Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Third Day

Arriving this morning Lily was a little out of sorts anxious and glad to see me. Standard question. “Where have you been?”

“I don’t think I like this place. I can’t really figure out why though.”

I distracted her by going right to morning details like her make up and hair. By the time we finished with that she was on to something else. I left her in her room telling her I had to go run some errands and planned to come back this evening.

This afternoon I received a call from the nurse just as I was heading to the eye doctor.

“Your mom is wandering the halls looking for you. Do you think you could stop in?”

I explained I was on the way to the Dr. but would come as soon as I could. In the meantime I text Ryan to ask him to go right after school which he did.

He said he arrived to Lily saying, “Jesus I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you.”

I arrived a short time later and we took Lily out for 15 minutes and went through the McDonalds drive thru for coffee.

As we were leaving she said, “Now I don’t think I want to come back here tomorrow. I just want to stay home.”

I just keep reminding myself that some adjustment is normal and once the 30 days are up life will be easier.

At present she is eating and I am hoping to head out shortly to go home to fix dinner for the rest of my family.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Second Day

I arrived at Bethany after breakfast anxious to see Lily. I found her with other residents watching Regis and Kelly in the TV area. She saw me and said,  
                                    “Where have you been?”

I could tell she was a little out of sorts just by the expression on her face. However, she was agreeable when I suggested we head to her room.

I asked her how was breakfast and how she slept. She couldn’t remember.

When we arrived back to her room she had a couple pictures off the wall on top of her folded up PJ’s and toiletry basket on the bed ready to go. Not much different really from home where she would stack up all her clothes on her bed every morning ready to go home.

She repeatedly asked me where I was and what I had been doing. I replied “working.” Several times she referred to various familiar items in her room insisting that she needed to take those when she left.

I noticed she was still in the same outfit from yesterday but had applied her makeup and brushed her hair. I had brought her coffee and muffins. So when she finished that I helped her change into a fresh outfit. By that point she seemed back to her old self.

We spent the morning watching the news in her room, walking the halls, and holding the rabbit out in the garden. After lunch there is a big festival going on for the residents which should keep Lily entertained all afternoon.

I feel so relieved that I did not find Lily in a highly agitated state or feeling abandoned.
I really cannot believe how well the move is going.

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Day

It is over -- the first day..........

The last few weeks have been quite anxious for me in anticipation of the first day.  Constant seesawing back and forth as to whether I made the right decision.  Worry and hope fighting it out.  Ultimately after making the decision to proceed, my prayers to God asked for him to slam the door shut if this was not the right path for Lily.  The doors continued to open and all fell into place.

We arrived in time for lunch today where Lily was placed at a table with another lady and 2 empty chairs.  The lady at the table just stared without response to our friendly hellos.  When I pulled out a chair for Lily a lady at the next table quickly informed us that someone else sat there.  So I quickly pulled out another chair for Lily. This was the only time all day that Lily looked at me a little fearfully like I don't want to be here.   I was thinking "just great...." what a way to start when another lady at the next table introduced herself to Lily and told her all the other ladies names.  She appeared to be quite high functioning and friendly.  Shortly thereafter a gentleman was seated at Lily's right and the two of them proceeded to chat for the remainder of lunch.  Once I saw that she was ok I went off with Dana from admissions to sign the paperwork and then left the building to continue my shopping for Lily's room.

I came back around 2pm with my friend Sande who had arrived earlier bring Lily a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden.  After observing Lily chatting in the garden with another lady we proceeded to make her bed with new linens, blankets, and an eggcrate mattess.

Emily and Ryan arrived a little after 3pm and went to find Lily in the garden visiting with her and her new friend for a short while.  They then brought Lily back to the room where she remarked several times about objects in the room she recognized as hers.  She alternated betweens remarks such as,

"This is nice.  I wouldn't mind living here."  to "I am not going to live here."

I never told her directly that this was her new home as she would never accept that.  I learned that the hard way 3 years ago when she came to live with me. 
I am hoping that gradually she will become familiar with Bethany and grow comfortable accepting her surroundings.

We then escorted her to dinner and after we saw that she was settled in and chatting, we told her we had to leave and run errands.  She seemed fine.

I asked Ryan if it was nicer than he expected and he said it was what he expected.  "All old people........Lily is so much better than all of them."
I reminded Ryan Lily is also old and if I didn't do her hair, makeup, and dress her, she too would look the part.  Of course he disagreed.  To him his Nana is a notch above all the rest and I guess that is how it should be.

Emily on the other hand is not saying too much.  She does not seem happy with anything we have done with the room as if no amount of decorating convinces her this is the right place for Lily.  I can't really argue with that either.

So the big test will be in the morning in how Lily responds to me when I walk through her door.  Will she be spitting mad, agitated, more confused, or will she say "Oh there you are."  with a smile on her face. 

Please God let that be the case.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is it Time?

This entry I wrote and submitted to Alzheimer Reading Room over a week ago.  This piece will give you a good insight to my emotions during this time. 

Tomorrow I will be moving Lily to a private room in Bethany.  This last week since I made the decision to go forward has been a mixture of thinking I did the right thing versus "what am I doing."

