There's Coffee Cake on the Counter and Zuchinni Bread in the Freezer...

Sharing information about the matriarch of the Erickson Family...

Jim's recount of his Feb 10 Visit

Where to start. I had a great visit with Mom yesterday and plan to go visit her tomorrow (Sunday) again when Karen and I go shop for a new refrigerator.
Back to our favorite girl. She was doing some wailing when I got there and seemed focused on being sad, so I took her for a walk and helped her focus on sights and sounds around her. The littlest of whimpers required focusing on a new object or person. After a slow and tactical walk her mood improved tremendously and we had a nice visit. This was followed by her telling me her butt hurt from sitting too long. A simple request for a transfer to her bed relieved the pain. I changed her radio to some soft country music relaxed her even more and she slipped off into a quick nap. I always knew she was a country girl. This gave me an opportunity to run to Safeway for supplies. Some pop, beer (for Pat’s visit), M&Ms, nuts, an orange and olives for lunch, and a chocolate milk for mom. Upon return I was delighted to have been joined by Dick and birthday girl Jolene. Mom was awake and smiling. Jolene, what is your secret? Jolene took her to lunch which was followed by some enjoyable conversation. Lyn already shared the Queen story, which Mom really enjoyed. A great day and wonderful visit. On your next visit use the distraction technique to get her thinking about the beauty life has to offer. Don’t let a few tears get you down.

February 11th 2011 Announcement: Mom's the Queen of Everything!

No pictures to include but I received two texts from Jolene and Jim just minutes apart... Jolene: Had a wonderful visit with Gma. She was very communicative and happy. Jim had her in a good mood before we got there. :) She was snoozing when we walked in... then she opened her eyes and said, "Jolene!" She ate lunch pretty well. I told her she was the queen and she said, "WEll, we better make an announcement." HaHa. We played the messages on the answering machine from Pat and Bill.

Jimmy: Everything in the frig is fresh at Mom's place. Help yourself! She stopped crying when I took her for a walk and made her look at things. Also candy is in the night stand. Olives are tasty and from Safeway.

WEEK IN REVIEW... Jan 12th - 20th Winks and other Wonderful Things...

It sounds like this has for the most part been a good week for Mom. She greeted Ryan one day this week with "Hello, Ryan." She also asked about Pat... and Greg, one of the aides who is taking pictures of her, said that she winked at him one evening and it has been a while since that has happened. He sent me a 30 second video that is linked below... It is so precious - be sure and open it.

and this is a picture taken the same evening:

In other happenings, Mary is filling out papers for Hospice so Mom will be able to get some extra services, Barb and Ryan are visiting at least 5 times a week between them and Kirsten is getting there a couple more times. Barb has been so good at calling from Moms and this last week it has been pretty special as she has been more verbal or 'with it.' Barb mentioned that she happened to call Bill the night before he left and he said it was the best present he could ever had have... The messages left on her phone and the precious letters are so appreciated. Thank you all from Grandma!

Phone Conference with Dr. Dentler

Pat and I talked with Dr. Dentler last week to just do an update on Mom. He said that she is doing o.k. but there is definitely a change in the lady that he could converse with a few months ago. He said now he is not sure she knows who he is when he goes in to talk with her... but she has seemed happy and somewhat content the last few days. We asked about the request for Hospice additional services. (mentioned in previous post). He and Pat talked about what might be appropriate...Dr. Dentler stated that there is no need for help with medication or bathing etc., as those services are provided at Riverview... Pat mentioned that Hospice had suggested that college intern/aides and some additional nursing care might be beneficial as Mom seems to do best when someone is around...when she has company. Dr. Dentler agreed and said he would start the referral process. He said that while death is not imminent, Mom is definitely showing signs of moving through the stages of dying, i.e., refusing food, losing weight.

The last few days have seen some great times... Barb called once and both myself and Pat talked to Mom separately and she somewhat conversed... I said, "Hello, Ann, How are you? I love you so much!" She responded with "I also smell really good." :) Barb and I both laughed...but it was so very nice to hear her talking! Tonight Kirsten called and Pat talked a bit but her responses were not really intelligible. She was a bit teary.

When I talked to Barb that day she said that Mom really has had some good times. She really responded to letters from Susie and Terry that Barb read to her. Susie and Terry both talked about memories of doing things with Grandma on the farm... Thank you so much for sending those letters!

Just fyi...Pat just booked a ticket to come home to visit Mom in later February...

GRANDMA USHERS IN THE NEW YEAR PEACEFULLY... and with her favorite bear...

Before we left Spokane, I asked Greg, one of favorite aides at Riverview, to send a pic of Grandma whenever it was convenient. (I noticed he had an Iphone and so I knew he could do it easily.) He just sent the first picture and it is so precious of Grandma - especially with his comment which I pasted below the pic:

"I checked on her for last rounds and this the way I found her....she loves that bear.." Greg

So this meant that right before midnight Grandma was sleeping peacefully even though she knew that many of her children and most of her grandchildren were out rollicking and partying to bring in the New Year. This is probably a first New Year where Grandma was not worrying about her family. Hopefully this will be a pattern - of Mom becoming more and more peaceful.

Barb and Kirsten and the Cerrillos have been keeping Mom company (and very well other Ericksons - ) She seems to be holding her own. We have a conference call with Dr. Dentler this coming week to discuss Hospice. From an earlier conversation he had with Barb, we are guessing he is saying that he does not think that she is eligible for services from Hospice at this time. We were hoping that we could access some of the visits to just help lessen the time she is alone. We will learn more this Wednesday and update all. God Bless and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hospice Update....

Sally Chapman, the Hospice bereavement counselor, called the other night to share that she had staffed Mom Hospice support staff and they arrived at the following recommendations:
1. While Mom does not seem to be appropriate for bereavement counseling, they have college interns returning in January who they would like to set up to just spend time with Mom, i.e., maybe once a week for a few hours. Pat, Barb, and I all feel this is a great idea.
2. With permission they would like to talk to Dr. Dentler about having Mom access other Hospice services, in other words, to be a Hospice client. This would mean that other support staff, volunteers and some nursing staff would check in on Mom. If Dr. Dentler agrees then Hospice would also pay for certain medications. (Pat gave them permission to do contqact Dr. Dentler with this request.)

They said it was important to realize that this does not mean that Mom has six months or less to live... and, in fact, Dr. Dentler may not o.k. her being a Hospice client for that reason. They feel that Mom may be entering some of those last stages of life and know that more contact, less time being alone might help her avoid some of the tearfulness and increase her quality of life.\

just keeping you informed...

Videos embedded

These are the 2 videos Lyn posted earlier this week. I've just been helping figure out how to embed them so you don't have to click a separate link. Enjoy them again if you'd like.

RIVERVIEW ERICKSON GATHERING - PART 2 - Mom calls Mary by name...

This is the floral sleigh that John and Annette sent Mom. Her room is really looking 'Christmas-y' with the flowers, trees, cards, etc., that people have sent. We get to see Grandma's eyes and her sense of appreciation when things come in the mail... we just want you to know she appreciates it! PS: Look in the background to the is a picture of Grandma and Grandpa dancing...

As I said before, while we were sad that the Cerrillos couldn't make it to the party, Dick, Jolene, Rachel, Lauren, Luke, Annie and Zach, Pat, myself, Kirsten, Michaelyn, Jim, Karen, Jason, Jarred, Barb, Ryan, Claire, Isabel, and our surprise guests, Mary and Paul, made it a very Merry Christmas group.
We also invited Petra, a tablemate of Mom's, to join us. And just to round out our group, another resident in the memory care area wandered in asking what was going on...and Karen let her know it was a party and helped her get a place to sit and somethng to drink. She joined us for almost the entire time. Her name was Eve, but we kept on calling her Wanda! (Callaway Garden memory..)

This is a picture of Zach, Annie and those two twins... I wonder which one is the evil twin??? (That was an Uncle Jimmie tease, I think...)

