Monday, January 30, 2012

Mothering MY Mother

My mom has never been a strong person. She is more apt to let someone else take the lead. But she used to be stubborn and would not give in to someone else, if she didn't agree with them. Not so much the last few years. I was amazed that she put such effort into planning my wedding in 2008. But she did with enthusiasm. That was the last time she was so excited, I think.

In part, it's because of her neurological issues. She has had a tremor since she was 60. It was eventually diagnosed as an Orthostatic Tremor and she has been going to Columbia in NYC for her consults the last 5 or 6 years. In addition to the Orthostatic Tremor, she eventually was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This was also in 2008.

In the last 4 years, her condition has deteriorated beyond belief—most of the decline in the last 12 months, the last 4 in particular.  And in addition she is depressed. No wonder, considering how she went from an active woman who loved to travel to someone who can barely walk or eat, due to the cruel progress of Parkinson's Disease.

Last week, when my father and brother were on a business trip, I took my mom (along with her sister) to a Pulmonologist to consult on a chest x-ray that showed fluid in her pluera just outside her lung. He felt that it was due to her Parkinson's and she was admitted to the local hospital. Today she received a peg tube for feeding as she is unable to swallow (from the Parkinson's). This is a huge change in her life. It will be good in that she will have better nutrition. But the emotional change will be stark, I think. Even though she has not been able to eat, and the poor nutrition has greatly affected her, I don't know how she will react. 

And I've been exhausted from going back and forth between her room and home, to be with Little Man.  My best friend helped that first day and extended family has done so since. Tomorrow will be the first day I am unable to spend quality time with my mother and it upsets me, as there is a lot to figure out. My father also comes home tomorrow, so he will be involved from then on. I feel like I went around him, but it could not be avoided.

I hope that she will have a brief stay at a rehab facility and that, once she's home, she is in better shape overall. I'm not sure how this will turn out. I am very worried about her and her emotional state. I am praying that things will go smoothly, but I am not holding my breath. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trader Joe's and Food Woes

Many of my mom friends have suggested purchasing food at Trader Joe's for Little Man, so today I had some time to drive over to the closest one (which is about 20 minutes away) and I wasn't that impressed. But... I also had no idea what to try and what would be a complete waste.

What did I end up buying? Yogurt. Chocolate Cat Cookies (MY favorite thing there). Frozen vegetables for a future stir fry. And chocolate covered blueberries. Not for Little Man, but for me. My trip to TJ's is NOT going to help my diet plan. (I'm a Weight Watcher's Lifetime member, who is a few pounds over goal.) But I digress.

Anyway, I guess the yogurt was a good thing since it's all Little Man seems to want to eat lately. His eating habits frustrate me and I often wish I had tried "Baby Led Weaning" when he was an infant. Maybe he wouldn't be so picky a toddler. But I think of his oldest cousin, L, who was VERY picky and only ate pasta (at least in my presence) for the longest time. He's 8, nearly 9, now and apparently is a better eater now. So there could be hope. Plus the Occupational Therapist is supposedly going to help with this too. I'm looking forward to that starting but I haven't heard anything yet.

When Little Man got sick last month, it affected his appetite as a whole. He's lost a pound. That is SO weird to me, since he's always been on the higher side for weight. I'm sure it's fine, going from 34 lb to 33... but it was unusual. He even snacks less than before. It used to be he snacked TOO much and that was affecting his meals. But he's even refused Animal Crackers. Today was the first day he snacked and ate a relatively decent dinner.

As for me... my prior post about being overwhelmed is still true. So I'm making poor food choices and not tracking on my Weight Watcher's app. I don't *think* I've gained any more weight, but I'm not happy with how I've been eating. I need to get back to tracking this weekend no matter what!

Well, that was a bit of an up-and-down blog today, right? I do like Trader Joe's, however. I think next time I'll go alone and then I won't feel like I can't REALLY check out all their stuff. Though I'll definitely have to resist the baked goods—they looked delicious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Polar Bears?

Little Man is becoming more and more verbal. Thank goodness for progress! And for some reason when it snowed this weekend he thought polar bears were living in our backyard shed.

Driving to school yesterday he asked me: "Where da polar bears house?" I think because he saw another shed. But it was funny.

As the snow melts, I wonder what he's thinking. And how to explain melting.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Overwhelmed by it all

There are days I just goof off on Facebook with a wonderful group of mom friends I met on a forum for parents over 35. Then there are days when I am like a hermit, avoiding everyone but Little Man and my husband. I've come to accept that I am battling a type of depression that I'm not willing to get help for because I feel like I have NO TIME for myself, and that's not just poor scheduling. I really don't.

