Sunday, March 30, 2014

Smiles on his toes.....

The weekend was delightful...mostly. We arose Saturday morning to celebrate my birthday weekend.  Gary brought me coffee in bed, complete with "junk". (The first time we went to Panama we stayed at a bed and breakfast where the cook only spoke partial English and we spoke partial Spanish....I knew "cafe con leche" for coffee with milk but did not know how to say sugar...the cook knew how to put "junk" in coffee which was sugar and cream.  Every since, our coffee at home has junk.)

We got ready to leave for day, donned with Raincoats and umbrellas.  I got an email from my doctor that she wanted me to drop by Kaiser for some more blood tests as my Iron is low.  We were driving past Promenade Kaiser on the way to breakfast, so I decided to go to that one.  Of course, as we approached the parking lot, it was obviously empty as that location was closed.  I went to drive past and Gary got very upset as he thought the doctor had sent me an email for an appointment. We argued over whether or not the lab was open.  I pointed out that the parking lot was empty and there was no one there.  Since I was driving, I kept going and we went to Bert's Diner for breakfast.  After a great meal of Chicken and Waffles (new to the menu) we headed on to Folsom. 

The GPS took us through a gazillion puddles straight to Cloud's Porcelain.  Some ladies at the CLUB (Gary's daycare) had told him this was a good place to purchase a birthday gift for me.  We spent some time there and I picked out a vase, a sponge holder for the kitchen and a treat jar for Diva.  We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing through the shops in the Historic section of Folsom and ended at the Folsom Historic Museum.  We paid $4 each to visit the self-guided tour of the museum.  Of course, there was a section devoted to Folsom Prison.  The guide mentioned that there was a June and Johnny room in the back behind the prison bars if we needed it.  We quickly discovered the bathroom complete with Johnny Cash posters and music that plays when the door was opened. 

We decided to head back down the hill and got coffee at Starbucks and hot dogs at Costco.  When we went in, Gary said that he had to go to the bathroom so I told him I was going to jewelry and that he should meet me there when he finished.  After he walked off, I thought about it and realized that splitting up probably meant that he would get lost or distracted and that everything would take longer.  So, I stood still by the front door and waited on him to walk back from the restroom.  After about 15 minutes, he still wasn't back.  I heard him come up from behind me from the back of the store.  Somehow he had slipped through the cash registers and walked through the back of the store thinking I had gone to the seafood section (after all we went there for salmon, right?).
We did buy the salmon and went home for a nice meal using the new Lemon Olive oil and Peach Balsamic we had purchased at the Olive Oil tasting at one of the shops.  We went to bed early.
Around 4:45 am, I heard him being restless.  When you have been married for 28 years, one hears everything the other does.  Every sound is familiar.  So, loud exhales and frustrated "hhmpss" mean that I was not going to get any more sleep until I addressed his condition. So I asked what was wrong and the next hour was spent trying to explain to him why our house number is 10005 but our mailbox number (shared mailbox with whole community) is box #4 and not box #5. We are the fourth house and we are box 4.  It has been that way since we moved here.  In fact, yesterday afternoon, I took him out and showed him that our key did not fix box #5.  He said he had a conversation with the mailman and that he was convinced the mailman was putting our mail in the wrong box.  I explained that we get mail everyday, so even if the mailman was wrong, that we were still getting our mail. 
There is no logic to why the mailboxes are set up the way they are.  I didn't care.  He could not let it go.  This turned into a full scale argument with me leaving and sleeping in the guest room.  I released all the anger I could and was about to fall asleep (30 or so minutes later)when he came in the room still escalated to about a 9 over the mailboxes.  I was so aggravated!  I finally got him calm enough to leave me alone and go back to bed.  He woke me up at 9:00 and I don't know whether he slept or not.
We went to church and then out to lunch.  I took him to get pedicures.  He so loves sitting in the massage chairs. 
He ended up getting his nails painted like last year.  Tien is one of the owners who is the resident artist. (see pic) The ladies there so enjoy his visits as he is always smiling and happy and cracking jokes.  This Gary is the guy with whom I fell in love. He was clear, laughing and happy.  He does so much better when there is no pressure.  Gee, don't we all?
We came home, took a nap, took the dog for a walk and fixed dinner. 
Now, we get ready to go to work and the CLUB tomorrow.  I am always eager to see what the week will bring.  I will stop by Kaiser in the morning. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy Birthday to me!

