What a difference a day makes

Last night, our GS went to sleep at a decent hour. Today, he was in a far better mood. And when GS is happy, the world gets better.

Our DD was able to get a response from her psychiatrist. She also read and identified once more with an article about PMDD. It’s funny how relieved you can feel when you know what’s happening to you. She has some months when she simply feels anxious. Then there are times like this month, when the panic attacks are so bad they take over the whole day.

The hamsters at the humane society are already a hit. Several have already gone or are going to go home with volunteers! That is such good news. Volunteers at the humane society already love animals. Those hamsters are so darn cute.

We are donating our Purple mattress to someone who needs it. We were unable to find someplace to donate it, and neither was Purple, so they gave us the go ahead to give it to someone who needs it. It will be going to a family that needs one for their 8 year old, and doesn’t have the money to buy one in this pandemic.

In one of my Facebook groups, a woman mentioned she doesn’t have the money for gifts for her 2 year old daughter, so I picked a couple up at Sam’s and met her at the Aldi parking lot (I also got her a couple of pounds of ground beef). She lost her job at Red Lobster with the pandemic. She can’t get anything from Toys for Tots because when she was working she made enough money to save, and the paperwork to prove she needs the help was impossible. Her money is running out. She’s waiting for SNAP to be approved. I felt very good about our encounter.

One of our local police lodges collects for Christmas food baskets for the needy. We donated. Also donated to the local food bank – they can do more with the money than I can. We are so fortunate to have our health and to have enough to eat and a roof over our heads. I would never be a billionaire. I could not own that much money and not help other people. It’s not what you have that makes you rich.

Trump could never imagine the concept of richness that does not include material things like gold rooms and gold faucets. Lifting someone else up makes you far richer and gives you a long lasting reward than anything you can buy.

Panic

It’s kind of the word of the day, of the week perhaps.

Yesterday, dad had an appointment with dermatology for the red spots on his head that are causing him pain at night with his CPAP mask straps. He had “loud crowd” zoom in the morning, then the appointment in the afternoon. When I drove up to the clinic, I looked for a handicap spot, but they were all full. So… I decided to drop dad off at the front, and find a spot to park. When I finally parked and got up to the waiting area, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that someone had fallen in the dermatology waiting room. Yep, there was dad on the floor. He seemed to be okay, but a witness insisted he hit his head very hard. Amid the gathering medical personnel, people taking dad’s blood pressure, etc there was a person with a clipboard insisting that the best course of action would be for dad to go to the ED and get a CT scan.

We wound up staying for the appointment and agreeing to go to the ED afterward. Dad didn’t want to miss his appointment LOL. We did drive to the hospital and check in to the ED. They are doing lots of construction, so there is NO waiting area. We waited in the hallway about 5 feet away from a guy who was obviously in a lot of abdominal pain. Great. Dad finally got into triage.

Triage asked if dad had dementia. I said no, but he has some cognitive problems. They told me I could not stay with him. Panic. How could I leave my 90 year old dad who has Parkinson’s and has trouble speaking while he was waiting for a room and beyond? I did not want to leave him. I did leave, with the reception person keeping an eye on him. She even got him a warmed blanket. I still felt panicky. I went out to the car and sat. About 5 minutes later, dad called me. “I’m cold” he said. He was still in the hall, and it was chilly. I asked him if he wanted to leave. Yes. So I came and got him and took him home. With this, I had a little bit of an inkling of what people feel like when their loved ones go into the hospital with COVID-19. I felt so relieved to have him in the car.

Today we went to see the orthopedic doctor for dad’s knee. He wound up getting a steroid injection. I could tell he was a little reticent. But it was apparently not nearly as painful as my shoulder injection.

DD is having daily panic attacks. I don’t know how to help her. It’s invading her entire day, and her self-talk is frightening. She is a very patient mother. She is a good person. She is not telling herself that. She is worried about her son beyond normal worry. Guilty for things she never did. I feel helpless.

They took the hamsters to the humane society. DD decided to keep one of the babies, and brought Dandelion in with her babies. She felt bad, guilty, but the baby is much more calm than Dandelion and can be handled by GS. Dandelion will be much better once she is away from all of her children. And not pregnant. I feel bad, too, but I am not in a position to care for any other animals so I just hope Dandelion gets a good home.

Tomorrow is going to be busy.

Lay your weary head to rest, don’t you cry no more…

Our household is suffering from depression and anxiety. The mood hangs like a heavy fog around us.

