I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

30 March 2013

Time Makes Everything Better

Jay, Easter 2011

Jay's been settling in at Rehab, getting stronger every day.  She is walking a lot with her walker and doing her best to eat more nutritious foods.  I bring her beet juice when I visit; it seems to help increase her appetite, just like it did for my mom.

My aunt, she has her mind and could potentially move to assisted living very soon, not a nursing home.  I am grateful that I had done so much research on facilities when I was shopping for a place for my mom.  It has made it super easy to find a place for Jay.

Change is scary for Jay.  It is difficult to tell her about the changes, especially that she isn't going back to my brother's house to live.  Yesterday, Marty told her that her cat Molly died.  Lots of changes.  "I am not getting anymore cats."  She responded when she heard the news about her sick cat.

One day at a time is all we can do.  Visiting and calling her on the phone to show her that we love her is helping.  We found her a beautiful place to live.  Luxurious and top notch, nothing but the best for our aunt who gave so much to all of her nieces and nephews.

Again, I find myself looking to the sky pleading with my deceased parents, "Ma, Dad?  Can you help persuade Jay that living in an assisted living facility is a good idea?"

Time makes everything better.

27 March 2013

Change Is Rarely Easy

"Polish people don't do this to family."  My Aunt Jay said to me yesterday as she grasped the hospital bed covers up to her chin.   Jay took care of her mother at home and expected the same when she became too old to care for herself.  My heart sank in a painful sadness.  It felt like my dear sweet little aunt put a dagger in my chest and twisted.  

Still raw from my experiences of caring for my mom, my mind immediately flashed to the day I literally dragged my mother into her nursing home nearly 2 years ago.  It was tough.  I needed to support Marty and help him check our aunt into "Rehab", code for a nursing home.

Like most folks, change is difficult for my aunt.  She wants everything to stay the way it is; she does not want to live in a nursing home.  She has told me this repeatedly over the last several days.  Hospitalized on Saturday with pneumonia, she is very weak and unable to ambulate on her own.

"All I need to do is eat good food and exercise!"  She exclaims, holding her fists like she is about to start doing calisthenics.   "I do not want to live in a nursing home." She added.  

I greeted her at the back entrance of the nursing home when she arrived from the hospital by ambulance.   I could see her frail little body dwarfed even more by the stretcher she was strapped into.  I smiled and waved.  She frowned back at me with a look that screamed, "You just wait until I get you alone!"  I asked my mother and father to give us strength to help Jay.

I opened the door for the EMT's and helped them bring Jay in to "Rehab."  Smiling and doing my best to make her believe me when I tell her that she will never be left alone, Jay began to give me reasons why she couldn't stay.

"Oh gee... this place is too expensive!  Look at it.  It's fancy."  Jay commented as she was being wheeled to her new room.

"I don't like this... look, someone is in this room with me... I want my own room!"  She glared at me in disgust when the EMT's left and it was only her and me in the room.

One excuse after another she shot; excuses that fell on deaf ears.  I smiled.  I felt like my father for a brief moment, standing silent and letting Jay talk, talk, talk.  I even felt my face forming my dad's grin.  A smirk that I had seen make my aunt angry decades ago when dad was alive and kicking.  

"Let me go see if I can find Marty."  I interrupted.  Every word I said to Jay seemed to make her more angry with me.  I needed to get away from her before my ego made me start to cry.  I took a few deep breaths as I walked  down the hall.  I turned the corner and found my brother.  

Marty signed Jay in to the facility.  Jay looked at me with confusion and distrust; she was blaming me for her being put in this place.  After all, I was the one who pulled her out of her house a couple years ago when I saw the black mold growing and her cats poop everywhere!  My mom was living with me at the time and having my aunt live here made my mother go more insane.  Jay couldn't go back home.  She couldn't stay here.  Thank God for Marty and Patricia taking her in.  

Now, life is changing rapidly for Jay.  Her favorite cat, Morris died.  My mom, her best buddy, died.  Now, her little cat Molly is not doing well and about to die.  

I pray for Jay to acclimate quickly and grow to love the nursing home as much as she loved the day program.  Change is rarely easy when we are comfortable in life.

21 March 2013

Mom's Last Breath

Me and Mom
Whole Foods - Woburn
October 2011

"I've never seen anything like it."  My mom's nurse, Martine said.  "In all the years that I have been a nurse, I have never seen anyone pass and then have all the wrinkles in their face vanish.  Your mom, she looked like a young girl after she passed, she was so beautiful.  She was peaceful.  I usually see suffering and your mom did not suffer.  It was beautiful."

I was delighted to talk to Martine, one of the nurses who was with my mom when she took her last breath in the middle of the night.

Why did my mom's wrinkles vanish after she stopped breathing?  Does anyone know why this phenomenon happens sometimes?  Martine told me that the following week another resident who lived with my mom had passed and like my mom, she turned into a young girl.  Did my mom and Barbara become instant angels?

Could it be all the whole foods and natural supplements had contributed to my mom's peaceful ending?  I don't know for sure.  I had a belief that if I fed my mom healthy and nutritious foods she would have a better end.  My strong belief in how to care for my mom kept me persistent, never did I give up.  I fought the good fight for my mom because I had observed other seniors who lived with my mom, they all seemed to do worse when fed more pharmaceuticals and food that was not alive with nutrients.

For my mom, she had fresh fruit and beet juice every day.  Food that was alive with micro nutrients   I believe my approach to helping my mom is what gave her more good days right up to the very end.

