Momma, Winning and Stitches

Never a dull moment around here, all week when I had been stopping to see my mom, I had found her asleep in an almost coma like state. Wednesday, I found her sound sleep. Usually, I open her squeaky door and I will wake her up. She has always been a light sleeper. I don’t remember one instance of her ever falling asleep in a chair or even on the couch.

But this week my mother was unwakeable (is that a word?). At one point I laid down next to her, just to hold her hand. She opened her eyes for a moment, stared at me and said, “we have had some wonderful years, haven’t we?” Then I thought she died. It was horrible. I thought her sleeping meds were being given at the wrong time but the nursing staff says no. Saturday, Lauren and I found her sound asleep sitting up on the couch in the main lobby. We had difficulty getting her to her room. We laid her on her bed. Seconds later, we both pushed her further into the bed, lifting her body roughly (although not meaning to). She never opened her eyes.

It hasn’t gotten any better. She does not know me and is extremely confused. No pictures of momma this week as she would have been asleep in all of them! The doctor is running some tests. Please say a prayer for her!

We went Sunday to watch our friend, Kathy’s, horse, go in the jumper classic. We have seen this horse regularly since he was first purchased and have seen him jump well but not quite be a top, winning horse. His name is Capitano and he is a striking, bay horse. He was young when we first saw him go but the couple years of showing and training have done wonders for this horse. Cappy was last to go yesterday, with five horses already clean to the jump off. Trapp (the trainer and rider) rode him clean and in the time allowed to join the others in the jump off. Last to go again, Trapp knew the time he had to beat and that he had to go clean to win.

The Cappy I saw yesterday seemed thrilled to be asked for some speed. Trapp took some quick, tight turns amongst the course jumps. As he gunned it to the last fence, the clock showed he had the win if he could keep the last jump intact. Cap and Trapp flew through the timers and the win was all theirs. It was a beautiful example of schooling your horse along, not asking for too much, too soon, then reaping a great payoff when all your training comes together.

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Feather’s beautiful face that we believe was grazed by a hunter’s bullet

We got home to find another bloody horse. Feather had been out in the pasture. It is hunting season. I think and the vet concurs, that a bullet grazed her. Google grazing bullet wounds. Looks like Feather’s face. So, it was off for an emergency session with the vet. We had been bragging at the show, that we had three horses hurt and we were now good to go. Stupid. Feather got some inter dermal (not sure if that is the right word) but little stitches inside the closing stitches. The vet hospital has broken ground on a new wing. I feel we should get a room or stall in our name.

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Feather with her new stitches

Snowboy is beginning to look a little suspect, as the only horse not needing vet care in the last three weeks. We should install a camera so we can see what is really happening when we leave the barn.

I have been diagnosed with Shingles so figure the stress is getting to me. Thank you for riding along and keep us in your prayers.

How momma’s changed

This is not meant to berate or belittle my mother, I have loved her dearly all my life, but the woman I have loved has changed over the years.

My mother was the quintessential 60’s house wife. My dad had a busy, important job with the airlines and she was supposed to be a top cook, hostess, housekeeper and mother. I cannot imagine doing all she did. Perhaps because she had so little control over so much of her life, she was a little obsessive about her food and meals. If you went out to a meal with my mother between say 1961 through 2012, you were in for an event. She would not like where she was seated. Too cold, too drafty, too something, you were probably going to be asked to change seats with her. Before anyone could order, she had to know what they planned to eat. And no matter what she ordered, whatever you ordered would be what she wanted.

After all the food came, something would not be cooked to my mother’s specifications. While we waited with our food, hers was returned to the kitchen. I remember one trip to Hawaii where each morning her eggs would go back to the kitchen as not done enough. On vacation day four, my father had it! He took the boiled egg to the head waiter. He told them to go cook it like a hockey puck! That worked!

