Caregiver to Grieving in Four Days

Each day was a roller coaster by how he felt and how exhausted I was. I learned so much being a caregiver to my grandmother and grandfather. As the population ages many of you will take on the responsibility. One of the most difficult changes was going from granddaughter to caregiver. Even at 92 my grandfather had a strong mind and felt he didn’t need help. I prayer for strength everyday.

My grandfather died in 2010 at the young age of 92 years old. I spent more time with him 2010 year than I spent at home. I cherish the time we had together, no matter how painful. They are my memories and my life changed forever with his death. His health declined so fast that for two days I did not realize that he was dying now, not in a couple of weeks. He was at home under hospice care and would not get in the hospital bed until two days before he passed. He fell out of bed that morning, he was so weak it was difficult for me to get him back in bed. I don’t think we would have been able to talk him into moving to the hospital bed if he had not fallen. For him the bed meant death and he was still fighting. My grandfather had End Stage Kidney Disease. An emergency trip to the hospital for his AFIB is how we learned he had about two months to live. We knew his kidneys were losing function but I was not ready for a timeline. His doctor had not given me that impression on a recent visit so I asked her to review the hospital records. I was not surprised but very saddened that she agreed with the prognosis. It took a couple weeks for my grandfather to believe the doctors were right. Kidney failure is a silent killer and luckily not a painful one. You start sleeping more until you sleep yourself into a coma.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon after two days of relief and he didn’t look any different. Monday morning I knew he was out of it by the things he was saying but thought it was a bad day. Tuesday I knew he was weak when he fell out of bed and felt like dead weight. It took everything in me to get him back in bed. My grandfather died on Thursday. What the doctors did not tell me is people his age die faster, the end came weeks sooner than we thought. I’m so thankful that my grandfather and I had time together to say what we wanted to say, cry for the loss and enjoy the memories. I have no regrets.

Cleaning out the house was so hard, 46 years of memories everywhere. My grandmother left notes on everything, it was like mourning her death as I found each note. Notes on back of photos, on little pieces of paper and even masking tape. I knew all the notes were there, we had looked at them many times but it was different this time. Everything being packed up this time and the house cleared out. My grandparents raised me so I’ve lost parents, they were the best you could ever pray for.  The house is empty but I see my life in every room, the great memories with my grandparents are everywhere you look. I am starting a new chapter in my life. It’s a long  journey ahead.

Xx   M

Lost in Caregiver Twilight Zone

Written on 12/21/2009

I’m caring for my 92-year-old grandfather following three surgeries in seven days. I’m so tired it’s numbing, it’s impossible to think about doing it again tomorrow.  My grandfather is a man of habits driven by the time of day, maybe from his military background. One morning he was upset when the hospital had not brought his coffee and could not see he was the problem. We’re in a hospital not the Hilton. At home it was far worse. It does not matter that I have changed the sheets again this morning, changed his soiled underpants more than once and got him dressed for the day. If the coffee is not ready when he expects or I don’t have the newspaper yet, I hear about it. My grandparents raised me and I love my grandfather dearly but it’s hard to bite my tongue. I want to ask doesn’t he realize or care that I’ve been moving since 5:00 a.m. to take care of him.

At 92 he lives at home alone, still drives (very limited), buys groceries and goes to the local Senior Center several times a week to play dominos. He amazes me with each year. He is the healthiest dying person I know and in his mind he is much younger and more capable. This makes it impossible for him to understand recovery will take several more weeks at least. I catch him doing things he shouldn’t and I get the standard “I can do it”.  He also acts like a child when he doesn’t want to do something, most of the time it’s taking his medicine or getting up to move around.

I push him gently but firmly to get up and move around. Laying in bed or sleeping in the chair all day will not improve his strength. Like all of us, he does not like being told what to do. You learn what you’re made of in stressful times. Our mind and bodies can withstand so much to help someone we love. All I know is tomorrow is a new day.

I grew up in this house and it feels strange to stay in my old bedroom at 46. The house built in 1950, is in the hood, has no dishwasher, Internet or privacy. I am going crazy without my Internet escape. I’m in the twilight zone, washing dishes by hand three times a day and the room is the same since leaving home in 1981. Tomorrow is a new day.

Dementia Induced Thought’s of Suicide

Being a caregiver to a dying loved one can leave you drained of emotion, exhausted and frustrated. All perfectly normal feelings. I felt quilt mixed in my bowl of emotions. I grew up knowing my grandparents wanted to die at home. I would grant the wish if possible. They inspired me, saved me from parental abuse and blessed me with unconditional love.

Helping my gramps when making difficult life decisions, while working hard to remember she’s my grandmother. There were uncomfortable conversations, articulate to doctors how she is progressing and butt heads with family members. I ran a tight ship, no problems telling people it’s time to leave, not allowing people over everyday. God blessed me with the ability to turn my depression down and step up to next level. Love for my grandmother drove my decisions down to the last morphine stick.

As our population ages the number of caregivers increase. It can seem overwhelming at times. If you don’t have a blog I would suggest checking out, it gave me an outlet. Caregivers choose to open their hearts to the emotional and physical challenges. 