Today, I close my eyes and I can still hear the last words my mom said to me the week before she died; "Oh, your hair looks nice."   I always loved it when she complimented my hair or my cloths.  God bless her for being cognizant enough to notice and leaving me with so much peace.

My mom's face, her cute little face smiling up at me, with twinkling eyes that made me feel like "we did it!"   I tucked my mom in bed for the last time as I said to her,  "I love you, Ma.  Sleep with God."

12 March 2013


"Ouch!"  I suddenly jumped up and ran to the bathroom mirror to see what was on my face.  It felt like I had been stung by a million bees.  The pain, itching and burning was almost unbearable.  I thought for a moment that I should go to the hospital.  

I realized it was an attack of hives (Urticaria).  It was a first for me.  My face turned bright red and it quickly moved to my neck, chest, back, arms and hands.  The weirdest feeling I have ever experienced, like the sun had fried my skin in an instant.

What caused this attack?  There were 4 things I had learned could have triggered the outbreak of Urticaria. 

My gall bladder.  Gall stones in the duct can trigger an outbreak.  I already know that I have 2 gall stones at the base of the bile duct. 

I bought a new B Complex vitamin and took it today.  Only to discover that the amount of B1 was pretty high, which can cause hives in some people.  Great!

Other things that can cause hives is prolonged stress.  I was stressed out for years while caring for my mother and now that my mom has passed, my MIL is stressing me out.  It feels like I am back to the time when I took my mom's car keys away.  Taking my mom's driving privilege away was a horrible experience, it is when my mother screamed in my face that she hated me.

Food allergies can bring on hives too.  Corn, gluten, nuts, eggs; all can trigger histamines which flood the system and cause a hives outbreak.   The new supplement had corn in it.  Maybe it was the corn?

So, who knows.  Maybe it was a combination of everything?  The hives are gone.  I took some Rhus Toxicondron, a homeopathic remedy that I had and tried in an effort to stop the rash symptoms.  It worked.  Thank God I have a box full of different homeopathic remedies.  

Looks like it is time for me to run on the treadmill.  After all, running does reduce stress and it always makes me feel much better.   Like my dad used to say to me, "Susie, wait a minute, nothing ever stays the same."

09 March 2013

Now What?

Me and Brian
January 2013

"Now what?"  A text from my nephew flashed on my cell phone after hearing the news about Gram.  Good question I thought to myself; "I don't know yet."  I said out loud into the air.

"Energy can not be destroyed, Susie."  I hear my dad's words echo in my mind when I think about my mom and wonder where she went, where everyone goes when we die.

So, where do we go when we die?

I don't know.  

Mom is gone but she will never be forgotten.  As I write our story about our adventures in a world full of insanity and illusions; scary times, full of emotion that were drowned in tears of sorrow, I wonder what lies ahead for me.

What next?

Do I jump back into my old life and work in the world of computer software sales?  I loved this work before my mom got sick and showed me that there's so much more to life than work and making money.

My world is different now that caring is over.  I am left wondering about my own mortality and life.  What can I do today to have a better tomorrow?

How can I make a difference in the world?  Is a question that has been dancing in my mind the last few months.  My job is over.  I helped guide my ward to the other side of this world to wherever it is we go.

I have grown emotionally and spiritually.  I am a new person with so much to offer.  Life is full and it is up to me to make the best of it.  I am ready for my new life and all the endless possibilities that lay ahead of me.

Now... I write.

03 March 2013

Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Jo Flies

My Mom's Memorial
March 2, 2013
Yesterday we celebrated my mom's life with her community of Care Givers; we had her first funeral service at the nursing home in the area she spent most of the last year and a half.

Visiting the nursing home as frequently as I did, I got to know many of the residents.  People who quickly became part of my circle of friends.  The worst feeling in the world is when a friend passes and the family leaves, never to be seen or heard from again.

Death is hard for everyone that had been touched by the resident, not just family.  Staff, other residents and visitors who are part of the residents community are always excluded from mourning and celebrating the individual's life.  It stinks.

My mom, she was loved by the people who cared for her; she loved them back.  Many of mom's nurses and aides, became part of my family.  We learned how to work together as a team, communicate and respect each other.  My mom's care team were my workmates.  I am truly grateful for the people that helped me give Jo more good days before her end.

During the meeting with hospice when I was told my mom was actively dying, the chaplain mentioned we could have a memorial service for my mom at the nursing home. I jumped on the idea.  The perfect opportunity to include my mom's community and giving everyone closure.

Mom died and I got the flu.  I couldn't visit the nursing home for 2 weeks. I was suddenly gone, just like every other family who has a loved one pass.  I owed my mom's community closure and began to plan my mom's Celebration of Life.

I made a list.  I called a priest.  I hired a group of singers to sing.  I ordered food and flowers.  I looked on Pinterest and found an awesome idea, a Memory Tree.  I bought twigs and butterfly cards with little ribbons.  The idea was for everyone to write a memory about Jo and place the butterfly on the branches.  It gave everyone a chance to remember Jo.  (forgot to take a picture of it.)

Joe, Steve, Brian and Amy

The priest did an awesome job with the service.  Short and sweet.  The singers sounded amazing.  They sang 3 songs, Amazing Grace, Fly Away and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, my mom's all time favorite song.  It was a beautiful service.  My mom's community came together to honor her life.

Sounds of Grace singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

The flowers, the balloons, the decorations, the food, the people ... everything came together for a wonderful celebration of Jo's life.

Melinda holding balloons for Jo's Great-grandchildren

... and we all lived happily ever after while "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", Jo flies.