Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Changes and Choices | Our Aging Parents (6/29/16, part 13)

Last night I spent an extra hour and 20 minutes at mom's house trying to sort out her medications. She's so slick at covering up things that it's hard to see what's really happening....what do I mean by that? The worst thing that could happen to her is for someone to say she is wrong, or criticize her or in any way explain she may have made a mistake - and to top it off she's pretty smart and can often stay a step ahead of me. So she is good at doubling back and making excuses for things but I finally just took the pill bottles in the other room and counted each one....and they are all screwed up. So it seems like we had to try the pill organizer because I don't know that there's any other way.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Changes and Choices | Our Aging Parents (6/27/16, part 12)

I blame the hospital because they let her go back home, after I'd waited a year and a half for something major that would help medical professionals SEE that she's not okay. I've TRIED to make appointments and take her and she's shut me out of everything for the last few years....THIS was the chance for them to notice and they didn't.

I blame the lawsuit-happy freaks who created walls and barriers and obstacles which halt my efforts to help my mother. All the hospital staff and administrators care about is the damn "privacy concerns" and are happy to over and over, block my access to the doctors in the same of protecting themselves I guess.

Sunshine, Seniors and Smiles | Visit to an Assisted Living Facility, part II

We returned to an assisted living facility to visit with residents on Saturday. Some are veterans, a few are shy and not so receptive to coming outside and meeting with us and others loved the motorcycles and even got their pictures taken with them. You can read the post about our previous visit here.

First there's the "ride in", where the bikes gather at a nearby location and then all arrive together at the destination. Of course I am the one on the ground, taking photos as they come down the street.

Friday, June 24, 2016

National Night Out 2016 is Tuesday, August 2nd across Delmarva

From coast to coast each August gatherings of local residents and neighborhood police departments meet and mingle with the goal of getting to know one another and building connections. Tuesday, August 2nd is National Night Out, an event taking place all across the country to encourage you to get out and participate in interactions with your community. Listed below are a few of the scheduled activities being held here in the Delmarva area.

From the official website: "National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live." For more information visit them on Facebook. NOTE: All events listed below are being held on the traditional date of Tuesday, August 2nd unless otherwise noted. Any events with OTHER dates can be found at the end of this post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Odd and Unusual: the McQuay-Norris Streamliner Vans of the 1930's

Somehow, for some reason, I came across this on Facebook one day. A person by the name of Luis Cesar had posted these photos and I was instantly mesmerized by the unusual style of these vehicles. You can view the entire album on his Facebook page by clicking here. I had to know more. Here is some basic information on these uniquely-shaped automobiles and their history.

McQuay-Norris Streamliner- 1934
This vehicle was created as a promotional vehicle for the Mcquay-Norris Company of St. Louis, Missouri, which manufactured replacement pistons, rings, bearings, and other automotive parts used to rebuild an engine or chassis. Six cars were built for promotional purposes but more importantly they were used as test cars. As such, they were equipped with a multitude of gauges mounted on the dash to monitor the performance of various components. The highly advanced, streamlined body design was constructed of steel and aluminum over a wood framework. The curved plexiglass windshield offers a panoramic view–except to the rear. These vehicles traveled extensively across the U.S. and Canada from 1934 to 1940. The driver sits in the middle of the body, and there is room behind the seats for a suitcase and blowby meter (used to measure how well the piston rings and valves are sealing).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Vintage Delmarva: Memories of Ocean City, Maryland (part 1)

"Memories of Ocean City, Maryland" ~ Postcards, memorabilia and advertising featuring local landmarks from Maryland's favorite beach towns. These images which feature travel brochures, motel advertisements and depictions of the famous boardwalk, offer a fascinating glimpse into life in our towns from years ago.

64th street Shopping Center
Surfside Motel on 8th Street
Reverse of above

Monday, June 20, 2016

I'm Overwhelmed by what I Can't Understand (6/20/16, part 11)

Monday, June 20th: Following the conversation with mom's physical therapist last week, I've been out running around obtaining the recommended safety items. Since I'm heading back down to Virginia tomorrow, I have the tub safety bench and grab bars already purchased and in the car. Making the mistake a few days ago of mentioning this to mom was of course, stupid on my part, since she launched into an explanation of how she would decide what's necessary in her house, how I don't need to get anything and that she's not going to use whatever I bring down. Then she hangs up on me.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Aging parents: changes and challenges (6/19/16, part 10)

Sunday, June 19th: I haven't written anything in several days about this journey but lately I'm learning a lot of things. Last Wednesday was an appointment with the family doctor that mom hasn't seen in two years but when we arrived I was told it had been cancelled and the doctor wasn't in the office that day. Trying hard to be polite through gritted teeth, I asked them to please work us in with another doctor since I'd driven four hours for the appointment.

