Ongoing Care

As I was cleaning today, I ran across an envelope that I was about to toss. I opened it up (it was addressed to me) and the first page was The Caregiver Bill of Rights. Rights that I was supposed to hold to as best I could while caring for mom. While reading it over, I realized my caregiving isn’t over. I alluded to this in The Long Goodbye, but damn it! I am still taking care of mom at the cost of my own life. I leave Alaska in a bit over a month and, in a small way, I’m glad. I have a ton of crap to go thru once I get to the states, but at least it is crap I’ve already sorted once. Stuff I can decide to sell or keep or recycle into something else (like the sweatshirts made for mom and dad with handprints from the grandkids. Jake doesn’t want them and suggested garbage.). As much as I love and need to be here, I’m so sick of waiting for things to happen or opening up a closet and discovering I hadn’t emptied it yet. I am going to do that next week. Just empty closets and take stuff somewhere. I’ve been doing it slowly cuz there is such a clothing glut in the few stores we have. I have cookbooks I’m taking in and the most frustrating part is storing it to haul off! (I do not like clutter and piles for this and piles for that makes me want to just walk away! Note: That is an ELO song from ‘Xanadu’. Fun musical! Gene Kelly, ONJ, and some random dude that apparently roller skated in from somewhere.) I need to make some more cash before I leave in October. I am sure it will show up from somewhere. It is obviously NOT going to be made this fall from selling these things.

The lake is gorgeous this month. In between raindrops, it is frequently calm and often glassy. I haven’t seen the bulls lately. But, it is still moose season for a few more days. I wish the guys would just bed down in my yard and hide out! Others are scared of the critters, but if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. (Generally!) I had to laugh last week. The neighbor’s dogs ran to the lake edge barking like crazy. I figured there was a moose around and walked down with my camera. A cow was on my side, not very close, but I got her photo. The dogs continued barking and two of them were wagging their tails. I think they wanted to play! There are still loon, I hear them often and I just looked up to see a flotilla of mallards paddling past. Last night, I was out on the water and spied three golden eye. (Oh, I just noticed there is a single out there on the water! Poor baby. He doesn’t fit with the others, but there is probably safety in numbers. Picture is of golden eye diving-) 

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Bloop!

Speaking of mom and this incredible place, when her ashes were put in the lake after the sale, no one took photos and the single picture I thought I took, didn’t take. It is sunny at the moment, Jake isn’t due to be here til after one … I saw her briefly at a party we were both at, but otherwise I have not seen her since the sale. She called to say she needed her folding tables. Tables that when she left were covered in things that needed put away. Which I did. There is still a lot to tidy, but I’ll do it when the drive is getting dug up. (yes, it might really happen the end of this week!!!) BUT, the lake has been beautiful, so I am going to wait for someone to visit, do ashes again, and have the person take photos of the experience. (Hoping the whomever will visit when it is daylight, not raining, and the lake is calm!) I won’t do it when Jake is here, she’s too busy. (she has arrived and gone again. She’ll see me probably around the 24th when we take the rest of mum’s ashes down the inlet) I’d do the photos myself, but the swirl of ashes will look better from up high. Or at least, I was told it looked interesting when it was done the first time.

I keep wandering off into bunny trails in this post! And I completely forgot to mention my busy Sunday or that I made the scrumptious halibut! (I am sure you are all waiting on tenterhooks to find out what I did.—Tenterhooks sound extremely uncomfortable!) Sunday I did sell some rolling carts that were stashed in the rig. (They take up a lot of room, I needed to move the carts and so, and I put them in the vehicle!) After church, I dashed off to the store, met a gal and then TnT in the parking lot and chatted, high tailed it to my next engagement, realizing I was not going to have time to put gas in the Pacifica, and got to the church anniversary in time to miss most of the service. (yup, after church, another church had an anniversary party at 2pm.) I sat with some stellar older folks and the majority of us left around the same time to attend a retirement party at 5pm. Where I sat with some of the same people (Jake was at this one, she sat elsewhere)! I love the people in this area! I learned ‘Poor man’s lobster’ is a delicious old fashioned way to cook halibut (since I didn’t have any clean forks, I used chopsticks to dip it in a butter that definitely needed flavoring), the icing on the cake I sampled (I like tasting how different people bake!) was ridiculous, and the donuts had WAY too sweet toppings on heavy rings. The desserts were very pretty, though!

These last two pictures are ones The Craftsman took. He went to a car show this weekend with over 600 cars and found a 56 T Bird to match the 56 Mercury. How cool is that? A turquoise T Bird!!!!

