Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rain and more rain

What way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon is better than wine tasting in the Texas Hill Country? Here we are, a little damp, at Singing Waters Winery near Comfort, Texas.  Guitar playing in the other room and the rain coming down in sheets.  It was so much fun to relax and chill out with the family.  It had been way too long since we had done anything like that and we both loved it. And, of course, tasted some great wines and brought a bottle home.

However as the water continued to pour from the sky,I began to get anxious about our getting out of there and sure enough on the way back to I 10 the water was beginning to come over the roads.  When we got back to San Antonio, the sky was lighting up with lightening strikes which were really kinda pretty.  The next morning of course was when we heard the terrible news of the storm taking out the town of Wimberly.  I have weathered tropical storms and hurricanes and the flood in Houston and Alvin in '79 but had never seen water come down like we saw Saturday.  In '79 the Houston area got 20" in 24 hours and there was flooding but never has the city of Houston been paralyzed the way it was last weekend.

While in San Antonio, we toured some other retirement communities that offered continuing care with our son.  We revisited one that I had seen before but left less impressed that on our first visit.  The apartments have gorgeous full-size kitchens but no room for a table to eat on.  Very strange so crossed that one off the list.  Our daughter feels that it is time that we lived closer to one of our children and she may be right but we are just really getting settled in here and connected with new doctors (no small task).  We did find one Morningside community that we really liked and it has continuing care so that is a possibility on down the road.  The thought of getting He-Who acclimated to a new environment is daunting much less my finding my way around in a new city.  At the same time it may be wise to make the move while I can still drive and learn my way around.  Right now I'm tired just thinking about it and am going to play Scarlett O'Hara and "worry about that tomorrow."

Today is Thursday and they are still finding bodies and removing cars from previously flooded areas.  We returned on Tuesday between storms and made it home on back streets just fine...grateful to be home and living on the 2nd floor though no one in our community got any serious water damage.
We just attended the 1rst Annual Brookdale Dog Show...hilarious.  This dog's name is Angel.
I love being around them but so happy to not have one right now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dear Anne Lamott

 Dear Anne,
     Hi there from a devoted fan of you and your writing.  This is the obnoxious woman with the camera in the front row when you spoke in Houston.  If you will come back, I promise I will leave my camera at, I can't do that but I will at least learn how to to turn off the flash and again I apologize for not knowing how before and being so annoying.
     Well, here's the deal...I would so love for you to write some more about loss.  I'm 78 years old and beginning to think that is just about all being old is about and it is just damn painful.  That is, it is painful if you give a shit about anything or anyone and I do and refuse to give up caring.  It is the caring that keeps me afloat as I have always believed that God's purpose for all of us is for us to live into our potential and support others in doing the same.  But in that caring comes the potential for loss and it is accelerated by aging.
      And it is constant when you live in a retirement community.  The good news is that while one is losing one's quick step, hearing, and one's vision dims, so are one's neighbors.  But along with that is other physical and mental problems that are more serious.  Eventually a friend or neighbor can no longer live independently and leaves.  An ambulance drives up on a regular day three were around.  The constant loss makes one hesitant to invest deeply in friends which is totally against my nature and another loss in a way.
     Add in one's own physical losses and the whole scene is rather painful and depressing.  No wonder so many elderly are on anti-depressants.  Surely there is a better answer.  Yes, I constantly remind myself of all the things I am grateful for...I'm not 78 in Katmandu picking through the pieces of my home to hold on to some semblance of the life I had before the quake....I am not living in a refugee tent outside of Yemen...I am not in California wondering if I will ever be able to water my grass.  I have so much to be grateful for but loss is always barking at my door.  I'm learning to deal with it and have found some other residents who are experiencing the same but it ain't easy.
    The greatest cure of course is to get off the Isle of the Blue Hairs occasionally.  The weekend in Colorado over Mother's Day without He-Who and being pampered by my niece and her partner were a huge spiritual lift for which I am so grateful to have them in my life.  And some retail therapy at the greatest shoe store in the country...Brown's Shoes in Ft. Collins...was once again wonderful.  I could become a shoeaholic if I lived there.  Such fun and funky shoes in narrow sizes!  And it snowed!
     Sunday we left the Isle and headed north to our daughter's in Conroe in their new apartment for a great lunch and a movie and a game of a new kind of Monopoly which was fun!
     This week I will drive us to San Antonio to go to a granddaughter's concert and hang out on the edge of the hill country and breathe deep.  I will be grateful that I can still drive and have such a great family.
      But dear Anne with such great wisdom and spiritual depth I would love to hear more from you about loss so if you don't have too much on your plate already, give it some thought.  I'm patient, no hurry.

With much admiration and appreciation,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Such a sweetheart

In spite of this crazy-making illness, Alzheimer's does have some beautiful moments.  And they are usually out of the blue.  Today while I was in physical therapy, He-Who walked to the HEB just out our front gate and had this lovely, lovely card to give me when I returned to the apartment.  No envelope but the thought was there along with the love and he remembered!  What a sweetheart and I am amazed and grateful for his love and thoughtfulness.
And I'm trying not to go into worry mode that he will wander afar while I am away but he wears a MedicAlert bracelet.  I'm convincing myself and him that all will be well.
And I will look at that beautiful card for a long time.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Depressed? Silly girl.

I keep telling myself that "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it"  but I tell you some days I just want to either scream and scream or go hide somewhere.  It has been a stressful 10 days.  My best friend of 45 years, Betty, who lives here on the same floor, had a health crisis last week.  Her children are scattered so here I am family along with another friend and left to figure out what to do.  Thank God for all the help that this facility can give in a crisis arranging for 24 hour care until we could get her into the hospital.  She has fractured a sacral vertebrae and is in a lot of pain, can't walk even with her walker.  So I was frantically arranging what was possible until her daughter arrived from CA a few days later...whew!  My friend is finally in the hospital and preparing to go to a rehab hospital for several weeks.  We are all relieved.

I did have a melt-down one morning last week.  An email came saying there was an opening left for the writer's retreat in Boulder that I have attended before and loved...I could maybe swing the tuition and room rent for a couple of weeks but not the care for He-Who.  And I realized I am really tired of being around all these old people with all their ailments and complaints.

He-Who-Sleeps-A-Lot doesn't deal with the change in how we operate very well.  For Alz folk change is threatening, confusing and discombobulating.  He is constantly questioning me, checking the calendar, checking the white board, then the same questions all over again.  Of course I'm exhausted from the whole scene with my friend which doesn't help my patience with the repeated questions.  The good news for me however is that Thursday I leave for CO where my niece and her partner will pamper me and my sister-in-law for four wonderful days.  The difficult part of this of course is planning care for He-Who.  He needs lots of warning and repetition of future plans, very specific details of future plans which we go over and over for days prior to the shift.  The original plan was for him to go to San Antonio to our son's home but we were unsure how that was going to happen....remember he needs concrete solid written instructions days ahead of how everything is going to happen.  Well, he also doesn't want to miss the Men's Group Bar-b-que that is going to take place here while I am gone.  So he decided he wants to stay home so that is what we are going to try with hired help coming in for 30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening to check on him.  Hopefully my daughter can come check on him though she is moving that weekend and maybe his brother can drop in on Saturday or Sunday.
.  There is always someone with bigger challenges than me and I have much to be grateful for...I can think, see, hear, walk, drive, sometimes write and make art, someone else cooks and cleans....not too bad for 78.  Stop your whining dear Kay.  Geez, it could be a whole lot worse!!!!