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      Monday, February 04, 2008

tales from the parkside
06:33 PM - 02/04/2008

The topic: Food

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New rule.  I will not visit with my mother if she doesn’t eat without fussing.

Today, I get there around 12:30, her lunch was there. She was laying back in bed.  Not eating.  She’d finished off her health shake, she’d eaten half of her ice cream. But she hadn’t touched her entree, some sort of tuna/spinach thing.

She also thought she was going home.  I told her she can’t go home until she eats.  She started to eat.  She played with her food, but she started to eat. Then she started looking around, saying “this is mine, that is mine, I can’t forget that”.  I told her she wasn’t going home today.  She said “I’m not?”  I said “no, you’re not”.  “Even if I clean my plate?”  No, not even if you clean your plate, you have to eat more than just this one meal.

She pushes the table away from her, says “then I’m done”, gets a Kleenex and brings it up to her mouth.  She’s going to spit out the bite of food she’s got in her mouth.  I saw red.  Before she could get rid of the biteful, I had my hand on her chin and I told her “you swallow that food, you are NOT going to spit it out”.  Surprised the hell out of her.  Hey, it surprised the hell out of me!  She started chewing and swallowed.  She was not a happy camper.  Still there, I told her to quit acting like a child, she wasn’t three years old anymore, she is an adult.

She said some crap, took a shot at my weight.  I looked her in the eye and reminded her that I wasn’t the one who was in a health care center unable to take care of myself, I wasn’t the one in a bed all day long, I wasn’t the one who was sleeping away from my home every day.  I wasn’t the one who was sick, I was the healthy one. 

I sat back down.  I’d printed up a couple of letter sized posters this morning and hung them up when I got there.  One said “You need to eat to get well” and the other one said “The sooner you eat without being nagged, the sooner you can go home”.  I pointed to the latter. 

And I told her “if you want to go home, you need to eat.  You need to eat everything you’re given without fighting them on it.  The only person you’re hurting when you don’t eat is yourself”.  Brian had said this same thing to her yesterday when we visited. I told her today that when she goes home, I’m not going to go over there and watch her eat. She’s going to have to feed herself. And even if she gets Meals on Wheels, even though they bring the food, she’ll still have to be the one who sits there and eats it.

When I got home from my visit, I talked to one of my best friends, who I’ve been speaking with a couple of times a day since this started. She’s been a huge help (thanks, Tikky!) and wonderful support. She feels that maybe mom is using the food as a way to get me to stick around.  She suggested calling before I go over to see what kind of job mom has done with her meals. If it’s good, I visit. If not, I don’t.  When Brian got home, I mentioned this to him and he had one even better.  A tease, if you will.

I go to visit her, check before I go into her room about her eating, if it’s good, I go in, sit down and visit.  If it’s bad, I go in, tell her I’m there, but since she didn’t eat well, I’m leaving. And leave.  I’ll start this tomorrow. 

I made up another little poster this evening.  Which I’ll hang up tomorrow.

“Mom,

It is not my job to make sure you eat.

I will come here each day and ask
if you’ve eaten

without

fussing.

If you have, I will stay. If you didn’t eat
I will not visit, I will go home.

This is not a threat, it’s a promise.

Dianne”

And I’ll hang this up by her bed.

She has to eat by herself.  If she doesn’t, she’ll starve to death or be “put in a home”, something she’s always begged me not to do to her.  She can’t live with me.  She’s way too manipulative of me and I’m not going to ruin my health taking care of her. 

Honestly, I think if this all was because of some health thing beyond her control, I’d be more sympathetic. But she brought it on herself.  She knows this on some level and I know she’s trying to not do the things that she knows aggravate me.  But then that demon woman comes out, the one who won’t eat. The one who thinks she’s hurting me by making shots about my weight.  That demon woman who makes me want to run, not walk, to the nearest exit and get as far away from her evil mouth as possible. 

I want my life back.

 

      Thursday, February 07, 2008

tales from the parkside
08:16 AM - 02/07/2008

The topic: Well…

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Yesterday, my mom said some things to me that made sense.  She told me that it’s hard for her to eat when I’m there, because she just waits for me to jump on her.  Which, in retrospect, I’ve been doing.

And after much thought, I’ve realized that it’s not a good thing for either of us.  So, I’m going to avoid mealtimes; there’s no telling what time they’ll bring her lunch, so I’ll be going earlier to visit and leave when the food arrives.  She knows she has to eat to live. She gets that now. She’s a big girl and she’ll eat if she wants to.