I have been thankful to thread many golden pearls on my string of memories the last couple of days. I’m going to need them to roll in my fingers when things are less bright.

I am…..

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I sent The Craftsman an email this week with 10 short paragraphs of things I appreciated about him. He sent me a text to tell me he read it and liked it. So, I decided to write something up for myself. Granted, mine will be a bit harsh. We are always our most difficult critics. The book I read at the end of last year was a great help, I do remember what was in it, even if it seems I don’t! Also, if I ever get that Christmas gift certificate from Amazon from my kid, I’ll probably buy it. (I reckon I’ll get the certificate for my birthday. It saves on presents if you don’t send them til all the holidays are past!)

I am a servant. (I think this word defines me best) I am invisible. I am a filler (as in that really cool stuff you spray from a can and it expands and makes a mess and gets everywhere and you need to trim it to fit and if you get it on your hands, woe to  you!). I see myself as that sort of filler because I appear to be useful in certain places (that spray stuff does not work in wet areas) and I need taken to task to stay in my place! I am useful (oh, I said that!). I am responsible and stay behind the scenes. (I can be on stage or in a place where I am the focal point, if needed.) I think I am best at being kept away, though.

Physically, I am short and more than chubby (just ask my mom or my doctor!). I have thinning silvery brown hair that is always a mess (I don’t visit salons, it is too expensive!) with glasses which need updated someday. If you look at those fruits one is supposed to resemble, I am of the pear variety. The kind of pear which the picker plucks from the tree and says how in the heck am I supposed to pack this in a box????? I used to think my breasts were of the Skipper doll size, I am getting more fond of them as time goes on. They are rather small, but they are mine and I find them enjoyable. I look best with makeup, which I don’t wear cuz I am too lazy. I have a cute nose.

Inside myself I am whiny, not as unhappy as I used to be (thank goodness!!!), lonely almost all the time, easy to intimidate, I have a low self-esteem, and I am easy to tell what to do (I may not do it, but people are always telling me what to do, they are generally right!). I tend to be a door mat (They are an entirely useful piece in the house and when not in place, things tend to get tracked in and make a mess) or a Boston Fern (houseplant which provides air and aesthetics, gets watered once a week, is moved to different locales for sunshine, and is nibbled on by cats). I used to compare myself to others til I realized there is no comparison. Anything I can do anyone else can do better and that is just the way it is!!!

I am sarcastic (I tried to stop this, it isn’t really nice to be sarcastic. I hope I point it to myself more than others. It can really hurt when it is used on someone else.). I am a very fast reader. I like to scribble thoughts, words, ideas, run on sentences, and fictional scenes. I have a fairly vivid imagination. I enjoy cooking and baking. I am fascinated by the world around me, it is full of so many amazing wonderful things! I’m entirely thankful for the internet to allow me to travel outside my sphere. (When I was an early 20 something and visited Seoul, I was so excited by the experiences I was seeing. I am sad I’ve never had the chance to go anywhere again. But, the internet takes me to palm trees and glaciers and markets on obscure side streets and oceans in foreign and US lands. Hooray for the world wide web!) I have a quirky sense of humor. I do not like to spend money. I love books. I like to think I can kiss well. I enjoy making people laugh and feel good. I hope I am friendly. I try not to cry (as one of my good friends once told me, it doesn’t solve anything) and if I do, it is for a short time. I do know how to think (generally) and am not entirely afraid of new ideas. I love flowers and dangly earrings and books (I already mentioned books, but in case anyone missed it….). I enjoy people. I like to be taken care of, I enjoy being pampered (I recall a date I went on last Feb. I think that was the first time I’d been on an actual date where I dressed up a bit and went someplace different since the lunch I asked The Craftsman to take me on the previous Feb. when we took the Mercury in to the Oregon DMV. I have been out other times, I went out for non-dress up dinners the November mum was in the hospital a couple of times. Absolutely wonderful good memories.). I am not afraid to let someone else open the door for me. I am not always afraid to ask people for help, as long as I’m not a bother.

I am a person with Diabetes (I am NOT a Diabetic. I am not defined by my disease.). I also have other health problems which are very expensive and frustrating to live with. (I absolutely hate being a drain on finances in order to be kept alive.) I do not like needles (yeah, insulin dependent and afraid of sharp pointed things. Crazy!) and often almost pass out when confronted with them. (I’m told it is all in my head. Which is about the most annoying thing a person can tell another.)

In retrospect, I believe I am a very useful person in several spots. (those spots are purple in color, by the by, and not contagious!)

