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Mom had a partial colonoscopy about 4 years ago and has complained about it ever since, claiming the operation messed up her digestion (she is subject to almost chronic diarrhia). She has some trouble swallowing, I would like her to go to an ENT also, and she is way overdue for the dentist. She refuses to go, convinced she is going to be dead soon. I have been hearing that for the last 7 years... I really can't pick her up bodily and take her even if I make the appointment (tried that once, didn't work, she is stubborn as a mule and twice as cantankerous). How can I get her to go?

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joan - your comment to wuvs - my mum had her hysterectomy when I was very little - she took one look at me and said "That's all!" (LOL) You are right, Queen Elizabeths are pretty delicate - When I lose one I have been replacing them with a shrub rose called 'Knockout', another that is black spot resistant and requires only minimal covering in the winter time if any. I looked up Therese Bugnat - they are lovely - I wonder how they would do down here in zone 5? Probably pretty well if they can survive up there in the tundra... ;-) I do not remember seeing them around here at the greenhouses, I will watch for and may have to order. Glad your son was an early reader - so was I - I read Gone With the Wind when I was about 7, and understood it, Ivanhoe the next year. Years ago, we read Les Miserables in French class, translating it from an condensed copy, I saw the 25th anniversary concert from the U-2 in London on PBS, was so stunned by it I got the full unabriged copy from Barnes & Noble and am reading it now (3 inches thick). It is a long haul as I get very little uninterrupted time to read.

Actually, I made my living for nearly 30 years in the furniture business, and was quite content for the most part - lots of pressure but I met some great and interesting people and had some good and rewarding experiences (some heartaches too, but that is another story). What was it the teacher said in Anne of Green Gables - If you wake up in the morning and want to do nothing but write, then you must be a writer. I am not that way with writing, I just like communication, when I get to communicate with someone of the same ilk. I was that way with furniture, the thing that changed was the public's wants, needs, and perceptions, so I was glad to retire when I did, I could never go back.
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wuvs - you sre strong - some nasty experiences there and you seem to have come through relatively unscathed. I can relate - once in my teens, when I was very strong, my mother, who had just had a hysterectomy, wrestled me to the floor in a fit of rage. I never thought of asking for help from anyone. I am glad the NH is working out so well. It is wonderful that your mum is happy.

