And then something brings absolute Sparkle to your day~

Like everyone, dievca has her worries.  They add up to create fatigue. Then there is evidence that one of the worries is bucking the trend and involved with something you know brings them shear Joy. dievca started crying when her Mom’s caregivers sent photos of something beautiful:

Mom looks like the Goddess she is…


I love my Mother, I love my Mother…

Give me the damn coffee!

~You get by with a little help from your friend~


On the Road, Again

dievca is behind the wheel and singing Willy Nelson while heading West.
she is wondering with people avoiding flying, will road trips come into fashion?
Is there a call for the vintage places of interest maps?

(click on the map to purchase a reprint)

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
Author: General Drafting Company
Date: 1962
Short Title: Trip Planning Map Of The United States
Publisher: General Drafting Co.
Publisher Location: Convent Station, N.J.

The widest State on dievca’s trip is:


It might be worth it to stop and see something!


Trying a new (old) system…


Look what you can find in your parent’s basement.
Good Morning
with pretty good coffee!
XO


On the Road, again.


Actually, the rental car is new and running very well.

Travel across was very easy.
Packing food was a good idea and I’d like to give a “shout” out to Ohio for the best rest stops.
Clean, spacious — amazing.
BTW – gasoline prices ranged from $1.99 to $1.15 per gallon – east to west.

Something interesting to note – the further away from NYC, the more lax people are about COVID-19.
Yes, it makes sense when your area has 180 deaths versus the 13,168 in NYC.
But seeing 65+-year-olds without masks and gloves in a Wal-Mart really stressed me out.

BTW – it was confirmed post-mortem that Dad’s death was not COVID-19.
Why do the test?
So, the Hospice nurses who neglected Dad would come back for Mom’s appointments.
still salty bout that

As for my Mom?
My Mom has blown through the stages of Grief and is getting ready to blow through them, again.
She is eating and sleeping well, for me at least.
Yesterday would have been Mom and Dad’s 66th Wedding Anniversary.

OK – as you read this, I am back in the car – starting Day 2 of the return trip.
Drive Safe!
Ciao~
XO


Found car – will drive (Walt Whitman)


POEM of the ROAD – Walt Whitman (excerpt)

To take to your use out of the compact cities as
you pass through!
To carry buildings and streets with you afterward
wherever you go!
To gather the minds of men out of their brains as
you encounter them! to gather the love out
of their hearts!
To take your own lovers on the road with
you, for all that you leave them behind
you!
To know the universe itself as a road—as many
roads—as roads for traveling souls!

The soul travels,
The body does not travel as much as the soul,
The body has just as great a work as the soul,
and parts away at last for the journeys of the
soul.

All parts away for the progress of souls,
All religion, all solid things, arts, governments —
all that was or is apparent upon this globe or
any globe, falls into niches and corners before
the processions of souls along the grand roads
of the universe,
Of the progress of the souls of men and women
along the grand roads of the universe, all
other progress is the needed emblem and
sustenance.

Full poem HERE

New Yorker Cartoon

dievca found a rental car and is making her way to her Mom. If there’s no hotel – sleeping in the car will do. Food is packed for along the way. Always an interesting first 30 miles when she hasn’t driven in a while – but it will be dievca and the trucks most of the way. Wish her “good luck”! XO


My hands look like his…a story that ends well in death

My Dad died.
I could hear the death rattle while video chatting with my Mother – trying to think of every humorous or lovely moment with Dad and other family members to distract her. Dad was gasping for air. 99% sure it wasn’t COVID-19, the Speech Therapist said that as Dad lost swallowing capabilities – food/water would go down the wrong pipe, and pneumonia would set in. It did. Hospice wouldn’t come unless Dad was tested…Dad wasn’t going anywhere to get tested.

It didn’t end ugly.
I can Thank our amazing careworkers, morphine, my brother, and the great-grandkids for that. I wouldn’t have called the kids in time to say, ‘good-bye’ – they are all under 7 years old – Dad was such a mess I thought it would terrify their dreams. My brother called and they all trooped over (6+ of them) to see Dad with little masks and gloves.

Dad rallied.
He passed out Tootsie Pops.
Turned over and died in the chaos with Mom on his shoulder and holding hands with the chain of kids.

That thought sustains me more than the painful video call earlier. Dad would do anything for a kid. Kill himself for a kid. Works for me. Thank Goodness my brother called in the troops. A better way to go.

So, will the kids have bad dreams? I don’t know.
I just know that as I look at my hands which are the same shape as my Dad’s,
I am really craving a red Tootsie Pop.

Painting by Mick McGinty


Stop and smell the flowers – update.