The second issue that has played into almost every family event since Amber’s birth over 30 years ago, was that my mother had a bad stomach. Schedule a christening, a big night out, Christmas dinner with friends and mom would be in her room vomiting with what we dubbed ” special occasion flu”. I will never understand it.

Forget Mexican, Italian, Indian or any spicy food, mom could not manage it. The amount of antacids, stomach drugs, and medical care were astounding. And rarely was there a night when more than just milk and crackers were all she could manage. One Christmas Eve, I found her vomiting in bathroom. I thought it was the latest special occasion flu. Except there was blood everywhere. I thought she would die on Christmas Eve. She had a bleeding ulcers that let her spend the holidays getting blood transfusions.

So what’s my point? Today as a treat I took a McDonalds milk shake to her. Since she has moved into the center, she has not been sick to her stomach once. Not one Tums has made it’s way down her throat. She excitedly tried to decide if she wanted a tuna or ham sandwich, neither of which she would have eaten before. Like ever!

It is nice to see her happy to try most anything and be excited about it as well. I have relatives that would not recognize my mom eating what she is now. I guess this is a HUGE plus to her life with dementia. It has effected her personality making her calmer, gentler and accepting. While I miss so many things about my old mom, the one that would have remembered my sister and dad. I am thrilled with this little lady that told me just today that her cranberry juice was the best thing ever, well maybe. That Quaker Oats cereal bar was outstanding as well.

You have taken so much from dear momma, Mr. Dementia, but I am grateful her stomach doesn’t churn with anxiety related issues. Not a sign of her old ulcers. I am happy that in a small town, she finds the food outstanding. I will take this little piece of happiness in the midst of the darkness.

Thanks for riding along! Bruno with his face full of stitches is feeling better. Mick walked across the paddock on a hoof that was still sensitive but way better. Even the tiny kitty is seemingly, finally on the mend. Pixie is off to Pine Hill to be looked at tomorrow. I hope they love her like we do (and she leaves in their trailer as their new horse). Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
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momma showing off her new shoes and drinking a Boost (says it is the best drink ever!)

 

Off to Hawaii with Momma!

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

In the fine fashion of Elmcroft Assisted Living we all enjoyed Hawaiian night! The assisted living home plans occasional “special” nights for the residents and I knew momma would be interested in the Hawaiian night. Hawaii is her all time favorite place and while she does not respond or react to many things these days, her eyes lit up with recognition when I started to mention Hawaii a few weeks ago.

Lauren and I had planned to go as I still remember last Thanksgiving when the residents who did not have family seemed so woe begotten and lost. Plus, we could not argue that we had nothing to wear since we had a trip to the islands just months ago. At the last-minute, Ally agreed to come with Kendyll and Jordyn and we all embarked on a nice evening. Mom swayed along with the Hawaiian music, seemed to enjoy the pageantry of Leis and island food. I tried to convince Ally and Lauren to get up and do the hula but they were not going along with my plan.

Momma watching her youngest great grandchild, Kendyll.

Momma watching her youngest great-grandchild, Kendyll.

Jordyn took on the staff in a limbo contest and won it all. Of course, she was half the size of the rest of contestants!

Limbo!

Limbo!

Momma had fun and enjoyed her brief trip to the islands. And as Ally said, and I concur, it was the most festive Friday night she has had in awhile!

Jim is getting married (wait, he already is!)

Yesterday I got to the nursing home to find mom resting on her bed. Always my favorite, because I get to lie down beside her and rest my aching back, too.

She was pleased to see me and told me she was so happy I had gotten there when I did because she had just gotten some awful news. I never know what the news is going to be, from the home closing, to an awful storm brewing, to her not being allowed to go in her room, the results were always varied and never the same. Today’s catastrophe would be a new one.

Earnestly, she looked at me and said, “Jim is getting married!” Huh, that was a new one. I explained to her that she was still married to Jim so he could not marry someone else. Immediately, she became indignant (as she always does when I do not believe something she says). “Yes, he is and to a younger women!”. I could see that arguing this point was going to be of no use.

