugar went from 33 to 250 and the variances and spikes are drastic to say the least. The scare luckily had a happy ending, this time, again, and Mom escaped death once more. She is still in the hospital where she is being monitored and treated for a bladder and urinary tract infection.

Posted in Life, Mom

This and that

Just a few more days and the company I used to work for in the states will forever close their doors. I really haven’t worked since the end of February, but at least I was still employed. It feels a little different now as everything is coming to an end and to fully understand that I will not work with the people that once were my team again. Yet, a few friendships have formed that are very special and will last well beyond. I might’ve not worked for a few months, but in reality I have busted my tail. I have engulfed myself into a different mission and the payoff has been of other value than the monetary kind. One that has been rewarding, most important and sometimes even missing. Mom has been my mission, my employer, the one consuming all of my efforts and actions.

The past week, since Moms return to the nursing home has mostly been peaceful. I know that she is genuinely happy when I come to visit her, and she has smiled that child like smile more times than ever. She is considerate, rational and accommodating. Her face is soft as well as her voice and she reacts to touch, is food motivated for the treats that i bring her and seems to enjoy my company. We read the little Buddha for the first time in what had been a few weeks. The last time we read was just before she was admitted into the hospital, and Mom loves the little book. I’m not always sure that she understands the lessons that come with each chapter, and sometimes she even gets a bit sidetracked by wanting to read a headline in her own magazine. When I stop to read because she is not giving me her undivided attention, she quickly puts the magazine down and pleats that she is paying attention. I haven’t tested her yet by making her repeat what I just read, and I’m grateful that “I” can do something as simple as read to her, that makes her happy. Again the importance lies within that it is me who brings that joy to her, and honestly I often feel that she might have not survived the last episode without me. I know that I gave her purpose and something to look forward to. I made her hold on and not give up hope. I made her believe that she could do it and she did.

During a rough patch a few weeks ago, she told me that my childhood bed was going to stay where it was, in my childhood room, the room I’m sleeping in. It was too late and I had purchased a mattress and a new bed that was waiting to be assembled and to which she had prior agreed to. I couldn’t turn back anymore and I think she knew it. During the argument I told her that I had planned on putting the old bed in the attic and cover it for protection. “Don’t you dare”she said and although I did assemble the new bed, I didn’t put the old one in the attic. I felt guilty to some point, going against her wishes, feeling even weird removing the screws that Dad once drove into the wood as he assembled my childhood bed. I took the pieces downstairs into what used to be my grandparents apartment and leaned them against the wall. It’s been weeks since this happened now. Two days ago, out of the blue, Mom asked me if I assembled the white bed (my childhood bed) again up in the attic. Somewhere and somehow she had stored that information and recalled it in the most surprising and unusual of ways. I was stumped for a moment as I looked at her waiting on the answer, and finally said “No”. It was her turn to be surprised and she responded by saying “I thought that’s what you said you would do.” I just smiled at her and said “Well I didn’t” while changing the subject almost within that same sentence. I wasn’t sure if telling her the whole truth would be beneficial and I didn’t want to risk getting her upset. It all worked out and I think deep down she knows that I did put up the new bed. It doesn’t matter, but what does is to keep her at peace. That has been my mission and I have become a collector of smiles and one moment at a time.

Posted in Life, Mom

Trusting the unseen

I have seen Mom less during the past three weeks, trying to find more balance for myself and gather new strengths. It’s a constant challenge and when I’m there to see Mom, I get so tired and exhausted at times that I wish I was back home able to catch a break. And when I’m home, I feel sad for her being so alone, knowing that I’m pretty much all she has to bring a little balance and light into her own day. I managed to ride the bicycle there twice now and it’s not so bad when it is cooler outside. It brings me the exercise I was looking for as a counter to sitting so much, but I’m not sure I can manage when it get’s hotter, and heat is in the way.