A pretty sight, right? The pink flowers match the lingerie from yesterday. dievca didn’t get a photo of the flowers before the post. Here’s the order of activities:

  1. A two-CD mix made for dievca’s Mother took a full day to source and collect songs, then find a burner for the CD’s. Her Dad is failing badly, so she asked the Caregivers to play the music from “Carmen Jones” and “Das Boot” via YouTube on the tablet for expedience. The CD’s are for the stereo – both of dievca’s parents are going deaf.
  2. The next day after work, dievca took a 1.5-hour walk around the City – to get out of the apartment. The wind was brutal-you can see the birds fighting the chop on the Hudson River. she found one place to walk up to buy coffee – it was a treat tasting a different flavor than her coffee.
  3. The 3rd day, dievca biked up the Hudson River Park trail in the rain to get to Master. Master’s windows offered an elegant view of two Magnolia trees in bloom.
    And she shared dinner and wine with Master after a little D/s play.

If dievca’s Dad dies – she won’t be able to get to her mother for the funeral. There is a two-week quarantine for New Yorkers heading out of State via air travel. dievca hasn’t been sick, but she would prefer to be careful. Understandably, as dievca’s Mom wouldn’t make it through a bout of COVID-19 under Hospice care.

Photos: dievca 04/2020 NYC - graphic from a good friend.

Maybe only people with Elderly Parents understand

It was a day before 10 am.
Dad hadn’t a movement in 8 days….with softners, prunes and trying to get him to drink as much water as possible, etc..

It took an Army.
Daughter, Caregiver, Nurse, Home Aid – suppository, prune juice & butter, manipulations, tummy rubbing, squat positioning being held up.

All while two people maneuvered Mom into the bathtub. 
Then the arguing about taking a shower began – 5 weeks of Sponge Baths in a row doesn’t cut it.

It was a hell of a Birthday for Dad – but he’s loose and clean!

We ALL needed a drink by Noon.

Mom and Dad just took a nap~


Coffee packet for the road~


Always desperate for good coffee at my Parents’,
M. gave me a coffee packet for the trip.

The name made me laugh like heck!
We’ll see how those caramel notes soothe stressed nerves.
XO d.


Dancing in Air: for Family

Big February Birthdays!
Dad, he’s still hanging on.
Brother? It’s a big one.
(But in all honesty…dievca is dreading the trip.)


And sometimes you just want a cookie~

Tea Party circa 1910

When discussing Hospice and a DNR-order becomes too much,
just do what dievca’s Mom did to stop the conversation –
ask for an Apricot Cookie.

dievca’s brother isn’t sure how much Mom absorbed,
but the cookie went down well with tea.

A tactic dievca plans on using in the future when facing something unpleasant.

do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR order, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient’s breathing stops or if the patient’s heart stops beating.


a side note – sweet treats

So, dievca’s cousin said she didn’t think the Church had orechovnik (nut roll) available, but another cousin said he knew a bakery in Ohio which does mail-order and is quite good.

Note: dievca is the youngest of a SLEW of older cousins with an 8-year gap between her and the nearest in age – you know those Catholics, no birth control. 🙄

click photo for website link

Hungarian Apricot Kolaches

dievca ordered a bunch of orechovnik and koláče for her parents and her one brother who is celebrating his birthday. Everything arrived on time and in excellent condition. The koláče went over very well with dievca’s brother and her Mother. Dad prefers his orchnovnik. They froze two extra nut rolls for when dievca arrives in February.

If you read the bakery’s history, it tells about when they decided to focus on one location and online presence – they trimmed their offerings to the most popular items. That ended up being mostly eastern European baked goods.

Apparently a good choice.


Understanding Hospice

dievca’s Dad will receive Hospice Care – a UTI, a round with Pneumonia and having trouble getting all the nutrients put him into the suggested category. But the true determinate is Dad’s not trying. dievca gets it – he’s tired.

The only problem is that dievca had a two-week timeframe in her mind for death. Her past experiences with “Hospice” were a quick end. Her good friend didn’t make it home the day she was to leave the hospital for Hospice and her Aunt died the 1st night back at home.

she was incorrect.

Hospice Care is a shifting of focus:

Healing and getting someone up and running.
vs.
Helping someone be comfortable if they cannot handle (or don’t want to handle) the push to recover from all ailments.

To qualify for Hospice assistance, the person needs to be seen as passing within 6 months. There are target criteria for various health issues.

