Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flowers Arranging

We went to the Library sale on Saturday morning...then maybe the park... but we decided to just hang out at Nana's.  The girls were up for it.  I have to "bribe" Sunny a little more these days, but Gidgey always wants to go.  So, we stopped at Whole Foods, let the girls pick out flowers and snacks and juice and just went.  We get out the special, fragile vase.  Her mother's (another Margaret), she responded so well to the flowers and colors.  She even said "this is fun" when we lured her off the chair into her room to arrange them.  Here are some really wonderful pictures and a video of her arranging them and responding to the girls.  I'm a little more nervous now that she is off of the Depakote because she is more likely to shout out, or act more "mean".  By that, I mean not sharing her muffin with Gidget, and getting irritated if the girls holler or fuss.  She is much more lucid, talking and laughing to herself and to people that aren't there.   But it's better...she's not as out of it.  Not that she's with it, she's just, more alive.
Watch Peggy arranging the flowers

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stopped by...

I stopped by for a quick check in on my way home....she's doing really well minus the depakote!  Yeah, she was smiling, still having trouble walking, but really seemed a little better.  Sandy said no problems, and was so nice to me, telling me how important it is for family members to visit and stay in touch to see changes and be aware.  Everyone who reads this has showed me great support and compassion, thank you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I feel like I'm writing this blog backwards, or it should be read bottom to top because I seem to react to the previous post.  So, this is my reaction to the last post and being too much on the telephone and the computer all morning and blogging and researching and....procastinating.    Gidgey wanted to go see Nana.  So instead of me worrying here, we went and saw her there.  I cried a little to Rochelle in the office....we went upstairs to see her and....she was doing pretty well.  She had her hair done today, was sitting at a table, and she smiled when she saw us!   Gidgey played with her (I brought a littlest pet shop for them to share) gave her some new hand creme that reminded me of her (geraniums, thanks Timi!) and new socks.  It was okay.  We got up to walk... a little better, a little more with it, "big steps, Mom".  I hope this decrease in the depakote works out.  Sandy said it's okay, if it's better for her, they will work with the behavior stuff.  Deep breath.....

Depakote and walking

So, Peggy has had really a hard time walking.  I mean, like not even to the dining area.  It's very difficult for her to get up, when she see's a chair, she starts to sit down 6 feet away from it. I thought it was her brain not communicating with her legs.  That does start to happen, from what I can figure out.   I phoned this into Dr. Stern.  He thinks it might be the Depicote.  We put her on this, when she was having behavioral issues at Sunrise....God, I hope she wasn't doped up to much, to make her "complacent".  That is so awful and I feel very bad about it.  That's not what I want for her.  That's not what she would want for herself.

Last night was the first night without it.  So, now it's wait and see.... The Dr.'s at USC, also thought this was not right for her.  They told me about a trial she might be eligible for.  

I'm hoping to reduce the amount of drugs she takes anyway.  Here is her list!!
reminyl-this is more for early stages...
namenda-this is still recommended for later stages
lisinopril-blood pressure

USC Research Program

Memory and Aging CenterUSC Alzheimer Disease Research Center

Even though my mom is beyond help, she has always been a very sensitive and caring person and liked to help others.  I know she would never want anyone she loved to suffer from this disease.  That's why, as a family, we will be donating her brain tissue to the center in hopes of a cure.

USC diagnosis

I took my Mom to USC research center in December for testing and also to sign her up for their research program.  It was a long day, but she did pretty well.  Everyone there is very nice and thoughtful.  I brought Allen's pumpkin bread and they asked her gazillions of questions...they took her blood and I filled out gazillions of paper work.  Jacki, my neighbor and friend gave me this fold up walker to keep in the car.  Thank goodness, they have very long hallways at USC.  Here are all the bags I carry around.  One with her stuff, her purse, my purse and a bag with all her paperwork.  And I don't even have the kids with me.  And I found out what a phlebotomist individual trained to take blood.