Sunday morning Kirsten joined Annie and Zach at the Simmons for some extra special French Toast that Barb fixed... it was 'OMG' good according to the chef... I think she was using a recipe from one of her best friends...or best admirer... or actually I think it was both. :) Pat and I at the last minute joined Mary and Paul for Mass at the Cathedral and then walked with them to see their room at the Hotel Lusso. Pic below is at the Davenport Hotel in front of their Christmas Tree.

I have this second hand...but when Mary and Paul went back to visit Mom on Sunday... Mom responded to Mary's "I Love you, Mom" with a "I love you, Mary." Mary said it made every mile of driving in the snow worth it... (Actually that statement was made before they left Spokane in a snowstorm so she might be revising that statement.)

God Bless to All and especially to Grandma!!!


Whoa... what a great weekend. I will try and catch you up on our little Erickson gathering yesterday. We really had a roller-coaster ride with this event. We sent out the invite thinking truly that it will probably be the Simmons and the Spokane Erickson's as the date was right before Christmas and bad roads, etc... but at one point 36 people were coming! As it turned out none of the Cerrillo's could make it because of weather. It did start to snow Saturday morning and the Spokane streets, at any rate, were quite slippery--The paper this morning said there were 150+ accidents! So we were so understanding of people wanting to put 'family safety first!'

That said... we did have a great time even WITHOUT that fun-loving rowdy Cerrillo bunch. What really helped turn this into a gala affair was that MARY AND PAUL showed up and truly surprised all!!! I will maybe let them tell their saga of their trip over themselves...although Mary will allude to it in the video I will embed in this blog update. We just had a great time gathering, spending time with Mom, and, of course, eating. Here is a picture of some of the kids playing outside Grandma's room... wait - I mean here are some kids and Kirsten.... wait - I guess it really is just a picture of three kids. :)

Mom was awake for much of the day. She has really been more alert in the last couple of days than she has for the past month. She did get tired and slept and then we put her back into bed for a later afternoon nap, but when dinnertime came around, she was ready to get up and get going again.

Here are a couple videos of the party. DISCLAIMER: These are all uncut... and very, very, rough, non-professional.

DESCRIPTION: 1.5 min; people at the party...
DESCRIPTION: 30 seconds; grandma... and 'twins'

'Mike's card'.... and 'Janice defines the word "nurture" '

MIKE AND ANN'S CARD...All of Mom's birthday gifts, cards, and messages were precious...but Mike's card just seemed to touch my heart...I think because I feel each one of her children feel this same way.

verse inside card:
You’ve given me the gift
Of sweet childhood memories.
You’ve given me the gift of dreams:
The ones you’ve made come true
And the ones I achieved myself
because of your encouragement.
But most important of all, you’ve always
Given me the gift of your love,
The most precious gift of all.
There’s no way I could possibly thank you enough
For these gifts and so many more.
I will always be so grateful,
And you will always have a special place in my life—
And in my heart.

JANICE AND GRANDMA and nurturing...

A 30 second video of Janice and Mom... (If the auto link does not show up... copy/paste this address into your browser:

Thursday, Dec 9th - Surprise at Grandma's

This morning I walked in to supposedly visit with Barb at Mom's today....and there was Barb..AND Janice and Sandy! It was party time! Mom was so much more awake. While she was not conversational, she stayed awake, her eyes were open and she tracked. She did get a little weepy before lunch... and when Pat was there this afternoon he said she was again a bit weepy but o.k. It's amazing how these little things seem like such a cause for celebration. Video link


Riverview called Pat last night to inform us that they are going to back down on some of Mom's pain medications to see if some of her withdrawal/nonengagement/sleepiness is due to being over-medicated. We will learn more today and keep you updated.


WEDNESDAY - Visiting in the afternoon Mom was sleepy but when awake she was aware. I brought an italian soda type drink with protein powder. I had them put whipped cream on it...and she sucked that down in a few minutes. It makes you feel good when you get something that you can see her enjoying. Amy, the swing nurse came in and we all talked for a long time...followed by a conversation in the hallway. Amy talked about how Ann has changed so much in the last few weeks...that she often no longer connects in any manner. No eye contact... not eating. Amy is one of my most favorite employees there...she is so loving yet very upfront and so knowledgeable. In the hallway we had a frank conversation about how Mom seems to be shutting down and Pat and I asked about what that might mean. While everyone is so different, Amy said the stages are usually pretty apparent and it could be months and months or even a few weeks. Pat and I are obviously concerned about our heading down to AZ...but she said Riverview would be working closely with Barb and we will be called if they feel she moves into the stage where we (all of us) would want to be here. And as usual I am sure I am echoing all of your prayers as I hope that Dad would just sneak in there one night and snatch her away to cuddle with him in heaven.

Here is a pic of Frank's birthday looked like a normal card and asked the question, "How much do I love you?" and when you opened it it got gigantic and this puppy spreads out his arms. Mom really smiled...almost laughed! I will also add a pic of the christmas Tree that Huy and Kirsten brought for Christmas.. I am heading out now to meet Barb there - Barb is there everyday.. When we were talking about trying to find a time to meet...Barb said that she usually gets there around 7 she is there when Mom wakes Barb thinks Mom kind of thinks that Barb lives at Riverview :)


TUESDAY Sally Chapman met with Mom Pat and myself on Tuesday afternoon. Sally is the grief counselor from Hospice who was referred by Dr. Dentler. (Reminder: The doctor wanted to see if a grief counselor might be able to help Mom deal with Dad's death...which he was assuming was the reason for her ongoing sadness. Hospice provides those services for no cost.) While Mom slept most of the time, and Sally's initial response was that Mom was did not need to deal with Jim's loss, she is going to come back next week and we will talk about what other resources Hospice might offer to her and to family. Because she is in Riverview there is no need for medication or health-related services, i.e., administration of morphine or bathing/nursing help. One of the only times that Mom responded to Sally's questions was when Sally asked Mom if she was ready to join Jim. Mom nodded her head and said, 'Yes.'

Mom's new wheelchair is much better for her. Without having to move her she can be moved from upright to pretty much any angle. Pat wanted to make sure everyone knew that if you are giving her something to drink...make sure that she is upright. He had a rather bad experience when he let her sip water while being too far back. Picture is of Sally, Mom and Pat.


SUNDAY...The Apple Cup guys, Pat, Dick, Jim and Luke stopped by and the highlight of the visit was when they called Rachel and told Mom it was her birthday. Our not too communicative Mom said, "Hello,' Happy Birthday and I love you... also responded to some of Rachel's questions. It's amazing how special those times are. I got there after the boys had left and Pat shared this story with me... and could not do so without tearing up. I love my sensitive husband and our wonderful family. Thank you Rachel!!! Here is a link to a video taken on Sunday after the guys had left. Pat tells a little bit about what happened. (Disclaimer... not good quality video... sometimes Mom is not at her best...but maybe the next best thing to sitting with her.)

You need to copy/paste into your browser:

It was so nice for Mom to receive cards and phone messages and phone conversations today on her birthday! Sometimes at this point I think maybe we get more excited than Mom... it gives us something to read to her or the chance to play messages. I so believe she is aware even when sometimes her eyes are closed and she does not seem to be here. Pat played the messages and while he was there Janice and Mary called...and Mom was able to respond to them...although Pat said she also fell asleep while both Mary and Janice were talking. :) Here is a picture of the most beautiful arrangement from the Cerrillos. My picture does not do it justice!

Saturday, Dec. 4 APPLE CUP!

BARB: I find mom wailing this am at the Riverview. I'll have four weeks to give her extra good attention now. As Lyn noted, the Triazapam twice a day is to help with the wailing, which is the same "senseless" wailing as at the Calloway Gardens--that is to say, you can distract her momentarily from her wailing, but you can't "solve" whatever she's wailing about by moving her, etc. She is talking somewhat, though, about things like coffee for breakfast. Told me her new tipped wheelchair was borrowed from "this place."