October is Pink

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October is an important month. It is when I wear pink as often as possible and my breast cancer ribbon earrings every day til the last week of October (when I move to the Halloween décor!). I bake heart cookies and decorate them accordingly, give them away, and hope that as they are eaten people think about breast cancer.

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I am a strong advocate of breast awareness for many reasons. First and foremost, I rather like them! I’m getting more favorable towards my own (for decades I disliked them because of their small size. Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned to appreciate them more), my grandma died from breast cancer, my mum had both of her breasts removed because of cancer, and other female relations have had cancerous experiences with their ladies.

I myself have had numerous scans and mammograms. My least favorite was when a ‘clip’ was inserted into one of them as a marker. I recall a mammogram I had a year or more after that rather traumatic surgery. The lady tech (who was not supposed to interpret things) put the images on the wall for me to look at. The metal clip was glaringly obvious. She then remarked, ‘Why on earth did they put that in there, those look great!’ I smiled.

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This month, I’ve practically forgotten it was October! I don’t have a single pair of breast cancer earrings with me (I should have had Little Bear bring me up my fall earrings…). I have looked thru mum’s crowded boxes of jewelry and knew there was at least one pair in and amongst the scrambled bling. Today, I decided I wanted a pair. I went in her room and realized she’d piled clothing up against the dresser the boxes were jenga stacked on. I carefully opened box after box and found everything but the ones I knew were there. Then, I knocked over a tiny box. Inside was a single pair of earrings, one of her more expensive pairs. I recall glaring at the empty box. Carefully, I found both bits in the haystack of wires and sparklies, placed them in the small container, and promptly knocked the lid off onto the floor. I could see the lid, but to get to it would take some work. I opted to quit while I was behind and placed the box on top of another stack. (It might not fall off!) I then went over to the box of earrings I wasn’t going to get into. I had made mum a pair of breast cancer earrings and she wore them a couple of times. I didn’t want to wear them, in case she wanted to, but took them anyway. She said it was ok and I was entirely thankful.

I’ll go back in her room later and see if I can get the lid and find the pair I know she’s not worn in years!

Not Happening

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One of the most frustrating things I hear while taking care of mum is ‘You need to take care of yourself.’ The phrase makes me want to BITE something. Hard. I get the idea, but it is absolutely impossible. My sleep patterns are wonky, my glucose can be horrible, and my soul is often scabbed over. I’m not going to say I’m fine, but I will say I do the best I think I can. I really do.

Thankfully, there are books (even if I can only get 4 at a time from the library!!) and texts and an unreliable internet. My whole life has been training for this last year. Being alone most of the time, not talking to real people very often, and waiting on others while in their service. I was created for this job and it is ok. I don’t like it, but I can do it.

I keep hearing I should take mum to Oregon. Most of the people in her world up here don’t really talk to her anymore. She has two who keep in contact, but since she asked for more privacy, she has slowly been ‘forgotten’. Her pastor doesn’t visit, she loves communion and has gotten it rarely, she is left alone much of the time. She had so many ties in her life and slowly they are vanishing. It was her choice, but it makes me wonder if it will make her more interested in moving to a different place. Probably not, she’ll never accept she’s being passed by. She will never accept she is a grumpy, sick person and people find it hard to be around her. And consequently, myself.

Meanwhile, I need to get myself organized to get ready to take mum to a luncheon given by the radiology dept, pick up a new prescription for her, and finish my book.

Have I mentioned how grateful I am for the written word? I am!

Now what??

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Being a person with Diabetes, the kind who injects insulin, is a hour to hour need to remember what you have done. I take multiple shots a day to stay alive. I used to take a type of insulin called Lantus for a long acting shot. Now, I take Toujeo. And there is the problem. With all the care I give mom, I often now get my bedtime shot at 11pm and not at 1030. I needed new set strips and so yesterday, I did not test but a couple of times. At 11 pm my blood glucose was high. I took some humalog insulin to cover it.  The fast acting kind. I am now pretty sure I did not take the T shot. I remember taking the humalog and then doing some finance things for mom. But, I don’t remember if I took the other.

 I have read some ideas on what to do, but I cannot remember!! This is worse than Daylight Savings time. I just found a clever contraption on line to help remind you of when you take your shot…but it does not work with the pens I use AND it does not help me now. AT 730 in the morning. And now, I need to get organised and get ready to take mom in for a Cat scan to see if there is a fixable problem inside her lone remaining intestine. I will take a SMALL dose and keep an eye on the blood sugars (I found some strips to test with.), but I do wish I had written this down!!!!