Dad has always dealt with depression, but Parkinson’s multiplies it. He always loved to talk, to argue, to discuss, but this disease has taken away his ability to speak. He was always independent, now he’s dependent on us for most of his needs.

Our son is stuck in depression and anxiety – he’s not moving forward with his life. With the pandemic, he lost his job at the community college. Now he stays up all night and sleeps during the day. Sometimes he doesn’t even eat dinner with us, he just sleeps. I’ve suggested that he find a volunteer opportunity because helping others can lift the spirits. He hasn’t moved on that suggestion.

Our daughter is currently deeply sunk in self-recrimination. Our grandson has always been a little different. DD is an expert worrier. I think that there is something different enough about him that it probably has a name, and she is convinced that whatever is wrong with him was caused by her prescription antidepressants during pregnancy. Guilt. Exhaustion (because GS is not a good sleeper and is exhausting to care for in the day), worry, guilt, chronic anxiety and depression are not good ingredients. I say you can’t go back, you can only go forward, but I’m afraid that’s not really helpful. It’s hard to see her in such emotional pain and be helpless to relieve it. It’s also hard to see our GS dealing with his anxieties and reactions to everyday situations.

DH and I are frustrated and sad. Neither of us sleep as well as we’d like. Both of us struggle with pain. This is not the life either of us expected to be living. I thought I might be caring for one of my parents, but I did not expect to be living with both of my children, a son in law, a grandson and my dad, and stuck at home because of a mismanaged pandemic and a crazy narcissistic president and his followers. I can’t say that I have been in danger of hurting myself (suicide) but sometimes it feels like death would be so much more peaceful. So what I really want is to feel good, not to have to be a cheerleader or a caregiver, just to do what I like to do.

Even the cat is a little depressed. Since she broke her leg and had to spend months in a splint, she is not able to jump up on anything like she used to. And she looks longingly at the cat tree which we have cordoned off. She used to sleep up at the top all the time. She will spend hours on my lap now if I’m available, and yowl pitifully if I am not.

On Tuesday, the hamsters are going to the local humane society. DD is keeping one of the babies, since one of the babies is very mellow and allows them to be handled. Dandelion will be finding a new home, with the caution that she would not be good for someone with small children and does not like to be handled a lot. Everyone in the house has been bitten by her except DH. We don’t hold it against her, we know now that she was probably stressed while she was pregnant and after the babies were born. But only one can stay, and it has been decided that the baby will stay.

So, sadness all around. It’s a good thing I don’t like alcohol. I’m pretty sure I would be in bad shape if I was a drinker.

“Carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest, don’t you cry no more” Kansas

Thanksgiving

I’ve missed a couple of days. The day before Thanksgiving, I had my cystoscopy. Three years ago they found and removed cancer from my bladder. A year later another little tumor appeared. A year later they removed it. Now, a year later, there is no new growth. Yay!

Yesterday was “Thanksgiving day”, and I fixed a turkey breast and stuffing along with some vegetables. We had a vegan pumpkin pie from Harvest Market. It was good, but I think I prefer the traditional filling made with milk and eggs. There was more than enough food. I often think about my mom making big dinners, and she always made too many things. Too much food, too much work, and she was always exhausted. She’d clean for days and then cook for days. I don’t see the point.

We didn’t do anything today. We had leftovers for dinner. I washed dishes and made banana bread because we have way too many ripe bananas. It turned out well. Now, of course, there are more dishes that need to be done. I made baked tofu and some of those precut bags of stir fry veggies. I will definitely make the baked tofu again. It was a hit. I have to admit, sometimes I get tired of being a vegetarian when I’m having to fix things for meat eaters and myself.

I went to bed too late last night, so I really plan on getting to be early tonight. Really.

Hope

Today was the beginning of President-elect Biden’s transition. Officially. He has chosen qualified candidates to fill important posts in his administration. I have hope that things may be smoother and less dramatic in the coming yearsf. Hope that the focus will no longer be on a single narcissistic character. I am not feeling as hopeful about the senate and Mitch McConnell, but I’m going to stay with hope for the moment. If I never hear Trump’s whiny, lying voice again it will be too soon.

Dad had a doctor’s appointment today to address his knee and neck pain. The doctor treated it like a six month recheck, which was fine. Of course, she reiterated the fact that his neck and knee pain are arthritic. She is sending him for xrays of his neck and knee, and referred him to orthopedics for possible steroid injection in his knee. She also referred him to dermatology for the red spots on his head. I’m sure he feels good that something is being done. What I’m thinking is that now we will be having to go to a bunch of appointments just as the weather could potentially turn winter.