So, I'm 51 years old.  It's amazing I've lived this long.....

Today was fun.  We had a training at work for the Admissions and Financial Aid Advisors today, so I spent the morning sitting in with them.  At lunch, my team came into the lunch room and sang happy birthday and put an adorable Snow White Tiara on my head.  My team knows me well and knows that I think this was funny and precious.  The teams from the other schools had funny looks on their faces.....probably didn't know what to think!  Then, the admissions team gave me a beautiful floral arrangement and a flower to attach to my hair.  It worked best on the Snow White tiara and it adorned my head the rest of the day!

My management team took me to lunch and we had a great conversation.  Its a very good group.  I am so lucky to have them as campus leaders.  Still wearing the tiara!

Right after we returned from lunch, Gary called me and was on his bike near Walmart and just needed to know he was going in the right direction.  I asked him why he was at Walmart and he said that he couldn't tell me.  I instantly remembered that I have taken away his credit/bank cards and that he had spent alot of his cash on massages last weekend.  I figured he was buying a birthday card.  I asked if he had enough money and he said that he had enough at Walmart but not enough at McDonalds. I asked him what he did.  He ate off the dollar menu.  I made sure he was headed in the right direction and we hung up.

We had a birthday cake party at 4:00 with the Academic Affairs and Student Services department.  (see tiara!)

I got caught up in the day and then received a call at 5:40 from Gary.  He was upset and sounded depressed.  He said that he had a very bad day and was having trouble functioning.  I ended my day and headed home.  I called him on the way and we chatted about various things and I was trying to figure out why he had slid so low in such a short period of time.  He said that he had purchased two beautiful birthday cards for me but now he couldn't find them.  He knew that he had them in a bag on his bike while at McDonalds.  He said he had looked everywhere for them and he assumed someone had stolen the bag off his bike. 

I suggested that we go to Walmart and have him show me the cards he had picked out rather than buy more.  He said okay and I picked him up. We went to Walmart and he looked through many cards and could not seem to find duplicates of the ones that he had purchased for me.  I told him if he spun around, closed his eyes and pointed to a random card that the card receiving the point would be the one the universe wanted me to have. He did and we netted a beautiful card.  He still did not seem content.

We bought a pizza and went home. He was very down and said that he was upset because he could not seem to keep the house as clean as he wants.  He had done an entire load of laundry and the kitchen was near spotless.  He pointed out two small specs of dirt.  I told him that the work he had done around the house this week was exceptional and that he had no reason to be concerned. 

He was freaked out over some email that he received regarding dementia.  I read the article and it was about the importance of vitamins.  I showed him each topic in the article and explained that he and I are taking all the supplements the article described.  He was very stressed over his full inbox so I put away important emails and deleted others.  I unsubscribed from about 20 unsolicited (or not unsolicited as Gary signs up for things and forgets)emails.  He used to get thousands of emails a week and I have managed to get the volume down to a couple hundred.  The alarm went off and we went to eat our pizza.

We fixed our tv trays and started to eat in front of the tv with the gas fireplace ablaze.  About ten minutes into dinner, something fell off the mantlepiece.  Surprise, it was one of my birthday cards he had purchased at Walmart.  He had purchased two, brought them home, addressed them and put them on the mantel for me to find.  He had forgotten he had put them there.  The cards are beautiful and full of love.  I will cherish them.  I told him thank you again. 

We put away the clothes he had washed and he wanted to go to bed at 8:15.  He needed to sleep as he was so "overwhelmed" by the day.  I decided to blog.  I typed most of this text once and then the site crashed and I lost it all....started over. 

I just watched a film clip from The King and I with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.  It was the clip where she fantasizes about dancing with her true love and she and the King end up dancing.  A magical theatre moment.  I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic. Gary and I have that kind of relationship.  It has just morphed into something deeper and more special than a romance.  It is pure, deep and dedicated love.  Thank you, Lord for such a special man.  Thank you for 51 years. 

Happy Birthday to me. I took off the tiara and will sleep next to my husband.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eat the ice cream!