The triazapam makes her calm and "happy" but sleepy. It sedates her. She thanked Ryan and I and the girls for coming yesterday noon and agreed that Dad would have called the Apple Cup attendees fools for sitting in the cold.

Time to go back in. A half hour of wailing at a time is all I can take.

LYN: Well yesterday we were like ships passing in the night.... Barb, you were there in the morning... I was there for the afternoon and Kirsten was there for dinner. I think I had relatively easy duty in that Mom just slept the entire 3 hours I was there. She just wouldn't wake up. It wasn't entirely easy as I have to admit Mom's snoring is most accurately not described as delicate and quiet. When I talked to Kirsten in the evening she actually got a couple "I love yous.' So I am glad that she is truly not sleeping all of the time. (Maybe she was feigning sleep because she realized I was there. :) I brought my computer and a book and it was actually pleasant being there. Even though she was sleeping I still talked with/at her... I hope that subconsciously she feels our presence. And yes, I think there is total agreement that the Apple Cup people are shy a few brain cells. Pat called me from the stadium and shared that he had sole heaters, patches of those heating pads pasted all over his body, hand warmers in his gloves...and he was STILL cold! Oh well, a Cougar fan is a Cougar fan...and rational thinking is not a requirement of belonging to that club.

Thursday, Dec. 1

Just a quick update - Last night the head nurse called from Riverview to let us know that they were going to ask Hospice to have someone sent out for grief counseling with Mom. Evidently Hospice has great resources to help people work through issues of grief. Pat and I shared that we wondered if Mom had the ability to communicate with anyone, and they acknowledged that but felt that it couldn't hurt anything and it might help her with her increasing sadness. They also are going to increase her Trazadone to two times a day instead of once a day. They originally suggested increasing it from one to three times a day but we suggested increasing to two as she can be so sensitive to medication changes. Just wanted to update you and will post this same message in blog.

Sunday, Nov 28 at Riverview...

We took some video when we were at Mom's on Sunday. It is 5 minutes long which I know is long for a video...but it is a bit like sitting with Mom. Watch the whole thing because at the end she gives a wink...a 'Grandpa Jim' type wink. You will also witness both myself and Pat tasting her chocolate shake before we give it to her...we have absolutely no shame. is absolutely nothing special as a video goes...but it is our Mom, our Grandma, our Mom-in-law... and that is absolutely special. :)

link to video:

Update from Pat on a very snowy evening...


This morning we awoke to a foot of new snow. I think we have had a little over two feet year to date. Pullman was getting heavier snow today so the Apple Cup may truly be a snow bowl. Lyn and I beginning to wonder whether the weather will curtail our Arizona plans.

We enjoyed a grateful Thanksgiving gathering with all of Lyn's sisters family at the Jones. Dee & Steve were gracious host and all 26 of us sat at one long table. Michaelyn's Key Lime (our AZ limes) pie was a hit as was Sue Pecan nut pie. David made rolls and loafs of especially delicious homemade bread.

Mom does not have much energy. She spends much of the time sleeping in her wheelchair. Thanksgiving morning she got upset and pulled the hair of one of the aides so they gave her a sedative. They said this was the first time she has ever acted that way. Partly because of the weather and her sedated state I made the decision not to take her out for Thanksgiving.

She eats very little. She got mad at me the other day saying "Don't feed me like a baby!" Mom will usually eat a few bites of fruit (peaches, pear, watermelon, cantaloupe) but the last couple of weeks virtually nothing of her entree, vegetables or starch. Yesterday she slept through most of my visit, but I did put my face close to her and said I love you Mom, and she responded "I love you too".

Because she is generally not communicative I have gotten in a routine of scratching her back, washing her face, holding her hands and helping her drink. She can no longer hold a glass by herself. We usually pray for a while, I will read her some scripture and then we just listen to music or some sporting event. They are putting her back in bed more often because she slouches down when she falls a sleep in her wheel chair.

She has had a runny nose for the past three days and has some kind of bronchial issue. She is coughing more often and sounds congested when she tries to talk.

Please call her and leave her some messages, I will replay them repeatedly until I am sure she is cognizant of your call. Continue to remember Mom in all your prayers - even when you are praying for your team to win.

Love to all - Pat

Thurs., Fri., Nov. 18th & 19th

Friday - Pat: Three of the last four days when I got to Riverview she has been in bed asleep but in good spirits when she is awake. Barb came in later and she really lit up when she saw Barb. Before Barb got there I read the Bible as she really doesn't seem to engage with the TV. She still smiles and winks occasionally, she doesn't talk, but she still recognizes us and it is comforting to be there. It reminds me of the countless hours that she must have spent with us - when all we did was smile or cry.

Thursday - Lyn: Pat picked me up at the airport about 1:30 and we stopped by Mom's on the way home. She was in bed asleep when we got there - and looked great as Thursday, you know, is her hair appointment day. She woke up as we were getting situated and I think was surprised to see me. I brought a present for her (a Christmas Sweater...) and when she saw the package she really lit up....but fell asleep with it on her lap. When she woke up a bit later we opened up the outer wrapping...and then she started to open the tissue..but again fell asleep before finishing opening it. When we finally actually 'opened' it though, her face lit up. I think bringing even small little wrapped gifts might be a good thing - maybe it's like that inner child that we return to...(Who am I kidding? We all still like to open presents!) It was so good to see her after so long.

Napping with Mom...Sat, Nov. 13th

From conversations with Pat, Barb and Kirsten: Saturday morning Pat picked up a milkshake for Mom and when he entered Riverview he could hear her crying from down the hallway... a little reminiscent of Callaway. Mom was dressed, but still in bed and sad. The milkshake, and possibly Pat's presence (Pat would say more the milkshake than his presence) helped her break from her crying. Barb and the girls came in later and Pat took the girls around the grounds while Barb stayed with Mom. Barb said she crawled into bed with Mom and just hugged and cuddled. Her sadness subsided a bit and at one point Mom laid her head on Barb's shoulder and fell asleep. Later in the day Kirsten came by for a visit and the first 45 minutes were pretty good but then Mom starting being sad and crying... being agitated. Kirsten says that one of things that helps her get through Mom's anxiety times is that she is so much more active...i.e., walking her self in the chair across the room... almost getting out of the chair once. She says it is better than Mom being listless... and totally non-communicative. That is probably a good strategy - to always look for what we can be thankful for...even when it is challenging.

Mom Looked Great Today in Her Red Sweater...

I pray all is well with all of you. Some anecdotes and thoughts about Mom. Mom can no longer stand on her own which means she needs two people to assist her to transfer. Sadly I can no longer take out to Mass, or even help her to go to the bathroom. While she has been moved to an assist table for meals today in her room she ate 10-12 spoons of pudding by herself, but I was holding the bowl so she did not spill. She has been eating less and one day this past week her blood sugar was 48. I fed her on Wednesday night and was able to get her to eat 8-10 bites, but she seemed disinterested. I mention to one of the staff that it seemed like it took her a long time to chew and swallow her food so they are going to monitor her a little closer and may be pureeing her food. For the past week or two they have been crushing her pills because of her difficulty in swallowing. They advised me that she had not had a bowl movement for a number of days on Monday. They also put a urine catch devise in her toilet as she seems to be drinking less as well.

When I complimented Mom about her sweater today, she said she liked sweaters and she would like to have a new sweater. That may have been the most coherent thought she has expressed in the past month. While she still tries to communicate, I generally cannot discern her thoughts or wants. It seems that increasingly she is not fully in the present and at times she may be hallucinating or experiencing a different reality. Today she thought I was going to take her somewhere - home - and was upset when I told her that since she could no longer stand, I could not longer take her out of Riverview. She then sobbed for the next hour. I put on a CD of Gospel music and she seemed to calm her some.

Mom does not seem to be anxious a lot - just lost. She does respond to simple things, a hug, kiss, back scratch, foot rub and smiles. Mom reminds me of Lyn's Dad, Joe, and his struggle with Alzheimer's.

