I know it may seem as if I have fallen off the face of the earth lately because I’ve posted less often than usual but I am still here.
Well, not my usual “here” as I am in London visiting daughter E and her family. Yesterday, E and granddaughter JG took us to IKEA for the first time. While there are IKEAs in the US, none of them are near our home. E was explaining that in some places, like Germany, rentals tend to have just the four walls so stores like IKEA offer furnishings for whole rooms as a package.
We ate lunch there. Of course, I had to try the Swedish meatballs. They reminded me a bit of the Swedish meatballs my mom used to make using a recipe from her Swedish neighbor. None of this putting sour cream in the gravy nonsense!
I’m still struggling a bit with jet lag but slept almost normal hours last night. Today is the first day of the half-term break for granddaughter ABC and for son-in-law L. We are hoping to do a bit of sight-seeing next week, although we may try to do gardens and outdoor venues as much as possible. We need to stay COVID-free if at all possible!
I’ll try to get some posts out in the coming days. I had intended to write a post about the mass shooting in Buffalo but then the Texas school shooting happened so I need to expand somewhat.
Or maybe I only believe in luck, given that no amount of thought, planning, and preparation seems adequate?
Hard to say…
Was it lucky that Paco, after literally months of not being able to even remember how to even answer his phone, suddenly remembered how yesterday?
I thought that maybe he was recovering some brain function that we thought had been permanently lost in his falls in June.
Or was it unlucky because he called me at 12:45 AM to ask about a dental appointment that was on his calendar that he didn’t remember going to?
I called the aide station and asked for them to remove the receivers from his room. I also hoped that he would go to sleep. It was odd that he was awake at that hour because he hadn’t slept much during the day, either, and lately he has been napping extensively and sleeping all night.
At 1:45 AM, my phone rang again. It was Paco, calling to tell me that his phone wasn’t working. The aide hadn’t realized that there were two wireless handsets and Paco had found the second one, most likely the one on the homebase that was hidden behind his television.
I called the aide station to ask them to get the second handset out of there, which they presumably did, but I, who had only slept maybe an hour before the first call came in and not since, still couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and did a bit of correspondence and finally went to sleep sometime after 3:30.
Of course, I was awake by 7.
On Saturday morning, the nursing home has a singalong at 10:00. Singalongs are by far Paco’s favorite activity, so I had planned to stay at home this morning and spend a few hours finishing touch-ups and a cover letter to submit my poetry collection to a press for consideration, but I don’t know if I have enough brain to do it.
Stream of consciousness blogging is one thing; editing poetry and following detailed submission instructions is another. I’m not sure my brain can handle the second.
It’s too bad I don’t drink coffee.
Or anything with caffeine.
Or that my body doesn’t seem to have the same effects from caffeine that most people do.
So, if I’m lucky, at some point this weekend, I’ll have enough brainpower to get the manuscript sent out.
If I’m really lucky, Paco will retain his phone calling ability while regaining his sense of night and day, which seemed to have failed him yesterday even as his phone skills reappeared.
But, yeah, it’s not really about luck, is it?
It’s about dementia and its progression and my worry and the taxing of my coping skills after so many years of caregiving for a succession of people with myriad needs.
Sleep has not been one of my better skills for, um, more years than I care to count. There have been lots of reasons for this, some of which I can identify and some of which I can’t.
The last few weeks, though, I’ve slept better than I have for quite a while. I think a large part of it is having gotten through several months’ worth of firsts since Nana’s death last year, including the first anniversary of her death.
I’m sure that some of it is also that the COVID infection rate in my state (New York) and especially my region (Southern Tier) is under control and we are able to carefully progress with opening more stores and services. The vast majority of people realize that we have to continue to wear masks and maintain physical distancing and not have large gatherings, so there is hope that we can keep our case number very low, using extensive testing and contact tracing to keep any cases from becoming outbreaks.
I will admit that, although I’m sleeping better than I have been, I’m still not up to seven hours a night, which is – or, at least, was long ago – the amount of sleep that seemed to work best for me. Will I get there eventually or revert to more severe insomnia? I don’t know.
For now, I’m just grateful to be catching some more zzzz’s. *****
Having our granddaughter ABC living in our home has been a privilege.
Now 26 months old, she is energetic and tall enough to climb onto furniture that used to be out of reach. She is still petite for her age, but she is similar to her mom in that regard.
Her bangs are almost long enough to tuck behind her ears.
She loves imaginative play. Lately, she has been running a pretend ice cream shop. She also has been loving eating ice cream, sometimes with sprinkles on top!
She is adding more and more words to her vocabulary and making longer sentences. She will also now address each person in the room when she is saying hello or good-bye.
It’s still a wonderful feeling when she snuggles near you, although if she suspects you are trying to get her to settle down to sleep, she is more likely to squirm to get down and starting running and jumping around in order to stay awake. Her mother used to do the same thing!
She has a new appreciation for books and will sit long enough for you to read each page, instead of just zooming through looking at pictures.
She loves to sing. She takes after her parents, who are both accomplished musicians. She sometimes devises her own codas to songs that she knows or comes up with her own little tunes. It is incredibly cute!