Gary on snorkeling boat at Isla Mujeres Mexico - September 2013
This is my husband Gary.  He is 65 years old and has been diagnosed with dementia.  We are trying not to let that diagnosis label him.  Many people who run into him and talk with him, at first indication, would never know.  He is usually extremely positive, smiling and giving compliments.  Its only when recall is required or some sort of troubleshooting that people realize that "something is not right." 
Today was Wednesday and normally reserved for either Gary's Bible Study day or he goes to the Senior Care Center.  I was supposed to go to an event in Sacramento tonight, so I had no way to get him home, so day care was not an option today.  Bible study was cancelled due to a district meeting.  I was a little nervous having him home for the second day in a row. 
Backtrack:  yesterday he spent most of the day working on the back lawn, trimming, mowing, weeding, etc.  He was tired but seemed to have a great day and slept well.  No issues.
So, I was a little nervous going into day two, especially since it was raining.  I received a few voicemails and a couple of emails throughout the day but he seemed to be doing fine.  He served as weather tracker for me on my windy journey home.  (Tornado watches)
We fixed a healthy dinner and he read aloud to me from the book he is reading. The past couple of nights have seemed almost normal...that is a scary thought as I don't want to be disappointed.  I sure enjoy those normal days and I am confident that he does. 
He has spent quite a bit of time with Joel Osteen and Break Out.  The reading was about overcoming adversity.  There are many lessons in the world and often times, they find us and we don't have to look beyond our noses to find them!
Tomorrow is my 51st birthday.  Gary and I have decided to celebrate on Saturday.  The ladies at day care have told him about the town of "Old Folsom" and a particularly interesting Pottery shop that has specialty items.  He wants to buy me a present there.  I think that will be precious.  I'm looking forward to our day together.
Oh, BTW, my mother died 17 years ago today. I know in my heart that she intentionally did not die on my birthday.   Seems like yesterday that we talked every Sunday.  I often wonder what advice she would give me regarding my life if she were alive today. 
Here is my advice to all who are reading this.  Don't wait to say what you need to say to loved ones.  Ask the questions you want to ask before its too late.  Get long term care insurance before you need it.  Eat the ice cream if you want it.  Smile more.  Life is short. Look at Gary's picture above from last fall and mimic that very real smile.  He has a wisdom in that smile...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Christian Perspective Blog: Suffering is not optional

Gary and I attend a local Nazarene church called "Cornerstone".  This is the church group with whom we went to Haiti in 2010 on a mission to serve those who needed assistance after their great earthquake.  It is also the church that provides guidance, learning and teaching opportunities and great comfort through friendship and compassion.

Jesus sent a message this week to Pastor Jerry to preach today's word just for me.  (Not really, but it certainly seemed as if the message was for me).  Today's lesson was one of a series leading up to Easter.  The subject matter was a difficult one regarding SUFFERING, and the words were eloquent.  In fact, we all received bracelets a few weeks back labeled "Journey to the Cross".

Here is where I will interject a squirrel moment:  If you haven't seen the Movie "SON OF GOD", you really should do so.  It is amazing.

The rest of this blog uses phrases from Pastor Jerry, THE BIBLE and from a book he referenced by Dr. Timothy Keller on pain and suffering. Rather than annotate properly, I'm just telling you now, these are mostly not my original thoughts.  I run a college, I should not plagiarize!

Much of the life that Gary and I now lead consists of lots of loving moments, but times of real stress due to his memory loss.  I am worse with it than he is, but I get so frustrated with looking for items he has lost, repeated discussions, and just getting through trouble-shooting unbelievable situations that it could be considered suffering.  Prior to today, many times I have asked the question "Why?"  I don't think I'll ask anymore.

If you aren't at a place in life where you are suffering, you probably know someone who is or will be.  I believe we are called to assist them.  Pastor reiterated this belief very well today.  He referenced three ways the BIBLE tells us that God uses us through our suffering.  I will paraphrase:
  1. He uses suffering to call people to him. Without suffering, many people would never be open to the concept of Father/God/Jesus, etc.   I often pray or give energy to Jesus when I am most upset.  It always seemed weak but I find comfort knowing I am loved, no matter what.
  2. He uses suffering to develop character.  Suffering leads to perseverance which leads to hope.   Think of some of the strongest people or examples you know....chances are good they suffered.  I don't mind having a strong character.
  3. He uses suffering to discipline us.  (NOT PUNISH).  He helps us focus on the future and restoration and gives us hope of a Master, better plan.  His plan is certainly better than my pitiful and often non-existent one.
Here is a quick recap of the book Walking through God with Pain and Suffering as I took notes from a short video clip.  Please read the book if you want detail.
God gives us tools through suffering and some very specific steps that will assist us.  First, we must WEEP....honestly.  Don't be stoic or quiet if you are feeling it.  Luckily, in examining my own life, I have no issues with using Step Number one. (Smile)  The second suggestion is to PRAY.  Even Job in the BIBLE griped and complained through his misery and suffering but he did it in prayer, openly to GOD.  That's ok.  Don't turn our back on God....its a very different concept!
Three is to love GOD first and to re-order the "loves" in our lives.  Suffering is kind of like an internal guidance system that lets us know that perhaps we have gotten things out of order.  The fourth step is to LOOK TO THE CROSS.  Jesus suffered unimaginably for us on that hunk of wood.

