Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Back, Flashlights and Charities

It's Tuesday, and I'm back with my parents. On Monday I got a really late start and didn't arrive here until about 7:00 p.m.  I hope my sitters know just how much I appreciate it when they so kindly adapt their schedules to my fluctuating arrivals.

Would you believe that I have now lost three flashlights to my parents? To keep from taking theirs, I brought my Mag Light up here so I'd have one if needed. Mom liked that one and kept taking it for her bed at night. So I gave that one up.

I bought a little LED one at the dollar store to replace it. Then one stormy night a few weeks ago, the electricity went out, and not one of Dad's three flashlights in a row on the windowsill behind his chair would work. They got tossed and he got my LED flashlight for the den.

I bought another LED one. A few nights later, Dad came in from his bedroom and wanted mine to replace his from his bedroom. His worked, but he wanted my LED one. So be it.

Last night I noticed my original LED one was back in its place alongside the original one from Dad's bedroom. In his bedroom are an old one drug up from I-don't-know where and the LED one from his den. In his den are no flashlights. So I put my original LED in there. I guess I'll get another LED one for me. They have much better light than the old style ones.

Last night when I arrived, the thermostat was set to 76°. Holy Smokes! My father is cold all the time; Mom and I are comfortable when it's set to 71°. I put it back down, and Mom and I are fine. Dad will eventually complain, but he sits in his den except for passing to and fro and sleeps under an electric blanket.

He keeps his den as hot as he can - even in the summer time. He sits in it dressed in a coat even in August while the thermometer reads 85°. I'm scared of him having a heat stroke in there while shivering. Can old people do that?

I used to give Mom options for things - meals, snacks, clothes, when to get up, etc. She's reached the stage where options just confuse her. I didn't like feeling I was forcing her to do things perhaps she didn't want to  do, but anymore she just says, "I don't know" when asked.

So today, I went in at noon and simply told her it was time to get up and that her breakfast was in the other room. She just got up and went. She's so much better when she gets up than when she lays in bed all day. When she does that, she gets shaky and wild-eyed. I don't think being disoriented is comfortable, and my job now seems to be to keep her comfortable.

This morning Dad ruined another whole bowl of cat food. Last night I'd cleaned it out and put just enough food in it to last the night. This morning I heard Dad moving and got up to cook his breakfast. When he came in the kitchen, he got out a package of the wet cat food. He can't open them anymore, so I opened it for him, and he headed off to the den to feed the cat. When I brought his breakfast to him and glanced at the cat food bowl, to my dismay it was full to the brim of dry cat food all glopped up with the gravy from the wet cat food. Damn! when did he sneak in there and do it? So now all that dry cat food will dry up hard as a brick and be more suitable for a saber tooth tiger than a wimpy little house cat.

About 2:00 p.m. Dad wanted a snack, and followed me back to the kitchen while I peeled him an apple. He decided he also wanted the half of the banana leftover from Mom's breakfast (cereal and banana.) He was standing there behind me hovering, so I asked him to get me a plate. "Oh!" he said, "that's what I was looking for, a plate." At least he remembered where they were once he was reminded of what they were.

Well, Dad and I just had a go-around over donations to charities. This is the third one so far. The first was some Indian children's ministry, which is one of the biggest charity scams going. The second was Feed the Children, which isn't any better. Tonight it was Veterans First.

Veterans First appears to be a legitimate organization, and according to charitywatch it has an open book policy.  However, in the short time I had - Dad was hovering, upset and angry - all I could discover was that it was a part of the "United Spinal Association" and operated 4 facilities in Santa Ana, CA. He was really pissed because he couldn't remember what year it was, and all he wanted to know was what year it was so he could put it on the check.

Dad thought he was donating to Veterans Administration, or a program under it. I tried to tell him VA doesn't solicit donations. I tried to tell him the V1st was just a regular charity and operated in Santa Ana. At first he couldn't understand that at all because they wrote him a letter. Self said to Self - yeh, they wrote him a letter. So what. Then he kept demanding I tell him where to donate. Huh? I don't know who to donate to. Even Diasbled Veterans doesn't get that good of a charity rating, at least not anywhere I could find.

I suggested he donate it to his church. I suggested he donate it to the local Easter Seals Program in Paducah. If anyone knows of a legitimate veterans organization, please let me know. I may suggest the Navy-Marine Relief Society.

If I could be certain I could keep the check from hitting the mail, I'd simply let him do it and snatch it out of the mailbox. But he's a sneaky devil, and I can't be sure of that.

Mother just sits there shaking her head saying, "He's just not thinking right, Gayle." Sometimes when she's thinking right, it really hits her hard. She doesn't always let me know when things worry her, but at times the sitters let me know when she's said things that she won't say to me. Whenever they are here, she always wants to be reassured that someone will always be with her. She doesn't want to be left alone.


Anonymous said...


They list a bunch with good ratings. My personal favorite is the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund; I've given to them in the past. The watchdog group gave them an A+ rating.

I honestly don't know how you manage with two of them to handle. I'm glad you have the sitters to help you at least some of the time.

Jola Gayle said...

Thanks! That IFHF showed up as a good one on the other watchdog site. I don't know what it is yet. Will check. Also will check out the url you just posted.