Thursday, January 25, 2018

January Is Nearly Over

I just realized it has been over a month since I've updated Down On The Farm.  I hate to admit this, but part of the problem was figuring out how to sign in to this Google account (I have two and used to be able to switch back and forth easily but lately???).  This surely makes me sound old, but technology is both a blessing and a curse.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is wonderful, and yet frustrating all at the same time.  Surely I'm not the only one who feels this way !!!  Come on admit it, you sometimes long for the days when a cordless phone in your house was cool and only huge corporations had computers!!!

Missouri has had some harsh weather already this year and spring is still a long time off.  Sub-zero temperatures and sub-zero wind chills and long stretches of days and days where it never got above freezing.  Man that type of weather is hard on animals and equipment and those of you who live this farm life North of the Mason-Dixon Line know what I mean.  My husband has been busy feeding hay, and warming up baby calves born in the "teeth" of the storm as the old timers would say.  Today, well today it's supposed to be 62 degrees and sunny.  Now that's my kind of January day.  If you've been here awhile you know I'm a spring and fall kind of girl.  You can keep your hot and muggy summertime days and your brutally cold snowy winter days.  Just give me 70 degrees and sunshine I'll take that all day every day!!!  But alas it's still winter and there is more snow in the forecast for next week. 

Now to the elephant in the room . . . my mom.  She continues to struggle.  We took mom to the doctor for fluids 2 days after Christmas, and had another compression fracture fixed 3 days after Christmas.  Frankly the doctor was not encouraging.  Mom's inability to nourish herself has become critical.  She continues to lose weight that she does not have to lose.  And it's not her fault.  She is not intentionally starving herself.  It is her mind and her body working against her.  Mom has spent the last 4 weeks at my sister's house where she can get 24/7 care since my sister works from home.  And the first week or so that she was there mom did rally.  She actually put on a couple of pounds.  She can get herself in and out of her chair by herself, and in and out of bed by herself.  Prior to that she couldn't even do that.  But her eating has plateaued.  She hasn't gained an ounce in the last 2 weeks and the home health nurse comes back today so I'm waiting to hear her weight later this afternoon.  Am I hopeful that mom has gained a little bit of weight?  Yes, of course I am.  Am I expecting it?  Frankly, no.  I spent 2 days at my sister's last week taking care of mom and giving my sister and brother-in-law a little bit of a break, and mom eats very little.  She thinks she eats constantly.  But there are more calories in one meal my husband would eat at McDonalds than my mom gets in an entire day.  We are bringing mom back home this weekend.  She is very homesick as my mom is a real "home body."  She just wants to be in her own home.

I really don't know what will happen over the next few weeks.  Mom isn't able to cook for herself, and my dad, well, as you can imagine he can microwave a little but he is no short order cook.  And mom is very picky.  She looks for any excuse NOT to eat something (too hot, too cold, too spicy, too tough, too thick, too thin, etc.) so it's HARD to have something she will eat.  I work full time.  So I can cook ahead and have things in small containers that my dad can heat up for her, but I can't quit my job and stay home and care for her.  And I carry a lot of guilt making that statement.  I'm not sure how long mom can stay at her own home.  But she doesn't want to stay at my house or my other sister's house.  She's tired and just wants to be at her own home and I get that.  But mom needs more care than my dad can give her.

So we struggle.  Do we give mom what she wants, or what she needs?  Left to her own decisions, mom is a couple weeks away from another hospital stay, and there isn't much they can do for her, as we all agree a feeding tube isn't the answer for her.  We've considered hiring someone to stay with her, but mom doesn't do well around someone she doesn't know.  We are a family at the end of our rope.  I am thankful that Jesus is our Hope.