Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Teething? Could it be??

I've noticed today and yesterday that Eleanor has been sporting some pretty cute rosy cheeks. Being the laid back mama that I am, I didn't freak out, or think she was coming down with a wildly crazy disease. However, since it has persisted to today, I decided to look it up, and see what could be causing this awfully cute rosy cheekedness. Persistently, the only thing that I have found that could be causing this is teething. Then, upon reading the other symptoms of teething, I have since diagnosed my daughter as a teether. She hasn't been sleeping as well this week (waking up several times a night), she hasn't been nursing regularly (nurses well, then stops and cries, nurses, cries, etc. etc.). I can't feel any bumps in her gum's yet, but not for lack of trying (the poor girl has had her mouth invaded more than she appreciates).

How do I feel about this, you may wonder? To sum it up in one word: terrified! I'm not ready for my baby to cut teeth. She's suppose to stay a gummy little baby for much longer than this.

A Rolling Tease

Even though Eleanor has rolled from tummy to back, can scoot, can sit up for short periods, she has yet to master the back to tummy roll. I think she is trying to torture her daddy and I because we know she could do it if she really wanted to. She'll roll all the way to her side, one leg and one arm up flies in the air and then over across her body, head twists to the side, all with such purposefulness that you just know she's thinking - "Watch me Mommy and Daddy, I'm going to roll over!" Only to quickly look back at us and roll back to a supine position. She's also grab onto both of her toes, with both of her little hands and then roll to one side while tipping her head back.
(As I'm blogging this he is mid-tease, and has scooted herself 180 degrees in this rolling tease)
We even sat like her greatest fans with camera in hand yesterday, waiting to take video of her rolling from back to belly for the first time. I'm sure today will be the day - I will it to be so! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today is 12/16/1962

At least in my dad's mind that is. As soon as I walked into his new room (moved to a Nursing Home today)today he said, "Today is December, 12 1962" with such conviction, and such a sense of trying to prove that he was cognizant, and not losing his mind that it made me almost break down in tears. I'm hurting inside so much for my father, and everything that he once was, everything that he could have been, and everything that he was never able to be.

Not only did he think today was 1962, he also thought he was married that year, he was born that year, and that I was born that year. I tried to explain how that it would not work for all those things to happen that year, but I think I just confused him more. After I told him the actual date he kept repeating it with a question, like he was trying to memorize it and not forget it. He also could not remember where he was. H had no memory of being transported from the hospital to the Nursing home, and kept saying he was there, rather than the name of the nursing home. I had to repeat the name of it several times for him, and he did the same thing - repeat with a question after it. He had a harder time with it, and kept saying other hospital names - some that I didn't recognize, and must have been places where he'd been before.

When I asked him if he remembered all his sisters' names he replied with:
"Yes, they are Kathy, Beth, Ron, Gina, Heidi. No, Heidi is my mother. No, my wife. No, no. Heidi is my daughter." When I asked him if Ron was his sister he laughed and said, "No, Ron is my brother-in-law." I'm not sure how that worked out in his brain.
When I asked him who his mother is he said, "Daphne. Is she still alive?" He asked that several times, each time very happy to hear she was alive.

I'm just crushed at how his brain has deteriorated so quickly. I'm still optimistic and hopeful that he could get better, but then the pragmatic side of me tells me that will never happen, that he will only get worse, and that reality really depresses me more than I will let myself realize.

The hardest part about today was making decisions for my dad that I had a hard time knowing what to do. I finally decided to mark "DNR" (do not resuscitate), and do not give antibiotics in the event of a life-threatening situation. I know that its the best decision but it was still hard to make.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pre-Preggo Pants Fit!

Well, most of them have for awhile now, but I've had one pair of jeans that I couldn't haven't been able to button up all the way. It has been very depressing, looking at those jeans in my closet for all these months, knowing that they were getting the better of me. So, this morning I said "forget it!" and attempted once again to fit these jeans back on. I must say, it was quite scary staring down those jeans this morning. It was a battle of wills, who will win? Them or me? Well, obviously as my title suggests, it was me! I can tell you that my self-esteem couldn't have felt better about it. See, I measure my weight not by a scale, but by how well do my cloths fit. So, in terms of clothes fitting, I'm back to my pre-pregnant weight. . .but since I refuse to buy a scale I suppose I won't know for awhile.

