Learning to clean blood out of silk through no power of my own...

These truly are journeys in a strange life.

Leaving a trail of p - e - b - b - l - e - s
Everyone remembers the part of the Hansel and Gretel story wherein the children leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind them so they might find their way back home. What is less remembered is the trail of pebbles that they left behind the first time their father took them into the forest.

I think of journal-writing as leaving my own pebble trail. It's a way to gauge where I have been and how far I've come. The joys and sorrows I've experienced, the hardships I've overcome. In truth sometimes I cringe to read some of my entries from junior high and high school. I was so very young and so self-involved. My world so small. Sometimes I worry that my world hasn't gotten that much bigger, but as worrying has never added a day to anyone's life I straighten my shoulders and tell myself that I will try to do better tomorrow.

I write a lot about relationships because they are dear to me. People and my interactions with them are probably the most precious things in my life. I also write about relationships because being alone and being forgotten are two of my deepest fears. Deep down I fear that I am unworthy of love--of being loved--and that one day I will end up all alone, forgotten and unmissed by the world at large.
The truth, which I know and just have trouble believing the way I believe that the sun will continue to rise in the east and that snow will fall during a Minnesota winter, is that I am more than worthy of love and of being loved. That even if I end up single for the rest of my days, it does not mean that I will have a less fulfilling life. It just means that it will not be the life I expected. And that is okay. I need to remember that I do, in fact, like surprises; that, aside from my actions and my reactions to the things that happen around and to me, I really have no control over what happens in this crazy life. So I should just shut up that internal worrywart and hang on. Because if I know one thing, I know it's going to be an interesting ride.

Hard boiled facts
Sadie is the name of my charge. She's an Alzheimer's patient nearing 90.

Sadie and I are still working out our "usual" schedule, but thus far I let her sleep until she gets up, make her breakfast, chat with her a bit (unless we have a falling out--at which point she hides in her room), make her lunch, chat some more... it's not an unpleasant way to spend the day. I usually do housework while she's asleep or when she's on a rare outing with one of her sons. As Sadie also has hearing problems and glaucoma, I'm a bit at a loss as to what we can do together besides talk, but it's a project I'm working on.

The one thing that is almost always certain is Sadie's meals. Sadie eats two scrambled eggs with a slice of toast and a cup of (heavily sugared--by her) decaf coffee for breakfast and a crustless turkey sandwich with a few chips and a cup of tea (again heavily sugared) for lunch.

Her son, Ray, told me that she sometimes has oatmeal for breakfast and I was tired of scrambled eggs so I made old-fashioned oatmeal on Monday. I learned that I make oatmeal wrong. My oatmeal isn't creamy and Sadie's MUST be creamy. Okay. I'll get brave and try again one of these days.

Well, last night Ray told me that Sadie liked hard boiled eggs and that maybe I should try that--just for something a little different. So today I spent about half an hour cooking and shelling eggs. They turned out PERFECTLY, too (well, the peeling wasn't perfect, but the insides were).

Sadie took one bite and grimaced. GRIMACED! She doesn't like hard boiled eggs, she has informed me. She likes soft-boiled eggs. Over the course of half of one of her two eggs she told me 3 or 4 times that she doesn't like hard boiled eggs and that "you only eat hard boiled eggs at Easter, not when the weather is like this" with a gesture out the window at the snow that she so often even forgets is on the ground.

Let me clarify: my feelings are not hurt. Sadie often forgets that she likes things or changes her mind about what she likes. Some days she's just plain ornery. I'm just... on a steep learning curve. And ya'll get to learn along with me. Lucky you.

So many changes...
I honestly don't recall the last time I posted for the public and I'm not going to go back and check. Here's a quick run-down of where I am now and why I'm back at lj.

1.) My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2009 or 2010. The disease progressed quickly due to stress and he retired from ministry as of December 31, 2011.

2.) My parents sold their house. Mom and Dad now reside in a one-level, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Thief River Falls. This works very well for them as Dad uses a walker to help him get around. Also because both of my sisters and their families reside in the same city.

3.) I spent from Christmas until the end of January helping my parents sort through their belongings, get rid of excess, and pack. In the past 30 days I have moved 3 times. I moved to my parents' new place, did a little more sorting and packing, and then trekked clear across the state to Lake City to help a good friend take care of her sweet little one month old. Quarters were tight, money was tighter, and there was a cat that hated my guts. I left after about 3 weeks. I am now living in St. Paul with my mom's baby sister and her family.

So, St. Paul... my function here is to provide sanity. I am the live-in companion for my uncle's mother. She is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. I cook for her, talk to her, do some light housework, try to get her to change her clothes (that's a trick I'm still working on), and basically make sure that she doesn't sleep all day or go outside on her own or get injured. I have absolutely ZERO training for this, so I'm learning as I go. Thus far I can tell you that the clear, concise directives given by healthcare websites seem like a load of patronizing bullshit. Sadie and I have our good times and our bad times and often the space between good and bad is ten minutes or less. It takes less time for her to get mad at me than it does for her to forgive me, I know that much.

I've also been adopted by one of the house cats. Toh is a big black panther-looking domestic short-hair. He seems to believe that I exist solely to pet and snuggle him at his whim. I'm quite fond of this tendency except when he tries to lay across my keyboard or when he decides that he NEEDS attention at 6 am. He's also quite clever. He can open my bedroom door when it is closed.

I came back to livejournal because I needed somewhere to vent. Somewhere to release all of the thoughts and emotions roiling in my brain. This job is not easy. If I try to hold it in, I'm gonna go nuts.

So, good to see you, lj. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of me.


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