Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cook softly and carry a big fork

Cooking to suit both Grampa George and Nana's varying diets means cooking more than one meal per meal, so to speak. Matter of fact we'll often end up with three different meals on one dinner table: one for Grampa G., one for Nana and one the rest of the family could eat.

Grampa George's recommended no-salt meals are a no-go. Enjoying a good meal is one of the few things he can still do with gusto and so I compromise: he eats low salt, but really small portions. And he's fine with that. When we eat out, he chooses anything on the menu he likes within reason, and the satisfaction it brings him is worth the toll it takes on his already compromised system.

Nana's various lifelong digestive issues have her quite used to a relatively bland diet. It's only lately that she's suddenly reaching for the salt and/or sugar to top any dish in front of her. Seems those 94 year old taste buds are slowing down and yearning for a burst of something to wake them up. Unfortunately she's also having a great deal of trouble swallowing. To combat this sometimes scary situation, I'm cooking soft for her now. And she doesn't seem to mind.

Creamed soups, mashed potatoes topped with creamy salad dressing, scrambled eggs with not much else but a few finely chopped herbs, goat cheese mashed with a fork, whatever makes it easier for her to enjoy a meal is fine by me.

In the end, as long as everyone leaves the table satisfied, then so am I. Tomorrow: mashed fish and chips with extra tartar sauce. Mmmmmmmmmm!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ever do anything reaaally idiotic like ...

... get your hair cut? If you're like me, you usually come last, meaning unimportant things like getting your hair trimmed can always wait. Sometimes they even wait for months on end, even up to a year. Yup, that's me. I usually manage to get a hair cut once a year on our anniversary.

This year was going to be different. Super Man's Mother's Day gift to me was taking over with the caregiving while I went out the Saturday before Mother's Day so that I could go to the salon. No biggie, really. Until I got home.

It turned out a little shorter than I had planned, mostly because the ends were so ruined by now that the stylist, Jennifer, told me she'd have to do an intervention to rescue what she could. She did a great job and I hurried home feeling beautiful.

Luckily everybody liked my new hair and they weren't even pretending! What a great Mother's Day gift.

And then there's Nana: she absolutely adores my new hair. A little too much almost. Not only do I look great, I look alot younger, alot less tired since it hides the bags under my eyes, and a whole lot prettier than ever before. Clearly I should have done this years ago. Nobody said a word, but now I know that prior to my daring trim, I must have looked absolutely atrocious, completely haggard, ugly beyond belief and about a hundred years old.

Well, I guess I can deal with a few compliments. Trouble is that every morning Nana re-informs me of how disgusting I looked before I had my hair cut. Now that I look fourteen again, she's convinced I could pass for one or both of my daughters and giggles just thinking about how everybody else must see the same thing.

I guess I can live with this daily assault on my self-image. On second thought, when I go out to pick up our next load of prescriptions at the pharmacy later today, I'd better wear a bag, in case somebody recognizes me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wonder Woman

If we all had superpowers, something small, like the ability to detect the location of lost pairs of reading glasses in a single glance, the world would surely be a better, happier place.
I can't honestly say I have any such ability as I'm barely able to detect whether I've got my contacts in or not at any given moment, however I am surviving.
But some days, I am Wonder Woman, not because of any superpower, but because I wonder about a good many things:

I wonder if I'm ever going to be 'not tired' again.

I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by balancing Grampa George's salt intake via smaller portions on his plate that have a bit of salt in them rather than cooking with no salt at all and having him miserable.

I wonder if I'm being devious when I tell Nana that it was her doctor who arranged for a PSW to visit every day to make sure she doesn't fall again, because Nana still resents and denies that she needs help with everything.

I wonder if Grampa George knows I know that he's been sneaking forbidden pickles and undiluted cans of juice concentrate from the refrigerator.

I wonder if I did the right thing by hiding Nana's scale under her bed so that she'll stop trying to weigh herself, by herself, with no one helping her balance on the little six by six inch surface that barely accommodates her eight by eight inch crippled and arthritic feet, especially since she can never figure out how to turn it on seeing as it's digital.

And I wonder if my stove will get condemned if anyone notices I haven't cleaned it in weeks.

Better get right on that!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

To Sleep, perchance ... uninterrupted!

I used to look forward to a good nights sleep. Now I spend my nights listening. I listen for Nana to get up to go to the bathroom and forget to call me, hence inviting another possible fall. I listen for Grampa George to wake up in the morning, notice I'm not up yet, and head right for the sofa to take a nap five minutes after he just got up. And I listen for my alarm clock to make sure I don't miss getting my son to the train station so that he can get to school on time.
We haven't missed a train in a while, knock on wood, especially since I'm usually sleeping with one eye open lately anyway, so no biggie.
And there's really no permanent harm that'll happen to Grampa George if he happens to take one more nap per day. He'll still be just fine, and maybe a little more rested than me.
But nights spent listening for Nana have become downright epic. When sleeping in shifts with my dear Super Man was wearing us both out, he installed two different alarms in Nana's room to warn us when she was up.
One alarm senses motion and worked fine unless she happened to swing her arm out of bed setting the dinger off no less than 14 times a night. Not really helping, until my Hero moved the alarm out of range of any wayward appendages.
The other alarm goes off when Nana steps on it, as when she's sitting on the edge of her bed trying to stand up on her own. So far so good.
The two alarms are a God send and yet I'm up several times a night. When I set my alarm clock to wake me approximately when she needs to use the facilities at night, she decides she doesn't need to go. When I don't, the motion sensor goes off to send me running to catch her before she wanders off in search of the bathroom. Some nights, she's getting up to look for me, thinking she heard me calling her, when I'm not. Other nights she figures it's four pm, when it's really four am and she's waking up from an afternoon nap, raring to go when I'm not. I get pretty excited when I'm only up three and a half times between midnight and six am. It's our current record right now.
So far so good, with tracking Nana's nightly forays. If only I could find a way to keep the bags under my eyes from turning into suitcases now.