Dale - grim - lol - if the shrink liked your writing, you must have some talent! I think giving up the last couple of decades of your life for someone else's comfort is a big sacrifice and not to be played down. I hope you do get some time to live out your dreams of travel at least. I have a feeling you will.
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wuvs - I was actually commenting about a remark Joan made in regard to my expression that (among a number of things) I would like to take a creative writing class if I had time and environment that would alow me to concintrate on the homework. I do not, I have bashed out a few lines at odd times but whenever I do it gets to sounding self-pitying, and who wants to read that. I mentioned that a lot of writing is about writing what others would want to read. (I once wrote a sort of grim [get it...] sort of fairy tail about me and how I was growing up and out of it, but I loaned it to a shrink I was seeing at the time and he never gave it back - he said he liked it!! Go figure!) Anyway, compaired to quite a number of the entries on this site I really have nothing to complain about except a resentment that I am not enjoying my own last couple decades because I am pinned down with this responsability. I have nothing to complain about because most of you have a lot worse time of it - at least mom is not suffering from dimentia or alz (though she has her moments...) If I had had to go through what you did, I am not sure what I would have done. You are very strong.
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DT Don't ever feel like your venting here is for self pitty, even if it is, that's what your friends here want you to do. I find myself making suggestions and venting about my experiences at the same time. Have looked into a Long Term care situation. Upon takeing my Mother under my wing the furthest thing from my mind was a NH. I thought it was a mean and horrible thing to do to a person. I knew nothing of them exept the horrible memories of visiting my grandfather in the young years of my life. It was smelly, grandfather didn't even know us people there were always in a horrible mood. MY most horrifying memories of my life. I didn't know my grandfather (father's father) other than sick and in hospital or a NH.
I gave up the fight when Mom threatened me and I had to lock my self in my Bedroom and call police so I could get her to stop threatening me. Then they had to take her away in an ambulance to Mental hosital. To cut to the chase... I couldn't take her back home in fear of both of our safety. I worked it out for her to be admitted to NH. Know I see that this is best way for her and I tolive in best quality of life. I have no regrets. I see all the other residents being cared for in a good and healthiest, safest, and if medical attention is needed it is readily available. I see people who otherwise would be in "LALA Land" come back to earth if even for a moment during entertainment exersise or just by weekly icecream gathering. I have such a great feeling about her comfort now. Even when she gets angry at me and tells me to leave I am happy. My Mom is a rareity though she likes the comfort of the way she is being treated because noone is on her back about stuff she wants to do. If she wants to sit she sits if she wants to walk she walks. If she complains they see to it she's comfy. I make sure I am aware of all her needs are met, and she's happy as can be. Music is a wonderful uplifter and mood changer, good distraction from other things for both of you. I used to play name that tune with Mom in the car. Sometimes she was right on with answers or struck a memory! I show her pictures now and she'll give me a story, I am not even sure if she is telling the real story or mixing stuff up but I see her processing info that is clearer to her than what she just ate for lunch. That possative attention is best healer good memories happy thoughts. Your doing the best you can give yourself a hug and try to smile for your efforts are appreciated even if you don't believe so. She hassles you because she knows you care.
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Good morning, Dale – Love the impressionists too. They are my favourites and Van Gogh high amongst them, if you classify him as an impressionist. For me, in any city in Europe, the cathedrals are musts. If Miss Marple is a faded Victorian Valentine, Geraldine McEwan has it hands down. Helen Hayes could do that well too. Yes, Joan Hickson is too stiff. Not really into psychics, though I know they can give good revelations. I would be happy to hear about yours.
Leaf hoppers are not the same as gnats – Google them – they have bigger and harder bodies and plague vineyards and Virginia creepers among other places. Like gnats they fly in your face, up your nose etc. Nasty! Apparently Virginia creeper or its variant Engleman Ivy is not harmful to house exteriors. I love the ivy covered country houses in England. The creeper is my attempt to bring that to Northern Alberta. Yes, I live in the frequently frozen north of Canada – zone 2 - with huge mosquitos, June bugs, long cold winters, lots of snow, short but pleasant summers (other than the bugs and forest fires – the largest of which this year is 40 miles north and still burning and about 1 ½ million acres.) It is a strange place. The sunsets and sunrises can be spectacular – even in the winters. There is a very young population and the community is geared toward them. To get to civilization (the provincial capital) you have to drive 5 hours past endless spruce bogs and the odd farm. Mother lives in the capital. The road is paved now and has shoulders – had neither when we first came up here 30 years ago. They used to trap bears on the trail across from the house and I saw a wolf there one cold New Year’s day. I have seen foxes nosing around, and coyotes lying in the gutter. The deer come and munch my cedars every winter. There are a variety of birds - most notably large black ravens - which we call “tar sands turkeys”. They are very smart and survive this climate even to 40+ below. The white clematis must not be the same as I have – you can’t kill that thing – or maybe it just likes our climate. My friend, who gardens, assures me I must spray the roses with copper sulphate. I told him I have never sprayed. My main rose is Therese Bugnet which is black spot resistant. There is some benefit in choosing roses with that quality. Some of the ones more recently planted may need spraying. Queen Elizabeth’s are beautiful – far too tender for here. We are pretty well limited to zone 2 plants with a few zone 3 and the odd zone 4 which will survive. Roses have been bred particularly for this climate and planting any other means you treat them as an annual.
Yes, you are right – you must write what people want to read. Your description and “recipes of mum” do not sound like self-pity to me. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to write and have it bring in some income! "Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!"
Dale, you are a kind man to look after your mum so well. I am glad you get along most of the time. Some, my mother too, have to have the best or the worst of whatever is brought up and either way must be the centre of the universe. Always been that way.
“Persuasion” has a good rating (I just looked it up). Two of my children have been involved in theatre. My oldest son took a 2 yr. drama program and is a decent amateur actor. When asked what he wanted for his 16th birthday he answered “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” Not your average 16 yr. old male. He is a sales man and an excellent one. No matter what he sells he is in the top 3 in the store. I have come to appreciate the skills he has developed. My daughter took a theatre technology diploma, (and then went on the accounting). Watching movies with them opened up a whole new world to me.
Have a good (holi)day!
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ed - so glad u shared - the word pictures u paint are great. Good for ur mum to lift herself above the crowd. Why don't u give her some fashion advice, coach her a little, take her shopping - after all u r "papi chulo" My daughter got me into jeans again after a hiatus of years and I was surprised how good they look! Yeah way to go Mum!
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another PS to Joan - I forgot an important ingredient to the recipe for visualizing me mum - it is a fairly new movie, get 'Persuasion" by Jane Austen, the one made by BBC with Amanda Root. Pay particular attention to the sister, Mary. (I'm a real sucker for well done period movies, this one is one of the best, by the way.Give me a good costumer and I am in hog heaven.)
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Ed - (Or should we call you popi chulo?) I love your rather 'earthy' observations about people, you have a very sharp eye as well as a very sharp wit. I am quite sure it comes from the urban environment you are in and probably grew up in. For example, here in the Real farmville in the midwest, I am appaled at the seeming cluelessness of nearly everyone I run into (almost literally) every day - I grew up here but lived in San Francisco for a number of years, nothing like the Bronx, I know, but living in a city does sharpen your senses as to what is happening around you. If you grew up there, you probably have great instincts, also probably due to your Marine training, which I have always been totally in awe of. You are right, my mom has a lot of very real pain caused by the operation I mentioned at the beginning, but also because she has had both hips replaced, has ostioperosis, and very bad feet - hammer toes, and arthritus. She cannot take most pain medications as she has congestive heart falure and she is already on blood thinners - the doctor would not approve any operation that would require a general anesthetic because he is sure she would not come out of it. With all that, I will turn around and say that for as long as I can remember, even a small pain like bumping her elbow is magnified into a huge pain, I really had decided long ago before she really got bad that she just had a low pain threshhold and she also needs to draw attention to herself. Like Scarlett O'Hara, any conversation that does not center around herself becomes boring very fast. If I say I have a headache, hers is about ready to drop off, if my knee hurts hers should be amputated (really...), etc. It is just something I live with every day. She is, as you say, very angry at getting old and immobile and wants to fight with everyone - the new furnace I had installed just for her is not adequate to her eyes, I came home one day to find her on the phone with the installer and screaming (really) at him to get over here and fix it. In fact just now she called me downstairs to shut the windows so that she could turn on the air conditioner - it is 79 with a nice breeze, when we turn on the A/C we usually set it at 80! She is either too hot or too cold and "can't stand it another minute". Nothing much suits her, she swaths herself in unhappiness every day like a Jersey matron wraps herself in a fur coat, not much I can do about it - she would like a nursing home a lot less, that is why I am keeping her home as long as I can. Anyway, keep those observations coming.
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Joan - as for creaqtive writing, it really only boils down to writing what people want to read. Everytime I sit down to write something it always seems to Sound like self-pity, even though I do not mean it to be. So there it is.
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Joan - would love to get down to Arles. My two favorite painters were Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec (ine crazy, thge other handicapped...) (also Sisley, Pissaro, etc...) There are a lot of Toulouse-Lautrec in the town of Toulouse, not too far away. Your experiences with apricots sound like mine with lettuce that has never been refrigerated like I had in Monterey when I lived there. Italy is a delight I have yet to experience, I fear a short trip to Rome will be all I will be able to muster if I can, and that will all be spent in the Vatican. Miss Marple has been discribed as "a faded Victorian valentine", although I have never seen Joan Hickson's portrayal, she seems as if she would be a little too ramrod stiff for a faded valentine like Geraldine McEwan, but I reserve all opinion until I actually see her. I had lovely experiences in England too, my trips there centered more around traveling from one of the great country houses to another, which I love, but I had your kind of experience in Chicester cathedral, and someday I must tell you about a certain psychic I saw years ago.

