Mom & Me One Archive: 2002-2003
The definitive, eccentric journal of an unlikely caregiver.
As of 1/18/04 this journal continues at The Mom & Me Journals dot Net.

7 minute Audio Introduction to The Mom & Me Journals

My purpose in establishing and maintaining this journal
is to undermine the isolation of the caregiving experience
by offering all, especially our loved ones, a window into our lives.
As I post to this journal I think of our loved ones and their families,
how busy and involved we all are, and that,
if and when they come to this site they can be assured
that they will miss nothing in our lives and will, thereby, recognize us
and relax easily into our arms and our routines
when we are again face to face.

Legend of Journal Abbreviations
 APF = A Prescott Friend (generic) 
 DU = Dead Uncle 
 LTF = Long Time Friend a.k.a: 
   MFASRF = My Fucking Anal San Rafael Friend 
 MA = Mom's Accountant 
 MCF = My Chandler Friend(s) 
 MCS = My Colorado Sister 
 MDL = My Dead Lover 
 MFLNF = My Former Lover Now Friend 
 MLDL = My Long Distance Lover 
 MFA = Mom's Financial Advisor 
 MFS = My Florida Sister 
 MPBIL = My Phoenix Brother-in-Law 
 MPF = My Phoenix Friend (generic) 
 MPNC = My Phoenix NieCe 
 MPNP = My Phoenix NePhew 
 MPS = My Phoenix Sister 
 MS = Mom's Sister 
 MTNDN = My Treasured Next Door Neighor 
 OCC = Our Construction Company 
Thursday, April 29, 2010
As of May 1, 2010...
...Blogger will no longer allow FTP publishing. Updates to this blog, which will probably be few to none, since this section of The Mom & Me Journals dot Net is, essentially, closed by time, can be found at This section of the journal will also remain at in it's domain directory, so accessing links should not present a problem.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
If you've hung in here with me...
...or have stumbled upon this site while searching you know that I've been, well, overwhelmed enough with the intensity of taking care of my mother through a recent back injury that I haven't been updating here, at all.
    Aside from having to quickly become more enveloped in my mother's life than I imagined I was gracefully capable of doing, I also ran into some technical problems with the software on this site that were driving me insane and decided, about the time of my mother's fall, to fix and redesign the site and look for another journaling site. I've found it. The address is here: The Mom & Me Journals dot Net. It is a continuation of this journal. Throughout the next few weeks this entire journal project will be restructured but will remain easy through which to negotiate. None of the material will be lost. I will be making much more frequent postings, probably lots shorter and much more stream of conscious and will be doing a lot of cleaning up around here.
    In the meantime suffice it to say that my mother is a challenge but is doing fine, relatively speaking. I'm not afraid that she is going to die in the night tonight, or any other night in the immediate future. She is much more mobile than she was the first few weeks after her initial fall. Her healing remains very, very slow and I'm still functioning as parts of her body. The present situation would be pretty weird to contemplate if it didn't seem so normal to me, now.
    I know I've mentioned to several people verbally although I don't know if I've mentioned it here, that I continue to be surprised, pleasantly but bordering on shock, nonetheless, at how well I'm handling this. I've always been afraid of something like this happening although I've imagined much worse: A major stroke, etc. If I'd been told ahead of time that this was coming I would have made the silent assumption that it would drive me crazy and I would fail the task(s and multi-tasking) set before me. So I'm glad I didn't know ahead of time. Thankfully, my attitude throughout has been stellar, much to my surprise, and this has been a big help.
    I have much more to report, but let me officially cross over to the continuation of this journal, back into regular updates as our journey continues. You'll notice above a prominent link to the continuation. That will remain permanent, as, I expect, will this post, since it will probably be the last made in this segment. This site will remain a history site will be the consolidation of all my history pages plus this serialization of this journal as an archive. You will notice in the next few weeks lots of shuffling of links and expanded link sections in order to cross-reference material. It will all be easy and all pages and sites now in existence will remain up and subject to updating and posting.
    Gotta go. See you around the corner.
Monday, November 17, 2003
What was the name of the place we used to live...
...Palmas del Sol?"
    Did you catch that? "...the place we used to live...". She asked this late this morning. Mesa is in the past for her now. This wrenches my heart a bit. I know both the quantity and the quality of emotional attachment she had toward that place. I also know how well she does here, how much she likes it, how easy it has been for her to divorce herself from the mobile home in Mesa.
    It's true that we have 100% more company up here and, as such, we see our people more often. The sun agrees with my mother and we have loads of it all winter. The colors, the view, the ambiance of our property all agree with her. The last four weeks have been very hard on her due to spraining her back but we're getting through that. I'm convinced, since it was due to my mother's too good generosity of nature that got her into this fix, that eventually something of a similar sort would have happened. Now I know not to do anything around her in which I really don't want her attempting to participate. Hard lesson to learn and initiate but worth it.