I told Brian this last night and at first, he tried to, not really argue, but get back to ‘she has to eat to live’.  And I told him “if she wants to eat, she’ll eat.  Getting pressure from me won’t change that one iota.  Look at your father.  He was in a residential care facility for over two years and he just quit eating. No amount of getting after him changed that and it eventually killed him.  It was his choice.”  He thought about it a little and said “I guess you’re right”.

If mom eats, she eats. It’s her life.

Today she gets to go in to have her teeth cleaned, have two cavities filled and be fitted for new dentures.  She’s scared.  She told me this yesterday.  I asked her why and she said “I hate needles”.  I don’t blame her.

She’s reading a lot better.  I had one of those little books “Live, Learn and Pass It On”, with one liners of what people of various ages have learned in life, from 6 to 96 years old.  She likes that book. She isn’t reading it on her own that I know of, but she read four pages to me yesterday.  The first day she read, it was only one.

She didn’t want to walk yesterday, either.  I think her mind is starting to function better and she’s overwhelmed.

But today, we’ll have an adventure.  And I’ll be there for her.

      Friday, February 08, 2008

entertainmentstuff
10:36 AM - 02/08/2008

The topic: The Aristocats!

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I just got this movie last weekend, the DVD version.  I had the VHS version that was given to me quite a while ago by an old friend. (I gave her the Sound of Music.)

I started watching it last Sunday, but the Superbowl was on. (We watched the first three minutes of the game and the last three minutes, I played a computer game in the middle, I don’t feel like I missed a thing.)  I tried to settle down to watch the rest of the week, but had a hard time focusing (kept thinking about mom stuff).  But last night, I finally turned off the computer and went out to watch the Aristocats.

I love this movie! I fell in love with the kittens, all three of them (got new names picked out for any future additions to the clowder…*lol*).  The story was as great as I remember and it still made me laugh and cry and cheer.  It was nice to hear familiar voices, the same ones I catch on TVLand.  Mr. Haney, Goober, hey, it was a fun movie and a great escape.  I love happy endings.  And I love old stray tomcats, too, yanno? 

The sound was good and the picture was sharp, the color resolution true. 

This is an enhanced DVD and I tried it in the computer and the kitten game plays much more detailed than on the television.  And I can choose from wallpapers and screensavers. Pretty nice.

It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to kids of all ages.

And for your latest earworm….


But wait! I'm not done yet!
I've got more to say!

catstuff
11:52 AM - 02/08/2008

The topic: Miss E and Bobby

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Are settling in, very close to being assimilated.  They both can do the kitty door.  Bobby uses it much more that Miss does, she spends most of her time on the bed.

As mom told me before, Miss does have a problem with constipation.  I noticed her stool earlier this week, it looked pretty dry.  So, I started giving her a small amount of kitty laxative every couple of days.  She doesn’t love it.  *grin*

Bobby is starting to gain a little weight, Brian and I were both surprised at how light he was.  From looking at him, you’d expect some heaviness from muscles alone, but he’s just a light cat.  I’m nervous about light cats, there’s something not right about a cat who’s lightweight.  Mom always had food out for him, maybe it was just the quality.  Brian believes that mom fed them the cheapest food available.  Probably because the cheap stuff is the tastiest (which I hate to admit) and it may have been the only thing they’d eat.  But they don’t mind the Felidae dry we keep out.  We even put a small feeder in the bedroom for Miss, which all of the bedroom cats eat from.

Bobby has calmed down considerably at night time.  He still cries at the bedroom window occasionally (I think when he sees other cats out there), but for the most part, he doesn’t.  He is the first cat out when I open the door at four.  But then he’ll come in and sleep.  Just like the other cats.

And wonderfully, there hasn’t been any fighting.  The other cats are over any “new cat” wierdness.  Miss is very protective of her bounderies and hisses and growls other cats out of her way. And so far, no cat has challenged this. 

It broke my heart so see the sad look on my mom’s face the other day when she was talking about her cats, but leaving them at her place was not an option.  They’ll be okay here and that’s what’s important for them right now.

      Sunday, February 10, 2008

catstuff
08:37 AM - 02/10/2008

The topic: The cat population

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So, we’ve noticed a new kitty around.  Pretty girl.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw her being chased on a side street by NotWally (nice to see he’s still around).

This kitty has been here eating, but would run when I opened the door.

Last night, she didn’t run.  I went outside with a fresh bowl of wet food, sat on the ground and waited for her to come up to the bowl.  She did and I started petting her.  Then, here comes a little NotWally clone kitten!  Now remember, NotWally is so named because he looks like Wally.  So, this little kitten, who is probably three or four months old, looks like our departed Wally.  No telling the sex, but I almost had it eating at the bowl.