We are planning to bring Mom out to our place for Thanksgiving, as we will have plenty of help with the Shipman men to get her in and out of the car. Maybe at Christmas we could do the same or perhaps have an Erickson family Christmas gathering at Riverview? Maybe the afternoon of the 22nd -23rd?

I would again encourage everyone to call and leave her some short and upbeat phone messages. We will play them for her. Love Pat

Update From Pat again....

Dear Family

John (Day Charge Nurse) advised me tonight that Dr. Dentler had ordered some changes in Mom’s medication. Effective today they have discontinued using the fentanol patch (for pain) as he thought it too sedating. They will give her a 2.5 mg of methadone daily for pain. They will also stop using Haldol in seven days as they have begun giving her 2.5 mg. of zyprexia for 4 days and then 2.5 mg b.i.d. p.o. ( 2x daily by mouth.) The zyprexia is a psychotropic drug that may help her with dementia /agitation /moods (sadness). They use zyprexia for agitation with psychosis, etc. They will also give her 20 mg b.i.d. p.o.(2x daily by mouth) of omeprazole (Prilosec) for acid reflux.

Mom has had a good three days. Monday, when I got there, she was wearing a plastic apron as they had carved a dozen jack-o-lanterns. I am not sure what she did, but she had pumpkin seeds and pulp on her hands. Yesterday she was at bingo when I got there, but was basically just watching; however, I was there she did put a couple of chips on correct numbers all on her own. Both days she seemed generally happy-especially when Barb, Belle and Claire arrived. Today they had their monthly candlelight & wine dinner so I volunteered to stay for the prime rib. They had tablecloths, electric candles and linen napkins. I tried to coax mom to feed herself again and she did manage three bites but really showed no interest in eating. She ate another 3-4 bites that I fed her but essentially ate very little. I carried on a running conversation with Pietra (resident) and the staff and at least 6 times mom commented. When I spoke directly to her she mostly just smiled and nodded. The recreational therapist said she walked 15 feet today, which is the first time in over a week that she walked at all. Read her a letter from Frank yesterday and she tried to say something about his letter but I could not understand.

She really loves to have her back scratched, almost coos, so when you visit I would recommend that be the first and last thing you do when you're there.

Tomorrow I am joining Lyn in Peoria for 6 days. I think Spokane is going on week three of grey, drippy days. I don’t think I am going to miss that...

Love to all - Pat

Update From Pat...

While some days mom is sad and on others confused, I think her life at Riverview is generally good. The staff continue to be caring and attentive. Residents are encouraged to join in activities and excursions. A few weeks mom went to the Spokane County fair. Barb was there to meet her and escort her around to the fair grounds. Mom told Lyn and I that she had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the trip. However, when we asked her what she like the most she struggled to share specifics, but she did respond to some cues.

Mom has been given Haldol a couple times a month these last two months. While Mom is more sedated / reticent on Haldol, at times the staff will use it if she does not respond to other intervention protocols when she is weepy. The PA asked whether we would like to consider counseling for her. I doubt such sessions would have any lasting benefit, but I don't really know.

They are watching her anemia, as she has been seemingly more tired of late. I told them about her Procrit. While she does receive an Iron supplement this may not be sufficient. They indicated a blood transfusion might be beneficial.

We have been taking her to Mass on Sundays. She enjoy getting out especially having a chocolate milk shake afterwards. We have taken her out to eat a few times, and most Sundays we try and bring her to our house after Mass. Last Sunday I think she slept 2 of the 3 hours she was there even though Michaelyn, Kirsten, Lyn and I were talking all around her. On Wednesdays at 3:00 mom attends a Catholic communion service downstairs in the chapel.

Mom may not remember who she visited/talked with from one day to the next. Sometimes she struggles understanding the 'future' - I will tell her that on the weekend we will go to Mass and before I leave she wants to know why I am not taking her to Mass now. At the care conference the RV staff suggested that instead of always trying to bring mom into our reality at times it may be easier to respond to hers. For example a while back she asked me "What Saint is that a picture of?" I had no idea what she was referring too, as I searched for what she was talking about. I said "What picture? I don't see any picture" I could just have said, "I don't know". "When will Dad get here?" "When he can, people are busy in heaven".

They are still providing restorative therapy 4-5 times a week. This involves mom practice standing up and holding on to a bar while she marches in place, walking with a walker and various arm exercises. She seems proud of what she can do - which isn't a lot, but we need to continue to encourage her to use what she has left. When I help her use the restroom or get into the car she can shuffle some to assist with the transfer, but she needs to be encouraged to 'stand up straight' & 'move your feet' or as I say 'dance with me mom'.

I have started taking her to visit other residents. While I do most of the talking, the resident seems to appreciate that we are 'visiting' and I think it keeps mom from being - feeling alone.

One week when at Bingo the other Ann, also a Catholic, was basically covering mom's cards I took over and put chips in her hand and told her when she had a number on a card. I only had to point out the card, not the number, and she was able to place the chip on the correct number albeit very slowly. One day she was making apple turnovers with six other residents but wasn't making much progress with the dough. They were all covered with flour and trying to share cooking-baking stories, but no one was very coherent. I put too much filling in mine so they became apple pizzas.

At the suggestion of Matt -dietician - I purchased a message phone for mom's room. For it to work, we had to set it to record after 4 rings. So, while you may not get mom when you call you can leave her a message. 509-482-8693 When you leave a message remember that she probably is there and can hear you. We will try to teach her how to access the replay by herself, but we can monitor the system and make sure she hears the messages and delete them as needed for space. We also thought it might be good for us to help her place calls to family so you can 'talk' to her directly. You very well may have to carry the conversations, but you may get a gem of mom to treasure.

Yesterday when visited her she was napping when I got there and when she awoke she slurred her speech a little. She asked me twice when would Dad be coming, but before I answered she said, "Oh he's gone".

If you send me an e-mail for her I will print it out in a larger font to make it easier for her to read.

Early October 2010

I only have pics of the Spokane Erickson's but many people have visited Grandma in the last month... Bill, Jennie and Ali, Dick and Family, the Cerrillos. Hazel Rettkowski and her daughter Susan stopped by one day. Too bad it wasn't a great day for Mom... Michaelyn and I visited a Farmer's Market one Saturday and picked up a bouqet of humungou dahlias. They were absolutely stunning and we brought them to Mom's place. We put some in a vase for her room and took one down to the nurses station for them to enjoy. The trip down was so cool for Mom as EVERYONE ooohhhhed and aaahhhhed over it and she was enjoying every single second. I don't have a pic of Mom and the flowers but here is Michaelyn with one...

September/October 2010 Beautiful Garden time...

Pat and Mom resting on a walk in the garden on a warm September afternoon. The grounds there are kept up beautifully. We were all captivated by the manicured pink flowering bush in the foreground.

Mary, Mom and soccer games...

Mary trekked over the mountains to spend a couple days with Mom and was also able to watch the Simmons Super Star Soccer Players. The video below is Mary greeting Mom...(you will quickly see I am not a stellar video taker...but it is nice to hear Mom. When Mary walked into the room, Mom literally 'lit up.' Wish I could have captured that...

The pic to the left is Mom, Mary and Claire in Kirsten's classroom. Mary, Barb, Mom, myself and the girls had a picnic lunch in Kirsten's classroom on Saturday and we all stayed and helped her prepare. Great time!

Tailgating...or wheelchairgating at the WSU/SMU Game!

What a great Saturday Game Day for Mom. Too bad the Cougars couldn't have won! Bill picked up Mom on his way up... Mom joined four of her sons and one grandchild to cheer on WSU. Well, actually she slept through much of the game waking only at times when the guys would yell. While I initially berated Pat for startling her awake...she was quick to say that she LIKED the goings on, and I truly believe she did enjoy hearing the familiar noise of family watching football. GO COUGS! (Ignore camera dates on pics...)

September 2010

This month included many visits by Barb and the girls... If I may quote Claire, who shared during one visit why she really loves coming to see Grandma: "It's because every room has a cuddly stuffed animal on wheels...and I love to hug them." One day Barb and the girls entertained Grandma by dancing outside the window....

