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JUICYLOVE2's Photo JUICYLOVE2 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/22/11 11:41 P

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I am most grateful for a very happy day.
I took excellent care of myself today: I prepared and ate healthy meals and snacks.
Did thirty minutes of cardio.
Had a soak.
Went for a mani-pedi.
Met a friend for dinner.

My battery is recharged and I feel great!

Greetings to all my Sparkteam Caregiver Children--I wish you sweet dreams and a good night's rest.

XOXO

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COOKIEBAKERCAT's Photo COOKIEBAKERCAT Posts: 3,839
5/22/11 6:49 A

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Edited by: COOKIEBAKERCAT at: 9/2/2012 (14:10)
�Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.�

"See You "Lighter"........Cat =^..^=
JUICYLOVE2's Photo JUICYLOVE2 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/20/11 7:03 P

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It is my second week back at work. I am grateful for the normality of it but just can't seem to get enough sleep--I feel tired most of the time and do not understand that.

My mother has stabilized and has not had any major issues in the past two weeks and I am grateful for that, at the same time, she does try to manipulate constantly and I find this challenging and wearing.

The weather today is amazing and I am enjoying sitting out on my balcony, sipping coffee and inhaling the sweet spring air and marvelling at the lush greenery. Life is good. XOXO



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MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/20/11 9:16 A

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That is great Soaringphoenix, so glad to hear that.
I have no plans yet but never know with my family. Only thing I know is will take mom out for a ride. Been wanting to take her out more but it has rained all week so far. Yuck.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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CD4091560 Posts: 1,754
5/20/11 12:01 A

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well i have good news to report. I contacted a church in my area for a ride to green bay. I was able to get one so I will be seeing the endocrinologist. Finally something is going right.

ANGORA4's Photo ANGORA4 SparkPoints: (33,308)
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5/19/11 10:43 P

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SOARINGPHOENIX, so sorry that you had ride issues, hope the cravings can be cured soon.
MOKAY, what a sweet thing, a tea party. You do such a great job.
Memorial Day is coming up in two weeks. Is anyone doing anything special?


"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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CD4091560 Posts: 1,754
5/18/11 11:09 P

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hi all
I had to reschedule two appointments this week since one my ride never showed the second I could not get a ride. My salt cravings are still intense as are my carb cravings. I am going to see the ob gyn next mon. Hopefully he can figure something out about my hunger issue maybe put me on another pill or something.

MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/18/11 7:36 A

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Yes Judy that is how I felt about her getting the chair. They are having one made for her and that will be even better.
Taking cookies to nursing home today so the ladies can have coffee/tea and cookies. They are in a lock down for a few days because of health issues. Can not have it spread around the place. So woman are getting a bit stir crazy. We can sit in sun room and enjoy some conversation(not really, most have memory issues) and good cookies and I will enjoy my apple. LOL
Well gotta go and make the cookies. Check back again and remember you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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5/17/11 7:14 P

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MOKAY, so sorry to hear of all the cancer issues, but glad the new chair is working for mom, woo hoo!

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/17/11 9:02 A

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Popping in to check up and see how everyone is doing. Seems you all are busy.
A woman I made friends with at nursing home is dying from cancer. They do not expect her to make it much longer. I was talking to her youngest son and felt so helpless for him. I sat and let him say what I think he needed to and was praying for the right words to say back to him. His mom is young, around my age and it has already reached her brain, so sad.
Mom is doing the same maybe a bit better, because of her new wheelchair. It tilts and that seems to be making her more comfortable.
You are all in my thoughts.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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JEANINE100's Photo JEANINE100 Posts: 3,685
5/16/11 6:09 P

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Hope everyone is doing better this week. I'm feeling better so that helps. Mom is about the same - nothing new there. Work is busy but having off a few days has helped me a lot. Praying for all of you. I'll post as I can.

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MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/14/11 8:44 A

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Sorry to see so many having so much trouble. I pray it all gets better soon.
Got mom a temp new wheel chair and it is the type that tilts back so we can get her off the bottom more. She is doing good. Today after her dialysis I am getting her back to nursing home and then off to do the survivors lap of the relay for life here in my area. First time for me at least if I make it this year. I am walking as survivor and in memory of my Dad, Grandma and Aunt, also for 2 Aunts that are battling it now and my youngest daughters dog(meme). We just found out she has it also. My youngest is so upset and worried about her dog. She called yesterday and told me about it. So I said I would walk for Meme also, that made her feel better.
I hold you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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5/14/11 12:37 A

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I'm so glad that you were able to pop in and let us know how things were going. Looks like the last few days haven't been all that great for many of you. So sorry.