You call a certain bug a leaf hopper. I have been plagued with a little black bug we call a gnat, they want to fly into my ears and nose, where you can't spray OFF. I wonder if they are the same thing. I do not encourage crawling vines on the house, they can be invasive, other than clemais, which is not. Some clematis need to be cut back every season for they will not bloom on old wood, others need only to be thinned out. I had one once that had the little white flowers, I forget the name, but it bloomed well for a couple years then just up and died one spring. I have had bad luck with roses as black spot lives in my soil and eventually even spraying has become ineffective, and the last 3 years we were plagued with Japanese Beetle, which loved my Queen Elisabeths above all things. So far, I have hopes they moved on, we have not had the onslot we have had in the past, though today I saw one and instantly killed it, and I got something from the greenhouse in the spring - she told me that it would help with both the black spot and the beetles, and by Jove, I think she's got it!. I do not remember the stuff, it was granuals out of a bag by a well known brand name, but I do not remember right now, I will stop out and find out. Anyway, the Queen Elizabeths have been blooming as they have not for years. You said something about northern Canada once?
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wuvs - Thanks for the good words - I have worked on the themes you suggest, but in the last couple years mom really can't participate in even a lot of the simplest things. She had a fall about a year and a half ago, did not break anything but did require a hospital stay, she has been on a walker ever since. Her ostio makes it difficult for her to even be on her feet too long, her back pains her very much, and it is unfortunately very real, though mom also has always had a rather low pain tolerance (she got it from her mother who would magnify even a funny bone bump to the point of tears) I know she is in pain. She has had hip replacements, and recently we have had to go to the wound clinic to clear up a sore that formed on the skin above the right one (she is very, very thin), it is healing OK. Second, we have a small, picturesque (read that: tiny!) cottage and the kitchen is so small that when you get the three of us in there, me, her, and her walker, there is really no room to move around, and is actually dangerous as one or the other of them is always in the way when I need to, say, drain boiling water off the potatoes. It has been suggested that I sit mom in a chair and she could "direct", but this is also impractical - not enough room for a good chair that supports her back and while watching me she once tried to show me how to spray non-stick cooking spray on a pan! I mean, how many ways can you spray PAM in a pan!? I am not too bright but I am not exactly stupid, either. In short, she has to be in the middle of anything that is going on in the kitchen. For the 4th, I let her make her special potato salad (it is, really special!) but it took her three days to do it and she complained the whole time. Painkillers are a problem, ever since they took darvoset off the market she has not had the irregular heartbeat it caused but dr. is having a problem getting her a painkiller that does not conflict with the blood thinners she already takes (he has also said he will refuse to give her a general anesthetic if she needs an operation, even on her hip, because he is convinced she will not survive). Yes, I agree and have known that she is grouchy and irritable because she can't do what she used to do even two years ago, I try to be accomodating and understanding, but I will Not have her screaming at me - I scream back. But, in spite of what I say sometimes, we are able to live together in a civilized way most of the time. My own preferences are pretty much relegated to the back of the bus though, the house must be geared to her and her alone, which is the cause of my own rebellion (on line).
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DT:

This might not help, but I'll share it anyway.

Years ago, soon after Mom had some gastro surgery I can't remember right now, she kept moaning and groaning. At first I dropped everything I was doing because her discomfort seemed legit. Then I realized her pain didn't hurt anymore, but she used it to manipulate me into catering to her every whim.