That doesn’t mean that they cannot have care beyond 6 months and that doesn’t mean that if they feel better they cannot move into a recovery mode. It just means that they take care of issues with Nurses at home, rather than staying in a hospital or rehab program. No one insisting on Speech therapy, an MRI or a prescription of statins, etc.

dievca’s Dad is tired of hospitals and has gone through 6 recoveries. He’s not feeling the juice of Life, right now. Again, got it.

Dad has been living with a non-reparable hole in his heart for years. Amazing.

Look, she knows he may go tomorrow, but she’s seen him bounce back.
To be honest, she’s getting a bit tired, too. Dad and Mom’s health is a rollercoaster ride.

What Is Palliative Care?

This program aims to ease pain and help with other problems if your illness is serious but not considered to be life-threatening for now.

It helps people live with the symptoms of long-running things such as cancer, kidney disease or AIDS, or with the side effects of the treatments.

Palliative medicine doesn’t replace other treatments. It’s an addition that helps you and your family deal with things such as nausea, nerve pain, or shortness of breath.

What Is Hospice Care?

Sometimes called, “Comfort Care”. This is for people who have learned from doctors that they are not expected to recover from their condition. It’s about easing pain and helping families prepare for the end of life. Palliative care is part of that, but it’s just one part.

People in hospice care generally are expected to have less than 6 months to live. They’re often at home, where family members and professional caregivers look after them. But you could also choose a specialized center for hospice care. It’s also offered at many nursing homes and hospitals.

Every Medicare-certified hospice provider must provide these four levels of care:
  • Level 1: Routine Home Care.
      • Nursing services
      • Physician participation
      • Social services
      • Home health aide services
      • Counseling services (pastoral, spiritual, bereavement, dietary, and others)
      • Medications
      • Medical equipment
      • Medical supplies
      • Lab and diagnostic studies related to a terminal diagnosis
      • Therapy services
  • Level 2: Continuous Home Care.
      • Some examples of symptoms requiring continuous care would be:
        • Unrelieved pain
        • Severe nausea and vomiting
        • Severe shortness of breath
        • Anxiety or panic attacks
        • A breakdown in the primary caregiver support system
  • Level 3: General Inpatient Care.
      • A free-standing facility owned and operated by a hospice company
      • An inpatient hospice unit within a hospital
      • A hospice unit in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home)
  • Level 4: Respite Care.
      • Respite care services are more for the family than for the patient. If the patient does not meet the criteria to qualify them for continuous care or inpatient care, but the family is having a difficult time
      • If a patient’s family is the primary source of care and cannot meet their loved one’s needs due to caregiver stress or other extenuating circumstances, a patient may temporarily be admitted to an inpatient environment to give the family a needed break or respite.
      • There is a five-day limit on respite care. Once that period expires, the patient is discharged and returns home.

dievca’s Parents have assistance at home. That hasn’t changed.  dievca’s Dad will have a Nurse visit three times a week in addition to the caregiver’s help and will be keeping the urinary catheter from the UTI unless he starts to stand up effectively or the Nurse says it needs to be taken out. That is a battle that dievca is glad she is not involved with~

OK, she needs to make a “Mix Tape” for her Parents.  They haven’t had enough music in their life lately. Thanks for letting her hash it out.

XO

A "Thank you" to WebMD and VeryWellHeath.

Finding peace over an orechovník (nut roll) – 02/09/2018

dievca found this post in her drafts from 2 year ago. Its from a tough time, but the source of Joy still makes her smille.

dievca’s last Aunt (both sides) passed away in Spring 2017. She was batshit crazy. Her Dad’s sister was bound and determined to live longer than dievca’s Dad – making the act of breathing a competition.

dievca’s Dad is in the hospital with bleeding on the brain – it will go either way. We have no control and dievca has been going home as much as possible, knowing each visit might be the last. she’ll be upset down the line, but right now she is at peace with herself and planning to get a flight after she hears from her brother.

After packing, dievca was digging in the freezer and she found an orechovník that her Aunt sent to her right before her death. It was made in one of the local Pittsburgh area Catholic church kitchens. dievca added the frozen orechovník to her bag. It would survive the flight.

Dad didn’t have a stroke, he was having seizures and the hospital was able to get them under control.

At her parent’s house, dievca pulled out the orechovník and her Mom asked where it came from.  When dievca told her it was from the challenging Aunt who passed, her Mom laughed and sat with dievca to have tea and a buttered piece.  The frozen orechovník traveled well.

Orechovník is a piece of childhood memories for dievca: staying with a favorite Aunt or visiting any family member. A piece would be eaten with ham, butter, or nothing.  Rolls would be packed into the car for the return trip to the Midwest. Kept frozen in a cooler to appear at Christmas and Easter. Rolls would be brought when cousins, Uncles, and Aunts visited the Midwestern outpost of the family.

