Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Next Issue

Daughter claims they aren't following any menu for supper, and they just dump food on her plate. She claims she just eats what she should eat. I hope she's wrong. I think she's probably right. They are provided with a menu with nutrition information and such. But apparently they don't like to follow it....
She continues to sound manic. She'll be home with me tomorrow evening. Her program is closed Friday, so that will make life a little more interesting. I haven't decided what to do about Friday. I may go into the office for at least a while. I'm out of it all day tomorrow for a conference, and I'd like to have sermon and such done so I can relax an enjoy Saturday.

The Plan

Case Manager is going to begin to quietly look for a new place. It needs to be all women and able to handle diabetes. We will continue to work with the current home on improving their care.
Daughter is very volatile right now. I'm going to see about getting her some new head phones for her ipod that will block out noise and that others won't be able to hear. She desperately needs them for the self-soothing right now, and is catching some flack about how loud she has it.
I'm making some exciting plans for Holy Week right now. I'm glad to have good things going on that can be my focus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nothing Is Easy

Case Manager called today. There are no easy answers. I am now in an email conversation with Case Manager, her supervisor, and Residential Coordinator. Everyone acknowledges that there are real problems at the current placement. However, finding a home that can address Daughter's needs is going to be difficult.
Residential Coordinator actually suggested I bring her home and hire people to help with her care. There would be some funding available to help with that. No amount of money, though, would compensate for the stress and the extra work that hiring and supervising in-home care providers would create.
The best solution at this point is probably to get her on a waiting list for a home that is equipped to deal with her medical needs while trying to solve the problems at the current placement.
Daughter is becoming increasingly difficult. She doesn't feel safe, so she's trying to control everything and over reacting to any change in her routine. She complained because she went bowling today and she's not supposed to go bowling on Tuesdays. She likes to bowl. She just couldn't handle the change today. I don't think this is all medication related, I think it is her reaction to the chaos and insecurity at the house.
I will pray and trust that the right answer will become evident, hopefully soon.

Incredibly Stupid

Daughter called last night very happy. She was pleased with the picture menu they had made for her lunch. She said it was on the refrigerator door. She saw it as a sign that they were going to get things fixed. It worked, sort of. The lunches are supposed to be made by the afternoon shift and checked by the morning shift. It states there are to be no substitutions.
The morning staff checked her lunch, and found that instead of a sandwich, snack pack and/or fruit, they had packed a lunchable, chips, and a regular yogurt. It worked in that morning staff fixed it. I'm trying to comprehend what would prompt the afternoon staff to completely ignore the picture menu. The only explanation I have come up with is that they are incredibly stupid.
I never heard from Case Manager yesterday about my request to have Daughter moved. I suspect that means she wasn't in yesterday. I was pondering whether I need to give them more time as I heard of concrete steps being taken yesterday, but if staff doesn't even follow a picture menu, I'm wondering if there really is hope. All it takes is one staff member refusing to be responsible to endanger the lives of the residents. I wonder if it will be any better at another home. There are no guarantees, that's for sure.

Monday, February 27, 2012


They messed up Daughter's lunch again today, giving her almost 80 grams of carb instead of 45. The Home Manager and Medical Coordinator made a picture menu for staff and posted it on the refrigerator. It gives them three options for her lunches and says there are to be no substitutions. They have the carbs listed. She gets a sandwich, but they don't have meat on their picture menu. I asked if they were smart enough to know that they needed to put meat on the sandwich. House Manager said if they weren't, she'd redo the picture menu.
Pharmacist apparently made a number of recommendations, and is going to look into getting different pills so they don't have to use two cards for one dose of the problem medication. Daughter had a major meltdown before supper when she discovered that her insulin had been touched and some of it removed. I don't know why they did it, but I'm assuming that was done by the Pharmacist. I provided reassurance, but I couldn't get her completely calmed down. I told her to go listen to her ipod, but she said she needed to charge it first.
Two interesting tidbits: apparently all the staff is being given copies of my emails. One of the staff has been talking to Daughter about them, and apologizing for the problems and promising they will do better.
The state is going to be doing an inspection this week. I had seen on the state website that their license was up for renewal this year. I would love to get the opportunity to talk to the state inspectors.... I know the state will find a number of problems.
On to cheerier subjects: I had an awesome board meeting tonight. It was the first meeting since our retreat. We evaluated the retreat and talked about it. The evaluation was very positive. We had to finish setting some priorities as a result of the retreat. There was a lot of energy around the table. We made some exciting plans to improve communication. We're going to do a book study together as we work on discerning what God wants us to do. Our meeting was much longer than usual, but the comment was made that we had talked about important things and it didn't seem long. I love being in ministry with this congregation.

