Friday, April 6, 2012

I want ...

Last Monday I visited Bob and took him a milk shake. He loves sweets and after we'd shuffled about a bit and he'd finished the last drop of shake, we were walking back toward his wing. He struggled trying to say something. " I want ..." He forgot and focused on something else. Then "I want ..." And at last he got out "I ... want ... to live ..."
My guilty self filled the blank ___ "with you" and redirected the conversation.

Yesterday I visited Bob and took him a piece of my birthday cake. Again he was so happy and loved every bite. Then it was ice cream time at the home and he got cookie dough ice cream which I fed him. Almost finished, he again began "I want ..." and at last made it to "I want to live ... here" finishing with a big smile.

It dawned on me: he wants to live wherever but with me feeding him sweets.
That seems like a happy place.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


As we move close to the one year anniversary (seems way too jolly a word) for Bob's moving into a care facility, I've come to realize how much of our time was spent in conversation. We'd sit and talk in the mornings with our coffee; for years the alarm went off at 4:30 and we sipped and chatted for an hour before getting ready for the day.
Weather good? We'd sit out on the porch or deck, sip a glass of wine, and talk.
Time to go for a walk, we could walk (and sometimes argue) our way through a good three miles.
No one else can talk with me like Bob could.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Beaujolais noveau

Bought a bottle this week. Good year.
Years ago we always vacationed in Florida around Thanksgiving, when the BN came out. Bob took great delight in getting a bottle from the first shipment at a small local Sarasota wine store.
Everything has memories for the lucky ones among us.
Happy Grateful Time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Losing his rings

Bob has worn two rings for over 20 years: his wedding ring and an initialed signet ring which I gave him for our 22, 23, ?? anniversary. (In recent years he's "remembered" the story that our daughters gave him that ring --who cares?)
Anyway, he has always been obsessive about these rings. Worrying if he placed them to the side when washing hands or putting on lotion.

Two weeks ago I had a call from the "home." He'd put the signet ring on the wrong finger, hadn't told anyone (really is incapable of such realization and communication), and in worrying the ring had caused the finger to swell and even cut his finger. They had tried ice, vaseline, force -- everything they could think of to no avail.
The problem was now in my hands.
Quick google search brought up several options: take him to a jeweler (yeah,sure!), a doctor (fortunately it was Rosh Hashanah and our doc's office was closed) or maybe a well equipped EMT.

Knowing we get what our tax money pays for here, I called our local fire hall where the answer was a confident, "Sure, we can do that. We'll send a truck right over."
I live only five minutes away but they beat me, and when I arrived, Bob was surrounded by aides trying to comfort him and two calm, competent EMTs with a little ring cutting tool.
We got the ring off, but not after many cries of distress from dear Bob who had really no idea what was going on.

"No! Stop you're hurting me!"
"You're killing my hand."
The aides and I hugged him, tried to soothe him.
"You don't understand. They're hurting me."

Finally the ring was off and he cradled his hand. I got him to do some deep breathing, but he still moaned quietly. One of the aides brought him a glass of apple juice, he drank it. He continued to shake his head as if in despair.
Another aide brought some cream for the small cuts on his finger and put a band-aid on it.
Bob muttered, "They were trying to take my hand."

The other "inmates" sat quietly and one woman commented to me, "Hey I think he's crying."
Other folks seemed completely unaware of the drama.

The EMTs left, telling the supervisor this was their best call of the day: success and no harm done.

Bob continued hugging his hand until I told him it was time for supper.
"Finally, I've waited long enough," he said. "I'm hungry."
The band-aid was gone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Me again

I've been gone. Life has been crazy. My father is failing now too. The two most important men in my life decline and I am fortunate to have my family and my job. For now I will only share my oldest daughter's Facebook post from yesterday, World Alzheimer's Awareness Day.

Today is Alzheimer's Awareness Day. My dad was diagnosed with early-onset AD at age 59; now, at 67, he is living in a nursing home. When I visit I can never tell for sure whether he recognizes me (although somehow he always knows Lily!), and his brain is losing the ability to control his body's systems. It's a horrific thing that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It's too late for my dad, but there is real progress happening and real hope for a cure.
Please consider a donation to the Alzheimer's Association to support their research, or give specifically to the St. Louis Chapter, which is one of the best in the country and which became a second family for my dad.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Morning Thoughts


(for spouses of an Alzheimer’s victim)

If I didn’t think of you this morning

Except when I awoke alone,

If I complete my daily errands

Without your humor and your help,

If I can make it on my own,

Know still you are remembered

even as memory has flown

from you, my darling.

If you can’t remember

Who I am or what my name is,

Never fear.

I have memories enough for two.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Visiting Anyone

Totally in line with yesterday's experience, I want to share this wonderful post with you. Please read it; it applies not only to those of us who love someone with Alzheimer's but to all of us.
Share time. It's the best gift we can give.

Happy Independence Day!