Monday, January 19, 2009

Life is Changing

My life is like everyone elses, it seems to be divided into "lifes" (and I don't mean lives), each one separate from the one before and yet continuous.

I feel that I am entering into a new "continuation". Aud is 92 and she is getting a little "dotty" (lol) in spots. She doesn't have a lot of energy because she has so many little picky things wrong with her and can't exercise, and I think there is a short circuit sometimes. The podiatrist that she went to two week ago for her foot problems told her her maintenance agreement had run out, lol.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not downing my mother. She is a most precious person to me and I love her dearly. Mainly I am concerned about her and I spend a lot of time worrying about her and sometimes I just want to wring her neck. I think this is normal when any 2 or more people live together for any length of time and we have lived in the same house for the last 15 years.

I am an only child and spoiled rotten to the core. I will admit that. I also pay for being spoiled rotten to the core, lol. I owe her a lot for everything she has done for me in my life, and now it is time for payback, so to speak.

I don't know what I would have done the last 7 years if she hadn't been around. With all of the sickness and surgeries etc I have had and things that have gone wrong, she has always been there for me. And I really don't know what I would have done before that for the 4years my husband was so very ill before he passed away.

Right now we are in the middle of a cooking game she and I play. She has always done the cooking since we have lived together. Ever so often she decides she is tired of cooking, so I try to take over the cooking duties and in 2 days she can't stand it, so she takes over the cooking again, lol. This has gone on since I retired 2 years ago.

A couple of weeks ago when she burned her hand and couldn't get it in water and her foot was too sore to walk on it I figured the time had come to really take over the kitchen. We talked about it and I now have a spot in the kitchen eating area that I have tucked a sewing machine into and I can at least do something productive while I am cooking.

I used to be an excellent cook but not having much memory anymore I can't remember lots of the little secrets I learned about cooking. I am having to relearn a lot of it. I also cook different types of food than Audrey does, and that presents a problem, lol.

She doesn't like cream sauces, or cream soups or pasta, etc. I love all of those things. I love spinach salad, or the "salad grass" as Aud calls it, and to her the green for a salad is iceberg lettuce, period. She is a great cook when it comes to pies and cakes, but as far as regular food she has certain things she cooks period, lol.

So we are kind of struggling right now with our meals. If we have a doctor's appt or have to go out, we usually eat out that day. That is also a problem because we don't like to eat at the same places. Luby's is Aud's favorite, and I will not eat there. I like Pei Wei, (Chinese), and she won't eat there. You get the picture. There are only 6 places at the moment that suit the two of us, and I am really tired of them.

Of course I don't get to bed until 4 or so in the mornings because I can't sleep. I don't get up until at least noon and that causes us to eat later than we used to. I can't seem to get myself turned back around. I think mainly it is because it is so nice and quiet at night when all of the extraneous noise is gone.

Life is never dull around here now, that's for sure. I got up one day last week and when I walked into the living room the fireplace was roaring and I smelled gas. Aud....I smell you don't...yes I do...well, I don't.....end of story. I turned the gas down a little and let it go. My nose is always stopped up and I figured she was right. Ok, two days pass, and I get up, walk toward the kitchen, and smell gas again. Aud...I smell gas...I am calling the gas company...well, there is no gas leaking, I don't smell it....I don't care...I am calling Enogex.

Guess what, we have a gas leak in the turn on fixture of the gas for the firesplace. Duh! The technician that came out was really surprised that I could smell it. Anyway, we turned off the fireplace and the plumber will be here tomorrow to install a new pipe or turn on or whatever he has to do.

She also fell in the bathroom the other day when she stood up to take a shower. Her foot was bandaged from the visit to the podiatrist and I had set up the bathtub with a bench type chair that we have from when she had her knee surgery and we have the hand held shower sprays in all the bathrooms so that was accessible. Why she decided to stand up is beyond me, but she did. You should see the bruise from that one.

Every day is a new adventure, some are good, some are a little scary, and some are just plain awful, but at least we have them. That is what counts.


Penny said...

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your post. The love that you have for your mother, and the mature relationship that you have, together, came through. Even with the bumps.

I did not get along well with my mother and, frankly, avoided her. When she was dying, I took her in to my home and, of course, that was a struggle and I felt really guilty if she did things that got on my nerves. From reading your post, I can see that even in the best of relationships, it is not easy. I wish I'd seen this during the time I was caring for mom. I think the bumps in the road would have been easier because it would be a little clearer that is was less about our strained relationship than about the difficulties of dealing with an elderly or ill parent. I felt terribly guilty to get frustrated with her and your post would have gone a long way towards putting it into perspective and easing my mind. I hope anyone reading this remembers it if they find themselves dealing with an elderly parent. It is tough even when you love each other, dearly. Thanks, Perry.

