Monday, May 19, 2014

What A Difference A Month Makes

About a month or so ago, we went to eat with my parents at mom’s favorite place: Miguel’s. Dad ordered mom her usual burrito and mom ate it up.

mom and chris Last week, my sister and my Aunt took mom out to Miguel’s as a birthday present from my Aunt. My sister called me later that afternoon to give me a surprising report: mom did not know how to eat her burrito. I know nothing should be a surprise with this disease, but it had only been a month since her last visit. And what a difference a month makes.burrito


burrito 2“I don’t eat this part, no,” mom said, as she laid open her burrito and used a fork to eat the filling. Despite coaxing and explanations from my Aunt and sister, mom could not be convinced that she was supposed to eat the tortilla.

To make my sister’s experience even more eventful, the burrito evidently did not agree with mom. They were almost home when she motioned to my sister to pull over the car. She opened the car door (after Christina had pulled over, of course) and threw up the contents of her burrito. It didn’t all make it outside of the car, however. The upholstery of my sister’s new car was sprayed and mom made a mess on her pants. The smell was apparently too much for my Aunt to handle; it wasn’t long before she joined in the action and started to throw up in a bag in the back seat of the car. Poor Christina!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mom’s 53rd Birthday

This year, Mother’s Day landed on my mom’s birthday. Mom has no understanding of what Mother’s Day is anymore (last year she still did). But she sure did know it was her birthday! We went to church with her in the morning and with everyone person she approached, she told them it was her birthday.

“Today is my birthday and I’m 53, but how old are you?” she asked. It was too cute. It reminded me of my kids when they have birthdays- excited to let everyone know about their special day! She also let us all know that what she wanted for her birthday was money.

Later that afternoon, mom came over for a little birthday celebration. Only one of her siblings was able to come (her sister, Claudia) as well as my sister’s family. We all feel like this is probably the last year that she will understand the significance of her birthday. So it was important to us that we got together and celebrated with 6

md 8Of course she didn’t eat any of our food; she brought over her “Slim Fast”. But that’s okay. I don’t think she really understood what birthday cake was (nor would she eat it), but we lit candles and sang to her anyway. As we sang, she seemed so happy, a grin appearing on her face. When it came time to blow out the candles, she had no idea what we were coaching her to do. The grandkids helped her blow them out.

 md 3 md 4 md 5 

After we sang Happy Birthday, we tried to get the grandkids to take a picture with grandma (well…half the grandkids, anyway). We couldn’t get mom to look at the camera. It’s been a challenge for a while, but this time there wasn’t one shot where she looked at the camera and smiled. I suppose that concept is lost with many others. The kids were pretty funny though, pointing at the camera and making noises to get grandma to look at us.

 md 2  md 1

My dad thought he would be funny and he waved a dollar at mom from the opposite side of the table, in an effort to draw her attention towards the camera. No sooner than mom laid eyes on the dollar than she jumped up out her seat to try and retrieve it from dad. We were busting up with laughter. md 7

md 9Mom was a bit confused at what presents were. We led her to the rocking chair and practically forced her to sit down while we hurriedly brought over her presents before she moved out of her seat. She opened my sister’s present first and kept asking what the tissue paper was and what it was for. My sister knelt beside her and helped her to open the gifts as she showed/explained to her what each item was. After opening each one, she tried to get out of her seat as we gently sat her back down to tell her there was more. It reminded me of when each of my kids had their first birthdays. They hardly knew what to do with the beautifully wrapped packages placed before them. I coaxed them to tear the paper and eventually ended up ripping the paper off for them. Once they were done with that gift, they wanted to get up and run around or play with their new toy. It was with much protesting that I held them down to open their next gift. That was exactly how it played out with mom. Only instead of becoming excited about her presents, she would sigh and whine, 

md 10“Oh darn it, I really wanted money, I really need money.”


[Of course we didn’t take it personal; we could only laugh.]

Even though mom was slightly disappointed in her presents, even though she didn’t eat food or cake, I think she enjoyed her special day. It’s rare to get her to engage with us these days. It was nice to have her over and spend some time with her for her birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom!! I love you!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Catching Up

I have been a little inconsistent lately with my blog; I apologize to my readers. I don’t mean to overdramatize anything by writing this post and I’m not seeking sympathy; this blog isn’t really about me so much as it’s about my mom, but I felt like I could share with my readers why I’ve been absent.