The little hamsters are growing and healthy. It’s amazing to see them get bigger and more hamster-like. They are adorable. Also very slippery and hard to hold! They are not really a pet like a cat, dog, rabbit or rat. Still, they are fun to watch.

The cleaners came today. I was not impressed with the job they did, and there were 3 of them! Dad and I got back from his appointment just as they were leaving. We got home in time for dad to do his Loud Crowd Zoom, after stopping at Panera for flat bread pizza through the drive through. Neither of us thought it was something we wanted to order again.

DD and I have been playing Redecor on our phones. The app is having a lot of glitches, but it’s fun to play at designing decor for various rooms.

I’m reading a book called All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. It’s a fun read, involving time travel.

I slept badly last night. I should go to bed… Tomorrow I have my cystoscopy to see if any little cancerous tumors have come back. Fun times.

Pressure

The stress in this house seems to be building. It’s not one big stress, it’s more like water torture. The drip, drip, drip starts to build. The cracks are showing in our foundation. Tonight when DD opened the freezer to get some ice, things toppled out on to her feet. After a frustrated/hurt/angry scream, she threw the glass to the floor where it shattered into a million pieces. I don’t remember my exact response, because grandson’s response was immediate and explosive and we had to keep him from running into the kitchen with his bare feet. He wanted us to put the glass back together. He wanted mom to stop crying.

When DD was just under 4, she was playing with some visiting friends and slipped and cut her chin. I was pregnant with DS. I knew it would need stitches. I also knew that if I freaked out, she would freak out. So I tamped down any anxiety and calmly got her into the car to go to the hospital. That’s essentially what I did after the glass was shattered.

I knew that the reaction of throwing the glass to the ground was not about the things falling from the freezer, by the way. That’s what I told her. You don’t react by throwing a glass unless you are already ready to explode. Her stress level is high, caring for a young child who is active and who does not react the way many preschool kids react. Caring for a preschool child without the option of preschool because of fear of COVID-19 infection. Caring for a child when she’s dealing with ADD and depression and with a husband who has a severe back injury, without the ability to seek out a job. I worry about her. I worry about all of us.

Dad fell again this morning in his room. DH took him to his injection appointment and I slept in a little bit. This afternoon I shopped at Walmart, Sam’s and Harvest Market. Tomorrow dad has an appointment with his primary care physician about his neck and knee pain. Nine in the morning, so I have to get up early.

The baby hamsters seem to have made it past the point where we have to be concerned. They will need new homes, so we will probably bring them to the humane society. Tonight the cat would like to spend most of her time on my lap again.

Thankfully President-elect Biden will now be allowed to begin his official transition. Unfortunately the Trump administration has time to really screw things up before January 20.

Something’s got to give, you know. I just hope it isn’t the mental health of our family.

Into the abyss

Lately my brain has been traveling to dark places. The stress of the household, caregiving, lock-down (self imposed at this point) because of COVID-19, and the political climate have pushed my thoughts inward. I need to find my way out. I would never wish the way I feel on anyone else.

The hamster babies are growing, and will probably be ready to find homes in about a week. I think Dandelion will be happy to have the place to herself again.

Dad was not very demanding today. He spent most of his day in his room. I made him a couple of soft boiled eggs that actually turned out the way he wanted them. That doesn’t always happen. I used the steaming method.

I washed dishes, ran the dishwasher, emptied the dishwasher and ran a load of clothes (they need to be dried now.)

I’m having a hard time getting into the routine recommended by the eye doctor. I used the warm compresses on my eyes this morning. Forgot doing drops during the day. Maybe I will remember the gel tonight….

Weekend update

The runt of the litter

We currently have 8 babies. Mom is getting fed up with her little ones, and often looks for a place on the other side of the box to hide and sleep. When we cleaned the box (a large storage box set up with mesh in the cover) I discovered a tiny strip of skin/fur that is probably the remains of the missing 9th baby. We are trying to beef up the tiniest babies with extra food, hoping they can catch up. The black babies are the tiniest, the brown ones are round and robust. We have all agreed we would never want to breed animals. It’s too heartbreaking when you lose them.

Yesterday I took dad to pick up his new shoes, slip-ons or loafers. He grumbled at the price of course. They are nice shoes and they look good.

Today the cat has been a real lap-cat. She just wants to sleep on my lap all the time, which is not the case most days. I don’t mind, except I do have other things I should be doing. Also, it’s impossible for me to type if she’s in my lap.