Are You Okay?

Daughter's phone call this morning reported she was twitching. She has a history of complex partial seizures. The med they keep messing up was prescribed for those seizures (and also serves as a mood stabalizer). I alerted Program Manager to observe and reminded Daughter that the more she focuses on them, the worse they get.
House Manager and Nurse have responded. House Manager insists they have done everything right and the problem is individual staff members. Nurse is very concerned and points out that all the training and systems in the world can not give a conscience to staff members who don't care.
Case Manager has not responded to my request for a move.
So Elder sticks his head in my office to say hi on his way to do some work downstairs. Then he reappears. "Are you okay?" He said I didn't sound right.
"I asked to have Daughter moved."
He understood the implications of that. He listened. I told him his start as a psych major served him well. I am blessed to be in ministry with this congregation.

Last Night's Final Call

Daughter called me around 9:00 last night. She was frustrated because they didn't give her her meds at the right time. "Mom, this place is just messed up."
"I know. We're trying to fix it."
"Mom, you need to do something. I don't want to die. I want to live."
It will be interesting to see how the team responds to this weekends issues. I'm tired of all the emails expressing concern and promising action but don't result in any change.
Very tired. I wonder how long it will take to find a new placement for Daughter. I hope they find a good one quickly.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Did It

I just sent an email requesting that Daughter be moved. She called about her supper insulin and the staff on meds was clueless. Rather than look at the menu to see if it had the carbs for supper she wanted to give her a cup of ramen noodles because that has the carbs listed on it. She just wanted me to tell her how much insulin without figuring out the carbs. I told her the insulin is based on the number of carbs, but she just wasn't getting it. She wondered about waiting until after she ate for her insulin.
A move will be hard on Daughter, but I don't see them making any progress. If I saw progress, I'd wait it out. This place is dangerous, and not just for Daughter. I'm sure there will be a flurry of emails tomorrow. I hope there is also some action, for the sake of all the women there.

On a Cheerier Note

I had a wonderful time yesterday with Sister and Baby Nephew. He is such a good baby. Over 5 hours, and the only time he cried was when he had a dirty diaper. When I started to change him, he stopped crying.
Sister and I did some shopping. A friend has opened a new store that specializes in bird feeders and supplies. I spent too much money there, but may have a bird feeder that will foil Oscar the persistent squirrel. He took the squirrel proof top off the last squirrel resistant bird feeder I bought and hid it so I couldn't put it back on.
Baby Nephew has been close to walking for months. Brother and Sister-in-law informed us we weren't to tell them if he took his first steps for us. As I was getting ready to leave, I was hugging him. He was pointing to the cat and saying, "cat." I said, "You're talking before you walk. When are you going to start walking. I put him on the floor several feet away from me and he walked over to me. I resisted the urge to text Brother and tell him what had happened.
We will be receiving 7 new members in 2 weeks, including baptizing 2 individuals who are over 80 years old. It is wonderful to see the way God is at work at the church. I think of bringing Daughter back home, but know that would be quite challenging with all the things that are going on at the church right now. This is to be a cheery note, though, so I won't go there. I'll celebrate watching Baby Nephew take his first steps and the growth in the church.

Unsurpassed Incompetence

On February 17, I pointed out Daughter had only been getting half of one of her meds since they started the new cards on the 16th. We pulled the second card out and put it in her pill box.
On February 24, I pointed out that she still wasn't getting the second pill every evening, and documented the nights she had missed pills.
On February 26, Daughter told me one of the staff members had "fixed" a problem with her meds and pulled out some pills that didn't belong in her box. My heart sank. When I took her back this afternoon, I inspected her meds. Sure enough, staff had pulled the second card of medication out of her box, and she was back to just getting one of them.
I would think that the administration would have made sure that all the staff knew about the issue and were administering Daughter's meds properly. I guess I was mistaken. We put the second card back in Daughter's box and highlighted the instructions. I wish I was optimistic that this would solve the problem.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Good Plans

Today I am going to go see Sister. We're going to do some shopping and Brother an Sister-in-law will be dropping off Baby Nephew at Sister's house while they go out this evening. Short Niece is at her Dad's this weekend. Daughter will stay at her house. We will get to enjoy Baby Nephew (who is the world's most amazing baby) without our jealous daughters vying for attention. I'm really looking forward to it.
In fact, I went into the office yesterday morning to work on the sermon and PowerPoint so I'd be able to go. I told Sister she has to kick me out by 9:00 so I can be home in time to wind and get to bed by 11:00. I haven't seen nearly as much of family as I thought I would when I moved here. It will be good to send time with Sister and Baby Nephew today.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Heart Breaking

Daughter called this afternoon, sobbing. "Mom, I need to come home."
"Why? What's wrong?"
"I don't know. I thought the medication was supposed to help."
"It does, but they haven't been giving it to you properly. We're working on getting that fixed. They're sending the pharmacist to the house."
"I trusted them to keep me safe!"
I was able to tell her that Therapist was picking her up soon to go to shopping for the items for her self-soothe box. That diverted her.
I received several texts from Program Manager about how volatile Daughter was today. It's frustrating, and I won't hear anything more until Monday.
I'll see what happens after the pharmacist visits, but I think it's time for Case Manager to begin looking for another placement.

