Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Adventures in Shopping

The last two weeks have not been good ones for my grandmother. She has not felt well at all since her trip to the ER on Easter Sunday. Her blood pressure continues to be all over the map, with first the top number, and then the bottom one well above normal range. Her stomach has been upset, she hasn't eaten well, and she is down a couple of pounds, which is a lot on her small frame. We have been back to see her doctor, but he really hasn't told us much, other than what turned out to be a very costly jug of urine was clear of any infection or unusual activity. He drew blood and gave her an extra vitamin B-12 shot to help boost her energy level, and we are to return in three weeks. That is probably a waste of time, but it makes my grandmother happy for the doctor to pat her hand, and at this stage, it is easier to take her than to argue.

So... about the shopping. For Christmas, my family gave my grandmother toilet tissue - bags and bags of it. What started as a gag a few Christmases ago when my grandmother announced that all she wanted was toilet tissue has turned into an annual tradition of showering her with Charmin - specifically the 2-ply! Last year, she didn't run out of T.P. until sometime in late September, so we vowed to get her through a whole year this time. Yesterday, she told me she needed toilet paper from the store! I questioned her, and she insisted that all of her stomach troubles of late have exhausted her supply already. I looked in one closet, but not all of them, but I have to believe she has forgotten a "stash" somewhere. However, I bought more toilet paper for her!

Coffee was also on the list. A 13-oz. container was over $5. The 26-oz. container was just over $8, so I bought the larger container. She had a fit and a half! "Why on earth did you buy this big container?" I explained the savings of $2 to one of the most frugal persons on the planet, and she said, "But you just don't understand that I can't handle that big container." I calmly explained to her that it was no problem - I could fill her little container with coffee and freeze the rest - and the next time I am at her house I can refill the small container. That seemed to satisfy her for the moment. However, I did NOT make a special trip to another grocery store to buy "Cold Water Wash" for $1. She told me Woolite is a whopping $1.80, and she will send her friend to another store to buy "Cold Water Wash" and save the eighty cents. She says it works just as well as Woolite. And she wonders why I as trying to save her $2 on coffee!

It has been almost a month since I began dispensing my grandmother's medications into little daily boxes according to her morning, noon, and night dosages. We will run out of ONE medication late next week. For several years now, I have made a weekly trip to the pharmacy for at least one of my grandmother's prescriptions. For the life of me, I can't figure out where all of the medicine has been going, because I have not been to the pharmacy in three or four weeks now! Did she take too much? Was she stockpiling it? Was she sharing with someone else? We will never know, but for now, I'm monitoring the medication, dispensing the daily doses, and ordering the refills. Hopefully she is not adding or subtracting from the daily dosages too much.

I feel like I am seeing the beginning of a true decline in my grandmother. For now, she is not experiencing a quality life. She doesn't feel like cooking - a good thing from a safety standpoint, but a real disappointment for a woman who loves to cook. She has hobbled out into her yard a couple of times with the aid of her walker, but she can't do anything with her flowers, fill a bird feeder, or even pick up a stray limb, and for her, this is maddening. She doesn't feel like reading or spending time with friends. I bought fabric for her to make baby blankets for two new twin nieces, but it is still in the drawer. She is often confused and forgetful, and she spends a lot of time lying on the couch. I am hoping this improves, but I have reserved optimism. She is, after all, 95 years old, and the stress and strain of the viruses and hospital/nursing home stay in February may be taking their toll. Meanwhile, I'm on the lookout for a closet full of Charmin 2-ply!

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