Friday, March 11, 2011

Helping, Burning and TMI

Last night I had on my bluetooth earpiece and was talking to my husband when Dad came into the kitchen prior to going to bed.  I'd tried to explain some Dad conversations to my husband before, but one just can't fully explain them. Max finally heard one in progress. I let Max know Daddy was coming into the kitchen and to just hold on. Of course, Dad cannot conceive that a thing in my ear is a phone, and I'm actually conversing with a real live person. So he just prattles on and assumes that as normal life is about him.

Now that I'm trying to write about it, for the life of me I can't remember the subject matter. I just remember that it was a Cool-Hand-Luke moment - "What we have here is a failure to communicate." From Max's end I could tell there was an astounded silence, a  moment of OMG, a moment of laughter,  and a moment of realization.  Now I finally know what the hell you're talking about. It's surreal.

Daddy wants to help any time he can. This morning he helped me by putting the kitchen scissors up. These are the scissors I had used to open the bacon package and also to snip a curl in a piece of frying bacon so it would lie flat. I found the greasy scissors nicely nested in the pot holder drawer rather than in their slot in the knife block.

Mother was awake and not shaking when I gave her the morning medicine. That was nice for a change. If I catch her when she's been awake for at least 10 minutes, she's had time to calm down from waking up and isn't shaking so badly. When I have to wake her, it startles her and makes her shake so badly. She used to get up at this time. Now she lays back down and goes back to sleep. She rarely gets up on her own anymore. Once you get her up, she's up for the rest of the day and into the night. However, she won't get up until 1 or 2 p.m. anymore.

Sometimes while I'm trying to have conversation with her trying to rouse her, I'll say, "Come on, get up. It's about time," or something to that effect, and she'll reply, "Why should I?" in a desolate tone of voice.  What do you say when someone indicates there's no reason to get up?

I find myself skipping over the real question and brightly replying about what a beautiful day it is, or that a TV show is on she'll want to see, or something like that. I learned early on not to say anything about not spending the whole day in bed, or wasting your life away in bed. To her, there is obviously no reason not to spend the whole day in bed or to waste her life since it's not much of a life.

I've thought about asking her doctor for an anti-depressant, but I hate to add another medicine to her mix. She's not verbal enough to tell me of side-effects. Unless it is plainly obvious like bloating or diarrhea, I doubt I'd know about it.

Today I realized I have to wash my mother's hands. I recently read about this on a blog by someone else caring for a parent. I had realized Mom wasn't frequently washing her hands. I had asked her, and she scoffed at the idea she wasn't. After an incident today (blogged below under TMI) I watched her and realized I now have to wash her hands for her. She can wipe them with an adult wipe, but as for getting enough soap and enough hand action, she's at a loss.

I know Dad doesn't wash his hands frequently. I think he does in the morning, but don't know for sure. Mom is philosophical and easy going about needing help. Dad is angry and offended at most any suggestion that he needs help. He will not accept suggestions, heaven forbid advice. He's the type to refuse to do something suggested just because. Sometimes reverse psychology works better on him - when you remember to employ it.

I'm at a loss when it comes to Dad's hygiene. He's taken one shower in 3 weeks. He's in filthy clothes today and refuses to change. I went into his closet today and pulled all the dirty clothes - 3 pairs of filthy pants and about 5 shirts with food stains all over them.  I washed them and put them back into his closet. After he'd gone to bed, I went in and filched the filthy pants and sweatshirt he had on today. I put out fresh clothes to wear tomorrow. Since he gets up before I realize he's up, I have no clue what he'll do in the morning.

After lunch Daddy just had to go get gas. I gave in. He needs to go somewhere sometime. On the way I asked him whether he wanted it for the lawn mower or the golf cart. He wanted it to burn out a bush. I told him he couldn't use gasoline, he has to use kerosene. I got an ocular migraine. At the gas pump, I swiped his card and put 2 gallons in the can. He kept trying to go inside to pay. He couldn't understand the pay-at-the-pump concept.