The Plan

The Pharmacist is visiting Daughter's home to review the situation. Pharmacist will make recommendations for improving the situation, which may include changes in procedures, training, and/or personnel. Nurse has acknowledged that this is a problem for all the women at the home. Daughter was irritable this visit, and acknowledged she's irritable and doesn't know why. I didn't offer her the excuse of the med issues. She had all her meds last night and this morning, so hopefully she will begin to feel better.
Pharmacist and Nurse are all over this now. I think that is a good thing. It is very clear that I am running out of patience. They don't want to see what happens when Mama Bear goes to war.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Deep Sigh

Last night Daughter informed me she was out of lithium, but it was okay because staff was taking care of it. She called and woke me up sometime after 11:00 p.m. to ask some minor question that I don't even remember. She said she couldn't sleep. She called again this morning, still very much up and perky.
I suddenly realized that she is manic. Then I realized that she would be coming to spend the night with me tonight without her lithium. Then I realized we are expecting between 6 and 10 inches of snow tonight and she could get snowed in here with me with no lithium.
I emailed, then texted, and the home delivered her lithium to the church. I'm done being nice and accomodating them. They said I could come pick up the lithium, and I informed them I didn't have time to do that today. So they delivered it. When I got home I looked through her med box. Last week I had pointed out they were only giving her half of one of her seizure medications (which also apparently serves as a mood stabalizer for her). We put the second card in her box, and supposedly they were going to make sure she got both of them. So I examined the cards tonight. Three nights this past week she only received one of the pills instead of two of them. I am getting very frustrated with this. Very frustrated. Daughter complained that she'd been irritated all day, and she didn't know why. I suspect it might have something to do with the fact she's not getting the medication she needs. In the email I sent this evening, I wondered what mistakes were being made iwith the meds of the women who don't have family members checking on them. It will be interesting to see what response I receive tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Now I Remember

I'm remembering why I don't make medical appointments for myself and delay needed tests/procedures. I did very little yesterday, and I'm struggling to play catch up today. I've got a dozen things in process, but haven't completed any of them. I have things scheduled on Friday, which will make it hard for me to work in the office that day.
I did meet with a woman who wants to join the church today, and I did lead the noon prayer service, but preparation for worship, adult study, and the Monday evening board meeting are all incomplete. I've spent some time on each today, but still have a lot of work to do on them.
I think I'll go grab something for supper and then come back to the office to work for a while this evening. I want to get at least one project a little further along before I stop for the day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This morning I had an EGD (scope down my esophagus into my stomach) done. I was diagnosed with GERD several years ago, and before we moved I began to have difficulty swallowing. I felt like food was getting stuck, so I went in for an EGD. They stretched my esophagus, but there was so much scar tissue they couldn't stretch it completely. I was feeling like food was getting stuck again, so I got a referral to a GI specialist here, and the EGD was scheduled for today. I also had a barium study done a couple of weeks ago. I have some blood work I still need to get done.
There were no big major problems today, but there were a number of little things. The anesthesiologist circled some things on my EKG. I asked what he was circling and he said I wasn't supposed to see that. He then asked if I'd had a stress test, and I told him I'd not only had a stress test, I'd had a catheterization and it was fine. He said that was good, then asked how long ago that was.
The GI doctor wanted to know about my scleroderma. My blood work is positive for progressive systemic scleroderma, but the rheumatologist wasn't sure it was accurate, as she didn't see any symptoms of the disease. The GI doctor assured me it was accurate. So I just did some research, and discovered that scleroderma can cause these issues with the esophagus. I didn't like what I read about the prognosis.
Over the years I have neglected my own health because I was spending so much time transporting Daughter to various specialists. I'd ignore my own problems. When I got to the point I was afraid to go to sleep because I kept waking up gasping for breath I finally went in for a sleep study. I've used a cpap machine faithfully since that time. It seems that I'm now seeing the results of delaying and neglecting my health now. Getting older doesn't help, either.
Administrative Assistant was going to pick me up (because I can't drive for 24 hours) for a Shrove Tuesday potluck at one of our sister churches. I just called and told her I'm not going to try to go. I'm tired, and once the numbing stuff wore off, my throat began to hurt. Maybe it's time I began to listen to my body. Hopefully it's not too late.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Daughter is frustrated that they are following the diet. She is expressing her frustration in a rude matter. I told her she needed to apologize. She was not very receptive. She called tonight when I was in a meeting (as I am every Monday night). I answered in my standard way: "I'm in a meeting. You can call me after 9. Love you. Bye." I heard an angry, "Fine." Before I hung up. She hasn't called back, and I'm fine with that.
She was frustrated because she had an unstructured day today. She does not do well with unstructured time. I'm just grateful I don't have to deal with the rude remarks and her complaints about a day off.
Once she adjusts to the diet and realizes they are going to follow it, she'll settle in and be fine. Hopefully that will be soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Adjusting

