Monday, October 26, 2015

Mom's Walks

Lately, all mom wants to do ALL DAY LONG is leave the house-usually to go "exercise" to her sister's house (Ellen). She paces all day long between her bedroom, computer and the front door. She's started doing something new: she puts her mouth to the door and intakes deep breaths. It sounds much like Lamaze breathing and looks like she is trying to suck in oxygen from outside, as if she can't breathe. It makes me so sad to see. I want to take her out walking but it's complicated. I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on things and I'm not intimidated in the least to take care of my mom in any way. I actually do like getting her out to walk. However, I have to consider safety and it's difficult to wrangle both my mom and my 4 year old when walking on busy streets to Ellen's house. I'm also concerned about whether or not mom can actually walk that far these days. It's only a mile, but she tires much quicker now.

I used to be able to drive beside mom while she walked. When she got tired, she hopped into my car and I drove her the rest of the way to Ellen's house. She stayed on the sidewalk and looked for cars before crossing the street. I received many funny looks as I crept behind her in my car, and even concerned neighbors asking if all was okay (understandably...I must have looked like a stalker!) But I was okay with it if it gave mom a chance to get some exercise. Unfortunately, my stalker-driving days came to an end a few weeks ago when I realized that it was no longer safe for mom to be out walking without someone directly by her side. I was stopped, in my car, on the corner of the street, waiting for mom to safely cross. A car was coming towards us, getting ready to turn the corner. Mom looked and saw the car and paused. As soon as the car started to turn, mom decided it was her turn to cross the street. Thankfully the car stopped for mom; it could've been disastrous. That was when I realized her walking-alone days were at an end.

So now the problem remains that mom wants to get out walking and is unable to. Many of our volunteer caregivers are older and wouldn't be able to keep up with her (or have to maneuver her if needed). She can't make it all the way to Ellen's anyway, so two people are needed to make this happen for her. The past two weeks, I've been able to go over on Sunday afternoon and take mom out to walk to Ellen's. I walk beside her while my husband stays with the kids at my dad's house and when mom gets tired, someone comes and picks us up in the car. Last week, she was able to walk the entire way to my sister's house. Yesterday, we started walking to Ellen's house but I called my dad when she started panting and pausing about half mile into our walk. Sunday will probably be our new walking day, since that is a day when the family is gathered together and I have help to follow us.

I was able capture a sweet moment with my mom at Ellen's house. Mom's new way of showing affection is shaking/holding hands with people. She doesn't hug or kiss anymore, but when she grabs your hand, you know it is a show of affection for her. Quite a few times now, mom has sat beside her sister on the couch, holding and swinging hands. It warms my heart to catch those rare moments where mom's heart is happy.

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