Because mom is tame (I didn’t try picking her up, it’s obvious she’s been on her own for a while), and was most likely dumped, I know she’ll tame up again and hopefully, the kitten will, too.  I’m going to try to get the kitten first, then the mama.

She ate two cans of Friskies last night, me petting her the entire time.

When Brian got home from Ranchita, I told him about her and said it would be a shame to get her fixed and then put her back out.  He said “you don’t have to”. 

Boy.

      Tuesday, February 12, 2008

catstuff
09:42 AM - 02/12/2008

The topic: It’s TUMMY TUESDAY #78!

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Kitties, kitties, everywhere, but not a tummy in sight.  Seems to be the mantra every couple of weeks and when I’m pressed for time, I just don’t put up a picture.

This past week I snapped a couple of bad belly shots, but last night, Richie came through for us.


click for a larger pic

Good kitty, Richie!  You’ve saved the Tummy TuesDAY again!

*lol*

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If you’ve got a Tummy Tuesday blog entry, feel free to post the link in the comment section or trackback to this entry. And if you put a link back to this page, then more kitties will get to show off their tummies!

 

      Wednesday, February 13, 2008

otherstuff
07:54 AM - 02/13/2008

The topic: I’m a wooter

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I woot. I don't recall mentioning woot before, but it's a site I check every morning when I first log on. http://www.woot.com and http://sellout.woot.com are two that I like. They've got a wine woot and a shirt woot, too.

This morning, http://sellout.woot.com has a no name (not that I've ever heard of, anyway) premium high gloss heavy inkjet photo paper, two twenty-five packs for $4.99. That's pretty darned cheap. The most you can order is three, so I'm getting three of the two packs, or a hundred and fifty sheets for $14.97 plus $5.00 shipping.

Just thought I'd share the joy.

catstuff
08:18 AM - 02/13/2008

The topic: The outfronts

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No sign of the kitten or Gilly last night. Not that that means anything bad has happened.  I don’t believe we’re the only place feeding at this point.  Brian saw Gilligan yesterday morning (Brian was leaving the house early and was up long before I and he fed Gilly and KittyMeeze).

The cat I assume to be female and a mama hasn’t let me touch her since Sunday night.  She’s been by every night, but won’t get close to the food if I’m sitting there.  She must have been mighty hungry Sunday.

This morning, a little after seven, it was light out and the cats who were sitting on the patio and on the lawn were watching the same area of the fence.  Curious, I went to see what it was and Jackson was chasing something that was on the fence.  It was the pretty cat of the past few nights.  Since we’ve never gotten Jackie fixed (I have scars on my arms from him, I will not grab him ever again), I can only assume he smelled a girl in heat.

I wonder if she was trying to get into the yard. She does that, she’s toast.  *lol*  Well, not toast, but she’ll be in our own little verson of the roach motel.  The next time she leaves the premises, it will be in a carrier headed for the vet to get spayed.

Keep your fingers crossed the little guy shows up again.

tales from the parkside
08:25 AM - 02/13/2008

The topic: Dentist today!

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Today, mom will be fitted for her new dentures.

Yesterday, I went to both of her banks to get official Power of Attorney.  There was no problem at Washington Mutual, but the rat bastards at Union Bank of California, said I needed their form notarized, the official one I already had wouldn’t do.  I was looking into this to find out exactly how much money mom has in her accounts so I know which to write checks on (her rent, cable, telephone and the upcoming ones for a medical alert system and to pay someone to stay with her).  On her UBOC account, the retirement check is a direct deposit, one hundred dollars goes into her checking account, the rest into savings.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to be needing to draw money out of the savings to help pay some of the upcoming bills. 

Well, I did sign her up for online banking, the info should be in her mailbox this week and I can hopefully transfer funds that way.  She can still sign the checks.

She walked better yesterday, didn’t need to stop so many times to catch her breath.  I was told the day before she got angry with the workers there.  Because one of the RNs made her get out of bed and walk down the hallway.  I was glad to hear this, really.  Something that concerned me was the fact that she seemed a little phlegmy, so I asked her doctor, who just happened to be at the station desk, if he could look at her.

She was okay, he felt that maybe she had allergies, because her lungs were clear and her glands were fine.  He talked about her progress, how well she was doing.  This just pleased mom to no end.  She put both of her arms up in victory and had both thumbs up at the same time.  It was really cute. He said she was all over the place, not needing any help.

I did ask him about a stronger appetite stimulant for her and he shook his head.  He said they’re out there, but any of the side effects would be major bad for mom and we’re not taking any chances.  And we talked about the pain in her back, he said “no pain killers or muscle relaxers” and mentioned that the doctor who prescribed them for mom originally didn’t seem to take into consideration she was dealing with a senior and not an 18 year old. (I’m going to keep that comment in mind for possible future use. I’m good at letter writing.)

