Thursday, April 30, 2009
Yes, I am still alive. It just seems that life has been incredibly busy lately. Spring, on a farm, maybe?? The garden is tilled, the potatoes are actually showing greenery, along with the weeds popping up. We have been getting so much rain, that it makes it hard to stay on top of the weeding. And yes, I know, that weeds come out way easier when the ground is saturated. It's just the whole bending over, in the mud, while the rain is dripping off of my hat that bothers me! Will this rain pattern ever end? This week, my husband has not worked one day! This is Thursday, and yes, rain this morning, and later this afternoon, heavy rain. Right now, this minute, not raining. The kids are feeding, Keith and a couple of them are down at our neighbor's house, helping him with his chores. He is 79 years old, and has pneumonia this week, so being we dearly love him and his wife, when he is down and out, and calls for help, we go. And for those of you that know our neighbors, it is Hildon. He has been sick for a few days, we were worried about him and so was Peggy. He finally got up and went to the doctor, and after a couple shots and some antibiotics, he is up out of bed, and at least sitting in the living room recliner! Big Big improvement!! I myself have had a toothache for the past few days, and finally, called the dentist and made an appointment. I made it on the same day as mom's check-up, knowing I would be up there anyway (my dentist is in Festus). Nothing like a few sleepless nights, and alot of pain to make even this mom call a doctor! Teehee! I called my oncology nurse, and ran it by her first. She gave me the go ahead, so I went ahead with the appointment. Once I got to Festus, picked up mom, and we headed to her appointment first. It went well, thanks for all the prayers!! The doctor we saw this time was wonderful with how she handled mom. She had mom on her side within minutes of us sitting in the exam room. She was very good. Very complimentary of mom's skin, how young she looked, how nobody would ever guess her to be 72, etc. Yea, she was winning mom over! Then she brought out the MME test that mom was given in December 2007. She scored slightly better than back then!! Still below "Normal", she scored 25 out of possible 30 points. She missed "What day is this?", "What month is this?", calendar related questions. When she was asked what season is this, I held my breath. Lately, after several warm days of mom sitting out in her swing, it turned cold again, for like a week, and mom has made the statement how she was not ready for winter again, being couped up in her house for another long winter. No matter how many times I would try and point out that the trees were green, the birds were singing, the grass has been mowed, the flowers are blooming, mom it is spring, this is just one of the last cold spells that Missouri is famous for in the spring. Winter, Spring, and yes, even summer thrown in the same week, typical weather for us in the spring. Last week we had a few 75 and 80 degree days!! So, anyway, I held my breath, thinking mom was going to say winter. But, by george, she said, "Spring! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming!" Praise the Lord!! And no, we did not have a discussion that morning about the season. I didn't get there to pick mom up until 1:15, and her appointment was at 1:45. So, yea, I had to remind her why I was there, and get her up and moving to put on her makeup and get ready to go. No time for chit chat. So, I did not prompt her on her test questions. I did not know that they were going to give her that test again. But the other praise report, is that when given 3 things to remember, repeated back to the doctor, then after several other questions, mom was able to recall 2 of the 3 things! The last time, she could not recall any of them, wouldn't even try. But, back then, she was mad about even being at the doctor, and the doctor handled her differently, and it was within a week of my dad's funeral. So, yea, mom was rattled on that day. Her memory issues are way more noticeable and directly related to her tiredness and her stress level. Mess with her routine, and yep, she is worse. Noticebly worse. But, in her normal routine, many have called me in the past two weeks just to tell me how they had seen mom, or talked to mom, or visited with mom, and how they thought she was doing better. Praise the Lord for those dear friends that help me to know that I am not in denial when it comes to mom and her condition. I freely admit she has memory issues. I freely admit she is worse on some days than others. But I also freely admit, she is not ready for round the clock care yet. I do admit, that would make my life easier, and yes, more relaxed, knowing that someone was caring for mom, watching over her. But, until mom progresses further than where she is now, that just is not an option. Even though she is testing "Slight dementia/Alzheimer's", she is still capable of taking care of herself. Maybe not at the level we would like, but still at a level that is safe. Just because she is not performing at the level we would, does not make the level she is at, unacceptable or unable to live alone. And, I admit, it made me feel much better to know that she has not been to the doctor to be checked out, since December, 2007, and yet has not progressed further, or worse. Actually, tested better. So, maybe, if we continue to let mom remain independent, in her home, her place of security, she will perhaps not progress quickly. Right now, the repetition is just a minor annoyance, when compared to what she would decline to if we removed her independence. I went to the feed store this past week, and my friend that runs that store, his mom is in Crystal Oaks, in Festus with Alzheimer's. We got to talking, the store was empty, except for him and I, and we talked for nearly an hour!! He admitted that his sister, who lives in Festus, is the main care-giver for his mom, and he was always differing in his opinion of how she should handle this or that. He said, my sister finally got in my face one day, and said to me, when you start coming up here and spending as much time with mom as me, then you can have an opinion of what I should do or how I should do it, but until then, back off. He said, I took that challenge, and started going up there more, and spending time with mom, just sitting with her, and yes, I could see what my sister was talking about. It truly helped our relationship, and I began to support her more in her decisions. He said, it was hard for me to give up that time. I run a business here, I have my own family, and yes, it was a sacrifice that had to be made. But, he admitted, we get along alot better now, and agree alot more on mom. I asked him how they came to the decision to move his mom to a facility. He shared many details, helping me to be convinced that mom is not there yet. In