Tuesday, May 18

pillole, pastillas....

...or pills as they are more commonly known, have become
a part of everyday life since my mom came to live with us.
My mom was always proud that she didn't have to take any
prescription medicine until recently, and I am glad to say that
supplements outnumber the pills even now. But I have never
liked the words "pills" (which puts me in mind of Lottie's little
speech in the beginning of Enchanted April about
her last name

"I am Mrs. Wilkins.
"She did not like her name. It was a mean, small name,
with a kind of facetious twist, she thought about its end like
the upward curve of a pugdog's tail. There it was.
-Elizabeth Von Arnim

Even less did I like dispensing all of the pills from their plastic
containers night and morning and having the bottles clutter
up the counter. First I looked at the typical pill dispensers
(plastic and very ugly and more than we needed in the way of safety).
Then I searched the web long and hard for a set of tiny drawers
that could divide up the "servings" of pills morning and night.
I couldn't find anything that suited, but got a wonderful idea
when I spotted a little set of drawers made of
matchboxes on etsy.

We decorate little matchboxes as favors for our Solstice
gathering every December, and I had several left over, so I made
several more...decorated with bits of handmade paper and
decorative bits from catalogues and my old misprints.
Then I printed out a sheet of labels that I cut out with
deckle-edged scissors and pasted to one side of the
matchbox. Perhaps I could figure out how to make the
sheet downloadable here if there is interest?

Once a week I gather all the pill bottles and my pretty
stack of boxes and fill them for the week ahead....usually
while watching the telly. Although, truly, it only takes five
to ten minutes! Then I store the bottles away again for another
week and the little boxes line up nicely in our
herb and spice drawer.

Every morning at breakfast and in the evening after supper
I pull out the appropriate box and place it at my mom's place
at the table. She often comments on a picture she sees on the
box and I can't tell you how pleasant it is to slide open the
little box rather than having to open and close the numerous
bottles morning and night.

And it is so easy to toss one or two in my purse if we are
going to be away from home at pillole time. If things change
for my mom and we have to worry about her access to the pills,
we can easily put a safety latch on the drawer. But that is not an
issue at the moment. And something that used to a bit tedious
and irritating to me is easy and sometimes beautiful.
I intend to make some little boxes for my own
supplements very soon and banish all plastic
bottles from my day-to-day.

P.S. My mom's unusual confusion lasted only the day,
with a little fever coming to her in the evening. I have still
not gotten used to that connection of bodily dis-ease with increased
mental dis-ease and don't think of it at first. It will come to me
more quickly, I know, as I get more accustomed to this
life of caregiving.

Wednesday, May 12


...in both senses of the word.
Trying to make the days safe and happy for
all of us...and also finding it so trying sometimes.

We have had many good days lately, days
when my mom offered to the dishes (something
that she always took on as her chore when she came
to visit, but something she hasn't thought to do in
all these months she has been with us) She
even thought to take in the wash
one evening.

But this morning, she came to breakfast in a confused
state, saying things that didn't quite make sense, finding
even the cereal box heavy to lift. She has remained so
throughout this day. I just fixed us a lunch full of protein
and veggies and she is off for a nap...and I can't help
but hope that she will wake up in a clearer state
of mind.

This is the most trying-as in "hard to endure"-part
of living with dementia....not knowing what each day
will bring and what I will have to bring to it to make
the best of it. I am working on acceptance, but am
still in the place where it strikes dread in my heart
when my dear mother says and does things that don't
make sense. Dread and fear are natural reactions,
I know, but they aren't helpful companions and I
am glad to leave them behind as quickly
as I am able.