I had a lot of thoughts running through my brain earlier, but I think I’ll save them for another day. Thanksgiving is coming up, and we are not going to be having extra people in for dinner but I will fix something nice (along with pies) and our 7 occupants of the house will be thankful. Maybe next year, if she’s up to it, my mother in law will come to visit again. She’ll be 91 though, so who knows. This is the first year in a decade and a half that she has not been here for Thanksgiving.

If there is anyone who is actually reading my blog (I see people “like” my posts but don’t know if they are reading them) can you tell me why? I am mainly posting on my blog for my own pleasure and recording bits of my life. I have not advertised it or shared it with friends and family. Yet some people out there are following it. If that’s you, can you comment so I can solve the mystery? Thanks!

It’s Thursday!

The past couple of days have been average. Plodding along in our cabin-fever-like way, we’ve had Zoom meetings and eaten meals… Trying hard not to go stark raving mad.

And politics! When is Trump going to stop torturing us and endangering the country? Will things ever go back to normal, civilized behavior? How can the people who voted for him see this as acceptable? Trump wants to pull out of Afghanistan… now? Allowing oil and gas companies to lay claim to natural areas in Alaska for drilling rights? Not accepting the results of the election, not allowing Biden access for his transition, how is that making America great? Four more years of Trump and this country would be even more of a mess than it is now.

A quarter of a million people dead so far from Corona virus. Numbers trending up everywhere. A vaccine in the works, but while it gets the okay and methods are developed for transport and storage of the vials, thousands more will die, some still not believing that what they have is COVID-19. Does Trump recognize the grief or express compassion for what we’ve lost? Nope. Lately he’s abdicated his responsibilities and sticks to Twitter and golf.

For the mundane stuff, today I had an eye exam. I have very dry eyes. So the optometrist put me on a dry eye regimen and I’ll see her in a month. I am so very terrible at remembering to keep a schedule, whether it’s medication or eye drops or exercise. I have mild cataracts, which makes it hard to see at night. The kind of cataracts I have are the kind that cause the lens to yellow. So it’s like wearing sunglasses in the dark. Sigh.

Dad fell earlier today, again. Fortunately our son in law was here and between him and DS they got him back on his feet. I find myself irritable often. Dad isn’t doing anything different, but I want to scream.

I don’t have a lot of patience for the grandson, but I try hard not to show it. I heard a story about a young boy, I think he was 9 or 10, who died by suicide. His parents think it was because he didn’t have school and interactions with other people. Which is worse?, people ask, dying from the virus or dying because you can’t take the loneliness and isolation? Does it have to be one or the other? Can’t there be a middle road? Do we have to die?

The baby hamsters are getting more and more active. Dandelion is often found rounding them up. Sometimes she gives up. They have been given some cucumber and it’s so cute to see them holding the little chunks in their tiny paws and nibbling. They are slippery little devils, so you have to be very careful when you hold them that they don’t launch themselves to the floor. We are enjoying them, but I will be glad when they are safe in new homes. I worry about where they will go, but someone trusted us with a hamster so I guess we will have to do the same.

My DH has decided the Purple mattress is not the right fit for him, so we’ve ordered a Brooklyn hybrid mattress and when it gets here, we will send the purple back. I am sleeping okay on my Idle, but if DH’s new mattress works out for him, I will consider ordering one for myself so we match. DS will try the Idle if that happens, since I have 18 months to try it.

This has to have been the longest year ever. It has been the longest 4 years of my life. And it appears the last days of Trump’s presidency are predictably going to be the longest transition period in history. We all need relief. I need to go see the hamsters.

Hamster babies revealed

time to clean the environment… and count the babies!

It was time to clean the large storage box that DD converted into the hamster environment. Pulling the little ones out of the box, we discovered that there were NINE babies! They are 2 weeks old. Some have eyes opening, some are wandering around with closed eyes. Four black babies, five brown. Dandelion is a mixture of black and brown, so it’s fascinating to see the genetics.

Hamsters have a gestation of just over 2 weeks. They will be mature at 4-6 weeks. We must get them separated by sex at that point, so we will see if our vet can help us with that.

Not much else going on today, just the Parkinson’s support group Zoom meeting. We ordered out (Jimmy John’s and Panera’s) for dinner. Boring life, other than the hamsters. It’s horrible to have cabin fever when you aren’t even snowed in.

Someone please help Trump let go of his delusions. We need to have a real president.

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