I did some research around the 'hood and heard of a senior citizens center serving Hispanics, so I dropped by. On one corner 4 Puerto Rican ladies kept calling me "papi chulo" (which I didn't mind at all). On another there were about 8 legends in their own mind locked in a testosterone contest. They talked about sports, women they never had, and the 15, 16, 17 children they fathered but never supported. ... So proud of themselves, they tried to teach me how to be a "real" man.

Next to the refreshment table, I found a mixed group talking about everything painful and scary. Their knees, hemorrhoids, lumpectomies, santeria, spell to ward off evil spirits, "bad" children that don't want to visit them anymore, people they've buried, cheating part-time husbands, mistresses. ... Some kept quoting all that "God said" from a Spanish Bible they had never read either to get little attention, or elevate themselves from the miasma. A product of the Brazilian Catholic school system, for some reason I wanted to nail these "papeleros" to a Cross and pave their way to sainthood. In sum, their lives were pure agony -- whether real of imaginary -- and all were enmeshed in a twisted version of the game "Can You Top This."

I don't doubt for a second your Mom is in some sort of pain. If not physical, her soul is searching for ways to cope with all that existential angst until her time comes. She needs to vent, purge, and see for herself that problems become smaller when shared with others that have been there and done that too.

I used to drop Mom off every Sunday at 12 and pick her up around 6:30. She found a boyfriend there, but he had a stroke from too many trips to the cuchifrito and all those heart attacks on a plate. It sure made her rethink her diet and regain that zest for life. One night, as I drove her back home, she said "The best revenge is living well, looking good, and outliving all those cucarachas who said I wasn't going to make it. ... I'll show them."

Well, she's still here. A victim of poor fashion, her wardrobe needs to be re-examined. And she's doing what she set out to do. ... Way to go Mom!
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Dale - Your individuality can never be in question! The experience you had in the Louvre, I had in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence though I did not stay in there as long, Unfortunately, in my travels in France, we essentially passed through Paris and on to the south of France to Van Gogh country (Arles, Avignon) and stayed with a family that had orchards. The flavour of the apricots, fresh off the tree, were amazing to me. After a short while of immersion in French culture, I unexpectedly found myself thinking in French. The light was so different there and I could look at my arm and see the rounded limbs of famous sculptures. To me they look different in Mediterranean light than in the cold northern light I am accustomed to. In Italy I did more museum and duomo viewing, and loved finding little, old and darkened churches in unexpected corners. The streets were hot and crowded. Then to enter a hushed, dimly lit, centuries old church refreshed body and soul. In Britain, the cathedrals are magnificent. I also loved walking Hadrians Wall where the Romans had trod and viewing the ruins of what they built. My aunt worked in an outdoor museum. Old structures had been moved there and set up so that you could walk through them and see what life in a mediaeval castle or a thatched roof cottage was like. I walked into one which was not more than a few rooms. Smoke from the fire in the stone fireplace hung in the humid air along with the notes of "Greensleeves" played by a lone performer and I was momentarily transported to a different time.
Geraldine McEwan was definitely good. I always liked her. I saw all of Joan Hickson's versions. She was, perhaps, my favourite, though I love the feistiness Margaret Rutherford brought to the role. I would have to go back and reread Agatha to assess which one was closest to the book description in my perception. I haven't seen the Helen Hayes you mention though can imagine that she would be good.
Your "recipe" for your mum is very amusing and creative. I can see why you are interested in taking a creative writing course and encourage you to "plunge" into the world of writing. Not all successful writers have taken courses. Interesting that that one bowl triggers your mum’s memory.
Re the round up - I was a little too enthusiastic while using it last summer and several rose bushes have suffered. They are coming back, but are not blooming as usual. I think I will have to cut one back and hand weed around the roots where the tansy has established itself. If left, tansy will overtake the garden. I have a clematis with a small white flower which has threatened to do that too. Left untrimmed, it covered and downed 3 large blue juniper trees. I had a Virginia creeper which covered the side of the house and "dripped" down from the porch overhang. I loved it until the leaf hoppers came – nasty little creatures who fly in your face in swarms. That problem was solved when a young man, who was doing some work around the house, was too energetic with a chain saw and cut the main stem of the vine. The whole thing died and had to be ripped down. The good news was that the leaf hoppers left. A new one was planted last year which is only inches high. Such is life. One makes gains and has losses. Even though details have been forgotten, the individual has made their impact. “all the world's a stage...”
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DT I can tell from your question and your posts, that you feel you need to be you again. I know the feeling, different circumstances naturally but basically same feelings, and frustrations and negative attitude when it comes to family. Your goal is to keep Mom healthy and happy. You also need to keep yourself healthy and happy. You have interest and hobby's to keep you active and sane. Your Mom likes to cook, so under your supervision and assistance make a meal together. That might give her a feeling of self worth and independance. Act like you are the student and not the teacher. Praise her even if she is not doing something right. I used to ask Mom to fold the laundry and thank her as if I were the helpless one. She got a chip on her shoulder instead of being the useless needy one. I realized after a while that roles had become reverse and I needed to reverse them in a way she thought she was my Mom again
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PS - Joan - Nice suggestion about recording the recipes but for a couple reasons it will not work anymore - mom cannot discribe what she does, she just does it. she has one favorite bowl which she says she cannot cook without - she knows just how much to add because of the bowl. For the other reason she really does not cook anymore - it just takes too much effort, she is very weak, the once-a-month transfusions are about all that are keeping her alive. I know a few things, but I should have taken notes at that time, or the grandaughters whom we never see should have come to learn from her when she was active, but they couldn't find time. All will be lost," 'tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true".
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Last question first - I loved Margaret Rutherford, no doubt, though later did not see her as an accurate representation of Miss Marple, A number of people seemed to like Joan Hickson, though I must admit I never have seen any of the BBC episodes with her in the role - they never showed on any of my PBS stations so I plead ignorance. I am Most partial to Geraldine McEwan - to me she is most like the discription given in the book. I think Helen Hayes played her sometime - I never saw it though I wonder if they were talking about the TV show she was in in the '70's in which she was teamed with Mildred Natwyk and another actress I am not placing now. They played a kind of 'team' of Miss Marples in LA. It was cute.

