Monday, September 26, 2011

Saga Seventeen

This blog has over 10, 000 hits, according to the site meter. How does this happen? I speculate that the labels I provide at the bottom of the blog gets people here. Or I post on other Alzheimer's blogs and "NewKidontheBlogg" takes people here.

Last Monday I made myself unavailable to substitute teach so we could go to Sally and Jake's church for their monthly senior’s event. Everybody brought a bag lunch and a collectable hobby to share. Sally was in charge and so she had me do my "raps" for the group. Sally shared her antique trays, Jake—his bird houses, and hubby his toy horse collection. I shared four items from my ruby red glass collection.

Usually pills and breakfast will happen after I leave the house, when hubby gets his false teeth in. He needs to eat something when he takes those pills and three days last week he ate breakfast, but no pills while I had to leave to substitute teach, which I did Tuesday through Friday. Saturday when I was off to teach a first-time driver’s class, I had a plan for those pills. Put them on the plate with his breakfast, because putting the pill box by his breakfast doesn’t cut it. Great solution.

Alzheimer’s patients need socialization and hubby loves to get out. Wednesday night we went to Toastmasters, the club that I helped form at a church in Lakeland. I tend to talk too much there—go over my time limit, but when DH is called on for “Table Topics” at Toastmasters his verbal skills are excellent--often humorous and to the point for this extemporaneous response.

But are his verbal skills really excellent? I love his prayers, but I realize that he now uses limited vocabulary and concepts when he prays at night. He thanks God for the "good" day and goes on about the "good" day, without specifics of what happened, for maybe four or five sentences.

He can ask me questions successfully (many times it is the same question up to six times), but he cannot respond to my queries. For example, I spilled milk on the dining room carpet and wanted him to bring me towels quickly.

“What kind?” he wants to know. “Paper towels?”

“No. Hurry and get towels out of the basket on the pink trunk in our bedroom.” That was TMI (too much information) for him. I ended up getting the towels and as it was Sunday morning and we had to leave for church, I wouldn’t be able to clean that carpet.

What about his reading skills? He doesn’t always like to read the daily clipboard schedule I make for him. He has another pad that he writes on to supplement that daily schedule. He will then cross of the item after it has happened. He reads the bulletin and hymns in church, but doesn’t read so much during the week. There came a time when Dolores’s husband stopped reading—something he dearly loved to do. Hubby loves to watch videos and so far that is what he does while I am off supplementing our income to try to pay for my dental work and get our credit cards paid off for when I have to stay home full time as Dolores and Sue have had to do.

Social Sunday Night. We get home from church activities about 4:30 and get ready for guests to come at 7 PM for another pool night at our home. I am glad the carpet doesn't smell from the spilled milk--yet. Three gentlemen and Sally and Jake's delightful ten year old granddaughter play pool while we wives play Mexican Dominos. The granddaughter starts enjoying our dog Ziggy, who also liked the attention and decides pool is more interesting than her Math computer game. DH and Jake sit in the family to watch TV while Bob goes to the den ready to play pool. Now hubby doesn’t realize as a host he needs to be playing pool. I remind him and like Archie Bunker in the old TV comedy, hubby shushes me up. About five minutes later the two Alzheimer’s husbands join Bob in the den where the granddaughter has fun playing with three old men.

“Lana,” I quip as we ladies play our domino game, “do you realize your granddaughter is learning to enjoy playing pool with men?” We ladies laugh.

It is so great that our two husbands are taking turns playing with two others who keep track of the game. Good week, but verbal skills are declining I realize.

The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.
from my devotions this morning--Isaiah 50:4 NLT


  1. Good thinking on the tabs. Hey, don't worry too much about the TMI thing. I find males of all ages struggle with too many instructions!
    Have a good week.

  2. Ruby's on to something - I know the males in my house, age 3, 7, 12 & 43 all tune me out with too many instructions - lol.

    By the way - I'm reading An Organized Heart and really enjoying it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Oh, the pill thing. I could not let Elbert do his own medications. And, do you know, I consider myself pretty doggone sharp at 77 but sometimes I forget my pills. If they aren't in front of me I just don't think of them.

  4. I put David's pills in a tiny bowl with a glass of water each morning, and then again in the evening. I make sure he takes them..... but there's no way he could do this on his on.

    Each person with the disease is so different in their actions/ the different stages.

    David's at the stage where he can no longer read at all.... doesn't watch TV, but thankfully he still loves music..... but he's getting to the stage of sitting and staring.

    Breaks your heart to see them decline...... but we'll get through this with God by our side.

  5. You're juggling a lot of plates these days.

    I'm sure it's helpful that others can read the things you do to help your husband stay on track. I always learn something... even though my spouse does not have AlZ.

  6. I am now realizing the power of information, such as "give one instruction at a time," and remembering that my husband Steve takes up to 30 seconds to process what I or anyone else says, according to research, and then more time to formulate a response or take action.

    Despite my head knowledge, I still speak and act hastily, adding to the overall stress in our home, especially this last month when my back and sciatica are causing great pain. Just when I've gotten to a prayerful, calm mode, we are taking groceries out of the back of the Jeep and he has forgotten how plastic bags work, taking a loaf of bread out of the bag and trying to carry things all singly. It's hatd to stay calm when my own hands are full, plus I have to carry the keys and my purse to open the front door. I just fgured out that he cannot judge spatially any more, so he tends to file along behind me at the store, thinking there's not room for two of us in a grocery aisle (and we are not wide folks)'s probably better to shop when a caregiver is home with Steve.

    Any other solutions out there? Steve takes all of the recommended meds, plus an anti-tremor, an anxiety med for many years, and some natural supplements...

  7. Living on Less,
    Yes, lots of irons--you are right. Decided to have one day a week when I make myself unavailable to substitute.

    I have been having trouble posting on your blog with Google or another way. However,you have inspired a blog post called WITH. I wrote it today while substituting.