    I spoke with the acupuncturist earlier. I am very confident about the appointment we made with her for Wednesday morning at 1000. Mom is hanging in there. Her color looks good (better than yesterday; she attributes this to us having baked ham last night and this morning, one of her favorite foods) and her back is still "giving [her] fits".
    Sometimes, while sitting quietly, her creative memory will dump the file that tells her she is having back problems. She'll move suddenly or in a way her back currently deems unseemly and she'll cast me a look of surprise and say, "My back!" as though this is the first time it's done what she calls "grabbing".
    This has been going on long enough. The truth is, I was leaving whether I call the acupuncturist up to her because, at the moment her debilitation gives her very few choices including small things like whether or not to drink something, whether or not to eat, etc. Since her back will eventually improve and I can see some small improvement day to day I decided to let her call the shots on this one. She hasn't been completely against treatment. One of her favorite shows though, "Everwood", features a doctor who practices acupuncture. Since I have begun talking up treatment, the show has featured two episodes in which acupuncture is used. I think the sight of the needles took my mother aback. She is used to me talking about the "acupressure" techniques I use on the soles of her feet and what this stimulation does, but the needle/electronic stimulation surprised her. It took this last weekend of me watching her wince in pain when her back "grabbed" and me bursting into sobs for me to finally take her choice out of her hands and tell her that on Monday I was going to call and seek treatment.
    At this point, a brief history of how we came to seek out acupuncture is in order (dates exact, unless otherwise stated):
  1. October 25, 2003, 1330: Mom falls backward and sprains her back. She immediately rolls over, pulls herself to a sitting position on a low step, says she isn't hurt, then her back grabs as she leans forward.
  2. She insists "nothing is broken", although her only experience of broken bones is decades old and is a tail bone that wasn't detected for years and, when detected, was removed, also decades ago. She is, though, moving around, the wind was not knocked out of her, she is in obvious pain but "ambulatory" so, for better or worse, I accede to her wish not to go the ER.
  3. Monday morning, after a bad Sunday, I overrule her preference to stay out of the ER.
        "They won't do anything, just send me home with pain killers, and I don't want that."
        Which is exactly what they did. I couldn't lift her and she was so stiff and sore I wasn't sure she could move in any way she hadn't been moving over the last 36 hours. I called an ambulance, called her doctor in Mesa and we went to the ER. The stay was a little over 2 hours. They stimulated her back electronically and did a few things to her that caused her to vomit. She vomited a little fresh blood, their ministrations caused her exceeding discomfort, they did a poor job of cleaning her up, gave her a prescription for Vicodin and sent her home. With me. In great pain.
        It seems that the fresh blood was from the large amounts of ibuprofen I'd been feeding her over the weekend and that morning but the vomiting wasn't from that. However, I learned my lesson quickly. Despite the high occurrence of constipation on Vicodin and my mother's tricky-at-best bowels, I decided to give her the Vicodin. It caused extreme dopiness, which made it difficult to keep her moving as the physical therapist suggested, only barely dulled the pain, made it even more difficult to keep her hydrated, which was already more of a chore than usual and she did not feel good or look good on it. During the first week and a half of intense pain, though, I kept her on it, although judiciously.
  4. At this point our supply of Vicodin ran out and so did suppliers. I spent this week and a half finding out that it would be impossible for us to find appropriate, and appropriately timed, physician follow-up in this town, her Mesa doctor was unwilling to treat or prescribe over the phone, our only recourse for any kind of follow-up was the ER again or Urgent Care and we both knew exactly what would happen at either of these places. In the meantime I had secured her a "new patient" appointment with a highly recommended physician here, for, unfortunately, December 1st. Now we were stuck with Time and only Time as the healer and Mom's bowels were impacting.
  5. I administered an enema to Mom on November 5th. Although it sounds intolerable coupled with the pain of a sprained back, something told me that it would offer immediate relief. It did. It alleviated a lot of pressure, did not cause any more pain, and her spirits improved immensely.
  6. Time does heal but sometimes not quickly enough. A friend in Prescott recommended acupuncture about two weeks ago. I talked it up and Mom sounded game until she saw the episodes of "Everwood" in which acupuncture was used. Although she is not known to be afraid of needles it gave her cause to rethink the treatment.
  7. Two weeks hence, in utter frustration, I am now dictating the treatment.
    This afternoon, as I can, I'm going to begin updating this site and will be adding a second tier to it, the url to be published later today, probably. I'm going to slowly phase out using this auto-sitebuilder Earthlink provides and start hand crafting my pages and uploaded them via FTP. That should help keep my count straight. I've also found two new possibilities for blogging software, both of which I intend to try on the new site. I'll let you know when to switch over and provide a great big link to the continuing portion of this website. Parts of it may migrate back and forth from time to time but I will keep you updated here and on changes.
    It's good to be back.
Wow. 10/17/03 was my last post.
    Although I haven't checked (I should and I will after posting this), as I recall things were going well. The reason I wasn't posting was because the two of us were becoming quite active, almost social, in fact. Mom's health was doing well, she was getting out someplace with the aid of oxygen every day, we were beginning to "go out to eat" more, which is one of my mother's favorite social pastimes...
    Then, on October 25, 2003, at about 1330, Mom fell and sprained her back. It was a part of her character that most people would consider "good" that did her in. My mother is A Helper. She cannot resist the urge to offer a hand. On that day we were anticipating the delivery of a television that my mother would actually be able to see and hear. I had lifted our old TV, weighing a bulky but easily managed 35-40 lbs., and had swiveled away from the coffee table off of which I'd lifted it. My mother had been watching all the preparations from a chair in the dinette. Suddenly she was at my side offering to "help" me.
    "No!" I yelled, in various versions, such as, "I've got it!" and "Get away!" And, sure enough, as my mother simply reached underneath the TV the muscles in her lower back grabbed and she fell flat on her, well, back.
    Yes, it is sprained, lower lumbar region, right side worse than left but no bones are broken. I took her to the emergency room in medical transport and brought her home in our LUV truck. She's been in pain of varying degrees since. Finding medical follow-up has been frustrating. Our only choices seem to be taking her back to the ER or taking her into Urgent Care. No private doctors have been available for immediate follow-up although we have made a "new patient" appointment "not a follow-up to your mother's current problem" the appointment-maker advised me twice, with a highly recommended new doctor in the area. Earliest we could get in? December 1st, 2003.
    She was on Vicodin, both 500 & 750 mgs, for almost two weeks. When we ran out, keeping her on 600 mg ibuprofen every 5 hours when she's up seems to be doing exactly what the Vicodin did without the constipation that finally required me administering a much resisted yet relieving enema to my mother.
    We continue to have problems with severe watershed when she is sleeping although it is abating in comparison with the first week to week and a half. She is moving more, although not much more. She is staying up more, although not much more. And she is always in pain, always wincing from a random back spasm.
    I've been trying to get her to assent to seeing a highly recommended acupuncturist in the area. Although she's not prejudiced against alternative medicine, she's taken some alternative treatments from me well, the idea of having needles stuck in her has not appealed to her and she has believed that she can handle this and it will get better day by day. This weekend, though, I broke down and started sobbing when I simply couldn't take the physical evidence of her pain anymore. I told her, no more choices (I'd been hanging onto letting her make this one choice, as she, presently, has very few choices left to her while I companionate her through this healing). I'd be calling the acupuncturist on Monday.
    My mother must have been psychically engineering the call behind the scenes. The acupuncturist is in Tuesday through Friday, 0800 - 1700.
    I'm very excited about the possibilities. At one point, which my mother forgot, I told her I'd sign up for treatment of something if she would and I'd go first so she could see whether or not I perished. Although I finally discovered the source of the carpal tunnel syndrome I've developed over the last few months (the way I massage my mother's feet) and changed it, the original bizarre development continues and makes other things difficult so I could have that treated. I think, though, that my mother may have forgotten this unsuccessful lobbying technique of mine. If she doesn't mention it I'll wait and see how her treatments go, or, for that matter, whether the acupuncturist will feel she can help my mother. It has occurred to me that she may have nothing to offer my mother. I hope I'm wrong about that.
    I've been taking fairly regular blood sugar readings. Those still need to be posted. I'm considering switching to HTML by hand, with which I am fairly handy and restarting the log like that. I think I won't continue to get the inaccurate "over published" notice if I hand build and ftp my site. I am, as well, trying out a few other web log facilities. I will probably switch. In addition I will not be getting rid of past information but adding it with the new. Not, however, through an auto site builder. So I may very well open up a totally new site shortly with this site remaining as history.
    We'll see. My intense involvement with my mother, essentially becoming her body, is pretty draining of both time and energy. I expect this to alleviate but I'm not sure when. It will surely continue to affect the work I'm able to do on this site.
    As well, as a reminder to myself, I have other things to report about sisters and friends and medical communities, which I'll attempt to do...
Friday, October 17, 2003
Company, company company.
    Company's not the only reason I've been here much less frequently to post but it's one of the major reasons. This time though, this year, I've taken well to all the company, which is good because we have one more company ridden week to go.
    Other reasons for not posting anything:
  1. Mom is decidedly more active (for her) and it is relatively easy to get her out and about so I've been taking advantage of this. As usual, she tends to think going out is a good idea then resists when it comes to getting ready. Once we're out, though, she's a live wire for the rest of the day and often finds it unnecessary to nap in the afternoon.
  2. I'm feeling much more settled, now that we've decided to get rid of the house in Mesa and settle down. I've been working the house and the yard like crazy and immediately jump into every urge I have to do this.
    Today (Thursday) we went for flu shots. The line was long but the county health people were extremely helpful and provided two chairs for Mom, one two thirds of the way down the line and one close to the beginning. I kept an eye on her and her oxygen while I moved us up the line. Most of the time I was out of her sights but she was in mine. This gave me a chance to observe her "in her element" without my presence affecting her behavior. I believe she was the oldest person there. Everyone who passed her in line talked to her. Her eyes glittered with delight at the chance to do some up close people watching and people chatting. As I watched her I was reminded of the book club friend of mine who, when I mentioned that my mother was "ancient", corrected my description by telling me Mom actually came across as alert, proud and of generous spirit, obviously a one-time beauty who was used to being noticed and approached and who continued to think of herself in this way. I had a great time observing her and chatting up people in line, myself.
    I know I have a lot to make up here. I'm not completely finished fixing the pages that this auto-site builder mangled, I have a good half month of blood glucose levels to record, can't really remember how I've altered her med administration from day to day although I've been doing that all along and now have a new medical toy, a wrist blood pressure monitor. I've only taken her BP once and it seemed in line with what she normally reads at the doctor's office. I will be starting a fairly regular reading and recording of her blood pressure once I'm able to get back to this site on a regular basis. In the meantime, we're doing well, both of us, life is busy and good and I am exhilarated and grateful.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I'm back, sort of... a short purpose but intend to be back later this evening or tomorrow after flu shots. The purpose is this:
I am curious about the person who pulled the following search on this site, last week: "anemia related to glucophage use". I would very much like to find out what you've heard of this and what your experience and/or information is. If you come back to this site please contact me through my email address at the bottom of the page or through the guest book, in which you can leave either a public or private message. I searched it within my sight as well to see if I had used this phrase. I hadn't but this is a subject I am very curious about and would like to see if you have heard of this anywhere but on this site. Thank you, in advance, if I should catch you.

Friday, October 10, 2003
We've fallen hard, today, out of visit week.
    MCS & BIL are headed back to Colorado. I wish Mom and I were able to take two days on the road to drive out of visit week and contemplate, in the womb of road noise, all that happened. Instead, we're reeling from the drop back into our two-sided life.
    There is much to report including updated blood glucose numbers. There are gaps in my recording and lots of blips out of normal range but none of this affected my mother's high merriment, deep satisfaction and wry vitality throughout the week. Some important decisions were made about living arrangements that I'll cover as I catch up over the next few days. Tonight I just want to mention that a very successful visit week is over, I haven't forgotten this site and more reports will be forthcoming.
Saturday, October 04, 2003
My mother said something curious, thought provoking and peculiar, today.
    I'll cover the context later when I'm not so tired but I want to record what she said as exactly as I remember it before losing more of it in sleep than I've already lost in wakefulness and exhaustion.
    This is, unfortunately, a paraphrase, but very close to the original:
    "All these moves I've made and none of them has been an upgrade."
    We were speaking, specifically, of houses. We were arguing about houses, heatedly discussing whether we could still afford two houses (me speaking financially, although she accused me of speaking emotionally; her speaking emotionally, although she denied this). It was then that she dropped this bomb on me, a bomb with a variety of explosive effects: A bomb with several separately timed release segments.
    I have known since, it seems, forever that my mother has a dream home. She has had bits and pieces of it in some of the houses she's inhabited. We had, on Guam in one of our homes, "Quarters A-2" (so named because it had once, just after WWII, been the commanding officer's quarters) an almost industrial sized kitchen, for instance, with loads of cupboard, pantry and counter space and a large attached utility room. She loved these areas. Most of our family's life went on in the kitchen. My mom's and dad's farm in Wichita Falls, Texas, also had such a kitchen with a somewhat more recessed dining room and loads of other rooms which my mother loved but with which she and my father did nothing. It was also a "farm house" which my mother loved. Her dream home is part farm house in that it is on a farm but is more a type of split level ranch style mansion/home featured in the late, great, evening soap "Dallas", a program which she loved chiefly because of the Ewing's home.
    I have memories of my father and her collaborating on detailed floor plans of her (yes, "her"; I think my father adopted his because she had one) dream home.
    Certain aspects of her dream home have changed over the years. She now dreams of homes much like the classic "Victorian style" (not to be confused with Victorian) historical homes surrounding a one mile or so circumference of Prescott's Courtyard Square.
   I know she's never had her dream home.
    The point of me mentioning this, though, is that, until today I never knew how badly she has wanted this home of hers and how far she feels she is and, apparently, has always been from it.
    Knowing this has already had more than a few repercussions on my wondering about her, our companionship, and our lives together (which will remain together until she dies if I don't precede her in disability and death).

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