There she goes… (Memoirs w/ Hokte )

7/30/19

Grandma went to a birthday party today for lunch. They had a nice little get together at Red Lobster. I adore that my grandma’s friends still try to get together. Sometimes her friends will come pick her up if one of us isn’t able to take her. They meet up a couple of times a month. Besides birthday parties they usually have a senior lunch or brunch. This Friday is bingo man do they get serious about it (lol)

As per usual grandma is taking her daily nap. Today was a little different. She came home and forgot where she went to eat, until she was reminded. We asked her what she ate and she couldn’t remember. She’s starting to struggle getting up from the couch. I also noticed today that she’s starting to have trouble going up stairs. We don’t have but 3 steps but I have noticed a difference.

Something interesting that she does…. She always wants to go to the bank. She’s always worried about her check book or if she has enough money. She’s been doing ok lately but there’s this one “man” that she owes money. That one is kind of a trip to hear about. She’ll get these odd kicks of thinking she owes people money, or she has bills to pay. She’ll tell us she called the bank, but we unplugged the phones awhile ago. One time I woke up from a nap and it was almost 9 o’clock at night. She had all the lights on in the house looking for a phone book to call the bank. So we just figured it was best to unplug the phones. She wouldn’t remember calling the bank anyways if she did.

She can get these weird kicks at anytime but I also heard about seasonal sundowning. “A common symptom of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, sundowning involves an increase of agitation and confusion, which occur during the early evening hours or late afternoon hours.” I have attached an article that goes in depth of explaining sundowning. https://www.alzheimers.net/how-seasonal-sundowning-can-affect-alzheimers/

Sometimes she’ll pace the house. She’ll be flustered because she can’t remember. She worries but can’t help it. It can be difficult to calm her down. So I started looking into how to manage her behaviorally changes…. This seemed to be a helpful article. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/managing-personality-and-behavior-changes-alzheimers

On a different note, I told her last week about what my project was. I told her the title and she seemed to really enjoy it. She laughed and said I should write a book. I just laughed with her. I reminded her today what my project was. She once again enjoyed the title and liked my idea. She said she wants me to start writing her stories as well. I’m not sure what stories she means. It could be stories from her childhood. It could be stories of her grandparents but who knows. I’ve heard a number of her stories and I’m excited she wants me to share.

Another day and we’re doing alright…..

Growing up at Hokte’s… ( Memoirs w/ Hokte )

As I’ve presiouly said grandma has been in the same house for over 50 years. Grandma raised 5 girls in that house. I’m pretty sure all my 6 cousins and I have lived at grandmas. I know some of my native friends are laughing thinking you only have 6 cousins? Out of my grandma’s grandkids, yes there is only 7 of us. I’m happy, I’m the baby out of all of us.

My mother and I moved back to grandma’s around 2000. I spent most of my childhood at my grandma’s. My older cousin and I were laughing this weekend about how grandma would bathe us. Man she would scrub you real good, to the point it would hurt haha. That and she would barely fill the bathtub with water. Sometimes I miss how the house used to be before they upgraded it. Other than that my cousin and I laughed about growing up at grandmas.

My cousins got to spend more time with grandma and grandpa and that’s alright. We have nothing but good memories at grandma’s. I think some of my favorite years was elementary. In first grade I would always have spelling test on Wednesday and Friday. If you passed the Wednesday test you didn’t have to take the test Friday. Grandma and I would always go to Braum’s on Wednesday morning and go over my spelling words. That’s one of my favorite times. I know she was teaching me back then but little did she know I would cherish those times for the rest of my life. They have updated the Braum’s since then but I miss the way it used to look.

One day in first grade I got brave and cheated on a spelling test. Our whole lives our parents and grandparents try to teach us right from wrong. They can only teach us so much until we do things on our own. Well dang it, as soon as I got home from school. I went and told my grandmother what I did. We only live a mile from the school. Grandma packed me up so quick in the car. She drove down to the school and made me take her to my teacher. I had to confess to my teacher what I had done. Also grandma made me apologize because she always taught me better than that. I have a number of stories about life lessons and growing up at grandma’s but this one is my favorite. I still laugh to this day about how fast she packed up and made me confess to my teacher. (lol)

I try to look at the positive things in life. It can be hard when dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s. One thing you’ll notice is that natives have a sense of humor. So while looking at the positives I tease around. I told my mother “Hey, no matter what, I can tell grandma the same story everyday and she’ll never get tired of it. I can tell her the same joke everyday and she’s going to find it just as funny or funnier than the last time.

It’s hard to be positive sometimes. It can be very frustrating. Do understand that when someone has Alzheimer’s they get frustrated as well…. Positivity can have a huge impact, with that being said I have attached a link about how positive environments can have a effect on Alzheimer’s patients. https://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2012/01/alzheimers-and-importance-of-thinking.html

Another I have attached was how to adapt as a caregiver. https://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2012/10/alzheimers-your-brain-and-adaptability.html

I Cry Sometimes About It….. (Memoirs w/ Hokte )

7/28/19

Today is a day, to give thanks. Today is a day to be happy.

It’s a beautiful thing, to be Indigenous.

I hope you gave thanks for you grandmother today. I sure am happy to see mine. Over the night I had time to think and pray. I thought about how beautiful our grandmothers are. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. Remember our grandmothers prayers are still protecting us.

So it was a good day today when I seen my grandma pull up. She greeted my older cousin and I. I can’t express enough what it felt like to have her in our grandpa’s homelands again. She used to go with him all the time to Red Rock. That’s where our tribal headquarters are. She’s not even Otoe but you would think she was back in the day. (Lol)

My grandmother was always good to my grandpa, and vise versa. I’m thankful they were able to put a roof over our heads growing up. Now this post isn’t to take away from our mothers but once again… Our mother’s wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our grandmothers.

When my grandmother showed up today to be with us. I cried, I cried hard….

Why? Because I was grateful to have that one memory once again of her being in Red Rock. My oldest cousin, or as we see it, my big brother prayed over my grandmother. It was good to see her in that tipi. I cried more when I realized, that’s probably the only time I’ll ever been in that tipi with my grandmother.

I took a lot in these past 24 hours and although I got sad today,, it was a good day. I cried like a I said because one day she isn’t going to be here. So it feels good to have her in my grandpas homelands to see her grandkids.

I can see though…. In her eyes. Sometimes she’ll have a blank look on her face or she looks lost sometimes. I understand her spirit is wondering… Soon she’ll be with my grandpa again but until then, today I give thanks…

She’s too sweet to be mean ( Memoirs w/ Hokte )

7/27/19

My grandmother has lived in the same house for over 50 years. It has changed over the years, inside and out. Even through all its changes, its still home. Grandma’s probably had the same house number for that many years too (lol).

Anyways my friends and I would always laugh that grandma had more of a social life than we did. I always tagged along with grandma when I was younger. She was always on the go. We’d go eat lunch in Tulsa. Sometimes we’d drive down to Okmulgee for whatever reason. She was always going somewhere and doing something. These days she sometimes has the energy to get up and go, but you have to make sure to come back by mid afternoon. That’s usually when she takes her naps but she swears to it, that she doesn’t take naps. Haha but ever since I was little she always taken a nap around the same time.

She doesn’t get up and go like she used to but that comes with age as well. When people ask me how my grandma is doing all I can say is that she’s doing good, just getting older. Boy I tell you what, yesterday she was packed and ready to go. She was excited to hit the road. So that’s always nice to see the spark still in her. Everyday is different. She has had her sassy moments, which sometimes that can be hard. My grandmother doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. But I have had people warn me that with Alzheimer’s they can have the potential of getting mean. So far she’s just sassy and that’s alright. We can all be sassy sometimes.

After I thought about it I took the time to look into some articles. I thought to myself what would I do if grandma got mean?? I know she doesn’t mean it but I found this article on what to do when your loved one starts to become aggressive. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-aggression#1

The Alzheimer’s Association also had a helpful page as well https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/agression-anger

I’m thankful my grandmother is not to this point. I’m also thankful for articles to help understand Alzheimer’s. My grandma is truly a blessing. I remember when I first found out she had dementia. I would talk with my close friends about it. They were the ones to warn me that she could get mean. One of my friends from up north gave me some advice I’ll never forget.

She said “Jess…. Remember those times when your grandmother gets mean, that’s not her spirit. Your grandmother’s spirit is getting ready for its journey home. Although you guys may not be ready for her to go, her spirit is preparing itself. So at the moments when she’s mean remember that’s not her.” She went on to tell me what to expect and also to remember to pray. She’s in the process of going home…

It’s a lot to process from any aspect… But I give thanks for another day my grandmother is here. Hopefully if anyone is dealing the aggressive stages they find some helpful resources from those articles.

Our Morning Coffee ( Memoirs w/ Hokte )

Now that I’m home I can witness everything my mother had once told me about. I lived in Norman for about two years. I talked to my mother and grandmother just about every other day. My mother would tell me how my grandmother would be progressing for better or for worse. She would always keep me in the loop if it was a good or bad day. Some days you could tell my mother just needed to vent.

I’ve been home about two months now and have to come realize what our “normal” routine would be. On grandma’s good days she usually wakes up by 7-8 am. If grandma had a busy day before than she usually sleeps in til 10-11am. Our morning so far start out with her scooting to the bathroom from her room. Another thing I noticed, she didn’t completely walk anymore. She has what I call, the scoot. Some also see it as a shuffle but its when elders come to the point they no longer pick up their feet. At least that’s how it looks to me, you’ll know it when you see it.

Once she does her morning business, she makes it to the kitchen where she starts the morning coffee. Little did she know the days I wake up before I already have her coffee ready. She got to the point she would put too much in and we would get coffee grains in our coffee. So we just went ahead and started making the coffee ourselves. (Lol)

You also have to remember grandma has been independent for years. My grandpa past away back in 2001. So my grandma had gotten used to being by herself. My mother lived with her during all this time but they we’re on their own schedules. It’s been about two years now since my mother took my grandma’s car keys. I’m not sure when it was ruled grandma couldn’t cook anymore. She just can’t do what she used to do.

It’s Friday and its time to enjoy our morning coffee. She’s up and getting ready to start the day. She heads to my aunts for the weekend, which I know she’ll enjoy. I can tell she’s already in a good mood. She’s been laying down the house rules for when she’s gone. All you can do is smile and say, “Yes grandma”.