Easter family update

Easter family update April 21, 2019


So it’s been a nice Easter Sunday, actually.  I went to Easter Vigil last night, then, while the rest of the family was at mass, spent the morning making Easter Dinner, that is, lamb, our favorite green beans recipe, zopf (a German braided bread), and a prepackaged salad plus pineapple for good measure.  The lamb itself turned out to have smelled better than it tasted, because, in my efforts to have the food ready right when my oldest got back from playing trumpet at mass, at 12:45, to maximize the afternoon family time, I put the lamb in too early, and it ended up well-done instead of the proper medium-rare.  But it’s all well and good because I hadn’t made zopf in quite a while and we all really enjoyed it.  (Is it “real” zopf?  Dunno.  At some point we concluded that any challah recipe, without the egg wash, would do the trick.  I have seen variations with honey as the sweetener, and using butter instead of oil for the fat but this basic recipe came in the breadmaker recipe book and it works well for us.)

And after eating, we all put our shorts on for the first time this year, gathered up backpacks with water bottles, and headed to the local forest preserve for a hike, with paths that were, yes, muddy, but not so horribly muddy as to be impassible, though we’ll all have to give our shoes a bit of a scrub.  Then I sent my husband and sons off to drop off the eldest at the Chicago Amtrak station; we were originally all going into town together with the plan to do some walking along the riverfront and/or lakefront but I decided to send them off without me because — well, I need to get into shape, apparently, because I’d now had enough hiking/walking for the day.

So that was nice, and a welcome break from the whole “fix Mom and Dad” business, which, to back up a bit, is still ongoing, and occupied the whole of our Thursday and Friday — driving into town, meeting with the social workers and doing some errands with my parents on Thursday, and having more conversations and doctor’s appointments on Friday.  Mom definitively has dementia but the cause is unknown; she’ll need an MRI to see if she’s had a stroke.  Her uncontrolled diabetes is also a possible contributing factor, and the combination of uncontrolled diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure, as well as the more “generic” dementia that won’t go away after she starts taking medication, means that she shouldn’t be driving any longer, which can be managed through a combination of the services available on site at the retirement community (convenience store, restaurant, cafeteria, doctors’ offices, pharmacy, etc.), shuttles to stores, the ferrying my nearby sister can do, and, as a final back-up, uber or the “taxi” service provided by the CCRC.  We also need to get her to accept wearing Depends, to accept showering more often and putting clean clothes on every day, and the aide that will now begin coming every day will have to monitor her medication as well as Dad’s.

And it will not come as a surprise that Mom is not happy about any of this.  What is more difficult to manage is that Mom denies it.  There’s nothing wrong with her, no reason not to drive, her memory is just fine, and so on.  She seems to have reluctantly accepted that the aide is coming, whether she thinks it’s necessary or not, and most of the time, she’s too passive to get in the car anyway, but we’ve got a long way to go.  (The next phone call:  “would you prefer to order groceries with me online, or to have Sis take you the store?”)  What’s more, the staff is expecting us to have figured out how to get her to comply with instructions to be cleaner (yes, so that neither the apartment nor she herself disturbs the other residents by being smelly), and we’re just trying to win one battle at a time.  Oh, and on top of which, our initial reaction to the expanded aide visits had been, “that’s a rip-off; there’s no way they need that much” and we’re now focused more on trying in some way to get our money’s worth, but in the back of our mind there is the concern that if we don’t solve the hygiene issue soon the staff will deem them “noncompliant” and then we’ll have a problem.

On the bright side, we did leave the boys home (now 12 & 16) by themselves overnight and they managed to behave themselves adequately, cooking a simple dinner for themselves, going to the library together on Friday and then going to church (as instructed), and causing no damage so far as we could tell.  So there’s that.

Anyway, that’s where we are right now, though I should also add that I was bummed about missing church on Good Friday, and I didn’t really do anything special for Lent but just had the ongoing feeling that dealing with Mom & Dad was Lent-y enough.  Have we turned a corner with this latest visit?  I don’t know, but I’m going to try to convince myself of the fact.

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