I am adjusting to living alone, but it has taken me longer than I anticipated. Yesterday I made my first meals for the freezer since Daughter moved out. I've also did more real cooking this past week. I think food has been hardest the thing for me since she moved out. I'm glad that I'm finally getting into a routine.

I've also taken on a small project in the kitchen, modifying a corner cabinet. Daughter and I have an ongoing discussion about what women can and can't do. She seems to think that anything that involves tools should be done by a man. I don't know where she gets that idea. I've always had tools, and always done minor repairs around the house.

Daughter is unhappy about Presidents' Day tomorrow. Her program will be closed. She doesn't want to be at her house tomorrow. She was desperately seeking someone to rescue her. I suggested she shift her focus to ways to have fun at her house. She wasn't happy with that idea.

She chose to stay longer today and go to the nursing home worship service with me. I was pleased that she wanted to be part of that. She's still frustrated by the new commitment to following her diet at the house. I'm delighted by it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Daughter called me seeking directions on hooking her DVD/VCR back up to her TV. (She had disconnected it and tried to hook it up to the house TV to share a movie with everyone.) She wanted some alone time in her room with a movie. She didn't ask me to come do it for her, she asked me to clarify what she needed to do. I was impressed. I guess she was over her frustration about her diet.
She really has matured since she moved. She's still manipulative. She still needs limits. She's learning how to do things on her own. She's learning how to deal with her feelings and take time away when she needs it. She's learning and adjusting, and I'm glad.

A Conversation

I was at breakfast with Sister Best Friend when my cell phone rang.

"Thanks, Mom, for messing up my diet. They're measuring my milk!"

"Good! I want you to be healthy, and that will help."

"You might as well feed me seaweed!"

"No, that won't work. I don't know the carbs for seaweed."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Parties and Peace

Daughter's program (and a number of other programs for the developmentally disabled) had a Valentine party at the church today. They had a band, a popcorn machine, and all sorts of fun. Daughter was doing a little rapid cycling there. She'd texted me that it was a terrible party, but when I got to the church and went downstairs to see give her a couple of books, she was dancing and happy. She came to find me, crying within 20 minutes. I told her she'd be fine, and suggested she take a break in a quiet room. She did, and that was the end of the complaining.

She's called twice since she got home. Both calls were happy and she didn't complain. She'll get back on the full dose of her seizure medication tonight, and that should help. She's on two meds for seizures, and since she moved we've discovered that both help with leveling out her moods. She also on two meds for the bipolar plus the anti psychotic. We've found that she needs everyone of them. I was pondering today what it would have been like to try to live with her before there were all these options for medication. I've decided I'm grateful for meds and don't want to know what life would be like with her unmedicated.

I'm meeting Sister Best Friend for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it. Now it's time for bed. The last few days have exhausted me.

The Meeting

I was not looking forward to the meeting at the house. Not at all. It went amazingly well.

Despite what the agency says, the staff has not been adequately trained. Old staff are supposed to train new staff, but there isn't a training program and there is no guarantee old staff were trained correctly. The House Manager is going to retrain everybody.

We made some changes to help for now, and I will go train the entire staff in March.

Daughter will have the Home Manager's number in her cell phone, and she can call her directly, taking me out of the loop.

The dietitian's menu was needlessly complicated. We came up with a simplified menu that gives Daughter choices for lunch and makes it easy for staff.

Daughter is being manipulative. I gave them hints on dealing with her manipulation.

It's a beginning. I can live with that for now.

Something Good

There wasn't any choir last night, so Daughter and I enjoyed a quiet night here at home. She was excited about some "Mommy-Daughter" time. She had requested stromboli, so I made it. I used a new recipe, and she loved it.
We watched Mama Mia again. It was fun, mindless fun. She snuggled in next to me. It was just what we both needed. There wasn't any arguing or drama. She was happy and grateful. Of course I had all the food locked up.
Today I have an appointment with the Medical Coordinator at the home. We set this up at the psychiatrist appointment Monday. It should be an interesting meeting....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And for Their Next Trick...