Pastor added a fifth step that included remembering the resurrection.  He defeated death.  So, what is suffering in our modern world?

So, now I look at my pitiful suffering in a different way.  There is a plan that my little pea brain may never know. Suffering or how we look at it IS optional.

I have faith that my Gary will continue to be happy, hopefully unstressed and will stay on his path with the Lord.  Step by step, day by day, will get me through.  Thanks to all who pray and care for us daily.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mixed thoughts from today....

I sure anger easily.  Not hatred angry just pissed off and on the edge of screaming.  My tolerance for forgetfulness is as inconsistent as predicting when Gary will know important things and when he won't. 
He is still very interested in finding "something to do".  He feels like he should be contributing to our welfare and is highly disturbed that he has no occupation.  It sounds really sweet but what it means is a continuation of the last 7 years of him searching for opportunity and investments on the internet and in real estate.  While some opportunities were real and did not work out, most were a sham or outright fraud.  Rather than pursue legal action on most, I hhave chosen to take investment write-offs instead.  I don't have the energy.
When he starts looking at "interesting opportunities" on the net, I have to pacify him and look at them or the rest of the day is just not bearable.  99% of the time, I do a search for him and find all the reasons why what he is looking at is either a scam or far too intense for his brain to handle.  Giving that information to a man in denial is a fun way to spend an afternoon. 
I don't know how to convince him that he has value other than earning money for us.  Others have tried....he just won't give up.  I don't want him to give up really, just be comfortable with who he is.  He needs something to occupy his time and brain. 
He asked to go to Senior Care again last Wednesday.  However, he got bored this time and seemed really antsy.  The agenda on any given day is not exactly designed for men.  Luckily he is nice and very pleasant.  Everyone loves his energy.
If you haven't been around him lately, here a few favorite expressions that I hear many times a day:
  • When someone says "how are you today?", the standard response is:  "I am just glad to be here.  Its better than the alternative!"
  • When he hears information that he has forgotten or disbelieves, the standard response is: "Oh?" It is pronounced with the tonation that you must be absolutely crazy and I am just pacifying you by listening." 
  • Another phrase for something that he has heard many times but has forgotten that really aggravates me is:  "I don't know anything about that...."
Then, there are times when he completely accepts that he has dementia and is as sweet as can be.  Tonight, I spent quite a bit of time exploring personal GPS ssystems and found that the Amber Alert personal device is probably the best of him. I shared the comparison I had done and he was receptive.  One more stop after church tommorow and then we will decide for sure.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Today was a good day!


After dinner, I got out the computer and Gary asked what I was going to write.  I answered that I wasn't yet sure but that I needed to write as today was a good day and that I should not just write on bad days.  He said, "It's nice to have a good day once in a while."  However, he wanted the title of this blog to be more positive, so we came up with TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY.

We arose early and prepared for a big day at The CLUB.  We were out late at dinner and "The Rhythm of the Dance" last night, so I had not made breakfast smoothies.  After taking vitamins, packing to-go vitamins/prescriptions, feeding Diva and making sure we had the entire checklist of important take-alongs, we headed toward the Chiropractor.  Though we were running late, we chose to stop and Starbucks to get coffee and a breakfast sandwich for Gary. 

The nice part of having Gary in the car for the commute is our ability to take the carpool, despite Gary accidently spilling hot coffee on his jeans and the front seat, we arrived on time.  I experienced normal harrassment regarding my unsafe driving (boy have roles changed over the years :)), but there was no tension, no confusion on Gary's part and no drama.  He really enjoyed the care he received from Doctor Brad.