Lilli - the humorous side of imitating my mother to her would not only fly over her head but she would take dramatic offense at it. Like joan, she would deny it.

Joan - yes, I am using the big guns - Roundup - and distroying weeds and anything else that is in the way in certain places, using a big sheet of cardboard to shield anything nearby I want to save. Any stragglers I hope to get by hand. When I was in Paris I went strictly for the museums, Louvre, Orsy, Picasso, Rodin, Carnavalet, etc. I spent nearly 18 hours in the Louvre alone (which Rick Steves called in-seine, though it was intoxicating to me), fell in as the doors opened, got swept out with the other trash in the evening. Side trip to Versailles, Eiffel Tower on the day I went to the Rodin, Montmartre. Was not able to see the Orangerie, it was closed for rennovations. Next time along with the Orangerie is the Lalique and the Baccarat, retrace footsteps in the Louvre and the Carnavalet, but then get out of town and see Vaux-le-Vicompte, Fountainbleau, and Malmaison. If only...

Don't worry too much about Now Voyager - it is more about the situation and storyline, and as I said, mom is definately Not Gladys Cooper (I play the Bette Davis role in this one). But, if you go on an old movie binge, get 'Picnic' with Kim Novac, mom is most like the mom in that one, find What a Way to go with Shirley Mclaine, a little dash of the mom in that one applies too, a little Shirley Booth in Come Home Little Sheba, (a couple more apply that I am not thinking of right now). Mix together well, bake at 350 degrees, cool before serving, garnish with early Bette Davis, and you have a sort of my mom.
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I like that Lilli though my mother would deny that she ever spoke like that.
Dale - BTW who is your fav actress to protray Miss Marple. I am guessing Margaret Rutherford.
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DT, this suggestion I am passing on to you from another one of our wonderful forum members. When her Mom kept up with the incessent whining, she just started whining back to her...parroting her Mom's behavior. The Mom asked her what in the heck she was doing. And she said, "I am doing an immitation of you." They both started laughing. I don't know if it had lasting effects, but maybe your Mom has been a long time giver and not receiver of her own behavior. Might be worth a try...even if it is just for fun :0)
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HI Dale - English country gardens are beautiful and well worth working towards. I love Miss Marple (and all Agatha Christie) and perennials too. My garden is finally recovering. From having deteriorated into a weed bed it is starting to look decent again. Certain hardy roses and delphniums seem to survive quite well. Not my efforts really - I have a friend who loves gardening. I had to use a lot of "round up" to kill off areas of weeds and then replant. Landscape fabric and bark chips help. I totally understand about ailments limiting gardening activities. It can be quite frustrating. I don't think any garden is self sustaining - they all require a lot of work at any stage. When I was young and lived in a warmer and more humid climate, every weekend I had to regularly tear out clumps of vegetation - weeds and forget-me-nots than grew like weeds. Here things generally grow more slowly. I certainly accept that you do not have predictable time for doing things like homework.

Regarding the skillsets I was thinking about schools and sharing there (my background I suppose). Of course this would not bring in any additional income but the young could learn from the old. Interesting that you have some of your mum's old recipes. Could you record them? People share such things in blogs online. I have a few from my mother which came from her grandmother - "Take a jug of good milk..." There might be some interest in them even from the historical perspective. We had a neighbour who cooked on a wood stove while I was quite young. I have done so at my grandfather's camp in the north which we visited in the summers - even baked a rhubarb pie the pastry of which was rolled with a hand-made rolling pin!

As far as my travels are concerned, my parents sent both of us overseas for education, so I was not responsible for most of that, but have very much appreciated it, I did return with my ex and children years later. You mentioned a return trip to Paris which would indicate that you have been there. Where ever I went, I particularly loved the art galleries though I never saw the Louvre.

I am sorry that you are so lacking in intelligent company and conversation. One needs it. You do appear to be very "house bound" with your mum. I have found it more difficult to have people contact since I retired though not for the same reasons as you. When working, people contact comes with the territory. I miss the students and a few of my colleagues.

