Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lola Update 4/2/12

Quick update and documentation on Lola. She's doing as well as she has been for months. Mostly nothing has changed with her condition except for small things.  She is now totally off all Xanax and has been for 3 days with no obvious signs of distress, hallucinations, or tremors. Throughout the last two months, I decreased the dosages until she was getting one-half pill in the a.m. and in the p.m.; then only getting the p.m. Three days ago, I stopped the p.m. pill.

There's been little change in her. She seems to be a bare bit more aware of movement in the house - her head is more pointed towards a door which someone is entering than before. She doesn't speak to me anymore than she has in the last months. She isn't any quieter than she has been in the last 6 months.

Her sleep patterns haven't seemed to be affected. At one point, I didn't want to stop the Xanax because she was wandering so much in the night. In the last 2 months, the wandering has almost stopped. Every now and then I'll notice something that makes me realize she's doing some wandering, but it's nothing like it was some months ago.

She's becoming increasingly incontinent. If I don't set a timer to remind ME to remind her to get up and go to the bathroom, it's a problem for both of us. On the other hand, sometimes when I'm occupied in the kitchen or watching TV in the den, she'll go to the bathroom and take the Depends off without replacing it. I can only suppose that they're so different from the panties she's worn all her life that her mind can't process putting another pair of them on, even though I keep them out at all places where she might need one (bathroom and by the porta-potty in her bedroom).

I've let her hair grow out simply because I am horrible with doing hair. I needed to let it get long enough to pull into a band at the back. It saddens me because she wouldn't like it if she were in her right mind. It falls among the things that my skills don't cover. I suck at hair - hers, my own.

It's a bit irritating that she's lost the desire or ability to comb her own hair, though. If I don't fix it in the morning and spray it to a faretheewell, she just lets it hang. Her posture is so humped now that her hair hangs over her face. When I comb it in the morning, I have to repeatedly ask her to raise her head. Otherwise, she just stares at the floor.

On a mea culpa note, Lola's developed "diaper rash" under her breasts. When I finally noticed it, I felt so guilty. I've been good at keeping her bottom clean, and it's not like she needs a ton of bathing. Yet, even when I've gotten her in the shower with me and cleaned her, I have to admit I never thought of lifting her titties. I think there are just some things that as a child rather than a professional caretaker that you just don't bring yourself to do before something shocks you into realizing you have to.

I can't remember what made me lift her titties to check, probably because the shock of the condition of her skin smacked the reason out of my head. When I discovered it, it was late at night, and I pondered what to do for the rest of the evening. Also, as usual, it was on a weekend, which precludes a call to the doctor. The next day I went shopping and got some diaper rash creme. I looked for baby diapers to put under her breasts to soak up sweat, but it seems nowadays you must go to a specialty store or order them online. WTF is up with the fact that you can't buy diapers without driving to a major metropolitan area anymore? Don't mothers want something to sling over their shoulders to soak up baby spit-up even if they don't want to deal with cloth diapers? Criminy, it's hard to count the uses for cloth diapers.

Anyway, off the rant, the diaper rash creme is doing the trick. Yay for zinc oxide. It's been 3 days, and the condition of the skin under her breasts is dramatically improved.

She's still doing crazy things. This morning I had served her cereal and some iced tomato juice for breakfast. When I went back to pick up the dishes, she had dumped the remains of the tomato juice into her cereal bowl. She'd moved both from the food tray to the nice end table by the sofa. That meant there was water all over the end table. It falls in line with the thing she does now with turning any drink container upside down when she's through with it. It's like it's gotten stuck in her mind from the old protocol of turning a coffee cup upside down in the saucer when you don't want anymore coffee.

Because she's so sloppy with eating now, I keep a hand towel by her that gets put over her lap whenever she's eating. That towel gets thrown on the floor back by the wall where I have to do contortions to retrieve it. There's no simply placing it on the TV tray. Oh, no. Make the daughter crawl for it.

I finally also decided to remove the trash can from beside her because she kept dumping the food she didn't eat and the fluid she didn't drink into it. She was also putting the lap towel in there and the photographs that she looks at all day. It's as if the trash can became a storage place in addition to a trash place.  It's mind boggling the things you keep taking away from the elderly because they lose judgment.

With Mom it's been tissues - a box every two days is too much; the TV remote - inability to recognize volume; the trash can - not a receptacle for food or fluid; a music box - not a nice thing to wake up to 3 hours before normal getting up time; magazines because flipping through the pages at light speed before normal getting up time is unbelievably noisy.

Lola may have stopped so much wandering in the middle of the night, but she's replaced it with getting up far too early. She'll stay up some nights until 1 or 2 a.m. Other nights she will sneak off to bed at 10:00 p.m. Her schedule is just all messed up. Whether she stays up late or goes to bed early, there's no telling if she'll be up sitting in her chair at 8:00 a.m. madly flipping through magazines or books. I can't get a schedule of waking and sleeping to guide our days.

In the last few weeks, I've really had to control my anger in the mornings. I'm not a cheerful morning person in any way. I need 8 hours of sleep nowadays. Add to that someone whose sleeping schedule has become like an airport during a blizzard. If she's gonna stay up till 2 a.m. then don't get up at 8 a.m. If she's gonna go to bed at 10 p.m. one night and 2 a.m. the next, don't expect me to be humane at the drop of a whim.

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