He said that she would probably do well in assisted care, she’s in too good of shape for board and care.  I told him what we wanted to do, to get someone to stay with her for four hours a day, probably three days a week (every day for two weeks to begin with) and also have one of the available medical alert systems.  I really think her mind will get better in her home environment. And she’s walking as good (if not better) at the facility as she was at home.  He said she should do okay as long as she didn’t go back to her old ways (not eating and drinking).

She was disappointed when I was leaving, she asked would I come back for her.  I just looked at her and told her “no, you don’t go home today” and I showed her on the calendar when she did get to go home.  I put a little kitty sticker on it and wrote “HOME!” on that day.  So, she has something to look forward to.

She is remembering more.  She remembers that she has a dentist visit.  She’s starting to care about how she looks. “Those shoes are filthy.”  “Do I have something to wear to the dentist?” Things along that line. I asked her about her reading and she said “I love to read, but it’s hard here, there are too many distractions.”  A complete thought that made absolute sense. And she’s doing more and more of this every day. 

Today, after her dentist visit, since it’s only a fitting and her mouth shouldn’t hurt, I asked if she’d like to grab a cheeseburger and fries on the way back to the facility.  She thought about it and said okay, since her mouth wouldn’t be hurting (and I hadn’t mentioned that at all, just another sign that her thought processing is starting to work properly in some areas).  She said “we can have a picnic”.  I’d have to find a flat outdoor place for this and I couldn’t think of one offhand, so we may just end up back at her room.

The past week, when I leave, she’s said “let me walk you to the door” a couple of times.  She gets out of bed and walks with me to the door of the room and says goodbye.  Yesterday, I had to wait for wheelchairs and the like to be moved, so I turned around and watched her walking away.  She was talking to the woman in the other bed.  She said something about me then I heard her say “I don’t know what I’d do without her”.  How sweet that was to hear.

She still loves getting the cards.  Her focus is getting much better.  If you want to send her one and I haven’t sent you her address yet (I know there are a few of you), go ahead and leave a comment and I’ll get the information out to you today when I get home.

tales from the parkside
03:15 PM - 02/13/2008

The topic: I’m back

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and tomorrow, I’m taking a day off.

This morning went pretty smoothly.  Yeah, right.  They never wrote it down last week when I told them mom had a dentist appointment this morning. She was in bed, covered up when I got there. Still in yesterday’s clothes.

I said “mom, get up, you have to change, you’re going to the dentist!”  While she was changing, I found a half of her breakfast wrapped up in two Kleenex tissues.  I don’t imagine she was saving it for later.  She was hiding it.  She’s still playing games when it comes to food.

Anyway, we made it to the dentist on time. We were getting along pretty well.  We weren’t at the dentist long and on the way back to the facility, I picked up a burger for her at Del Taco and I got a burrito.  And I got us large drinks.  We got back to the facility (she didn’t understand why I didn’t take her home) and got her back into her room and back into her bed.  She told me I could go, she’d eat her meal later.  Which meant she wasn’t going to eat it at all.

I told her to eat it now, not later, we didn’t get the food to be eaten later. She said she’d put it in the microwave later.  “Mom, you don’t have a microwave.”

So, she split the burger into two pieces and took a bite. Then she wiped her mouth.  She’s good at this.  She set the napkin down and took another bite.  The napkin had opened.  The bite she’d taken was in it.  She spit out the food.  I didn’t say anything, then she told me she was done.  I said “you’re not eating anymore?”  She said no, she was not.  I took the food, and put it in the trash. I mentioned the piece of burger in the napkin.  She denied it. I showed it to her. I asked her “how stupid do you think I am?”  I went and got one of the guys who brings in the food and told him that she wasn’t eating, could he get her the regular meal she was supposed to have had?  Since there was no note to not bring the meal, they did have one for her.  And I asked him if he would take care of it.  He said “sure”.  He found her meal and brought it in.  She looked at me in surprise.  I told her you didn’t want what I bought for you, you have to eat.  So, Tommy is going to make sure you eat.  I told her I wouldn’t be there tomorrow, I was taking the day off and I’d see her Friday.  And I left.

But I forgot her walker and I had to go back.  Tommy had her bed in an upright position, she had her towel/bib on her lap and he was feeding her, she wasn’t feeding herself.  She said “when can I go home?” and he said “when you eat”.