Late August 2010

This was a good month for Grandma...especially when Kirsten Pat and I took Mom shopping at the Mall.... She had no trouble picking out tops that she liked... She may be missing a little short term memory at time but the shopping memory muscles are STILL INTACT!

July 27th - Aug 10 - Catching Up

Whoa… I have been a bit remiss on keeping up the blog. Life just seems to get in the way. We have not posted since before the lake so we better do some catch-up.

Mom is doing well, had a perm this week but is not that happy with it. It doesn’t seem quite as nice as her previous perms at Charbonneau and in Othello. Pat took her to Costco this last weekend and they picked up needed supplies for her room - chocolate clusters and beer. The Cerrillo group came in masse last week and Mom talked about it for days.
We took her to St. Peters for Mass this Sunday and for the first time she said this church seemed like a ‘Catholic’ Church. I don’t know what it is about Barb’s and our churches, but they just don’t seem to be ‘Catholic’ enough for Mom.  After church we had lunch with her and then Bill and Jennie came in to spend the afternoon. I talked with her the next day about how blessed she is with so much family…and she sure knows it.

On Monday Kirsten arranged to show a movie in their ‘theater’ and while I didn’t really plan on staying for it… it was an old John Wayne movie 'North To Alaska,' and I ended up staying for almost the whole thing. They show movies in a smaller room with a huge screen and make homemade popcorn. It was really quite nice!

They have finished adjusting her wheelchair to better fit her and she continues her restorative therapy. Restorative therapy is ongoing and there is no added cost. Its purpose is to increase or at least maintain her quality of life. Mom has voiced her desire to be able to just get into bed to take a nap and get up on her own. We did ask about a pole by her bed – as she had at Charbonneau. Riverview is not able to install those because of structural reasons, but regardless, they said because of safety issues Grandma is not ready to transfer without an assist person at this time. They will continue to do what they can to help her be as mobile as she can… That’s all for now. I will try and go back to entering more frequent shorter entries…

July 26th - Ice Cream at Barbs

Grandma continues to seem to be so calm and so appreciative/happy. The day before yesterday I took her out for a ride and we picked up ice cream cones for Izzie and Claire... we just parked in the driveway and opened up the door...she drank her milkshake down to the very, very last drop and the girls, Barb and I sat on the grass in the shade. Quite simple, but so nice. (When we returned, Greg was lifting her out of the car and she had the longest fluff that was quite odorous... and she said, "Oh, I just can't help that... so sorry, Greg." And then to me: "Well, so much for that new car smell, Lyn.." I think maybe we need to enter her into one of those comedian contests!.

Unexpected Surprise

The past few months I have really been focused on how I can help Grandma and Grandpa in any way possible. As I visited Grandma last night and this morning I realized that she is now at the point where she is providing me with more joy and comfort than I am providing to her! While it has always been an honor to visit and care for my Grandma - this is the closest I have been to her my entire life.

Last night I mentioned something about Grandpa and then I followed up with the question.

"Do you mind if we talk about Grandpa in front of you Grandma?" I inquired. She responded....."I love hearing about your Grandpa and it does him honor to remember him."

So at the lake this year if you find yourself holding back because you are worried it might upset Grandma - don't worry. She would love for us to share our memories of him at any time.

When I left her today I asked Grandma what she was going to do. She pulled out the daily activity sheet and talked about how she was going to go to the Coffee Social at 10, Lunch at 12, Bingo at 2, but she was not 100% sure about going to the Game Night at 6:30. Knowing Grandpa, he must be rolling over in his grave, exasperated in a loving way, at how he tried so hard to get Grandma to socialize at the Charb.

Last note on ice cream......Grandma did talk about buying all the Grandkids ice cream at the lake this year. I vote for Monday night.....partially because we did not plan on a dessert yet!

A few other notes....

Daisy is an absolutely amazing caretaker at Riverview. She showers Grandma with kisses and humor on a daily basis.

One of the employees is pregnant and Grandma grabbed her arm the other day and told her that she should name her baby "Andrew" as it was a good name. It was so cute!

P.S. She is reading and re-reading the letters that have been sent to her. I offered to read one and she shooed me off and told me that she may be slow but she can still read. Still a bit unsure I curled her hair and sure enough.....she read a three page letter bit by bit. It did take about 15 minutes but she seemed to enjoy every minute. I also saw a bookmark in her reading book! Her glasses come in on Wednesday and I plan to pick them up and take them to her. Ideally I would be able to take her to Costco and have them properly fitted. If anyone wants to help me take her to Costco in the next few days let me know. Otherwise I will just deliver them tomorrow and take her to Costco to have them fitted after the lake. Also, I don't have a Costco card so I would not be able to take her shopping inside the store if she requested to shop. And I think our shopaholic Grandma is back. Bill might have to reign in a little wild spending. joke/wink ;)

Post by Pat - Update on Mom's Eyes

Except for some stigmatism and creeping cataracts Mom had a positive eye exam. No glaucoma, no macular degeneration and no retinal detachment. Mom seemed opened to cataract surgery but it would 4-6 weeks after she makes a decision before they could do her first eye, another 4-6 weeks before the second and then 4-6 more for healing before they could fit with post cataract glasses. They advised us that Medicare would pay something for the surgery and the post surgery glasses. The D.O. said the cataract surgeon had a preoperative procedure that would enable mom to ‘see’ what her post cataract vision might be but I have not yet followed up with the surgeon to confirm.

Rather than wait 3-4 months for glasses, Frank and I took Mom to Costco and ordered up a pair based on her new prescription. If this allow her to see and read she may choose to postpone the cataract surgery.

She has been in great spirits the past couple of weeks. Yesterday she went up to Mount St Michaels (Tridendtine) for a concert by 20 singing nuns and had lunch. She called me this afternoon and invited me for their ‘Happy Hour – wine & cheese, but I think I will be too late.

Looking forward to the Lake - Pat


I am not being very proficient many aspects of my life lately.... and one place that is being neglected is Granma's blog!!! I'll be on it more after Jan 19th when I am again unemployed. In the meantime....

Latest anecdote.... Kirsten yesterday stopped by Grandma's in the morning... and Mom let her know that it was good that she was stopping by in the morning because 'she had her own plans for the rest of the day!' Does that not make your chin drop just a few more inches towards the floor? :) They had an excursion scheduled to go up to Mount St. Michaels and listen to the "Singing Nuns." She went on her own... none of us chaperoning her... get out.. She told Pat later in the day that she had a great time and the Nuns sang much better than the Ericksons. (That last part I made up... but I defy anyone to argue that point.)

but speaking about Erickson's singing... Ryan's Surprise 40th Birthday Party for Barb was an unimaginable success. He REALLY did surprise her and those of us fortunate enough to be there had a great time. It was the epitome of a surprise party: 30? of us crouched down in her house as she is meandering around in the front yard showing Jane her gardening prowess... and us all jumping up and screaming 'Surprise" when she FINALLY entered!

This is just a few minutes after the 'Surprise!"

Jolene sharing something obviously very important to Grandma:

Sorry I didn't have too many great pics as I just had my Iphone... but I did manage to snag a video of the Happy Birthday Chorus. (Pleas pardon my rather strident voice which obviously I have to remember is RIGHT NEXT TO THE MICROPHONE when I am recording!)

Here is link to video:

Til I blog again....