Okay, so here is the diagnosis....Alzheimer's/Dementia.  No, great surprise.  I still felt like I would get more answers....The Doctor is very thoughtful.  I guess I'm trying to figure out what stage she is at.  You know... how far does this go....I can't seem to get the answers for that.  I know it goes to the grave, but when, how?  When is she no longer a person?  These are thoughts that go through my head before I fall asleep.  She suggested she was probably a 2 on a scale of 1-4.  Called her moderate.  MODERATE!  To me, she seems severe.  I mean really severe.  She can't go to the bathroom, she doesn't even know if she went or is going.  She doesn't remember anything form second to second.  She can't dress herself, take care of herself.  Jesus Christ, she doesn't even have any friends, and the memory she does have is all messed up and jumbled and erratic.  I feel frustrated too.  Then she told me you know it's a ....what's the word, deteriorating disease.  Right, I know.  It's going to get worse.  It's going to get worse.  So, I asked what does worse mean.  I do want to know.  Is that wrong wanting to know?  I don't want to fix her.  I want her to be happy, to be herself, I want her at peace.  I don't want it to get worse.  I'd rather it be over than worse....

Art as distraction

This is my time...5am - 6:45.
This is when I draw...
This is when I don't think about anything but light and shadow and color....
I've done this 9 mornings in a row....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Original Peggy

This is Peggy and her twin sister Lois...
I think this is why she refers to herself as "we" all the time.  Lois died in her 20's from a fallopian tube pregnancy.  She left behind a little daughter named Peggy.  Who grew up to be our beloved Peggy Lu that appears randomly on this blog.  Peggy took care of Peggy until her father remarried.  My Mom told me (a long time ago) that she always regretted giving her back.  But, if she didn't she might not have ever adopted me...Lois.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Apron Strings

I bought myself this 70's style apron at a thrift store because it has oranges on it, but really because it reminds me of my mom.  

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reflection of Me

When I see her, I see me.  I see my daughter and I see Peggy looking at me when I was her age.  Gidgey and I have the same smile, and I keep thinking about my Mom taking care of me when I was little, that she was there.  I don't remember her then, I was too busy being little.  I see her standing back and watching me become independent, the way I watch Sunny.  But, I didn't see her then.  I see her now.  I try to remember her through them.  Maybe that's why my girls are such an important part of remembering, not just for her, but for me too.  It's so weird!!! Where is she?

Next time...

I learn something every time I'm with my Mom.  You know what I would do different, or what I might do differently, or what not to attempt.  This time I learned that next time I think I will pack our own lunch.

Drive-all the way through....

We spent the day with Nana Saturday.  That was it.  It's best not to have an agenda, just be with Nana, whatever that entails.  We go to Sunrise.  Gidget understands her so well, she goes up to her and gets right in her arm and says "Hi, Nana my name is Gidget"  I'm not kidding.  Kids are so aware of what's going on, and us grown ups just THINK we do.  They are about to eat lunch but we decide since it's such a nice day and she is already dressed, to go for a drive...thru.  On the way to Carl's Jr. (which we have never tried before) something smells stinky... is it Gidget?  I think it's Nana.  So we stop at my house and we get everyone out of the car and up the hill and into the house and onto the potty....yep, it was Nana, but not yet, thank goodness.  So we hang around while she wonders what she is doing in the bathroom, while all of us know exactly what she is doing.  (God I hate revealing this private stuff about her, but it's honestly just stuff and it's not about's about the disease)
Okay, let's try this again.  Down the hill everyone in the car and strapped in, including Bee the world's famous dog.  That's what Peggy calls her anyway.  We get some hamburgers and fries and eat it by a park.  Bee likes it too.

 Nana watches me and the kids and the dog and it's actually quite lovely, everyone is having a good time.  To get the kids to leave I bribe them with frozen yogurt....
We get a parking spot close to a new place, in a mini-mall.  Everything is in a mini mall in LA. I get everyone out, including Nana with a walker across the crowded parking lot and the darn place is not open yet!!! UGH!  Do you know how hard it is to get a 6 year old a 2 year old and and my mother safely across the parking lot?  Okay, here is a bench, sit down everybody and don't move!  I go get apple juice and ice tea next door.  ANother car leaves and I pull up right next to them and everybody back in.  "Hey, what about the ice cream?"  Darn, they are on to me...the apple juice didn't quite cut it, "Well, maybe next time..."

We drive towards Sunrise, Allen is at Peet's coffee which is on the way, we stop by to say hi, and he brings us yogurt!!!! Yeah Daddy! THank you! Everyone is happy, including the dog and we are energized and ready to take Nana back up to her room.

We sit down on the couch and the girls play...just about ready to go home, and Bee pooops on the carpet, and goes and poops on the carpet  in the hall and .....oh, I'm so sorry, so Mandy helps me clean it up and we all go home.