Even if I am back to my pre-pregnant weight, my body doesn't seem to understand that it needs to go back to looking exactly like it did before I had a baby. My mind understand this, and my will is strong, but my body just isn't getting the message. Even if I can fit into my old jeans, they just aren't the same anymore. Something is fundamentally different about the way they fit. Perhaps it is the little pouch in my tummy that just won't disappear no matter how many baby crunches I do (these of course are crunches where Eleanor sits on my tummy and I give her kiss every time I do a crunch. This is particularly fun for her as she laughs and squeals with delight each time I come up. This then becomes equally motivating for me to keep on crunching, getting more laughs and giggles from her. Its really a win win situation. Maybe the moral of the story is my pouch just doesn't want to go away just so that I will keep on playing the "crunching game" with my baby. . .can pouches have minds like that? I'm starting to believe they do.)

Now I'm off to take the little one to the doctor. She has come down with a seriously nasty case of the diaper rash. This of course has made me feel like a horrible mother, because no matter how much I know that I'm great - it was one of those things I told myself my baby just wouldn't ever get. I would change her diaper frequently, and use the right wipes/lotions/etc. Ha! I've done everything, and yet there it is, a nasty red, bumpy, painful looking rash on my sweet baby's bum. Poor thing. So, off to the doc's we go. . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parrot Act

"How are you feeling dad?" I asked him today.
"How are you feeling?" he replies. Yay! I think - he is doing SO much better.
"Yes, HOW ARE YOU FEELING?" I fairly shout at him, thinking he's having a hard time hearing.
"How are you feeling?" he says again.
"How are you feeling?"

Yea, I had about enough of it at that point too. I don't know what happened, but dad has turned into the perfect parrot. He repeats almost everything I say, or says "What?" or says "yes" or "no" (even if its not the appropriate response). It was difficult to say the least trying to communicate with him. I was able to talk more with his doctor and nurses and it looks like the MRI results will be in tomorrow. It does sound like he's had a stroke recently the way he is acting, but even if he has and the MRI determines that for sure, they won't be able to do more than give him baby aspirin for it.
I was able to gather that he was put on an anti-psychotic today called Geodon, and there is another one that I'm not sure what the name is. We were able to have dad sign some papers that allowed me access to his medical files, which was great - but it took some considerable time and coaxing to get him to do that.

It does look like we are going to be able to get him into a nursing home this weekend (I'm hoping to get him into an Adventist run facility here in town), and rather than be thrilled about it, I am more than a little sad at the thought of him not living with us for good anymore. In the back of my head, through all of this, I've kept telling myself that once they get him on the right medication he'll be fine and able to come back and live with us. I have really enjoyed having him here, helping out (even if his help sometimes turns into more work for me. . .), and needing me. I guess I'm just one of those people that loves to be needed, and I enjoyed the feeling I have gotten taking care of him. Plus, it was great getting paid to stay at home. We will miss the extra bit of income, but that is the least of my sadness, which is odd because it was one of the motivating factors in having him come live with us. Its funny the way things can change so quickly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We have a sitter!!

Eleanor is officially sitting up unsupported. She is still a little wobbly, but she can sit by herself without any help for a good amount of time. I feel like its such a huge milestone! I've been waiting for her to be able to do this for such a long time, it feels like. I know she's right on target (or even a little early as I just read that the average age for this is 7 months), but sometimes I get it in my head that if another baby her age has already done it, then she should be able to too, and there have been plenty of other babies sitting up on their own that are her age. I have a feeling that she is getting very close to crawling too, as when I put her on tummy time she can scoot herself all around the blanket (and off!). Although, I'm not excited about the crawling part. She can stay stationary for as long as possible, as far as I'm concerned. I don't want to babyproof our house!

Sepsis It Is

This feels like the story that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friends. Wait, this isn't Lamb Chops. . .its my dad's life. The hospital called me at 1:37 a.m. to come in and discuss further action with the mental health consult. Long story short, I ended up bawling my eyes out in the E.R. room, literally cursing at the incompetent "consult." He basically told me that there wasn't anything they would/could do for my father. It felt like he kept on saying "up yours!" over and over again. I finally got a decent nurse to help me, and told me she thought my best option was to declare him "Mentally Incompetent" and a "Danger to Himself", and then to further declare that I was unable to care for him (basically that he couldn't come home with me). She said that if I did that they would have to take him into a facility and care for him. So, I left around 3:30 a.m. still upset, but at least feeling like there would be some resolution. When I arrived Dad was sleepy, but coherent and able to answer basic questions (i.e. he would respond when asked questions), midway through the discussion with the consult he was sound asleep.
Now, fast forward to the morning. I talked to a social worker who told me that the nurse had been wrong they wouldn't take my father unless he was suicidal or homicidal (and they had to basically be either caught in the act or have already attempted the act) because their facilities are so full. There aren't enough care providers for the amount of mental health patients that need service. My father is not the only one having this problem. And the kicker? Its only going to get worse with the way the economy is. I can't imagine what "worse" would be like.

