Monday, January 12, 2015

Another day on the Island of Blue Hairs

Glad to be back home after another day of doctor that the plight of the elderly?   Hey, I am so grateful that we have good insurance and can afford ourselves of all the great medical care that is available in Houston.  This morning I took He-Who-Sleeps-Alot to a retina specialist.  It seems he has scar tissue on the retinas of both eyes from surgery for previous detached retinas.  The recommendation is to try some stronger glasses for reading for four months to see if they help.  He needs complicated new lenses so we went to the recommended place downstairs from the doc office.  Probably not the cheapest but holy moly, I don't trust Walmart with this heavy-duty prescription.  Just grateful that we can pay for them and hopefully they will help him.

Sadly it now seems his twin brother is exhibiting more symptoms of Alzheimer's...confusion over some simple things.  I have referred him to docs I believe in and we shall see.  But dang, this means all four of the siblings have had Alzheimer's or some form of dementia.  So much like his mom and all her siblings!  Don't tell me there isn't a strong genetic component here. comes the ambulance again to our building.  Our new neighbor down the hall calls them at least once a week.  She is standing outside her apartment door waving them in.  She uses them like an emergency clinic and then always refuses to go to the hospital with them.  Dang, as tax payers we probably all are paying for her medical service.  I think she's either nuts or a prescription drug addict or both...who knows and it's really none of my business.

Back to rereading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman for Book Club this week.  I'm facilitating the discussion and delighted to do so as this is one of my favorite books.  It is set in the southern corner of Western Australia where I lived for six months while teaching at Edith Cowan University in Perth.  Beautiful country and a great story.

Friday, January 9, 2015


My patience is thin today.  I think I must be in need of a break but it is so cold and rainy out I'm not motivated.  I slept late and He-Who was already up when I got out of bed.  He had gone to bed at 8 last night but it is still unusual for him to be up this early.

He was working over the newspapers at the dining room table.  I had put the old ones out for our Friday trash pickup but he had managed to retrieve yesterday's as well as today's.  I reached for the local paper only to discover he had removed the Star Living section, the one section I really wanted to read as it has info on local shows, gallery openings, etc.  He had taken that section out of today's and yesterday's papers and they were gone with the trash...frustrating to say the least!  So now I guess if I want to read that section, I will need to get up early.

He's been going on and on about needing new batteries for his hearing aids starting yesterday, said he was out and insisted that we go to Walgreen's today to get more which we did.  On further investigation here in the apartment I found package after package tucked way back on a shelf.  Other stuff is missing...little stuff like the special knife that fits into a cheese board and the black disc that cuts the seals on wine bottles.  I've looked everywhere.  And once again he couldn't find the remote that he had just used to change the channel to (of course) MSNBC...he was sitting on it.

We sat with a woman and her aid at lunch today.  A woman I had not met before.  After introductions (her name is Betty), she wanted to know where the golf cart was.  I looked the aid who just smiled.  I explained that I didn't know and that I didn't play golf.  He-Who chimed in with reporting that we went on the bus trip we took yesterday.  And then Betty asked again if I played golf.  And then He-Who repeated again his report that we went on a bus trip yesterday.  I couldn't help but laugh.  I swear some days I am just sure I have awakened on another planet and God help us, maybe I have.

I was thinking of going to the First Friday reading tonight at Inprint House as my friend, John Gorman is the featured poet but it is so cold that I'm going to skip it.  It sometimes runs really late and I'm just not up to it today.  We did have a fun but long day yesterday on a Brookdale excursion.  We were invited with a few other Brookdale residents to go to the Sysco food company's office for a day of demonstrations and food tasting with Culinary Art Institute Brookdale chefs from Chicago.  All day they cooked and we sampled and they talked of dining room management.  Interesting and most of the food was delicious.  Have you ever heard of a fish called Pangasi?  Me, neither.  It's a delicious white fish from Asian waters and cheap.  We came home with recipes, a digital thermometer and a dozen shot glasses.  They prepared yummy desserts layering cake, cream cheese and mouse in all different flavors in the shot glasses.  We were served chocolate layered with cream cheese and coffee mouse.  But He-Who doesn't remember much about the food or where we were but loved the bus ride.  Ain't that a hoot!

I made corn chowder, pumpkin cornbread and spinach/orange salad for dinner last night.  My in-laws joined us.  I had an ah-ha moment yesterday watching these chefs.  I realized that I do enjoy cooking...just not on a regular basis where I'm totally responsible for all meals 24/7.  We are blessed here to have a pretty good chef and I don't have to plan what we eat, shop for it, cook it and clean it up daily...I cook only when I'm in the mood.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking back on 2014 and forward to 2015

So where was I?.....some days I'm not sure.  Looking back on 2014, it was quite a year!  A year full of change for sure...changes in where we live, what we do, where we go and how as well as health issues.  But all for the good I keep telling myself.
So how is He-Who-Sleeps-Alot?  Physically he is great, thank Goddess, but sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night.  I still don't know what to think about it.  I have been told this is common with Alzheimer's but sometimes I think he is either bored or sleep provides a safe place where he doesn't have to struggle with making sense of his surroundings.  I think we may have reached the max that medication can help and I am working to get him to the exercise class here.  He spends his days watching MSNBC which repeats news over and problem as he doesn't remember what he watched...and he goes over 3 newspapers with a highlighter.  We take the Houston Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times and he cuts out articles he thinks worthy so that keeps him busy.  He stacks the articles up on a shelf and every now and then I go and take the bottom ones to discard.

I took him to a new eye doc this week and wish we had seen this one a couple of years ago...very thorough and referred us to a retina specialist as the retina on his left eye is buckled. I told the nurse and doc that he has difficulty following directions and they were just wonderful with him.  But a funny thing happened on the way out of the building.  While I was dealing with paying the parking fee, the parking attendant appeared laughing beside me trying to get my attention.  I turned around and there was the nurse from the doc's office trying to help He-Who.  He had put his hooded jacket on backwards.  He looked hysterical and had no idea what was so funny.  She got him all straightened out before I could get my wallet back in my purse.  He has a difficult time getting his arms into sleeves.  I now lay out his clothes after locating the dirty ones which can be scattered all over the bedroom and closet.  Why he can't get them to the laundry basket in front of him I'll never know.  He wants to wear the same thing every day including underwear...typical I hear of the disease.  

Some days it is difficult to get him to eat.  I have read that Alz patients lose some of their sense of taste and only sense salt and sugar.  He eats dessert first if it is on the table and loves, loves, loves sweets of any kind.  He loves shrimp and fortunately it is served here frequently.  
Christmas was lovely...very low key.  He had picked out a sweater at Target that he liked; I wrapped it and gave it to him Christmas morning...he was surprised, no memory of picking it out.  Smile!

So how am I?  Obviously not blogging regularly.  There are some days better than others.  It has been six months here and I still have the feeling that we are on vacation somewhere and will go home soon.  I had a real down couple of days after going on a Brookdale excursion to see neighborhood Christmas lights.  I was so homesick for my old neighborhood and my old home.  I miss my old "life" but know my old life wasn't much different than this one as far as being able to leave He-Who for long.  I had some minor surgery in November and it went well but am still having some recovery issues.   But all will be well soon.  Our daughter came and took great care of her dad while I was in the hospital and I took advantage of her when going to meetings in Clear Lake.  But she and her partner have moved to Conroe, north of Houston, so I will have to drop my commutes to Clear Lake, darn it.  At this point I need to refocus our commitments closer in.  I can leave He-Who for a couple of hours and he does fine.  I have installed a small white board in the kitchen where I post the schedule for the day.  That has been a success and gives him security in knowing what is happening and when.
2015 is going to be great.  We will be healthy and wise and do more and be more.  I will continue to work on being comfortable here and recruiting support when I need it.  I give up on resolving to be a regular blogger but who knows...I will still be writing and hope to add painting.
May all be well with you and yours,
Happy New Year!