Tag Archives: mom

Another Tough Stage

Obviously my last year and a half have been difficult, because obviously what Larry was going through and doing what we all could to fight for his survival and then make his death as comfortable as able.   There’s been another aspect of my life that has been very hard to deal with that ran concurrently with all of the above, and that’s about my mom.

Last January (in 2019), she ended up having to get fairly emergency surgery on her neck as the discs in her vertebrae were pressing against her spinal column.  It had manifested already in her having numb hands and feet, but it wasn’t sure what was causing that.   It could have been carpal tunnel and docs weren’t quite sure.   But when she went to the hairdresser and was getting laid down into the hair sink, her legs gave out as something pressed just too much on the spinal column during that action.   At the hospital, the neurologist was able to see surgery was necessary to release the pressure on her spinal cord or else much worse damage was to come.   The surgery to replace the discs and reduce the pressure was successful, although it didn’t really undo the numbness in her hands and feet.   Recovery was unfortunately necessary but it couldn’t be at the hospital, so we had to find a convalescent acute care facility for her.   Needless to say, that was a lot of stress for her.  2 weeks of that, and then she went home.   By then, she was already stressed out about her neck and head, and had a collar to keep her from moving it too much.

Going home was a whole scary event, but Stacie and I had gotten a caregiver service to be there 24/7 for her while she recovered.   Well, that basically kept her going but her anxiety and paranoia only got worse and got to the point where she stopped eating and sleeping because she was sure a piece of cheese was stuck in her throat and that if she slept, she’d stop breathing and die.   A trip to a psychiatrist got her drugs that calmed that anxiety down.  This was in March and it had been an exhausting time for all of us.

Throughout the rest of the year, instead of getting better and feeling more secure, she only got more scared about everything.   It took 2 months before she let us take the collar off her neck, which had absolutely not been necessary that long.  She refused to go upstairs and sleep as it was scary.  So she lived on the ground floor in the living room, sleeping on the couch.   She started to forget short term things, things that we had just talked about.  She couldn’t manage her own medications anymore, and wouldn’t go out with the caregivers to the store as she was afraid of falling.  She became utterly dependent on the walker we had gotten her, and her posture became the worse for wear and she wouldn’t walk upright as she was afraid she’d fall.   She stopped doing physical therapy, she stopped going upstairs at all for the shower, and she won’t watch anything but a few channels of TV as that’s I guess the only things she will watch where she won’t feel bad?   No movies, none of her other regular shows, just game show network and HGTV.

Visiting her was always bittersweet this year.   She does have memories and does know who we are.   But she’s been completely crippled by her fear, and some obsessive compulsive behaviors about food, sleeping, and moving that we are helpless to break at this point.

I’ve sped through what has happened this past year because it’s not necessary to detail the decline each day.   Who she was last January compared to now is shocking.  Stacie and I had talked about a home, but it wasn’t a giant priority at the time as I had to deal with Larry and Stacie was out of town starting her new career.   But now it’s time to act.   We visited some assisted living homes this past Friday, and found one that we both think she’ll be good in.   It makes me so sad to even realize I have to do this for someone who is only 71, but it’s no longer safe or beneficial for her to live at home and have a caregiver there.   I went yesterday, meeting Stacie there, to talk to mom about this decision.   We’d had discussions about it with her before, and of course the conversations were never great, but I think she always understood it was for her safety and benefit, even if she really wasn’t a huge fan of going.   But it’s time now.   She listened and understood, although of course you could tell it wasn’t great news for her.

I don’t really have any other options except to do this.   It will sound defensive of me to say, but fuck any of you who think this is me pawning off some kind of responsibility to give up my life and become her caregiver.  To be frank, I made a choice with Larry, and I had to do all that with him at the end.  I’m done with that.   I’m not qualified or willing to be a nurse, clean her shit, shower her and feed her.   Maybe there are others who would happily do that and to them I say god bless.  But fuck you if you think I’m now obligated to have to basically end my life doing this for the rest of what “youth” I do have.  I welcome your judgment though, and can’t wait to tell you, if you do have that thought, to go fuck yourself.   Where have you been this last year to help?  No one has been there for her, not her sisters, no one besides Stacie and me.   So yeah, get the fuck out of here if you think you’re going to judge me.