I dropped him off at THE CLUB and left while he was helping Ruby with craft paper for the project that would begin their day.  I had a full day at work crammed into a few hours before I left to get Gary.  At 2:20, I sneaked into the back of the room and watched the entire group in what appears to be their communication circle.  Gary had his back to me and did not know I was there.  Ruby was telling the group about their interactions that day and thanked Gary for assisting in the kitchen this morning.  All the ladies thanked him.  She also said that some of the ladies had left already in the bus (Paratransit).  I was shocked that Gary spoke up and said that he had applied to take the same bus and that he was waiting on a response.  (He remembered something that I have been working on for him....he was listening after all.)

He said goodbye to everyone and said that he would be back tommorow. I reminded him that he normally goes to Bible study on Wednesday and he said that he would rather go to the CLUB.  He felt needed.

We went back to Heald and he literally read a Joel Osteen book for almost three hours.  He stayed focused and other than a couple of trips to the bathroom, stayed focused on that book.  He was captivated.

When we left and drove home, he was exhausted and took a quick nap during the drive.  He helped roll the burritos for dinner and we carried on a lively, normal conversation.  I asked if he noticed that he was clearer today and he agreed.  We have no logical reason for the change. 

I asked if he still wanted to go to THE CLUB tomorrow instead of Bible study.  I needed to text Pastor to let him know.  He responded that he wanted to go to THE CLUB and then corrected himself.  He said, "I would rather call it the Care Center than the CLUB because they take care of us.''

God is good everyday.
Everyday, God is good.

I sure feel like dancing....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A day of full emotion....

I spent most of today trying to figure out just how I would write or phrase today's events in "the blog".  It was a day of incredible emotion.  I woke up with an allergy headache and a sore, aching back from normal back pain increased from yesterday's power massage. Needless to say, I was not very tolerant.

Gary had expressed that he wanted to go to breakfast before church and we have very little time.  We stopped by Carl's Jr, as we have a few times before church.  When we walked in, I told him not to "harrass" the girl behind the counter as he jokes with her and I can tell she tolerates him and does not undertand his humor.  There was a different cashier there who responded to his ribbing with a smile.  I took him several minutes to decide what to order and I reminded him that we needed to hurry or we would be late for church.

He decided to use all the change in his pocket toward the bill and started counting the $3.00 worth of PENNIES out in stacks of ten cents.  It took him forever.  The girl was very tolerant, much moreso than I.  I told him to put away the rest of the change and that I would pay for the rest of breakfast.  He insisted that he wanted to get rid of the coins.  She explained that we could take them to the COINSTAR machine at the grocery store and exchange the pennies for dollars.  He insisted that he give the rest of the coins to her as a tip.  Meanwhile, I finished the transaction and she ordered our food and it came while he was still counting out stacks of pennies.  I was started to get very upset and took the food. 

He told the girl that he was leaving the piles for her.  She passified him and he came to eat breakfast.  I was so aggravated. We ate breakfast rather rapidly and went to church.  He told me that I treat him badly and that he gets very irritated with how I treat him.  I told him that I feel the same way and that I'm tired of being angry.  We went into church rather irritated with one another.

While in Bible study class with Bob and Maxine. Gary interrrupted a couple of times either off-topic or regarding finding his lost glasses (missing since Wednesday).  We had found his glasses in the bag in which he carries his Bible and notes. I had not looked there but had looked hundreds of other places. 

Sideline:  understand that losing and finding objects EVERYDAY is starting to get annoying.  My tolerance is waning quickly.

Anyway, while in church, he did an amazing thing for me.  Pastor invited folks who wanted prayer and annointing to come to the front.  Gary went forward and actually asked for prayers for my joy.  I was speechless. So, now guilt sets in....are you catching the range of emotions here?

Then, at least three times during the service, Gary either vocally interrupted the pastor or tried.  I am always so conflicted.  I know that we have a church where praising is loud and involved, but his timing is always bad.  At least, that is my view. I was so fed up and conflicted that immediately following the service, I didn't talk to anyone and just went to the car.  He joined me and berrated me for giving him feedback regarding his interrupting service.  I explained that yes, he comments were accurate but that pastor, as a public speaker, had his agenda and constantly interrupting him is rude.  We both got very angry. 

I told him that I wanted to take him home and just go away for the day.  I needed to escape.  Then, I remembered that I am not with him all week and we have very few, precious hours together and then more guilt set in and I realized that leaving was not an option.

