Saturday, April 26, 2014

Outings With My Dementia-Impaired Husband

Tuesday we wert to a concert:



Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. 

We had to go because my retired teacher friend  was performing. She was one of three performers to win the first round in our area and this was the next round. So exciting! Hubby and I set off two hours before the 6:30 concert was to begin.

I played classic oldies from my iPod on the way over--Side by Side, I Just called to Say I Love You, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, For Once in My Life, and You Are the Sunshine of My Life. I knew when we got to the concert, there would be plenty more songs that hubby and I could enjoy. 

Now hubby is adjusting (or not) to changes these days. His doctor says he has to use his walker. However, when we got to Ruth Eckerd Hall,  he wanted no part of the walker in the parking lot to get to the auditorium. I motioned for the security guard in a golf cart. But after walking by several parked cars,  he changed his mind and had me retrieve the walker. Meanwhile the golf cart appeared and hubby went off in that golf cart with the walker in the back to the concert entrance. I walked to meet him. 

It might have worked better if Sally and Jake had been able to come with us, but Sally got sick at the last moment. However, I really did want to see my friend perform. Hubby was being stubborn and wanted to go back home after our long drive before we were even seated. Someone I had met through this friend appeared and she did help hubby get to our seats in the auditorium. I have that wife nag factor, whereas someone else can get him to do things. At the intermission after six performances,  hubby wanted to go home, but I said no and he did sit down. He will not argue in public. 

My friend was the eleventh of twelve performers. She herself came out in a walker and said to the audience:
You got to do what you got to do. 

My friend performing at 
Ruth Eckerd Hall, April 22, 2014

She leaned on a baby grand piano and the Bright House staff took her walker away. Her first song was Neither One of Us and she nailed it. For her second song she was accompanied on that piano by her cousin and it was so moving. She sang I'm Still Holding On, a Christian song by Luther Barnes. She was holding on and I have to hold on also at this stage of Alzheimer's.  After the concert I sent her a text that she had nailed it. Hubby waited with his walker while I went to get our car and we went to a late dinner at Applebee's. Usually in bed at 8 pm I drank a lot of strong coffee at Applebee's and we got home way after midnight. I canceled my job substituting in a middle school for Wednesday and used that day to sleep in and work on other pressing matters. 

The next outing was today--a one-year-old birthday party for two dog siblings. One of those dogs belongs to our friends Sally and Jake, and of course we had to go! It would be our dog Ziggy's first social engagement ever. 

Now Kenny isn't available for the shave and shower at this time, so I had to perform this routine with my husband this morning.  I live such a crazy busy life and it came to the fact that I had to slow down to accomplish the shave and shower.

The wooden chair by the bed is so useful. Hubby uses that one arm for help getting up; and then he faces the chair and uses both arms while I pull his slacks up. That chair is also useful for pill taking. The morning pills went well because we used that routine established my Kenny. I have something cold for you to drink, I said as I sat in the chair and then we both took our Saturday morning pills.

The shave in the master bath went well. In the light later I realized what a poor job I had done with the shave. (Kenny does a better job with these routines.) While I shaved DH with a razor, I told him how in the middle of the night I had been able to catch that frog that lived in the master bath toilet--coming back up after it had been flushed down. Last night the frog was out of the toilet and by the shower, I reported, and I chased it to a corner and put the urinal upside down on it and he jumped in. Then I closed the urinal and brought that frog outside. Now I had to tell hubby this news one idea at a time so he understood what I said. We both laughed. 

It came time for the shower--a easy distance from the shave since the shave is always done while hubby sits on the toilet lid as a chair. That shower is right next to it.  But it was not to be!

Let me lay down for a couple of minutes before I take it was his request. He did so. I sat in our bedroom and opened mail and got on my Notebook computer and also played Words With Friends on my iPod--for an hour I did this.

Then he wanted to get dressed without taking the shower, but I had not put any clothes out for him as I always do these days. I had to really insist to get him into the shower. I even called Kenny who gave him a pep talk. It took maybe five minutes of arguing.

Finally with the shower done and hubby dressed in a cowboy shirt with a country belt on his jeans, we were able to get to the next social event--today's party for the sibling dogs who had both turned one. Our dog Ziggy was not his best--outside he peed on the jeans of the hostess, but all five dogs did get along, although Ziggy seemed shy.  Ziggy didn't understand doggy ice cream and doggy cake, but the other four dogs were happy to eat his on the paper plate on the cement. We people guests had hot dogs, chips, people ice cream and we shared a large cookie that said happy birthday to the dogs.

For the people guests
Jake gets busy filling up everyone's drinks. He always likes to be busy to feel normal I think. My hubby likes to feel normal by not using his walker and with conversation of events that probably didn't happen or are distorted at best. Jake will repeat himself more than my husband will, but they do say that every person with Alzheimer's is different. The friendship between Jake and my husband is so very fascinating to Sally and myself. 

I do wonder how long we will be able to enjoy outings. I think of my friend's words--you got to do what you got to do. I also think of the poem DO THE NEXT THING as a great motto these days. See this poem HERE.

