Sunday, January 26, 2014

Getting Over the Sleepover

Last night we kept our granddaughters for a "sleepover". It worked quite well until the sleep was over--about 3 a.m. Even though they obediently tried to go back to their makeshift bed of sofa cushions out in the living room and go back to sleep, it just didn't happen. They stayed in the living room, but it seems little sister was a jabbering fool, not allowing sleep to come for her five-year-old sister.

Grandpa couldn't wait to fix their Sunday morning pancakes though, so he went out at 4:30 to start their breakfast. I, of course, went out as needed for my mediation services. There were only a couple of outbursts (by Grandpa, of course), but none of us got any more sleep after that. (Good thing we had all retired shortly after nine the previous night.)

My daughter called to tell me she was coming to pick them up and offered to take Grandpa for an outing, just her and the girls, to give me a break this morning.

Just before they headed out the door, I mentioned that they hadn't had any sleep since 3 a.m. A temporary look of fear swept over her face, but she was locked in. So I have the house to myself. And she has, well, let's just say I hope she survives.

God gives mothers and grandmothers the patience of saints. Heaven knows we need it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Whose Child Is This?

The evidence is mounting that my granddaughter has dementia. It is evidently of a very early-onset variety, but she certainly mirrors her grandpa's symptoms, the more I'm around the two.

For instance, when my three-year-old granddaughter came in the house the other morning (my turn to babysit that day), she was toting a small pearl necklace with a cardboard toilet paper roll threaded on it. Beaming with pride at her own creation, she offered me her new customized jewelry, a string of pearls with a toilet paper roll dangling daintily in front.

I was only slightly saddened to discover that it was too small to fit around my neck, but she quickly thought that our little dog would undoubtedly love to wear it, so we had to try it on her. I must say it was a perfect fit, even though the string broke within an hour, and we had to retrieve all the scattered pearls and of course, the toilet paper roll before they got lost.

This incident involving the toilet paper roll reminded me of something Dean has been doing for awhile now. I have to bury or hide anything of a disposable nature like cardboard paper rolls or plastic bottles, because he wants to find a place for them somewhere in our house. Not quite the decorative effect I desire, and besides our storage space is pretty limited.

Then he gets in the mood to leave love notes for me all over the house. Very sweet, but somewhat a waste of good notepad paper. And this is something he's always telling the granddaughters not to do. They get in "scribbling moods" too.

I'm not getting too worried about who has dementia and who doesn't around here though. There are days when I'm forgetful, easily frustrated, and generally in a cranky senior mood, or maybe it's a toddler mood, come to think of it. I suppose we are all just human after all. And God loves us just the way we are, with all our quirky, juvenile behaviors. We're ALL God's children!

bought this mug for Dean awhile back and was surprised to find out how much he liked it!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sweet Respite

Yesterday was an unusual day. No Dean--he was at his day structure program. No babysitting for granddaughter. No pressing blogposts to write or phone calls to make. My housekeeping was up to snuff--no laundry or dishes to wash. The dog had even had a bath and the bird cage cleaned. And there was no shopping or errands to run.

I ended up taking a leisurely shower, watching a few Andy Griffith shows, and calling an old friend. After that I took a nap. Yes, I took a nap. Felt like I'd been on a short vacation.

I'm on a caregiver respite advisory board for southeast Nebraska, and have been "talking" about respite for months now. But yesterday I actually "felt" respite. This is what we're trying to give caregivers, isn't it?

Time to do nothing is really nice. But in most cases it's just respite to get away from direct caregiving to the care receiver. There is such a mountain of things that caregivers do that it's almost impossible to get away from them entirely.

I'm glad I got to experience true respite even ever-so-briefly yesterday. It reminded me of heaven. God can give us a form of rest while we're here on earth (the weekly Sabbath rest), but only when we get to heaven can we feel true rest from sin and cares of the world that we crave so much. That's why I look forward to the Second Coming and that glorious rest we'll enjoy with Him.

Jesus--our sweetest Respite Provider

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gnashing of Teeth

 My experience has brought a whole new meaning to the verse that says in the end times there shall be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:51

Insomnia and teeth grinding...who would connect the two with stress. But I can't ignore them any longer. How do you avoid stress when it is under your nose 24 hours a day? Obviously the only thing I can change is my response to it.

But how does one change such an unconscious response as teeth grinding. Especially when it's happening during sleep. Maybe it's a good thing I'm having insomnia, or my mouth would be hurting even more often than it does!

The reason I think these symptoms are stress related is because they are so sporadic. I can go for a few days and not have my mouth hurt at all; then I have several days when I find myself slathering ora-gel and holding hot washcloths to my face all day for relief. I can also sleep almost nine hours one night and the next night only be able to squeeze out three or four.

There doesn't seem to be a pattern with these symptoms. Maybe because as much as I try to schedule and keep to a tight program around here, it just seems impossible to create a pattern for what goes on in my busy caregiving life. That in itself can be stressful.

Plus my to-do lists seem to have a life of their own. The responsibilities and cares of life just keep pouring in. For instance, about a week ago my microwave quit working. Can't blame the thing, it was probably over two decades old anyway. The light and alarm had stopped working a few years back. It was so old it didn't even have a turntable, but at least it heated up our food.

That wouldn't be such a tragedy to most folks. But most folks don't have a family member who forgets to turn the stove off 75% of the time. Having a microwave is the only way I feel comfortable leaving him by himself, so he doesn't have to use a stove.

After looking into many options, I just decided to wait until our social security checks came in and then buy the cheapest one I could find. In the meantime, my daughter and son-in-law brought one over from a neighbor of theirs, and it didn't cost us a thing!

Countless times, God has provided for us that way. It reminded me that trust in God is my greatest tool in fighting off stress. Only when I turn my burdens over to Him can I have peaceful, non-grinding sleep. He has everything under control.

the "new" microwave--compliments of God