I decided I would catch up on my 366 project in one post rather than several posts. It’s hard to believe that I only have 5 more days until my year-long project will be complete. I put a lot of time and effort into this, and I’m proud of my determination to see it through to the end. I’m afraid this post ended up a lot longer than normal, but it is in total 7 days worth of daily photos.
This holiday season has been much more of a challenge than earlier years. Prior to my trip back to East Tennessee to visit family for the holidays, I was experiencing a great deal of anxiety, more so than normal. I have no explanation for why the anxiety was so bad this year. It just felt like I was suffocating before I even left on my trip.
I barely did any Christmas shopping this year which is the reason I decided to stop at West Town Mall on my way through Knoxville. It was a stormy day on Thursday. I thought the drive would be much worse than it was. For the most part, the rain wasn’t too bad. Other than high winds pushing my car around a bit on the interstate, I had no problems at all, not even at the mall. The clouds were absolutely breathtaking! I drove in awe the entire way.
Day 355 High Winds & Stormy Skies (12.20.12) – Taken at West Town Mall, Knoxville, TN.
I arrived at Mom’s later that evening, and we stayed up past midnight catching up and talking. Early the next morning, I awoke to strange sounds coming from my mom’s room. I ran into her bedroom and found her in the floor next to the bed. She appeared unhurt and at times, giggled as if she was caught in some waking dream. After about 45 minutes to an hour, I managed to get her back into bed.
My mother is in her mid-70’s and has numerous health problems, including Type-2 Diabetes. Over the past few months, there have apparently been several instances of her falling out of bed. Needless to say, this particular instance gave me quite a scare; but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I kept checking on her until she finally woke up for the day. She said she felt fine other than a slight headache. Later that evening, we attended the family dinner with all the extended family.
Day 356 Peaceful Sanctuary (12.21.12) – The view from my mom’s front porch. Isn’t it beautiful?
On Saturday, I took Mom to do a little Christmas shopping in Morristown. Governor’s Square Mall was crowded and noisy; so we didn’t stay very long. After I dropped Mom off at home, I took a drive out to Douglas Dam in order to “recharge my batteries.” I had hoped to visit the Great Smoky Mountains while I was home this time, but there wasn’t an opportunity. At least, I got to see them from a distance at Douglas Dam. The view from the overlook there is quite beautiful.
Day 357 Douglas Dam at Sunset (12.22.12) – View from the lower overlook.
The video is from the upper overlook. I’m sorry this video is a little shaky. It was really cold out there! “Douglas Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the French Broad River in Sevier County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States.” [Via – Wikipedia]
Again on Sunday morning around the same time as Friday morning, I awoke to the sounds of moaning coming from Mom’s room. I rushed into her room; and this time, I found her pinned between the wall and the bed. I quickly phoned my sister after I managed to get the bed moved over enough to give her a little more space. She told me to call 911 so we could get some answers as to what was going on. Two ER’s later, she was finally admitted to the hospital for observation and medication adjustments.
Day 358 Prayers for Mom (12.23.12)
I don’t have the words to express the emotional turmoil that I’m sure my mother is feeling at this time. No one wants to spend Christmas in the hospital. The added expense of more hospital bills certainly adds more stress than she needs. I was surprised to learn that hospital staff were already harassing her for money before she even left the ER. That was so wrong!
I worry a lot about her living alone, but she is determined to remain independent and stay in her own home. And why shouldn’t she? It’s where she is most comfortable. The house is paid for. Selling it now would only cause her more emotional and financial stress in the long run.
Day 359 Hospital Christmas Tree (12.24.12)
There are no easy answers when it comes to caring for aging parents. It’s a difficult situation to be in. I feel my mother deserves the respect and freedom to make her own choices, but I’m also feeling pressured to abandon my own life to go care for her. A conversation was relayed to me by my sister between her and Mom’s doctor that led me to believe that this is expected of me since I’m not working and “otherwise unattached.”
I understand how hard it is to be dependent on others for personal care because I’ve been in that situation for many years, now, due to my own mental illness. I rely on David for many things like reminding me to eat and to tell me if my thinking is irrational. He’s the one person who was consistently there for me over the last 12 years when others were not, even when we were not dating.
Since my family has never acknowledged my personal issues or witnessed first-hand any of the struggles in my own life over the last 16 years, I can’t expect them to understand why asking me to do this could be dangerous for the both of us. I don’t exactly have the best judgment. I never have. Believe me when I say, I’m not trying to make excuses here. I’m simply stating my experience.
Day 360 Merry Christmas (12.25.12)
Well, it wasn’t my intent to turn this blog entry into a rant; but it is what it is. I needed to get a few things off my chest. I’m convinced that no one in my family reads my blog, so I feel that my openness won’t be judged harshly by my faithful readers. I do hope each and every one of you had a very Merry Christmas! I hope the New Year brings each of us closer and blesses us with peace and prosperity.
Day 361 Red-bellied Woodpecker (12.26.12)
This last photo brings me up-to-date with my 366 project. We got a light dusting of snow today and a flurry of activity at the bird feeder. I saw Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, lots of Cardinals (as always), Tufted Titmouse (Titmice?), Eastern Bluebirds, and of course, this Red-bellied Woodpecker. I’ve tried to get a good photo of him for ages! This one is better than nothing.
As always, thanks for stopping by! And feel free to leave comments or suggestions.