Friday, August 16, 2013

Seven Quick Takes #21


Caring for both Boo and my Mother has proven to be quite a task...a task I love and for which I'm grateful, but a task nonetheless. Recently, Mother and I had to have a few discussions on wants vs. needs.

One day I received an urgent phone call from Mom. “I need you right now!” So, I dropped everything and ran across our backyards, unlocked her door and rushed to her side. “I need a piece of Key Lime Pie.” Ummm...Key Lime Pie does not constitute an emergency.

The following day I received another phone call. “I need you right now.” Slightly wiser now, I questioned her. She'd been shopping with a friend and had some nonperishables that needed to be put away. I told her I'd help her put them away when I prepared supper.

Two hours later I received another phone call. “ I need you right now.” No explanation, but it was almost supper time. I should mention here that the words: “I'm stuck in the recliner and can't get up.” never, never came out of her mouth. So, I walked over admiring the flowers and a bird nest on the way...only to discover that she really did need me this time.

Mom had lost the control to her recliner and was half in and half out of it. She was scared to moved. And rightfully so. I had to brace the recliner with my body and slowly lower it so that it wouldn't tip over on her. We had the first of several discussions on wants vs. needs and the importance of adequate communication so that I can appropriately respond.

Has any of this made a difference? Temporarily. And for now, that's good enough.


A conversation overheard between Boo and Mother after supper one evening:

I'm going to Chesterfield tomorrow. Do you want to go with me while Kari goes off with Phyllis for a little while?”

You're going all the way to SC? They let you do that?

(It's only 15 miles away and, yes, she's currently allowed to drive that far under certain conditions.)

Yes, I'm going and yes, they let me. Are you going or not?”

I rode with you today. You get kind of shaky.”


Can we get ice cream?”

If you want ice cream.”

Don't tell Kari. She won't let me date other women.”

I had to back out of the room and run to the living room to laugh. Does going off with your mother in law actually count as a date? (Just so you know, I ended up going with Mom and Boo because Mom was tired.)


Mom's now taking insulin (hopefully temporarily) to manage her diabetes. After years of eating what she wanted and exercising by racing through her favorite department stores (and one recent steroid shot), she now has to toe the line. At the moment she's scared enough to do it. Thank heavens!

Just before she had the steroid shot, she was supposed to keep a record of her blood sugar levels. I've fussed at her on and off for a couple of months about not checking her blood sugar. Finally, because she simply had to do so, I sat down with her and tried to get her to check it herself.

And discovered...Mom has evidently forgotten how to take her blood sugar. I'd been fussing about something she didn't remember. Talk about feeling lower than a snake's belly! I also realized that with essential tremors, she's just too shaky to stick herself. Now, I understand her refusal.

What else is she refusing to do because she doesn't remember how or can't. Mom is just stubborn enough not to tell me. So, I have to stealthily guess.

By the way, Mom is now very compliant about her diet, about letting me check her blood sugar levels and giving her insulin. Exercise, not so much. Well, OK, not at all.


Boo has determined that our home is the second floor in Mom's house. I guess that's good inasmuch as we'll be here for several more days until we know how Mom reacts to insulin and until she understands the importance of an appropriate diet and knows the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar.

Last night Boo told Mother that he and Boudreaux were going home to bed. I held my breath because home was definitely not in the picture right then. He and the cat marched right upstairs. Boo went to bed. Boudreaux caught two more mice and left them for me beside his food upstairs. (Why are there mice upstairs?)


Mom has named the upstairs bedrooms. One is the Sunshine Bedroom. It is bright and sunny. The other is the Antique Bedroom. It contains a rope bed that Mother and Daddy bought and restored years ago, an antique dresser (maybe a family heirloom?) and a tongue and groove chest. Who names the rooms in their house? Evidently my Mother does.

Boudreaux has claimed the tongue and groove chest as his own. It's in a dormer window with a cushion. He's convinced that this is his spot. If we lose him or he gets too quiet. He's generally on his chest watching the birds and washing his beautiful red fur coat or napping.


Boo and Mother are planning shrimp for dinner tonight. Mother heard that the truck stop just outside of town sells the best shrimp in town. OK, let's see, there's only one other place to eat in this town. So, it's possible that it is the best. There's not a lot of competition for the Best Shrimp in Town title.

Last Friday I baked shrimp with lemon slices, lemon butter and Italian seasoning and served it with cheese grits. I told Boo it was polenta with cheese. He was fooled about three minutes. That man hates grits. I thought all Southerners had an inborn love for grits. It appears that not all Cajuns do.


Because of Mom's increasing health issues, I've begun a home health notebook for her. I'm amazed at all that I don't know about her health. I'm also amazed at all the forms that I'm using for her regularly. Well, we are just learning about what helps control her diabetes and what makes it more difficult to control. I'm keeping a chart with her blood sugar levels and units of insulin given. This will be an ongoing chart. Right now, I'm keeping a very accurate intake sheet for Mom also. I imagine I'll only use this while we're stabilizing her blood sugar levels. She has a blood pressure and pulse chart and another chart for daily notes and exercise log (if she'll actually exercise.)

