Saturday, July 28, 2012

West Ky. Drought

Well, we've slipped into the classification of extreme drought here in my area of w. Ky. I live in the 2nd county down on the extreme western edge of Kentucky.

Since I'm not a farmer, it's not impacting me as dreadfully as it is impacting the farmers. The problem on my end is the heat rather than the drought. It has been in triple digits for days upon endless days. On the days it doesn't make it into triple digits, it doesn't make it below 95F.

As I said in an earlier post, I've abandoned my garden to the grass. For years I've not gone outdoors much in the summer. Something went whacko whacko with my internal thermostat some years ago, and I became so intolerant to heat that it crippled me in the depths of high summer. High summer used to be August. What I consider high summer is above 95F. This year, it's been high summer almost since May.

After I first moved in with my parents, the indoor temperature my father wanted to keep the house nearly killed me. He stayed in one room that used to be called the breezeway, one room between the garage and the house. In the middle of summer, I would walk into it, and he would have the wall heater on and be sitting in his chair in front of the TV, and he would be in a t-shirt, a shirt, and a fur-lined hoodie with the hood pulled up. The temperature in the room would be no less than 85F. He would be complaining it was cold.

Mom and I tried to keep the rest of the house at a temperature we could tolerate, and he would be moaning and bitching about how cold it was - at 75F. When I first moved in, 75F nearly immobilized me. As time went on, I became accustomed to it, and began to inch it up more towards 80.

So I was really tickled contemplating my first garden in years. I had become acclimated to higher temps and would be able to handle things. Especially, I'd be able to since planting in late April, early May, meant the temps wouldn't become unbearable to me until the end of July, beginning of August, and nearly everything I wanted to plant would be in by then.

Lo, and behold, we get the year of breaking the high temperature records of over 1,400 high temp records across the US. By the second week of June, weeding the garden was intolerable to me.

I really, really, really don't like this weather. Really.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beyond Grace and Dignity

Sometimes making a blog post can be a cathartic thing that brings its own solution. After making my original post about Grace and Dignity, something inside of me eased. I've found myself coping much better. It's like throwing a tantrum and then being able to cope with the cause of the tantrum.

After the post, I received a nice comment from a stranger and an email from someone I consider a best friend. Both helped me in totally different but most welcome ways.

It's almost as if making the post blew my coping block to smithereens, and now that its residue has drifted into the wind, there's not much of a problem.

Yay, catharthis!

Ethical Question

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Lola wanted to just stay in bed. After allowing this and just getting her up to eat and clean her body, today I forced her to get up earlier in the day. When she stays in bed, she goes into the fugue. When I force her to get up, she doesn't. When she's in the fugue, getting her to the bathroom is scary with her being so fragile on the way. If I keep her up and moving, she's stronger.

On Tuesday, I gave her Rice Krispies, and for the first time ever, she didn't eat them. She ate a pudding, but not anything else. On Wednesday, she wouldn't eat the Rice Krispies again. I asked her if she wanted tamales, and she did. She ate plenty of them. Another taste change, I suppose. It will take me a while to adjust to it. Hopefully I won't starve her while I'm adjusting. So much for crowing about how she'd now eat anything and everything.

Just wanted to document that on Wednesday, her color wasn't too good. Also, her urine output decreased. That may be because she was asleep so much and not drinking. I've had her up today and forcing more liquids into her.

This brings up one of those ethical questions I so despise in caring for my parents at the end of their lives. In my heart of hearts I feel I could just let my mother lay in that bed, clean her body, and feed her meals, and she'd shortly die. I could also continue to force her to get up and move her body, force liquids into her, and continue to force her to bathroom details, and she'd not die as quickly.

When does keeping someone alive become inhumane?

When does it become inhumane to do everything possible to keep an elderly person alive who couldn't do it on their own, who can't control their bodily functions and who has no place of time and place?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grace and Dignity

Lola is existing as is normal for her now. She's on a binge of staying in bed until I wake her and force her to get up. When she does finally get up she alternates between madly flipping through magazines and watching TCM. It's amazing.

She can't see diddly, and she flips through the magazines at nearly the speed of light. She's clearly not processing a thing in them; it's something to occupy her hands and mind. Quite a few of the major actors who are her contemporaries have recently died - Andy Griffith, for one. One would think maybe these people would pierce her armor of haze, but they haven't. It's crazy, but you can't help but finding yourself hoping that even if the woman can't remember her own husband is dead that maybe the death of a contemporary movie star might penetrate. Yeah. Crazy. I know. 

Because she sometimes gets up and goes into the living room while I'm in another part of the house, unbeknownst to me, I've taken to putting an incontinence pad in her chair. She gets up and doesn't realize she's in urine soaked clothes. Then she sits in the chair, and the urine gets squished out every where. Now she's taken to shredding the incontinence pads. So that's something to pick up/vacuum up. 

