Monday, February 22, 2016

Wally World...always an adventure

     A new Walmart opened recently near us and He-Who declares it his favorite store and always is eager to go.  So off we went.  He remembers this is where he bought his red broom and pauses as we pass the mops and brooms.  I remind him he already has a nice one.  I pushed the basket through the aisles of the grocery department with a quick side trip to baking for a loaf pan.  How did I not move even one here?  Somewhere along the way He-Who says he wants some soap.  I hate to deny him the pleasure of a purchase choice but had to ask what kind.  He wanted bath soap.  I had to say, "You know the drawer in your bathroom has eight bars in it.  Do you think you need more?"  "No, I guess not," he said disappointingly.  But he did get to pick out the cookies and seemed quite pleased.
     Finally we are at the checkout counter.  He helped load the items on the belt and went to the other side of the now empty basket.  The cashier is very nice and I watch her ring the items up and put them in bags on the carousel.  Then I look over at He-Who and he is emptying the bags one item at a time into the empty basket.  I managed to kindly suggest that he put them back in the bags so that we could get them into the car and apartment with ease.  By now there is a line behind us.  The dear cashier was so sweet and jumped around to load everything back in the bags and into the basket.  I've never had that kind of service from a Walmart employee and thanked her profusely and out we went.  Whew!  Never a dull moment.
     At home I showed him the drawer of soap and he was delighted.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Before I Forget...Such a fine story of a couple dealing with Alzheimer's

There are some 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's.  500,000 die every year from this disease.  It is considered by one recent study to be the third leading cause of death in this country.  One in nine Americans over 65 has it: 33% over 85.  200,000 have early on-set...those under 65. Two-thirds of the 5.2 million are women.  African-Americans are twice as likely to get it.  Scary stuff, isn't it?
The chances are overwhelming that as you age, someone near and dear to you will have Alzheimer's.
In my husband's case there is a pattern in his family on his mother's side and among his siblings.

So it is important that we all become informed about this atrocious disease and know how to recognize its symptoms.  I have read a lot of books on Alzheimer's but this is the best so far and reflects the current thinking about causes, treatment and research.  Gasby has done a lot of research on Alz and shares much of his findings and experience as his wife, B. Smith, progresses in the disease.  It is worth the price of the book just for the resources listed in the back.  If any of you reading this have a history of Alz in your family and are concerned about it being passed on to generations, please tell them to consider joining the Brain Register.  Information is gathered that will be critical to research on this illness.  It is a sad story of a beautiful, smart, charming soul with early onset Alzheimer's and the challenges presented to her husband as caregiver.  Thank you B. Smith and Dan Gasby for sharing your story which is the story of many of us affected by this devastating illness.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The week that wasn't....

Picture is from Christmas....
Good grief!  Am I hard headed?  It takes a lot for me to get the message.  Caregivers are vulnerable!   I am vulnerable as a caregiver!.   A week ago Tuesday everything was falling into place for the trip to Ft. Sill.  My sister-in-law had talked He-Who- Sleeps-Alot into staying with them while I joined our daughter, her partner and granddaughter's boyfriend for the trip to OK. After many questions and explanations of what was in his suitcase along with written instructions to my sister-in-law for his meds and care, he was off to their house.

Even though granddaughter was not graduating, I so wanted to have the brief visit with her.  I hadn't felt really great the day before and after getting all packed with brownies made for granddaughter, I thought I better check my BP and heart rate....holy moly.  The heart rate was really high!  I took it again a few minutes later...still high.  What now!  I called my daughter and told her to go without me.  I didn't want to run the risk of ruining the trip and ending up in some hospital in OK.  I couldn't locate the resident nurse (that's another story) and drove myself to the local ER which sent me on to the hospital for a nuclear lung test to make sure I didn't have a blood clot on my lungs.  It took all day mostly spent in waiting rooms...all came back negative and I am fine.  Evidently the stress of the whole scene had triggered my tachycardia again.  Damn that Lyme Disease which started all this years ago.

So I'm okay but granddaughter isn't.  She has multiple stress fractures and was told she will never be able to have a natural child birth.  She's in Medical Hold and miserable and has little to do.  Of course we are all worried sick (in my case, maybe literally) about her and there is not one damn thing we can do but send her cards and letters, books, coloring books, etc.

But I got a brief respite here at home and He-Who had a great time at his brother's.  And life goes on with Alz.  Yesterday I found the carton of coffee ice cream in the refrigerator instead of the freezer.  Unwashed glasses appear among the mugs on the shelf.  His jackets are on the floor in the dining room and he asks me "How did I enjoy the program?" that his brother had taken him to.  I had to explain I didn't go.  Hmmmm.... he was delighted to be back home with his red broom and sweeping.  I'm grateful that the weather has been beautiful and I welcome the sunshine.

We watch the Republican debate on TV and I have to wonder which is here in our apartment or what I'm watching on TV.  What has happened to the Republicans and what has happened to us as a country that we allow such a debacle to continue?  They have lost my respect, much less my vote.  Geezus...isn't there someone to step up and stop this craziness?

So what have I learned as a caregiver?  I have to pay attention to what is going on with me so I can take care of others!  And I think I need to paint!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Another dilemma

Our granddaughter is at Ft. Sill, OK for boot camp in the National Guard and the plan has been for the family to drive up for her graduation BUT life is what happens when you are making other plans.  She is not going to graduation as she now has stress fractures on her femur and pelvic bones.  She is in the medical unit and we can only see her on Wednesday for 8 hours instead of the two days of the original plan.  She's miserable, devastated, sees her life plans falling apart.
I was already wishing I didn't have to take He-Who with me as it is so difficult getting him ready for travel and dealing with his confusion when out of his comfort zone.  There are 5 of us planning to go on the trip including him...two in the front and 3 in the back seat...aiiiiyayaiiii for the 6 + hour drive.  BUT he really wants to go, is so worried about our granddaughter that at this point, I can't bring myself to say "no".  If she decides to stay, we won't get to see her for several more months and I think she should stay and stick it least until she heals.  If, down the road, she stays and  gets a medical discharge, she will get VA benefits the rest of her life.  If not, she comes home and has no insurance.
      But right now how do I make this quick trip easiest for us both?  Lots of planning and prep...crazy, huh!
      We had a good day today.  We went with the Brookdale group to the George Bush Library in College Station.  He-Who really enjoyed it and has gone to bed a happy camper.  Lovely!

I'm going to bed and think good thoughts for all of us.  Wish us luck!