The only "good" news the nurse gave me was that they were going to admit him, and they would then be able to get him an actual psych doctor to prescribe him meds. The bad news is that he had serious low blood pressure: 80/50. Scary!

When I went to visit him in the late afternoon I discovered that he not only has low blood pressure, but he has it because of sepsis (a serious blood infection that could have potentially killed him had it gone untreated). I am so thankful for the morning nurse, because prior to the morning no one even attempted to treat him for anything - they were only going to hold him for the psych consult, and then after that they were only going to leave him there until the social worker could place him in a facility (which I think I already said she wouldn't even be able to do).

I can only speculate that the cause of the infection came from when the dentist pulled out a couple of this teeth a few weeks back. That left open sores in his mouth (I know, because I was the one that had to clean off all the blood from the sheets/pillowcases afterwards). Everyone knows how bad he is at oral care (despite my insistence that he brush and floss 3 times a day), so its not unlikely that the infection entered his blood stream though his mouth. That is just my opinion, I haven’t yet had a chance to talk with a doctor.

When I went to visit him last night he was basically catatonic. He would not respond to me, even when I asked him if he wanted me to call Jeanette so he could talk to her, so you know how bad it is! (He would talk to he normally even when it was hard for him to talk with me.) They had to pull him to a sitting position to get him to eat, and even then it was only two bites and then he laid back down again – with that same glazed over look in his eyes. It was such a change from the man I brought into the E.R. yesterday. Its scary how fast he is cycling through these states of being, confused/disoriented feeling like death, to feeling fine and talking normally, to basically being unresponsive/catatonic. I can only pray that he will be able to find some rest from all of this soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dad's in the E.R.

I just wanted to let you all know that I took my father into the E.R. today after everything that happened this weekend (and after some help from a mental health crisis center). Once there I insisted that they give him a CT scan, as I didn't know that one has ever been done for him, and I have become convinced that he is suffering not just from bipolar or schizophrenia, but something more than that. The CT scan came back and the doctors found that he has had many small strokes (not sure how recent they were). I wasn't able to really talk with the doctor because he had a serious emergency come in, and then I had to go take care of Eleanor and now I'm home until they call and let me know the psych consult has arrived and is ready for me to come - which I just found out could be in the middle of the night. FUN!
I did some research and found that: "Several small strokes over several years can eventually lead to problems, the most common of which is vascular dementia if the strokes occur in the memory centers of the brain." Vascualur dementia is the 2nd most common form of dementia after Alzheimers. After doing some research on vascular dementia it seems to me that this is exactly what my father has. . .but I'm not a doctor. . .just a concerned daughter so I suppose I'm not partial.
My research says that:
Patients also show progressive motor, cognitive, mood, and behavioral changes over a period of 5-10 years. Mood and behavioral changes are observed early and, in some patients, may be the presenting feature.
I find it interesting that this is what my father has been treated for his entire life, and perhaps the reasons the medications haven't worked, is because he didn't have what the medications were meant for in the first place! I don't know, this is just a working theory. . .
For those interested, I thought this was a great resource for vascular dementia.
http://www.emedicin TOPIC3150. HTM


Lord Help Me

Dear Lord,
I am on my knees to you Lord, and all I need is your help to get me through the day. Be with my thoughts and feelings that I am experiencing right now. Lord, I give you my father and I trust that you will find the right path for him and us. I know that there is a doctor out there who can help us, and I know there is a place that can help him. Help us to find that person, that place. I give to you all my concerns and all my stress, and hope that through my actions and deeds others might see You more clearly (because they aren't my actions, my deeds but Yours).

I felt that I had to write out my prayer this morning to make it even more heartfelt and concrete instead of just feelings. Sometimes when I pray it turns out to be more of a feeling, more picture created, and full of emotions rather than specific words. I needed the specific words this morning to calm me down. Why do I need such strength and calm this morning?? Well, I woke up to not a laundryroom as a toilet, but my father's entire room, and it wasn't just urine this morning that he had used it for either. So after a good hour of cleaning, and scrubbing, and soaking, and frustrations here I am, on my knees.