I asked if he wanted to go out for lunch and he said he didn't care where we went.  I drove to the Noodle Company and he asked why I wanted noodles and that he prefers Mexican.  Guess what we had for lunch.  I brought home the leftover Nachos. 

Gary went to the shoe store with me and tried very hard to help me find sandals that would support my plantar fascitis.  I can't even begin to describe that hour.  I managed to find great shoes for the summer season.

We were feeling more mellow so we stopped by the yogurt shop.  After that, I dropped off Gary and went to get my nails done.  Before I left at 3:00, I told him that I would be gone at least two hours and not to expect me before that.  I called him from the car when I realized his house keys were in the car and I knew that he planned on taking Diva for a walk.  He came to the driveway, retrieved the keys and had his glasses on his face. 

An hour into my pedicure, he called and did not leave a message.  A few minutes later, Heather called to say that Gary had called her in Dinuba and that he was confused thinking I was at work and would be stopping by the salon on my way home.  He had also called Kaiser to check with them....not sure what for.  She called me to tell me that he was confused.

I finished and called him on my way home.  He was confused and thought today was Monday and we had gone to church yesterday.  I went home and we spent two hours labeling his closets and drawers with labels and pictures of underwear, shirts, shorts, etc.  Perhaps this will help him stay organized. I also put up additional pictures and labels for the kitchen cabinets.

Did I mention that he lost the glasses he had on his face when I left for the salon?  I have searched the entire house....guess they will turn up.  If not, I will need to buy more.

We argued about which week the trash cycle is or recyle.  I showed him the calendar from the waste company but he still thinks that ALL three trashcans go out every week.

I want to scream.  I love him so much.

He just asked me if I would be happier if we were separated.....I said, "No, Gary, I love you."  Separation is not an option. I have to find a way to cope with these changes.  I pray, loudly and often, for God to give me more patience.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Wedding Vows from 9-9-1985

Below is a copy of our original wedding vows that we typed on my old manual typewriter in 1985.  Gary and I met on May 30, 1985.  He asked me to marry him on July 7 and we were married on September 9, 1985.  We have never looked back to days before that day.  Perhaps the strength was in the wedding vows.  We both still mean them.  The inscription in my wedding ring says:
"A Love Born of Old".  No doubt in my mind.

Below:  First Anniversary (Pass Christian Mississippi) with Mom and Dad

Monday, March 10, 2014

He liked going to the CLUB and wants to go back!

Gary spent his first day at


or The CLUB.  We got there early and waited patiently for the volunteers to finish their meeting.  He seemed very nervous all the way there.  Remember, he rode with me last week when the center was closed.  Today, he did not remember that the center was in Rancho Cordova...thought it was in Elk Grove.

He was greeted by a center leader and was very warmly accepted. I gave them his paperwork and left him alone.  He was busy introducing himself to all the ladies.

I rode away with the strangest feeling.  Are you supposed to cry when you take someone to day care for the first time.  I didn't, but it crossed my mind.  I felt relieved that I knew he was going to be safe...I was worried about him being bored.

I went to work and went back to get him at promptly 2:30.  He was sitting at a table with 4 ladies playing BINGO.  The center leader said that he had appeared to have a good day.  They had celebrated Mardi Gras, complete with colored beads around every neck.  He was smiling big and hugging ladies goodbye.  One elderly lady came over and thanked me for bringing him because "he is so cute."  I told her that he belongs to me.  She smiled.

We ran an errand to the post office and then I started asking questions.  He said that he had participated all day and he could not remember all the activities because there were so many.  They sang, did exercises, had snacks, lunch and BINGO.  He helped wash the dishes.  He is looking forward to going back tomorrow.

We then went to Heald and I found any empty cubicle for him to read his book and log into a computer if he wanted to surf the net.  About twenty minutes later, he came into my office and stated that he had perhaps made a mistake.  I asked what he did and he stated that the phone rang in the cube, so he answered it.  What makes this particularly funny is that I have an entire team of skilled admissions professionals who wait all day for the opportunity to receive an inquiry from the call center.  In fact, they are usually on a rotating basis.  Apparently the phone rang more than once, so he answered.  It is still undetermined why no one else who needed inquiries so badly did not answer the phone.  Its a shame he did not have a script or he may have enrolled the student!