I pray to God that Lily adjusts well and I don't regret this decision.

The last couple of weeks I have been preoccupied, worried, and out of sorts.  I actually wrote this piece over a week ago and am now just finding the courage to post it.
I feel I am letting my mother down, myself, my children, and all who read my blog.
Any comments or feedback regarding this issue would be appreciated.  I am sure many of you have had to make this same decision.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Sean was the oldest sibling in Lily's family and the only male. He was at least 10 years older than mom. He never married and lived and worked on the family farm his entire life. Lily's mother lived with Sean until she died. This picture was taken in 1984 a few years after I met him for the first and only time. He died in 1988 in Dublin Ireland following surgery.  I believe he was around 66 years old at his death.

Lily remembers Sean as being a good guy who "worked his ass off for years and years. Daddy did not have the strength being diabetic to do any heavy work so Sean had to do all the heavy work. He had a funny nose kind of like a little kid nose." I had to laugh because Lily has a nose like Sean. "Sean liked to laugh alot. He never talked bad about anyone. Everyone liked Sean."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mom and her cousin Hannah

Mom's first cousin Hannah from Dublin Ireland came to visit mom while she lived in Dayton.  This picture was probably taken in the early 90's when she lived in Huber South.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lily and her sister Maureen

My mother was living and working in England when she decided to join her sister Maureen over here in America.  Maureen had come over a few years earlier from Ireland after having been sponsored by a resident of Dayton.

Maureen and her husband Gus went back to Ireland for a visit and Lily traveled back to the states with them via ship.  Somehow Lily ended up separated from them and had a cabin in first class.  She also had to eat meals in first class and ended up one evening at the Captain's table.  To this day she goes on and on about how handsome a man he was and how he looked like Tyrone Powers.  "He had black hair and was gorgeous."  According to Lily though she did not take advantage of this situation and was too embarrassed to say anything considering herself a backward country girl.  We often tease her that she missed the boat.  No pun intended!

Once in America Lily had a rough time adjusting and was very homesick.  She cried often and if had the money would have headed home.  Eventually she met my Dad Norbert and married him a year later.  She made my Dad promise to send her back to Ireland within 5 years to visit her mother.  True to his word Lily did go back to Ireland for a long visit with her mom five years after her arrival. My Dad's parents came to watch my brother and myself while she was gone.

Unfortunately Lily and her sister Maureen have not spoken since my Uncle Gus (Maureen's husband) died in 1978.  Curious how a death often leads to disharmony among family members.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


"Look Montgomery lost 20 percent of his jobs.  I am going to call him up and tell him about it!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Doing a Jig

"Mom, what are you doing tonight?"  Ryan said to me.

My response, "Nothing special."

So he turned to Lily and said, "Lily what are you doing tonight?"

"I am going to do a jig."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Freshman Dance Assembly Fall 2006

This was about 6 months prior to her moving in with us when I was making repeated trips to SC and bringing her back for weeks at a time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What We Used to Say!

As Lily was eating her breakfast, our two pugs, Rudi and Molly, were sitting on the floor watching each bite of food and yelping for their fair share.  Of course, they rarely do this with anyone but Lily.

When we ask Lily why the dogs only beg from her.  She always responds that she has no idea because she never feeds them.  Unfortunately for the dogs they have both put on weight since Lily moved in 3 years ago.

This morning the dogs were carrying on as usual and Lily says to them,

"Hold your britches.  That is what we used to say."

Do you think she meant "hold your horses?"   lol

Kerry & my husband Dan

I can't really contribute her missayings to Alzheimers as that tends to run in our family.  In fact I have a friend that also does that and coincidentally has the same first name as mine.  And it is even spelled the same which is fairly unusual for a girls spelling.   Anyway in her family they call it "Kerryisms"  which after hearing I also adopted.

So maybe we should just call it "Lilyisms!"

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kroger Deluxe

A running joke in our family was Lily's frequent reminder that Kroger deluxe ice cream is the creamiest. So of course

whenever we buy some we have to say, "Look Lily, it's Kroger deluxe.....the creamiest," which always makes her laugh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Meeting Alice

"Mom, how was your day with Alice?" (her aide who has been coming to see her about a year)

"Oh good.  She is nice, but I don't know her very well.  Today is the first time I met her."

"You just met her today?"

"Yes, I saw her outside so I went down to the curb to talk to her."

"But wasn't she in the house today?"

"No since I just met her I didn't want to have her in the house."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Today Ryan picked up Lily from St. Leonards and while driving home through a neighborhood of nice homes Lily said,

"These houses make me sick."

Ryan looked at her curiously and said, "Why?"

Laughing Lily said,  "Because I don't have one!"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nana Lily & Ryan

Watching them walk together warms my heart to bursting.
I am so proud of how he takes to her, watches over her, helps with her, and loves her unconditionally.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Daily Exelon Patch Change

" Mom, lift up your shirt.  I need to change your patch."

"Well, what is that for?'

"To help your memory."

"Oh I think my memory is pretty good.  Nobody has ever told me I was talking someplace else while I was still here."