We will be going in to the mental health clinic after my father gets out of the shower, so I will update later how that goes. When I asked him if he thought that it was a good idea to take him in to a mental health clinic he said "Yeah, yeah I do." So, at least there is some cognizance still there.

On the bright side, we are getting our Christmas tree today!! Hooray for Christmas, and Christmas music, and Christmas cookies. Cookies? Did someone mention cookies. . . .mmmmmm. . .snickerdoodles. . .ahhhh

Bathroom or Laundryroom?

Yes, it is actually 4:00 in the morning while I'm writing this. Why? Well luckily for us Brandon woke up to use the restroom and heard my father pacing in the laundry room (which is right next to our bathroom). He went out to help him and asked him what he needed and dad told him "I'm looking for the bathroom," while opening the game closet. Brandon then of course goes to help dad find the bathroom, only to step into the toilet that my father must have created in his mind. 30 minutes later, after a thorough cleaning of the laundry room, kitchen, living room, and hallway (yes, there was a wet sock trail), here I am, not tired an needing to get this out of me before sleep reclaims me for the night (err - hour or so before Eleanor awakes needing me to feed her). Perhaps I should just give up the fight altogether and blog the night away.

We were suppose to have a mental health evaluator come to our house yesterday, but due to a incompetent system no one came, and so now I am contemplating very seriously taking him in tomorrow. I just don't know how many more mistakes like this Brandon and I can handle.

I suppose I should change the name of my blog to "Musings from a Daughter" (thanks for pointing that our Jeremy!!), but I still have hopes that this will return to what it was intended for soon enough. Hopefully soon all you'll be hearing from me is an obnoxious mothers' rantings about how gosh-darn-adorable/smart/beautiful/hillarious/perfect/etc/etc her daughter is. :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Missing Dad, Missing Dog

I walked out to our backyard tonight to check on Dad, as he had been outside for awhile, and I wanted to make sure he was alright seeing as to how confused he has been today. What do I find? Nothing but an open gate - not to the school, but to the street. I do what any woman would do, and freaked out after checking everywhere in close proximity to the house. Nothing. No dog, no dad. Brandon and I then spent the next 10-20 minutes searching for him (going in opposite directions, and of course, having to leave our sleeping baby in her crib while we frantically search for the rest of our family which was a terrible awful decision that I hope I never have to make again). I feel like an inadequate, horrible daughter. Thank God we found them (roaming on the main highway near our street), I don't know what I would have done. I don't know what I'm going to do now. Dad said he was looking for C.K.'s water dish (he had misplaced it earlier in the evening, and I went out and found it, refilled it, and set it back to where it was suppose to be, all with Dad there watching me). There is seriously something wrong, and I need help because I don't know what to do anymore. I've tried getting him a psychiatrist, but there apparently aren't any in this town that will take MediCal, and I'm at my wits end.

To make it fair

I thought that since I had originally started this blog to help me chronicle my daughters growth, .
that I must not forsake her and so this one is for you, Eleanor.
Wednesday (when I started a blog, but never had time to finish it) Eleanor turned five months. Five WHOLE months! It doesn't seem like that long has gone by since we brought her home from the hospital, but I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that for years and years to come. What has she been up to lately? Besides the face crawling, she's been seriously contenmplating rolling over from back to stomach. She does this great back arch which gets her all the way on her side, but has yet to go anywhere from there. . .

And here is a little note from the star of the show herself - hit it babe! ././//////b n n
''''''ukzcs fdcc erceeeeeinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamm,,,mh,mq3w2,.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

This blog was brought to you in part by Heidi and Eleanor. I had to of course, save the blog several times, as she attempted to erase everything I'd written, and then she opened up about 20 different web browswers. She has become fascinated by the computer, and what I do on here. As we speak, she has taken her hands and wrapped them around mine so that they move as I move. She loves this, but not quite as much when I let her at the keyboard with a free for all.

Thats all folks, it sounds like someone needs a little nap time, so we're out of here!