Life is not fair nor is old age, and, as Bette Davis said not for sissies. I do plan on looking for that movie - have had the flu the past few days and not been anywhere. Wishing there were some solutions for these limitations.

Take care
Joan
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Joan - Thank you for your suggestions, I am sure they are all valid in their way. The gardening started out as first a project, and evolved into a way to not only work off anger but get me out of the house - one thing I have wanted for years of living in apartments was an English cottage garden such as you might find Miss Marple pottering around in, but in reality I was much better at growing weeds than flowers. Yes, I understand your reaction that if I have time to garden I have time to take a class, but again reality is different. Take last year for instance, I let the garden slip simply because I could not get down and do the work because of my knee, but also, we do not always have ideal gardening weather, last year was also damp and humid, causing my weedcrop to proliferate and I had a real mess. This year the weeds had such a hold that I must work like a demon when the weather permits or it will get out of control fast. I had envisioned a perennial garden that would be basicly self-sustaining by now, but have failed so far. The only real solution is to pave it over and paint it green. In short, the garden sucks up time, it is just a good thing I also enjoy it. Do not debunk the lack of time for homework, etc. I have a difficult time doing anything without interruption. You can't know unless you perched on my shoulder.

As for my 'skillsets and passing them on, not much interest around here in it. One of my ideas for my retirement might have been a hobby and craft shop, but again, location location location, and money that I do not have. What the young never seem to realize is that they could learn a lot from old people. Mom, for instance, learned to cook on a woodstove and still has favorite recipes that she cannot pass on because they are the old pinch and dab kind. Also, as far as classes go, I want and need the classroom interaction. At this time I cannot even have an intelligent conversation with mom - she has no intellect. I have mentioned that living with her is like living with a not-too-bright 7 year old.

Finally, you sem to have done much of what I always wanted to do,but my circumstances only dictated that I had to just scrabble hard for a living, let alone toot off to another country to live for awhile. Others have done it, I never could see how I could. Too late to worry about it now. Not going to.

D.
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Hi Dale - You certainly do have a lot of interests, and along with them, I am sure, a lot of skills. As a retired instructor, I think it a shame that you cannot pass on some of these skills to younger generations, I understand the "multitasking" approach - that works best for me too. From what you are saying in the last two posts, if you had time to garden all day you might have time to take one of the language courses. How bad can it be if you don't have time to do much homework? You would pick up some of it and, as a possible bonus, would be mixing with other people. Some courses depend a lot on classroom interaction, others require more homework, Creative writing, on the other hand, likely would require more mental space than you have now. Staying in the 2nd story of your home sounds wise. Someone wrote on another thread that elders and their caregivers tend to develop codependency (due to various factors). Part of our struggle is keeping healthy boundaries and as you have said before - maintaining individuality. Distance (emotional and/or physical) and detachment are so important for our well being. Some needy parents want to be the center of our existence, even if they do not need that amount of attention. Plaudits for taking such good care of yourself with proper diet and a personal trainer twice a week. I may take a leaf from your book re the trainer. I need to get back to the gym. I am a firm believer that your food should be your medicine and your medicine your food. To me it sounds like you are still grieving your loses of the past, present and anticipated loss in the future. None of us can depend on good health as we age. I identify with your concern about your own time for independence running out. My mother is 99 and going strong. The therapist I am seeing said "After all how long can she go on?". I said it could be 5 or 10 years and that is too large a chunk of what I may have left to occupy my life so much and so negatively. I have been less healthy over the past year or two since more involvement with mother and am in the process of rectifying that. Each decade brings a few more challenges. You mention fear and I think that may be the larger part of what is on your mind. The only way I know how to deal with fear is to face it head on and consider the range of possibilities and then look at the options. I have a long time friend who has several health issues, but she still manages to travel and enjoy herself. Despite not being my best, I went tent camping last summer for a few days - hadn't done that for years and years. Crawling in and out of a tent is not as easy as it was - but that was small compared to the enjoyment of being up in the mountains, cooking over an open fire, seeng the wildlife etc.The warm fuzzies do not apply to my situation either. Haven't rented that movie yet but I will look for it - no guarantee that it will be available in my part of the world (northern Canada). I agree with you about recent movies. I have not read the book you mention though am not surprised. Joan Crawford was of the same ilk. Dale, you have wonderful expectations and I believe you will meet them. I lived and studied in England and Scotland for many years and was able to travel to Norway (birth place of my mother) and also to France, and Italy and went to the University of Perugia to a summer language school. I loved it all! I have dreamed of going to Greece too. Glad you had a good gardening day. It sounds like it was a great break from the complaints too. Last week I was pulling grass out of a large creeping juniper and got stung by a wasp for my trouble. My back does not like me to stoop too much either. Here we are finally having the June rains which we so badly need so things are growing. I apologize if my answer is "spotty". I have scrolled through the past few posts and commented on what I hadn't before. The internet is an amazing tool for social interaction. Take care - I believe that you will meet your expectations. Joan
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By the way, yesterday was the first decent gardening day we have had for a month, I am knee-deep in weeds again, and spent all day, from about 9:00 AM to about 4:00 PM, stopping for lunch and a brief nap. I am suffering today - very sore from stooping, bending, kneeling, etc. while fighting off bugs that try and crawl into my nose and ears (can't spray OFF in those places...) Expecting good weather today but deteriorating conditions expected for next week so got to get it done.
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In fact, a lot of my early memories of mom from my childhood are really like an early, early Bette Davis movie - I often wonder if she did not take some of her behavior directly from Bette Davis, - the shreaking and shrewishness among others. Did you read her daughter's book about life with her? Personally, I love old movies, there is not much about most movies made in the last 20 or so years that is at all admirable - most depend 'way too much on artificial action and effects, a Good movie is two or more good actors with a good script in shich something is said. I have not set foot in a movie house in at least that long to see a 'new' movie.