The other day I gave her a large chef's salad and instead of crackers to go with it, I tried putting some croutons on it. Big mistake. She threw croutons north, south, east and west on the floor. No leaving them on the plate. No putting them in the trash. Let's just toss them wherever. 

It is because of all of these things and my inability to handle them well, that I find myself having a terrible problem with treating my mom with grace and dignity. All of us should have grace and dignity. Every human should. 

I find myself being extremely sharp with her. My mouth opens and words pour out, "Thank you for throwing all these soggy croutons on the floor for me to pick up," while my mind is screaming "What the hell are you saying this for? Like she knows what she's doing? You're a bitch for saying these things."

Grace and dignity have fled the building, and I'm madly chasing after them. Please may I catch them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lola Update 07/18/12

Lola is just about holding steady. She's been setting into a pattern of going about a week that she gets up on her own and a week of my having to force her to get up. Last week she would have stayed in bed 24/7 if I had let her. The last 2 days, she's gotten up on her own by about 1-2 p.m. The week before, she was up at 7:30 a.m.

I've become used to having to wash a load of pajamas every 2 days. Even with putting 2 depends on her at night, the incontinence has reached a point of wet PJs at least 2 times a day. I have to admit that trying to get her to the bathroom in time to catch the incontinence has failed. I've given up on it. She has no sense of needing to go. Trying to get her to go every 2 hours or so when she's up to prevent accidents became more of a burden than just tending to her in the morning and evening. My sense of when she may need to go is far off. It irritates her when I badger her. It's simply easier to clean up.

General Update

Times call for a general update. Nothing much has changed - including the @#$% heat wave.

I have to admit, I've thrown my hands up in the air and cried uncle on my first garden in ages. When the heatwave first hit, I figured we'd have a few days of blasting heat, and then things would go back to "normal." I figured it would return to normal June temps, and I could go back outside and do damage control on the grass that has taken over the garden.

Cocaine Anyone?

A bit of a startling title? Imagine our surprise as we were merrily traveling down the road and passed a nearby village's grocery/hardware/feed/seed store. We absolutely HAD to stop and take a pic. Unfortunately, it was Sunday, and they were closed; so we couldn't ask.  If anyone knows of a country vet reason for this ad, please leave a comment.

On the other hand, do I need to stop by and purchase for a medical stockpile?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

When Women Got the Vote

WARNING: Political Personal Opinion Follows.

You're female? You're conservative? You actually listen to the entertainer Rush Limbaugh? You give him credence as anything but an entertainer? You like what he really thinks about you?

You're male? You're conservative? You actually listen to the entertainer Rush Limbaugh? You give him credence as anything but an entertainer? You like what he really thinks about women?

If you fall into either of these categories, your character is weak. If you're a woman, you don't have enough confidence to trust yourself and your own opinion. If you're a male, you don't have enough confidence to not fear a woman. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, you don't have enough confidence in yourself to walk the world and be proud of yourself.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Temperature Log

To start off with, here's today's pic of the thermometer. Sheesh. I actually did get out of the house today and to the store. Nothing like running out of soda to get you out in 107F weather.

Actually, I had an ulterior motive. My Dad's cat, dismally called "Stoopid," who isn't really that stupid, was awfully mouthy this morning. Usually when he's that mouthy, it means I have a lovely present of a vole, a mole, a bird, or a rabbit. This morning I didn't see anything, and finally batted him away. About an hour later, as I went back to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, I did the skitter dance because there was a lovely, little, striped green snake on the floor of the den about 3 feet from me.

Ulterior motive? To get Larry from the store to come over and get the snake outta da house. Because after I skittered more feet than I care to claim, I dashed to the kitchen, got my tamalera and upended it over the snake. To make certain the itty bitty demon was corralled, I put the box fan on top of that. To make things easy for Larry, I put the yard-long barbecue tongs over the fan.

You know how you like to think you can do anything? Well, I freely admit, to all and sundry, without reservation, that I can't do snakes. Oh, and heights. So I go into the store, and corner Larry quietly and ask this big favor of him. "When you get home will you please get the snake out of my den?" The next thing I knew, from all over the store I hear, "In the house?"  "Gayle?" Oh, gee, thanks, Larry. Let the whole damn store know I can't get near a teeny garden snake.

Sigh. Whatcha gonna do? Basically, I'm going to say I cannot begin to give enough thanks for good neighbors, nor give enough thanks to Larry for all the things he has done for us. He has come over at 3 in the morning to pick up my father who fell out of bed. He came over 4 times to pick my father up the last day Dad was at home (which is the day I cried uncle over caring for my dad at home.)  He has filled in the old collapsed septic tank with dirt. He has plowed up a new garden for me. He has fixed an electric line from the house to the workshop that was taken out by a limb in a storm.

