~my thoughts about life~

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Excuses, Cookies, and Caring for Grandma

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, but I'm at that Feeling Overwhelmed point again.  I hate posts that begin with apologies so I'll make this one quick.  I think being sick last week put me so far behind that I'm having a hard time catching up.  Big Sis got a small bout of it after I had it and Hubby got it pretty bad on Saturday.  I got the house totally clean and sterilized and even opened up all our windows for about two hours.  Then Bake Sale Day hit.

I'm very thankful our church allows our kids to pay for their youth events with bake sales.  They go on so many trips and some of them are quite expensive.  We have an awesome youth group and my son is very privileged to be a part of it.  Excuse my bragging, but I'm kind of the star baker at these bake sales.  If people see my name written on something, it gets purchased.  I sold 40 extra-large, iced sugar cookies and 12 large pieces of Texas Sheet Cake.  The next event that comes along, I'll be thankful that Son #1 gets to attend for "free." 

After Bake Sale Day was Super Bowl Night.  We didn't have any big plans this year so my dad ended up coming over to watch the game with Hubby.  I had to get the huge flour and powdered sugar mess cleaned up first.  Sadly, there were no baked goods left to enjoy while watching the game.  OK, I think I'm done complaining about that for now.

Over the weekend was my Grandma's birthday.  I haven't written about her for a while but her Alzheimers is getting pretty bad.  We recently called in Hospice.  I wasn't too sure what that meant because I thought Hospice was a facility where you go to die.  Through this program, doctors, nurses, and aides come to her home.  They help with her personal care, regulate her medication, and check to see that the family is handling everything well.  At the last visit, the nurse checked my Grandpa's blood pressure and made him schedule a doctor's appointment right away.  These people coming in give us great relief and support. 

Typically, mobile patients do not qualify for Hospice.  But Grandma's extreme weight loss, refusal to take medication, and combativeness allowed her to be accepted.  Hospice doesn't fight Grandpa about his wish to keep her at home until she passes.  They will recommend moving her to a facility if and when the family can no longer get her to take her meds. 

Last week while Hubby was off, I wanted to spend some time with Grandma and give Grandpa some time off.  I arrived about 2:15 in the afternoon and he had just woken her.  She had been sleeping in until noon but it started getting later and later.  He wakes her so that she'll sleep at night.  I watched in total admiration as he lovingly made her breakfast.  Two slices of bacon, a waffle with syrup, and a side of whipped cream.  He even made a tall cup of coffee with cream and sugar.  He set the plate down and held her hand.  "Let's pray," he said.  He asked God to bless her food and give her strength.  I couldn't help but tear up at the love and dedication he still shows the wife that really no longer exists.  He calls her "sweetheart" and "babe" and still behaves like he is deeply in love with her.  If I can  raise my two boys to be half the man my grandfather is, I will have been a great success.

Grandpa left the house as soon as he felt like he could and left her alone with me.  It was the first time I had cared for her since she had been that bad.  She was in good spirits that day, mostly wandering around the house and chattering.  She knocked on the window only once, something that she typically does nonstop.  I honestly felt a tad of disappointment when my aunt arrived to relieve me.  I had to pick up Son #1 from tuba lessons and wasn't able to stay any longer.  Staying with her during the day is something I want to try to do much more often.  Grandma's doctor said she could potentially live another year. 

After I got home, I picked up my Bible to read.  I'm still working hard to stay up to date with my schedule to read through the Bible in a year.  Inside the pages, I found this note:

Yeah, I bawled like a baby.  I remember the note but I can't remember how old it is.  I was sentimental enough to save it but not to date it.  I remember, she passed me the note during church.  Folded up inside was a twenty dollar bill, I think.  It seems like it was a time soon after we were married but childless.  My grandparents gave us money for school clothes every year as kids.  I was probably the only grandkid who wasn't still in school and she didn't want to leave me out.  She regularly told me that I was her favorite and I still believe her to this day.  I'm sure she told all the kids they were her favorite but I think she really meant it when she said it to me.

So even though Gramma who wrote this note is no longer here, she still lives in my memories and in my heart.  Even though her true spirit is not still in this body that wanders around not making sense, I am going to try to treasure each memory I have left with her.  No regrets.

Can someone please pass me a box of tissues now?


chris said...

alzheimer's is awful and so unfair to everyone involved. you are wise to spend time with your Grandma while you can, regardless of her condition. you will never be sorry you did.

Mamarazzi said...

pass ME a tissue...i lost my grandpa to Alzheimer's a few years ago and now my Mima has the early stages. it is heartbreaking. prayers going up for you and your family.

Linda said...

Somehow I missed this post. Very heartwarming--the story of your grandma and grandpa and the note made me tear up too. Thanks for sharing.

About the spam. No, it hasn't stopped--actually it seems to have ramped up. Don't know what to do, it's so annoying. At least it hasn't been obscene lately.

I keep flagging the comments as spam and then deleting them, hoping that at least those particular ones won't show up again.