As far as the refresher French, and Italian, one of the Expectations (much, much more than a dream) I have for my own future is that I want to go to Paris again, and I still have Rome, Greece, and Egypt to do before I go to the big sleep. Time is running short.
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Not crass or mean at all, Dale - I totally understand. My mother complains chronically and unstoppably, as far as I can see, and has voiced that she is ready to go. I may rent that movie - don't do much movie watching - but think I could relate. I will post again later when I have "pondered" more on your responses to my previous post. Refresher French and basic Italian - hmmmm. I have spoken both of those languages. I knew Latin well (went to school in England when Latin was still taught) and French pretty well (before England grew up on the border of Quebec in a mainly french speaking town), so basic Italian was easy. One of my dreams has been to learn some Spanish. It is good to review one's dreams.
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1) Yes, as I have indicated I try to grab as much 'me' time as possible - as time with mom is usually spent on the 'fetch and carry' level, I escape to the basement or in seasonal weather into the garden as much as possible. I have many interests, my 'hobby' stuff is in the basement and I like to do a variety of things such as building models of many kinds (I am presently trying to finish a project I had started before I moved here and had to put aside for some time, a 1/2 to 1 scale model of Tara plantation from Gone With The Wind, based on the movie set, with a nod to the discription of Tara as imaged in the book, and a little of my own imagination. I am also building a no-particular-scale model of a carousel, and gluing a favorite pottery jar I accidentally broke, for no reason at all except I liked it and it is a challange. I have projects lined up, as my ability to think up projects far exceeds my time and energy to finish them before starting another - I work on anywhere from 3 to 6 projects at a time, turn and turn about, sometimes they are only repair or sometimes I refinish things, etc. My 'Me' time... I would like to take a couple courses in creative writing and refresher French and basic Italian, but even if I had time to attend classes I do not know when I would have time for homework and anyway my concentration is too conflicted with everything going on here. Also, part of my insistance on separation from her is that mom has hinted that she would like it if I would sleep on the first floor if I convert the room we call the tv room back into a bedroom, but I prefer to sleep on the 2nd floor (it is a story and a half cape cod, the rooms are finished enough, though no bathroom. (Just for fun, go rent an old Bette Davis movie "Now Voyager" Mom does not have the class of a Gladys Cooper, but the gist of the entire story is very, very familiar.) So, in answer to your question, yes, I keep as much distance as possible, for my own sake. 2) Yes, I take care of myself - even if she does not want to eat anything but crackers and cheese, I insist on cooking healthy meals and I get plenty of exercise, also see a personal trainer twice a week. 3) We have had many heated 'discussions' about her complaining ways but I cannot emphasise enough, it seems, that A) she is very much self-absorbed and this sort of thing just falls out of her mouth when it opens (in other words, she is simply not reasonable), and B) I have explored the social services as much as I can, there is nothing left to dip into. Yes, I have grieved my loss of the anticipations I felt when I moved back here, and still am, I guess. I still have hopes for when I no longer have her with me, but I fear my own time for independance is running out - My own good health has been a blessing so far, but at my age, I fear I cannot depend on it forever. After all, she has already outlived her husband, my sister, and my brother as well as her own brothers. I have no one to talk to about it because whenever I try they all start getting all gooshy and warm and fuzzy and assume I am blessed because she is still alive, but they do not see that she has no quality of life anymore, and sometimes the long sleep would be preferable. Call me crass if you wish, but you cannot see it, obviously, so you may think me mean. Name is Dale, by the way.
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(((((((hugs))))) Hi DT. That's a tough one with several issues as far as I can see - 1) your mother's continual complaining and whining (I call it water torture - drip, drip, drip - you are on edge waiting for the next one) 2) the realities of family involvement as opposed to the rosy picture that was painted you before you came to live with her and the disappointment of not being able to form/renew family bonds 3) your need for friends and a life of your own outside of caring for your mum. I have found that sometimes taking a small step in the right direction can relieve the pressure quite a bit. You have some good suggestions already, many of which, apparently don't apply to your situation. I am trying to figure out some different ones. As far as your mother's complaining goes do you have to be in her presence all the time? Is there any way you can get more time - even in the house - away from the complaints? Can you change the subject or simply tell her that her complaints have become too hard on you and you need to have more positive conversations with her. Can you explain to her how hard it is on you. It sounds like she cares for you and may respond to that. My mother would go on and on about a certain person in a very negative way and I finally said I did not want to hear any more about it . It helped. Of course, she is a complainer too and I would have to be working harder on that one if I lived with her. As far as family is concerned, it does not sound like you have many resources there for help or for relationship development. We can't choose our family members - but we can choose our friends which brings me to the 3rd point. I know the time you have without mum is limited but could you plan somethings for yourself on a regular basis. which would meet your own needs and get you out into a world of greater possibilities. Sounds like you need to be more "selfish" in the right way. You look after your mum very well - can you see your way to looking after yourself as well? As far as not going to the doctor about her health issues - you cannot force her but you can, as I believe you are doing, point out to her the consequences of not going. I wonder if there is a social worker who could talk to her about her health and not going to the doctor and/or a volunteer visitor who could drop in and talk with her toi give you some relief.

