I’m the nicest person you know!

“I’m the nicest person you know!” Mom protested.

I winced.

I tried to mask my frustration.  My stroke-impaired 80-something mother was likely oblivious, focused only on winning an argument – an important victory in a waning life marked by a shrinking circle of choices and freedom.

Mom had just wrapped up a heated discussion with me.  The topic was her increasingly toxic attitude.  Never a particularly warm woman, Mom had taken to hurtling insults.  The pace of the constant verbal undermining had noticeably picked up in the past few weeks.

I retreated out of earshot, which wasn’t hard due to Mom’s poor hearing.

“She’s loaded for bear,” I remarked to my husband.

“Why?” he asked.

“Ever since she got the all-clear on her pituitary gland tumor she’s been tough.  It’s like she’s gotten a new lease on life so she no longer feels she needs to be nice to us.” Continue reading I’m the nicest person you know!

Gadgets are your friends

Two fabulous items that will help you to be a better caregiver!

My mom needs 24/7 supervision. That makes the nighttime awakenings tricky.  At some points in her time with us she was regularly waking up seven times per night.

For a while I used a baby monitor, but my mom screams and talks in her sleep so that was not a good solution. I was not getting a restful sleep because I was always listening to every little sound and often running  to her room,  needlessly.

Next, I tried out a bed alarm like the ones they use in the hospitals but I soon realized that every time she rolled over the alarm went off.

I found the perfect solution in Radio Shack. It is a motion detection sensor with two simple parts from Chamberlain (see: http://www.chamberlain.com/clicker-and-accessories/wireless-accessories). One part, which is a small, battery-operated box, sits on the floor at the head of her bed. The alarm plugs in next to my bed. The moment my mom’s feet go over the side of her bed and break the light beam, the alarm goes off in my room and I can run out to her room before she even stands up.

Motion detector by Chamberlain
Motion detector by Chamberlain

Continue reading Gadgets are your friends

Another routine (crazy) morning conversation

This morning’s conversation:

Mother (in a conspiratorial hushed tone): “There was someone in my room last night.”

Caregiver: “Maybe it was **** (my husband) checking on you.”

Mother: “No, it was some entity.”

Caregiver:  “Perhaps it was an angel.”

Mother: “Or an evil spirit.”

It wasn’t any of the above, it was my dad, my mom’s octogenarian husband. Continue reading Another routine (crazy) morning conversation