Friday, November 20, 2015

Honey, you need to get out more....

Last night there was a reading by members of the Women of the Visual and Literary Arts at Archway Gallery.  I was privileged to read along with some other amazing women writers..  It was such a wonderful evening sitting in the midst of such beautiful art work and listening to the stories in prose and poem.  It so uplifted my spirits to see and be seen in this group of smart, wonderful women.  The wine didn't hurt either.  I was first on the program...a new slot for me...and I was glad I had chosen some humorous work which was well received.

And then it was back to the Island of the Blue Hairs.  Eating lunch today in the Dining Room two gentlemen joined our table, both handicapped in different ways.  So as my lunching companions I have Ken who orders shrimp salad everyday ignoring the cocktail sauce and dipping the shrimp in ranch dressing.  He doesn't eat the salad, only the boiled shrimp.  Opposite me is some strange looking guy in a wheel chair who keeps talking about Kennebunkport, Maine making no sense. To my right is a dear sweet young man whose elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor and has just awakened after staying up late playing video games.  I lost my appetite and thought to myself, "How can I keep doing this?"  I realized how tired I am of being surrounded by old people, granted some are amazing and wonderful, but I am tired of walking around walkers and canes and motorized chairs and listening to talk of doctors from people who can't hear or speak so softly they can't be heard  and then it's the weather and gossip about who died and why.

Okay, I'm whining but I am giving myself permission to whine, right here, up front, in view of the world with no shame.  It doesn't help that my best friend of 45 years who is one of the reasons we moved here is moving to California to go into assisted living near her daughter.  It is the right thing for her and I support her but I am so going to miss her and am grieving the woman she was before Parkinson's, diabetes and vertebrae that keep her in pain.  And I'm missing the life-long partner that is caught up in this terrible disease called Alzheimer's...lonely but never alone, the motto of caregivers.

And damn it, I am missing my own washer and dryer!  This laundry room business just sucks! there, the loss is here and better to look it in the face while planning some really great times off the Island and get back to journaling.  You can do it, girl!  Chin up!  I know I will be one of them one day but Pollyanna, it's okay to have a down day every now and then.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The keys...again

This morning in the other room I hear an excited conversation between Ken and our wonderful housekeeper, Francesca, who speaks limited English.  He is trying to explain something about our dining room table to her.  In frustration she calls her supervisor to translate.  At this point I enter the room to try to straighten out the confusion.  Francesca continues cleaning the kitchen while Ken is trying to explain to her boss what he wants.  I can tell she is equally confused and bless her heart, just listens and finally says, "Thank you."  Ken is smiling and satisfied.  I ask him what that was about.  He talks about his  keys and points to our dining table while I try to figure out what he's talking about.  He then says, "Yesterday and we got them back to the woman."

Ahhh...yesterday we ate lunch in the dining room with a friend.  Later we met up with her in the grocery store and she asked if Ken had picked up her keys.  He pulls a set of keys out of his pocket which were the set to our apartment.  The friend shakes her head and goes on her way.  Later I ask again for him to check his pockets and he pulls out a set of keys...HER keys this time.  I grabbed them and managed to catch up with her and returned her keys to much relief on her part.  Ken had picked up both sets in the Brookdale dining room after lunch.  I explain to him that that incident didn't happen in our apartment but in the big Dining Room.  He keeps pointing to our dining table and I repeat that it didn't happen in our apartment.  He finally accepts it as, hopefully, some memory of yesterday creeps in.

Two weeks ago he lost his house keys (which includes a clicker to open the security gates) somewhere between our apartment and the dining room.  We checked everywhere with no luck.  He had already lost the identifying card on them so if found, there was no way they could be identified as his.  So I went to the hardware store and got him new keys, bought a new $50 clicker and a new ID card.  Still no mail box key but he never used it anyway.  So someone around here has themselves an additional clicker and some useless keys.

I have asked him if he would wear the keys around his neck like a lanyard but he's not enthusiastic.  I may try it anyway.  That way he would not have to lay them down anywhere.  Hummmm...suggestions anyone?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A trip to Shang-gri-La

Where does the time go?  This morning an hour was taken up just sorting out two weeks of medications, supplements and vitamins into our pill boxes.  Ken has been suffering with a cold or sinus infection for several days so I have increased the vit C.  He is better today and we plan to go on a Brookdale lunch outing.

Yesterday we drove to our previous dentist office about an hour away in Clear Lake for check-up.  Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching later I see I have come up short in the care-taking.  I have been taking for granted that when Ken went into shower or get ready for bed he was also brushing his teeth.  Wrong!  So more trips to the dentist and another care taking job for me...supervising his tooth brushing.  The dentist wants him to use a Water Pic but I don't think he can manage it by himself...I can see water flying all over the bathroom but what the hell!  As long as he doesn't slip and fall, right?  Our dentist and staff are so good with Ken but I hate the drive so I may take his treatment plan to the dentist out our front gate and see what she charges.

Last week was busy and fun!  Wednesday I drove to Clear Lake without Ken to go shopping with our oldest granddaughter.  She needed some stuff for departing Monday for boot camp with the National Guard and it was just delightful to spend the day and lunch with her...just the two of us.  She needed 3 black sports bras with no logo on them...we looked everywhere and all had a logo.  She called her recruiter who agreed she could take a black marker to the logos.  Mission accomplished.
Thursday it was back to Clear Lake to take Ken to the NASA Alumnae Luncheon where he got to get reacquainted with old friends.  I was so thrilled with the warm welcome he was given.  He needed to know he's been missed and I hope now that we are connected we can attend again.  It's affirming that everyone else has gotten old, too.

Friday was my day.  Dear friends of many years, Ann and Dennis Webb, were in town and picked us up for a trip to the MFAH to see the Rothko beautiful and exciting to see his earlier works.  Rothko so knows color and how to use it.  His earlier works are much more cheerful than his work in the Rothko Chapel.  We lunched at the Museum, saw the show and went back to the cafe for some more conversation over coffee.  It was such a glorious afternoon to be off of the Island of Blue Hairs talking art and politics.  Dennis's father had Alzheimer's so he knows just how to engage Ken much better than I can.  Dennis retired from NASA and gave us a copy of his latest book on Astronomy.  Ann and I have been artist buddies for many years and she is an Artist Way Sister...our group has been "together" for almost 20 years now.  I say "together" as often as we can get everyone in town at the same time. I so value our time amazing group of women artists and writers.

And Saturday I had another wonderful day for just me.  A writing workshop with Max Marvelous Regon, my writing coach from Colorado at Spectrum Center.  All afternoon we discussed "Writing the Dangerous Memoir"....what are we afraid of in putting our our truth as we experienced it.  I have this idea of maybe at some point putting together this blog and the poetry I've written together in book form.

At 5:30 Tuesday morning I was awakened with Ken turning on all the lights.  He was up and in the bathroom.  Soon he came out and started dressing.  I asked what he was doing.  "I'm getting ready to go."  "Where?  We're not going anywhere today.  It is dark outside and 6:00 am.  Go to bed."  And so it goes.  I can't imagine what it must be like to be in his world...trying always to be on top of things while not being able to find words to express what he wants at times, getting confused about where we are and why.  The journey goes on.