It's hard enough just keeping yourself in line, yet alone dealing with others that are definitely not on their best behavior. I'm so proud of all of you. Despite the difficulties, you keep on keeping on. Good for you!

Courage isn't being fearless. It is doing what needs done, despite the difficulties. All of you show great courage, doing what may be difficult, and yet finding good things as well, like the little great nephew that makes you smile.

Truly, that has been the only way I've been able to deal with some of the hard things, is to find good where it may be had, and keep my mind focused on the good. I can't change others, I had to change me. It is still frustrating some days, and I am glad you have been able to pop in and release a little of that frustration.

I visited a friend this evening, today was her visitation day with her MIL, who is in late stage dementia. Some things just aren't easy, especially when the parent is hallucinating, talking to people that aren't really there. But it's real to them, and that's tough.

Same with those of you with family members that take advantage of the parent. It isn't fair, it isn't easy, and yet often the parent continues to coddle the weak child, hoping they can do something to make a difference (even though we all know it really harms the child more than helps them). It isn't fair that the weak one gets all the attention, money, gifts, time. . .and the exhausted helpful one often gets nothing but grief. Yet often the parent appreciates being needed, even if it is just for money they can ill afford to give.

They did a study of milk cows (bear with me). They divided them into three groups. One group was treated with great love and care. One group was yelled at, with no affection given at all. The control group was given the least possible contact, neither good nor bad. Which group do you think gave the most milk? Yup, the ones that had the love and good care. But oddly enough, the mistreated cattle gave the next most amount of milk. Even bad attention was perceived as attention. The ignored cattle gave the least milk and were in the worst shape, even though all groups received the exact same amount of food and water and medical care.

Many of our parents dote on the 'difficult' child, and perhaps part of that is the same reasoning. Bad attention is better than no attention. And being needed is important. Put the two together, and often the difficult one really can get the parent's pity and protection. If you try to intervene, you are about as welcome as a person getting between mama bear and her cubs. Doesn't go well, does it?

So, we sometimes need to bite our tongue, and let both of them make their own mistakes. Parents will probably need the money later, and the difficult child will be in much worse shape when one day there is no one left to bail them out. Sad, but true. Some people just plain have to make their own mistakes, and are slow to learn from them. And I think most of us have someone like that in our circle of friends and family.

So, I'm proud of you for recognizing that their behavior isn't healthy, and are choosing a better path for yourself. Good for you! You will be blessed far greater by your choices, than whatever money, etc. the others wheedled. Their money will soon be gone, your good choices and healthier life will last far, far longer. And be much more valuable in the end. You have learned to do the difficult, and often with a smile! You have learned where your priorities lie, and are doing something to follow that belief. You are doing things here at Spark to make your life fuller, healthier, longer, and more productive. They are all gifts you are giving others, as well as yourself.

With every gift of time, money, prayer, energy, patience. . .that you give others--you also give yourself a gift, it is like strength training for your character. You are doing the difficult lifts and stretches and crunches in your spirit life, strengthening your very soul. It is a brave and wise person who exercises more than just mind and body, but exercises the spirit as well. As caregivers, you have taken on this challenge, and while the way may be hard, the benefits are many. Hang in there.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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JEANINE100's Photo JEANINE100 Posts: 3,685
5/13/11 6:01 P

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I know what you are going through with the manipulation and name calling. I get that from my sister all the time and it is hard. She drinks and when she drinks she is terrible and when she stops she can't remember what is said and thinks we should go back to being friends and just like it was. I can't I remember what was said. This is how my week has been with her and I'm so tired of it. Mom is really not good - feeling up with water which is not good. I worry about her. I wasn't feeling good on Monday so that didn't help. This week has just been bad. A dear friend passed away I found out today and I've been down all week. I just want to scream. The joy was seeing my great nephew today and spending time with him. He is wonderful and makes me smile and laugh. I'm plain tired and don't want to deal with anything - I just want to quit. I won't. I didn't weigh myself this week, because I know I have been off. Sorry, but I'm not at my best.