It’s very frustrating for me, because I want her to get better.  But unless the new dentures come with a miracle, I can’t see it happening.  I’m afraid she’s going to just starve to death. And this is hard for me.  I will not be one of those who has her force fed.  I won’t do it.  What kind of a miserable ass life would that be?  I don’t think she’ll eat wherever she is.  At an assisted care place, at a board and care, in the hospital, if eating is such a frikking chore for her, then maybe it would be best to let nature take it’s course.

Take her home, drop her off, make sure she’s got microwavable food, lots of water, then say goodbye.  Call her every morning, she can lie to me and tell me she’s good, she’s eating and I can pretend that I believe her.  Then one day, she just won’t answer the phone because she’ll have finally done what she’s been trying to do for the past year. She’ll have starved to death.

At least she’ll be in a place that’s been a comfort to her these past twenty years.

I’m just so frustrated right now.  Put her in a home, she’ll be miserable and she won’t eat.  Take her home, she’ll be happy and she won’t eat.  Both with the same results, one just a little quicker.

*sigh*

I hate this. Because I know I can’t make her want to live. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do or what I say, I can’t make her want to live. And I don’t want to watch as she kills herself.

 

      Thursday, February 14, 2008

tales from the parkside
11:36 AM - 02/14/2008

The topic: Sleep always helps to view things more clearly.

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Well, the tossing and turning about what to do and making a decision, then sleeping on it always helps.

I think what we’ll do is sell her car (there’s no way she’ll be driving again, she can hardly walk, it’s scary to think about her reaction time behind the wheel of a vehicle when other people could get hurt).  Use the money from that to put her in AL (assisted living) from the SNF (skilled nursing facility).  I have POA (power of attorney) and one of her banks accepted it so I can access the account, but the other bank, where she has her savings, has their own POA form, which we need to get filled out and notarized before I can access those funds.  I’m going to be needing to transfer money from her savings (at one bank) to her checking (at the other bank) to cover the upcoming expenses.  Her stay at the SNF was close to ten thousand dollars for two months. Good thing she saved all that money. It sure takes a load off of us. Now we just have to make it accessible.

Since the housing market is in the dumper, it will take a while to sell her mobile home, which needs to be cleaned up anyway.

So, as I said, I’m thinking to move her directly into AL from the SNF.  Being in AL, I won’t feel the need to check on her every day, I’ll have more time to do the things I need to get done.  And being away from the SNF, with all the ambient noise, in a more quiet environment, but with other people around, the same people, she might get more comfortable and do better in recovery.

And, who knows, she might flourish in this environment and love it there.  Or, she might recuperate enough to go back on her own (one of the doctors told me that it could take up to six months for her to get better, if she does get better, I wonder how she’d be doing in three or four since she’s made so much progress in less than two). 

While I’d love to see her go home, it would definitely be easier for me to have her in AL.  The cost of AL vs home isn’t that much different, factoring in having someone come in to check on her, adding a life alert system, you know, that kind of thing.  I won’t be worried about her eating, though, I won’t worry about her not taking her meds, I won’t be worried that she’s drinking again (at this point, the smoking really doesn’t bother me, as long as she’s not drinking and in danger of passing out and burning down the place).

And if she does well enough in AL to be able to move home, well, that’s great. And it would be a lot easier to take her from AL to home, than let her be at home, then take her to AL.  That would be really hard.

catstuff
11:46 AM - 02/14/2008

The topic: And on a more upbeat note

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I saw both the mama and the kitten last night.  Petted mama for a while, as she ate (until Little Shit hit the screen on the window and scared them both off; note to self: close window before sitting outside to pet the kitties), she didn’t seem to mind.  And the kitten actually ate out of the bowl that was sitting my my foot.  If I wiggled my toes, it ran off, but came right back.

Also saw Gilligan this morning.  So, all is good on the kitty front.

The plan is to nab the kitten first, then go after the mom.  Because if she’s gone first, who knows what the kitten will do.

catstuff
08:03 PM - 02/14/2008

The topic: Why do they do this?

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For a while now, some cat (or cats) is (or are) peeing on the water bowl on the counter.  Tonight, Phoebe jumped up on the counter and ran over to the corner and squatted.  I chased her away before she could do anything.

She headed for the water bowl and squatted next to that.  I chased her off.

Why would they pee on their water? confused

      Friday, February 15, 2008

otherstuff
07:17 AM - 02/15/2008

The topic: McAfee’s SiteAdvisor sucks

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I found out last night that catcam.us has a ding against it for generating spam email.

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/catcam.us

When you read the “automated web safety” testing results, it says by filling out the mail forms on my site, that spam email was generated.  Uh, sorry, but there are no “mail forms” on catcam.us.  There’s a guestbook and a reciprocal link form, that’s it.