Dementia Induced Thoughts Of Suicide

Today I used one of four “in case of emergency” pills to keep my Grandmother from hurting herself during a dementia related meltdown brought on by my Grandfather going to the grocery store. She’s had many of these episodes since her stroke almost two years ago. Today I saw the beginning of the end in her face. As I look at the three pills in the bottle, I try to accept that we will need to “ease” the trauma more times before her memory is gone.

Her stroke caused dementia, and at 84 she continues to slide down hill. The meds do a good job of controlling the anger and aggression but on days like today nothing short of a miracle works. Yet we have never reached for “the emergency” stash and this sinks in as I watch her doze off from the effects.

Today she did not recognize her own home and thought my grandfather abandoned her in some body else’s house while going to the grocery store. She became enraged and very self-destructive by hitting herself in the head while saying that she would rather be dead than left “here” by herself. I tried to calm her as I always do but today nothing worked. I tried to get her to focus on what I was saying but it was too late, she was lost in her painfully reality. It was a very hard choice but a drug induced calm over self-inflicted harm is the right thing to do.

While waiting for the drug to work I showed her photos of her and my grandfather from 24 years ago, a photo of my father on a pony when he was a child and many others I took off the walls to see if she could connect to anything. She recognized my dad but several other family members where a blur. It was so painful to watch her lose touch, it ripped my heart out.

Those four pills where the “holy grail” and they took me back to the night of her stroke when Grandpa went home to try to nap and she got upset that he was not there. It took six of us to hold down a 82-year-old who barely weights 100 lbs . Her aggression reached a point she needed restraining. Her arms tied to the bed yet she managed to fight. I used all of my weight to hold her down to the bed, yelling at the nurse where the hell is a shot to knock her out. The nurse did not articulate to the doctor the urgency of the situation so he did not approve a sedative. I told her if she could not articulate the need, pass the phone to me. I would get the message across.  The doctor ordered a sedative.

Watching her lose touch with reality is like seeing your child get hit by a car in slow motion and not being able to get a word out. I’m thankful for time we spent together no matter how painful. I focus on the good moments and not hold on to difficult days likes this.

M

I need a Rebel Yell, She cries more, more, more.

To C who’s in Reserves

Chromic Lyme caused many falls, some serious, some not. I took two good slams to my right knee in 18 months. It didn’t prepare me for needing a knee replacement. They pain level from Lyme was so high,  the knee became part of the over all pain. I received the long needle steroid shot yesterday along with the news. I’m staying positive by saying better now than later yet know there are other surgeries in the future.

Recovering from surgeries caused from misadventures with Lyme and resisting a cane. I am only 53 and feel much younger than my body. Now he says it’s essential to get a walker to help me with balance. I went from sick to no memory to old and decrypted.

I had to get jacked up, feel younger than my body. Music takes me anywhere, doing anything, just close my eyes.

Hope you enjoy the selection.  x M

Caregiver to Grieving in Four Days

Each day was a roller coaster by how he felt and how exhausted I was. I learned so much being a caregiver to my grandmother and grandfather. As the population ages many of you will take on the responsibility. One of the most difficult changes was going from granddaughter to caregiver. Even at 92 my grandfather had a strong mind and felt he didn’t need help. I prayer for strength everyday.

My grandfather died in 2010 at the young age of 92 years old. I spent more time with him 2010 year than I spent at home. I cherish the time we had together, no matter how painful. They are my memories and my life changed forever with his death. His health declined so fast that for two days I did not realize that he was dying now, not in a couple of weeks. He was at home under hospice care and would not get in the hospital bed until two days before he passed. He fell out of bed that morning, he was so weak it was difficult for me to get him back in bed. I don’t think we would have been able to talk him into moving to the hospital bed if he had not fallen. For him the bed meant death and he was still fighting. My grandfather had End Stage Kidney Disease. An emergency trip to the hospital for his AFIB is how we learned he had about two months to live. We knew his kidneys were losing function but I was not ready for a timeline. His doctor had not given me that impression on a recent visit so I asked her to review the hospital records. I was not surprised but very saddened that she agreed with the prognosis. It took a couple weeks for my grandfather to believe the doctors were right. Kidney failure is a silent killer and luckily not a painful one. You start sleeping more until you sleep yourself into a coma.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon after two days of relief and he didn’t look any different. Monday morning I knew he was out of it by the things he was saying but thought it was a bad day. Tuesday I knew he was weak when he fell out of bed and felt like dead weight. It took everything in me to get him back in bed. My grandfather died on Thursday. What the doctors did not tell me is people his age die faster, the end came weeks sooner than we thought. I’m so thankful that my grandfather and I had time together to say what we wanted to say, cry for the loss and enjoy the memories. I have no regrets.

Cleaning out the house was so hard, 46 years of memories everywhere. My grandmother left notes on everything, it was like mourning her death as I found each note. Notes on back of photos, on little pieces of paper and even masking tape. I knew all the notes were there, we had looked at them many times but it was different this time. Everything being packed up this time and the house cleared out. My grandparents raised me so I’ve lost parents, they were the best you could ever pray for.  The house is empty but I see my life in every room, the great memories with my grandparents are everywhere you look. I am starting a new chapter in my life. It’s a long  journey ahead.