Daughter is only getting half of one of her seizure medications. She's supposed to get 1000 mg twice a day. For some reason the pharmacy is giving her 500 mg tablets. Last month they had the two 500 mg tablets on the same card. This month they don't, and only one card is in her box. It does explain why she is having trouble sleeping.
I think this email will make it clear I'm fed up. I point out that I had foolishly assumed that the staff cared about her health, but obviously was wrong and they don't care about her physical or emotional well-being. The home never did respond to any of the emails today. I'm really struggling with whether I should even let her go back....


As I pondered what was going on at Daughter's home this evening, I realized I had started with a false assumption. I assumed that the staff at Daughter's home cared about her safety and well being. I had assumed that once they understood what they were doing wrong that was endangering her life, they would want to fix it. I was wrong.
They don't care about her life. They don't care if they kill her. We can do all the training and talking in the world, but if they don't care, they aren't going to change. There still hasn't been any response from the home.
I'm pondering my options, but one of the challenges is that I'm dependent on the mental health agency to provide Daughter a safe place to live. If I file a complaint with the state licensing board and they shut this house down, the agency is going to have 12 homeless women to place, and they may decide Daughter's not a high priority. The same thing applies if I were to go to the media, which I have also considered.
I believe the people at the agency care about Daughter, but they can't make the staff at the house care. No one can make them care. No one.

Lots of Emails

There are lots of emails flowing between various professionals involved in Daughter's care. Nurse, Dietitian, Program Manager, Case Manager and I have all written at least one email today. There has been no response from the House Manager or Medical Coordinator at Daughter's home. Nurse tried to reach them by phone, but that didn't work either. I'm glad Daughter is going to be with me tonight. Very glad.

And When I Think It Can't Get Worse....

I was at Daughter's program today to do some training with the staff there. In the course of the conversation, two interesting little tidbits came out:
  • The leftover beans and hot dogs they were served last night were left out over night. "It's no wonder so many of the women keep getting sick," Daughter said. Program Manager is reporting that one.
  • Daughter doesn't think they are drawing up her insulin correctly. She uses a pen during the day, but a syringe for her long acting insulin. She claims they are shorting her on that insulin.

I'm trying not to scream, but maybe that's what needs to happen....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Hope She Is Lying

Two phone calls from Daughter this evening. The first came at about 4:50. "Mom, can I take my pill now so I can eat? All the other women have eaten supper, but they won't let me eat because it isn't 5:00." I told her she could take her pill and eat, the important thing wasn't the time, but taking it with her meal. I was annoyed, because they had just explained that the women never eat until 5:30 or 6:00, and I found myself wondering if they were punishing Daughter for the concerns we have been raising by making her watch the other women eat while she waited because they had to follow doctor's orders.
The second call came later. She told me she had a headache and was saying things she shouldn't say because she was irritated and tired from the lows she'd had earlier. "Lows? What happened?"
She proceeded to tell me a story of her blood sugar dropping to 63 on the van ride home. She said she told the staff member her blood sugar was low, and she needed food. Staff told her they'd be home in 15 minutes and she could talk to whoever was cooking. When they got home, she checked again. Her blood sugar was 62. She informed them she needed food. Again she was told to talk to whoever was in the kitchen. She said she was low and needed something right then. She said they finally gave her some orange juice and asked her what they should do next. Her blood sugar came up, and she explained she needed to eat her supper. The said she had to wait for 5:00 so she could take her pill.
She said, "Mom, if they don't even know how to handle a low, how can I trust them to if I have a big problem with my diabetes?" Good question. I hope she is lying. I'm afraid she's telling the truth.
I congratulated her on speaking up for herself and being a good advocate. I sent emails off to the team. I think I need to talk to Case Manager tomorrow. If the story is true, I'm going to explore filing a complaint with the state licensing bureau. Oh, and she reports that supper the last two nights has been baked beans and hot dogs. I'm sure that's on the menu the dietitian provided. NOT.

