Tuesday, September 4, 2007

An Ordinary Tuesday

Today was an ordinary day; full, but ever so ordinary.

I awoke to rain on the deck and the sounds of neighbors getting their children into cars, ready for their first day of school. It felt like fall with the rolling, wet clouds and a slight chill in the air.

I spent the day doing errands, on the road and at home; ironed half a dozen shirts for Denny, mailed a package to Laura, deposited checks at the bank, bought more cat food, swept the kitchen floor, watered the plants, and arranged for our new gas furnace to be inspected next week.

And, in service to parents, I scheduled a doctor visit and hair appointment for Mom, ordered refills on prescriptions for both Mom and Dad, brought in trash and recycling bins at Arapahoe, made a call to Crista Assisted Living to request information, and then prepared macaroni and cheese, green beans, sliced cucumbers, and a small blackberry cobbler to take over to Merrill Gardens for their dinner. They usually eat in their apartment for the evening meal and their choices are limited; they so appreciate a home cooked meal, no matter how simple. We ate around the kitchen table at 5:15, early for me but very much their routine.

Before I left for home, I reviewed again with Mom her night time medication regimen and pointed out the "Tuesday PM" label on the pill case which cues her to the evening pills. She has become so forgetful and confused by her medications in the last week; it's an obvious sign that the stroke she suffered recently continues to whittle away at her cognitive abilities and memory. After she forgot to take her evening pills on Sunday and spent a restless, anxious night, I decided that I'd try to phone her around 8 PM to remind her about the pills. Last night this worked well; she retrieved the pill box, the water and took the "PM" pills while I stayed on the line.

But tonight when I called I was too late; the medications had already been taken. And, they were the wrong medications, the "Wednesday AM" pills. Mom became so upset by the error that she put Dad on the phone. That made matters even more stressful as they started to argue over the details of what had happened. At that point I told Mom I'd come over and sort things out. It's not a huge deal but it is frustrating to all of us when routines that had been straightforward and smooth are now sources of concern and endless confusion. It's just another example of how complicated the most simple tasks can become and a sign of just how much help they need to navigate through the days (and nights).

Mom, Dad, and I managed to make the best of the situation this evening; we had to laugh (or try to halfheartedly); what else could we do? I decided to re-arrange the pillbox so that all her medications are taken at night only; no more morning medications. Just one time a day to take meds....perhaps this will work, perhaps not. Why didn't I think of this before?

And so, I am now back at home. The house is quiet, the rain has stopped and it is time to finish this blog. This quite ordinary day was not exactly memorable but it was important. Perhaps they all are important.

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