The rest of visit was spent going over the details of Jim’s marriage. Now, remember, she has not seen or talked to Jim since December of last year. With complications with their hearing and their health, I have been limited to reading her notes that Jim sends and reminding her about him and that he loves her.

But in her mind, Jim had been there at the nursing home with her. Breaking her heart with the news that he had fallen in love with another women! She went on to tell me that the women had children, but she had not really listened to him when he told he that part because who wants to know details like that about their rival (that’s what she told me!).

I tried a couple of times, unsuccessfully, to tell her that she was still married to Jim and he was not getting married to anyone else. She was not interested. Or not accepting that could be true. She told me he would not be available to drive her to the doctor next week so I better make plans to take her.

It was a brutal visit and sad. I can only imagine that after all this time apart she has come up with this as the only reason Jim would not be visiting her. Obviously, he had to have meet someone else.

I hope on my next visit she is off on a new kick and not worried about Jim and his new bride. What I really hope is that Jay and Jim can once again make the long trek to Texas again this fall and they can be re-united again.

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Feather and Lauren are off to a horse show tomorrow. I have reserved two stalls for the October Pine Hill show in hopes Bruno might be ready to make his debut in the ring. (OH MY GOODNESS THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!) But if not, maybe Snowney can come and he and Jordyn can enter the Halloween costume class. Any great ideas for a white pony and pretty little girl-I am totally okay with painting the pony rainbow colors or whatever it takes to have an imaginative and creative Halloween entry. Send me your ideas!

Reunited

Reunited-seeing each other for the first time in three months.

Reunited-seeing each other for the first time in three months.

The kiss!!

And it feels so good!

And it feels so good!

Today mom’s 95 year-old husband, Jim, came from Tucson with his son Jay.  I wasn’t sure how it would go.  When we left Denver she was very mad at him as she felt he had abandoned her by moving out of the assisted living and leaving her on her own.  Actually, because of the amount of care she needed, she was better off here with me and he was fine to live with his family. Honestly, who knows really what she thought but she had built it up to be a pretty big deal.  She refused to even say goodbye to him when we left.  That however, did not stop her from speaking of him frequently and wondering where he was.

Now, three months later (has it really only been three months since she came here?) everything has changed in her mind.  I didn’t think she would know either Jim or Jay but we talked about them coming.  When I spotted them pulling into the parking lot, I asked her if she wanted to go out to meet them.  When we got to the lobby she and Jim would have run to each other if they could.  Jim was absolutely overwhelmed with seeing mom again.  He told her he loved her so much and had tears in his eyes as we walked to her room.  

It was not clear if she realizes that Jim is her husband or what the relationship is, but she was ecstatic to have the attention of these two nice men.  Then as all the excited talk went on between them mom pulled out of her memory somewhere that Jim had been her doctor.  (For those of you that missed that part of the story, my dad died in 1991.  Jim’s wife had passed away as well.  They reunited then while walking in a Denver park.  Jim was the OB/GYN that had delivered me as a baby.  They have been married for 15 years.)

It was really one of the greater things that I have witnessed in my life to see the love Jim had for my mother.  She was a little confused and a little unsure but Jim had enough love for both of them.  It was not unlike the south Texas version of “The Notebook”.

When we had talked about their visit before they came she was worried about her usual litany of things, her hair (she was convinced that her old Denver hairdresser Betty Burke would come fix it for her), what she was going to wear (did she have the right clothes?) and where they would meet. I assured her that I would be there to help her get ready and she was okay with that.

The next couple of days, Jim and Jay will visit with mom, do some sight-seeing (that shouldn’t take too long in Wharton) and tomorrow we will have a family and friend dinner so that Jim can see Ally, her new baby and Jordyn.  Blake and his mom, Jo Etta, will come along as they are just like family.  We will all go to the Mexican restaurant that mom and I visited before.  I know mom will enjoy the attention and diversion from the usual nursing home activities.  I just hope when Jim leaves she doesn’t miss him as much as she did before.