They did get us in to see a different one, but unfortunately were unable to retrieve any of the records from the hospital visit the week before. We were told another appointment would need to be set up and that we should plan to return. Guess this is the first of many challenges in a series of what seems to be versions of frustration. After five days of mom telling me how no one would fill her prescriptions, when in reality she refused to give them to anyone who offered to run errands for her, I went and had them filled. The co-pays were ridiculously small, one $.98, another $1.15; totalling $5.14 for three. And this is what she tells people she can barely afford to pay....I've never seen or heard of co-pays that low but as with everything, she says to anyone who will listen that she has no money, can barely afford to live, etc. I resent hearing it because I know of people with real hardships, struggling to make ends meet, and this certainly isn't one of those situations. And yet there's a list of people who she frequently complains about, that are overcharging her and ripping her off, and thus they never want to return. The work which was done on the house which mom tells me is a couple of hundred dollars is in fact, a $5000 bill which she hasn't wanted to pay. I write out the check, get her to sign it, go down the street to pay the contractor and by the time I return she's wondering who wrote such a large amount out of her checkbook. We review the prescriptions, talk a little more and I leave for the four hour drive home.

It Takes a Special Man to be a Great Father


Just being a father doesn't make you a great role model or a good dad. It's more than just buying your kids "stuff", it's being part of their lives, days, inspiring them with your actions.

To all the amazing men out there who are dedicated parents, leaders and mentors, thank you. Today we celebrate all that you do.

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Visiting Atria: sometimes you realize it takes so little to make people smile

The first time we went was just before Christmas in December of 2014. I didn't know what to expect and since I'm pretty challenged in the arenas of small talk and making conversation, I hung back a bit, lingering on the outskirts of our group. And then slowly but surely, as the senior citizens began to come forward to talk, to ask questions and share their stories, we began to become friends.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Building a Better Community Starts With Each of Us

Don’t like what you see? Volunteer. It's easy to criticize and point fingers but the REAL value comes when other people walk over and say "How can I help?"

  • Look on your street and find someone to help out
  • Grab some volunteers and give an elderly neighbor a hand with their house
  • Form a community watch
  • Start an email chain or text message alert system

  • Get out each evening and mingle, walk the dog, interact
  • Talk to the people who live next door
  • Be the place where your kids can go out and ride their bikes
  • Invest in sidewalk chalk and start a drawing contest

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dealing with an elderly parent (6/15/16, part 9)

Wednesday June 15th: Heading down to Virginia shortly with dogs in tow to mom's house for an appointment later today. It's the first one we are going to together, at her family practice, where I hope I can get her to sign the papers to give me access to her medical info and so that I can speak with the doctors. After this I'm hopeful it will be easier to make the next appointments with the specialists that are needed but I'm worried how she will react.

3-1/2 drive down, get the dogs set up in one of the spare bedrooms, then we'll be heading out to fight the northern Virginia traffic. It's funny how when you grow up in that setting so much seems normal but living in another less congested area starts to spoil one I guess. I'm praying for patience and forward movement today.

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa

Tragedy and a Warning Perhaps Not Understood

I'm the devil's advocate and so it's normal for me to view the other side or the side less popular. As a non-Floridian, I'm not sure that signs stating "no Swimming" necessarily translate to, or mean, "Don't go near the water at all". Yes, Florida residents know this but the rest of us do not. To me "No Swimming" means to not go out into the water completely; floating around, diving, etc....but splashing or wading in the shallow edges doesn't appear to be swimming exactly. Yes, it's a fine line, I'm just saying....they were from Nebraska...not sure the seriousness of the situation had crossed their minds.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dealing with an elderly parent (6/14/16, part 8)

Tuesday June 14th: Tomorrow will be a trip back to Virginia for the first of many doctor's appointments. I'm hoping it goes well and I don't run into too many issues with mom digging her feet in and refusing to do what is needed. Today I learned that she still won't get her prescriptions filled, 5 days later; she's never "taken pills" and doesn't plan to start now, and yet if the doctors put her on medication for her dementia.....well, then we hope something changes. I don't know. I'm learning so much about these new topics and situations and conditions that my head spins, it feels as if it doesn't stop, all day and into the night.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Changes: Dealing with an elderly parent (6/13/16, part 7)

Monday June 13th: Over the weekend since mom had stated very pitifully how she barely had any food, I've talked to her several times and offered to go shopping here. The other half can deliver when he is there tonight and he also offers to stop and pick up anything refrigeration or perishable this evening. After the phone conversation where she suddenly found the food he'd bought a few days ago for her, we think she's fine but I ask anyway. She says yes, there are many things she needs, she will email me a list.