My son takes up a lot of my time (and I'm not complaining, he's the light of my life) with ferrying to and from his daycare/preschool and being home for his Early Intervention therapy sessions, which will be increasing soon to address some gross motor and adaptive self-help delays. Then there is the dog(s). I give a plural because I invariably end up taking care of my brothers' dogs because he is too ill to do so himself. It's getting to be a lot to handle. Then you add my mom to the mix...

She is so depressed that she hasn't been eating and is practically skin and bones. She barely weighs 100 lb and while that is an improvement from the 93 lb she was last month (fully dressed, no less!), you have to literally feed her to make her eat. I am not that patient a person and I am completely fed up with her now. I wasn't last year, when we moved in to help with care and upkeep of the house. But now...

There's a difference between someone being amenable to being cared for and one who just lies like a log and doesn't leave her bed or shower or seem to care about her only daughter and only grandchild. She's not having another one because I'd expect a Powerball win before my brother has a child. And my dad is probably too overwhelmed by everything, despite his gruffness and shrugging it off, to really be of help. Or he is in denial. But I think my mom needs to be hospitalized. I don't have it in me to be a full-time caregiver to someone who doesn't HELP ME. At least my 2.5-year-old son is getting better with feeding himself and dressing himself (and EI will help that). My 69-year-old mother prefers being an invalid hermit to anything else. She has pushed everyone who cares for her away... her sister can't be there and I'm just too tired from doing it all. I wish I had a new, high-paying job and Little Man could be in daycare and away from the negativity that this house exudes.

I'm nearly 42 years old and am not THAT old but I feel older than I am.  My age and poor financial decisions are why we decided to be "one and done" but I think if I hadn't been convinced before, I would be now. I need a light at the end of the tunnel... a child who is potty trained, sleeps in a bed, doesn't use a pacifier and feeds himself. I realize I'll be caring for him for many years to come, but I guess I need some self-care too.

I wish I could justify a spa day... but I need to cut back the spending and start saving so SOMETHING will change for the better.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

And hopefully a HEALTHY one!

The last 10 days were rough here in the suburbs. Little Man woke up on Friday 12/23 with a fever of 102 and a juicy cough (he'd had one for a month, which I was told was due to teething). So off to the pediatrician I went, to be told it was likely bacterial after all this time. Sent home with a Z-pack and hoping we'd still be able to make a trip to Virginia on the 27th to see friends.

Nope. Christmas weekend was ROUGH. Little Man's fever fluctuated between 100.4 and 103.4 and he was just miserable. There were two afternoons when he only slept ON me. So on Monday morning we drove to the pediatrician for their walk-in hours (8-9 am on Mondays and Tuesdays) and waited to be seen. Apparently several children were quite sick.  When we did see the doctor, we found out that he had double ear infections and low oxygen levels (along with a fever of over 102). He was dosed with Advil, we did a nebulizer treatment (our first), and were sent home with a prescription for Omicef and Albuterol, and the nebulizer too. I was concerned re: Omnicef, since Little Man is allergic to Amoxcillin and I'M allergic to both Penicillin (Amoxicillin) and Omnicef. But his doctor said that it wasn't always the case and to give it a try.

When we got home, I felt terrible too and both Little Man and I napped. But Monday was still rough and we canceled our vacation. Tuesday was his recheck (of oxygen levels) and I made an appointment for MY doctor. The hubby dropped me off, took Little Man to the pedi, and I was quickly diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection (and given a Z-pack). I was picked back up and back to the pharmacy we went (our third trip in 5 days) for my prescriptions. We gave Little Man his 2nd dose of Omincef and a few hours later he had a rash. I wasn't sure if it was a reaction, since he was also sweating and it looked like heat rash too. So we gave it to him again on Wednesday and... HIVES.

So on Thursday, one week after our first visit to the pediatrician, we went BACK.  This time we were told to discontinue antibiotics, as his ears looked better—I guess 3 days of a Z-pack that didn't work and 3 days of Omnicef, which caused an allergic reaction, did the trick. But the pediatrician we saw (same as I saw on Friday, but different than Monday and Tuesday) this time, and I like them all in this group, gave a Rx for Prednisone. That was trip number 4 to the pharmacy in 7 days. Our pharmacist was so nice, and concerned about our health. We go to a national chain, but the people working there are definitely not big business.

Friday (12/30) we finally are feeling almost human so we head to visit my in-laws. But since Little Man and I are still coughing and exhausted, we head home after lunch. Both of us take late naps (after 2 pm) and when we wake, we feel somewhat better. Saturday was better still, but I was not up for a trip to a local zoo and we only visited friends. But it was a nice play date. I think New Year's Day was the first day we truly felt "back to normal" and Little Man had fun on his swing set in the back yard.  I'm still coughing, but I think finally on the mend.

So here's to health and happiness in 2012! And a pic of Little Man "swinging in the New Year."