Becoming a Pest

Last night Daughter was informed she couldn't have a sleeping pill because they were expired. The staff member was looking at the fill date of December 13 and decided they were expired and she couldn't have one.
This morning she called to ask if she could buy lunch today. Apparently the staff that was on last night decided the best way to deal with Daughter's lunch was not to make her one. I told her she needed to pack her lunch.
Each of these incidents resulted in an email to Case Manager, Home Manager, Medical Coordinator, and Nurse. The sleeping pill has been addressed, but they still are not responding to the concerns about the diet.
I have decided that Daughter and I are called to report the problems so that things will improve for all the residents. Of course, at some point they may decide to kick Daughter out, but until that time, we are going to do what we can to improve the care the residents receive.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


So last night after these issues were supposedly addressed, Daughter was fed a meal that was very high in carbs. At bedtime her blood sugar was almost 200, and she was given some potato chips for a snack. This morning her blood sugar was high, which is not surprising.
I sent an email to the Case Manager, House Manager, and the Medical Coordinator for the home. Case Manager responded right away this morning, and included Nurse, Dietitian, Counselor, Program Manager, and Psychiatrist in her response. She wants to know how this is being addressed and who the staff member was who ignored Daughter's diet and the planned menu.
This morning the staff was working with Daughter and me to figure out the carbs for her breakfast. I'm very willing to field those calls. I'm willing to help. I'm not willing to stand by and allow them to destroy her health. Daughter was much more relaxed and confident in her last two phone calls. I think it helped to know that the concerns will be addressed and she will be heard.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Today was Daughter's appointment with Psychiatrist. Case Manager and the new Medical Coordinator were both there, as was Program Manager and Counselor. After Daughter left, Case Manager filled me in a bit. There is a huge problem at the group home. The staff are out right refusing to do their jobs. Several have been fired, and more will be fired in the future. There is a concern about maintaining some continuity.
They are refusing to follow Daughter's diet. They gave her a ton of carbs for breakfast this morning, and a lunchable that contained half the carbs she is supposed to have for lunch. The old house manager stepped own, in part, because staff was basically telling her to f*** off when she gave them directions. They know there is a huge systemic problem there. They are trying to get it fixed. We may have to move Daughter to a different home.
Daughter's reports on the chaos and staff having inappropriate conversations in front of the residents is accurate. Sigh.
Good news: I like the new Medical Coordinator. I'm meeting with her Friday to talk about the diabetes issues. She's considering developing a picture menu for the staff, giving them options for Daughter's lunch. There are no complaints about Daughter from staff or other residents. They like her. Case Manager is willing to do the hard work of finding her another all female house if it becomes necessary.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Daughter was fishing today, throwing out bait, lures, and anything else she could think of in an attempt to hook me. She entertained me with all sorts of inappropriate comments from staff. I listened, and then said, "I wonder what they would say if I asked them."
"Okay, I twisted it."
Finally, at lunch I told her I knew that the uncertainty and change were really hard for her. We made a list of the things that aren't changing. We talked about things she could do when she feels overwhelmed. We talked about all the other changes she has successfully navigated.
I considered it a victory. Not only did she not hook me, I identified the real issue and helped her figure out how to cope.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snowy Meetings

Today was a regional church meeting. I don't like it when these meetings are on Saturday. I prefer to have them through the week, but the hope is that by having them on Saturday employed lay people will be able to attend.
The meeting was on the other side of town, so I decided the snow wasn't an excuse to stay home. I also knew that people who lived further away and had gotten more snow would probably not make the meeting. So I went. The roads were terrible. I saw a number of cars that had gone off the road, including a truck that was overturned in the median on the interstate.
I saw some friends. We had a good discussion at lunch, and I have some material I'm going to use with my board. The meeting ran over-- so I was there for almost 7 hours. The roads weren't much better on the way home, unfortunately.
Daughter knew I was at a meeting all day, so she couldn't call me. She was not happy about that. She texted once, and I responded. I told her she could call her aunt. She called me this evening, sobbing because she hadn't been able to talk to me today and Saturdays are very boring. I wasn't very sympathetic. I pointed out that I did text here, and that she was able to call her aunt. I also reminded her that she managed to go a week without talking to me when she was at camp. I told her I looked forward to seeing her tomorrow morning. She finally recognized I wasn't buying her drama, and said goodbye. I'm sure she was very frustrated.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The other night I mentioned to the retired pipe fitter in the congregation that the faucet on my kitchen sink was loose. Last night after choir he asked if he could stop by today. So, this afternoon he showed up with his "apprentice," a retired civil engineer.
They are now at the home improvement store purchasing a new faucet for my sink and new light bulbs for my range hood. The old one was installed wrong, or defective, or broken, or . . . . Whatever the cause of the problem, it was in need of replacing. I gave them money and off they went. Their wives are in New York right now. They proudly reported that they were on Today this morning.
I consider myself very blessed to have friends like them who will lend me a hand with issues around the house.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interesting Conversation

Daughter was in a better mood after choir. She was complaining about one of the women at their house who is ruining the furniture. According to Daughter, the woman claims a bladder problem, but really she's just too lazy to get up and go the bathroom. Daughter sounded disgusted as she told me about this.
"I know someone else who did that."
She was actually embarrassed, and even acknowledged that was exactly what she had done!