On the way back he let me know he really had to go to the bathroom. Speed, JG, speed I say to myself. As he was getting out of the car, I asked him if he wanted the gas in mower or the cart. He wants it on the bush to burn. Shit. I said you can't burn with gasoline. He slammed the door on the car so hard I thought he was going to topple over.  Fortunately, the bathroom won, and he stomped off into the house. The cart and mower are full of gas; the gas cans are empty, and the kerosene can is hidden.

It might not have been such a bad day to burn, and the yard is wet enough likely there would be no problem. However, he can't be allowed to burn by himself - he couldn't stomp a roach much less stop a grass fire. We don't have any hoses that work - he's cut the ends off them for some reason. So we have to buy new water hoses. And it's only 45° outside, and I don't want to stand out shivering long enough to get the main bush burned down. I sure hope he gets off this kick until the local stores get the spring shipment of hoses and stuff in.

I think I have found  a way to cook potatoes that Dad will eat. Last night I roasted potatoes with a liberal sprinkling of home-grown basil and oregano. I found him trying to eat the potato out of the skin. Tonight I peeled and sliced up some potatoes, boiled them, and when done, doused them in canola oil with the same sprinkling of basil and oregano.  Yay! he actually ate them.  The skeleton ate a carb. Mom won't eat meat, and Dad won't eat veggies. Whatcha gonna do?

In the evening Dad brought in a handful of daffodils for Momma.  I put them in a glass on her tray. They're beautiful as spring flowers always are. Dad loves bringing them to Mom because he knows she takes joy in them. Momma loves them as much for their beauty as for the thought that Dad brought them to her.

Mom spent the last part of tonight looking at photos. Sometimes she looks at them and you can get no information about them from her. Tonight, she was actually telling me who was in the photos.  Although you might not think it, you can actually tell when she's spot on and when she's not. Tonight she was spot on, and I took the advantage and wrote on the back of the photos who was likely in them, e.g., per Lola MN LN, 3/10/11 so and so.

TMI: From this point, you may consider the content to have TMI - Too Much Information. The content is about urinating and hygiene. You have been warned. Don't read it if you think it will bother you.

At 10:00 p.m. Dad got up and went into the kitchen. I followed and asked what he was needing. He needed something to hold the water.  He usually sets out 3 glasses to hold water at night. I don't know why three. Only he does. One is for the cat to drink from, I'm sure. He already had his three glasses.

What on earth did he need?  Something to hold the water? I went into his closet and got the old bedside hospital urinal he keeps in his closet and held that up. That's what he needed! I have absolutely no clue why it is easier for him to go into his walk-in closet, use the urinal and rinse it out the next day as opposed to walking to the bathroom and pissing in the toilet. Tonight it was more important to roam the house looking for the urinal in his closet than to go to the bathroom and piss in the toilet. Another degradation of his thinking.

As far as hygiene, today I had to clean my Mom's bottom. This was the second time. The first time was a month ago and came with a realization that she had a problem with muscles that won't work anymore and bad hemorrhoids (thank goodness for spell check). We bought plenty of Preparation-H type medicine and encouraged it's use, along with Ducolax stool softeners.

We've (the sitters and I) learned that if she doesn't drink enough water, her system doesn't have enough liquid for normal processes.  It's a daily fight now to make sure she drinks enough water to make the system work. If you don't have enough water, feces don't have enough liquidity to move.

Today she had a very soft bowel movement and was incapable of cleaning up from it. She'd ruined her underwear. As a hangover from being on a septic system decades ago, she still wants to put toilet paper in the wastepaper can. The stench was so bad I had trouble helping her. I sprayed air freshener liberally, grabbed the ruined underwear from her and plopped them in the other bathroom toilet.  I gave her an adult wipe and asked her to clean her bottom as best she could.

By that time, she was worn out, shaking and upset. I told her this was just something that happens and she had to deal with the indignity of me cleaning her bottom and I had to deal with the indignity of doing it. Life is life. I realized that I have to now actually check the condition of her bottom because it will get raw if this continues. She cannot do the job well enough. She was so upset over it.  Gads, who who can blame her.This is another condition that will have to be watched and taken care of.

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