I've got to make a detailed medical history for her, a current list of medical providers, update her medication list and, oh, never mind, I'm tired just thinking about all that I need to do there. Pretty soon, I'll be updating my Home Health Notebook post with links to forms that I've found useful.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #11

  1. Do you have any type of air cleaner in your home?
    No, I should add one for dust and pollen, but I haven't yet. We do have a HEPA filter on the vacuum cleaner. I'm not sure just how much it really helps, but we do have that.
  2. What do you do with the spare change you accumulate in your car, purse, pockets, etc.?
    We save our change, roll it and donate it to charity. This year our main charity is Africa Mercy. We've a friend who's on a two year stint with Africa Mercy and Boo seems to remember and pray for her often.  
  3. What 's one chore you wish you never had to do again?
    I guess, ironing...which I just don't do unless I'm sewing. I dislike folding and putting away clothes though I've developed a routine and it seems to be less of a trial anymore. Dish washing is another one of those I'm-not-so-fond-of-doing chores.

    Who am I kidding? I'm not fond of house cleaning. I like a clean house. I just wish it would clean itself.
  4. Are you outgoing, quiet, shy, reserved or the life of the party?
    I tend to be quiet and reserved...until I know you. Then I'm more outgoing, although I doubt I'd ever be considered the life of the party type. I'm just me. Give me a good book or a computer with my word processing and photography programs, some peace and quiet and I can entertain myself for hours.
  5. Have you understood your parents more as you've gotten older?
    Yes indeed! Most of the time my Mother and I have a really good working relationship. Somehow growing up, we never had that. I never felt too close to her then. She thrived on being busy and doing things, especially decorating and painting. I was rather intimidated by her talent. I'd rather stay home and read or draw.

    Now, we actually have discussions...not that we often agree, but we do better understand each other. We seem to have different stances on many political, religious and educational topics. I'd never have guessed that. We are working on some projects together. I never thought we'd do that. It seems our talents compliment each other. Who knew I'd develop a new appreciation for my Mother in my mid 50's? I'm just really grateful for this time with her.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chats on a Farmhouse Porch #10

I know it's been quite a while since I posted anything. Things have been really hectic around here and I just haven't had the time. Hopefully, with the elimination of some of Mother's medications and Boo's slightly increased willingness to “travel” to Mom's house (just across the backyard), I'll have more time to blog. Hopefully. Constantly running from our house to Mom's house is time consuming. I counted one day. From the time I woke until I went to bed, I made 23 trips back and forth. That's easing up most days. So, I have a little more time now.

  1. Have you ever baked bread from scratch?
    Yes! It's one of my favorite things to do. Kneading is a great stress reliever. Then, the smell of baking bread just can't be beat. (Well, sometimes chocolate cake or brownies could be better.) And eating warm bread fresh from the oven...heaven on earth! I promised Mom and Boo soft pretzels this week. Maybe I'm bake those on Wednesday so that Mom can take a few to her Bible study group.
  2. If we decided to have lunch on the porch, and you so kindly volunteered to fix it (thank you), what would you serve?
    I'd gladly volunteer to serve it. It's cool and drizzly here, not usual August weather for us. So, I'd choose a warm Mushroom Cloud soup, a chicken veggie salad with fresh pita bread, peach cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream with ice tea or lemonade. Lately, our peaches have been awesome. I've been freezing peach slices to add to my tea instead of ice cubes.
  3. Show us or tell us about your key chain.
    Boring! Mine is strictly utilitarian right now. It has a red clip that I can attach to my purse or belt loop. That's it. I did have an angel with a prayer on it, but Boo had a habit of holding onto it and cut his hand. How he managed that, I don't know. So, I took it off. I am making a “key chain” for Boo for his birthday next month. (He doesn't actually use keys anymore.) I'm decoupaging photos of grandchildren and Boudreaux, of course, to unused grocery and pharmacy discount cards, punching a small hole in one corner and putting them on a key ring for him. (Don't tell!)
  4. Have you ever tried a challenging or dangerous sport?
    I'm definitely not the sporty type! I've been white water rafting ONCE years ago. Never again. Do carnival or amusement park rides count? I used to ride roller coasters. One of my college roommates recently went sky diving (and wants to go again!), white water rafting, zip lining and I'm not sure what else. She's far more adventurous than I am. I'd rather travel, meet new people, see new places, learn new crafts and prepare native foods than risk life and limb.
  5. Have you ever written poetry? If not, have you ever had anyone write a poem for you?
    Well, yes, I've written poetry waaaay back in the dark ages when I was in the middle of my teen age angst. Horrible poetry, but meaningful at the time. And yes, I was the subject of several poems that my sister wrote. Terribly unflattering poems, I might add. She wrote them during her teen years as well. (Strange what you find when cleaning out boxes that your parents have stored for years.) Somewhere (OK, I know they're in one of two memento boxes.) are several poems Boo wrote to me during the years.
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