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PATRICIA703's Photo PATRICIA703 Posts: 882
5/13/11 5:49 P

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Sorry that must be hard with the manipulation and name calling. Know that we are all here so you can vent and no one judges.
I had said my brother had left for another state, well he is back at my moms( which is next door, we own the house). Said he came back because his income tax check was sent to the wrong address. He took mom out today and i worry every time he takes her he has taken her to the bank Tired of the lies and the stress.
Patricia

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145HEALTHY's Photo 145HEALTHY Posts: 1,741
5/13/11 1:49 A

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The past 3 days have been going smoother with Dad. We've been spending time during and after dinner having philosophical discussions, and I think it's been helping. Dad says he's trying to get along.

Maybe I spoke too soon. Dad just woke and is name calling. Still, life has been better the past several days.

Got to go check on the 'kids'.

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PATRICIA703's Photo PATRICIA703 Posts: 882
5/12/11 3:36 P

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Good poem! :)

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ANGORA4's Photo ANGORA4 SparkPoints: (33,308)
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5/12/11 12:04 A

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By the way, I got a kick out of HISTORYBUFF's blog, it's a poem about aging, at www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
ur
nal_individual.asp?blog_id=4226051


"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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5/12/11 12:03 A

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So sorry you aren't feeling well, hope that clears up quickly. The Mother's Day gifts sounded perfect for her. Great choices.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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PATRICIA703's Photo PATRICIA703 Posts: 882
5/10/11 1:55 P

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I am sick today with a fever. Must have some type of virus. This is our first 80 degree day and it doesn't feel good when you have a fever.
For Mothers Day I got mom two geraniums ( she always loved gardening and I planted them in her containers for her). I also got her three beaded bracelets. She loves to wear them. It was nothing big but she enjoyed the gifts and it made her smile.
Have a good day all!
Patricia

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5/10/11 12:41 A

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Well, it looks like things are going pretty well out there. Glad Mother's Day seemed to go okay for everyone.

How do you handle holidays with your parents? We took flowers, a snack basket (healthy snacks), and a card up to MIL. I could hear her in the kitchen with her daughter, asking why on earth we brought flowers and food? SIL explained it was Mother's Day, but the light bulb didn't stay on for very long. Sometimes holidays can be very confusing for them. Sometimes I found it easier to just skip the fuss.

What about you?

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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CD4091560 Posts: 1,754
5/9/11 6:59 P

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hi everyone i am doing okay just hurting a little bit from doing st after not doing it in more than a month. I also hurt my toe on one foot by stepping in a cat food can. I see the ob gyn next week as well as my endocrinologist will let you all know how it goes


145HEALTHY's Photo 145HEALTHY Posts: 1,741
5/9/11 1:17 P

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Good Monday to All!

We had a fairly good weekend here. Took Mom & Dad to greand-daughter's 4th birthday party at Underwood's Family Farm (Great place. Check out their website http://www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com ) in Moorpark, Calif. Mom loved chatting with my ex's family and Dad loved being outdoors as well as chatting with other folks.

Sunday made Dad go to church. Told him he didn't have to go in, he could sit in the car. He choose to attend and had a good time. Church always does a Mother's Day tea . Tables are setup so folks can have tea and goodies during the service. After the service the teapots (purchased at garage sales & thrift shops during the year) are given away like doorprizes. Mom had a good time ,also, but was disappointed that she lost her ticket for the doorprise drawings.

All in all, it was a good weekend. Hope your's was too.

(Hope my English teacher isn't grading this post. lol)

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MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/9/11 7:12 A

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Popping in to check on all my friends here. Hope you had a quiet and uneventful mother day.
I took mom out for a ride yesterday. We had lunch and ice cream while sitting in car by the ocean. Mom did not eat much lunch maybe 2 or 3 shrimps but she devoured the ice cream sundae. LOL Then back at nursing home they had a guy singing and strawberry shortcake. So Mom had coffee and a little strawberry shortcake and then I took her to the nurses station and gave her some goldfish crackers and she seem to be in good mood. So all in all a very quiet peaceful afternoon with mom. Gonna put the picture of her and my youngest daughter and myself from yesterday up on my page here.
Sorry to those that are having issues with other family members. It can be very hard. Good luck and certainly hope it gets better for you.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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5/8/11 10:57 P

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So sorry to hear of the sibling trouble. It is hard when you're not just dealing with the aging process, but family troubles as well. Sadly, all too common.

Things went well with MIL, made it throught the rest of the day with no troubles. Now ready for a nice, long, long, sleep (I hope!).

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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PATRICIA703's Photo PATRICIA703 Posts: 882
5/8/11 4:33 P

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Thinking of you all on Mothers Day! Beautiful day here, weather wise, sunny and warm, finally!
I have had some difficult times lately with my mother and my younger brother. He manipulates her. She would give him anything he wanted when she wasn't so forgetful now it is worse. He actually came to live with mom next door, just showed up one night last week. My nerves is shot but he left for another state this morning. I am still going to have to do something about moms banking. He drove her to the bank again. I have the check book but that didn't stop him. Take care all
Patricia

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FRANANN3's Photo FRANANN3 Posts: 1,317
5/8/11 2:36 P

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Happy Mother's Day to ALL you moms!! Enjoy your day... cherish the memories.

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COOKIEBAKERCAT's Photo COOKIEBAKERCAT Posts: 3,839
5/8/11 1:53 P

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Edited by: COOKIEBAKERCAT at: 9/2/2012 (14:09)
�Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.�

"See You "Lighter"........Cat =^..^=
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5/8/11 1:49 P

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JUICYLOVE, so glad to have you with us on the journey. It can be frustrating at times. So glad you were able to get a break and recharge.

Jeanine, good to hear from you, glad you could stop in and give us an update.

Hope all of you are managing through Mother's Day today.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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JEANINE100's Photo JEANINE100 Posts: 3,685
5/8/11 12:25 P

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Hello everyone. Just got a chance to stop in and see how everyone is doing. My mom is about the same - I'll be going there later and my nephew and his family will join me there. It should be nice. My nephew was there last week and agrees that mom is not doing well at all. We are just taking it day by day. Juicylove2 hang in there - my sister is very manipulative and it is hard. Hang in there - this is a great group to be in we are here for you.

Take care all and to all the Mother's Happy Mother's Day have a great one.

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JUICYLOVE2's Photo JUICYLOVE2 SparkPoints: (0)
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5/7/11 9:10 P

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I am sooo pleased to have found this team.
I have had a miserable year and one month but these past six weeks have been the worst.
I have taken three days off because I am totally burnt out and am just starting to feel better.
Three days of healthy eating and daily exercise have been most helpful.
My mother can be very manipulative and this can be crazy making.
I am feeling more releived now that I have a place to vent and get support and listen and share and give support.

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5/4/11 9:48 P

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145HEALTHY, glad you got one good day in. That sure helps. Hope everyone is feeling better soon.

Alida, so glad you could stop in. I agree, you just have to laugh sometimes (though I had to learn to do it in private!). It sure beats crying, which is the other option I am trying to avoid when possible! There are times for it, but I'd much rather laugh!

Trying to get things back in order here, little by little. I try to plant a few things each day, rearrange a few things. . .a little at a time.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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CRAZYPUZZLER Posts: 83
5/4/11 11:35 A

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Hi just popping in to say hi. Thank you Angora and Wonderwonderwho. You have both given me something to think about. Mom is out right now. But at 11:30 last night she decided to start dropping hints that she wanted to go to some concert at 9:30 this morning. I have been very busy the last few days and did not say anything when she started hinting. I knew she also had her sewing club this morning so I figured if I just didnt say anything she would go there instead, which is what she did. But she gave me a little talk before she left on how people never offer to take her any where and that she always has to ask instead of them offering. Which felt like a good jab to me. But I let it go.

Also now when she starts her lectures on politics and news stories on how things should be done her way. I get up and leave the room and take a few minuets till I hear she is fininshed talking to her self. Because she will keep going even if Im not in the room. Sometimes it just makes me laugh. I have to laugh (in private) or ill get to frustrated. She is always right and im always wrong. Oh well. Have to go she should be home any minute. Thanks for listening . Alida

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145HEALTHY's Photo 145HEALTHY Posts: 1,741
5/3/11 6:04 P

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Popping in to say 'Hello'.

Had a good day yesterday. We all needed the reprieve.

Today has been more of a challenge. Mom's sick, not much help with Dad, plus she wants a little TLC.

Dad woke up complaining. Seems no one can do anything to please him. He's steep in a self- pity party as well as he's bad mouthing everyone. Hopefully, when he wakes from his nap he'll be in a better place.

Best to all!

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5/1/11 5:03 P

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Jenn, glad to hear from you.
MOKAY, the ride to the beach and ice cream sounds like something that might tempt her.

It does get hard sometimes to tempt them to eat enough.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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MOKAY54's Photo MOKAY54 Posts: 1,830
5/1/11 2:58 P

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Popping in to say hello to everyone. Been busy with crocheting and mom and watching grandsons and everything else life keeps tossing at me. Mom is getting more quiet every day. She seems depressed but do not know what to do for her. Gonna try to take her out for rides now that weather is warming up but gas is going up. Can not win. But we live near the ocean and can take her to beach to watch the waves and people and maybe get her an ice cream. Will see what happens. Also she is not interested in eating any more. Sometimes she will try a goody but that is it. You are all caught up on what is happening in my life.
Take care everyone and I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Slow and steady will see me though to the end.


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SPARKLES's Photo SPARKLES SparkPoints: (206,771)
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5/1/11 12:38 P

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Hello my dear friends. For some strange reason, THIS is the only team that I "fall off of" the email notifications for posts. It happened again, where I was thinking, Hey! What happened to everybody & I better go check because I know it probably happened again. WHATEVER.

I'll catch up on posts. My schoolwork really accelerated & increased the last couple of weeks. Only have 1 week & 1 1/2 days till it's over.... lol. trying to think with a "kid frame of mind" about summer vacation coming. lol But then I have the Business English coming June 7th, but I'll be doing that online from home, so hopefully that will help me get through it & SAVE GAS...ahem. ($$$$$$$)

Have a new internet provider coming out tomorrow - big installation for Verizon - have to come in & dig hole out front, etc & blah blah. Interpretation: I've got to clean up my house a little. The maid here has been sitting on her butt for several weeks STUDYING & EATING & attending extra hours at school to stay caught up. Nobody has been dusting, etc. Very little dish washing either. Poor DH did them a couple of days ago, & they're overflowing the sink again. Don't know what will transpire if I get a JOB. lol?

Love you all - will catch up soon & comment. Jenn
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Edited by: SPARKLES at: 5/1/2011 (12:39)
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4/30/11 11:21 P

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Jeanine, I'm so glad you could stop in.
145HEALTHY, we're so glad you could be with us on this journey. I know this is really hard on you, this job is hard even when your parents are compliant and still mentally alert. I am so proud of you for deciding you will do what it takes to get healthier, despite the difficulties--good for you!

Sore and tired, today was sheep shearing day, I never thought I'd finish that last big ram. Whew! Glad that part of the job is done. Bless DH, he's out in the dark gathering up the wool I tossed out over the fence (ran out of bags in the pasture). Had to shear the last three sheep by the car's headlights!



"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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JEANINE100's Photo JEANINE100 Posts: 3,685
4/30/11 1:42 P

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145Healthy, I know how you are feeling. I sometimes wish things were different but they are not. My sister is no help to me at all and sometimes it really gets to me. Hang in you'll make it.

Mom is about the same no change. It is just day by day for now. Tomorrow I think my nephew is coming if not his whole family. It depends on if the nursing home still has the flu around. I'll see today when I go.

It is hard for me to post with work and seeing mom. I'll come and keep you posted as I can.

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ANGORA4's Photo ANGORA4 SparkPoints: (33,308)
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4/29/11 3:00 P

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145HEALTHY, I'm so glad you had a chance to stop in. By all means, come and vent whenever you need. Sounds like you really have your hands full. It has to be so hard when your parents don't get along, and your father is so difficult to deal with.

Are there other family members that can help? Often not, but once in a while, miracles happen! My grandparents were kept by separate family members once they couldn't live alone anymore, as they didn't get along all that well, either. It was much more peaceful for all of them. We had GF, and my aunt GM, until the death of GF. Then GM came here. We were blessed to have my aunt help, it wouldn't have worked otherwise.

If your father refuses to be manageable (we don't expect perfect, but we do expect some semblance of civility), are there other options? Can they manage an assisted living or nursing home, or is he too difficult to find one that will keep him?

Is there someone you can hire in once in a while (I know budgets are really tight these days), so you and DH can have some private time together? Marriages can really get strained when there is no relief. Can your parents be left alone for a little while while you go out? I know eventually this is no longer an option, and perhaps you are already in this position.

I am so sorry, I know how hard this has to be--when you are turning your life upside down to do them a favor, and get rewarded with abuse and complaints and outright lies (my mom will tell those kinds of stories as well. She'd say no one ever came to care for her, and I lived there full time and made it my principal job!)