Melt Down

This week I got the letter announcing that the House Manager will be stepping down tomorrow. It was sitting on the kitchen table as we were eating supper tonight. Daughter picked it up and read it. She was not happy. It's one more change. She doesn't see it as improving what has become an increasingly difficult situation. For her, it's one more change.
She had a melt down. She sat next to me on the couch and sobbed. She denies it has anything to do with the letter, but I know it does. I hope that with new leadership there will be less chaos in the home. I hope that with new leadership they'll begin providing her with the appropriate amount of carbs in her lunch. I hope that the new leadership will provide strong leadership. I hope that it will bring some stability for Daughter and her "sisters."
Sometimes hope is all I have.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today is my birthday. I've been dreading it. I often find birthdays challenging. Today, though, has been a very good day. I got into the office at 7:30, and by the time Administrative Assistant arrived I had the Sunday School lesson finished. I had commitments at 9:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, and 12:45. The guys on the building maintenance team gave me a large chunk of chocolate cake. I also received a decorated birthday cake, flowers, and a flowering plant from members. I was inundated with birthday greetings on facebook, and my siblings even managed to remember and call me.
Daughter called several times, and I picked her up this evening. We went out to eat and then went to see the movie Joyful Noise. It was a very pleasant evening. Daughter was dancing as we came out of the movie theater. She gave me an arrangement of silk roses. It was an enjoyable evening with her.
It's been a busy week, and a good one. We're getting things done. I'm feeling very blessed this year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I had a funeral today. I do many funerals, and normally they don't bother me too much. The one today did. It was an older man who had cancer. He chose to enter hospice care. He had a "good" death. He and his wife had an opportunity to say goodbye and express their love. I thought maybe I was connecting them with my parents, but tonight I realized what the connection was. They had one child, a daughter they adopted. I hear from extended family there were challenges along the way. She was 20 years old and working at a fast food place when she was killed in a freak accident. The widow is alone now. I think it's the death of their daughter and her being alone that hooked me.
It's hard, coming home to an empty house. Tonight I did some more work in the kitchen, and I did fix supper and eat at the table. But the house is empty, and I do miss having someone here. I also know that I made the right decision when I moved Daughter into this home. She reported tonight that another staff member was fired. She claims they are being fired over mistakes with the medications. It is bothering her. I pointed out that that meant they were taking the safety of the residents and the importance of properly distributing medications very seriously.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I avoided coming home for supper again tonight. As I was walking into the restaurant, I realized I've been avoiding my messy kitchen. So, after my meeting I came home and started cleaning.
Daughter was upset this morning because only one side of her earphones for her ipod were working. She didn't think she could cope without her music. I suggested she figure out other ways to cope. She managed, and her other calls were positive. She even managed to avoid calling during my meetings. She is making progress.
I haven't finished the kitchen, but I've made progress. I'll eat at home tomorrow night. I'll sit at my kitchen table and read while I eat. I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


One of the newer staff members at Daughter's home once again gave her her anti psychotic when supper wasn't even started, let alone ready. Daughter complained to another staff member (who is willing to listen and has half a brain) and she fed Daughter early. The staff member with a brain was very frustrated with this other staff member. I suggested she report her.
Daughter reports another staff member has been fired for messing up meds. She was a staff member I liked. I talked to two of my favorite staff members when I picked Daughter up this morning. They think the new med coordinator will be good. I need to sit down and talk to her.
It's rather discouraging to recognize that staff turnover is going to be an ongoing part of life now. Maybe Daughter will learn how to handle change....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vacation Plans

I've been struggling with plans for a vacation this summer. We haven't camped the last two summers, and I'd like to do it this summer. The struggle has been about Daughter. Will she be cooperative? Would I enjoy camping alone? Daughter gives me very mixed messages about camping. She claims she hates it, but once we get there she often doesn't want to leave (though she complains up until the last day, when she grudgingly admits she really likes it and would like to stay longer). She lobbies to stay in a motel, but it would be very difficult to swing a motel in the area we like. I can get a nice campsite for $21 a month, and then we can cook our own meals. I told her it's the difference between staying a week and going to concerts and staying one or two nights and skipping the concerts. I don't think she gets that.
So yesterday I was talking to the woman who picked Daughter up last Sunday. Daughter was telling her how much she was looking forward to camping this summer. She was telling her about all the fun things we do. So last night I told Daughter about the conversation. It was amusing. She tried to deny it. She tried to qualify it, "well, I had to talk about something...." Finally, she acknowledged it. She wants to camp this summer. The only thing she doesn't like is the bugs.
So today I started looking at the campground and searching out concert information. She called, asking what I was doing. I told her. She was excited. I'm sure she'll complain again before we actually go, but I'm looking forward to a week in the woods. It will be fun.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day Off