  • Kenny's mother is having surgery in Orlando for possible cancer. Please pray for her. 
  • I am in the process of replacing the items in my wallet--more on these adventures later.
  • Plumbing issues are being addressed. Have to get the same plumber back to fix the water softener to help with the rust from our well water. Indoor problems are solved. 
  • Pharis and his kids have worked in the yard and he has fixed the hole in the garage ceiling I made when my leg went through the roof last December. 
  • Let me know if you wish to be in a Blogging Tour where I introduce you to three blogging friends and then they introduce me to three of their own blogging friends. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Find the Humor

Lots of stress this past week including health concerns for Kenny's mother who is scheduled for surgery tomorrow--stay tuned. With Kenny at the hospital for the past few days and for three weeks after the surgery when he goes out of town to help another relative of his, it is my turn to shave and shower my husband. HUBBY THINKS OF ME AS THE NAG IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES.

I actually cried in front of my husband tonight about what kind of underwear he is supposed to wear now and whether or not he takes a shower. I have to keep reminding him to use the walker--doctor said so, I tell him. I asked him to pray for me which he did because I was so upset; somehow he found enough words to make a thoughtful prayer. He soften and promised to take that shower in the morning.

We had a plumber out on Wednesday, but for two nights water spilled out in the backyard. They came back, with an explanation,  but it is still not ideal. I don't do plumbing and car repair, nor can I explain them. I miss the days when my hubby could handle these issues.

Last night of all things I misplaced my wallet. I noticed it last night and retraced my steps today. I went to the bank this morning to see about a new debit card. I got cash out so I could buy gas. I need to replace a lot of items including the driver's license and credit cards.

But, what the heck, let me laugh a little at the two Alzheimer's husbands and at myself. .

Thursday night. Hubby is so slow at eating now that it doesn't pay to eat out if we are on a time crunch. But for our 14th anniversary two nights ago (when I had my wallet and when we did have time), we did eat out at Carrabbas in Plant City. I used my iPhone to post our picture on Facebook and my goodness we got so many likes and comments! Hubby was still working on his dinner of course when I was finished eating.

I have to laugh at myself. I didn't want to have an anniversary where we didn't talk, but I just got bored. He often doesn't understand what I say.  So out came Words With Friends games on my iPhone. Our waiter helped me with a game. Then it came up that I have a YouTube channel and often people in Plant City recognize me as MC AC The Rap Lady. In this nice restaurant our waiter got  other staff together to hear several of my raps. Hubby just enjoyed me rapping for these folks. Really we both had a great time.

Good Friday. Since we met Sally and Jake over three years ago, we have been going to Good Friday services at their church. Friday night was no exception. Sally told me 7 pm and we were late because of those bathroom issues of hubby. When we got to their church, the sign said 6:30 PM for Good Friday services so WE WERE REALLY LATE.  We snuck in and sat in back of Jake. Sally was in the choir. I watched Jake try to navigate the bulletin in this liturgical church and helped him at times. He started singing the choir's song. After the service Sally asked me if we could take Jake to Denny's while she and their granddaughter had a choir practice for Easter. The three of us headed to Denny's and I tried to find the funny with the conversation of our two Alzheimer's husbands, DH and  Jake.

Not to make fun of the husbands, but to document the stage they are in I was keeping track of the conversation. About ten times Jake wanted to talk about whether his wife would be joining us.

Jake: Where's my wife now?

Me:  She is at choir practice for Easter. She and your granddaughter will be joining us.

Finally (so I wouldn't be tempted to play Words With Friends on my iPhone as I did on our anniversary the previous night), I switched the subject and said that yesterday was our 14th anniversary. Jake then found a new topic--how long he and Sally had been married. He got his wallet out and started looking. The conversation went on and on--same comments.

DH: Your wife will know how many years it is, Jake.

Jake (repeatedly): But I should know. I am embarrassed that I do not know.

I finally told Jake that one doesn't keep the wedding certificate in his wallet. Now I happened to know that Sally and Jake had their 40th anniversary last summer. He continued to be so upset that he didn't know this. I wrote on a slip of paper for Jake: I was married in 1973 which means I have been married for 40 years. He put it in his wallet to take the place of that marriage license that he thought should be there.

Sally and their granddaughter came. He asked her about how long they had been married and said he was upset he didn't know.

Sally: Sometimes you forget things.

Both husbands needed their wives to them them how old they are. Sally whispered in Jake's ear.

Jake: I'm 76.

Me: Do you know how old you are, Sweetheart?

I also whispered in my husband's ear.

DH: I'm 76.

The granddaughter laughed.

Sally offered to pay for my coffee and my husband's milkshake. So I didn't realize that wallet was missing last night. I have indeed been humbled losing something.

I had been keeping hubby's debit card in that missing wallet along with mine. Today, Saturday morning, we went to the bank to get new debit cards. Hubby told the bank officer earlier today that I was always losing things.

Me: Name another time.

DH: There have been thousands of them.

Then we went to visit the hospital where Kenny and his mother were awaiting her surgery.

From Deal Dash posted on Facebook

Monday, April 14, 2014

Movies With Memory Loss Issues

This is a repost of one I took off.  I have added one recent movie. 