DT, you have written that your dreams have been dashed. Have you grieved the loss of those dreams? We can get stuck if we don't. Can you make some new dreams/plans for the time when your mum passes, where you can meet your own needs. Having something to look forward to may help.

Wishing you all the best
Joan
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addiewrain - Fortunately for me, mom is at least very vocal to doctors, nurses, and whomever that I take very good care of her. I have been worried from time to time because she bruises very easily, even when an IV is inserted, but I know I have her doctor on my side. As for the other, I have mentioned that mom has no imagination at all. To believe in a religious dogma of any kind, you must have the imagination to see it. She has no religious leanings, whatever she may have had she is still bitter about from when her favorite brother was killed in WWII, and whether it is just the hurt or the imagination thing, she is really negative about getting "preached to". Thank you for the suggestion, though. I am quite sure she is more comfortable with the more familiar, which is the pain, if that makes any sense.
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naheaton - I think it is a big dose of both - she loves to draw attention to herself, but her pains and chronic diarriha are real enough too. Wisdom, I have found, often lies diredtly in the middle.
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jeannegibbs - It is a ligitimate question. Actually, wrapped up in the entire disillusionment of moving back here is that I had hoped to sort of form a nucleus to re-establish a relationship with my nephews, nieces, great nep's and niec's too. it was just one of those things mom sort of misrepresented to me living far away in Cal. When I spoke to her on the phone she would often mention that so-and-so had taken her shopping, or helped her with something. I have 3 nieces and a sister in law in town (my brother died some time ago) and 3 nephews in the midwest though two are a full day's drive away in other states, my sister too, in Northern Michigan and has since died herself, but still, closer than California. It turned out (trimming a long story) that my sister in law and nieces had not changed that much - they are all airheads with little on their minds but their tanning parlor, makeup, and hair. Once I got back here, we saw them about once a year when they paid their obligatory visit at Christmas to grndma (and got their present) or when they dropped another kid (present again) whom we rarely saw after. I guess they decided they could just leave it all up to me. Even when I had my own knee surgery, I had to beg them to come and help while I was sort of laid up. I was getting around pretty well after about two weeks, and then they did not come around anymore - they will not take on any responsability for grandma. My nephews are another story - I was very disappointed to find out there had been an astrangement and they rarely spoke to each other anyway, even if we could get them together (there is another story of their family dynamics which I will not go into here, my mom and dad did not make very good role models for parents evidently). I have as much in common with the people in my town as I did before I moved to California (meaning, very little) and have not really had the time to make any true friends to rely on (several aquaintences, but in true tight-a.. conservative midwestern ways, not very outgoing, at least I do not see any). So, in a long answer to your question, no, there is no one I can rely on to take on any responsability. We have a Help-At-Home girl provided through medicare after mom had a serious fall (she has to be watched a lot, and wear one of those pendnants), and Tina has been a godsend more to me than to mom, she is a wonderful worker and serves to relieve me for a couple hours to go grocery shopping, whatever, but we only get her a couple hours a day 4 days a week. Mom's ailments and pains are not all imaginary though possibly and probably magnified, having what I feel is a low tolerance for pain (hence the whining and complaining - for attention, often and obviously). We really can't afford to hire anyone to tend to her personal needs if I am not here - if I did maybe I could get away for a vacation but if I paid for help, I could not afford to go away on any kind of vacation, you get the picture. At some future time when I do not have mom with me, I will probably have to sell the house (if I can find a buyer in this lousy real estate market) because mom provides a good share toward the expenses, and we live quite simply. At least mom has (and pays for) a good supplimental insurance so at least medical bills are at a minimum. We have explored social resources about as much as we can. So no, I feel pretty much trapped, or at least in captivity. What is the name of that old book - "Why Does the Caged Bird Sing?"
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You might approach it from the standpoint that she may complain enough to other people, that other people might start thinking you are neglecting her and then take action which may result in her being moved somewhere else where someone else might be taking care of her. Having had morning, noon, and night sickness with my pregnancy and a lot of digestion stuff after my recent gallbladder removal...I can relate to being upset with putting up with digestion issues. Yikes!

If you can get the New Testament on tape she might feel comforted after listening to the book of John. Just a thought. I like John 14.

I hope that the doctors can provide any care that will ease her discomfort. Maybe it might work better if you call the doctor and have the doctor call her to check up on her. I'm very surprised they can't get that diarrhea under control.

I go through the same kind of things with my mom and my live in relative. It makes me nuts.
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