And I can’t even get my site verified to rebut this ridiculous charge because their verification process isn’t working properly.  I sent them an email last night, but haven’t heard anything back yet.  I left a comment about the site, but still.  It would sure be nice to have a bunch more comments (hint hint).

But I do know that at least one person won’t go into the site because of the McAfee warning.

Rat bastards.

catstuff
11:20 AM - 02/15/2008

The topic: Bobby

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I don’t like how thin he is. He’s been thin since he moved in and I thought maybe it was because he didn’t have the best diet at mom’s.  But he’s not putting on weight here and although I see him nibbling at the feeder on occasion, he’s not a big eater, not like I’d expect a healthy cat to be. 

This morning, I got two bowls of Friskies dished up for the out fronts and Bobby was in the kitchen crying while they were in the microwave getting heated.  I thought I’d see how Bobby reacted.  To one, he wasn’t interested, in the other, he was.   But he lapped at the food, he didn’t bite at it.  It took him a while, but he finished over half of one of the bowls.  I’m wondering if there’s not something going on with his teeth.  I did notice some tartar on one of them when I peeked in.

So, I made an appointment for him Monday afternoon.

Cross your fingers all is alright with him.

      Sunday, February 17, 2008

catstuff
10:55 AM - 02/17/2008

The topic: lolcats

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No longer available

      Tuesday, February 19, 2008

catstuff
09:38 AM - 02/19/2008

The topic: It’s TUMMY TUESDAY #79!

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click for a larger pic


Today’s tummy belongs to one of the new kids (but one of the older kitties) Miss Elizabeth.  She’s finally starting to walk around the house, in search of who knows what, and one of her favorite evening areas is on Brian’s belly. 

But other cats dare not get too close to her, she has a definite sense of boundaries and all who would breach her lines are quickly hissed and swatted away.

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If you’ve got a Tummy Tuesday blog entry, feel free to post the link in the comment section or trackback to this entry. And if you put a link back to this page, then more kitties will get to show off their tummies!

 

otherstuff
10:55 AM - 02/19/2008

The topic: McAfee’s SiteAdvisor still sucks

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They never responded to my two emails and I still am unable to complete the verification process to rebut their report of spam from catcam.us.  McAfee users get a big red button with an X on it, proclaiming catcam.us a dangerous site.

Rat bastards.

I sent them another email.  Bet they still don’t respond.

      Wednesday, February 20, 2008

tales from the parkside
10:10 PM - 02/20/2008

The topic: I’m numb

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taken Monday 2-18-2008

About an hour ago, the phone call came in.  My mother passed away sometime between 7 and 8 tonight. We went down to the care facility and yep.  She’s gone, it wasn’t a bad dream.

I took her in for her dentist appointment this morning. She wasn’t doing well walking, was weak.  We had the “if you’d eat, you’d feel better” conversation. At the dentist’s office, she told me “don’t start with the lecture”.  The dentist remarked on how, as we get older, the child, who once got the lectures, now lectures the parent.  Mom was very uncomfortable there today.

This is what I posted elsewhere this afternoon:

Mom had been doing better, but we realized that she's not ready to go home, most likely never will be.

She's still hiding food or just not eating. She's not walking without me around and our walks have gotten shorter because "I can't do it!"

She's still playing me. According to the people who work there, who see her almost every day, when I'm not around, she doesn't have the problems she has when I'm around. Nice, huh? So, what do you do? But all of that doesn't change the fact that she's not eating. I'm not there when they feed her because I found it extremely aggravating to watch her play with her food as if she was five years old, not 71 years older than that. And I know I can't control that. You know the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Same thing with my mom.

We'd planned on getting her into an assisted living facility next month. We found a great one last night, nice big room, private bath, even has a sliding door that opens onto a patio and lawn area (with tables and chairs). Plenty of space for her sofa and her bed in the room (think studio apartment). Ground floor by the dining room. There are 44 rooms there. Tenants can come and go as they please. Two story, there's a smoker's balcony upstairs. We were pretty impressed with it. They said they'd visit mom this afternoon to see if she'd work out there.

This morning, I go in to pick her up for her dental appointment (stupid dentures take forever and a million and one visits) and she wasn't ready when I got there.

.We got her dressed and the jeans I just got her last week, that were a little loose around her middle, were too tight. Her belly is huge (think the Biafra ads from so long ago, of the little kids, skin and bone arms with big bellies). But how could it have gotten this big in this short amount of time, especially since she's not eating? I was frustrated when she starts doing the "I can't do it" when we're walking to the lobby so I can bring the car around.