I'm meeting with a widow this morning to plan the service for her husband Tuesday. She was distressed when she remembered that Friday is my day off. I assured her this took precedence. I also told her I had scheduled our meeting at a time that wouldn't interfere with any of my plans for today.
I was able to do some coordination with Administrative Assistant via phone, since I was gone all day. She got the things I need for my meeting with her ready and made arrangements for a pianist and a dinner. So I'll meet the widow at 9, get my haircut at 11:30, and then at 1:00 I'll meet a couple of friends and we'll go to an event at the convention center.
I'll do a little work this morning, but I'll also enjoy my day off. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

That's So 12 Seconds Ago

I'm sure you've all seen the obnoxious commercials bragging about 4g network speed that gets you messages faster. I was thinking of that today in relationship to Daughter. She knew I was going to be busy all day. She sent me two text messages over the course of the day. In the first, she was being emotionally and physically harassed and wanted the police to come arrest the culprit before she beat him up. I responded with a text telling her to talk to staff and reminding her I had confidence in her, loved her, and would see her tonight. She responded OK.
Then this afternoon she texted that she was having a meltdown and couldn't stop crying. I again reminded her of coping skill and gave her the standard reassurances. When she got off the bus tonight, she was very happy. I was on the phone with my sisters, and it didn't bother her. She never mentioned the texts and her crises of the day. That's typical of Daughter. She has a crisis. It's resolved. She never mentions it again. She lives very much in the moment. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not....

Short Week

I'm going to a workshop today that last from 9:30 to 3:00. This workshop is part of a monthly series on churches and family systems theory. I'm learning and enjoying the workshop, but the week I have it is always challenging, as it makes for a very short week in the office. Since Administrative Assistant doesn't work on Mondays, it means we only have two days we're in together. We had two days to get the newsletter put together this month. After the board retreat this weekend, I had a number of articles to write. (We used to rotate that responsibility among board members, but they were very uncomfortable with it and the results were not always good. Since we set communication as a priority and I'm a professional communicator, we decided I'd write the articles. It has worked well.)
When Administrative Assistant left yesterday, the newsletter and bulletin were both ready to be printed today. We were pleased with what we'd accomplished. Today a new phone system will be installed. Our old system was not digital, and was used when it was installed a number of years ago. It took a very long time to get to voice mail to leave messages. We couldn't take advantage of caller ID. We are looking forward to having a new, more efficient phone system. I don't think that AA was looking forward to the disruption that would come in today's installation.
It will be interesting to hear if our master electrician is at the church to oversee things today. His brother-in-law died yesterday. His sister, who is very much alone, is going to the funeral home today to make arrangements. His sister needs him, but he'll want to be at the church. I spent some time with his sister yesterday afternoon. Her husband was in hospice care, so this was expected. No matter how much you expect a death, though, it's still hard. I expect she'll call me on my cell while I'm at the workshop with details on services. All he wanted was a small graveside. I suggested she consider not only his preferences, but her needs. According to her brother, he was a strange man. I never met him. He didn't want any ministers around.
Can you tell Daughter's doing well? I'm less distracted, so things are getting done more efficiently at church. I like it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Progress

Daughter called around lunch time. It wasn't a happy call. "I miss you," she whined. That was progress. She didn't call seeking to convince me she was in danger and needed me to come rescue her. She stated what she was feeling right up front. She was frustrated because she didn't see me Sunday. I reminded her that she gets to call me several times a day and that she'll see me tomorrow. I also pointed out that she had gone longer without seeing or talking to me when she was at camp.
We had a death this afternoon, and she called while I was with the widow. I answered long enough to tell her I was busy and she could call at 8:00. She was fine with that, and it's after 8 and she hasn't called.

Five in a Row

Yesterday I didn't get to one of Daughter's calls in time, and it went to voice mail. When I listen to her voice mails, there is often a note of panic in her voice. She pleads with me to talk to her. This voice mail was different. She was obviously happy. "Hi Mama! Please call me." I did, and she didn't complain that I didn't answer her call, as she often does. I had four happy calls from her yesterday. On her last call of the evening, I pointed out that all her calls had been happy. I told her I like happy calls. "Really?" Then she laughed. She has a wonderful laugh, and it was a laugh of pure joy.
I just got off the phone with her, and once again she was happy. She didn't complain about anything. She says she's sleeping nights. It is wonderful to hear her so happy. Wonderful. She has asked me to make double decker tacos for supper tomorrow night. I will stop and get the items I need today. It will be a joy to make her something she likes. I think I need to let Regional Manager know. She deserves to hear some good news, and I need to thank her.