Momma Lost

Mom, a few years ago, confident, calm and happy in Tucson.

I know I have thought these thoughts before

I find my mom so lost, so alone, so frightened

I don’t know how to help when she only remembers what I say for a few moments at a time

I can’t give her any reassurances that last past the moment

With tears in her eyes she begs me to let her come home

I must say no, momma you can’t come home

And she doesn’t understand, she is just alone

Jim will come next week and I do not think she will know him

It should be a joyful reunion but I am afraid she will be scared and uncertain

I am so afraid that I am losing her a little each day

I pray that she will be content and not so insecure

I pray I find a way to reach her once more

I HATE this disease that has taken her from me

One that takes all of her that was good and leaves this little shell

Don’t tell me that I am doing all I can because there must be more

something I can do to return her to how she was before

Something to just give her peace. 

Oh, please God, just give her peace

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving crew, starting with me clockwise, Dodie, Rick (Luke’s parents, Jake-Luke’s brother with girl friend Christie then Lauren, Jake’s daughter Kayla, Jordyn, Granny Nanny, Ally, Kendyll, and Luke

I don’t know how many years it has been since I shared Thanksgiving with my mother, like maybe sometime in the ’90s back when my Aunt Nova did Thanksgivings.  Recent years, we have been here, and mom has been with Jim’s big extended family in Tucson.  I have been fighting strep throat and an upper respiratory infection so I have not had much time with mom the last few days.

Lauren, Jordyn and I got our share of the food done yesterday.  Lauren is  a good cook.  She makes homemade macaroni and cheese.  We used my mom’s old recipes for green bean casserole and pumpkin pies.  Ally and her extended family provided all else.

Ally’s in-laws, their son Jake and his girl friend Christie have become our family in Texas.  It was with great joy today to add my momma as the matriarch of the family while adding four-month old Kendyll as the baby of the family.  Life extending at both ends.  The food was great.  All of us have had some issues this year, some serious health things, a big move for mom, a new baby for Luke and Ally.  I think that all of us had tears in our eyes as we circled the table saying what we were thankful for this year.  The list was simple but endearing.  We are so blessed to have momma here now and have her with this us.  Dodie (Luke’s mom) has had an incredibly tough year with multiple health issues.  But she still compassionately listened to mom tell her stories of growing up in Oklahoma. 

It was a terrific day.  We got mom back for her after Thanksgiving nap.   Both Lauren were exhausted from the day and being sick.  We came home and watched the Texans go into overtime again!  I couldn’t yell-have no voice but again was thankful for the big finish and another one for win column.

We finally had to go do something with the horses.  We have not felt well enough to ride once this week.  We had planned to ride today but just were not up to it.  Maybe in December, we will get things on track again.  We had a rush trip to the vet yesterday to continue care on Bruno where Feather had kicked him Sunday.  The vet took one look at him and said in awe, “now, that is a big horse!”.  We got him fixed up and got some more antibiotics and medicine.  He will be fine.

Just before horse dinner time, we thought we would try Bruno on the lunge line to see how he was doing with his foot.  He looked really good.  We caught a picture of him at the trot that shows how huge his stride is.  This horse is really going to be able to cover some ground. 

Bruno looking good with Mickey and Feather watching from the gate.

I am grateful for many things, from our terrific weather, healthy family (pretty much), my momma being back in my life on a daily basis, my terrific family (here and in Denver) and my Taylor family that are now just regulars for all our holidays and having my wonderful animals safe and sound (mostly) out in my back yard.  These are all dreams come true for me.  It is overwhelming how good life can be and how our traditions have grown and expanded to be even better than ever before.

Hope your Thanksgiving day was blessed as mine.  I am thankful for all you who take time to read what I write each time.  You all are blessing as well.  You have given me a voice.  Thank you and God Bless each one you.