Carol said...

Oh well said. Thank you for sharing. Off to help mom clean out some closets this morning.

Crazy for Primitive Quilts and Gardens said...

I totally relate with your story and I wish you all the best. My dad passed away 4 years ago, my Mom doesn't drive, and I have been taking her to all her appointments, groceries, etc. Fortunately my mom is still able to live on her own, but when the time comes, I will be taking her into my home. I know it is a hard road, and some days... well.... I just want to go back to bed rather than deal with it, but you are right... it is payback time, and that is quite a big paycheck we owe our Mom's!

Paula said...

It is difficult sharing your life with someone like that. It can be rewarding, but also challenging. Your story was funny, but I care for someone, so I know the challenges involved. So glad that the two of you have a wonderful relationship.

JudyL said...

These different phases of life can be a little comical and at the same time, disheartening. It's so nice that Aud has you to care for and watch over her.

Gena in Dallas said...

What an excellent example to offspring who might have to do the very same thing for us some day!

One of the reasons I adopted children was so I wouldn't be alone in my final years. Several of my aunts never had children and it always bothered me that the only people they 'had' were nieces and nephews or even more distant relations than that.

Karen said...

Very interesting post. Lots of ups and downs but the two of you seem to work around them. My mother lived with us the last 10 years of her life, so I know lots about the joys and the problems.
It's funny what you forget about cooking when you start not doing a lot about it. I used to make some things that I just threw things in without measuring. No recipe. And now I can't remember what I put in them. And it's funny what daughter, grand-daughter and relatives remember about things I used to cook. A very simple thing really impressed them.

quiltmom said...

Well Perri, Life certainly an adventure for you and Aud these days. I love that you can still enjoy things with Aud even when the two of you have a difference of opinions.
As my gran got older, my mom became more of the care giver of my gran . My gran was pretty independent but a couple of times in her last years she hurt herself ( broke a wrist one time) and couldn't do the basic care things. It was really hard for her to let my mom take care of her- she felt pretty useless even though she wasn't. One time she came to stay with me and got frustrated when I wouldn't let her do anything. I just wanted to take care of her( like she had done for me) but that was not her view.She said "I am not useless you know". It was hard finding the line between taking care of her and keeping her dignity and make her feel like she was still that independent person she has always been.
I guess getting older is not for wusses ( a saying of my father in laws.
Take care of yourself while you take care of Aud- you both are worth it..
As for cooking - I cook different than my husband - he does the bulk of the cooking( I am spoiled and I know it) so it is hard to get the cooking rhythm- that is particularly true with baking things. I used to bake bread but haven't for a long time.
Be well,

Stephanie D. said...

Life is a journey, isn't it? I dealt with some of the same feelings when I became hubby's caregiver, although I probably wasn't as gracious about it. Not that I minded caring for him, but having to wear the pants in the family did not bring out my best qualities. Once he was more himself again, I was enjoying the power mode and didn't want to let him have any input into the decision-making. It took a long time and a lot of work before we were able to reach and maintain a balance again. And by long time, I mean years.

"Good luck" doesn't seem to be what I mean when I wish you both well on finding your way but I can't think of the right phrase.

Jean said...

I visit your blog every now and again and really enjoy it. Your right it's hard sometimes when family members get older and all of the things they/we have to face. The nice thing is that at least we can face them "together".
We've all heard this before, but my FIL told us again a while back, Growing Old Isn't For Wimps!
He's right, he's 85 now and had all sorts of "health adventures", and at times I know that he would rather just "go home"... but he knows that he is the one who has the most patience and love for mom.
Seems to me that you need to get take out from the places you love... call them ahead of time and take it home to eat! That way you both get what you like! It's hard when there are fewer and fewer things that a person likes to eat. Or some of us just get picky in our old age! I'm finding that with my husband! Although, he isn't "older" yet!LoL...
Most importantly laugh! Each and every day.... laugh, because sometimes... it's either that or cry!
Hang in there! Know that your loved!

Latharia said...

OH, boy ... sounds like you are certainly mapping out a new era of your life. I am glad that you and your mom can sort things out between each other as you both evolve & figure out where you can't unstick & where you can bend. :D

G'G'ma said...

Great post and comments. Life does take us on many turns doesn't it. Right now my husband is needing quite a bit of my help so we're working on this different bumpy road!! Best wishes to you and your Mom.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

You really should write a book. In the life and times of Aud and Perry. It would be a best seller I'm telling you.

Pat said...

You're so fortunate - I understand the bumpy places - but I would have loved to have my mother a few more years. She was truly a trooper and loved her kids. She didn't live with any of us, but we were all very close. Your post made me reminisce - and shed a few tears. I miss her so much.