Monday, December 29, 2008

VA HELP

from my post in www.trusera.com

Not been well and unable to post for awhile but I do have great news.

I filed for the VA pension in May 2008.

Most vets do not know that there is a pension available if you have been in a war (any war) for 90 days. You did not have to be in a batttle either. Just in service during that time.

So I filed in May and December 18th I did receive the good news and my husband can have a pension which will help me a great deal. It's not a fortune to be sure but it is a great help in the days that we are facing now.

The introduction to a new social service person at the VA then also helped me with more , my husband can now go to a day care for 5 days a week. I just could not afford that but I surely need the rest. We will try it in the next couple of weeks and see how he likes it and how it will work out for us all.

I am hoping and praying that this will be the best for him and for me. At the Day care they have Pet days, music days, craqfts etc...things he could still be interested in. Here at home he sits and falls asleep , no longer interested in reading nor TV , the most he is interested in is drying the dishes. So I am hoping that

the day care will be to his liking.

Getting help is sometimes difficult if you are dealing with people who do not know their jobs. That was our case when I asked for help previously. I am in 7th heaven now.

A real good 2009 beginning.

Retirement day with excitement

I don’t know how to make an entrance but I sure know how to exit.
Yesterday, Dec 28th, last day at work.
I am retiring....again.
I was mixed with emotions , love the job, no energy, need to care for
the man at home.

Went down the hall to get my paperwork and my throat decided to
close. I mean “closed” for further operations.
I turned around in panic saw my manager and motioned that
I was chocking. Not chocking on food, mind you, just no air, period,no air.
Mgr tried the heimlich but no results, a client started to bang on my back, no results.
I thought I could feel my head burn and figured I was beat red and
someone said : She is turning blue. Get the medics.
I had the presence of mind to think that here I was in the middle of
the store and I was going to die on my retirement day.
No fair, I thought, but I was not even alarmed at that.

Then a very slight peep came out from the throat and I started in
earnest to try and cough and cough. I knew that if I could cough then
some air was coming in and I would be fine.
In a flash I remembered having this about 8 years ago and
the medics came with oxigen and took me to the hospital.
Same feeling.
This time the medics did not come that fast and I was able to do
some breathing and very slowly could talk again.
I have no idea who was all there but a small group had gathered
around me and a chair had been put under me.
I felt I would faint but I never did.
When the help came ,I explained to them what had happened and
was told that one of their own had this. It is a spasm in the throat
and shuts out all the air.
I refused the hospital trip as I know that is a good $500 I did not
have.
Daughter was on the way to get me and was rather non-chalant
when every one in the store was agitated. Her reply was:
she is OK now and I did not see her blue!

I had not finished my work. The deposits were not done.
I felt horrible but mgr told me to just relax and go home.
That is not my style. I should leave on my last day with
work undone?
I went to lunch came back and finished what I had started.

They knew at work that I had been dependable for 3 1/2 years I was not going to change it now. But it sure worked up a lot
of applause. I just know how to make an exit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A merry Christmas to all:

My best Christmas ever.

Often people ask about your best Christmas memory and this is mine.
Could not ever be duplicated no matter how many Christmases I will live to see.

Christmas Eve 1944
Gent, Belgium

I am 12, mother is 34. She is recovering from a major surgery and a husband who has left her for another woman just a few months ago.

We are finally liberated , we in the north welcomed the allies in September.
In the Southern part, in the gorgeous mountains, hills and forest another battle is in full swing. It becomes to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Our gorgeous Ardennes are being mutilated. Worse hundreds of lives if not thousands on all sides of this horrific war are falling in the fresh wet snow.

Mom and I are not aware of this battle, we hear very little of what is going on outside our newly freed Provinces.
We are alone in our very cold house, windows broken covered with lumber,
water rats moved in what used to be our bedrooms.
The roof is shattered in many places from the bombing and air raids.
The wood/coal stove only produces so much heat as we huddle around it
covered in blankets.

Mother is lonely; she is sad, alone for this Christmas for the first time since
her marriages of 16 years. She is still feeling ill. War had not made her
skinny, she is a full fleshed Flemish woman like you see in Rubens renditions.
She lived on potatoes and onion gravy; we are yet to see some meat coming
in our tables but for the grace of the few Americans who are helping us.

So this brave lady who was together with her little family in grave danger all
through the war is now struggling with a new reality. She had been the radio
communicator with the Brits in her bedroom. She was fluent in the language,
thanks to a good education and was my father’s right hand in the underground fight
of what we called “the white brigade”.
She had welcomed the soldiers who parachuted in the night and gave them
clothing and food for the next stop. She had sent her only child to school when
she was wondering if a new air raid would come today, eliminating the factory
and the village. She never knew what the day would bring.

That first Christmas eve when all around us was changed and yet nothing
had changed at all. We were still seeing planes come and go over our heads and
we still saw the air battles, we did not know for sure how far the Germans were and would
they return? In our hearts however we felt that all was going to be fine.
We had hope for the first time in what seemed eternity.
With this in mind Mother decided we should spent Christmas Eve at her sister’s house in town. That was 9 km away (almost 6 miles).
The excitement got a hold of both of us and with enormous energy and good cheer we left the old stove to warm up the rats and started our journey along the
cold waters of the Canal of Terneuzen.

We had walked this foot path for years, I think we knew where there would be a dip in the dirt and mud under the fresh snow, we knew where a large stone would stick out and how to avoid falling in that narrow strip next to the canal.
Next to it was the bicycle path but that worse in need of filling the larger holes.
Even in the dark night we knew our way.
I can still see the cold fog over the water, piercing cold in our bones.
My shoes too tight. I was always growing too fast and my feet were the
first to show the signs.

We started to sing , she could sing , I could barely keep a tune.
But we sang with our vocal chords in full orchestra mode and in the silence
we go from “the Yankees are coming” to “Belle nuit de Noel” and “Petit Papa Noel “.

Along the canal there was only industry, we lived in a lonely little house about 100 yards from an electrical plant. Most plants at this point where not working, almost all had been bombed. The silence along the water was eerie, as the little bit of snow would fall intermittently. Now and then an army truck would drive by on the road and soldiers would yell “Merry Christmas”, some had other messages too.
First time we both heard F word, mother honestly had never heard that one at the
convent where she had studied. She was very puzzled, what did it all mean?
Very few Belgians had cars at that point, perhaps a few doctors.
Only army was on the road, day in and day out.
We were used to that but these camouflaged tanks were a much loved sight.

By the time we reached the blown up bridge of Meulestede we crossed the canal on a makeshift bridge and started to walk between the streets lined with houses.
Here and there one could see lights and the cozy interior of people celebrating.
Mother stopped and told me to look and listen with my heart at the sights and sounds.
“You know Jeannot, she whispered, this is what is called “freedom”.
You see we are finally allowed on the street at night, we are finally allowed to have lights coming out from the houses, that means this is our first Christmas
in many years of total freedom. “
“Freedom means we can now just walk to Tante while watching the stars and
singing, we can peak in the windows and see people with bright lights shining on their faces. Jeannot, never forget this moment”.

I did n’t, I can still see it, I can still smell it, I can feel it in my heart.


Mother was disappointed that we could not get to a midnight mass on our way
but all the churches were still closed. Perhaps no one had wanted to come out
or perhaps the new army had told them to cool it for awhile, I do not know but we passed several churches and no service.

I started to slow down and she found a way of making me go a little faster.
Where she saw light in the houses she rang the doorbell and started to run away.
I had no choice but to run after her and hide around the next corner.
That way we got to my Tante in a jiffy.



I can see the gate at my Tantes house and lights turning on for the
night visitors. No phone to tell them we were coming but the welcome
was heartwarming.

My cousins came out of bed to hug us and I could crawl in bed next to them
tell them about my adventure of the night. No rats here, no damage to their house, they were blessed. I was in heaven close to giggling bodies and it is Christmas.

I do not remember one present given that Christmas, I doubt that we had any
at all but I am still feeling the joy of that night.
The songs come back to me. Belle Nuit.....Petit enfant Jesus.....
Au clair de la lune mon ami Pierot. ................................

Merry Christmas Mom, Tante, wherever you are.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

SOap box, always a soap box to stand on

In my previous blog I mentioned going to the Biltmore to see the gingerbread houses.
It was not to be, I got into a bit of a problem with food poisoning.
I am thinking since the going out is limited these days for a lot of people that perhaps the food is not as fresh as we would like.

So now I am back on my soap box.

It occurred to me this week (once again) how hard it is to comprehend mental illness.
How little actual help is around when you do not have the money for a psychiatrist by the hour or a counselor for that matter.
Clinics are over run with clients and paper work.
How many people have insurance which covers this.
I do hope that Pres. Obama will be able to bring some changes into that health picture.

If we had cancer or a heart surgery you would see everyone at your door trying to help.
Seeing how you are doing. How you are progressing.
This does not happen with mental health.
In many instances you are ALONE. Alone with your pain, alone with your depression, alone with perhaps some meds prescribed by a general doctor who knows nothing about mental health except tp give out the Effexor, Lexapro, Ritulin and the likes .
My son , for instances, can't get help at the moment.
He has is on disability, thanks for that, we had to get a lawyer for him to qualify.
If he had not a home to be in where would he have landed?
Possibly on the street where a lot of these afflicted are today.

My son has severe panic disorder which turned into agoraphobia.
He has been locked into the house for 3 years now.
Does one think for one moment that this is a pleasant experience?
He can walk about 1 block with his dogs and quickly returns.
The safety is in these walls but nowhere else.
He has a car, he pays the insurance , the taxes etc....on the vehicle and he can't use it.
The hope is always there for one day just to drive away.

Problem with the people around him and know him is that he is considered by many to be lazy. I have to admit on bad days I am thinking that too. Until I examine the whole picture.
He is 35, a widower who lost his wife 6 months ago. He is in mourning for a great partner.
He is afraid to go out of the house, he is very lonely, he is in a depression, his father does not know him anymore and calls him "that man".
Would anyone want to be in his shoes?

There are days that he hardly speaks and other days that he is a fountain of information.
He is extremely bright , has been tested twice border genius. He also has ADHD like his father has.

It is easy to look at the physical being. A young,tall, nice looking healthy (?) man.
Why is he not doing this and that, why ? People ask this of him but they do not see
the agony of anxiety which is debilitating.
They can't see the pain he is in , no bandage is in view, no tubes coming out of his nose, no hair falling out from chemo. Just invisible pain which takes away every day from a young life not being able to live to the fullest.
Would you think that is being lazy?

I have to rethink that every once in awhile , in the meantime I search for a healer who does is able to help and not a quack as we have seen one already.
We have to find someone who comes to the home and listens to him.
Most physicians I called and he called do not want to have home visits, they want to meet either at a restaurant or library. Hello? Are you listening? He has agoraphobia, if he could make it to the library he would not need you!!!!

In the meantime he is a great help just by being in my home while my husband deteriorates with Alzheimer. He is here 24/7 and gives me time to go out and play with his sisters.
He gives me the time to have a lunch outside.
I am grateful for him being here BUT i truly hope he can be healed very soon, even if he would have to leave here and go back to school or work , I would jump through hoops.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Posted this on www.trusera, the site for all varieties of illnesses , breast cancer, autism, lyme disease, Alzheimer, dementia, arthritis and so on. Check out the site it is well worth it if you need answers from people with the experience.

Well, I had a good week all things considered.

I was fairly calm and composed so I did not argue with husband about the unable to see people I had to chase out of the house, the bed arrangements which he does not like because I am a stranger,the food he gives to the dogs and should n't......etc...etc...

I was a good girl and stayed calmer than usual. I had more support this week and was out more so I contribute that composure to my "time out".

Saturday daughter Rhonda got me to the big city of Asheville and we checked out shops and new restaurants. I managed to laugh quite a bit. Tuesday I had daughter Sabrina to take me shopping for groceries and goodies while we had a nice dinner with sushi. That girl can make anyone smile, she has a gift.

I am taking, stealing actually, all her energy and fill upl ike I am a big SUV and just put her rainbows in every little corner of my being. So I was truly in a very good mood on Wednesday and called her to tell her that she should come over every other day so I can "recharge". She did not see it that way, most of all her husband and her son did not see it that way.

OH well, c'est la vie.

In any case, I am so lucky that I do have people who will come around and make me smile if not giggle out loud. Sometimes even a belly laugh. Give me the laugh lines any time, they are nicer than the worry lines in my forehead.

If all goes well I may even be able to see the ginger bread houses at the Biltmore, a yearly contest of gigantic proportions with cooks from all over the USA competing.

How much fun will that be?

Who makes it possible for me to have that time out? My son who now lives with me and puts up with a lot from his father who calls him " that man". My son is hurting because he adores his father and he is getting truly a very bad treatment from him right now.

Monday, December 1, 2008

From my entry in www.trusera.com
the site which deals with health questions.

Thanksgiving a new tradition this year as I mentioned before I had given up on doing the cooking and gave away my dining room table. Fate had other ideas as son moved home and has agorophobia so back to the drawing board and family coming together in my house.

We managed very well, the Limoges dishes sat in the cupboard untouched and happy that this year they would not be knicked. Some of the kids even did not use glasses and drank from the cans. We all picked a seat in the kitchen or a tray and a lawn chair and it looked more like a summer picnic than my usual fancy decorated table. For some reason it did not bother me at all. All I wanted in the house was some laughter and friendly noises.

I was delighted with the whole set up and the girls did the clean up. By 9 pm you could not tell that we had a small crowd of 9 all with full bellies. My menu had been requested as their old Belgian favorite "carbonade Flamande and Fries" , I call them Belgian fries.We did invent them you know.

When I do this mixture I use up 15 lbs of Fries , fry them twice. So daughter surprised me and came in with 16 lbs all peeled and ready cut. The rest was a piece of cake.

The same scenario will have to be for Christmas eve but I think I can do an encore and we will have the same fun. I can't possibly go away and leave my son alone in the house , as long as he is not able to go out , we will be with him.

Old dad was confused, of course, he is confused when no one shows up and he tells me to get rid of the people, so there was nothing new on that night but real people.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Went to work at 5 am
Customers at 6? Not a soul. Around 7 some came straggling in.
I did every mistake in the book.
I had to redo every entry, every counting, every balancing.
What should have been done in 2 1/2 hours took me 4 hours.
Mgr. said not to worry she was working on half energy too.

Thanksgiving dinner was great, we managed to find ways to please everyone (I think)
Sabrina had been the hero of the day, she joined me early in the morning and
had already peeled and cut 16 lbs of french fries, we finished almost all of them.
Little left for lunch today.
Then she vacuumed my bedroom and changed the room around.
I never change furniture but she loves to do that.
I am pleased with it all.

Ankles very swollen so today is a couch day.
Do not know why the endema is back, big time.

Tomorrow Sabrina will take old dad for the day so Bobby and I can have respite.
Glad, for that while I will visit Rhonda and if feet permit will run around downtown Asheville a bit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Day

Happy thanksgiving day to all of you.
I can't wait till tonight when all 9 of us will be here
and making fun noises.

Tomorrow I will pay for this season, I have to open the store at 5 AM
Not so funny last year we had 2 ladies walk in at 6
every one is at Walmart.

This season lets all try to dig in our pockets even if they are empty, there must be something that we can give to the less fortunate. So many people have little to celebrate today.
But a new day is dawning so lets KNOW next year we will all be better off.

http://www.itakethevow.com/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

DOG STORIES

It is about 6 weeks that we lost Toto. I can't remember having so much grief before, hate to admit it but I think the shock was so much to me that I can't think feeling this hurt with people in my family going. That is pretty bad, I thought, but since then I have found others who experienced the same pain.

How in all sincerity can we even thinks that? I don;t know. All I know is that I hurt so badly that I had to find a way out. So then I decided on a new puppy. Mind you I kept telling myself that I was not replacing Toto. All I needed was to hold a furry little guy. I wanted the same temperament and then natch the same breed. I called the Humane Society if they had a Maltese and they did n't, but then my son said not to get a rescue dog as I am too emotional in my situation and what if the dog would become sick? what would the rescue dog bring along?
Start with a puppy , he advised, you can train it the way you trained Toto.
It's a little over a month that we acquired Bijou(thank you again A) so now I have the furry little white ball.

So what happened in the month? Where am I, where is Bijou?
I soon learned that I had been lying to myself. I did want to replace Toto. I wanted the understanding we had for 4 years. I wanted the puppy to follow me everywhere and protect me like Toto did. I wanted Bijou to know what I was thinking just like Toto always knew.
Poor Bijou. He is so adorable and he turns his head sideways when I talk to him, it seems to me that he is asking :what are you talking about old lady?
Make no mistake he is a little jewel but as young as he is I have competition.
He also belongs to Carwen, the Corgy, she washes him, she teaches him how to play tug war with their toys. He falls asleep cushioned against her, he does not come (yet) to beg me to hold him.
He is the baby for Corgy. They are so cute together.
Now Toto did not have any of that. He came into a very quiet household with just one kitty who he adored and she learned to like him. The only play when he was a puppy was with the kitten if she was in the mood.
I bought him toys and he never liked them. Never took one in his snoot, he'd look at them and then at me as if to say "what do you want me to do with that silly thing".
Itried different textures but all were denied by his majesty.
Bijou can't have enough of them and has the stuffing flying about in no time.
I am now wiser and following instructions on TV about the dog man and his techniques so I am determined to have Bijou listen to me when I give orders! (yes I can do that)
At 3 months I read their adult brain is 90 percent present.
By 5 months he will be approaching adult height as he is a small breed.
So I am hoping that Carwen will let him go and that I will have a great relationship with him for as long as I have time around here.
I have learned that I can't replace Toto even if I wanted that so badly but I am also learning that here is a new little guy full of joy , vigor ,kisses, and bites. He does make my days a lot more pleasant.

Pictures on the wall

From my post in www.trusera.com :

About 5 years ago I read that we must keep showing photos to the ones who are beginning to forget about the family. The dementia, Alzheimer patients.

I showed album after album to my husband and he still had some recollections of our trips, his brother, his sister. Then I purchased the kind of stick on cabinets photo frames and put them on the kitchen cabinets. A view of the whole family every day.

I have watched Bob look at them often, in past years he would smile, put a kiss on his fingertips and onto his favorite people, the ones who had already left us.

He would smile at our picture in Hawaii even so he did not remember the trip anymore but to see us together smiling being happy gave him joy.

For the last few years this too has vanished , he often looks at the pictures but no signs of recognition for anyone.

Even himself he is not sure off, he is the last one he vaguely knows. He will point at the photo and say "Is that me?" I answer in the affirmative and then say "this one here is me, Jeannot, your wife" . He turns from the photo to my face and shakes his head. He does not care he goes back to his cup of coffee.

I said to my daughter that I will take the photos down, I think they are now a stage of frustration. He must be wondering who are all these people and he does not have a clue.

My daughter suggested that it will make my kitchen look bigger. Even she who knows me so well and loves her dad so much, she does not have a clue what day to day living with A. truly is.

She thought of the look of the kitchen. She did not see him when he stares and stares at a photo, she does not see the daily changes and this is what is so hard with mental illness.

Unless you are 24/7 with someone you just can't know.

A friend of mine with the same situation packed her bags and sent good old dad to her son for a week. She simply said: You have to find out what it is I am dealing with. Her son begged her on day 3 to come and get dad. She took her week off and stayed in a motel reading books and eating out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bad times, good times

As I review my blogs since last year I am thinking how very sad they are.
My one daughter can't read them because they are making her upset.

So I pondered about this for awhile and thought that I should start to write upbeat stuff and be very positive and even cheerful.

OK, tried that for a few hours, maybe even one day.
But guess what? The title of this blog is coping with Alzheimer.

It is not a blog about my last dance and I looked charming like the woman on Dancing with the Stars, forgot her name already (senior moment)
This is not a blog about my latest recipes.
This is not a blog about my next trip nor is it one of the latest movie I saw in a movie theatre or a live show.
It's not about my dentist visits which I keep postponing, not about my the "golden years". Who in the h......called them "golden"?

So I am a bit bitter tonight.
Had an hour again of trying to tell somebody that I belong in this house, that he has a son in the other room.
He knows nothing of this except he knows he has paintings and tomorrow he will open a shop and sell his paintings. That much he knows.
He gave our son a long discussion about HIS house and son being unwelcome and my son just answered "you are killing me dad, you are f.....killing me".
My heart broke (again).
How can I write upbeat , pleasant times as a caregiver?
If you know, please tell me.
I have tried so many ways but come back again and again that this "sucks".

Thanksgiving

Sometime during the year I made a very big statement.

Told the kids "no more Thanksgiving and Christmas parties at my house, I am done cooking".

I followed it up with putting my nice dining room table along the hedge on the road with a sign :"FREE". It was gone in 20 minutes.

I felt relief. After all, how many years was I the chef and could never cook enough. I always thought an army would come.I always had to have 3 vegetables, home made bread, 3 different desserts, it never ended. I loved it but lately the energy has left me. Blame the good old thyroid.

Then son moved back home when he lost his wife and he has agorophobia, big time, he can't leave the house and under no circumstance will I leave him alone in the house on the holidays.

Add to this that old B. gets very upset in daughter's house.He is better at home.

OK , now what?

Bring out the pic nic table and the garden chairs and start cooking......one more time ....Happy Thanksgiving to all of you

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo of the artist and his work



I have been writing so much about my husband and his memory loss.
This is what he is forgetting , his daily painting sessions for all these decades.
Now he does not know the difference between blue and green.
A master still life artist, decorated and named Commandeur in Brussels in 1972
for his trompe l'oeil work, a painting called "View of Infinity" which now is in
a museum in Israel.
So feast your eyes on the Clock painting which took him 5 months of daily work.
It was sold at a one man shop in San Francisco in the then Hartley Gallery.
The lady who purchased the painting told us that one day it would come back to us.
About 12 years ago a package arrived with the painting in question plus 4 others of
his still lifes.
The collector had passed away but kept a promise after decades.
It will go on in the family and will belong to my son.

The artist may be forgetting but what a legacy he is leaving to collectors
all over the world. Even Maria Callas had one his paintings as did Perry Como and
another opera singer who's name is lost in my senior moment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

yesterday

I just could not figure out what was wrong with me.
I got up in a bad mood, black cloud hanging over my head kind of mood.
I can do that in the evening but most mornings I get up feeling somewhat UP.

I do not like this person when she is in a bad mood.
I fight with her. I did not win the battle yesterday.

I did not feel like doing a darn thing that was on my TO DO list.
I did n't vacuum my bed room I did not even put the Roomba to work
I sat and sat and fell asleep, sat some more and fell asleep some more.
I fixed minimum work lunches, like frozen waffles.
I fixed minimul dinner , like macaroni and cheese out of the box and went back to sitting.
Watched a movie, title I forgot, it was a silly one with a man doing a marathon race and finishing it against all odds. It was so predictable an ending that I was writing the script as the movie was rolling.
Fell asleep and then noticed that I had been coughing a lot and that I had a soar throat and a fever too.
Voila, that was it.
I was allowed to be cranky. My body was telling me to slow down.
I am not sure if I know how to.
Son just told me that no way can he keep up with my misguided energy.
"you run here and there, do this and that and then some more, I can't keep up with you "
Maybe, just maybe when I retire next year, 24 working days to be exact, maybe I will slow down and not get up in a bitchy mood.

part two copy from Trusera

Part two on coping with Alzheimer/dementia which was my entry in www.trusera.com

From the beginning of the diagnosis I tried to read everything about this disease. Many times I could not finish the books. When it comes to
the patient being in bed not able to do anything anymore for themselves, choking on their drinks and food, that part I just could not handle, just seeing the words in print made me run for the woods.

Now I am petrified and thinking when will this be our reality?
Next year, next month?
How will I cope then, I am not exactly Florence Nightingale.

So wisdom tells me that experiencing day by day teaches us what to do next. After all this is how I worked the last decade.
I am probably very lucky as so far everything is gentle and friendly.
So many a patients become violent.
It never was B.’ nature but that does not mean that it can’t happen.
I have known such cases.
Did I expect to have to watch the mailman so husband will not be able to hide the bills.
Did I expect to have to force him to bathe and wash him myself?
He was Mr Clean and would shower 3 times a day if he felt he needed it.
Did I expect to have to beg for rides to the grocery store and the drs.?
Did I expect that one day he would not know who I was?
Yes, I thought I was prepared for that one and ..........I can assure you
that I was n’t.
Did I expect him to tell me to get out of his bed? his house?
Did I expect have to hide some of our little small treasures?
We are still in the dark on what he did with a Netske collection.
Did I ever expect him to not know the difference between an
etching and a woodcut?
He was an expert on them.
Did I ever expect that this man who painted every day of his life
would not be able to tell colors, not be able to draw at all?
That was probably the hardest reality, when I told him to put
the bottles in the blue bin for recycling and he asked:”which one is the blue one?”
The man was decorated in Europe for his trompe l’oeil paintings.
He had dozens of one man shows from San Francisco ,Marbella Spain,
and so on.
Asked him to draw an apple and he scribbled some lines and what is worse
he thought it was an apple. Did I ever expect to see that?
Did I ever think he would call our son, his most beloved child, did I ever think he would call him “that man in the house”?

When the man at the Alzheimer meeting told me that nothing will be the same anymore, did I ever comprehend what was going to happen
in spite of what I read? No , I was in denial for everything because
it is too much to take in, too much to break your heart and your spirit.
You do your best one day at a time. If that day is not so good then you will try and do better tomorrow.

I am thinking of all the parents on Trusera who are dealing daily with autism in their lives.
I have seen it first hand in our family. It is hard, it is difficult, it seems at times to be too much to handle. But they do it sometimes one hour at a time.
These are the cards we have been dealt and we must play out the game with all the rules.
On that note I will also say that my Asperger afflicted grandson is an absolute genius and a doll.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

VISITOR FROM D C

I am one tired bunny after getting up at 5 30 for work.
Lucky I did get a ride home, I hated to think to walk home.
A long time friend from DC came by for a short visit so we do
get some of the Beltway gossip.
Unfortunately he will miss the inauguration as he has to work a show
in San Francisco.
I did think that I would fall asleep during his visit but I managed to
be entertained by my own voice and my own stories.
What a drag that must have been.
I think it is hard for the occasional visitor to see B. and to know that
he does not remember them.
Bijou made a hit and so did the other dogs.
Sale at work was behind yesterday, hope we made up for it today.
One never knows right now what store may be suddenly closing or
filing chapter 11. Even QVC is having major lay offs.
I will be happy to leave at the end of the year, I am very tired but then
how will I be with being home 24/7 and no conversations or people
to just talk to about something besides Alzheimer and the loss of people
we loved.
I watch stupid TV shows and son asks me why I even look at this and my reply is always : because this show is not truly real (even reality shows) and because for 30 minutes I am involved with that screen and not anyone else.
A friend of my son bought Bijou a Santa Suit, he looks precious in it.
The Corgy wanted it off so she started to pull on it, we did manage to save it.
I have to get photos with that.
Goodnight, do not let the bed bugs bite.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chicken Soup

Amazing what it means to me not to have a full night sleep.
Shop has a 14 hour sale that translates into me being there at 7 am.
Moi is not a happy camper.
Came home and took naps all day long.
Bob wakes me every 10 minutes to see if I am "well".
He does not understand naps.

After Thanksgiving we start holiday hours and then it gets worse.
It is 7.00 almost every morning.
Our Florida office does not understand our logistics, we sell to
little old ladies for the most part. They are not coming in at 8 am.
They have the whole day.
Neither do we offer such big bargains for the first hour or so, it is an all day sale.
Lord knows we have enough stock as does every shop in the nation.

I was blessed with a dear friend surprising us yesterday with a yummy
chicken soup. Bobby has been ill for a couple of days and I am thinking the chicken soup will help him. He loved it even so he usually picks out veggies,
he did not do it this time.
Friend A. if you read this, it was a winner and I have left over for lunch tomorrow so I will just crash for more sleep after that.

I do not see any changes yet with the thyroid meds. Do not know how long that will take. But in an American living style we do want things to be fixed RIGHT now.

Old Bob had hid my purse last night and at 6 o clock I just could not find it so
went to work kind of wondering where it would be.
I still have not found my hearing aids which he hid 2 years ago (=$2600)
I think I would still be looking except for the fact that I took my nap on top of the bed and looked up to find my purse hanging on the poster bed wrapped by my jacket. Life is interesting in this household.

Got to go to bed. The early morning hour will be here soon enough to start counting money for Mr. Stein.
Oh Mr Stein sent me his usual diploma looking piece of paper thanking me for a job well done hence my employee of the month bonus.
I did well, I was there 3 years and got one every year plus the employee of the year.
I would patmyself on the back but for the fact that we are not that many employees and they have to come up with a different person every month, so no biggie. The employee of the year is by vote of everyone and that was swell (as we used to say)
Goodnight Blogger Fairy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ari would be 33

Ari would have been 33 tomorrow.

She was my daughter in law and left us in May from an accidental overdose.

She mixed over the counter medicine with her own. Sleeping pills mostly.

My son moved in with me and is in a depression. They were married 7 years and very much in love.

Both of them had mental illness to deal with but for the life of me I do not know where our mental health system is, this rich country with all the answer (so they tell us) has very few answers and ways to get mental health restored. Not enough places to go when you do not have the money, not enough clinics to keep you should you need prolonged help.

Ari had her master degree in psychology but could not help herself. My son suffers from panick disorder and agorophobia.We had to drug him for the trip back home.

Ari will be remembered by many. For years she worked in group homes and helped hundreds of people, she went to Raleigh to get financial help for them, she was a fighter in a system which is inadequate. There were times the group home did not have enough money for groceries and she would feed them out of her own pocket.

An only child left her mother in so much grief that she too left us with a major heart attack. She was 56.

I am concerned over my son 's well being during the days which no doubt will remind him of what he lost, again and again.

I miss her, I was a second mother to her. She was always very kind and loving to me. At her age she did more for humanity than most of us will do in a long lifetime.

Rest Ari, rest and watch over B.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thyroid problems

As a caregiver I hear all the time the same mantra:Take care of yourself or you will become ill.

That sort of lands on deaf ears, I have always been the bunny that keeps going and going.

Lately the "going" has been deminished to 2 or 3 hour naps in the afternoon. I feel exhausted most of the time. I resigned at work as of Jan 1, thought it time to retire. I need the funds but not the exhaustion.

So last week Sunday it took me 6 hours at work to accomplish what I do in 3. As an auditor I have to balance everything before I can leave the store. I sat in a daze with a 50 dollar bill and did not know where it belonged. I have done this job for 3 1/.2 years I do it in my sleep. I was so dazed that I just could not think straight and almost fell asleep at my desk.

Doctor thought I may have had a mini stroke. So first test showed that the thryoid was extremely low. Second test for the veins showed that I did not have obstruction of any kind.

Next week comes the MRI. I truly do not think I had a stroke of any kind but the fatigue, no doubt, is from the thyroid. So it is time for medication.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of my mom's passing.
It was 15 years ago. She was 83.

I remember on the flight to Belgium that I looked at the stars
and suddenly thought that she would not see the next
daylight. That felt truly weird.

Since I saw her once or twice a year the shock did not
set in. That took some time.

15 years later I still talk to her.
Make no mistake this was not the best relationship.
My mom was strict. Rare were her compliments,
Her greenish eyes would turn grey when she was angry and
you knew there would be hell to pay.
She wanted perfection, she demanded perfection from herself too.
A task master with few friends at the end.
Her friends had left her one by one.
She had demanded too much from them.

She had a hard life in many ways.
Husband cheated on her and left her.
It was not being done in the early 1940's.
She had to start from scratch after a cruel war.
She worked her way up, went back to school to get a degree
as a CPA.
She held her job for decades while men around her were trying
to unseat her.
Her only child left for America.
Her alcoholic father became very poor when his second wife's relatives
put him outside the door after her death, so he moved in with her.
He was not easy, often he threatened her or her friends.
She had promised her mother that she would always look after him.
She always kept her promises. Always.
She did not know the meaning of unconditional love.
Not with me, not with others.
That was a hard nut to crack.

Still I miss her.
She could have let me go with my father and looked the other way.
She could have given up on me, instead she insisted that I become strong.
I am still under her spell.
I just want to please the world.
Confidence is a word that skipped my dictionary.
Hence my children too have lack of that, how could I teach them
what I did not have.
Every franc I inherited from her I had to turn around and around
and wonder if she would have approved on how I spent it.
I am sure she would not have.

She left us without pain.
She just said she did not feel well and she was gone.
4 hours before she had written me a letter.
The last line in the letter says :I love you, mom
That always touches me, I knew she loved me, she cared a lot for me,
she just was still so dissapointed in me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I should be sleeping .......

When we first met four decades ago I would wake up during the night
and just touch him. I wanted to make sure he was still there.
That he had not left me in the night as I was deliriously happy for the first time in my life.
In the wee hours of the morning I wanted to know that I had not been dreaming
about this warm, fuzzy feeling which engulfed me.

Last night I was reminded of these wake up sessions as I am doing the same thing now.
I touch him, feel his breathing,feel the skinny arm and boney hand.
Yes, he did not leave me, he is still with me and yet hours ago when he had his
"fittles" when he walked from room to room for hours, when again I would have to explain that
I sleep in the same bed, when he opened the doors and locked them again and again,
when I was so exhausted , then at that moment I wondered how much longer I can
take all this.

I beg God then to take me away followed with but who will take care of him like I do?

't is morning now and the sun is coming up, the trees have never given me a display
of color like they are this year. I am ready for world.
Take out Bijou who is learning fast and waits for his walk.
The world looks good, we have a new President, life is good.
't is another day try and rejoice in it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voting time

A week or so before the election the important letter came for an absentee vote.
Son and I joked as we know how old Bob feels about politics.
He was a democrat in the womb and I do think that his mother would have put him back if he was n't.

We both sat down by the kitchen table while I asked:
Bob, are you a republican?
The tired eyes took on a different color as he shook his head and said "NO"
while he stared at me. His look was like to say "you know better than that, what a stupid question".

Then I said: "Are you a Democrat?"
The eyes were twinkling and he looked and said with great conviction:
Of course.
Then he added: my mother too.

We filled in the form, sealed it and made him sign where needed.
I said: You are voting for a new President and that is him pointing to the
TV Obama commercial.

Him? was his question. Yup! Him!.
Him? again was the question and again I answered yes.
He looked at us like we were joking.
We assured him that was the man he voted for, a democrat!
He said"very good"!
Just sat there and smiled like a cheshire cat.
I told him all the stories around Obama , where he had been and so on
and he just listened, again said :Very good.

My husband never had a racist remark or thought in the 40 years
I have known him so I know he is well pleased.
Since then he watched the results and the speech and I am sure
that he knows Bush is out (he disliked him so much) and there is a new guy in town.

Would I have voted for him if he did not remember, yes, as I know the man.
He always voted a straight ticket and I voted for the person I liked.
Gave us some time to bicker over it but we did vote that way.
I have power of attorney and did not have to use it in this case but what
surprised me that a member in our family said that this was not
correct.
That he did not understand the policies and did not know what it was all
about. This person is an in law and he does adore my husband so I
was surprised to hear that.
I feel that as long as my husband is here with us, pays his taxes,
has never even had a traffic ticket, born in this country and served in WW2 in the Pacific
should at the very least be able to vote for the party he is registered in
and voted all his life for.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time to retire

I told my assistant manager that I was retiring on Jan 1st.
It was hard to say.
We both had tears.
I had been there for 3 1/.2 years.
I set out to work till I reach 80.
I made it to 76 1/2 .
I am exhausted, can't keep up with the house and a zillion other things I would like to do.
Something like sit on the couch and read a book would be a novelty I hope to enjoy.

I was self employed for most of my working life.
This last experience was new to me. Retail had been my life but this was working for Mr Stein and I just loved the fact that when I left the store the worries were up to Mr. STein and Co and not me.

When I used to leave MY store, the worries followed me into the home and into my dreams.

The experience was so pleasurable because I have two mgrs who are absolute dolls.
They made my experience there one of the best working years in my life.
They gave me rides to and fro work, they adjusted their schedules to mine.
They became my daughters.They scolded me when I would not take care of myself. They watched me like hawks.
I will miss them a lot, I will miss this camaraderie we had and the last
touches I have with the outside world.
BUT I feel I need to give up something in order to try and get a more organized
life at home.
I am tired and I need to focus on the last stage to come with Alzheimer and
my job as a caregiver.

different dementia behavior stages

I am finding out that everything about dementia/Alzheimer comes in stages.

Recently I met a professional caregiver who works a lot with A. and she tells me that she loves it because the patient always finds something new in his or her behavior.

Well perhaps you can take it more lightly if you only work a certain amount of hours or if you are truly detached from the person.

For me this week to see husband run to the porch in underwear and 40 degrees and wave to the garbage men
was not funny. It could have seen the humor in it but at that moment I just could n't.
So I am wondering is this another phase?

We had the stone phase for a long time, maybe even a year.
We have a driveway with little grey stones about 1 inch or so in diameter.
Old Bob would pick them out, the pretty ones, of course, and would put them everywhere.
Where is everywhere? You name it!
With the forks, in my breadmaker machine, with my underwear, with his underwear, with the cat food,in the oven,
under the pillows. Then I found the stones lined up like decorations around the bathroom sink. The sink started to look like Stone Henge with a pond in the middle.
When I found stones with the chocolate baking chips I was not amused. When I found them in my purse I was less thrilled. Then suddenly like a ribbon cut with a scissor the whole phase was gone.

The phase with toilet paper rolls went on for months. As soon as we were NEAR the end of a toilet paper roll he would remove it and hide it. So now where there used to be rocks I found toilet paper rolls with a few sheets on.
I found a huge carton full of them, I do not know how long he kept this up because this was a large carton full.
Now what do you do with toilet paper rolls having about 10 sheets left on them.
Maybe I could start a new craft.

When he was still able to walk to the post office he would come back every time
with more free postal envelopes , the kind for priority mail.
I have so many boxes full of them in his studio that I am afraid to be arrested
by the Post office police.

Then he would pick up all the free magazines published by hungry realtors.

Throw them out you say? Easy choice, put them in the trash.
Not so fast, he still daily checks what is in the trash and often takes out what he
thinks should not be there. I have to wait till I hear the garbage men come
and them throw it in the bin, and in the meantime make sure my husband
does not make an entry in his underwear to wave at the men.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bijou the jewel

A Maltese is a small breed of dog in the toy group. The Maltese does not shed and is covered with long, silky, white fur.
The Maltese breed of today is descended from dogs long associated with the island of Malta. It is one of the oldest dog breeds.

That is the introduction to Bijou my new baby.

Bijou is an absolute jewel.
He is very smart, he immitates the Corgy on everything she does.
It is so funny to watch and what is more th Corgy lets him
take HER toys and HER Food , something which was unheard of before.

Bijou has not been for walks yet as it got cooler and I have to get him
a coat. For 10 weeks old I think that is needed.

On WOW today they asked the question of what makes you happy today
and he sure is the number one on my list.
Most of the bloggers there had their pets as number one.

It is true that your BP goes down when you interact with pets.
I have to monitor mine very closely and I have seen this for myself.
Amazing.

When we visit Toto's grave, Bijou and I , I feel that Toto is quite
happy with my choice and he is happy that another pup will
share the love. I feel at peace about the changes.

For this I must thank my son who told me to go with the heart
not with the counsel on the internet to wait 2 months.
I must thank the angel who came with a great gift, Alana.
I must thank Janet who with such loving care brought her Maltese
babies to our attention.

Snow flakes giving a new meaning

Had the best day yesterday all because of a few tiny snowflakes.

Between a dark cloud and sunshine we had just a 10 minute snow flurry.
The first of the year.

Husband came to the door and looked bewildered.
I asked what was wrong and he pointed to the snow flakes.

I explained this was snow and how much he likes snow being a native Californian.
He did n't understand the concept.
He kept staring to the minute flakes.

I had his food ready so he sat down to start eating his oatmeal and after two bites
he went back to the door but this time I saw complete awe and twinkles in his
eyes. He saw snow for the first time (again) and like a toddler he was completely
enchanted with the magic of it all. Flakes falling out of the sky, imagine that!

I had not seen this kind of joy on his face for a long time and I coul n't help it
but I fell right with him in the wonder of nature and soon we were both giggling
like little kids. Snow!!Snow!!
Within minutes the sun won out and the dark cloud had vanished.
I thought the display had been put there so old Bob would have something
to enjoy today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday William and Walter I will always remember you

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mom, if dad dies, will you follow?

We are very close to our children.
All three live in the same state and at most are 25 minutes away from us.

They often share their concerns with me as to our departure
from this scenario called living.

All three are concerned that if dad goes mom will follow within months.
Mom and Dad have been so close, one could not be without the other.
Under "NORMAL" circumstances of aging and dying I would agree.

Dementia/Alzheimer is such a long illness, years of caregiving, years of worries
as the "living" picture changes.
Years it takes for the long goodbyes.
Years you prepare yourself for the worst.
A simple cold translated by your fears equal the dreaded pneumonia.
A gesture of rubbing his/her chest and you think they are having heart pains.
Without communication there are so many question marks.

In the last decade there have been so many ways in which I have said goodbye
to the man I adore.
First time he did not know me entered a stranger and he took my beloved to other places.
First time he refused for me to get into OUR bed, I met an imposter, not my lover.
First time he would not eat something I cooked I lost my appreciative audience.
First time he did not know his sister or brother, he lost his family
First time he stole our mail and hid it , I lost my bills yet unpaid.
First time he accused me of stealing his stuff, I was unconsolable.
First time he disliked the small grandchildren I hated the person in front of me.
First time he tried to get into a visitor's car I worried about his safety.
First time he got lost I knew he still needed me 24/7

But with all these manifold goodbyes you start to say goodbye to the person
you knew. You start to do what you need to do if you were a widow.
You put in screen windows, you have the furnace checked, you watch your pennies,
you think as head of the household and keep it all together.
You are alone already but have the added work of taking care of an ill person
with dementia.
I wash him, I feed him what he likes, I keep an eye on what he feeds the dogs,
I keep an eye on his wardrobe. I keep an eye when he gets out of bed for places unknown.
I redirect him when he is lost in the bathroom.
I am watching his body, the mind is unpredictable,


I tell the kids, if Dad should go before me , I will be fine. I will still miss the gentle,
loving man he was, the best husband one could wish for.
But I have said goodbye to that man many years ago.
I will survive, I am a lot more concerned if the process would be reversed.
Who will take such good care of him? It takes all you have to give out of you.

a new treatment for Alzheimer?

Valproic acid, an epilepsy drug also used to treat bipolar disorder, may have benefits against Alzheimer's disease if given before Alzheimer's gets severe, a new study shows.
found on WedMD

If he could write a book.................

I keep on wondering what quality of life a person has
who is suffering with dementia/ Alzheimer.

Are they thinking happy thoughts?
Are they sad?
Are they aware that they are sick?
Are they able to still love?

My husband smiles a lot. Laughs out loud at the wrong times (like when I cry)
Does not know his best friend has passed, that our dog is gone and that is the
reason we have a new pup.
He does not know that so there are no tears or sadness.
Does he know somewhere deep inside of the dying brain? I do not see it.
Does he know he has dementia? No, he just tells me that he forgets now and then.
I do not think he understands pain. He had a sore in his neck and I found it
while washing him. It must have hurt but he did not say a word about it.
Is he still able to love?
I think he still has moments of warm fuzzy feelings.
I kisses the puppy a lot.
When he knows me I can see the love in his eyes, when he thinks I am
a stranger the eyes are a cold metal like stare, it makes me uncomfortable.

What kind of book would he write now if he could?

Will we ever know?

Friday, October 24, 2008

wet Friday, we need the rain still.

It's late in the day and I am exhausted but did the shopping with daughter Sabrina who was sick with sinus infection. She is such a trouper to take me shopping.
Bob just is getting lost sometimes between the bathroom and bedroom. (3 steps)
Every night it starts around 6 when he starts walking around and around like he needs
to do a marathon in the morning.
He follows me everywhere, I get frustrated, feeling sorry for him, feeling sorry for me.
Then I have to show him where he sleeps and then he asks me where I sleep.
The routine is monotonous it just repeats day after day.
So somehow he remembers that something about the sleeping arrangement worries him.

It has been rather cold today, tried to go and vote but the line was too long to stand in the rain.
Now that I am on 3 days off a week I count the days that I do work.
Two more and I am off.
Like the kids used to do " 3 more sleeps and vacation".
I do hope to be able to leave at the New Year.
They are not going to like it at work.
Bad news today: our CEO of a few months is leaving.
Was she fired? First female CEO we had.
She said she is retiring and they are searching with an international company for a new CEO.
Strange to me is that they do not find one within the ranks to just step up.
Our stock has dropped to 1.90
but then today was also a very bad day on Wall street.
The world is changing.
I better to got bed, I am morose and tired.
Goodnight friends wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BIJOU 10 WEEKS OLD


This little guy is bringing sunshine and laughter in the house, he is a clown!
He is lovable, he touches our souls.

Politics...it will be over soon

I am angry today and want this election over with.
It tampers with my health ....because...I let it get to me.

I guess since old Bob can't reason about politics and does not know
we are about to get a new President, so I am taking on his voice with mine.

If one is going to name names then I am guessing you would call me a liberal.
Here is what I do when a form is presented and they call for a race:
I write in "human race". Learned that from Frank.

When I hear bashing about sexuality I just tell them that I do not want to know who is sleeping with whom as long as it is not me, I have no interest in other people's sexual activities.

Do I want young girls to go back to the butchers and the clothe hangers
so they can abort? No. Abortion is very emotional,painful, but what happens when there is no money, no experience, no support, no daddy, no housing, no medicine to take care of a child. Are we so well equipped in this country to take care of
that. Like with eldercare we put people's urgent needs between cracks of paperwork until you are either lost or dead.

Does a woman have a right to decide about her body, her child's future?
You are darn right.

Am I religious? That is no one's business.
Religion, Faith, is a private journey.
A wise man once said to my husband : you are NOT going to heaven on a tandem bicycle. So we each had our beliefs and no religious battles were to be found in our home.
I have a sign in my kitchen which tells the story: God does not want religious nuts but spiritual fruit.

I like to think that I am spiritual. That came after a long search in many brick buildings of worship with fancy altars and men in different types of garb telling me stories.

I have been a registered independent for years but became a democrat before the last election. The last 8 years have given me fits of anger.
Especially the war. I know what war is. The day we invaded Iraq I kept thinking of all the 8 year olds afraid of the war noises outside, afraid to think they would die or their mom would die.
People told me over and over again that I was liberated by the Americans.
So true. I never ever forgot that.
But we begged for help, most of Europe on their knees begging.
It also took some time before America took it on as a mission.
What comparison is that with Iraq?
Iraq was an illegal invasion.
How many lives have we lost? how many Iraquis have died?

Why today of all days to be so angry.

I think the bear incident at Western started it.
A young bear cub was brought to the doorsteps of Western Carolina University wrapped in Obama poster, he had been shot in the head.

Today the chancellor is saying that it was NOT political but a prank.
I read many people answering this on line and asking for all of us
to call the chancellor for more follow up. No one is buying that story.

They just happened to have found a bear cub shot and dragged it
to the college. Give me a break.




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bijou is in his Halloween costume, I think he is supposed to be a cow
MOO MOO
Introducing: His Majesty :Bijou
Male Maltese
10 weeks old
a sunshine for all of us

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NEW DAY, NEW SUNSHINE

A red headed angel came to my door with a lovely note.
The note also contained a gift, a very generous gift for the purchase of my new puppy.

I was beside myself, This had not been my best week and the emotions run from very high to very low. Oddly enough I thought I had lost my Faith. I was not sure anymore in the last weeks on
how to deal with more changes.

After the accident with Toto I was numb. I did not make much sense. I burned pots on the stove, forgot to write checks. Forgot to eat and let the men fend for themselves.
I went into my bedroom and asked for help.
I talked to every one that was on the other side. Asked St Rita what was up for me. She always has to come into play when it is desperate.
There was a knock at the front door and there was this lovely lady with a gift basket.
It was a Christmas basket in October. It was made up by someone who obviously cared since so many Belgian products where included. Fresh fruit in abundance, baked goods, chocolate,
you name it.
I did not know how to react to all this but it was like the Universe was saying"You are not alone".
NextI had emails from strangers who had read my blog, phone calls, and people trying to see where there was Maltese.
I was overwhelmed. I was already on sick leave but my boss and girls from work came by
to just give a big hug and offer support and help if I needed it.
Found a puppy on the internet , the breeder was my second angel.
She had a boy 10 weeks old and we could see him on Friday after work.
Daughter Sabrina brought me there and we got to meet the whole Maltese family.
Before a few minutes passed I had the Mama and the Papa on my lap.
Friendly, well kept, lovely animals.
I picked their son who is just Mister Adorable.
Mind you this is not another Toto, my Toto was unique as this little guy will be
in his own way.
For now I have called him Bijou, french for jewel.
However son was up with him all night and said that Bijou typed his name on the
keyboard as "pooooooooooooo"
I can just see me calling him :"POO POO POO"
don't think so.
Photos later, I am exhausted.
Good night Toto I will see you in my dreams, meanwhle you watch over this little
guy sleeping in a playpen.
I love you Toto and I already falling in love with you, Bijou Poo

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A new day

I taught my children that they could sit on a pity pot for 3 days and then pick yourself up and do what needs to be done.
Did not always work.
Does not always work with me.
I have sat on that pot many times in the last ten years.
I would like to think that i got up in time and did what needed to be done.

After I lost Toto on Monday I thought I would not make it.
I was not being a drama queen but I so ached and my b p is so high anyway
that I was thinking a stroke was going to be on the way.

So 3 days I sat on the couch, no changing of clothing, no brushing teeth, eating
junk like cookies and coke.
Then something unexpected happened, I decided to have another puppy.
I need to do something with the love I have to give in return I need companionship,
unconditional love that only a four footed fur ball is able to give.
You step on their tail and they come to lick you and say "you are forgiven, I still love you!".
Where else do you find that?

So I searched on the web and found a 10 week old Maltese , just about the same
age that Toto was when we got him.
On the internet he looks adorable.
We shall go and visit him tomorrow and see if we "gell".
or is it "jell". I do not know, I am in la la land.

No other puppy can replace Toto, no way , I would be extremely lucky if he had the same energy and caregiving attitude.
So I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.
I went to work and managed to balance everything.
So I guess I am off the 3 day period and on my way up.
Pull yourself by your expensinve Merrell shoes, old gal, and get going again.
Manana is another day.

Will post a photo when we get Bijou
May change the name by then too.
I am somewhat drunk with new power.
Something to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Goodbye to my best friend

Monday October 13 2008

I lost my best friend.
A four legged little charmer named Toto.
He was a pistol and for some reason decided on
an argument with a larger dog.
He did not win.

For four years he had been the the one
continued sunshine in my life.
The only continued sunshine.

He would go crazy when he saw me coming.
He looked sad when I had to leave for work.
He looked sadly at his Dad who sometimes would push him away.

He would sit on my lap by the computer, his head
resting on my arm and it would bobble with every letter I typed,
up and down he went and yet it did not bother him.
When I sat on the couch he would wrap himself around my neck,
he was my white fur piece.
He wanted to sleep in his crate in the night and be left alone.
So by 9 he would stand by the door looking at me , as if to say:
Come on time to sleep!.

In the morning we had our walk before work and he
had his designated areas but when it rained he decided
he would do neither.
So early on I started to spoil him and take him under the umbrella
to the car port next door so there he felt it did not rain and
he was ok.
My son in law thought this to be extremely funny.
When he was little I had to take him up the steps.

We bought him on the voting day in November 2004
we hoped for Kerry so we named him that.
The next day when we knew Kerry did not make it
old Bob decided to name him Toto from the movie.

I have not changed my clothing in 3 days, have left the
stove on when it should have been off.
Have made no progress in anything like housework
and could not care less.

I mostly sit and cry or sleep.
I feel like my heart is in pieces, I am surprised it does not
just come out of my chest.

My mother who was not a fan of animals would have said:
It is just a dog, Jeannot.
Since then I heard people who have mourned more for their
dogs then some humans.

I decided to have another puppy.
Can't replace Toto, not ever, he was unique.
I need to hold something and to love something.
I need a fur ball in my lap.
I need company.

Both Joan Rivers and Cindy Adams wrote about their puppies
and how they saved them when their husbands died.
At that time I thought they were crazy dames, well,I have joined the club.

My son is helping me to buy another puppy, these little guys
cost money, jeez! I know I should rescue one from the shelter
but Maltese rarely show up there and that is what I want in
temperament. I am not going to feel guilty about that too.
I have enough guilt every day to fill 3 life times.

We thought to name the puppy Obama and hoping that
this time it will bring the candidate some luck.
A snow white puppy named Obama.
That is fun.
We shall see , I am to look at one on Friday.
Wish me luck.
Wish for me to find some piece of mind. (Yup I am talking to myself)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Caregivers have to take care of themselves!!!!

Today I am not a happy camper.
Let’s rephrase that.
“Happy” is such an elusive word, correct only in some rare special moments.
So....
Today I am not a contented camper.

My b.p.was way too high so I had to bum a ride to the doctor.
Not my favorite place to go.
Doctors always find something wrong.
Like going for new tires and the guy tells you that you also
need new brakes , a cv joint and a host of other “little things” he is happy to announce to you.

Doctors have machines now, they whirl and spit out green numbers on little screens.
Could their machine ever be mistaken?
Could the nurse not read 880 when it is 000
I think so.

That peeve put aside I go into the office and tell the medical magician that I have back pain and signs of a kidney or bladder infection plus my blood pressure which
is going higher every day. I seem to follow the gold market not the dow.

I have a sweet doctor, he has known me for decades.
I told him ahead of time that I only have mild stress in life.
As he knows, my husband has dementia, my new widowed son is highly depressed, I have 3 dogs, one cat and a tank of crabs , part of this belonging to son.
I am losing my hair and will soon need to wear a small beanie like the monks
or the Jewish people at Temple. Take your pick.
I might consider a wig like Dolly Parton.
Anyway, my doctor he just smiles. Tells me to double my blood pressure meds and come back in one month.
Before he closes the door behind him he reminds me that it would be nice to
check my blood for cholesterol and diabetes.

I sit for a while and ponder what just happened.
Did he say a word about my kidney?
Daughter tells me he will find out with the blood work.

I go there once a year and every time he tells me the same sing song
“lets check for cholesterol”.
He thinks that every plump old lady has to have a high cholesterol number and be ready to jump into the diabetes category.

Three more days go by and I hear nada from the white coat person and his staff or nurses who now wear cute tops decorated with mums and or kittens.
Phone call done by daughter as I can’t hear very well on the phone.
Lets call it like it is I am now deaf. Low cholesterol but deaf.

The nurse tells daughter that my potassium is very low.
That my thyroid figure is low and I am to take thyroid meds like tout de suite.
Only my blood pressure is high.

How about my Mom’s discomfort? asks the dutiful daughter.
“Oh”answers the girl on the other end, there is no mention of this in
her chart. If she is uncomfortable she will need an anti-biotic.
I will send it all to the pharmacy of your choice.
A letter will follow explaining our findings.
Click, end of conversation.
So I thought I’d sleep on all this and star medicating in the morning.

I did not have a very good night sleep.
I had over drugged my husband.
He was quite stoned as my son put it.

I had purchased generic pills like Tylenol PM so he can sleep.
I did forget that one pill of the generic is the same volume as 2 Tylenol PM.
Ok , so I was a bit absent minded and gave him 2 generics.
If you follow that, it is like 4 Tylenol PM’s.
Ouch.
Well, not really ouch, he did not feel a thing. In fact the poor man could not
stand up to go to the bathroom. He sank to his knees and then fell, thank God, without hurting himself.
Called my son into the room for help. I said that I thought he had a stroke.
My son simply said: he is stoned, Mom.
Stoned? why is that I wanted to know.
OK, Mom, what meds did he take tonight ..........BINGO....the light went on
and then I remembered I had given two of the new generic pills.
I did not sleep much.
I kept looking and trying to see if the man next to me was dying and if the police were going to be at my door with arm bracelets that did not match my sterling jewelry.
Son kept telling me that he simply was going to sleep it off and of course he did,
he had the sleep of the angels, calm, quiet and a wreck for a wife next to him.

So this morning I took a long walk to the cemetary near my house, it is quiet there.
It is also an ancient place, most graves go back to the late 1800’s.
My daughter in law rests here. So does her mother.
I just go and talk to her, my head knows that all that is buried under
the dried grass is a gorgeous antique box and some ashes.
My head knows that. My head also knows that I can talk to her.
She is around if I beckon her. I tell her to watch over her husband.
He is not doing very well, he is lonely. Yes, she was a lot of tragedy combined with love and question marks. He loves her, he loved her through everything that was dished out for them.

I leave the grave and walk Toto while I am in a complete daze. It is like I half belong in here with the silent ones and half belong to this world with the leaves falling around me and Toto sniffling at every tree.
I do not even notice until it is too late that Toto just pooped on Mr Cagle’s grave.
I never allow him to do that. I was angry that I was so out of it.

All the literature about Alzheimer, all the people who have gone that route, all the friends and all the family have one mantra for me:
“Take care of yourself!”

I hear them and I do not know what that means.
For some people taking care of themselves would be to get a manicure, a facial.
I never went for that before so that thought is nixed.
For some people a trip by a pool and a martini is taking care of themselves.
I can’t truly leave this house for more than 1 day.
Taking care of yourself = eating lots of vegetables, fruit and excersize said my vegetarian friend.
My idea is and always has been that lettuce was God’s gift to rabbits.
Not a gift for me.
I walk and I seem to be running around the house all day long. I am not a couch potato. Oh but I am somewhat of a computer addicted personality and that, my friend, is the only way I know on how to take care of myself.
I can sit and write down how I feel and I will not hurt anyone with my words
or deeds, I can just write down what my ache is deep inside this chest.
I can write to tell my soul that all will be better tomorrow, that perhaps,
I can still touch a smigdeon of Faith, I can still know that somehow somewhere I will find the courage to see tomorrow. Perhaps see a rainbow. Perhaps I will know how to be good to myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ed Bagley visits us

I thought it odd that old B. was sitting at the table and doing a lot of mumbling.
He is usually quiet and has a hard time making a sentence.
Now he seemed to be talking to himself and I needed to find out
what the story was.

"What are you talking about" I asked.

"This man on TV, right there (as he pointed) he was at my house all the time"

I looked at TV and saw Ed Bagley ordering a special cake.
A "green motif" cake no less.

Bob continued in long sentences.

"he lived here on that street ( a design on the table) and we lived here...
and he was at my house all the time. "

"he was a nice man, I like him a lot but then I think he brought us vegetables".

Once this whole session was over with, he put his head down ever so slightly and
fell asleep again at the kitchen table.

Ed Begley no doubt looked like someone he remembered from his youth.

Well, that same day Prez Bush came on.
Bob never, ever, liked him. Bob was a born democrat.
He looked at the TV and mumbled.
He had not reacted to the Prez in a long time but now he got agitated
about the man on the telly.
I asked him what was going on and he replied:
" that man, that man is bad".
I asked why and he replied : " I do not know but bad is bad".
back to the snoozing.
I was very surprised that he had some recollection of Bush as he has no
idea an election is going to happen and Bush will be gone.

I was not that lucky when it came to bed time.
He had again built a barricade between my side of the bed and his.
My roll pillows come in handy for that, 3 rolls and voila!
He said he did not want me to touch him. Therefore the separation.
He did not know me.
I lost it. I told him some nasty things and knew I was talking to a wall but I could not keep it in.
I think I even used a four letter word, which is not normal for me.
I threw the pillows on the other side of the room and crawled in bed.
A few hours later, he woke up, took my hand and kissed it.
All was well again. He knew somehow it was OK to be next to him.
My last four letter word to him then was "Love ye"
He said "me too" and we slept.
All was well again.

How many times have I done this? Dozens of times.
Do I get used to it and laugh at it? Sometimes and sometimes I just can't handle it like a lady.