366 days 2016 one at a time

Show-and-Tell Sunday: Rocky New Year


This post’s featured image my first Tweet and Instagram update of 2016. Other than my One Word, it’s the only goal of any kind I have as this new year gets underway. I’m a bit too preoccupied to do much more right now.

As some of you may already know, my mother-in-law fell and cracked three ribs while visiting us on Christmas Eve, and was admitted to the hospital on the day after Christmas with extreme pain and an adverse reaction to the drug she was prescribed to treat it. She was discharged to a rehab center on Tuesday, where she’s been receiving daily physical and occupational therapy, and is making steady improvements on that front.

We’re not sure how soon she’ll be released to go home, though. We’re hoping it’ll happen within a week or so, but it’s not just about physical recovery. We have discovered that Mom has no tolerance for opiates; medications in that class have major psychological side effects for her, and probably contributed to her experiencing “sundowners syndrome” to varying degrees for the last week. This condition is often seen in Alzheimer’s patients, but it can be aggravated by medication, hospitalization, and disruptive events in elderly people without Alzheimer’s:

“Sundowners Syndrome is a condition most often associated with early-stage Alzheimer’s, but has been known to affect the elderly recovering from surgery in hospitals or in unfamiliar environments. While the symptoms and causes of Sundowners Syndrome are unique to the individual, researchers agree that it occurs during the transition between daylight and darkness, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Symptoms include rapid mood changes, anger, crying, agitation, pacing, fear, depression, stubbornness, restlessness and rocking,”

The symptoms seem to be subsiding as time passes and the medications work out of her system, but they’re frankly more worrisome than the cracked ribs. We’re dealing with a lot of uncertainties right now, and I hate to make plans when I’m surrounded by moving targets.

Paul and I will both go back to work tomorrow, but I’ll be doing my job remotely while Mom’s still at the center; frankly, I can’t face that 80-mile daily drive on top of everything else right now. Blog updates may be spotty for the next little while, I’m really not feeling much ambition to assemble my customary Year in Review posts, but I do intend to get around to looking back at the year in reading. I feel like it was relatively undistinguished, but I suspect I may revise that judgment once I dig into the records.


5 Goals I’d Have for 2016 If I Were Setting Goals for 2016:

  • Read a book a week, on average (this is my annual benchmark)
  • Blog regularly but without being tied to a specific posting schedule
    • Target March 16, 2016 (my ninth Blogiversary) as deadline to implement design and feature changes related to the WordPress migration
  • More focus, less multitasking
  • Eat dessert only when it’s actually worth eating

Have you given yourself some goals for the New Year?


Here’s a slow-motion of video of Winchester running. His only goal is having a good time.

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  1. I don’t have too many words for you today on the person front, but sending hugs, prayers, and love to you, Paul, and his mom. On the bookish side of things, I aim for a book a week too usually, although last month, I read zero books. Just felt like watching comedies so that’s what I did.

  2. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through all of this. My mother-in-law had a similar reaction to drugs like that one time. She was in the hospital and called 911 from the phone on her nightstand. It took a little while but she recovered just fine. I hope your mother-in-law does as well.

  3. My mom had surgery about 10 years ago and sundowning followed. I was there while she was hallucinating. What followed was a period of somewhat normal behavior, but now she has some dementia –likely not Alzheimers, because it has progressed so slowly. However, she is a little paranoid and not as nice as she once was — the onset of that personality change seems to trace back to the sundowning. She is 93, my dad is 98 — and we still have them here — a blessing despite their problems.

    1. My husband was with my mother-in-law on a few of the nights when her hallucinations and paranoia were pretty bad, but both have notably subsided over the past few days. We’re hoping–which is not the same as “hopeful”–that she’s moving away from that now that she’s taking nothing stronger than Tylenol for pain, but we realize we’re probably looking at a new normal from this point on.

  4. I’m so sorry there have been the added complications and hope that everything clears up soon and that your mother-in-law recovers completely from all of it.

  5. So sorry you’re dealing with this. My mother-in-law also had scary symptoms from opiates and, otherwise, a low tolerance for pain. She went through several hard months after a fall. I hope things improve rapidly for your MiL and for you.

  6. Oh man, so sorry about your MIL and the extra issues with the meds. Many good thoughts coming your way.

    1. Thanks! Between her and my dad, I’ve decided that you become officially and irrevocably a grownup when you start taking care of your parents. (In other news, adulthood is *way* overrated.)

  7. I’m heartened to see that Kathy’s mother had this syndrome and is back to normal. Hope it resolves soon and she heals quickly. I can imagine that was pretty frightening for you. Prayers that the rest of the year will be good and that she’ll get out of the rehab facility soon.

    1. I’ve appreciated hearing about other people’s parents who have been through this and come back OK–it helps to hear good stories! We’re taking it day by day, and hoping there aren’t too many more before she can go home.

  8. Wow Florinda when you texted me this I didn’t realize it was this serious. I am so sorry this happened. Jeez, I visit you ONE TIME and see what happens?!

    Anyway since I’m relatively close let me know if there is anything i can help you with. I’m happy to swing by with cookies. 🙂

    And i like your resolution about dessert.

    1. I really didn’t connect any of this with your visit, but now that you mention it…KIDDING!

      We seem to have things under control right now, although we still don’t know when my MIL will get to go home. It helps that my only commuting this week is between home and Thousand Oaks, but I will definitely give you a holler if I need a hand!