Stroll and Roll - Wednesday June 30th

This morning I was honored to compete in the 4th annual "Stroll and Roll" at Riverview Care Center. Much like Bloomsday, participants get a T-shirt at the end of the event and no one knows the color of the shirts ahead of time. Grandma and I were a little late getting started but we managed to complete the course.
As we strolled amongst the flowers and water features the lovely lady featured above serenaded us dressed in her sequined shirt.
The course was packed! Grandma did one of her reincarnations of Grandpa as she prodded me to "hurry up" and "don't hold up the line." We only had to go around the course three times to get a t-shirt and I was in no hurry as I sang to the music.
Here is Grandma picking out a t-shirt. She asked for a Large so that she could give the shirt to her boys.
After we got our t-shirts Grandma wanted to continue going around the course. She kept telling me that we were only on lap 2 and that I was counting 1/3 of a lap as 1. At first I thought there was some dementia kicking in but then I realized that this was her sly way of keeping me going round and round. I think we finished a grand total of 7 or 8 laps. As we went around one corner I saw some young maintenance guys shooting one another with squirt guns. I warned Grandma to watch out for these hooligans. But instead of shooting at us they gave Grandma the gun. She then proceeded to shoot every staff member and plant within her reach! Be careful the next time you visit Grandma - you may get soaked!

Grandma brought her watergun to our BBQ table and kept it safely loaded and on her lap. Her tablemates joked about how we would get lunch first because we were armed. Sure enough the very first three plates of BBQ came to Grandma and her tablemates!
After lunch we went back to her room and tidied everything up. There was a letter from Joshua that she had already read from the day before. I read the letter to her again and she was just delighted. I thought this was a positive sign that even little things like a letter can bring Grandma joy over and over. I wish I would have spent more time during the last seven years getting to know my Grandmother. I am now constantly surprised by the new things I am learning about her personality.

Weekend of June 26, 27

I’m getting a bit behind on keeping up with Grandma… Grant work is increasing and it seems we are so busy. What happened to the ‘lazy, hazy, days of summer???’

Just a couple anecdotes of the last few days:

Saturday morning I went in early and was there before Grandma woke up… it was about 7:00 am. She actually stayed in bed and slept off and on for about a half hour before she was ready to get up. She was a little weak – said so herself and then had a bit of trouble standing as they were helping her with the commode. (She later said that opening up her eyes and seeing my face was too much to handle and it threw everything off for the day. :)) Anyway we decided that rather than me taking her somewhere for breakfast that it would be better to just eat there…. And after eating a good breakfast she was fine. “Her blood level was 110 and it has been around that for a a number of days the nurse said.

Grandma went to church with Pat and I yesterday at our church, St. Joseph’s in Colbert. Everything went fine and we sat up front where they have a ‘niche’ in the pews for a wheelchair. About ¾ of the way through Mass, she leaned over to me and said, “This doesn’t seem like a Catholic Church..” We talked about it afterward and she said it just doesn’t seem like it’s Catholic. We mentioned that we could go to Barb’s church or just some other churches and she let us know that she didn’t think Barb’s church was Catholic either. (It has been TOO long since this lady has been to Mass!) I am including a pic of Mom at church just to confirm we DID go to a Catholic Church! mmm maybe the Lutherans running the Vesper Services at Riverview are starting to convert her?? (Just kidding, Jolene!)

We then spent the rest of the afternoon at our house where Barb and the girls joined us. Kirsten and Dad fixed Grandma's Hamburger Stroganoff and Michaelyn fixed a huckleberry/apple pie. Mom was ready to go back ‘home,’ though, which we feel is pretty healthy. To be honest we were a relatively loud group, as usual, and I think she is getting comfortable with her quiet Riverview ‘apartment.’

Funny story: A couple days ago I was filling out a medical information form that Mom needs to complete for her eye appointment and I was going down the list where it asks if “Yes/No” do you have diabetes, stroke, etc. I got to Neurological Disorder” and she answered, “Crazy as a Loon.” I then got down to Pregnant or Nursing? And she patted her tummy and then said…well, no but I am nursing. I laughed and then she said, “Nursing – You would need a microscope to even see these boobs.” (Seriously – that was verbatim. Where is this funny Grandma coming from??? )


Well another amazing visitor day. Ali & Jenni visited Mom in the morning, I came in the late morning and was able to have lunch and stay a bit longer in the early afternoon. Dick and all the Davenport kids headed in JUST in time for the Thursday Ice Cream Social. Jim was there in the later afternoon and stayed for dinner. Pat visited after work and while not in time for dinner, he did join Jimmie and Mom in the dining room. I headed back for the evening to pick up Pat and I heard from staff and residents that the "Erickson" table was definitely the fun table. Pat regularly gives Pietra - one of Mom's tablemates - the business and she gives it right back to him. I think Jimmy even upped the ante today. At one point Mom tried to give both of her sons to Pietra - but Pietra was having none of that...or at least none of them. When Pat and I left this evening we stopped in Pietra's room to say good night and she and Pat bantered again. (You can tell she really likes it...)

Ali's slide show of Grandpa. Ali brought copies of the Grandpa funeral video that she put together. It was interesting that when Ali brought the copies today Grandma said she wanted to watch it alone the first time. ??? And she still felt that way in the afternoon when I offered to watch it with her. But then Pat somehow convinced her to watch it with him... He prefaced by telling Mom this was probably going to be at least a five Kleenex movie. And it definitely was. Pat said both of them had tears streaming down their cheeks, but they both really enjoyed it. Ali: You did such a great job. She left copies for the Erickson's so if you don't have one yet - they are at Grandma's.

Pics to go with the last Post...

I just can't seem to get the insert pic thing down with Blogspot. I can insert one pic but then the next one mixes everything up! Here is a picture of Mom having Father's Day Dinner at our house. The second picture is of Sonny, one of the resident dogs. When we brought Mom home on Sunday we were just sitting and talking and out of the blue Sonny walks in and just plops himself down by Mom!


Today we picked up Mom about 12 so she could spend the day at the house. Kirsten and Michaelyn cooked Pat a Father’s Day dinner using recipes that he picked out from Grandma’s Cookbook. We had Chinese Chicken, Zucchini Appetizer, Creamy Cucumbers, salad, and Rich Cookies. Mom seemed to have a good day… Again – let me communicate through short anecdotes.
1. When I called to let Riverview that we were going to take her for the day, the staff member who answered, said, “Ann? No way are you going to steal our favorite lady!!” We told Mom that and we think she loved that…
2. She is stronger so the transfers and the bathroom process was much easier this time.
3. We watched the video of pictures of her side of the family…and she really enjoyed that. It was impressive how much she knew. I am going to include two video clips of what she was saying during the video. At one point a house was in the picture and she just spit out the address in 2 seconds. We all laughed… (I accidentally deleted that part of the video. These are just videos taken by my Iphone so they are not great quality and the sound is poor, I know. But... I hope they give you a chance to 'see' Mom.) I think she feels good when she is able to remember so much.

Video Clips -
(This is a short clip where after watching the Kowal video, I asked Mom if she wanted to send a message to everyone. I was thinking she was going to say "Hope everyone is having a nice Father's Day...or something like that...but instead she says: "Well why don't you come visit me? ... Please don't be offended. She really was kidding. I don't remember this totally humorous Mom...but she now makes unbelievable funny remarks on an hourly basis. She is also kind and very appreciative...and occasionally cranky. For those of you who couldn't hear what Grandma said in an earlier video of her with the physical therapist: Everyone was telling her to push up with her hands to stand up... So she said, "Push, Push, Push - you better be careful when you say that to me...I think of the baby's head showing." (This IS a funny Mom!)

Link to: Grandma's Message

Link to: A couple minutes with Grandma
(This is just a couple minutes of Grandma watching and identifying people. I just thought some of you would like to just watch and listen to Grandma for a bit.)

4. About 4:30 Pat asked Mom figuring out what time she might want to go back. (We were a little worried that she might be a little sad about returning….) Instead, her answer was, “Well, I think I should get going back pretty soon.” Those relationships that she is developing at Riverview are important and beginning to pay off. That place is beginning to feel a bit like her home…or home base. We will try and continue to try to make it as homey as possible.

That's all for now... Barb just called and she is spending the morning with Mom...


I forgot to add this to the last post. Today when I got there the Physical Therapist about tripped over 3 wheelchairs to get to me to let me know that Grandma had walked from the therapy room to the entire end of the hallway. This is equivalent to much longer than walking from Mom and Dad'sCharbonneau apartment to the Charbonneau dining room. We were so amazed and the PT, Shelley, was so so pleased.