Vintage Delmarva | Postcards of Fenwick Island, Delaware (Part 1)

Postcards, matchbooks and advertising featuring attractions of Fenwick Island, Delaware. Located at the southern tip of the First State and bordering on Maryland's popular beach town of Ocean City, MD, Fenwick is a refreshing destination for summer vacations. Many folks enjoy the small town feel and less crowded pace found along the Atlantic Ocean in the First State.
I'm not sure where this view would have been....?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Changes: Dealing with an elderly parent (6/11/16, part 6)

Saturday June 11th: Both of us have different things to do today but before I head out I check emails on my computer. While the spam folder is accessible on my phone's version of gmail, it's not as obvious and this time on the computer I notice there are several messages in the folder. I retrieve them, delete several, find one from mom and open it. It's from the previous week and it's ugly, launching into a tirade against my husband who has not only been staying there during the week to keep an eye on mom, but who shops for her, makes a point to sit down and talk each morning, confirms she has enough to drink, leaves her funny notes and yes, he cares about her.

On June 2nd however, apparently after she repeatedly forgot to call the maintenance man to cut the grass, he left her a note which said "Mom, you might want to call Mr. W in the next day or two since it's not supposed to rain this week. Maybe he can get over here if you wanted to call him today?". Mom apparently had become furious over this suggestion and for the first time ever, left him a nasty note that night. I hadn't seen it but not wanting to leave me out she emailed about how I should train my husband better, that he is grooming the property for how he wants it and that he must certainly be hoping for her demise so he can have it. The ranting went on to say that she's considering other options for the property now, just so he isn't someone who winds up with it - as if it's only him, no mention of me at all.

I'm stunned and shocked. Attacking the beloved son-in-law is so completely out of character for her and to just casually state she's thinking of giving away our family home floors me. Around that time she calls and I choke out a few words explaining why I'm upset; she replies that she had surgery and the anesthesia must have made her woozy and certainly I'm mistaken or am just making things up because she would never write something like that. I do a screen shot and send it to her as we get off the phone because the home health aide is coming. That's good news because it means Mom was open to the option of a stranger coming into her house and I'm relieved to hear it. Granted, the HHA told me on the phone yesterday that she can't speak with me about mom's condition because she refused to give consent for that while in the hospital over the last few days. Each time I speak with mom about it she says of course, she wants me to know what is happening, there is no reason I shouldn't but by the time they ask her again she declares that "her business" and not something I need to meddle in.

A hour later the HHA calls as she is leaving. She mentions that mom seems fine, didn't notice any unusual or peculiar behavior and that all appears well. For the second time today, I'm speechless. Six phone calls the day before to me, several more to other people, all asking the same questions and repeating a story of having been at a conference for the last few days....when in reality she was in the hospital. The dogs went to be boarded since I couldn't line up enough caretakers for them and when I've asked mom what time they were brought back she says "back?" as if she has no concept they or she were ever gone.

Ok, so perhaps these are isolated incidents and nothing serious, because after all here is a medical professional telling me that in her opinion, mom is fine. My email dings and it's mom again, stating how hungry she is and that there is virtually no food in the house. She will try to make what she has last until Monday when perhaps some kind soul would be good enough to bring her groceries. I remind her that son-in-law went shopping last week when she came back from the hospital, that he purchased a wide variety of things for her and there should be plenty on hand. She tells me I'm crazy. I wait for husband to arrive back home and together we call her so he can explain where the food is; once he's on the phone with her the tone of voice changes completely and she suddenly finds the meals and packages we've been referring to.

What am I missing here....these short bursts of what seems like memory loss or confusion aren't obvious to anyone else? Perhaps she didn't engage in much conversation with the HHA but everyone else I talk with is appalled at her forgetfulness, they ask me if she still drives and express their concerns. But the medical professionals don't see a thing wrong....maybe I AM crazy. WHY doesn't anyone else see this?

To start at the beginning you can read part 1 here. 

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa