If your family and friends are like mine whenever there’s a family event wedding, funeral, birth day BBQ someone will start reminiscing about things that happened. If they are tipsy or have Dementia things that MAY not have happened are now fact .These untruths are reborn and are told with more passion and descriptive imagery than the events that actually happened. This is where the dementia/memory loss sufferers at the party and the tipsy friends who are also temporary memory loss sufferers become a united front of twisted story tellers.
When my Grandpa was alive he had a saying he brought back from Oklahoma that he would say if someone was lying. “That sounds like one of those Shine Copper deals to me” After many years of confusion I finally asked him who in the heck was Shine Cooper. My mom interrupted and said it was a man who travelled in the summer with a chicken who could play songs on a mini baby grand piano. Later they found out the guy was controlling the keys somehow and had scammed people all across Oklahoma. He was pecking but not always the right notes without help. I was about 10 years old and that’s when I began to wonder where my family got these crazy stories and wondered was I adopted. My grandmother said it wasn’t true and gave me some other elaborate story that was worse than my mom’s chicken concerto story.
Over the years I’ve had my own set of crazy experiences that I occasionally talk about. My older relatives have to trump my stories sometimes and every time they tell it more is added.
Wen I was little I was at the neighborhood corner store and a man took out a gun pointed it at me and told the clerk Elaine to empty the register. Elaine was friends with my uncle Frank who worked at the San Jose Police department. The man said I am going to kill this little N word girl if you don’t. I told him to shoot me because my mom worked for criminal court and my uncle worked for the sheriff’s department. Elaine looked like Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show. Surprisingly she pulled a 45 out of her apron and said I was telling the truth and the guy got scared and ran. Whenever I tell that story my cousin Helen who is still alive at 91 tells her wild west bank robber story. She tells a tale of a black bank robber on a horse in Oklahoma when she was a little girl. She’s awesome and in good health still drives, gardens and travels so she can tell any story she wants to.
My poor mom however doesn’t remember that my dad passed away. At parties she says my dad is on tour with is band and she thinks he remarried because she hasn’t seen him in a long time. One day mom’s manicurist asked me how my dad could tour at such an old age. She saw my face and realized by my expression that mom had been really convincing.He did play in a band but now as I said before it’s in Heaven.
My grandmothers basement was full of old trunks, lots of rope, linen and china. I still have a lot of those things and every piece prompts a story from a visiting relative. The worst thing I found was crystalized dynamite. I made a call to the non emergency dept. and said “Hey I opened this crate at my grandmas and there is dynamite and this crystalized pile on top of it. Hello?” by the time I hung up the bomb squad and the fire dept. were in the driveway and blocked off our street. I asked mom why did she think her mom ever had such a thing. she said probably bootlegging when Oklahoma was a dry state. She said she was kidding but I think it was one of those shine Cooper Deals like Grandpa use to say.
My friends tell me I should do a stand up routine on this stuff. I just need an agent and a chicken who can play a baby grand piano .lol It would be called stories from a deranged caregiver that are so crazy they just have to be true.
I’m curious have any unbelievable events dynamite, talented chickens or other crazy stories presented themselves at your family gatherings? I ‘dl like to hear them. Just comment below.
It’s Saturday night here in Silicon Valley. I’ve been married 23 years so Saturday night isn’t a big deal. Apparently it isn’t a big deal to my young adult kids that still live here either. Um they’re both home one has his girlfriend here so I have an extra one. Oh and my 85 year old mom with dementia is here. My husband is snoring on the couch and my dog is asleep on a lounge chair by the hot tub. My dog is so about comfort. He actually took a cushion off another patio chair and put it on the lounge chair. I keep hearing other moms complaining about their houses being empty and this empty nest syndrome thing . It isn’t the case here people. I know why. Please pay attention so this doesn’t happen to you.
I bought my house when the kids were small. I wanted a smaller home but my husband said he never wanted to move again so just buy one that has everything . We got a great deal. My kids love to swim (yes some black people swim too ) , It was close to their school and just far enough where relatives couldn’t drop in uninvited and eat dinner after work like they did at my mom’s house. I loved the neighborhood . Every window has a view of mountains and Italian cypress trees. My neighbor’s are all either Italian, Vietnamese or Portuguese. They all brought me dinner or fruit the first week we moved in and we still share food with each other on holidays and when my hubby starts the grill up. I love the variety it’s great. You don’t find that anymore in most cities. The problem is my kids loved all of this too and that is why they are still here. They work and go to college but I have plans for their rooms. Instead of an empty nest I have a nest so full it needs to be remodeled. Mom moved in because she has dementia and if you have read my blog before she came with a whole set of issues that I wont go into right now.
So my first mistake was the house is close to two high schools and down the street from an assisted living home for the elderly. Both of my kids play instruments and sing. They are very popular because of this and after school everyone wants to come here and play the drums, use the recording equipment swim and relax in the hot tub. If you read my blog you also know mom’s friends from the assisted living center got out and they were even here a few times hanging out on the patio. So it isn’t just the kids friends it’s my mom’s friends too ! Oh and Rusty my dog has people friends I didn’t know about as I have mentioned before.
So yes they are in college and or working now but we still have kids coming by. The other thing is don’t be too good of a cook. Their starving student friends will come by after work or class and happen to know when dinner is. My husband makes the best BBQ. Our neighbors even bring us meat when they smell our grill so that my husband can season and cook their meat. Its so bad my neighbor next door gets on a ladder and has created a rope and crate system where he lowers whole chickens down to my husband. He also has another one where he gives treats to my dog. When we’re done we just give him his BBq back over the fence. It’s crazy.
The other thing is don’t be too motherly with their friends. They will come over expecting you to be Deepak Chopra and every time there’s a break up( like every week) you will be there after work listening to their drama and offering left overs.
One last thing don’t let them have a party at your house. It isn’t pin the tail on the donkey anymore. I can’t even go into what happened at my sons last party,but it looked like the Movie The Hangover in my backyard . We just didn’t have any live chickens or a tiger. At least I didn’t see them.
On the up side they both cook pretty well, they are very helpful to my mom and they even buy their own groceries. it could be worse. I would love to have an art room and an extra guest room but I guess it can wait. If I had extra room my mother in law would visit more often so I can definitely wait.
I am the youngest of two sisters. My oldest sister is 16 years older than I am. She is very stylish a world traveler and all around conversationalist. She is “The most interesting woman in the world”
My other sister? Well she’s 13 years older than I am very eclectic and I’ll leave it at that.Then there’s me.I am a caregiver, pet mom, real mom and wife. I dress depending on what life dictates on any given day.
Most of the time I have to walk my very large dog Rusty in the morning. He walks me most of the time. That requires pockets for baggies to hold poop, jeans or sweats and very good running shoes. I pray every morning that we don’t see cats. He is in his own little zone once he locks in on a cat. On those morning I don’t care what I look like but I always run into someone I know on those days. They look at me like I committed the fashion sin of the century. I really don’t care early in the morning at the park with dogs and squirrels what I look like. By the end of my walk I probably will have ivy in my hair and dog hair on my sweats. One of my friend’s mom’s is retired. She is always at the park that I go to early with her husband. They are in matching sweat suits and she always tells me not to let myself go. She then reminds me how cute I was in college and how tiny I use to be. Thanks a lot and good morning to you too. I really need to find another park but the dog really likes it there. My favorite bakery is over that way too.
Most days when I get home my mom who has dementia is asking where I got the large dog from.
I explain he is mine and I had him since he was a puppy .Depending on if she remembers who I am that day she tells me that I use to dress better.Yes I did before I became a caregiver and a pet mom.
On Sundays people from my mom’s church drop by to visit her. I am in my own home and I am not changing clothes because they are coming by. I am sure if Jesus were here he would be wearing comfortable sandals and shorts like me. I go to my own church early in the A.M. It’s a multi cultural church where no one cares what you have on. It’s great. On one of my grumpy days I let her friends know that. So now just one cool deacon visits her and he always laughs at how I told the others to stop caring what I had on when they came by and that at least I let them in.
So caregivers we know how hard our day is, how we have to juggle work and caring and parenting and whatever else. So if you are in pajamas or Prada you don’t owe anyone an explanation. You are awesome and doing one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I blog about caregiving to inspire other caregivers.
As a caregiver to a mom with vascular dementia I have come to the realization that, over the years, I have become sort of numb and unexcitable during an emergency. I wonder if that’s a bad thing. It seemed to work for Spock.
I hadn’t thought about it really until mom’s last ER visit. The EMT asked me if I was a nurse. I asked him why and he said because I told him all of the clinical terms for what had led up to my mom needing an ambulance that day. Instead of telling him she fainted, I said it was vasovagal syncope. He also said I was so calm and had the meds ready for the ambulance and wasn’t frantic like most people. I’ve been a part of this caregiving thing since my grandparents were alive so I think sometimes I’m so used to caregiving and experiencing emergencies it doesn’t phase me anymore.
To me it was a no brainer because she had this happen at least five times before. Her triggers for her vasovagal syncope are large crowds, too much excitement and decision making. Every time this happens we have either been out at a restaurant, a family dinner or a mall and upon getting up from either the table or the bathroom she faints. These places and events prove to be too much for her and she has a attack and loses consciousness. At first I thought she was having TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) but I have come to know the difference. If she has been sitting a long time and gets up suddenly this happens.
The scary part is right before she faints she becomes really cold, can’t talk, drools and it does seem to mimic a stroke. Bad thing for me is it takes me back to when I was 19 and my grandpa had a stroke at the dinner table. He lived a few years after that event but it was a scary experience at the time. Some attacks are worse than others and if it’s bad enough I do call an ambulance.