"God's Not Dead". I was glad we could have a date that we both enjoyed so much recently. My husband was moved by the movie and didn't seem to flinch with the mother who has memory problems--in fact he didn't remember that part of the movie later. It is certainly more biblical than the current "Noah" which doesn't even mention God (we didn't see that one and do not plan to). The next day my husband didn't remember this movie at all.  

"The Notebook" is a beautify movie and book by Nicholas Sparks. We have seen that movie on TV. I may read the book, both well reviewed. Sparks writes in chapter one The romantics would call this a love story, the cynics would call it a tragedy. In my mind it's a little bit of both. Yep.


"50 First Dates" my husband has seen several times I know and he remembers that movie but has said he doesn't remember how it ends. Four years ago he watched it on Easter with his son who was visiting Plant City. I wonder if they discussed it--I was at Books-a-Million with other family members at the time getting a book so the teenage granddaughter had something to read on her trip home to Virginia. We also own this movie and have enjoyed seeing it several times. There is  scene in the art class when the character played my Drew works; several men have 10 second memory and this is comedy in the film. However, the movie is very sweet.

"The Vow".  I wrote on Facebook: We saw "The Vow" today and it touched my husband. I told him if he forgot me I would court him as Kim courted Krickett. He said he wouldn't forget that he is married to me. He also compaired it to the movie "50 First Dates". I understand that the book is also a best seller now, and tells more of the Christian faith of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. The world needs to understand that a wedding vow is a wedding vow. I am going to see if I can get this book for my Nook. The movie leaves so much out and makes it so Hollywood. However, that movie did bump up sales for the book.

"A 1000 Words" stars Eddie Murphy as Jack McCall and we saw this recently when we couldn't get into "Hunger Games" which of course was sold out that first weekend. Later we saw Hunger Games and I loved it. My husband liked neither movie.  "A 1000 Words" has gotten poor reviews and what disturbs me the most is how Jack McCall's mother who has dementia is portrayed. I have no sense that she is being properly cared for and her confusion that her son Jack is her husband is meant for comedyMemory issues are not funny, folks.

"Away from Her" is about Grant and Fiona Anderson. Fiona is admitten to a facility and Grant cannot visit her for 30 days. When he does see Fiona after those 30 days, she has forgotten him. I haven't seen this movie yet, but learned about it at an Alzheimer's workshop several years ago. I ordered it, but have not seen it yet. 

"Forget Me Never" my husband and I saw on TV, enjoyed it, and I blogged about it earlier on Plant City Lady and Friends. We saw this movie, however, before he ever acknowledged his memory problems.

Tom Rush has a video song that makes fun of memory. Loss of memory, however, is not funny at all when you have it or your family member has that memory loss. My husband often relies on me for memory. I tell him I am happy to be his memory, but that memory is so painfully less now than two years ago when I first posted this list of movies.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Not My Problem?


Romans 12:10-15 reads: 
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 
not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 
rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, 
continuing steadfastly in prayer; 
distributing to the needs of the saints, 
given to hospitality. 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

There is so much physical and mental suffering out there. Some people are grieving the loss of a loved one due to disease or accidental death. So many causes to support and people to care about and pray about. Sometimes we miss that suffering and just concentrate on our own family and our own issues. We want to be happy after all. Why care about . . .
  • Cancer research is a big one. Wear pink. Many times cancer research gets big bucks because people with Alzheimer's often die of other causes. Nonetheless, let's support both cancer and Alzheimer's research. 
  • Problems with asbestos. Heather send me an email to feature asbestos problems HERE.
  • Mental and physical abuse by others. Human trafficking. Horrible scars. 
  • Loneliness.  
which can lead to

  • Depression. See HERE for what you can do. 
  • Autism. This can be a hard one for families. 

  • Whooping cough. Saw this poster at the right at the mall telling us to get vaccinated. Praying for some children who have whooping cough now.
  • Addictions of various sorts. I teach a class about once a month for DUI offenders and we discuss those substance addictions. 
We saw the movie "God Is Not Dead" Thursday night. A lead character has a mother with Alzheimer's in that movie. That mother didn't remember her son and daughter. In the movie the daughter was attentive, but the son wasn't. The mother loved chicken and would request it every night. My hubby is getting like that--favorite foods. I asked him about the scenes with the mother in the movie and her poor memory. He didn't remember that scene. The next morning he didn't remember the movie.

Yes, I mainly write about dementia issues here, but LORD forgive me for not caring and reaching out to others with other needs.

I do know that my husband's faith shows when his memory doesn't and he cares about issues that he sees in the moment and we can pray together in the moment. You should have heard his prayer Monday at the restaurant when we took Kenny out for his birthday. It was as if he never had vascular dementia or Alzheimer's. As Sally and I learned in an Alzheimer's workshop yesterday, the soul doesn't get Alzheimer's.

Let's remember that our ALZHEIMER'S caregiving is not the only issue out there. Above all, let's heed the call of the LORD on our lives before we get Alzheimer's or some other dementia when we cannot heed His call.