Having said that!  Yesterday after talking with mom, I left with Sveta.  She had come with me as I needed a witness for some paperwork to sign, and on the way back, we thought maybe to go grab some food.   So we went to Burger Basket, a place from our Monrovia childhoods.  Then after that, we made our way to Pasadena for a brief Starbucks stop, meandered around the Best Buy, and then drove to Michaels for some craft stuff as I’m trying to figure out what to do with me and Larry’s rings.   We then drove to Old Town Pasadena for a nice afternoon drinking at Rocco’s and shopping along the street.   We both got new sunglasses, and I got a new duvet cover for the bed, and bought some clothes at Lucky Brand.   All in all, a nice afternoon for what had been a pretty stressful week.  Then that night, I went to an absolutely hilarious improv show at the Largo called Middleditch and Schwartz.  Best improv I’ve ever seen, and ridiculously funny.

Anyway, I love you, mom, and I’m sorry what this last year has been for you.   I honestly think there’s a good chance you’ll be happy at this new place when we do this, and you’ll get some good chances for socializing, security knowing someone is always there, and just having that comfort.

Some Pictures from Saturday, Feb 29:

Sperske Christmas

Today was a day with mom, as we went up to Aunt Helen’s where she was hosting the Sperske holiday gettogether.  Last year was skipped as everyone was pissed at each other, but I guess things are better with some this year.   Well I guess Mary wasn’t happy so she didn’t come to the event, and of course Barbara wasn’t there.  As much as I was dreading it, and the associated drive, it wasn’t as bad as expected.  Luckily there was no rain during the drive as otherwise the Cajon pass could be a fucking nightmare.  Mom was okay for the most part.  Obviously not her old self, but she managed to engage with people for the most part, but she really is just not all there.  I think that it has to do with her psych meds, and I want to investigate whether we can reduce those with it being much time passed.  I loved getting to see my cousins (and cousins in law) – Lisa, Cindy, Erin, even Bob – and Helen was doing good as was Lori.  I just can’t help but resent everyone for living their lives they way they have and Larry gets cancer.  It’s fucking awful.   Didn’t get home until about 5:45 as it was a lot of driving – Larry was in no state to be able to go to the Chinese Theater to see Rise of Skywalker, so we stayed in and tried to keep him a little calm.  Not quite successful, but did the best we could.   We did watch Eddie Murphy’s SNL that night and it was fantastic.  I hope he enjoyed it.

A Day in Duarte

I ended up having a day out on my own this day as I had to drive out to Duarte.   My first stop was to see mom as she had told me that she had a burned out lightbulb, and I also wanted to get a card table to borrow for Thanksgiving.  So we visited, and I found out there was no burned out lightbulb, just that a bulb might go out.  Good times.  Did get the table and chairs (which wasn’t necessary after all).  Swung by City of Hope next, as I brought back the chemo pump that had been removed two Fridays previous when we had in-home care come by and do that since Larry wasn’t up for going back to City of Hope to get it done back then.  No surprise, as I didn’t ever want him to have to deal with them ever again either.  So I took it back, bouncing from the pharmacy area and finally to the infusion clinic area where I hope they logged it back in.

After that, I decided to be proactive about my car.   It had been sluggish in the last few weeks/months whenever it would start – even if just a day or two had gone by without driving it.   I thought at first it might be something more, but then I realized I’ve had this car battery since I bought the car in 2013, and it’s had one fail during that time when I left my car’s interior lights on for 10 days.  So I went to Pep Boys and got a new battery, but because I was a walk-in I I had to wait a bit.  Killed the time by going to Taco Bell, then walking along Huntington past the Popeye’s (crowded of course due to their chicken sandwich), and finally to the Living Spaces nearby as I was thinking about new chairs for the dining room.   Didn’t buy anything at that time but still considering an upgrade.  But yeah, finally the battery installation was done and it’s a whole new feeling in my car.  So peppy.  Plus the new battery seems to maybe have been key for the HUD panel in my car – so far it comes up reliably.

Chairs Under Consideration:

Countertops + More

It’s mid October so it’s a perfect time to post an entry here.   I’m mostly focused on pictures right now, but in short, 2018 continues to be a challenging year and some days are much harder than others.  Work insists on being stressful and it is sometimes difficult to deal with that on top of all the other stuff.  Larry’s chemotherapy is apparently doing its job, which is fantastic, but the side effects continue to build up and progressively get worse.  He’s able to find ways to deal and mitigate, but it sucks nonetheless.  Mom can’t feel her hands and it doesn’t look to be carpal tunnel, so here’s hoping that upcoming appointments with a nerve doctor provide insight on what is happening.   So all around, good times, right?  That’s the update then on what’s been going on, so now I’ll just post some pics.