Among her new obsessions this summer, besides the aforementioned ice cream, are sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and riding the carousels. Our county has several historic – and free – carousels in our parks. Sometimes she will ask for dog – pig – cow, because one of her favorite carousels has a dog and a boar among the horses. The “cow” is actually a black and white paint horse that does resemble the dairy cows around here. Another park has all horses, but still has its original organ rather than using recorded music all the time as the other carousels do. This park also has a more accessible playground, which is easier for a small 2-year-old to navigate. Her favorite horse there is a palomino she has dubbed “yellow horse.” When she asks for dog-pig-cow-yellow-horse, we take it to mean that any carousel will do!
And this will all end soon, and not just because summer will come to an end.
Some time in the coming weeks, E’s spousal visa will finally come through and she and ABC will move permanently to London to join their spouse and father L.
We know they will be happy to finally live together full-time, instead of just transoceanic visits.
But it will be so hard to have them so far away after having them so close for so long.
This morning when I arrived at Nana’s room a little earlier than usual, she was still in her nightgown.
It was the one from her honeymoon to New York City.
When she had wanted to change to short-sleeve nightgowns, I had found this pastel one folded up in her drawer, so I pulled it out and Paco brought it over to her. When I was there next, Nana told me she was afraid it wouldn’t fit because it was from her honeymoon! Apparently, she had not worn it much and had kept it in her dresser, because it looked almost like new. I showed her that it was the same size as another nightgown she was wearing, but it has hung in her closet for weeks without her using it.
I am not sure how it came to be that she wore it last night, sixty-five years after her wedding night, but the poignancy of it took my breath away.
I hope that she was comforted by it last night and slept well, wrapped in remembrance.
I have been yawning more than usual this past week.
Last Saturday night, daughter E was lying beside granddaughter ABC, reading her a bedtime story. ABC was having a drink of water from her covered tumbler and, in her excitement, hit her mom in the eye with the bottom of the tumbler.
E called for me and I rang into the room. Her eye was already swelling, so I got her an ice pack and calmed ABC down and got her to sleep.
E had been hit hard enough to see stars and lose her vision in that eye for a moment, so we weren’t surprised when she had a headache the next day. And the next. But then, she started to feel dizzy a lot and get nauseous. I was afraid she had a concussion, so we went into the doctors’ office. It turns out that the symptoms of concussion are very similar to the symptoms of bleeding in the orbital socket, which has a lot of nerves that are very sensitive.
The treatment is also similar to concussion: rest, quiet, avoiding activity and eye strain and loud noises, taking pain relievers, not lifting heavy things.
None of which is inherently easy with a toddler in the house.
It turned into everyone else in the house taking over as much of ABC’s care as possible.
Which brings us to yawning. I have been taking over the nighttime care, sleeping on the couch on the first floor rather than in my room on the second floor. ABC is a pretty restless sleeper, so I would go into her several times a night to cover her or sing her a song or read her a book to get her back to sleep. When my husband B would come down between 5:00 and 6:00, I would sneak back upstairs for another couple hours of sleep, but I admit that I have been tired and, thus, yawning a fair amount during the day.
Last night, ABC didn’t wake up at all, so I got to sleep for a long stretch myself, which was nice and resulted in much less yawning today.
ABC didn’t sleep very well last night and I was helping out.
We looked together at the moonlight casting shadows on the snow in the backyard. We are experiencing a super moon, meaning that the moon is at its closest to the earth in its orbit, so the moon appears a bit larger.
By the time ABC went to sleep, the lunar eclipse was about halfway to totality. It was too cold for B and me to go out in the yard to observe it, but we could see it from our large, south-facing kitchen windows.
Even though it was called the “super blood wolf moon eclipse”, in our area the eclipsed moon seemed more greenish-white than red, probably due to our atmospheric conditions.
During totality, ABC woke up, so I was in her room for quite a while. By the time I could look out the kitchen windows again, the bright light of the moon was back, casting moonshadows from our trees on the snow.
I had tried to follow the advice from medical professionals and magazines to get to sleep relatively quickly, but no.
I did, however, have a poem coalescing in my head, so I got up to write the draft down before I lost it.
Midnight found me just finishing the draft.
Of course, I can’t share the draft. It needs work and it is one that is meant to make its way into my manuscript, so I want to be careful about how and where it is published. Most publishers count blog posts, even in a wee, little blog like Top of JC’s Mind, as prior publication and they won’t publish anything that has already been made public.
It isn’t too late to join Just Jot It January! Any jot will do and there is a prompt for each day if that is what helps you to get a post out. You don’t have to post every day, either. Just link to the post on Linda’s blog for that day to increase your blogging community and find new blogs to read. Enjoy!
Since my mother-in-law died unexpectedly this spring, I have been having a real problem with lack of concentration.
I’m sure it hasn’t been helped by a string of other events that have been demanding time and attention…
I find myself starting something, having something else pop into my head that I need to attend to, hopping over to that – and maybe something else – or two somethings else – before getting back to what I was doing in the first place.
I’m sure it isn’t very efficient…
I realize part of it is the result of my seeming inability to sleep consistently. And the fact that there is just a lot to do on a lot of different fronts.
I think part of it, though, is that it is genuinely harder to concentrate for extended periods of time.
My brain gets tired.
I find myself playing mindless games on the computer while the television is on in the evening. Often, the television isn’t demanding too much concentration in and of itself. I used to use part of evening TV time to visit and comment on other blogs, but I can’t seem to do it anymore.