Tuesday, June 16, 2015


1 more sermon.  2 more Sundays, but only 1 more sermon.  We were asked to host a guest preacher my final Sunday.  The board was enthusiastic in their support.

I have now made the reservations for our vacation activities, and I just ordered a kit to paint my brick fireplace.  I want to get some home improvement projects done while I'm off and at home. 

The new anti-psychotic seems to be helping Daughter.  She's doing pretty well with her working at my house on Tuesdays.  Last week she didn't do a very good job, so she didn't get very much money.  I told her she had to prove she could work even when she was tired or upset before she could get a community job.  So today she did a better job. 

I am ready for some time off.  Very ready.  I'm also excited about some of the concerts we'll see this year.  We are going to camp for 9 nights this year.  We will be home for the fireworks at the nearby park this year for the first time.  I've invited some friends for a cook out and to enjoy the fireworks.  Hopefully we will be able to see them from my back yard.  If not, we can walk to the park from here.  It will be fun. 

Monday, June 1, 2015


We talked about vacation yesterday.  I have been putting off making reservations because I was waiting to see what was going to happen with my arm.  Yesterday we began talking about it.  Daughter said she was bored with doing the same thing every year, and wanted to try something new this year.  She had some ideas, and she'd save the $20 she earns a week to pay for it.  I had to explain to her that $80 won't pay for a trip to Paris or a week in a cabin.  As I continued to explain why we do what we do every year, she wasn't buying it.  I offered her a more realistic alternative. 

I talked about camping in a different area, and gave her some information about it.  She looked at pictures, and thought it sounded good.  We talked about what it would be like, and the things we could do.  She began to get excited.  This conversation and negotiating took over an hour.  Then she thought some more.  "I want to go back to (the same place).  I'd miss if if we didn't go this year." 

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Daughter finally saw Psychiatrist today.  She was paranoid, and had a meltdown, and she is now going to be changing anti-psychotics.  It will take several months to get her up to level on the new one while gradually reducing the old one.  I hope it will help.  She's really been struggling.  Last weekend she said, "Mom, I don't know why I'm so irritable.  I don't want to be.  I just can't stop it." 

She has  now spent 3 Tuesdays cleaning my house.  Overall, it is going very well.  It certainly is easing my stress.  She's better able to handle her program now that she's only there 3 days a week.  She's also getting better at setting aside her emotions to take care of her responsibilities.  She collected a long hug from Administrative Assistant and then got busy and completed all her volunteer tasks in the office.  She complained about one, AA said it wasn't hard, so she got busy and finished it.  When she was done, she asked if we had more things she could do.  She has grown so much.

I saw a new doctor this week.  A new orthopedic doctor.  My 3rd orthopedic doctor.  I went to see him to find out if I needed to have my ulna shortened.  He pointed out that ulna is definitely not where it should be, and I probably have ligament and other damage that is contributing to that.  He wasn't concerned about the ulna, though, because he took x-rays from different angles, and they showed that the radius has not healed.  There is still a gap between the bones.  I may be looking at a third major surgery on it, and that would probably take place with yet another specialist.

I broke my arm on May 11 of 2013.  The second surgery was in February of last year.  I'm pretty discouraged.  The good news is that as long as I wear my brace and avoid chopping down trees (or doing other impact work) I can work in my yard.  He twisted it around quite a bit, and it didn't hurt at the time, but it sure was sore the next day.  I go back in July-- after more time with the bone stimulator.  The good news is I only have to use it on one spot now, so it's 20 minutes a day instead of 40.

There are staff issues at Daughter's house.  I had a conversation with Home Owner following Psychiatrist appointment today.  She was going to address the issues.  Part of the challenge is knowing how much of Daughter's reporting is accurate.  I do think that staff has been taunting her.  As I told Home Owner, "It's not smart to poke a tiger."  She's also been giving her current anti psychotic incorrectly, which reduces its effectiveness.  There are also issues with her diet and diabetes management.  We are going to have these struggles as long as she is living in a group home.  She desperately wants to get out into an apartment on her own.  That won't be happening anytime soon.  However, it seems more like a possibility now than a couple of months ago.  I didn't think she'd be able to handle Tuesdays alone cleaning at my house.  But she is.  This week I left 3 bananas hanging on the counter, and when  I got home there were still 3 bananas on the counter.  That is real progress.   

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tough Conversations

Daughter is having a tough time right now.  I think she needs a change in her anti psychoticShe is desperately trying to escape the chaos going on in her own head.  Last weekend she tried to convince me that she should move back to Tiny Village.  She thought she could live on her own there and be happy.  I pointed out that she still wasn't managing to stay out of food.  I explained my theory to her, saying she was trying to get away from her thoughts.

"Mom, they aren't even thoughts.  It's a tangled mess in my brain.  I can't figure it out."  

I told her she had an appointment with Psychiatrist on Monday.  She was furious.  She said Psychiatrist was trying to kill her and was using her as a lab rat for her experiments.  She said the medication was poisoning her, and she needed to get off of all of it.  I asked if she remembered why she had started on medication.  She didn't.  I explained to her that she was afraid of the bathroom.  She thought her brothers were down the drain waiting to suck her in.  The only way she could bathe was if she took a shower with me.  I had to stand between the drain and Daughter to keep her safe.  The only  way she could sleep was if she was on top of me.  I mean full body contact.  Even at 8 she was a big girl, and so I wasn't getting much sleep.  She was terrified of school, as she saw snakes in her desk.  She started her first anti psychotic and I found out how wonderful it was to shower alone.

