JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Extreme Stress

I went to acupuncture today, and while feeling my pulses, she told me that my resting pulse was at 100. It isn't so surprising considering what's happening with Mom.

Dad told me today that the person that washes residents' hair at Mom's facility is having a harder and harder time with her. Eventually, she won't be able to handle doing Mom's hair anymore, and Dad plans at that time to just stop doing her hair altogether. He said that someone can wash it on her floor and then just comb it out. Now for those of you with "normal" American hair, this might not sound like that big of a deal. But, for any of you who have frizzier hair will understand just how appalling this is. My mother has had her hair done every week for as long as I can remember. And when I've tried to fix up her hair with a hair drier myself, I had very little luck. Its complicated to fix Jewish hair, especially in older women's shorter styles.

Also, my sister told us that Mom screamed yesterday when staff put her in bed to take a nap. Apparently, she's in SOOO much pain from being in her chair all day that it hurts to even lay down. What she needs is a high backed "jerry" chair. But, her facility does not allow it. Apparently most assisted living facilities don't allow this chair, even ones like Mom's which are "age in place".

Now, I've left messages for the director of the facility, spoken with the hospice nurse, and had someone from the Alzheimer's Association go out there to try and take care of this chair issue. Hospice sent out an occupational therapist and multiple types of chairs. But, still, this issue is unresolved, and Mom's neck gets worse and worse. She can't hold up her neck anymore sometimes, and sleeping in the chair is very uncomfortable, especially when they leave her in there waaaay too much.

I have managed to negotiate/manipulate Dad into hiring a CNA to come stay with Mom from 11:30-3:30 every day starting Monday. The CNA will feed her lunch, lay her down for a nap, take her outside, and I hope feed her a snack. But, it isn't enough time. She REALLY needs someone to stay for dinner. I HATE that Mom can't get everything that could help her since my parents have a ridiculous amount of money.

Speaking of money, I did get word that Dad has officially tried to steal this money that my Mom's parents left for my sister and me (its in Mom's name now, but is set to go to us after she passes - Dad is trying to get the money before that happens despite that its specifically set up to not allow him to do that). The bank isn't going to stand for it, and since I've got some friends there, the word got back to me.

On the upside, I've been dating this fantastic man. His name is Larry, and he is very sweet, caring, sensitive....everything I could want right now. His father died 5 years ago of early onset Alzheimer's, so he also understands what I'm going through. A couple of nights ago when the Alzheimer's Association person told me that Mom is definitely on a fast path to death, Larry came over with a DVD of the Simpsons, had me make tea, and then just held me.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Seizures and Alzheimer's

Apparently getting seizures in the late stages of Alzheimer's is not uncommon. Mom has been getting them quite regularly. She is treated for them with Ativan, which some say only control the tremors, but don't actually address the seizures themselves. But, her doctor says that seizure medication is extremely bad news for someone with Alzheimer's.

This weekend has been insane for Mom. After probably a month with no seizures, she's had one every single day apparently since Friday (so Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). That's four days in a row!

After a seizure, Mom usually passes out for a few hours to a whole day. Sometimes, we just assume that she's had a seizure because she's passed out and can't be woken up. Sometimes, there are marks on her face or body which indicate that she's fallen, also a sign of a seizure. This weekend, several days she was found falling onto the floor from a seated position, apparently also a sign of a seizure.

If anyone knows anything about Alzheimer's and seizures or has experience with this, please mention this in comments. I'm confused about whether or not the seizures are a sign that she has declined, the seizures will cause a further decline, or both. I know that the former is certainly true.

Its heartbreaking, not just to me, but also to my sister and my dad. We aren't sure what exactly is happening, just that it isn't good. Many days, Mom can't be woken up at all, and she probably is barely eating or drinking. Luckily, my sister went up there tonight and made Mom drink two glasses of water. But, she said that Mom had to be moved from her wheelchair on to the couch, and that her legs appeared to not be functioning at all. The only thing that sis could make out that Mom said was "I don't know you." This isn't good.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Negative Coping Mechanisms

What a day I've had! Before I left the house to walk my dog, I got a call from my dad that Mom had a seizure. She hadn't eaten anything, and no one could wake her up. They just left her on a couch in the "living room" because it was too hard to move her anywhere. And she hadn't been given her medication, which doesn't make sense to me (although I didn't say it to Dad), but she should get liquid Ativan when she has a seizure, so they only need to open her mouth to give it to her.

While I'm talking to my dad, I get a call from my credit card company. Yes, my credit card company called me on Sunday! So I knew that I had to take the call. They told me that they suspected that my card number has been stolen.

I made it to spinning class, crying a bit on the car ride over to the gym as I process what's happening to Mom. I arrive a bit late to my ex-girlfriend and the teacher. (That's the whole class!) I announce what's happened that morning and am a bit disappointed when the ex doesn't ask anything following up about my Mom.

When I get home, I have to rush to get to Costco to pick up a few things. I host book club at 2pm, so its a rush to get ready. Only 2 people show, and they show almost an hour late. Neither of them have read the book. The second person doesn't leave until 5pm.

At that point, I'm feeling a bit anxious about not having gotten any work done all weekend. So, I text the ex, who had said she'd be at a coffee shop doing work with another friend of ours. I asked her to text me. So since I hadn't heard, I texted her. I didn't hear back for an hour. I decided to eat quickly before going. Then, just as I was on my way out with my laptop and a pile of books, she calls to say that they're all leaving.

So now I'm super frustrated, with emotions and nerves just swimming around. I write for a bit, and then call my neighbors to see if they want to share the rest of the champaign from book club. They say to come over, although serve me a huge glass and then don't have any. To top it off, one of them just arrived back to town, so I'm feeling super awkward being there.

Now I'm home and just had a bit of a food binge. I still am feeling anxious and just completely off.

Here's some of what's adding on to my anxiety:
1. I had a super awkward therapy experience. Thursday, I missed my appointment because I was too focused finishing my dissertation proposal. Twenty minutes in to my appointment, my therapist called me. She suggested that we just talk on the phone until the phone is up. So, I told her about how I'm feeling anxious about the fact that I didn't have plans for the weekend. I had scheduled Saturday with this guy that I met online, but he had blown me off. I'm super disappointed about. She kept pushing me to just find someone else to hang out with or comfort myself in the feelings. As time was running out, I told her that I'm tired of having this conversation with her (we've done it several times in the past). It makes me feel very negative, and it disregards the core issues that are beneath. The issue is that I have a deep loneliness, a fear of being alone and not being loved, and a lack of self-esteem. She has to get off the phone to go to a meeting, but asks if I'm "okay." I am annoyed by this over-played script of blowing me off. So, instead of just saying yes and getting off the phone, I tell her that the world isn't going to end because I spend a weekend alone.

2. Augh I'm so disappointed that this guy blew me off. I know that part of what happened is that when I met him, I was still in conference/travel/exhaustion mode. So I was too formal and not open enough. I know that part of me is just not ready to be with someone, but I SOOO desperately want a partner.

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