Without a doubt has this been one of the toughest times of my life. I’m strong and I fight for Mom until moments of vulnerability creep back in and leave me raw. Yesterday was such a moment, although everything went well and I really had no reason for it. Nothing crazy happened, and yet I felt like I wanted it all to end. Tired of the same motions, going around in circles, facing fears and letting the roof fall onto me, I just wished things were different. I can’t even tell you how different and in which way. There is nothing simple and easy about life and more and more I’m learning to understand this phrase. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ok but the ego found a way to sneak back in and play a tune of terror. I felt guilty for only seeing Mom for three hours every other day, guilty for her existence, her fate, which I know is not up to me to carry. It is a big part of my life and always has been. I don’t think I will ever not feel responsible for Mom, wishing her life could have been different. I will never see her childhood pictures without feeling bad for the innocent child that had no clue of how much crap was ahead of her.

I think was scares me the most is the unseen and not knowing how this all is going to continue. Eventually, I will have to leave, I dread that day. Eventually, I can’t ride the bike there anymore. Eventually the dependable, frightened thing (me) will wear out her welcome. It’s scary and what I meant in the past with feeling lonely. Life goes on for everyone as I become extra responsibility and I know it. Everybody will wonder and perhaps already is how this is going to continue. Why I struggle to accept the things the way they are, unable to just move past it and say that I did what I could. To give myself permission and wash my hands clear of my conscience. My devotion to Mom might have strained some relationships because I have too much heart invested and can’t grasp the rational sense of everything. It’s not that I don’t understand that side, but I feel that compassion is a much better servant for someone that is losing the life they have come to known. More than ever I will have to trust my two swords of faith and love to carry me through the heartache. To trust and believe that I am doing everything within my power. I just don’t think that I’m done doing all just yet, and again it is the unknown, the unseen that scares me, wondering how and when the time will be that I know. How will it look like, will Mom be ok, and how will it affect me so far away? I think I have been stuck in this funk for a few days now, almost feeling guilty that I’m allowing myself some time to live. As if I’m not deserving because I have a specific mission, one that is time sensitive and dependent on so many things. I have felt unmotivated to write and this seems to be the longest, most insightful post in awhile. It can truly be overwhelming to go through the motions to say the least.

On the way home from Mom yesterday, I found the biggest black feather yet. I quickly laid the bike down to stop and pick it up. I added it to my bag of 1000 wishes (another post) that I already had collected and stored it in my small bag pack. I feel that the universe provides us with messages just at the right time and when we need them. Perhaps this was a message that a loved one and my angel is watching over me. That protection was given to shield me from any negativity and that clarity was on the way. I’m holding strong, while allowing the negativity that comes in many forms to pass through me. I continue to make love and faith my priority and trust that the unseen will find it’s way.

My collection of feathers found so far.

Posted in Life, Spirit animals

“Bember”

“Bember” is a nickname for a cat. In reality it was the only name Mom ever used, besides “Minni”, for any cat she ever encountered. To no surprise I gave this name to the stray cat that comes around. I feed her with love and attention and I’m not quite sure of who’s cat she is. She has been a regular companion, the daughter of a cat Mom used to care for, and she senses when I’m at home. Miraculously she appears out of the overgrown brush to sit with me and spend time. She is needy and just wants to be close, she constantly purrs.

Although no longer an unusual encounter in the sense of a spirit animal, she reminds me of it’s meaning. Perhaps the increased frequency of her visits are due to me, and because her reminder is relevant for the current time. Cats urge us to take note of what is happening around us right now. That the clues are all there and that I am being shown what I need to see. Domestic felines are all about communication and their messages almost always have to do with your ability to communicate with those around you or with the spirit and astral realms. Communication has been key when it comes toMom. Learning what I can say, and what has no impact or meaning has been a learning process. After a day away, I saw Mom yesterday and found her mentally in darkness. I swiftly changed the subject right away and was able to distract her, carrying her soul to light and safety. She forgot to be mad and started talking like a waterfall again without a care in the world. It lasted throughout the remainder of the visit.

Cats remind us that there is mystery and secrecy, as well as the moments that leave us intrigued. Many believe that the sleek creatures are a bridge between the realm of the unseen and the seen.

Most certainly someone or something is trying to tell you something when a cat comes into your life. Listen carefully and trust your intuition. And that I feel I have learned to do….thank you Bember