She listened carefully, and then informed me that we should never have changed her medication.  I told her why we changed it for the first time:  she thought bugs were crawling all over her body.  It was also her first hospitalization.  She was 10.  I suggested she write what she wanted to say to Psychiatrist, so she did.   

Monday she called me.  "Mom, did you know that my appointment is cancelled?  Case Manager is on vacation."  To say I wasn't happy would be an understatement.  I hadn't been notified.  Her program worker had been notified last Thursday.  Her appointment is now May 28.  She is struggling.  She told me yesterday, "Mom, I get upset at little things.  I can't control it.  I'm afraid I'm going to hurt someone."  

Last weekend she told me my voice sounded like I was giving up on her.  I reassured her I will never give up on her, I was just tired.  I am discouraged and frustrated, though.  

Administrative Assistant leaves for vacation tomorrow morning.  She will be gone two weeks.  I will be alone in the office.  I'm not looking forward to that.  

The good stuff:  Easter was wonderful.  Worship attendance is up, and giving is strong.  Daughter has been cooperative and grateful when she's with me.  Last weekend I bought and assembled a new desk that I'm putting in the family room.  I don't do well with paper, so I bought a Scan Snap and am now scanning the piles of paper around the house.  I'm trying to bring some order to my chaos, in the hopes that will reduce my stress.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Holy Week

I was in the office again today-- 4th day off I've worked in a row.  In addition to finishing Sunday's sermon, we also managed to finalize the bulletin for Maundy Thursday.  We feel like we're in pretty good shape going into Holy Week.  I think we could handle a funeral-- though I certainly hope we don't have to do that.  My goal is always to be far enough ahead on the work we can handle a big funeral. 

Administrative Assistant was actually able to leave a little early today.  She's been working a lot of extra hours.  I'm glad we're closing the office for 2 days after Easter.  We both are looking forward to that time off.  

Daughter is still struggling with the staff changes at her house.  Home Owner laid into one of the staff members about the way she was treating the residents.  Daughter was shocked and pleased.  Her concerns were heard.  She survived her birthday.  She saw Psychiatrist this week, and her lithium was increased again.  She goes back in a month.  I hope the increase will help.  Psychiatrist said that spring causes cycling in many people with bipolar.  She also asked me directly what medication changes I wanted.  I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news.  I'm grateful she respects me, but wish there was a better way to determine needs.   

I'm through the third week of my therapy for my arm.  I'm spending 40 minutes a day attached to the bone stimulator.  My next x-ray is April 13.  I know my hand and wrist is getting stronger.  I hope the bone is also healing. 

Monday, March 23, 2015


Daughter has a birthday this week.  She will be 28.  Birthdays prompt an existential crisis for her.  "I'm going to be 28 years old.  I should be able to live in my own apartment."  We go through this every year.  I keep reminding her of what needs to happen for her to live independently.  She keeps telling me she's doing better and can handle it. 

Of course, it doesn't help that once again their is changing going on at her group home.  One staff member quit after creating much chaos.  The continuing staff member yells, triggering Daughter's PTSD.  There is also a new staff member, and a new resident moved in this weekend.  Change and Daughter do not get along very well. 

Holy Week is approaching, and I have been in the office the last three Fridays (supposedly my day off).  So Daughter is having an existential crisis and I am lacking in patience.  It is not a good combination, and I have been lacking in patience with her.  Yesterday I tried to remind her of the conversations we had when she turned 18 and when she graduated from high school.  Both times I explained to her that age was just a number, and it didn't mean she was suddenly all grown up.  That's something else that annoys me.  I don't like the word grown-up, as it implies that we reach a point and no longer need to learn and grow.  For people like Daughter, that idea makes accepting limits harder. 

Administrative Assistant and I have been talking recently about how much she has grown and matured in the 4 1/2 years we've been here.  Daughter doesn't recognize that, which is unfortunate.  I keep reminding her, and I continue to hope.  She has now been with me for 25 years.  Next month we'll celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption.  I never thought I'd still be parenting this intensely at this point.  Despite the challenges, I'm grateful to be her mom.  It would be nice, though, if her existential crises came during less busy times in the church year. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A New One

This morning I received a phone call at 3:45.  When the phone rings at that hour, I have mentally run through the sick list before I answer, anticipating news of a death.  This morning, though, I was informed that there was a broken water main in front of the church, which had created a huge sink hole in the middle of the street, which was closed.  We would have to cancel worship.  So we did.  It was the first time I've had to cancel worship for that reason.  I had several more phone calls over the next several hours as we figured out logistics, so I didn't get up until late.  Daughter and I went out to lunch.  It has been warm today, so I spent some time working in the yard today.  I wore my brace and was very careful. 

I'm working on all my exercises from physical therapy, trying to strengthen the wrist.  I'm getting the bone stimulator tomorrow, and I hope that when I go back to the orthopedist after Easter, the bones will be healed.

Daughter has been very cooperative this weekend, which has been nice.  It's been a good weekend.