We finally get her in, but today, she's helpless. She's shaking, she's breathing hard. Now, this may sound heartless, but I know my mother. She works herself into a tizzy. She can talk herself into (and out of) anything. You know when you keep saying 'this or that makes me sick'? Well, if you say it enough, your body starts to believe it. And this is what's happening with my mother. I wasn't very sympathetic at this point.

We made it to the dentist and she just got worse. Got all of the stuff done, made the appointment for next week's fitting (while I was waiting for the date, mom calls me out to the waiting room...'don't make the appointment, I just want to die'...)

We get back into the car, she has to poop. "How long until we go back to the facility?" This is encouraging. All the other visits, she thought I was taking her back to her mobile home. First time she recognized she was going someplace else. We get back, get her to the room. She's shaking like a leaf, can hardly stand up (even with the walker). She's gasping for breath. Scared the employees.

I said "she has to poop". The nurse told one of the other women "I need you to help us" and we all got mom on the toilet. Five minutes later, nothing happened and she went to bed, still shaking and gasping. They started her on oxygen and took a blood gas and blood pressure. Blood pressure and gas were okay. She was hyperventilating. She done a fine job of working herself into a tizzy. With the oxygen, she started to calm down. Heather, the nurse, gave her some Tylenol for her leg pain. Mom said "can I have something for the pain in my legs?" You just got some Tylenol, it takes a while to work.

Meanwhile, the bloated belly has become a concern to Heather and she tried to find out the last time mom had a BM. Nobody knew, but it hasn't been within the past couple of days. So, mom was given a suppository. She actually yelled for me when I was out of sight. I had Tikky call the AL place because I didn't have their phone number with me, to cancel this afternoon's appointment. I called some other places when I got home, but was told that my mom most likely needed a place with a full time nurse available. Because of mom's not eating. Because, you know, mom might need intravenous feeding or tube feeding.

Yeah, right. Mom already said she wants nothing of the sort. I ended up calling the woman who works where mom is now, who has her own place and will have a room available the first of March. Mom would have a private room, a shared bath. Not a lot of people there. I think mom would do better in a quiet environment. And I think she might do a lot lot better without me around, checking on her.

Somewhere in her brain, I think she's doing this because she wants me around. Maybe if I know she's being taken care of and I don't come around so often, she can get better. It's a horrible thing to think, but I think because of me, she's not getting better. Think of how she is when I'm not around. She's better. Tommy, one of the male attendants, who's worked around the elderly for years, told me flat out today "she's trying to make you feel guilty and she's succeeding; don't let her do that to you, she'll be okay."

So, DH and I are going to check out this other place tomorrow and I'll start making arrangements for her to have cable and a telephone. And have to see about furniture. The nice thing is it isn't really far away, but it's far enough that I won't be feeling the need to see her everyday. And if she has her own phone, I can call her, which has always been best for us. I hate this.

I guess mom was right.  This past week, I found out she hadn’t been eating anything.  It was her way of walking out into the desert to die.

We had made amends this past few months.  These past few days, she had been sleeping more.  I mentioned this to Brian the other day. Yesterday, I sat by her and watched as she closed her eyes.  She opened them and said “what about….”  I don’t remember what, but I told her she didn’t have to worry anymore, that was my job. For her to just relax.   She said something else, then said “you’re the other half of my brain.”  Then she added “the half that works”.

Goodbye, Mom. You win this round.  But I’ll see you again someday and you can count on that.  Take care of all those kitties up there and give them all a big hug from me.  And give my love to dad.

Godspeed, Violet Mary Bolger James.

I loved you very much, old woman. You’re the reason I am who I am today.  I love you, always, and I’ll miss you, very, very much.

      Thursday, February 21, 2008

tales from the parkside
06:50 PM - 02/21/2008

The topic: You know where I said

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‘don’t make the appointment, I just want to die’ in the entry about my mom’s death?

Let me get a little more into detail, because it’s really interesting.

She was in the waiting room while I was in the office, making the appointment for next week.  She called me over to her.   “Dianne!  Dianne!” she said.  “Come here, I have something I need to tell you.”

I went over to her and she said “don’t make the appointment.  I won’t be here.”  I said “yes, you will, you’ve paid for these dentures, you’re going to get them”.  She said “cancel the appointment, I won’t make it”. She was adamant. 

Brian reminded me of this last night.  Because I’d called him when we got back to the facility and told him what had transpired and what she had said and what she was doing.

On the way, she was breathing heavily.  I asked her why.  She said she was scared.  I asked her scared of what?  My driving?  The dentist?  She said “I don’t know, I’m just scared”.   I’d never seen her like this.