In the hospital, dievca told her Dad about the orechovník. The news elicited a reaction. An eye-roll for his deceased pain-in-the-a** sister, as Dad had just broken her record for years of being alive.

For all her drama and headaches – dievca’s Aunt left a piece of Joy to share and that turned out to be a moment of peace and humor after chaos.

2020 – dievca’s Dad is still kicking after this episode. He is still on the seizure meds, but has weaned himself off of the feeding tube. Finding this unpublished post and thinking about that damn orechovník made dievca smile.  she just might have to beg her cousins to send her one~ and send her parents one, too.

 

What is an orechovník (nut roll)?

A nut roll is a pastry consisting of sweet yeast dough (usually using milk) that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste made from groundnuts and a sweetener like honey, then rolled up into a log shape. This ‘log’ is either left long and straight or is often bent into a horseshoe shape, egg washed, baked, and then sliced crosswise. Nut rolls resemble a jelly roll (Swiss roll) but usually with more layers of dough and filling, and resemble strudels but with fewer and less delicate dough layers. Fillings commonly have as their main ingredient ground walnuts or poppy seeds.

Nut rolls can be found in the United States and in Central European cuisines. In the United States, “nut roll” is a more or less generic name for pastries of this type, no matter where they originate. Nut rolls are known also by many specific regional names, including gubana, guban’ca, or potica in Slovene; orechovník in Slovak; makowiec in Polish; povitica, gibanica, orahnjača/orehnjača in Croatian and Serbian (walnut variant, makovnjača for variant with poppy seed, in Croatia can also be made with carob); kalács and bejgli in Hungarian; and pastiç (pastiche) or nokul in Turkish.

Regional variations on nut rolls are part of weddings, for Easter and Christmas, as well as other celebrations and holidays.


Coffee as medication…

dievca knows her coffee is as important as Dad’s seizure meds. 😉


Can we head back to Lisbon for coffee?


Remind dievca that she loves her parents dearly, ok?

she had to lay down the law with her Dad that she’s not in town just to jump and do his bidding. she’s going to sit down and have dinner like a normal human being. If there is a wet ring on the table from condensation on a glass? Well, that will just have to wait until she’s finished eating and chatting with her Mother.

dievca offered her Dad two options:

  1. Wait patiently until everyone is finished eating and have faith it will be cleaned up.
  2. Get up with the walker, go and get a towel and wipe the ring.

I understand with age you feel like you lose control and your memory is short…

But, a water ring on a melamine table is not an emergency, nor is buying extra pads for Mom, nor is folding the towels from a load that just finished in the dryer, nor is adjusting the peepee pad so it hangs off the side of the bed, nor is putting your applesauce container in the fridge when we haven’t finished eating, nor is putting Mom to bed just because you want to go to bed.

I only have two hands for removing dishes from the dining table. Some of the dishes will have to stay on the table until I can walk back and get them. 

If I haven’t left the house in a car, then I haven’t picked up Mom’s pee pads.

Yes, I got the mail and the newspapers. You’ve asked me four times already. Why don’t you sit on the sofa and read them, so you don’t have to ask me again?

I am really trying to remember that I am going to be the same way in about 40 years.
Let us hope I’ll be the easy-going elderly person holding a glass of wine. ~doubt it~


What a great Sister-In-Law!

When someone in the Family just gets it…


dievca was grateful, really grateful~

And that watermelon? That is the way everyone is getting dievca’s Dad to have enough water intake since he insisted upon removing his feeding tube.
Well, he’s not dead, yet!
Umm, Dad might not make it to 88 if he keeps following dievca around the house telling her how to do things…


Sun shining through the Rain = Life and Death

Life is about Ups and Downs.
You need the rain to appreciate the sunshine – etc., etc., etc.

It’s been a weird year for me:

  • College Best Friend passed away
  • College Roommate passed away.
  • Close friend passed away (85), last night
  • Parents getting stronger with help.
  • My body is apparently quite healthy.

It was interesting finding the 85-year-old friend, last evening. She passed away on her bed – having a lie-down. She looked very Zen. 
She was having some unidentified health challenges.

FDNY, NYPD, a Detective, the ME, the morgue all trooped through the small apartment.  All polite, kind and working to the best of their abilities. NYPD had to seal the apartment because there wasn’t a spouse or roommate. The apartment will be opened up after the courts allow it…..paperwork.

Here I thought it would be my Parents to move on — with all their challenges. Instead, it was a lovely elderly friend who lived her Life on her own terms.

I’m sad, yet happy she moved on in a peaceful way. 
The rain with the sun shining through.


Do you see the light?