fact, she is a long way from there. But even as bad as his mom was when they moved her to a facility, I asked him, if you had a do over, would you wait longer. He said, honestly? Yes. I asked him if his mom declined further, after she was moved from her home, and he admitted, yes she did. He advised me, "Deb, if you can leave your mom in her own home as long as you possibly can do, she will be better, easier to get along with, easier to handle. Trust me." And, I have gotten that advice from so many people who are walking this path that I am walking. People who I consider to be experts, since they have been on the path way longer than me. Even the Alzheimer's Association advises to not move them from their home, their security blanket, their routine, until all options have failed in keeping them safe at home. So, as much as I would dearly love to move mom, whether it be to live with my sister in Colorado, or with me, either way, I will continue to do whatever it takes to allow her to stay in her home. Even if that means I put 100 miles round trip on my vehicle, every time I go to moms. Even if that takes me away from my family and my responsibilities here at home on a regular basis. She's my mom, and I love her, and I want her to be happy. Right now, that means allowing her to stay in her home, alone. While we were sitting out in the swing last week, I did tell her about my good report I got from the doctor. She brought it up, she asked me if I was still getting treatments. I told her I was, and that I was responding to treatments. She asked how I knew, so I told her that the doctors couldn't feel the lumps anymore, and even had said they appeared to be gone! She said, "When did you get this news?" I said, last week. She said, and you didn't tell me?? Debra Faye, that is news you should share with your mother! I said, mom, you don't like to talk about it, and have told me and everyone else that, so I don't bring up anything about it. If you ask me, I will tell you. And you asked me! She said, well, from now on, if it's good news, share it with me. I agreed to do so. Momma, some days she is just normal. I love those days. As for my cancer, I am responding to treatments, and my life is the same as my Pre-cancer life, on most days. I am a mom, who prefers to stay at home with my children, and love on them, teach them, and enjoy my life here on my farm. I love sitting on my deck with my coffee in the mornings, and watching my humming birds, which are up to about 25 now! Yes, I love the view from my deck of my fields turning green, my hay fields beginning to "wave" at us. I love watching my kids ride their horses. Yesterday, one of my husbands contractor friends had come down to ride. He brought his real estate agent who works with him selling his houses. We told them, that Wednesday was chemo day, and that we would not be here, but they were welcome, the kids would be here and would help them get saddled up and supervise them. I do have an 18 year old, a 17 year old, and a 14 year old, who are good riders, and are capable of that job. I did, however, give my kids direction on which horses I thought would better suit their needs, city folks who think they are experienced riders, because they "have been on a horse before". We have already been down that road more than once, and seen those folks on the ground, and the horse still running away from them. So, yea, I don't care who you are, or how important you are in our business life, you are not coming to my farm, picking out which horse you would rather ride, and mounting up and riding away.....alone. Not going to happen. Horses are not like four wheelers. You can go to the barn, pick out a four wheeler, get on it, turn it on, and ride away. It will not try and run you into trees, to rake you off, or go where you don't stear it. And if you get afraid, you can take your hand off of the throttle and it will stop, right where you want it to. You can get off, walk away, and walk back and it will let you get right back on, no attitude. A horse, now that is a different story. They do have a mind of their own, and will sense that you have anxiety, or fear. And yes, will test you and your ability to control them. And yes, given any indication at all that you are not in control, will take control and go where they want, and more often than not, at a faster rate than you may be comfortable with. I told my kids, you can give them space, privacy, but keep them in eye sight at all time. If you see trouble brewing, get up there and handle it before it gets out of control, and we have a horse running through the field with the person on their back pulling on the reins trying to stop them, and the horse already determined they ain't stopping until they get to the barn. Well, they were still here when we got back home from chemo, and were sitting on the deck, having some ice water and ice tea. With all my kids, sitting around them, chatting with them, teehee. Yes, they had a good ride, but with a story to tell. Apparently, the horse the lady was on, when traveling all the way to the bottom field, had decided, far enough. The horse decided to lay down and rest a bit....with her on his back. As he went down, her legs caught herself, and she just sort of rolled/stepped off, so she was fine, just a little startled that the horse would do that. Yep, that is what I refer to as the horse having a mind of it's own. When he's tired, he's done. Thankfully, he didn't decide to throw her off, or run back to the barn!! She said, he laid down, I got off, he stood back up, and I got back on, no trouble. But, she said, laughing, we came back to the barn, which I guess is what he wanted and was trying to tell us. But the contractor called back last nite, to again tell us what a wonderful time they had, and what wonderful kids we had. He said, "I have never seen so many kids, in one spot, be so well behaved." Thank you Earl!! Even without mom and dad there to make them!! LOL!! By the time we got home, Kate was gone to work, so the "so many kids" that were here, were Adam Richard (17), Jessica (14), Ethan (12), Kimberly (10), Kassidy (9) and Emma Jean (4). So, yea, six children, which I guess to most people is a lot of kids. To me? Gee, they are thinning out! I am used to having way more than that! When I had ten kids at home, they always had friends, so I always had way more than 10 kids here. I love my life, I do. I am blessed. Financial problems and shortages now, yes. Cancer, yes. Mom with slight dementia/alzheimers, yes. Problems in life are a given, misery is optional. Thank you Lord, for walking this walk with me, right beside me, constantly reminding me that you are there, and you care about even the little details in my life. I could not want to walk this path without my Lord. I don't know how those people who do not have their hope in Jesus even deal with one moment of their life. I would not even want to try.