Last summer I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos. I hadn’t been feeling like myself since before my last son was born (he just turned 3) and some things came up during a routine physical last June which ultimately led to the discovery of this disease. Hashimotos is when the immune system launches an attack on the thyroid, eventually causing full destruction. Let me just tell you, when the thyroid is in trouble, it wreaks havoc on your entire well being…physical and mental!! At the time of diagnosis, the doctor told me that they don’t know the cause, there is no cure, it’s a progressive disease and all I needed to do was take a pill for the rest of my life. I suppose I put a little too much trust in what the doctor said and it was left at that-me, taking a pill.

The problem is, the pills haven’t worked. Truly, a pill is simply a band-aid for the disease. It doesn’t fix anything. It’s been a rollercoaster and over the past few months my symptoms have reached a peak. I won’t get into it all the details, but let’s just say I have been feeling pretty lousy; I have no energy or motivation to do anything (which is NOT like me at all!!), I have terrible “brain fog” (which has caused me so much worry about developing dementia), anxiety, and the list goes on. When my last blood results came back as “normal” (while I was feeling worse than ever) I realized that I need to take control of my own health and not leave it solely in the hands of a doctor. Over the past few weeks, I have been reading everything I can find and get my hands on about Hashimotos and autoimmune diseases. I’ve found that diet plays a huge role in overcoming debilitating symptoms and even putting autoimmune diseases into remission. It’s an intense process so it seems like most of my spare time (when I’m not tending to my family) has been spent reading and educating myself, preparing menus and meals, etc. Needless to say, my blog has been put on the back burner while I figure things out.

I still have a very long way to go, but I will say that I am slowly starting to see changes. So I feel very hopeful and optimistic that by continuing to make the necessary changes, I can heal my body, gain my life back and kick Hashimotos butt!!!

Now for what you all really want to read about…mom. Here’s an overview of the last few weeks.

The blow dryer is becoming a huge problem. When mom is finished getting ready for the day (doing her hair and make up), she is often sweaty. Her solution is to stick the blow dryer under her shirt to dry herself off. Last Monday, I heard the blow dryer go off and I knew she had already done her hair, so I knew exactly what she was up to. I raced back to her bedroom to find the blow dryer under the back of her shirt. And this is what her shirt looked like:

blow dryer

Thankfully she didn’t burn herself. Clearly, it’s time to take the blow dryer away. That is a fight that I know dad is not looking forward to.

Another “event” that took place was removing the lock from her bedroom door. She is NOT happy about it, to say the least. Aside from constantly locking my dad out of their room, in the event of an emergency we would not be able to get in there quickly while fumbling with keys. She’s very paranoid about people coming in and seeing her naked, he he. I keep assuring her that we will not disturb her while she is getting ready in the morning, unless of course there is an emergency.

My dad had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. We had him over for dinner and despite my urgings for mom to come, she wouldn’t budge. I don’t think she remembered it was his birthday until I called her and told her we were having dinner to celebrate (which took a few repetitions before she caught on). She did leave him a card when she remembered the date and noted that it was only 21 days until her birthday (in actuality, it was only 13 days until her birthday).

Which brings me to another issue: numbers. Mom is losing her ability to make sense of numbers. The countdown to her birthday is one example. Another example is a conversation she had with my dad the other day. She asked if Jeremy (my nephew) was turning 52 this year.

“No dear, you are 52. How could Jeremy be 52?” Dad asked.

“No…he’s going to be 22. Yeah, he’s in his 20’s”.

“Dear, he’s 10. He was baptized two years ago when he turned 8, remember? That means he’s 10 now.”

“No he was baptized when he was 18, he’s in his 20’s now,” mom insisted.

This came as somewhat of a surprise to me, as mom has been pretty aware of all of our ages. Just one more reminder of how this disease is taking her away from us.

This weekend is her birthday; it falls on the same day as Mother’s Day. I don’t think she understands Mother’s Day in the least. Last year she did…but since that time she seems to have forgotten every holiday except Christmas. She does know that it’s her birthday. With her decline over the past year, we suspect it could very well be her last birthday that she is aware of. I don’t know if she will peel herself away from her computer to spend time with us, but our plan is to have dinner with her and try as hard as we can to bring her out and spend time with us for what could be her last birthday celebration.