Sunday, March 11, 2012

Really random reflections

This is me down by the ocean, half a block from where I live. That's the marina in the wee town of Sidney where I live, in the background. The pathway down to the water is called Memory Lane...
... and this is what it looks like when you get down to the end of the lane. Nice steps down to a big rock. Not so easy to climb down the rocks anymore, but there are many little seaside spots where one can walk on the beach nearby. I should do more trips to the water, as I do love it. My sister (who is here maybe half-time helping me with mom) is really good at getting out to our wee slivers of nature. An inspiration for me..
Now for a picture of my niece who was here to visit her G'ma recently. She and I weant out the day she got here, and it was nice to share a beer in a pub :-)
The big event around here has been mom's birthday... she turned 90 in February! She seems surprised, somehow... and is also really rolling with the punches. She figures now that she is 90 she can do or have pretty well whatever she wants. lol. Wasn't sure what that meant. But I did ask her if she wanted to go skydiving or something... and I got a resounding "NO!!", so I think we're good.
Mom's birthday from my sister was her presence! We laughed about that one... but sissy had timed her arrival to be on the big day, and it was grand.
Mom has been very busy lately, participating in two wonderful day programs each week: Mount Newton Centre (where she gets a bath in a huge fancy tub with jets!) and the Vet's Health Centre at the Lodge at Broadmead the Vet's Health Centre at the Lodge at Broadmead - where she found this book when we went for our preview visit. For a lady who loves books and loves birds, this was a real wow experience!
It's nice to see mom busy, and with so much going on, that she can't remember everything she's done to tell me. These programs started for her in January and February, and her world is so much better now. She is getting great socialization, which she revels in, and exercises, and live music, and time with her contemporaries - along with great care.
I can tell you that it was a l-o-n-g wait wait for these health care services for seniors to kick in. We got help right away after mom's fall last summer in terms of home health care workers, and respite breaks (at Piercy Respite Hotel), but the waits for the other services were sooooo long. August to January is long time to wait if you are elderly... it felt like an eternity to her. Well, it's all good now, she is in.
It was a long haul for me too. Now that she is participating in these programs, I get small stretches of respite a few days a week - which is really helping. I am at my best for her when I am grounded and rested.... I know this. People tell you to take care of yourself. Got it. But it's hard to do when you are sinking and can barely get your head above water. That's what it felt like at times last fall. I do have good support - through the Family Caregivers Support Network, our VIHA Case Worker and Vetrans Affairs - but it's still a process to find balance.
In short, there were some periods last fall that really sucked. Big time. Survived though. Now on the other side. But it does scare you a little: figuring not only that you have a breaking point, but finding out exactly what it is - and what it feels like. Sheesh. Holy shit. Overwhelming. Sinking. All that.... Now that I am on the other side I am grateful, but I am very aware and careful not to go back there again.
So, of course it was hard for mom too: she not only had the long wait for extra services, but I know I wasn't the best I could be for her when I was depressed. And that has to have impacted her. As I learned more through some courses I took on caregiving, and dementia, there are ways to 'protect' her from that, and I do that now. Not to say it was really bad for her, it wasn't, but she'd feel it if I wasn't quite as chipper as usual, or was too tired to take her out for a drive, that kind of thing, mostly. yada yada yada... I think I'll stop trying to explain all that.
Anyways, spring is virtually here!!!
With some good respite, and lots of help from my sister, I'm feeling a lot more human these days.
Now for some random reflections:
  • I am reading again. Can't believe I stopped, guess I didn't have the attention span. Plus I have a crackberry, which diverts one...
  • Currently reading The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato - set in Florence, in Botticelli's time - very good, though so far a lot of people have been murdered (!)
  • Also reading The Stone Boudoir by Theresa Maggio - non-fiction travel writing set in Sicily - I'm loving how it is written... and I seem to be have Sicily on the mind lately... would love to visit
  • So... I've been thinking more about future travel.... Not sure where that will be, but it's got me pretty interested in a whole range of things right now, including: Sicily, Crete, Budapest, Croatia, Istanbul... and swooning for some great art museums right here in North America....
  • Let's see, what else...
  • They renovated a cute wee house behind mom's here into a monstrosity that I am sure will block the sun at some point of the year; she formerly had a very private backyard... now there is a wall of stucco beyond and above her trees; kinda sad, and I'm sure it will reduce the property value... Yuk! But rolling with the punches there too, as they are neighbors mom has had a good relationship with, and there's no sense crying over split milk...
  • I spill milk quite often, when feeding the cat, but so far, I haven't cried. Neither has he. hee hee!
  • I splurged and got cable and a TV in my bedroom here... can't believe it took me this long... it's very nice to have, but I am equally pleased that I seem to have gotten over any past tv addiction, as I don't seem all that interested...
  • I wish my iTouch's battery could go longer than an hour without melting down
  • Not really doing my art these days. Still doodling, most days, but the studio collects dust and I am no longer trying to sell stuff. May do so again, but all that fell off the radar when the caregiving amped up this fall.... I am happy to let that be for now, but I might get the Etsy thing going again. Not going to sweat that tho...
  • I have pretty well decided that when the next phase of my life comes around, I'll settle in Victoria, rather than returning to Vancouver...
  • The sun is shining, the blossoms are out, it snowed for 5 minutes this morning, and there is opera playing...
  • And with that, I'll finish up this batch of reflections.
Hoping I might update more often, but we'll see. Happy spring!

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