Dad has been getting more and more confused lately. Its really starting to make me think that he has more of a cognitive mental problem, and not just an emotional mental problem. I tend to think this more and more now that he is no longer on his medication, and I know that it can't be a side effect of any meds he is on.
Yesterday I asked him to bring in the trash can and yard waste bin from the curb to the back patio. He has done this several times for us already. When we left later that day for a doctors appointment I found that the yard waste bin was in the neighbors lawn, and additionally the recycling bin was now at the curb. Huh? Yeah, I was confused by that one too. I had to actually walk him through the steps of how to bring in the trash cans step by step. "Ok, dad, now pivot the trash can. PIVOT, PIVOT!!" (Anyone remembering that episode of Friends with me?)
I have seen him topless more times than I like in the past week as he forgets he hasn't put a shirt on yet. Of course the most typical are the "I forgot if I took my vitamins, I'm going to take some more just in case." NO DAD! I have to yell. I've since of course taken over giving him his medications myself or else he would either a.)forget to take them altogether, or (b.) take them over and over throughout the day not remember he'd already taken them.
Does this not sound like a cognitive brain problem. The beginning of dementia to anyone else?
Oh, and the doctor we took him to see yesterday was an idiot! He barely spoke English, and I knew more about bipolar and its treatment than he did. Granted, he's not a psychiatrist, but he is a medical doctor for crying out loud!! However, the more and more I think about it, the more and more I am convinced that Dad has, and perhaps has always had, something much worse than just bipolar (and I'm not so sure its schizophrenia . . . Dad even said Grandpa never thought that either) .
Anyway, I'm off to consult the Mental Health Clinic here, take him to get his blood drawn, and contact a brain specialist (who has been on TV) that works out of Fairfield who said that if he qualifies that we could get him in for free . . . if we could it would be amazing, as this seems like a very good clinic - not like the crap we got yesterday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Face crawling and anxious pacing

Around my house the mode of transportation for certain members has altered somewhat. Eleanor has taken to pushing her face into the ground, while propelling herself forward. It does look very difficult, and it must not feel good, but it at least gets her some results (not much, but better than nothing). She pivots on her forehead for now, not her heals. (As I write this her face is smashed into the ground, butt in the air with dramatic intentional coughs for good effect) All of this just reminds me that she's growing too fast, and I can't do anything to stop her - nor would I want to stop it or slow it down . . .I guess I just want to savor each moment, each sweet smile, each silly "face crawl" she attempts. She is also learning about "The-intentional-toy-drop" game that all babies seem to be born knowing. There was definitely an intentional toy thrown on the floor, with altogether too much glee on her part. In books I've read, the authors have cautioned parents not to get sucked into these never-ending pointless games, and I remember thinking "Oh yes, that sounds right, uh huh." However, now that she's here, and she's doing it - I just can't help but help play along.

Now in related odd modes of transportation, my father has taken up the "anxious-pace" transportation again. He was doing very good not pacing, but the stress of today's Social Security appointment led him to a frenzy of anxiety that no rational conversation could help. Apparently, the only cure was to get him through the appointment for him to realize that there wasn't anything to stress out so much for. After the appointment was over he sat down with me while I was eating lunch and asked me several questions which is quite out of the ordinary for him. I want to write them down so I don't forget.
1. "Do you have any q-tips? I think I can't hear as well because of wax build up." He has been complaining about not hearing well for awhile now, and I'm going to have his hearing checked at the next Dr.'s appointment he has. I thought this was slightly humerous, and don't think it will work. . .
2. "I noticed you wanted to teach me how to mow the lawn. Do I have to mow the mud too?" Um, no dad, please don't! He then went on to tell me how tired mowing makes him . . . too bad Daddy, you're not getting out of it! :) I told him that just meant that he was getting a good exercise, which is why he will be mowing (he does need all the extra exercise he can get right now).
3. "Do you think Dorothy will want me to come to her wedding? I know I ruined Kimi's wedding weekend for her, and I think she's really mad at me." Since I'm not her, I couldn't say for sure, but I assured him that I thought Dorothy would want him at the wedding, and that she was probably more concerned about him than angry with him for all the extra work he caused her to do that weekend.
So, so far not being on any medications seems to be going well. It isn't causing me anymore work or stress, and he is smiling more, talking more, and besides me almost losing him last night (long story short - found him in the bathroom with the lights off after a half of hour of not knowing where he was - I even went by the bathroom calling his name and he didn't answer. . .only when Brandon walked into the bathroom was he found. . .) overall he is doing just fine, thank goodness.
Please though, do keep him in your prayers - he is by far not perfect, and there are many things that still worry me about him - his forgetfulness most of all.