Thursday, April 8, 2010

Woulda - Coulda - Shoulda, 'Duh' Moments...

Well, I did not write a blog on Easter like I wanted to, it was the 4 year 'anniversary' of becoming mom's fulltime caregiver.  I think because it stirred up too many emotions to write about it, at least not on that day.  I did however do some thought wandering back to those first days, weeks, and months a sort of retrospective, woulda - coulda - shoulda, type of thinking.  Looking at who I was, who mom was and how this new life was coming together for us.

What I discovered was that I had been seriously ignorant of what was taking place in mom, and had been taking place, long before we moved in here.  Not only that, I can see how I was in complete denial as well. 

I look back now and say 'Duh', what was I thinking!  Why didn't I see that, why didn't I do that and so on.  But I didn't know.  I didn't know that for several years, mom had been on the decline.  I chalked it up to senility, that is normal, comes with aging yadayada.  Normal changes occuring as she got older.  No...was much more then that.  But who told me?  No one.  So, accept what to me was just the normal affects of her getting older and deal with them as best I could.

I wrote a blog called Book Learning, because I did have to buy a few books on caregiving to find out what the heck was going on and what else to expect.  They did give me some basic info, but most everything else I have learned by doing, trial and error, me guinea pig/she guinea pig.. kind of thing!

I can see that it was easier even safer for me to see the changes mom was going through and say, "Oh, it is just senility, old age, you know!"  Instead of really take a look at these things and do some research.  If I had, I would have found she was in the early stages of dementia and advancing.  But, that was just something I wasn't willing to see or admit was happening.  Now, I know better, hindsight is always the same isn't it?

But you know, this is just another area that I have learned from, the what not to do/what to do, which I can share with someone else who may be starting out like I did.  I don't want anymore 'duh' moments at this point.  I am very observant of mom and what she does, or doesn't do, I know the stages of dementia and that she is in the final stage, or the last stage of her life.  I know what to do for her as long as I can do it, and when I can't do those things anymore for her, I know what to do at that time as well. 

Oh, and for all my caregiving friends out there, I am not beating myself up for what I didn't do or didn't know.  It was good to take a look back there and see those things. I can't change any of that, but I can write about it to help others.


  1. Congratulations on your four year anniversary as a care giver! We both know that this is not an easy task. I think you are amazing. You have inspired me through your writing. I look forward to sharing more of your posts. God bless you.

  2. When I first started caring for Mom, there were so many OBVIOUS things that could be improved upon (diet, offering her activities, kicking out the nagging sister), that I kept expecting her to kick back in and get a life FOR HERSELF again.

    There were many notches of improvement, specifically Zoloft (and coincidentally getting a guinea pig!); Zoloft got her spirit back in the game, so at least what I did for her had a positive effect. Before that, for a whole year, it was like lighting my matches against a wet wick.

    So I just passed my anniversary, 8 full years of solo caregiving. If I had it to do over, I would have put Mom in a "senior boot camp for the lost and run down and depressed." I think if there were a total intervention blitzkreig in the beginning, Mom would have improved dramatically.

    For instance, knowing what I know now, i would have pulled her off almost ALL Rx's for 2-4 week trial. Darned if Ditropan bladder control medicine caused a huge amount of her dementia...all those years. She was later put on Zocor, and THAT caused dementia symptoms. Other drugs that were supposed to help but backfired included Seroquel and Namenda. Wonder if I hadn't questioned the side effects? They may have increased the dosage, perhaps.

    Oh well, it is a lot of trial and error, isn't it.

  3. Thank you Vicky! I so enjoy reading about your mom, she and you are awesome!

    CJ, a few years ago, the Dr. put mom on Aracept (sp), but the side effects of it made caring for her more difficult, she was 'drugged'. Being in her 90's, it really didn't make sense to have her on that med, so I took her off it after one day! Nothing else since, except her regular meds for bp, slow her heart rate, and thin her blood, so she takes 4 different meds, not bad for a 96 year old! She is still healthy, inspite of all the other things she has going on mentally and physically.

    yeah trial and error it has been here, in just about every area of this journey!