NYC Subway Jackson Heights 7 Line – from LGA

dievca’s brother did a phenomenal job of finding three excellent and local caregivers to take care of their Parents.  dievca’s second brother is MIA (“Call me with updates” — yeah, FU – I’ll drop everything to call you with updates…).

dievca helped get her Mom’s colitis under control and Dad eating more calories/water to function (something about not wanting to urinate more). It’s not perfect, but a good start.

As in all systems, dievca predicts breakdowns:

  • dievca’s Dad being an a** to the caregivers and they quit
  • or the caregivers finding another position
  • Mom’s colitis driving everyone batty
  • Their own Family/Home challenges
  • Etc.

But dievca isn’t going to borrow trouble for the moment, she’s going to milk this respite for all its worth. That, and figure out the brand of pillow she slept on – her neck felt better and her arms didn’t go numb at her Parent’s house…

Good Morning to you and may you see the Light of Day, too. XO


Chasing Clouds (elderly parents)

Yesterday morning, dievca listened to her brother tell about how her parents both fell and stayed down until the morning, when the CNA arrived.

Where was the evening person?

They quit because dievca’s Dad was such a pain-in-the-a**.

Her brother was working on it and dievca had the talk with her Father, the day before about if they were paying someone 100K, he could demand people to do things exactly his way. Since we are not paying that, he has to be patient and tolerant or no one would stay…

dievca knew something was going to happen, it was expected. and her Dad only learns through drastic lessons. Apparently, he is still insistent that he and Mom need minimal help. Yeah, right.

OK, dievca is flying through the clouds to go research options: assisted living, home care, 24/7 caregivers. set up meetings for assessments, etc. And, of course, hang out with her Parents…..if she doesn’t kill them, 1st.

Wish her luck.

As she was buying tickets for the flight and rental car, dievca found herself looking out the window at the clouds and drifting off in her mind:

“Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations…

What do you think you see, Linus?”

“Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean…
That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor… And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen…
I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side..

“Uh huh… That’s very good… What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”

“Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!”

― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960

And then dievca ran into these items from Lacoste and they made her smile through the tears:

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

― Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now (pieces) © 1967 Gandalf Publishing Co.


Reality Check: Older Parents

My coffee and Mom’s nebulizer stuff.

You know you have elderly parents when:

  • You’ve survived multiple episodes of falls, strokes, heart issues and you are unfazed, you roll.
  • The house or living situation has wellness paraphernalia all around (nebulizer attachments).
  • You have Amazon Prime and use it for reoccurring orders of incontinence pads and underwear.
  • You find the most simple coffee-maker for your Mom to use and write down the directions.
  • You feel like you are going deaf from “yelling” to be heard.
  • You know where the bleach, oxyclean and pee pads are located in the house.
  • You can make-up a week of Meds for both parents in 15 minutes or less.
  • You know the way to make the Meds because your Dad continues to tell you how to do it.
  • You know the neighbors, friends and home aides who assist and visit your Parents.
  • You are extremely grateful to those people and their patience with hearing a story 20+ times.
  • Their behavior reminds you to pay-it-forward.
  • You’ve learned to take a breath because you know how much your Dad hates losing his control.
  • You have seen enough bodily functions to try to figure out solutions to the bodily challenges.
  • You get excited for a Toto Washlet Toilet seat.
  • You look for things to tempt your parent’s taste buds because they don’t eat enough.
  • You really want a glass of wine at 11 am, daily when you are home.
  • Reminder: we will all be elderly at some point with Luck.
  • You make notes for when you are older.

I am sure you can add to this list, please feel free to do so in the comments.
(PS. Both, Mom and Dad, had check-ups today and things are going relatively well.)

XO


How’s your weekend flowin’?


Dreaming back to a gentle moment in NYC because…
after getting off the plane in the Midwest, I was off to the races!

  • Urgent Care immediately upon arrival for Mom (non-emergency, something that needs to be watched)
  • Feeding Tube Prep, Meds grinding/dilution (My brother needed a weekend off)
  • Heard some stories 4 times already (no clue he told me = short-term memory wipe. Told well)
  • Apparently my Father imposed on some Friends who have relatives in from the Czech Republic, he insisted on them bringing them over. Ages 10-17 with their Mother, ummm, at 9 am. Yeah, Dad gets up at 9.
  • No food to offer them, 10 pm grocery run.
  • Music band playing until midnight across the lake, an accordion involved.
  • Serious Thunder Boomers at 2 am, spectacular, loud, scary and a tree went down in the yard.
  • Having coffee before we are off to the races!

Hope your weekend is rolling along in a gentle way. My 18 hours is…rockin’!