Of course, when I asked Mom how far she had walked, she said just to her room. She also didn't immediately remember that Pat had been there this morning. Oh well, two steps forward, one step back. But in this case it was 350 steps forward!!! Woohoo

Thu., Fri., June 17-18th

Thursday was a great visitor day fro Grandma. Barb was there as she opened her eyes… Kirsten stopped by before Barb left. Lyn and Michaelyn came by at 11 and Kirsten rejoined them again at 12. Kirsten, Lyn & Michaelyn took Grandma out for a car lunch and what ended up being a tour of Spokane as we were looking for good pineapple chicken. (The truth be told, Grandma was not that enamored of driving around…) We all stayed and joined her for the ice cream social and would you know it = Pat showed up just before they put the ice cream away. He stayed not only through the ice cream social but of course stayed with Mom for the weekly Happy Hour and free booze….folllowed by a special Chicken Pot Pie meal. Mom seemed to be in good spirits.

On Friday Pat had coffee with her in the morning because he was able to go to work a little late and I was able to get there just before lunch ended. We went back to the room and played a game of gin rummy with some larger cards that they provided. I am not sure how Mom was really doing. Without her glasses…I think there is some eye strain issues. Pat came by about 2 so I headed out as I am starting back to work on the grants. Pat took her for a walk by the river and then they sat on the swing and swung for almost 45 minutes. Pat helped her to dinner but did not stay. He said Mom was in great spirits the entire time.

Grandma's Glasses or... A Tale of Two Switches

As noted in the doctor notes, I asked about an eye exam as Barb had relayed to me that Mom has been complaining about not being able to see very well. When I was reviewing our questions for the meeting with Jolene and mentioned the one about Grandma not seeing well, she asked if it could be the new glasses I got Grandma. I repled, “What new glasses? I didn’t get Grandma new glasses.” Jolene responded that when I had sent an earlier pic of grandma that she had thought to herself I must have got Ann new glasses as they were so pretty, hip and so much smaller. This conversation was happening in the lobby of Riverview – and about that time we looked at each other and said almost simultaneously: OH MY GOSH! The glasses that Ann is wearing ARE NOT HERS!!! They must have gotten switched at Callaway and she was in no shape to let people know. It isn’t too hard to imagine Wanda trying to put some strange lady to bed in their room and taking Ann’s glasses and putting them on this new person’s head. And I mean, these are nice prescription trifocals…. Someone at Calloway is REALLY having a hard time trying to use their trifocals. Maybe they are just thinking they have the new lineless ones. Of course, I wonder what they are thinking of their new glasses that are 5X bigger than their last pair??? Oh well…. Mom’s eye exam is July 1…

June 14-17, Mon-Thu

Mon-Thu, June 14-17
Mom continues to seem to thrive. Memory is still an issue, tears on occasion usually related to Jim, but she is increasing strength and in awareness of what is going on. She is now up to walking a hundred feet. A few anecdotes since Sunday.
Monday – Mom complained to the med nurse today that she was awakened at 5… taken to the bathroom, got half dressed, then they put her back to bed. The nurse initial said that sometimes they have lots of people to get up and get going…but that we could make it a ‘rule’ that she not be gotten up before 6. Mom really communicated well. She said something on the order of – well, I understand that things can happen, but you know, I am paying for this and it seems like I should have some say. Tammy the nurse, agreed and also told Mom that yes she has many rights…and she just needs to let us know what would work best. I just thought, “wahoo, Mom… you go girl.” (Barb, Kirsten, Pat and the Cerrillos also visited this day.)
TuesdayWednesday – Michaelyn and I visited and spent some time in the garden… then rolled her into the cafeteria where they were having Morning Coffee/Sittersize. Michaelyn puts her next to the moderator – a staff member who had been gone to Hawaii for 2 weeks. Susie, the staff member, says to Ann, “Did you miss me?” Ann replies, “Oh, I sure did.” Then - not missing a beat, she turns to Michaelyn and in an exaggerated whisper says, “Who is she???” I mean this lady has comic timing that rivals Leno.
Wednesday - Barb spent Tuesday evening with her and didn’t leave til she went to sleep… then got up early and was there Wednesday morning when Mom woke up. This was so special – Mom told me about it this afternoon… Kirsten then cam mid-day and then Jolene joined Pat and myself for the Doctor Conference. We then joined Ann for communion service; Dick and Luke got there just as that was finishing. I think Mom really enjoyed having the Davenport Ericksons there…. Pat and I stayed and had dinner with her and left this evening when she was ready for bed.
Note: Doctor Conference details will be emailed to all and linked to in the sidebar.

Sun, Jun 13th - Posted by Janice

Posted by Janice via Lyn:

Hello Everyone,
Surprise, surprise! We went to visit Mom yesterday.

She is very different than when she left Calloway. She told us that she doesn't remember much about Calloway. She said that she vaguely remembers the name Wanda. You've probably heard her say I've been talking I don't know why everybody says I wasn't talking.

Well we took a few pictures and other items back to her - her locket with Dad's picture, one of his hankies, a babushka, and a few other items. They brought a few tears but I think they are treasures. She seems to understand a whole lot more. Thanks to God for this miracle and the change of place/meds/whatever.

I asked her about her plates and we decided it would be best not to take them to Riverview. They might just disappear there.

I tried to blog but I couldn't figure it out. I know how to comment on something but I don't know how to post something. So keep blogging bloggers. I'll have to continue emailing.

Love, Janice

Sun/Mon - June 13th/14th Catching Up...and the Cerrillos make a surprise visit!

Sunday - Pat visits in the afternoon and Kirsten stops in after dinner. Mom was a bit teary when Kirsten got there and Kirsten mentioned the nurse shared that they gave her a small dose of Haldol as she was pretty sad earlier. We plan to just touch base about this at the Doctor Family Meeting on Wednesday. (We are not second guessing at all - they seem to have done such a great our knowledge previous to this Mom has not had any Haldol since June 4th. It will just be good to know what precipitated the decision to give her Haldol.)

Monday AM - I was able to be there early - 7:15 as I decided to just go directly from my exercise class without showering. (Whew! You will probably hear about this from Mom.) My memories from this morning:
1. I brought her a McD's sausage McMuffin, McDonald's coffee and I went down and picked up some fresh fruit, and Boost to supplement. Interesting that while we both said McD's coffee is good...she said she thought Riverview coffee was better.
2. I offered to take her for a ride but she said that she thought she would rather just sit and enjoy the sun.
3. She asked me to help her get a daily activity sheet because she wanted to see what was going on. No Bingo - but she wanted to go to Sittersize at 10:45. We were back in the room when the Sittersize lady came in asking if she was going to be there... said that she depended on Ann to help her with the count. Mom went down and I observed for a bit before leaving.
A Reflection: Remember how Mom kind of shunned Charbonneau activities, exercise? I think part of the change of attitude at Riverview is because here she is a star...she can do the exercises better than anyone else (today, anyway..) Maybe at Charbonneau there were some 'younger, stronger' ladies and with her broken hip/arm... it made her feel extra old??? Just a thought. Great that she wants to participate.

Monday PM - Barb visited with Bel & Claire at 2 and while I don't know the order - the Cerrillo's rolled in and Pat was there after work and before church. Kirsten finished off the day by visiting after dinner/before bed. I called Mom and she said she had the best day visitors, she mentioned that Mary had called and Mom said, and I quote, "It just takes a few words to help someone get out of the dumps." Now assuming she didn't mean that she helped Mary out of the dumps... this is a great reminder for all of us to try and give her a quick call.