Xx   M

Lost in Caregiver Twilight Zone

Written on 12/21/2009

I’m caring for my 92-year-old grandfather following three surgeries in seven days. I’m so tired it’s numbing, it’s impossible to think about doing it again tomorrow.  My grandfather is a man of habits driven by the time of day, maybe from his military background. One morning he was upset when the hospital had not brought his coffee and could not see he was the problem. We’re in a hospital not the Hilton. At home it was far worse. It does not matter that I have changed the sheets again this morning, changed his soiled underpants more than once and got him dressed for the day. If the coffee is not ready when he expects or I don’t have the newspaper yet, I hear about it. My grandparents raised me and I love my grandfather dearly but it’s hard to bite my tongue. I want to ask doesn’t he realize or care that I’ve been moving since 5:00 a.m. to take care of him.

At 92 he lives at home alone, still drives (very limited), buys groceries and goes to the local Senior Center several times a week to play dominos. He amazes me with each year. He is the healthiest dying person I know and in his mind he is much younger and more capable. This makes it impossible for him to understand recovery will take several more weeks at least. I catch him doing things he shouldn’t and I get the standard “I can do it”.  He also acts like a child when he doesn’t want to do something, most of the time it’s taking his medicine or getting up to move around.

I push him gently but firmly to get up and move around. Laying in bed or sleeping in the chair all day will not improve his strength. Like all of us, he does not like being told what to do. You learn what you’re made of in stressful times. Our mind and bodies can withstand so much to help someone we love. All I know is tomorrow is a new day.

I grew up in this house and it feels strange to stay in my old bedroom at 46. The house built in 1950, is in the hood, has no dishwasher, Internet or privacy. I am going crazy without my Internet escape. I’m in the twilight zone, washing dishes by hand three times a day and the room is the same since leaving home in 1981. Tomorrow is a new day.

Dementia Induced Thought’s of Suicide

Being a caregiver to a dying loved one can leave you drained of emotion, exhausted and frustrated. All perfectly normal feelings. I felt quilt mixed in my bowl of emotions. I grew up knowing my grandparents wanted to die at home. I would grant the wish if possible. They inspired me, saved me from parental abuse and blessed me with unconditional love.

Helping my gramps when making difficult life decisions, while working hard to remember she’s my grandmother. There were uncomfortable conversations, articulate to doctors how she is progressing and butt heads with family members. I ran a tight ship, no problems telling people it’s time to leave, not allowing people over everyday. God blessed me with the ability to turn my depression down and step up to next level. Love for my grandmother drove my decisions down to the last morphine stick.

As our population ages the number of caregivers increase. It can seem overwhelming at times. If you don’t have a blog I would suggest checking out, it gave me an outlet. Caregivers choose to open their hearts to the emotional and physical challenges. 

Dementia Induced Thoughts Of Suicide

Today I used one of four “in case of emergency” pills to keep my Grandmother from hurting herself during a dementia related meltdown brought on by my Grandfather going to the grocery store. She’s had many of these episodes since her stroke almost two years ago. Today I saw the beginning of the end in her face. As I look at the three pills in the bottle, I try to accept that we will need to “ease” the trauma more times before her memory is gone.

Her stroke caused dementia, and at 84 she continues to slide down hill. The meds do a good job of controlling the anger and aggression but on days like today nothing short of a miracle works. Yet we have never reached for “the emergency” stash and this sinks in as I watch her doze off from the effects.

Today she did not recognize her own home and thought my grandfather abandoned her in some body else’s house while going to the grocery store. She became enraged and very self-destructive by hitting herself in the head while saying that she would rather be dead than left “here” by herself. I tried to calm her as I always do but today nothing worked. I tried to get her to focus on what I was saying but it was too late, she was lost in her painfully reality. It was a very hard choice but a drug induced calm over self-inflicted harm is the right thing to do.

While waiting for the drug to work I showed her photos of her and my grandfather from 24 years ago, a photo of my father on a pony when he was a child and many others I took off the walls to see if she could connect to anything. She recognized my dad but several other family members where a blur. It was so painful to watch her lose touch, it ripped my heart out.

Those four pills where the “holy grail” and they took me back to the night of her stroke when Grandpa went home to try to nap and she got upset that he was not there. It took six of us to hold down a 82-year-old who barely weights 100 lbs . Her aggression reached a point she needed restraining. Her arms tied to the bed yet she managed to fight. I used all of my weight to hold her down to the bed, yelling at the nurse where the hell is a shot to knock her out. The nurse did not articulate to the doctor the urgency of the situation so he did not approve a sedative. I told her if she could not articulate the need, pass the phone to me. I would get the message across.  The doctor ordered a sedative.

Watching her lose touch with reality is like seeing your child get hit by a car in slow motion and not being able to get a word out. I’m thankful for time we spent together no matter how painful. I focus on the good moments and not hold on to difficult days likes this.

M