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"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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145HEALTHY's Photo 145HEALTHY Posts: 1,741
4/29/11 3:01 A

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Today was a much better day. Dad was in a good mood most of the day. Took him for a haircut where he had the chance to visit with old neighbors and friends.

Did feel bad when he told his friend to call the police because he's being held prisoner, he can never get out or socialize. Dad forgot to mention that he went out for dinner the day before and at the end of the meal cussed out the server. Have tried to interest Dad in getting involved in senior programs or at church, but he claims the folks at these activities are simple minded, stupid, and he has nothing in common. When asked what he wants to do, he wants to travel. Never mind that Dad isn't capable of driving, walking, standing, hearing, talking, or going to the bathroom on his own, nor can his budget (or mine) afford a trip.

Mom was okay today. She became a little teary eyed when she was talking with an old neighbor explaining the challenges Dad has presented. Granted, Mom tends to be passive-aggressive. She will nag and needle Dad until he gets upset and a battle begins, sometimes to the point of physical blows between the two. Even when told to walk away from Dad, she'll go back in a couple of minutes and pick up where she left off.

Currently Mom is in the upstairs guest room and Dad is downstairs in what use to be the den. All the furniture from the den is piled in the living room or the master bedroom. The downstairs powder room is torn apart so a shower can be added, but the project is on hold until it can be reworked into a new schedule. Had to stop work when Dad was released from the rehab center 3 weeks early after he threatened legal action against the nursing home because he was being "held against his will".

Meanwhile, my other half is having problems with Dad's negative attitude and aggressive behavior, nor does he like that I don't have as much free time to do things with him.

No matter what I do, it seems someone complains. Most of the time I can shrug it off, but when I need to vent, there's nowhere to go for a few minutes of quite meditation to refocus. Even if I lock myself in the bathroom or car, Dad will scream until I answer. (I've tried letting him yell a few times to let him know I won't come just because, and he screamed for over an hour!)

Our home has gone from a peaceful and tranquil place to a pig sty with screaming matches.

But....today was a good day.

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ANGORA4's Photo ANGORA4 SparkPoints: (33,308)
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4/29/11 2:51 A

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By the way, Alida, the whole binge thing isn't just you. When you get stressed out, your body produces a stress hormone called cortisol. It makes you gain weight on less food. It makes you crave carbs and sweets. It's a chemical thing, not a I'm-a-bad-person thing. What you're feeling is normal, it's part of the package. Which is why we all need to learn coping techniques to get around this nasty scenario. Lack of sleep sets it off as well. Which is a common caregiver problem, especially since many of us crave the sweet hours after the loved one has gone to bed, when we can be 'free' to write and do what we want--unfortunately leading to sleep deprivation and more cortisol.

Knowing what it is, we can find things that will help us combat it. Get a healthy amount of sleep is a huge help. As is some of the stress reducing techniques we've discussed.

What do the rest of you do to relieve caregiving stress?

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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4/29/11 2:46 A

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So glad you stopped in today, Alida. We do understand how you feel, many of us have been down that road. My first year and a half living with mom was a living nightmare. I hadn't learned any coping skills yet, and felt like she was constantly running everything in my life. Nothing was to her satisfaction, and I took all those comments personally. I cried myself to sleep every night.

Then I found Spark, and this team, and things started looking up. As WONDERWONDERWHO said, I needed to set boundaries. I had to decide what things were driving me the craziest, and what could be done about it.

What helped me the most:
1. Realizing I was now becoming the caregiver, and so that meant sometimes I had to step into the 'parent' role. Which including making sure mom did the things she needed to do to be healthy and comfortable, making sure she was safe, and making sure she did not endanger my family verbally. She would say demeaning things to my son, calling him too stupid to learn (he was already well above grade level), and useless. It was really damaging his self-esteem, yet we needed to be there to care for her. Solution? When she started her damaging talk, DS and I simply walked out of the living room and did something together in my room for a while. Funny thing was, it wasn't long before that stopped. And my son needed to see me stand up for him. We weren't mean back, but we didn't need to hear negative things, either. I needed to find the boundary, set it, and stick with it. It changed our lives. If she got onto harping on something or another that wasn't to her liking, I could simply tell her it was done the way it was going to be, sorry she didn't like it, but this is the way it's going to be. And then walk away. End of story.

I would give in when I could, as I realized she needed to feel useful, and wanted, and in control of some things in her life. So, I would change the TV when she wanted, it really didn't matter. I could hang up the phone when I was making "too much noise", but only after I completed discussing what was important. That way, she was happy with the quiet, and I was able to discuss what I needed. I did give in a lot, but I had to learn to stand up for the things that were important, so that I could happily (reasonably) give in for her when it wasn't important.

2. I had to quit taking everything personally. A big part of aging is the changing of personalities. A crabby person tends to become crabbier, a negative person tends to be even more negative. Even a previously pleasant person, who has made a habit of not saying something if it wasn't nice, will start becoming more outspoken and difficult. So I had to remind myself it was the disease, not the person. I wouldn't be upset if a person with measles got a rash, it's part of the disease. Same with the difficult moods, it's part of the disease of aging to exacerbate their temperaments, making intrusive parents even more so.

3. Think of a battery powered toy. You put new batteries in, it works great. As the batteries age, the toy works with more and more difficulty. Eventually it slows and stops altogether. That toy is you. You need to find things that recharge your batteries, or you will not be able to continue. Part of the frustration of caregiving, is that you had your own routine of things you enjoyed, that you used to recharge your batteries. When you start caregiving, many of those things don't work anymore, as we give up those freedoms for the sake of our loved ones that need us.

But, I quickly discovered that without a creative, relaxing, fulfilling recharging, I was running on empty most of the time, and the slightest thing would set my emotions reeling again. I had no resistance because my emotional battery was on zero. As your finances and free time and abilithy to get away privately to do things dwindle, so does your usual coping techniques.

You need to create new methods of refilling your mind, your spirit, so when the tough times come, it isn't such a big deal. I never knew this, I just knew I was frustrated beyond bearing, until a fellow Sparker pointed this out. And they were so right.

I always prefer to read a book straight through, no stops. Can't do that caregiving, but I learned to read a page or two to relax me. Even a few pages were better than none. I played games with mom until she was no longer able to do that, at the end, it wasn't very relaxing, so I would invent ways to make the game interesting to me. If we played Gin Rummy, I'd try to go 50 gin, which is more challenging, made it more interesting. I started writing a story, a tiny bit at a time. I listened to relaxing, uplifting, or motivating music when I could, even if it was just a song or two. I started to knit, even if it was only a row at a time. Things that challenged me, interested me, I put back into my life, but in the small increments that caregiving would allow. Walking and gardening helped a lot, too, as it got me out of the house but still available. I even learned to like mowing, as it gave me a little private time without comment!

I would read the Bible more, and ask God to help me focus on him more, and how he was a servant to us, even when we didn't deserve it. Prayer did wonders for me, as it changed my focus from me.

4. I learned to look for blessings. I was so focused on all I gave up to be a caregiver, and how all I got was complaints, and how frustrated I was--that the more I fussed the worse it seemed. It was a definite downward spiral. Finally, I knew I had to make some changes in my life, because there was no hope. I started looking for blessings. At first, it was a real battle, everything seemed dark, dreary and miserable. But, with time, I began to see things. A ray of sunshine, a flower in the snow, a kind word, a smile, a deep breath, being able to see, being able to touch, and smell, and hear, and think. The longer I worked at it, the more blessings I could see all around me. And the more I focused on the blessings, the more I appreciated life. Which began an upward spiral in my life.

5. Plan for coping strategies. You will need them, desperately at times. Skills that help diffuse a showdown, that help your batteries recharge, that help get a difficult patient to pleasantly do what needs done.

6. Hang in there. You have infinite value, you are important, even if you don't feel like it some days. You are worth taking care of. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be in a position to take care of them. If binge eating is an issue, try to have things on hand, easily gotten to, that are less damaging to your health. If you desperately need something to make you feel better (which is why we all do emotional eating), try having healthy alternatives handy, and the bad stuff out of the house or out of easy reach. Things that give you a satifying crunch,or a smooth refreshing taste, without all the calories. For me, I found a lowcal hot chocolate mix. Only 25 calories in a packet, but it gave me the warm fuzzy pampered chocolate feeling I desired, without the guilt.

Many here have substitued walking or other exercise for those frustrating moments, using an exercise adrenaline rush as the high, instead of food. Or maybe a soothing bubble bath, or headphones and uplifting music. Something to soothe your soul without bringing on more health problems.