Those are some of things I know Larry has done. There have to be countless things I don't know he's done for my parents. One cannot begin to thank someone enough for the things like these that they do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Garden Update

To start off with, here's a pic of the thermometer today. Yesterday was a tetch cooler, and today seems to be backing into the present pattern of triple digits. I am so tired of this I could scream. However, at least we didn't get hit with the storm and derecho winds of a few days ago, thank heavens. So we still have A/C. I'll probably cry when it comes time to pay the bill.

As far as the garden goes, its best crop this year will likely be grass. If I didn't get a thing out of it this year, you couldn't pay me to go out and hoe it in this heat. Likely I'll take the manual lawn mower and mow between the rows.

Here is a pic of the first produce from the garden - a yellow squash that was almost hidden in the grass. In fact, I didn't know it was there until today.

The rest of the pics are of the sad tomatoes - the last time I saw tomatoes this short was years ago when it was a rainy year. The Hutterite Soup Bean plants seem to be weathering this all very well. The pumpkin plant may take over the world.

Oh, and I should add "Happy Fourth of July" everyone!

Sad Tomatoes

Hutterite Soup Beans

The Pumpkin Plant (3 seeds)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dehydrating Tomatoes Into Fake Figs

Okay!  When my tomatoes come in, I'm going to have to try this:  Dehydrating tomatoes into tomato figs. This is a video from by imstillworkin. It is a recipe she found in an old cookbook, and it is a way to mimic figs. However, she commented that to her the taste was more like dates than figs. Whichever they taste like, I love them both. That makes this look like a win/win.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lola Update 07/02/12

There's not a lot to update on Lola. Her condition is about the same. The heatwave has been keeping me inside, and I've been listening to a lot of books via

An interesting point for anyone that has someone they're caring for that needs incontinence protection - brand names don't mean better. I'd been buying generic "Depends" for my mother and came across a sale for the real "Depends" at a better price. Thinking brand name means better, I scooped a bunch of them up. Big mistake. Don't go there.

Whereas using generic "Depends" putting Lola into two of them at night contained everything, using two brand name Depends made washing sheets mandatory every time. So before you buy large amounts, test each one.

So as you can guess, Lola has absolutely no toilet control. The best you can do is force her to go to the bathroom and change into dry clothes when she gets up in the morning. Yes, force, because her mind doesn't recognize that she's sitting in what her body has processed. She can stay up later than I can and get up earlier than I can when she's not in a fugue state.

The fugue state takes her by stages/days. For days, she will stay in bed continually unless I force her to get up and come out of her room and eat. Then for days she will stay up until after 1 a.m. and be up and rifling though photographs by 8 a.m.

Mother still recognizes me. It seems that's about all she recognizes, though. She's consistently reached the stage that she does not know what food is on the plate that is set before her. That's a good thing in that idiosyncrasies she had are no longer valid. Like, she wouldn't eat hot chicken before but now scarfs it up. She used to only eat crackers and ice cream, and now she eats whatever is put in front of her. She used to say she couldn't eat salad, and now says it's delicious. It doesn't matter much what I offer, she eats it. A year ago, she was a tyrant regarding what she'd eat.

The best I can say is that I don't know what life would be like if we didn't have cable and the old movie channel. It consumes her. Her mind is gone. She has no clue where the bathroom is or her bedroom is or if she's eaten or not. As long as the TV is on the old movie channel she is captured.

Alex Dragon - Online Acquaintances Gratitude

This post is to express my gratitude to an online acquaintance, Alex Dragon. Alex and I have been members of a fiber-craft chat group since December 1999. That group, loosely know as "Thrillers" because we are thrilled by sheep, and not in the Grecian fashion!, has gone through many changes as the internet changed.

Alex has recently been commenting on my posts about caring for my elderly parents, and his comments have contained invaluable tips and information for their care. I want to thank him for the comments and the help he has given me. Without doubt, his interest from our fiber group, has led him to give me information that has lightened my life.

So for all the fears, valid fears, that we should have for total strangers on the internet, sometimes there are shining examples of the good that can come from strangers on the internet.

It hadn't seemed as if Alex and I had struck up an immediate close communication from the beginning of the group. He was extremely interesting as someone who was from New Zealand, and I enjoyed his posts and followed them. He seemed to be absent from the group for awhile and then popped back up and posting from Australia. I was glad to see him back in our fiber group.

Now he's been helping me with the care for my parents because 1. he's an acquaintance from an online group, and 2. his career is caring for the elderly.

Who could have ever foreseen that someone from an email group about spinning and from New Zealand and Australia could help someone from Kentucky as much as this.

Alex, if I ever manage to get to Australia, there's a dinner on me for you!