On the way back, she looked at me and asked “where’s Dianne?”  I replied “Dianne who?”  She said “oh, I’m sorry”.  Was she in another place, a place where I didn’t exist (yet)?  Was this a precursor to the white light?

She knew.  She knew yesterday morning that she was at the end of this journey.

This just amazes me.

I cancelled the appointment this morning.

      Sunday, February 24, 2008

otherstuff
07:39 AM - 02/24/2008

The topic: SiteAdvisor

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Finally got it right.  There is now a green button with a checkmark and where the problem was before, with spam email after filling out a form, there’s now a “no mailforms on this site” message.

I still maintain they are rat bastards (I love saying that).

tales from the parkside
07:47 AM - 02/24/2008

The topic: Coming to grips

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I’m sure that most people who lose someone close feel some sort of guilt over the loss.

I know I have.  But after thinking deeply about it and talking to others, I’ve found that I was looking at it the wrong way.  This isn’t about me, it isn’t about my life.  It’s about hers.

Ever since she broke her tailbone slipping off of a ladder a few years ago, she’s had pretty bad lower back pain.  For some reason, the doctors never gave her anything for this and she’d never take Tylenol (she used to tell me she was already like a walking pill bottle, she wouldn’t take anything else (unless prescribed)).  She wouldn’t take calcium to help with her bone health.  She wouldn’t take the yummy calcium chews. She always felt she knew better what she needed than anyone else (except, of course, a medical doctor).

She had lived the past few years with bad pain in her back, which made it very hard for her to get around.  She tried, God bless her, but it just got worse.  The osteoarthritis, the osteoporosis, the broken tailbone, it all took a toll on her aging body.

Then there was the emotional pain she was feeling.  She had a bad childhood, one that left lasting scars on her emotional heart.   She didn’t speak of it, so I don’t really know for sure, but she had told one of her friends that all of her friends had died.  Only one that I know of had died, but the others moved away and she didn’t speak to them often.  She was deeply depressed.

After dad died and she got the bills paid off, her goal was to save $100,000.00.  To have that much in the bank when she died.  She hit that goal last year.  I remember her bringing over her paperwork and having me add up how much she had saved.  She was pleased.  She was “done”, as she put it. This didn’t make sense at the time, but now, it does.

On Wednesday, before I left her, she complained of the leg pain and I rubbed her calves and her thighs.  She liked that. She knew that I loved her. And I knew, finally, how very much she cared for me.

I’ll probably never know why she pushed me away from her, all through our lives together, maybe because she didn’t know how to show love.  At the end, she realized that she was the reason I didn’t come around to visit. She’d say hurtful things and the only way I knew to deal with it, was to just not be around it.  During her last weeks, she’d say something, she’d see the look on my face and she’d get upset with herself.  “Damn, I did it again, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I do that, it just comes out, then I see your face and it’s too late.”  

I wished we’d had a better relationship, but there’s nothing can change that now.  At the end, we each knew how much and how deeply the other cared.

She was ready to move on, to end the journey in this life and move on to the next. 

I’ll miss her, but she’s out of pain now.  

I hope she finds the peace in the afterlife that she never had while she was alive. She deserves it.

otherstuff
06:29 PM - 02/24/2008

The topic: *lol*

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No longer available

tales from the parkside
06:51 PM - 02/24/2008

The topic: Undernutrition

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Did I mention mom's temperature Wednesday was 94°?

I just found this link: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec12/ch153/ch153a.html

I think it's some sort of miracle she lived this long.

      Tuesday, February 26, 2008

catstuff
09:18 AM - 02/26/2008

The topic: It’s TUMMY TUESDAY #80!

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Today we have a Benny belly!


click for a larger pic

Hey, if you’re interested, we still have some of Benny Da Kat’s Finest Kind catnip left to sell.  Just head on over to the store and pick you up some. 

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If you’ve got a Tummy Tuesday blog entry, feel free to post the link in the comment section or trackback to this entry. And if you put a link back to this page, then more kitties will get to show off their tummies!

!

catstuff
04:32 PM - 02/26/2008

The topic: Ouch!

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Flea control can be painful!

So, I’ve dosed about twenty cats with Advantage, find Ron Howard.  Get half a syringe of the stuff on the back of his neck, he bucks up, hits my chin and I bite my tongue enough for it to bleed. 

Follow him around the yard with the syringe in hand, finally was able to squirt the remainder on the back of his neck.  He took off like a bat out of hell.

My tongue still hurts. 

      Wednesday, February 27, 2008

otherstuff
12:22 PM - 02/27/2008

The topic: McAfee SiteAdvisor?

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It still sucks.  In case you were wondering.

Although I was able to verify that I was the site owner and I was able to leave a comment.

But they still suck.

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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