This year I have not taken on so much. When relatives want me to do something like babysit or drive them somewhere, I tell them I take care of mom and that’s my job right now. I really want to say in my Bones from Star Trek voice, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a caregiver not a therapist or babysitter!” I can’t add on anymore stress. My husband and I used to do way too much for people which lead to our own health issues.
Some of my relatives think I should get excited and worry like them, I guess, when they have a minor crisis. I really am not concerned when they have a babysitting issue or their boyfriend left them for the 10th time. I just listen, don’t offer to babysit anymore and hope they “Live Long and Prosper”.
I shared this from my other blog on caregiving.com http://www.caregiving.com/2013/09/am-i-becoming-a-vulcan/
Here in Northern California it has been really hot.
Unfortunately some days my mom, Grace, closes her vents if the air is on. She is always cold and wears layers of clothes that we have to peel off her at least four times a day. I try to explain to her that she will have a heat stroke if she wears multiple jackets and sweaters but she continues to dress like a Eskimo.
At times we let our dog Rusty in the house on really hot days. Sometimes he has accidents that we quickly pick up with a pooper scooper.One evening last week we smelled an unearthly smell. I thought it was Rusty our pit bull. But it wasn’t.
I went upstairs with movie thriller music playing in my head. Really the kids laugh because on some days I do hum suspense songs from thriller movies before I go in my mom’s room. I opened my mom’s bedroom door.Unfortunately she had had an accident. I think at some point she had gone int my son’s jalapeno spice nacho chips and they were too much for her.
I stood in disbelief; she wasn’t in there. She obviously attempted to clean everything herself. I started crying because the smell was sooo bad and then on top of that she wasn’t in her room. I didn’t know where to begin cleaning. The bed was soiled, the carpet had stains and there was a trail of Kleenex to the bathroom. Footprints down the hall of you know what and all I could say was ,”Sh..t. !” I was beyond frustrated. My husband and son came upstairs. My son said, Poor mom this is a “shi..y situation. He always tries to make me laugh no matter what. He’s 20 so I let the cursing slide and it did make me laugh at the moment. At that moment I really appreciated the support of my kids and hubby in the sh…y moments; those are the people who stand by me.
My son came back with a box of garbage bags and gloves. My husband did a superhero change and had on a face mask, industrial gloves and plastic pants. I didn’t even see him go downstairs and come back.
I opened the bathroom door and poor Mom looked like one of my daycare kids. I really wanted to wrap her in a sheet and hose her off on the lawn but I think we would have both been arrested. I hate that I have those thoughts but I do.
So after I gave her two baths and we had totally disinfected the hallway, bathroom and bedroom, I appreciated my family more than ever. My husband had Mom’s bed and room so clean there was no trace of any odor
I love my mom. She had me at a very late age as far as pregnancy goes. My husband and I have been taking care of her for about 14 years now due to Dementia. She lives with us and I will tell you why.
When I first bought my home I had a lot of carpet and tile to replace. I didn’t want my mom having to deal with a new home and all the repair noise. We thought the best thing to do would be to place her in this adorable senior assisted living facility about three blocks away. I am very blessed to have found a great home with a pool and all the amenities.
I often visited my mom after work along with our dog. The other residents loved the visits and they were all animal lovers. I bought my home in the summer and California afternoons and nights are so scenic and wonderful for entertaining. After I got the house finished I invited the owner of the facility and my moms closest friends from the home over for dinner. Most of them had early dementia and they could still walk and they were glad to get out . If I had only known what I had ignited in them over the next few weeks I wouldn’t have had them over.
My kids who were in Jr High at the time visited mom a lot and I thought that was great. One day my son came home and looked puzzled. “Mom did one of grandma’s friends from the facility get better?” I didn’t know what he meant. He pointed out the window and there was my mom’s room mate from the nursing home walking by with one of my neighbor’s dogs following her. I was shocked couldn’t imagine how she got out of the facility and how she got to my house. She saw me and explained that I said they were welcome any time. I did say that but I meant authorized times when the nurse from the center was with her. Oh boy. I immediately called the home and drove her back to the facility.
I was really alarmed and worried about if my mom would somehow escape and be lost or on my steps the next day. The nurse assured me it was OK and that this had never happened before.
Well unfortunately it did happen again. It was the same lady and the next couple of days she said I had stolen her Schnauzer Snuggles and she wanted him back. I felt so bad because I had a dog but he was mine and she thought he was hers. I drove her back and then my mom saw me in the lobby. Mom started to get angry and asked why I was spending so much time with her room mate and driving her around. That was an awkward conversation.
By the end of the month I decided Mom should come live with us because if the other lady escaped mom might leave with her one day too. It’s good to have them close by but if the determination is there they just might be on the porch when you get home.
Please make sure the facility is well staffed and has security measures. I can’t imagine what would have happened to that poor lady if I hadn’t been home those few times.
Angela Holmes is a blogger on family caregiving and has taken care of both dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers.