Thursday, December 31, 2009

enf of 2009

Going to check what I wrote a year ago but I do not think that I was figuring on having my worst year yet.
In a way I truly had a lot of help via the VA. Bob is in day care. That should have sufficed to send me singing like a bird and have time to myself.

Somehow, somewhere, I became more and more tired and had less compassion (afraid to say) less patience, less money,
ans was faced with the downhill of the AD disease.
Bob became more violent, a big surprise to me, this was a very gentle man. More distance between him and the family.
I became "she" or the woman and Bobby became more and more hated.

The scenes of anger, frustration became more frequent on all sides. I think he is just as tired of this new mind which does not remember what happened 2 seconds ago.
Imagine for one second if my old and dearest friend would suddenly see a film with him in a rage. How would he feel? He would be devastated. He would be so sorry that he handled us that way, but he does not know.

The cliche , of course, is always "it is not him, it is the disease". Hard for me to put this all together at times.
I also can't understand the word "closure" Guess I need a shrink.

The thyroid is not helping, that plays a big part with being tired and sometimes just exhausted.

I am hoping for a better understanding of it all in 2010.
We are going in the 13th year. I should be used to it by
now/. We never get used to it- is the answer.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Sabrina and Frank. then check me ready to take the dog out in the snow, leggings and all.
Nick is with me and I have to check out the handmade truffels courtesy of Jim.
Just baked some buns, are you hungry? I will make some more.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


One of these is studying to be a doctor.
Who would you trust to save your life?
Clue: Just check the T shirt

our family


kids, grandkids, moi and old dad and Frank the in-law who is also our son!!!!


One of his paintings from the past.
A very talented man, now he does not know colors.

catching up

It has been awhile since I blogged.
Reason:

This was and is a blog about my experiences as a 24/7 caregiver to my husband who has Alzheimer.

We are entering the 13th year since his diagnoses.
He is healthy of body and the mind is gone to another land.

This past year was my worst year.
Perhaps because I am worn out.
Perhaps because there I am just too tired all the time to fight it.
Perhaps I have not much left to give.
Perhaps I feel to sorry for myself.
Perhaps it is all becoming too much to my own
memory bank and the concerns that amidst being so immersed in a hundred things to remember that I am concerned about being next.

My respite this year was great, 4 days I was gone.
Daughter Sabrina took in old dad and the other two kids helped too.
There was surprise on all fronts about how much attention is needed.

I was invited to a special birthday for a special friend. She lives in Mass.
Her children paid for my trip and off I flew to
the North.
I was surprised to be among people who do not have to watch someone.
I had time to just sit and ponder, have a glass of wine, cheese and just talk with my best friend.
I could sleep as long as I wanted, did not have to wake up and wonder if the other side of the bed was empty.
I could get used to that.

This year there was violence. Unexpected , totally out of character, but there it was.
Aslap on the face, the ear red and in pain and I could not imagine that this little guy did this to me.
Where was my gentle , ever nice to me, husband.
More medication from the VA and it helps a bit but anything (visitors) can set him off.
A light which he thinks should not be on and
the swinging of the arms start.

I have learned what to look for and how to avoid the blows.
He hit son too. Then again he thinks we are strangers.

So why did I not blog?
I just did not want to bring down the whole world with my sour words , tearful phrases, begging for better days.

Having said that , if you are reading this and you are taking care of someone then you know how I feel and you will know you are not alone in this fight for survival.

I keep telling myself that there is life after A.
I do not want to go first, that would cause chaos in my family.
So I started to diet and try and be healthier the hard part is the mental part.
They, meaning, all involved in this illness keep saying that we have to take care of ourselves first.
If we don't too many of us will become ill.
So I am trying.

We had a nice Christmas eve and he looks good in the photos because the new medication also enhences his appetite. So I already had to purchase new pants as the waist was expanding.

I wish all of you a terrific New Year.
May you have peace in your hearts.
May you dream pleasant dreams.
May you have travel to experience the world around you.
May you be healthier than last year.
May you be prosperous.
May you love the job you are in or find the best one yet.
May all your loved ones be there with you and for you.
My list could go on forever but you got the picture
Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holidays

I am not alone to have the blues around this time of the year.
Yesterday I was looking for something small which old Bob would probably give me for Christmas.
We no longer were giving presents to each other before he became ill but he would make little cards with funny drawings or such. Paper flowers he did often.
Nothing did catch my eye, I just wanted to put something under the tree that would say :OK I am still here.
Truth is hard to swallow, he is n't here.

That reminded me of all the angst I am having to give something to my family and still stay within my budget-read :not overdraw at the bank-

Then again I came across my Christmas story written several years ago and I will repeat it again for my own sake to
remember that the importance of our life is our family around us. When I think that I came here a new bride and now I have 6 grandsons , my kids, and a fabulous son in law.
I am not alone, I have a great bunch of human beings around me who support me night and day. A better Christmas present than that is impossible.

But here was my very best Christmas in 1944:
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.
Goeden nacht, zalige nacht.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 19 is this spring?

It is balmy outside, feels like spring.
One wonders why the leaves are still falling.
There should be new ones up there.
Enjoy while we can, we all know it is coming.
at least this too will help with heating bills.
Walking the dogs was a real pleasure, I did not
feel like coming inside.
Of course I still have oodles to do before the work
begins on the house.

I am looking forward for next week's outing.
Rhonda has invited me to the employee Christmas party
inside the "house" with a dinner for all and presents for
children.
The "house" of course is Biltmore House in Asheville.
The grand old dame is decked with thousands of lights, Christmas trees and decorations.
Two of our own creations are on display there.
Commissioned in the 1980's by the staff, we made old Father Christmas figures with Victorian toys and fabrics.

I have been there in the summer for employee parties but they are outside. This time inside will be a great treat.
They do not skimp on the food either.
Biltmore is a great attraction in the Christmas season, it is worth to come and see it if you are close by.

So it will be a fun week.

Yesterday Bob was all confused when he came home from the day care. He wanted to go back on the bus. Did not know the house nor us at all. A few hours later he turned violent put his fist out to his son but Bobby was faster and could stop it mid air.
The whole night he was awake, this had not happened before
so he got up and out, up and out, dressed and undressed and went roaming about the house. Son was up till 4 and watching him. Every time I opened my eyes he was there next to me and staring at me.
I am thinking the new meds took different turn.
Of course they are on trial.
we shall see what this evening brings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

about being blessed

People use the word "blessed" in many circumstances.
It is used too often or when I feel it is not truly appropriate.
Lately I have been getting emails or statements on FB telling me how blessed I am. Blessed that I still have my husband.

Blessed? Really?
Obviously these are well meaning people with a smidgen of and often too much religious fervor. If I was still a member of the Catholic church I would not feel blessed but perhaps welcome the idea that I am suffering-hence there will be a reward-somewhere sometime, suffering is good.....Mother Theresa loved it. OK, I am no longer there . I have fallen from graces or just grew up, I can't remember.

In any case , lets take this apart.
Where is the blessing?
I am truly searching here.
Would you think it to be a blessing if you, your husband, your wife, your mother, your father, your kids, would receive the news from the man in a white coat. The news that you have an incurable disease. Wow,.that would hit anyone between the eyes. But the good man tells you, you may have this for the next 20 years before you die. Aha! Maybe there is the blessing, twenty years , we can handle that.

Not so fast, what if the person would know from in the beginning (most are too advanced by the time of diagnosis to understand) that he/she will be stripped of all control, stripped of their thoughts, stripped of their memories, stripped of all the tomorrows- no matter how long you will live.

What if you understood that you will spit and slobber while you eat? Would you still be thinking of that nice restaurant you once love? What is you knew that slowly the body functions are no longer registering in your mind, you need someone to clean you like when you were a baby, you need diapers.
How would the sick one think that was a blessing?
What if you could understand that the mild , loving person you always have been turns into a violent person, one who hits, scratches, screams. Would that ill person like to become that?

What would anyone think that they never want to be bathed, that water becomes the enemy and you fight with all your might not to be cleaned. Would that be a Blessing? -I think not-.
From experience we know that in that state of mind you accuse every soul around you as being a thief, everyone steals from you. Surely this paranoia can't be a blessing for you.
The stories continue , too many to mention, the years hang on. Near the end you forget how to swallow and slowly forget how to breathe. Would anyone in their right mind tell that person that he/she is blessed?

Then comes the blessings sent to me , the caregiver,because I am so lucky to still have a husband.
Ouch! I still have a husband? Think again. The man who walks here in this house does not know his wife, his children, his grandchildren, not even the dogs.
Often I am told to leave the bed, he does not sleep with strangers. Lately the hitting has started until we needed
stronger medicine, now he is just zombie like with a manic laugh. Everything now is a matter of laughing or yelling, no in between.
I was surprised when my water bill had doubled, why? I asked. It is not from all the showers he is taking, no dear caregiver it is from the daily changes of the soaking sheets towels and mattress covers. That is a pile of laundry every morning. The water company is blessed, the laundry lady is not very happy remaking and remaking a Queen size bed.
No, I would not call it blessed.

I could write a book about it all and not once would I have to admit that this was all a blessing. I do not give a hoot where you find that the word would fit, it does not fit for me nor for my husband who is now a walking stranger in his house.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday night Nov 15

Two hard days, complicated with the fact that I will have construction going on everywhere in and out of the house
in 2 weeks and probably will for the whole month of Dec.

When Sabrina came to blow the leaves together that already made old Bob upset, he has been re-arranging the piles now for 2 days.

I started to put out old junk for the garbage and he hauled it all back in before I saw him do it.

Week ends are always very hard, I do not have the comfoert of free hours in day care.
Thanksgiving week he will be home 4 days.
Ouch.

I am hoping for a good week to come.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Someone in Florida lost it....

In the news this week:
A caregiver supposedly killed his father who was afflicted with Alzheimer. Allegedly threw him in the ocean because "he stunk". The man had been a caregiver for some 8 years or more. The father refused bathing (we all know about that one).

My heart goes out to that man.
I read right now he is on house arrest till his trial comes up.
I do think we have to truly start thinking about incidents like these. He is not the first and will not be the last.
I know I came close to just flipping out in several occasions, I had the fortitude to know it was coming and talked to my support group who either came over or talked me into some
state of sanity.
It happens folks, I do not care how much you love the person you care for, there are moments when you tell yourself that you can't do one more chore, one more minute with someone following you, one more item to worry about.

Often after years you have drained your resources on medicine and help, you no longer are the same person.
The sick one is but a body floating about. You lose him/her, you no longer have conversations which make sense.
You no longer can leave the house without someone to take your place. If you are lucky and can afford day care then it is a reprieve for some hours. You try then to think of what "normal" was and try to catch some of this before he/she comes home again.
Vacations are out. Nice restaurants with him/her can be
somewhat an embarrassing situation, the table manners are gone. Trips for your charge to the bathroom can be a challenge , especially if there are 2 doors.
They get lost even in small places, you better be there.
There are so many daily activities which change with every down hill the illness takes away.
It isw never going to get better.
You might think that today Margaret knew you, you love to know that to be true. You see a glimmer in his eyes and you tell yourself "He knows me!". You are still finding hope no matter what you truly know deep inside.

I am told that the research money for Alzheimer is a minimal amount when you compare it to Cancer yet every so many seconds, I think I read 7, someone in this country is being told that they have Alzheimer.
Baby boomers are growing older and guess what? If you have money to invest built day cares and long term care places, we are surely going to need them.

Baby boomers would also be wise to buy a reliable long term care insurance. I could not get it 12 years ago because my husband had prostate cancer so they refused him.
Who has 4 to 7000 a month to pay for this service when you are no longer able. ?

Back to the poor fellow who it is said killed his father, I am so feeling for him. I am so hoping that he does not go to jail.
I am sorry but some bargaining must be able to come to the table. I doubt very seriously that he was in a sane frame of mind.

paintings



These souvenirs I found at my friends house in Mass.
My husband is the artist.
He leaves us so many nice memories with the works he did.

trip photos








I am just now getting to some photos from my trip up north.
Friend Lee is 80!!!!She looks 60!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

true doctor story

Went to the VA hospital.
3 hours before his number was taken care off.
The VA gets you with :"your last four" that is YOU.

An elderly gent came into our waiting room and my patience already at zero - I am thinking: another one before us?
Turns out that he faces Bob and said:Hello I am Dr.......
Say what?
My head is spinning. This is the doctor, he is my husband's age. He does sort of fall against the door jam, dizzy? drunk? what is the problem? I am not very confident on following him with my husband and translator -I have bad ears- daughter.
We tell Mr. Dr. with a lot of experience -maybe_? That our best friend here is often in a hitting mode, especially when bathing is required. We need calming medicine.

The chart come up on the computer screen.
Yup the right number, right last fours.
List of medicine he is taking.
Ask me what they are for, I confuse one with the other so I am honestly telling him that I do not remember which is which.
He gets out of his pocket a mini book with alphabetical listed medicine. Oh! There it is that one is for his B P.
Ok having checked all of the meds.
He tells me via Sabrina that he is prescribing halo------
it should calm him down. Used all the time for Alz.
So we walk out glad to be in the fall fresh air amids falling leaves. Bob does not have a clue why he was there and what this was all about. He tells every one that he is from Santa Cruz.
Well, he did balk, he did not want his temp taken. The nurse could not take his BP. BUT when Dr. M. said we needed some blood work ....then we panicked.
Mr.Bob walked into the lab station and said he was from Santa Cruz, the pretty girl said she was from Monterey and he did not even balk one second when they had to try 2 stabs at finding the right vein. He was Mr Charm.
I sat outside,I was so exhausted and did not want to see him being mean to the nurses. Maybe it helped that I was not there. Sabrina said he was an angel for the needles but then
taking his B P got him angry, go figure.

Once home I ran to the computer to check the meds.
OK I read it was invented in 1957 by t Belgian, that rang well, I thought with some pride.
The last sentence made me sleepless for the next night.
The FDA does NOT approve of this medicine fr A patients.
Hello!!!!!!
Furthermore the article said there have been deaths in this group.
Gave him one pill as prescribed and watched every 10 minutes to see if he was alive.
He turned out to be a sweetheart in the next 2 days.
I even washed him and cut his hair. Not A PEEP out of him. ! Oh how I liked that. No fist fight no water fight.

Sabrina called a pharmacist and asked about the pills.
Unless there is a problem with his heart or asthma there is no problem at all, said the man on the phone.
Prescribed all over the globe for Alzheimer.
Good old drug!
OK so we can hope for some rest in the getting feisty dept.

What d o you know for sure

Ellen de G. said in Oprah mag.:
It's our challenges and obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting. Are they fun when they happen? No. But they are what make us unique. And that's what I know for sure…I think.

That gave me some thought this morning and I wondered what I know for sure.....here is what I came up with:
I know for sure that there is nothing anymore that I know for sure. Absolutely nothing.

Ten years ago I would have given you a long list now the
"for sure" are "maybe's" or " whatever".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Caregivers week

this email I sent my kids and grandkids for Caregivers week:
This week is caregivers week.
I want to say thank you to all of you, my children, my grandkids, my in laws.
Everyone of you has been a caregiver in one way or the other for dad.
The little ones had to learn how to deal with this new person, had their feelings hurt at times,
did not get the hugs like before. The adults had to say the long goodbye and be there to
keep mom on her toes and in good frame of mind (if that is possible).
The many trips to the grocery stores, doctors, vets, hair dressers, luncheons, castles, gardens,
would not have been possible at all without you guys.
It is all in the package of caregiving, you guys always try to make it wrapped up in velvet ribbons.
I thank you, every single one of you for this journey is a hard one for us and the unity
of this family is among the best I have seen when I compare my peers.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

good news and bad news

The good news is actually GREAT , end of this month and all of December renovations will start on my old house.
New roof and new heating system (with a/c wow) for beginners. The furnace is totally ancient and the pipes replaced last week are completely filled with ancient rust, do not know how the water gets through them at all.
So out with the old boiler and in new electric pump with a/c.
Hoping to get old Bob out of the house as soon as the workmen come is another job to tackle. He can't handle visitors. Not with grace anyway.

Bad news is temporary but I must be out of patience, I have some canker sores visiting my mouth and I am miserable.
A fat lip to boot and no I do not resemble Angelina even with that new look.
I have hardly been able to eat so weight watchers will be proud of me. But that is not the way to diet that I enjoy at all.
I can't believe that I am acting like a baby, these damn things make me very uncomfortable.

So train my thoughts to the coming renovations and help that this old house needs.

Friday, October 30, 2009

MINI VACATION

I was afraid to write in this blog as my BFF reads it.
I was invited to celebrate her 80th birthday in the Berkshires in Mass. It was to be a surprise. Our two daughters made all the arrangements and when that was done THEN they told me that I HAD to go.
If I had been asked I would have said "impossible" but daughter Sabrina arranged it all with Sabra my BFF's daughter. So here I was finding myself in cars and in airplanes and in the North.
Old Dad was with Sabrina for the long week end.

We surprised my friend in a restaurant.
She was shocked and near tears when she saw me.
She did not know that a brunch was going to be offered the next day at her son's mini mansion in the mountains.
The whole family was to be there, all kids and grandkids.
So that too turned out to be a big surprise for her as it was
still 1 week before the actual birthday date.
I was enchanted by it all. I was relaxed. Most of all I slept without waking up to check on things. I slept like a rock.
A glass of wine probably helped.
Everything was fun and food. My favorites.
Lucky I only gained one pound. So back to W W it is.

I figured out that during this visit there was another life.
People meet, people eat together, people laugh.
People have to repeat for my hard of hearing or hearing loss but they did not seem to mind.
My kids sometimes roll their eyes when they have to repeat something for the third time. I remember doing that to my mother who probably gave me this inheritance. But what the hay. I am still walking and cooking and doing whatever I can to keep it all together.
Outside this house , outside this village, outside this state, outside just plain outside with other people there is life, there will be life after Alzheimer if Bob goes first.
If I go first then what? Hey I am not coming back to tell you about it. No doubt relief from worries. Relief in either scenario. Relief.

How did the old Bob behave, the talks about it are somewhat sketchy. No one wants to say that he was difficult, no one wants to admit to much of anything. Whatever.
I slept, I talked till all hours in the night with a friend I had known for 53 years. Perhaps we will never make it again to visit together but this was just grand.

The New England villages have not changed since I travelled there 40 years ago. They are quaint, no high rises, no Mc D's, no Walmarts , lots of antique stores and lots of charming houses. Many of them kept by New Yorkers who like to visit the Berkshires on the week end.
You got to love it. You got to admire the city counsel who keep things the way they were and do not try to make it more profitable with more commerce. Farms are still farms, not builders filled bank accounts. Wish we would do this in our town but the apple orchards are filling up with houses and what a shame that is.

Loved my outing. The first in many years that I left my husband to someone else to take care off. Wow!
He did not seem any worse off. Did not know I was gone, I am sure.

Must try that again, perhaps in the spring.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fresh sheets

I have inherited from my mother that one never has enough sheets and towels. Just in case, she would tell me, you are sick and you need extra linens.
So, I have lots of sheets. Not only that but I LOVE to sleep in fresh sheets. Loved it more when we were drying them outside many moons ago and they had that fresh outdoor smell.
When Jackie O married Onassis she had in her contract that
even if she took a mid day nap, she insisted on having her bed made up again with fresh sheets. So she had it made as far as I was concerned. Fresh sheets all the time!!!Yummy!

Now be cautious about what you ask for, you heard that before.
I now have fresh sheets on the bed every day.
Regardless of what brand diaper underwear I buy for my husband, they always leak. I have my routine after I make my coffee and send him to the daycare that I change the bedding and start a wash load.
Do I bitch and moan when I make up the queen size bed every day, you bet I do but come evening and I slide into the fresh sheets it is pure heaven.
Jackie O you had the right idea.
Would I do it just for my sole pleasure? Never! Too much work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So the storm hAS STARTED AFTER A CALM SEA

If you have been following my blog then you know that I call it like it is.
No B S, no sugar coating, no embellishments , no lies.

This week was the week of horror for me.

Surprise, surprise. I have read and read book and book about Alzheimer/dementia.
I know all the different stages, I can write a book up until now stage 6 going 7.

I have the sweetest, kind husband you could find. He would put a bug outside before he would step on it. So when the “books” told me that a lot of them turn violent , I figured that this would never happen to him. How could anyone imagine that.

Last Sunday when I tried to bathe him, which is always an unpleasant task, he started to fight with me and slapped me on the side of the face , full force.
I could not hear from several hours.
I was stunned, completely stunned.
He then managed to repeat the same with our son.
This -now- very slight man barely 120 lbs had the force of a young lad.
Where did that come from?
What was I thinking? Never Never Never in my house?
Think again.

Next evening he started to push me around, hit my arms full force when I
Wanted to change his clothing.

I spent the rest of the week in enormous anger.
I could barely think straight.
I was not sure anymore if I could continue this.

Called the VA several times but his dr. (a new one again) does not call back.
I need more calming medication. Serequil (sp?) was recommended by someone
Who has help with it but on the internet there are several negatives on this.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It is now fall and when sunny it is fabulous. Leaves are falling, trees are turning yellow and soon the maples will start being red. As we were walking and kicking the leaves I was thinking about Buscaglia, he wrote in one of his books that he invited his friends for a leaf party. Everyone thought they would be put to work to remove his piles. Instead they had a surprise, he had brought the leaves INSIDE his living room and everyone was to have fun in them. Throw them around, dance in them whatever. Just enjoy !Inever tried it but there are times that I am considering this but afraid someone would put a straight jacket on me and take me to a place I do not wish to be.

The three of us walk every evening. Old Bob, Old Mom, and young Bijou - read Maltese pup.
It is quite a scene. Not exactly a Normal Rockwell photo , Bijou is pulling, he wants to be 10 feet further than I am, old Bob is behind. So I am in the middle with both arms stretched out. One in front and one in the back.
Bob shuffles, even with my bad hearing I can hear the shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. I try and correct my walk and bring my legs and feet up high, I am not going to shuffle!!! Instead I am beginning to look like in training for the Roquettes.

When Bijou decides he is at the right spot to do his business then the shuffle comes near and there is a surprise on Bob's face " we stopped for what?" I point but somehow it does not register so now he is up front and I have to try and hold on to him until Bijou decides to finish.

Bob forgets what street to take to return home so he is adamant and stops by a driveway and points. Bijou looks at him and wonders why we would go there. A kitty there perhaps? That would be great.
I tell them both that our street is another block.
Yeah like they understand the word "block".

We get home and both my friends run for drinks.
Dad opens the fridge and see what is there and wet.
Bijou does a job on the water bowl and of course i will have to take him out before too long to get rid of the new volume of water.

The threesome will then go out again, the shuffle will start into the leaves and my arms will get a stretch work out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A SPIDER AT WORK

Last night son showed me a spider at work.
She/he (I am not un on my spiders) started a huge web right under the porch light. The web was about 2 feet or more in diameter. The precision of the work was just so interesting to watch that I stood there for a good 15 minutes.
How smart to put it right under the light where the bugs will come into the night.
Enter old Bob into the room and watches the spider at work, immediately he wanted"out" to kill it.
It took forever to try and explain that it was ok for it to work.
We are not going outside anymore tonight. Let the spider work. Say what? Of course this is not sinking in. Why
do I always think that it should sink in. How many more years before I figure it out that the man has Alzheimer and does not remember.
We locked the door and kept the key so the spider will have dinner during the night and we may have a few moths less.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To bathe or not to bathe

Last night, a nightmare. He does not want me to bathe him.
No way, not a chance. I just sponge bathe him at this point but he struggled so with me, he scratched me, and pushed and shoved and today my shoulder is not working properly and it hurts like the dickens.

I swallowed my pride and asked the day care people- they are equipped to bathe and do so - I think the cost is 15.00- anyway I asked if they could do it today and sent him off with his fresh clothing.

They , the experts, tried twice and no dice. Not going to do it no way, no how.
Voila.

Back to the drawing board.
Meanwhile I am not going to try it today as I am exhausted and hurting.

Then therewas the medicine, refused to take medicine too.
Son go a bit in his face and a fist came out from old dad but when he took a good look at son's size he relaxed the fist very fast and agreed to take the pill.

Just saw "House" so I made sure he did swallow it, he is not as smart as Dr House.
Good night all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

LIFE IS ....................

Life is precious. You hear this over and over again when there is an issue about abortion. I am not going there, I am going with the thought that life is precious when you are suffering for 12 years. When your memory fails you day after day, more and more. First it is the little things.
Oh! Did I take my meds today? Did I miss an appointment with the hairdresser? Did I call you today?
then it goes on to : you are stealing from me. Everything in this house is mine, mine, mine.
That usually follows by items just disappearing from their usual place. Could be your toothbrush, you rings, a can of tomatoes, all the toilet paper you bought yesterday.
After the years, the look in the eyes looks blank. Who is this person? Who are you? What is this place?
Then there is the wet diapers, the wet bed, chairs, and the poop which goes into the waste paper basket, not the toilet. Some stuff towels, soap, anything into the toilet, others do not remember what the toilet is for.
The plumber knows you by your first name and knows the guilty one too. He smiles at him/her, this is regular business for him.
The opening and closing doors, all day long. The fridge does not have time to cool off. Forget the freezer working well.
The locks are being broken. The umbrellas are looking like a modern art piece. Everything mechanical needs to go with force. Reaction to actions does not exist anymore.
Dogs and cats get fed tons of milk. That is what most elderly did when they were young.
Try and shave someone who does not want you to touch him.
Try and shower or wash someone who decided water was his/her enemy.
Is that life still precious?
What do they really know???What are the thoughts during the day and the running around till 4 am lost in your own home. What are the thoughts?

I have no answers for any of this.
But I do question it.
On line one lady having a bad day wrote :
They shoot dogs when they become that ill.
I dread the day when this human being who no longer is my husband will leave me. I am attached to him like a magnet but I do believe when he will leave us that I will be relieved.
This is no longer a precious life for him. It just can't be.

WRITE IT DOWN

Most of my childhood was spent in a very small village in the middle of the Flanders.
That is if you can call one street with one shop and one bar “a village”.
My house was standing all alone next to an electric factory.
I was an only child and a lonely child.
My parents were not into making merry or to bring a lot of joy into the household.
They were strict, especially my mother. The also did not get along most of the time
A war added to that mix made life a challenge.

It was very early in life that I started to write my feelings. I would get pieces of paper wherever I could and write and then tear it up for I did not want my mother to find out how I felt.

I remember after my father left us that I often wrote that I missed him. I do not think I missed him that much but I knew that my mother did not hit me as much when my father was around. He did not like the hitting part of her discipline.
He kept telling her not to hit my head. I felt he was somewhat my protector of her bad days. Her bad days turned into anger to the only one around - me.

So from then on I wrote, and wrote. My maternal grandmother told us that whenever she had the blues she would write them down and then destroy the evidence. I had not heard that before but was glad to hear that story for it fit with my feelings.

At 14 I wrote a short love story. Since I never had been kissed and my boyfriends were only in my imagination , I just do not remember what kind of love story I had in me. I sent it out one day to “libelle” a ladies magazine and I included a letter telling them that I did not want to be paid but wanted to read my story in their venue. I did not let them know who I was.

For weeks I searched in the magazine as my Mom was getting them from a friend. To my big surprise they did not print my story.
That did not stop me. I wrote and wrote whenever I could wherever I could.
I was blessed and did not know it. I am not saying that I am a good writer, I am saying that it is a blessing to be able to share your feelings on paper.
It is a release valve for all your feelings. Good or bad.

So in this site geared for Alzheimer caregivers I can only advise you to try and write down how you feel. Just let it all hang out. Do not cover the dusty corners of your mind , just go there and everywhere and just write it. You do not have to blog for the world to see , just write it. Destroy it afterwards if you wish or read it over many times so you will then see where you were at such and such a time.

I am surely blessed to be able to write almost every day.
When I am having one of my mini depressions then it is hard to do but often if I get to it then the depression takes a second row.

Write, just write. No one will check if you can spell , no one will question your vocabulary, write for yourself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Love letter

A few years ago I wrote this letter to my husband.
At that time he had a vague idea of what I wrote, today he would not be able to understand any of it.
It is important during this journey to tell them what you feel and what their lives did for you.
It is important, believe me.

Here is my letter and I have to say that I found it in a very "safe" place of his.

If I count every stage in our life by quarters then we are in our winter.
I’d prefer to say that we are in our autumn but what the heck,
I just stepped into winter. You, my dear, are a little bit ahead of me.
You wanted to be a Gemini and wanted to be born the same year as the
Queen of England. How grand was that!

You entered in our summer and indeed what a summer it turned out
to be!!!The long hot summer with all the riches of a blooming love affair,
a few thunderstorms, and most of all travel.

My spring is rather a season I like to forget. The ideal childhood , it was not to be.
The ideal first marriage way before I stepped into summer and that too
was rather a time to forget.

You, my best friend, came into my life in a California “antique mall” , probably the first in California. I use the word “antique” loosely as it was more a mall
with mini shops full of “what have you’s”.

You had the best, the creme de la creme. You had REAL antiques. In those
California days everything had to be 100 years old before we called it an antique.
You also had some of the finest art on your walls which I thought were
printed reproductions. You were offended, it was your original work.
I said : what the heck are you doing in this place with such art?
With all my suggestions you curled up your nose. No, you did not want to
show at the bank. No, you did not want to show in small town Santa Cruz.
You had just come from San Francisco, thank you very much. You had
shows in the best galleries.

You had fled from the hippies as you lived, heavens no!!On the corner
of Haight and Hasbury . In a large Victorian flat you had freedom, the
city ,a job here and there and lots of ice cream which became meals.
But when this long haired crowd slept in your doorway and their dogs
decorated all of Haight street , it was a bit much for this “square” to take in.

Bohemian you had not turned into. Even so you were a frequent visitor to
the Purple Onion, (Yes , Streisand was there when no one knew her)
and you were invited to all the wild ballet and artists parties.
You rubbed elbows with Gregory Peck and only knew it when you saw
your picture next to him at a later date. Of course the wine did help
with memory losses.

You had a girlfriend for awhile but she was twice your age and had a son
your age who was a cop. It was a short lived fling with too much wine,
or so you told me much later.
So you had moved back to your home town, Santa Cruz.
That old town had a gorgeous boardwalk decorated by a nice Pier, lovely white sand and a great tourist attraction.

Your youth had been there with 7 siblings and a great laid back mother.
Your father had been a house painter with a great reputation but he had
asthma and his work would bring on attack after attack.
Riches you guys never had but there was camaraderie with the kids.
By WW2 Florence had 4 stars in her window indicating that she had
4 sons in the war. They all came back but brother Earl was badly damaged
in his mental state. He had lived and fought in the worst battles of the Pacific
including the Marauders. He took to drinking to forget. He was a lost soul after
that war.

You, being the youngest of the boys went in on your 18th birthday.
You were a few weeks short of graduating in High School.
You had dreams of becoming an artist but you did not know how
you would accomplish that.

The war helped because there was a GI Bill and with that you could go
on to college in Salinas and to the Chouinard Art Institute.

During your art school years you learned about architecture, costumes (Edith Head was one of your teachers) , animation, life drawing and commercial.
You wanted to be come an animation artist for Disney. You were totally charmed
with Snow White and Fantasia. You also learned about Opera and became a
fan.

So after you finished in Chouinard you went to the city by the Golden Gate and
hoped to make it with your paintings. Disney was not paying enough to your liking.
You made friends very quickly in the art circles and in the ballet circles and
worked intermittently in a mattress factory and in the shipping department at
Macy’s.

You acquired a new taste, you knew what a Louis XV table should look like
and you acquired one, you bought old paintings and traded yours for them
or other chores. Once you babysat two dogs for an old painting.
In the mid 1950’s you scrimped and saved to go to Europe. You went with
a friend to London, Amsterdam and Madrid. You visited all the opera houses
in each city and even sat in a command performance in Amsterdam when
the Queen came with King Salassi . Queen Wilhemina looked like a diamond mine she had her tiara on plus pins and necklaces etc....you and Russell sat
in jeans as your luggage had not yet arrived from the boat. It is a wonder that
they did not throw you out.

You saw the diva Maria Callas in Medea in Rome and you were enchanted.
I do not know how many times I had to hear about La Callas.
She received one of your paintings as a gift from a well known tenor
and his name escapes me now. He bought it in Marbella , Spain.

So by the time I got to know you, you were a bit of snob.
I did not even like you at first.
You were not tall and dark haired. You were not a big flirt.
You did not dance. You did not like the Beatles nor Elvis and
could not stand Liberace. I heard about all these opera singers and
I thought that this man was just a bit off my scale.
I liked the tall dark and handsome , rogues.
I would fall for the worst of the worst. I had poor taste in
what would be a steady guy.

We were friends for months as I was going through my divorce.
Neither of us had a hint of what was happening.
We had our shop next to each other in the mall and business was not exactly thriving. We had plenty of time to talk about our past lives.
Neither one of us knew what a future life would be like.

I was scared not to make it with my 2 girls, my mother wanted me back
in Belgium and dangled a home for all 3 of us in front of my nose.
I did not bite!

A recession was starting and the Viet Nam war started to make the pot
broil in America. I just did not have time to worry about that, I had
2 girls and drugs started to come into the San Lorenzo Valley where I lived.

One week end you went to the big city to see “Louise”. I figured that
you had a girlfriend there which you did not mention before and suddenly
I decided that I did not like that. I was a bit jealous.
Upon your return I asked about Louise and you said that the opera
was just fabulous! An Opera named “Louise” I asked?
Yup that is what he went to see.
The knees can stop shaking now!!!!!

When I came back from the court house after filing for my divorce on the
final note you took me behind the clothes rack and kissed me.
Wow! You told me then that you did not want to upset anything and be in
a three some situation. You wanted to be sure I was finished with
my marriage.

I had suffered for 7 years now with arthritis, my feet often were so swollen that all I could wear were flip flops. My hands did not have bones anymore, all you saw was swelling. There came a time in our courtship that I also could not move my
arms in an upward motion. You decided you would move in with the girls and
I and take care of me.

You probably had more to do than you bargained for.
It was not a sexual relationship by any stretch as I was in so much pain.
All sorts of remedies were given to me.
One in particular was to take a very hot bath, drain it and then a very very cold bath and back again to hot. By the time we did all this I was like a limp rag doll
and you had to carry me to bed.

I could no longer brush the girls long hair, I could not lift the coffee pot,
and the steps to the house were pure torture.
Ironing was out of the question so you did it all.
You put the braids in the girls hair and ironed their dresses before school.
You did not drive so you walked to the grocery store and did our meals.
Not the best meals but I was helped to the max.
Your best dish was soup, unfortunately we had to eat it with a fork and knife.

You moved in and changed my life.
People say that we can’t change but I sure did.
Afraid of my own shadow, believing I was not worth to be anything in this world.
I had tried suicide and only got very sick.
Now I had this man watching over me like a hawk and giving me all
the love a person needs to come out of this self fabricated shell.

That was not all that changed, in that former life I had been very happy
with my Goodwill furniture. Couches with wagon wheels for armrests
and Sears braided rugs. Lamps made from old cacti and crochet doilies.
Enter Bob Kensinger with his 19th Century paintings plus his own.
Oriental rugs filled the 20 foot living room , the Louis XV table and
a collection of mint in box 50 or more complete operas.
All soon to meet with 2 anxious girls and scratchy needles on the RCA
console.
Ivory statues lined my shelves , Sanwhich glass , satin glass , and
candle holders of all types came into view and were put on display.
I had little to say about it all. Kensinger was decorating.
My friend April kept asking me if he was gay.

The teaching of Jeannot had begun.
This is an etching, this is a monochromatic, this is a wood cut, this is
a reproduction (curl up your nose or throw up!) this is a watercolor, this is a tempera, this is out of drawing, this is a hack this is a genius.
This glass was made in the 18th century, this glass has lead in it
this glass from England has gold in it. This pattern is the horn of plenty do not confuse it with the peacock pattern.
This is Vienese not to be confused with Venetian.
My head was spinning.

However by 1968 a very young man with dreams of making it big (he did)
bought an old building in Boulder Creek and opened a REAL ANTIQUE
Mall. We opened up our first shop together. You had several shops in San Francisco
but this was my first antique adventure.

It was a real challenge to learn all the art glass and patterned glass so
collectable in those days. Ruth Webb Lee’s book was my bible.
I learned the patterns, I studied the patterns in sterling and
coin silver. The girls learned about sterling and would pick out all
the pieces at flea market sales.

The woman with Sears rugs had blossomed into a snob just like Bob.
Ouch!!!Oriental rugs are still my favorites. In the winter of my years
I do have pains when I sell a piece of art glass.
I can’t believe that I have purchased repros at Steinmart.
But then I also can’t believe that I have done all this learning from
just one person.

You , my life partner, made me see The Last Super by Dali in
Washington, observe the fabulous windows at the Cathedral in Rhemes.
Walk around Rubens house in Antwerp and feel the spirit of this great Flemish painter. You made me SEE the Adoration of the Lamb God in my
home town after I had seen it so many times before.
You made it so that I knew a Cannoletti as we walked to our room
in Venice and saw them lined up on the wall.
You thaught me that to you a wrinkled beggar woman in Rome was more beautiful
than all the Gina’s walking around us.
We were laying down in the Sistine Chapel looking at the wonders
of Michaelangelo. Can’t do that anymore, now you need tickets and a time
given for your visit.

In our last years together and with your memory fading you are still
teaching me every day.
You sit by the window and call me to show me a pattern in the clouds.
We walk the dog and you stop to show me a tree and its formation.
You show me a flower I had missed.
You show me every day that you love me and this life has been
the best summer and winter.
I love you for all that and regret that we did not meet in the
spring of our years.
All my love

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day after the big "high"

If I did not have enough attention yesterday then I sure did today, all my friends or far away acquaintances want a copy of the book. I feel terrible. I keep telling them it is only 1 story and not my best one but most people who know me want me to write my memoirs and so they feel this is going to give me a push. It will. I have part of it already done.

It is good day. Not only that I found better diaper pants, that is important too. Perhaps less laundry for me and my eyes will not become slanted like the Chinese laundry lady.
Oops! that is probably profiling. Got to be so cautious these days not to do a faux pas.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Good day in the land of writers









Some 35 writers, some with many books under their belt, all came together today for cookies and refreshments of all sorts and to brag about their latest writings and achievements.

I was surprised to find out many asked me for signature on their book. We all gave a story about some type of clothing.
And a book from all the stories was compiled and edited by Celia Miles and Nancy Dillingham.

My story was about my holy communion in Belgium in 1942. The drama surrounding that war day was somewhat surreal.
My father did not want to have anything to do with church so that part was difficult for a child reared most the waking hours by nuns.

I brought the dress to the gathering and my sainted aunts's works were admired. Most of it was handsewn and the rest on a threadle sewing machine.

Several people wanted me to sign my story and it was a high for awhile. Celia insists that I have to continue my memoirs as I have been quite busy with them but have yet many years to cover.

Book name is Clothes Lines.
All the writers are from North Carolina.
here some photos from the event, at one point we tried to see how tall I was at age 10 next to my grandson,Peter, who is now ten.

Friday, September 11, 2009

LAZY? DEPRESSED? WHATEVER!

I have been extremely lazy the past weeks.
I can't get my act together, I can just sit and the next thing I know I fall asleep.
Weather does not help, it has been overcast for days with now and then a shower but no sun.
I decided to get a small radio and listen to that for awhile. Then I turn on NPR and get too involved in politics when I hear That Palin is being named Esther. Checked out "the land of Queen Esther". OK so you can have religious beliefs and accept all that comes with it but one lady said that the map of Alaska is in the shape of a crown so therefore they are correct Palin is the Esther of the Bible.
OK......I am just going to get more upset and I do not need that , get back to the music.

This morning was a bad one with his majesty, he just hates anything cold. Do they make heated baby wipes?
By the time I put him on the bus I told the driver:
"Robert, do me a favor, please do not bring him back!"
Everyone roared with laughter (not I ) even old Bob thought it very funny. He knew I was p od.
At least tomorrow will be a better day (in part)
he has to stay home with young Bob.
I have an important meeting.
Aha! I do.
My story about my holy communion dress is now forever published in a book by the name of "Clothes lines".
75 ladies shared stories regarding clothing and mine brought me back to 1942 in Belgium.
Had a lot of stories in newspapers but not in "book print" that I can remember.
We, the writers, are meeting tomorrow and that should be a blast. I still have the dress , now 67 years old.
I had moved over the Atlantic twice in my life, back and forth and then moved from the East Coast to the West and then on to the South and the dress was always with me.

Now at age 77 I find this very strange, something inside of me truly must be attached to the day and the ceremony even so I have left the Catholic church ages ago.

So today I will try and change my mood swing into more joyful tunes. I will try and I know no one will keep old Bob, he will come home and moments will be great and some will be bad and c'est la vie with Alzheimer.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Going down hill this week

Bob is going down hill this week, we took him to BK as he always likd it there and had "his" table and 3 trips to refil his drinks. We wanted to see how much he would remember again, must have been a month or more since we were there.
He did not know his corner table, did not know how to use the machine to get his drink.
Managed to eat a hamburger and then decided that he did not want another drink- all unusual stuff.
He was annoyed that Peter was with us.
Peter is very much a talker with arms,legs and feet.
That annoyed him.
He also told Rhonda to shut up.
She said "that is a bad word Dad, reminding him that he did not allow her to say that when she was little." He looked at her again and said :Shut up!
By evening we sat around the kitchen table , son, daughter myself and dad. He became calm, let us talk, did not know what we were saying but sat there staring at me.
If I got up he would follow me with his stare.
We went to bed before Rhonda was leaving and he was not happy. Asked me : Who?Who?

Today he looks tired and not well, he walked to 5th Avenue again and I had to rescue him , I am hoping that the4 dark sky is going to give us tons of rain so he will stay inside for the rest of the day.
I want to laugh so ordered Blazing Saddles from Netflix but I can't sit and watch until he is trying to sit next to me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Moving items

In a short while we will be in a mess. Yes, more than right now. Renovations will be done to our old house.
New kitchen cabinets for starters and new heating system and wiring.
So........I started to clean out the cabinets now. That way everything will be ready to put in the new shelves.
A kitchen armoire was to be moved, I did that.
Kitchen in disarray at the moment.
So what? you say.
Well , try moving a chair in another direction, try bringing in a new item and the Alzheimer patient goes bonkers.
So when old Bob saw the changes in the kitchen and in my office he just did not know what to do but panic.
Moved a painting (not his work and he was ready to hide it)
walked around the whole evening from room to room.
Looked at both of us, son and I, like we were Marsians.
So by night night time he was a bundle of nerves.
I think I would have given liquor if I had any in the house.
Until 2 AM he undressed and dressed over and over again until I hid his shoes and pants. I just could not sleep but watch him do his "thing". Then he insisted I put pillows between us. All this in gestures. He finally fell asleep at the very edge of the bed. Afraid he was that I would touch him.
Afraid, was I, to fall asleep. Young Bob took over.

What in the .........will happen when we have dozens of work man running around and everything in the house changed?
I could not stop this process it is for the best of our safety (re-wiring) it is for a better summer next year (read A/C)
it is the best for this old house (born in 1926 and in the National Historical section) - Read: histerical

Shall we have hysterics around here? Yeah. no doubt.
Last night I lost it big time and yelled at son:
I am going to kill him one of these days!!!Son replied: then do it quietly, you are screaming!
That remark just made me laugh and I got out of it. The heebeegeebees however you spell it- were gone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week end away

week end with Sabrina and that means help to look after Grandpa too, I had a good chance of napping on the couch. During the night he was confused and decided he did not want anything to do with me. Tried to get me out of bed. He kept looking at Zack's "art" on the wall.
That would confuse anyone anyway. 14 year olds have different taste than a 83 artist grandpa.
Even I did not feel like looking at the poster of "the Scream".
However it was nice of Zack to share his room for us.
Bijou came along too.
Zack and his friend kept steering grandpa to the right bathroom and back to his seat. It was nice to have the help.
Came home to find an email from a friend I met in Belgium when we were school chums.
She immigrated years before I did and when I finally made it to New Jersey she lived in Paterson , I went to her wedding and she was the Godmother of my oldest.
Somehow we lost touch when I moved to California but I found her after 50 years on facebook and now we have
catch up to do.
Wow, I am thrilled.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It has been hot and my zest for writing is diminished with my dripping wet body. Oh! the South! Oh the price of an a/c!

BUT better days are coming, looks like I have been approved for some remodeling in the old house. A/C will be with it.

My dearest friend called me because I had not written in awhile in this blog and then she worries about me. How many people have that kind of a friend? I am lucky!

We talked a lot about old Bob and what it takes to make his day, his meals, his rest, etc....she ended up by saying that I am keeping him alive with my care. That came as a shock to me. I thought about it for a second and then figured that for sure he has better care in this house than he would have any other place.

Maybe, just maybe, I thought. I am doing something right here. As one gets older , one tends to become a bit paranoid- read "very" in my case- one listens to some of the complaints from some children "you should have done...." from your financial advisor (If I had one) _"You should have...."
from my own conscience "Why did you not do..." and so there are times that I wonder how I ever made it to 77 and what in the h... did I do right or wrong.

To hear that I am probably keeping Bob alive at least gives me the thought that I must be doing ok with this situation even if at times I am way beyond aggravated and stressed to the max.

These thoughts invariably bring me back to a very young soul -left us way too early- she was only 32 and had not experienced much laughter, brightness, color me bright pink kind of days. A dark helo had followed her through her very young years, battles with mental health when she indeed worked with all her talents, heart and brain in that particular field.

At 32 she could have said "I should have" , she probably did but in reality she helped dozens and dozens of people who could not help themselves. She worked with the disabled of all ages, from babies to seniors. She did everything for them that they could n't do. No doubt she kept many alive. No doubt her love for them made them smile even when she was too exhausted to return it.
I miss her, that kind of spirit is not just about a job it is about helping another soul. It is about giving your all and she did that.

I have no idea why I wrote all that. I am just missing her and I just had to write it down.
The hot Southern day can do that to someone without A/C ...go figure !

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Boring stuff

Love the early morning.
Today it was misty and sweet smelling.
But, I did not like it when sweet Bijou decided 6.45 was the time to
get up and pee. When he wants out he sounds like a cat, he yawns a lot but it has a meauw sound.
So I tried to tell myself that I sure do love that early morning feeling especially when it is Sunday and looks like I am the only one up.
No, I saw that the church going man across the street lifted his blinds.
Time for the suit and church.
For me, time to try and get a nap in before my day begins.

The days blend one into another.
I know that next Friday I have an appointment for my haircut and Sabrina will come. I don't need a calendar to write it all down.
Schedule : M-F 9.30 bus comes - M-F 4.00 bus comes back.
Driver is never confused, he always drops the right male.
In between there is cooking, laundry ( boy ...is there ever laundry)..
computer gossip and email, dog hair collecting (I wish I could spin some lovely wool from Carwens hair) and trying to keep cool.

The quiet, boring, existence is broken up with son's new project or new read. I start to read a lot more but I also fall asleep a lot more.
Writers must make their books ................fill in the blanks..to keep me awake.
The garden is getting straggly so I have to work more in there but the heat is a good excuse to be lazy.
eBay is not producing many buyers so I am waiting on selling again.
Need a new hobby.
Thinking of refreshing my french verbs (they are not doing very well) or start learning Italian with the hopes of going there in 2010.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fantastic week

This has been a great week for me.
Bob was gone over the week end and either I got well rested or he
decided to behave because the girls has a talk with him.

That's a joke ! He would not understand a good talking to if you
would even write it in the sky.

We also had Oscar again home from camp and now back on his way to Texas. He is doing extremely well.
It was amazing when we saw the photos from camp (on line) and
he was climbing huge rocks and doing a lot of activity.
He is extremely polite. Something which we do not see very often with 10 year olds.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jane Brody's Guide to the great Beyond

A WowOwow friend of mine, Joan Larsen, snatched an interview with Jane Brody.
An extensive review can be read in WowOwow.com
Read it and you will want to know more, check it out:

Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally and Emotionally for the End of Life

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another life

Yesterday old Bob decided to give me dozens of kisses, my arm, my hands,
my head, and then he said "love you".
I could not leave it alone. I should have.

I said: Do you know who I am?
"no"
"so, I am a girlfriend?"
"no"
"Your wife?"
"no"
"Bob, we have been married over 40 years"
He thought about it for awhile and then clearly said:
"another life".

You bet ye, it was all in another life.

Dear friends took me to Cherokee country.
The Cherokee nation owns a Casino, run by Harrahs.
We used to love to go there about once a month or so
and play out 20.00 , eat out and have a lot of fun.
I am a better poker player so he sat next to me and watched
when he had lost his allowance.
Once I was finished with mine , we would split.
We always had a great time, a few times we would win and
be absolutely giddy.

So I was picked up in the morning and could not wait to
drive through the lovely mountains.
At Exit 38 melancholy started.
That is where we would stop for breakfast on the way in
at the truckstop, a huge breakfast for little money.
Southern style.
We passed it and drove into the curving mountain chain.
The more old memories cropped up the more I just
did not want to see it so I decided that sleep was a good
substitute about now.
We had a great lunch, pricey I thought but Louis insisted
on treating , then we were off with our loot.
Well, we did not last long , Celia too had 25.00 but she
had money left over by the rendez vous time.
Louis decided he had enough and I was broke.
Darn poker machines did not want to even give me 3 of a kind.
The ride home was better.
I do so miss that man in my life and like he said
it all was "another life".

My kids are afraid I will loose it if old dad leaves us but
I am thinking that I have lost him over the last 12 years now.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE WISE OLD WOMAN???

Most of my adult life I have been the center of our family.
The spoke which helped the wheel keep turning.
I truly took on the job as a matriarch.
I was (I think) capable and thought I would be 95 and still be able to keep everything together.

Think again.
Often now my children question my judgment, of course they would have to,they now have 5 decades under their belt in a brand new cyber world with new rules of how to bring up children etc.....so they would have
points to make about the old bird's ideas.

That is not that much of a bother to me.
What is becoming an issue, is IF and When and COULD we ever put old dad in a nursing home.
With me, rule 1 would be if I am emotionally able.
rule 2. if we use Medicaid (since we have no portfolios to brag about)
then I also lose his income. Can I survive on just my s.s.?
rule 3. would we ever find a place like home?

th answer to the three rules is almost always NO.

Then there are the new generation of wise birds who know that Mom is spent. Totally spent. Emotionally a zero on a scale to ten. Physically
on a good day 5 on the scale. Spiritually : lost it all.
What is left of her ? nothing from the matriarch who once filled so many blanks. I know what I want. I want Bob in this house till he leaves us and I want to take care of him. I want the energy, the enthusiasm to do it.
I need both of these and I checked all the bottles of Vitamins at Wally world but find not what I want.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday and I am feeling much better

I upset quite a few of my friends who read this mess.
No I did not go to the doctor, I would have felt very silly.
I took aspirin and rested a lot the last 2 days.
I think I was hyperventilating.
That can cause a black out and loss of feeling in the hands and legs.
I only felt it in one hand.

I do a lot of irregular breathing (noticed son) it works with the turmoil in my brain. Worry (my middle name) concern over everything and most of my worries never happen.

So goes it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What next

This morning as I was typing everything started to go dark, it seemed like in slow motion. I do not know how long I blacked out but I know I did but did not fall out of my chair so I am guessing it was very short. Right hand was numbing and that I was not hapy about. Took some aspirin and went into my lounger and fell asleep for 3 hours.

I am not feeling myself but hope by tomorrow this too shall pass.
I have a feeling that I am on a threadmill and I cant get off.

Sorry it is all about me. Right now this minute it is so!
Bob is continually cold, even in our Southern heat wave.
He refuses to wear short sleeve shirts.
Well, there goes one part of his wardrobe.

I purchased him nice long sleeved T shirts.
He looked dashing (in my eyes) and returned with
a PINK sweater in top of that.
The nurse at the day care had loaned him a sweater because
he was cold.
Of course, they do have air conditioning there but not in our home.
He runs around outside in 85 degrees with a sweatshirt and he is
sweating but somehow her also shivers.

Yesterday he planted. His version. He cuts off branches from whatever he likes and pushes them in the ground wherever he likes.
Of course when they are all brown in a few days he does not know that his planting was for nothing.
Whereas I plant and seed and when they die I have a lunatic reaction.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Garden shots





Just to keep some sort of record, I take photos every year so I can remember
what I planted and what will come up again, maybe! Just a few little shots:
visiting bee
window box
dragon fly over the water feature

Bijou almosty one year old

Grandkids on vacation with us

Thank you Joy for the recipe, I think too much trouble to figure out WW points. I am eating tomatoes, I like that but it does not sit well with my
psoriasis.

Oscar has gone back to camp for 1 1/2 weeks and then will return for a few days with his dad. He is a very nicely mannered child and I truly enjoyed him,I did not see much of him as he was with his dad and I wanted to give them the little time they have.

We are awaiting the arrival of Kahleb. He entered the USA on Friday but no doubt has some jet lag. We see Kahleb once a year and he does keep up with the English language and of course is now fluent in Swedish.
He has become very calm and I must say that his stepdad is doing a great job with him. The kid has manners, imagine that!

I am stretching my tolerance during the week ends when Bob is home.
He missed day care too. He does not like to give up a routine, then he becomes more angry and disoriented.

We are is a new phase that I can't discuss here at all.
I have been very open and frank since I started this blog, nothing I kept back so this is a first.
It would require too much detail which is very unpleasant.
I was never a good nurse, not even with my kids, I tried my best but I am just not cut out for that sort of thing. Blood is ok but open wounds, forget it, and other abnormal behavior when it comes to the bathroom I am not
fit for either.

We do what we have to do.
Not a nurse? You are a caregiver so deal with it!
That is the way the cards have been dealt.
Give me another Lexapro!!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

GETTING USED TO THE GREEN STUFF

Green stuff? Yup, Salads.
Geez........anyone who knows me also knows that I never eat my salad
that is for the bunnies. Strictly Bunnies food.
I have a friend who just loves her salads, you would think that she is having an orgasm when she eats a salad.
(Pardon my sexual reference)
Me, I have raised rabbits, I know that they adore this green stuff , now lately there have been problems with the lettuce, the spinach, was there anything else which was contaminated???
Healthy foods, only after you wash them in the washing machine for a half an hour,.
All kidding aside, I ate a salad at a sushi restaurant, I was so hungry I would have started to chew on my glass.
Salad went down easy enough but only with the promise of a California sushi roll.
Diet is on day 5 and I am getting used to it.
I am getting the "stuff" which will help me and not cost me a ton of WW points.
Then there is the running around with the dogs, I get points for that.
The Corgy, over her surgery, now wants to run so I have to do a very fast walk with her to keep up with the short legs running.
Old Bob has been stealing papers today.
Anything with his name on and he steals it and it is gone forever.
Got him in time to rescue the insurance bill.
He appropriated young Bob's favorite Gerber knife and that is not sitting very well. We just can't find it.
So he had to order another one.
Probably buried somewhere outside like he did with my brand new expensive Roomba. It was buried outside and then it rained.
Not great for this housewife who deals with dog hairs.
Hope tomorrow, being Sunday, that he has his best manners.