Sunday, Oct 21: Our Countertops at the Glen LA

Yesterday, we celebrated Mom’s 70th.  Planning for this evolved as Mom’s not been feeling that great so we kept this very simple.  Larry and I made a cake, and then we met up with Stacie at Mom’s to get lunch and celebrate.  Wish we could have done more but the plan is to eventually have a do-over when she’s feeling better.

Sat, Oct 20: Mom’s 70th

And in completely unimportant news, I rebuilt my PC.  I do this every now and then because one simply can’t have an old computer.   Well, I’ve actually held off on rebuilding the computer’s motherboard and processor for 5 years!   I’ve replaced the graphics card a few times, got a solid state drive or two, and upgraded the power source in that time, but hadn’t really felt the need to update the main processor.   But the latest round of computer games were starting to tell me that if I wanted the premiere experience, I’d need to do something about it.  So I did.  And just in time, as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which just came out, is a beast and I can run it without a problem and it looks glorious.  It’s a fantastic game too.  My components this time around included:

  • Intel i7-8700 3.7Ghz processor
  • ASUS Prime Z370-A Motherboard
  • 16 GB of DDR4 3000 RAM
  • be quiet! Dark Rock processor cooler fan
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Ti video card (which I had got a month or two ago)

Behold, my new PC as built on a Friday, Oct 5 night:

Mother’s Day + more

Today, we went over to Mom’s and had a great dinner with Stacie, which she fixed up.   Drinking of wine commenced along with a couple of games of Jenga and Rack-o, and all was well in the world.   We had a lot of fun, snacking on food and laughing about memories past – it’s also Harv’s birthday, so it was fun to remember the fun (and drinks) we had on his 80th birthday.   Anyway, I think today was a lot of fun, and here are pictures I took:

Sunday, May 13, 2018 – Mother’s Day in Duarte

That’s the main picture-worthy stuff from the past week, to be honest.  It’s been kind of hellacious the last week or two or three at work for me, much like last May.  This is the end of the engagement I’m on and there’s a lot of having to get us across that finish line in ways that both sides agree on.  Cross your fingers that this week is it, okay?

The rest of this post will be videos I’ve been loving this last week or so; you’re welcome.

Childish Gambino’s “This is America”:

We saw Donald Glover host SNL last week and he performed, as Childish Gambino, this song as well as one that hasn’t been released yet.   The performances were amazing, but the real show was to come in the release of this music video the next day.  It’s fantastic and powerful and intense and requires multiple viewings.

Then I saw this mashup with Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me, Maybe” and now I can’t help but think there was intentional synchronization going on:

I had previously raved about the first few singles that Janelle Monáe had released in advance of her new album, Dirty Computer, being released – well, that album has been released and it’s amazing.   She also released an entire long-form video containing many of the songs within as well as an interesting tale to stitch these videos all together.   If you have 45-50 minutes or so, it’s well worth a watch:

Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer Emotion Picture:

Random videos time now –

First up, this latest season of Survivor, “Ghost Island”, has been okay, but it’s had in its cast one of the hottest men to be cast on this show, ever:  Michael.  Good lord, he’s fine.  So fine.  But alas, he got voted out recently and so now he’s on the jury and having to kill time.   Lately, CBS has been getting cute and indulging the cast to do fun stuff, so with Michael, they filmed a fake cologne commercial in the vein of Calvin Klein….and they’re pretty damn good with the vibe they create because hot damn this mofo can sell me anything.

Lego videos, especially those around Star Wars stuff, are awesome.   Here’s one I previously raved about with regards to the Death Star kit, but this new video is one that isn’t a kit and is made by those folks who collect thousands and thousands of Lego bricks to make any and everything.  This guy made the Star Destroyer wreckage as seen in The Force Awakens when we first meet up with Rey….and wow is all I can say.  It’s incredible!

Finally, there have been these small animated cartoons being released in the Star Wars world that are canon and cover areas of the lore that may not necessitate a movie on their own but it’s cool to see nonetheless.  These videos are called Forces of Destiny and there are more than that I’m showing here – but this one is about Porgs and I love porgs and you must too:

I love it so much.

Alright, that’s enough from me for now.   I hope all is well with you out in the world.