Saturday, April 26, 2014

Outings With My Dementia-Impaired Husband

Tuesday we wert to a concert:

THE BRIGHT STARS SENIOR IDOL SHOW 

at

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.

UPDATES 
  • 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. 

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for asking me about the blogging tour; I'm going to pass right now, I'm going to take a mini break from posting after A/Z finishes and just enjoy reading blogs for a bit :)

    WTG for your friend participating in that event; sounds like she did a great job. Glad you and hubby were able to enjoy it too and that he won't argue in public, that's a good sign, right?

    The doggie party sounded cute; Koda would not have been able to participate in it as he is not fond of any other dogs, so glad to hear Ziggy could participate, he was just probably over excited, that's why he forgot some of his manners.

    Glad the shave and shower went good. Continuing to keep you in my prayers,

    betty

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    1. Betty,
      You are always so thoughtful when you comment. I bet your Koda and my Ziggy would get along well, but might not get to test that out since you are in California and I am in Floida.
      Hugs,
      Carol

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  2. You are such a trooper to tackle such difficult outings. The doggie party sounds like a fun way to get together. I've never heard of anyone giving a party for their dogs before but it does sound like fun.

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    1. Sally and Jake had one of the pups born a year ago and the hostess had the sibling pup. They just wanted to celebrate the two sibling dogs who also loved running around the yard while our dog stayed close to us.

      It is going to be difficult if my husband doesn't get used to his walker. I think he has an element of pride and doesn't want to feel old using it. I always hold his hand when he doesn't have the walker and that seems to steady him.

      Kenny insists that he use it when we are with him and that works better.

      Hugs,
      Carol

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  3. Carol, You really are an inspiration. I know all too well some of the events you speak of, but you are so wise in your dealings with your husband. It takes courage to tackle what seems like ordinary events with your husband...something most people take for granted. People with dementia can be socially awkward. You never know how they will respond to any situation, and you never know what's coming at you next. You seem to take everything in stride, which is God's grace. Thank you for sharing bits of your life with us.

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    1. Thank you Mindy for stopping by. The LORD is so good to be there for me each step of the way. It's been over six years now and six years ago I would have never known the joy of this journey had He not been by my side. I try to enjoy each day, knowing that those outings will become more rare as time goes on.

      Hugs,
      Carol

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  4. Kenny's mom underwent a 10 hour surgery yesterday at the women's Minne Palmer Hospital in Orlando for what turns out to be stage four cancer in her uterus. She will have chemo. I am really grieving about this. Pray for Kenny and his mom.

    Kenny has to be out of town for three weeks now and the caregiving is all on me . now. Hubby understands all this and together we prayed on the phone with Kenny this morning. Hubby is also being fairly cooperative.

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