Granma Renewed

Where has this mother been? Karen and I stopped by Saturday morning to visit and were pleasantly surprised by a coherent, pleasant woman. My last several visists were nothing to cherish. We talked in her room for a while and she shared that she doesn't remember Dad's funeral, but knows she was there because she saw the pictures and the obituary. There still are the signs of dementia because she pointed to Annie's graduation photo and said that it was her sister's daughter. She seems so pleased by all the new features in her room: couch, chairs, bookcase, and most definitely pictures. She told us she wants to put all the pictures in a photo album so she can hold them on her lap.
We then took her outside and sat down by the road to watch the river, joggers and bikers stroll by on a beautiful day.
When Pat and Lyn came by she was surprised that Lyn has a new car, even though she has rode in it.
While we were getting her ready to go to Pat's house she showed off her old humor. While the attendant was taking her to the bathroom, she had a loud, wet bowel movement. While we were giving thumbs up in her main room, Mom blurts out "did that get on anyone". We all broke out laughing.
She also told us how much she enjoyed the food here. She also talked about her exercise and therapy program, so it seems she is adapting and participating. Where has this woman been for the last year?
I will continue to visit her regularly as I travel through Spokane.

Sat, Jun 12th Grandma's First REAL Outing...

Today we brought Mom home for a few hours... With Michaelyn's help we were able to transfer her out of the car and get her into the house. Pat would not be able to do it alone nor do I have the strength to be that second person. BUT... it was a great day. When we got to Riverview to pick her up Jimmie and Karen were sitting outside with her... a great surprise. The visit at our house was low-key... The day was so beautiful we had lunch on the porch (pic) and then just watched home movies. We had a great time watching a Shipman Thanksgiving, a 1990 Othello picnic that involved a Auntie Mary-led water balloon war, finished up by a 'grandchildren feeding the lambs' experience.

Kirsten was scheduled to eat dinner with her so it helped with the transition back home. Let's pray that the days stay this good...

Walked 85 steps today and went SHOPPING!!!

I am posting from my Iphone today so this will be short. Another good day... They had a Book Fair in the Lobby - the same company that sells in schools. I asked Mom if she had gone down and she said, "I was just waiting for you!". We went down and picked up a new purse and some children's books for the Grandkids to read when they visit. She really took a long time reading each of them.

About three staff came thru while we were there and they each stopped and talked to her. She was pretty proud about everyone knowing her.

Pat was there in the afternoon thru dinner and he said she walked 85 feet today!
boy we appreciate these good days. Even if things go south for some reason, I am just going to treasure this time.

barb and Ryan are in Lewiston for Chad's wedding and we haven't heard that anyone is visiting soPat is planning on bringing Mom for Saturday afternoon.


The schedule Lyn made so we can send Grandma cards/packages/letters is now posted as a google doc just like the calendar, the link is over on the right side of this blog :)

Hair Therapy and Hat Day...

Brief capsule of day:
I got there at 11 for Mom's hair appointment. The hairdresser's name is Sarah and she is so right for the job - you can tell she loves what she does. She also gave her a manicure today and it really helped Mom's nails. We will not do that on a regular basis. I think Kirsten, Barb and myself can take turns giving her a manicure and she would enjoy it just as much.

We went to lunch at Riverview together...about 3 to 4 people commented on how nice her hair looked. Mom napped a bit until it was time for the 2:00 ice cream social. Pat was joining us and I asked her if she wanted us to bring the ice cream to the room. She replied that she would rather go eat with the people in the room. (Wow....)

We had ice cream... sat down at a table with about 4 ladies but then three other ladies joined us as the conversation was somewhat animated, led by Pat, of course.

Barb, Claire and Bel joined us in the afternoon and we visited until dinner when we left.

Mom just called and was a little frantic as she wanted Pat to know that they had Bingo tonight. :)

Picture today: We took down a paper flower from Mom's bulletin board and she took it and put it her hair, commenting that she thought it was quite a beautiful hat. :)


Unplanned, I brought Ann some homemade chicken rice soup. (I couldn’t play golf as I had a cortisone shot, but I stopped by the golf course and Herb, the cook, was just finishing up a batch of chicken rice soup. He truly makes it from scratch including his own base. So Grandma and I had soup, bread and store-bought cookies in her room and it was quite nice. I supplemented it with salad, coffee, and fruit from the kitchen. I just called ahead and they had it all ready...(Remember that if you choose to do the same.)

We then did a little hand therapy – rubbed lotion and then put on our ‘aloe gloves’ so her hands could be soothed while we curled her hair. And then, because she looked so beautiful – I mean, why SHOULDN’t WE GO OUT ON THE TOWN??? We took a ride and sized up some SASS shoes. (The clerk made 5 trips out to the car to get her fitted), picked up a McDonald’s ice cream cone, and visited my sister, Dee, at Mead High School. (Dee came out to the car and visited.) I got her back to Riverview just as Pat arrived and he was taking her to Mass and then to their Luau. (Will tell you more when Pat gets home… I do know they cooked a WHOLE pig and paraded it around...and had Pina Coladas this afternoon. (You know, I’m thinking maybe Pat and I will skip the move into a smaller house and just move into Riverview.)

Pat's comments upon getting home:
  1. Mom was great....less fussing when he left.
  2. At dinner he is making a concerted effort to engage Mom talking with other residents. He asked the ward nurse to suggest possible 'friends.' She gave him a couple names and the residents live quite close to Mom.
  3. They are discussing increasing her Cymbalta, but they have not had to give her Haldol since June 4th
  4. Using the button in her room. If Grandma says she needs to go to the bathroom, have her push the button and help her follow thru asking staff to do what she needs. Too often we just go to hallway and get someone, but if we want her to be independent, then we need to have her do it herself.
They had a luau this evening - paraded the whole pig through many of the hallways, had pina colada's in the afternoon and mai-tai's offered in the evening. Pat said it was pretty nice.

God Bless All!

Tuesday, June 8th Grandma sings "Happy Anniversary"

What better way to celebrate one’s 36th wedding anniversary than to have dinner with Mom! That is what we did and it really was pretty special. She recollected a lot about her visitors over the weekend. Pat got there in time to participate in Bingo and Mom was decked out with a lei that she won with one of her Bingos. (They are prepping for their luau tomorrow.)

Her bath schedule is Tuesday/Friday… so Amy took her off for her Jacuzzi tub bath… (See Pic). As we got ready to leave she was teary, a bit worried about “what to do?”, but the best time of the day was as we left, she sang, “Happy Anniversary to You….Pat hugged me and said he loved his ‘sweetie.’ And Grandma started crying more and said “oh, you have your sweetie..” I told her yes, and I hoped to have him 30 more years as she did… and she stopped crying and said, “That’s right…” Magical night.

Monday, June 7th - ANOTHER day of visitors!

Mary was there early in the morning to be with Mom before she left for Seattle. I met Ryan and Bel there as Bel was officially taking care of me on Monday. Before Mary headed out for the long drive home, we looked at the funeral pictures on my computer with Mom. Mom cried through much of it but I would describe it as tears of gratitude. (The reality is that Mom, Mary and I all cried.) As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we just realized she had no memory of Dad’s funeral or the ensuing celebrations. While my pics were not great – they did include the whole weekend, from the dinner on Thursday night, to the funeral, the church reception, the party at the motel, and the Charbonneau Reception. I wish I had been able to video all of those special times, like when she would voice how much she appreciated seeing the people there. Mary was amazing at how she helped Mom be reflective about the good times and her blessings...

Below is a link to one small minute. It is emotional but I am sharing it because it really shows a 'healthy crying Mom." It starts out and we are looking at a picture of Dave Erickson and Mary tells the story of how she enjoyed hugging a ‘real’ Erickson. Mom then makes a comment about how wonderful it is and how it is all about Dad.... and then she quickly says, "And that's ok," to make sure we realized she was just lovingly saying "it was all about Dad." A poignant moment.


After Mary left, Bel and I went outside with Grandma…. It initially was a bit cold so we gave Mom some Bel medicine (Pic 1) and then bundled her up! (See pic 2).
Jimmy surprised us and joined us as we watched Bel get to know the playground equipment. He

stayed with Mom and Bel and I ran out and did errands.

Then Barb and Claire met us back at Riverview so Grandma had the best full day of visitors. Pat capped it off at the end of the day.