7. I find that writing in the journal, or here, was a lifesaver. Helped me sort things out in my own mind, I always felt better afterward.

8. These feelings are normal, common, we all have them at times--it's just we don't realize it because we aren't around other caregivers much. You're not bad, you're normal. With normal hopes, dreams, and desires. When we get our feelings hurt, we want something to soothe us. We're all in the same boat, the joy of Spark is that we can go on this journey together. One day, this part of the journey will be past, and we will have learned ways to cope with disappointments, ways to make healthy food choices, ways to appreciate what blessings we already have. We will come out of this stronger, more able to handle life, than we were before caregiving. As the gold ore goes into the fire, but comes out purer, more beautiful, more useful--so is caregiving to us. We will emerge from the fire stronger, and more beautiful, if we allow the trials to strengthen us instead of break us.

Hang in there. We really do understand, and care. You can do this. You are worth it.

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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WONDERWONDERWHO's Photo WONDERWONDERWHO Posts: 465
4/27/11 10:15 P

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Oh boy. That sounds like a lot to put on yourself. Have you got a support system in place with friends, family and/or professionals who can help you sort out some of this? Caregivers need care too! You also have rights and it sure sounds like setting some boundaries would be a good start.

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CRAZYPUZZLER Posts: 83
4/27/11 10:02 P

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Hi everyone! Things have not been going so great. Mom is still giving me a hard time. She is now an expert on everything in my life, except how I eat. I feel at times like im loosing control of my life. She is 78 year s old now. She lives with me but treats my house like it is hers. I want her to feel at home but I want to feel like I have some control over my life. She treats me like im 16 and need her to tell me what to do
I now have a lap top and she sits beside me and watches everything I write.That is why I dont get on to often to write my feelings. Also when she goes out Ive turned to binge eating. I dont know what to do. Ive approached an eating disorder clinic in our city but they are to busy the wait list is like a year long. So Im on my own. I really blew it over easter. We hosted the family gathering and a lot of sweet foods came into the house and noone wanted to take their extras home. I put a lot of it in the freezer but I know it is still there. I dont know exactly why i binge but I do. Im up to 310 lbs now and its starting to scare me silly. im trying to write down everything I eat, to keep some sort of journal. I feel like im being lazy, and that it is my own fault. That I got myself into this mess and I should be able to get myself out of it. But it just isnt working.
I dont take critisism very well, Like when someone says "do you think you should be eating that", or "dont you think youve had enough". I just makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
My daughter is getting married in October and right now I feel ashamed of how I look.I know it doesnt matter to her, and my husband says he loves me no matter what. Then I think if I do loose a lot of weight I cant afford to get surgery to remove all the extra skin. I should get a job but I cant stand for more than 10min and then my legs hurt. ive been told I should go on disability, but that makes me feel like im a failure.
im feeling really over whelmed lately. I have to go my mom just got home and she has no idea that ive joined this site and I dont want her to know. Any way thank you for listening. Talk to you again when I can Alida

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WONDERWONDERWHO's Photo WONDERWONDERWHO Posts: 465
4/27/11 7:57 P

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Sorry to hear that - I can only imagine how you must feel. Give yourself some time and let the next step unfold to you.

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CD4091560 Posts: 1,754
4/27/11 7:44 P

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well today was not a good day. The surgeon told me no because of my weight and wants me to drop 140 lbs more on top of what i lost already. I am in pain hello. He even said the hernia ain't causing the pain but that is not what the ob gyn told me or my primary care physician. They both say hernias do cause pain.

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4/27/11 2:43 P

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Great that they can test for all those things now. Makes it easier to rule things out. Hope your Dr. visits are productive, SOARING PHOENIX.

WONDERWONDERWHO, I do admit the little angora buns are addictive, so cute and personable. It's great to have you here with us.

The sky is clouding up here, I need to get out and finish up my outside jobs before the storms hit again. . .

"Life is more than food. . ." Luke 12:23a


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CD4091560 Posts: 1,754
4/27/11 9:31 A

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My electrolytes and sodium levels were both normal. So those were ruled out. That is why I see an endocrinologist next month.

WONDERWONDERWHO's Photo WONDERWONDERWHO Posts: 465
4/27/11 9:03 A

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Hi everyone,
Mokay, enjoy those rides - it is so great that you can take her out. I know how hard it is to physically manage that.
Thanks Cookie - the subconscious is a pretty weird and wonderful thing.

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