If you are a regular reader here at the blog, you are most likely noticing the lack of posts. I have recipes to post, and things I want to talk about, but there are only so many hours in each day. I thought I would take the time to catch you up on how things are going with my mom. You may recall that my mother moved in with us last August, in fact yesterday we celebrated her one year anniversary of freedom! I am so happy to report that she is finally beginning to recover!
It has been a year to remember, or maybe we should instead try to forget it! 🙂 For many months my mother was practically bedridden. I cooked every meal for her, I washed her clothes, I filled her water jar, I sliced her braunschweiger. She was able to bathe and care for herself, but just barely. She had extreme hyperacusis and was unable to tolerate hearing any sound, even while protecting her ears with both earplugs and gun muffs (by the way PLEASE do not protect your ears from sound in this manner for long periods of time as you WILL diminish your tolerance for sound and could in fact collapse your tolerance for sound).
For months we communicated with pen and paper. I literally could not speak to my mother. Not only that, she couldn't stand to hear the sound of her own voice – even a whisper was too loud. Talking on the phone was impossible. Daily we sat together side by side to “converse”.
I have to say living with a person who cannot tolerate hearing ANY sound whatsoever can really turn a household upside down. It is hard to convey to people the depth of this condition.
I'm not talking about loud noises.
I'm talking about NORMAL sounds. Like the sound of my keyboard when I type. Or setting a fork on a plate gently. Yes, even gently was too much sound. My mom was in her room, door closed, earplugs in her ears and gun muffs on, and I could not function normally in the kitchen. For months I took my Vitamix into my bedroom, or onto the porch to use it. Not only that, but the stick blender, food processor and hand mixer. It definitely adds more steps to the process when you have to take your appliances outdoors. 😉
My husband and I had to be so careful washing dishes, because my mother would get so stressed out. Did you happen to know that the harder you try to be quiet, the more likely you are to make accidental noise? The dishes clank together, fall over in the dish drainer and sometimes even jump out onto the floor! It was an extremely trying time in our lives.
It did not appear that she was getting better, but worse. We felt we were doing our best to allow healing to take place, but it didn't seem to be happening. The extreme anxiety and depression was taking a horrific toll on my mother, and was also affecting me and my family. Have you ever lived with a severely depressed person? It is difficult. It is excruciating.
I have always believed that allopathic medicine has a time and a place and my mom and I both felt it was time. I began searching for the “right” doctor. Frustratingly, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Either they didn't take “geriatrics” or they didn't take my mother's insurance and one place when I offered to pay out of pocket they tried to tell me it was “against the law” to do that. Or they couldn't work with me, they had to talk to my mother, who could not speak on the phone. I still cannot believe how difficult it was to find a doctor.
Finally we found someone, and she has been a delight to work with. It was one of the hardest things my mother and I have done in our lives to make that trip and step through the doors. We are now realizing it was just in the nick of time as my mother's muscles had begun to atrophy due to inactivity. She couldn't stand very long, or walk very far. She could barely lift anything. We even bought a wheelchair for the rare occasions she had to leave the house for an appointment.
With the anxiety and depression alleviated (my mother's practitioner tells us that not everyone is this lucky to hit upon the right combination of medication so early in treatment), my mother began to recover in leaps and bounds.
She is beginning to feel like herself again. Not only am I no longer washing her clothes, but she has begun to wash mine. She is cooking her own meals, and washing dishes – not only her own, but whatever is in the sink! Six months ago that would not have been possible due to the hyperacusis because the sound of dishes clanking together, even slightly, was too stressful. She can talk on the phone, and actually has the ringer on her phone turned on!
Unfortunately, while my mother was so sick, vandals broke into her home and completely ransacked it. When I finally found out about it, I could not tell my mother. I knew she could not withstand hearing what was happening. It was a total nightmare knowing her house was being violated day after day. My mother thought her home was sitting there safely waiting for her to recover. It was excruciating the day she learned what had been going on.
Finally one day things came to a head – thankfully after my mother began to recover. My brother's ex-girlfriend texted to let us know the front yard was covered with trash, and there was a roll off dumpster parked next to the house. That scared me really bad. I thought the city had decided to take my mother's home. You hear those stories about how some elderly person's home was “taken” by the county or state. Everyone had been telling me my mom wouldn't be able to withstand the shock of seeing the huge mess at her home, but my mother insisted she would live through it. She did in fact live through the shock, and we have begun the process of cleaning up. Most of my mother's possessions have been stolen, but she is finding some of her most beloved possessions are still intact, buried in the rubble.
It's ironic that my mom feeling better and taking some of the burden off me has not helped me to have more time, but has in fact done the opposite. The reason? Because we have been going to her home one day each week. We would go more if we could, but working full time, I can only give one day. There is no air conditioning in the home and it is a painstaking process going through all the papers, debris, broken glass, clothing and everything ankle deep throughout the home. It is very hot here in Arizona. My mother and I am red faced and dripping sweat the whole time we are working there.
I'm detoxing due to all that sweating and that's a good thing. Right?
Eventually I'll have more time for blogging, but for now I only have a few hours each weekend. I miss blogging. I miss sharing new recipes. I miss interacting with you. It's going to take several weeks if not months for my mom and I to go through her home and retrieve everything she wants to keep. That means I won't have much time for blogging, but I'll do what I can when I can. I'm really hoping to resume a normal blogging schedule by the end of this year, so cross your fingers for me, and your prayers are definitely welcome!
Thanks for reading through all the way to the bottom! 🙂