He became very tired and went to the car for a nap.  After realizing it was too hot, he came back to my office.  After two large glasses of water, we finished up and left. Due to the time of day, I decided the freeway was probably too crowded so I started down a more remote highway (Sunrise).  After about three miles, he said that we needed to stop and go to the bathroom.  There is nowhere to stop on that road.....I turned around and drove two miles back to McDonalds (this is becoming a pattern).  Then, I realized enough time had passed, so we came home on 50 and 5.  It took us almost an hour. He realized how long I spend on the road everyday. I have just taken it in stride and made the drive everyday.  He was appalled. 

We had a nice crock pot meal and will go to bed early.  Tommorow, we go to the new Chiropractor in Rancho Cordova together and he goes to day two.  The college received notification of our annual Internal Audit starting on Thursday.  Add a little more stress. 

He asked if I was writing the blog and said to make sure I talk about how nice all the people are that he met today.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday night tired....

Heather and Alexander are still here and spent a very full day with Gary.  They went shopping and bought 40 pounds of dog food that would take Diva a year to eat, even if she ate that brand. Now, I'm required to make an unnecessary trip to Target.  Gary convinced Heather that Diva will eat anything....not!  Heather took Gary to the Chiropractor's office (remember that place?) and the doctor was not in this afternoon.  In the past, the other Doctor always serviced the patients, so I guess they are not doing that anymore.  As a trio, they went for a walk, skipped the afternoon naps, and we all went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.  Whew!

Its Friday night and I am at my limit.  I'm very thankful that we do not have to work tomorrow.  I visited my chiropractor this morning.  The visit started with a 15 minute chair massage, a 10 minute massage from his therapist and an extensive adjustment designed to get the "crick" out of my neck.  Both the therapist and the doctor referenced the muscles in my back and my spine as "rebar" and "cement".  The doctor kiddishly asked why I was so stressed and suggested that since I am the boss at the college that I reduce my own stress.  After explaining the entire situation with Gary's dementia AND my job, he backed off a little.  We had a good talk and I left more relaxed and "adjusted". 

But none-the-less, my entire day consisted of a sense of aggravation with everything.  I couldn't shake it.  Usually, between meditation, prayer and a product called "Sedalia", I am able to get calm.  Not today.  Perhaps it was the abbreviated sleep cycle from the night before where Gary talked most of the time after 4:00am about a speech he was supposed to make and a class he was supposed to be in this afternoon?  I am still convinced he had a dream and his mind doesn't know the difference.  I don't have a cognitive disorder and sometimes have extremely real dreams, so why can't it happen to someone with a disorder?  Perhaps my mood was related to just being tired. Perhaps it was related to having back to back to back appointments or obligations all day coupled with an overwhelming sense of wanting to run for the hills.  A day of hiking would have been nice.

It was employee appreciation day.  I have  a wonderful group of employees and I hope that today's activities fed their stomachs and their feel-good buttons.  A leader could not ask for a better group.

Right now, Gary, Alexander and Heather are in the guest room watching "happy Feet" on the guest computer.  The $10,000 surround sound system in our living room will not play a DVD.  It hasn't since December 2012.  I haven't given any energy to fixing it as it didn't seem important.  So, we tried to watch a movie on the DVD player and tv in Gary's office but found, that it too, was never connected after the move and I have no idea where the connecting cables are. 
When they started to approach the third tv which I knew was also not connected, I intervened and recommended the computer.  Heather got it. Now, they are dancing with the penguins.....I just want to sleep but its good to hear laughter.

The Daughter Writes

As requested I, Heather Gerard, Gary’s one and only daughter am writing the blog tonight.

My two and a half year son Alexander, I call him Xander for short and I got up at 8am this morning and made it downstairs just in time to say goodbye to Ada as she left for work. After I had a cup of coffee the two of us got dressed. I then helped my Dad get breakfast ready and we all sat down and ate. Xander watched a few cartoons while Dad and I cleaned things up. Then we all headed out to the car planning to go to the grocery store. About 20 minutes and a few lessons later from a Prius mechanic who just happened to be in Ada’s office when I called, I got gotten the car started and we were on our way. We picked up all the items on Ada’s grocery list with only a few extra things; one of which was a pretty bouquet of flowers that Gary had gotten for her. Back at home we put the groceries away and then decided to make some lunch before taking a nice stroll around the block. So we ate lunch then the three of us and Diva took a short, slow walk around the block and through a portion of the park. As I had hoped and secretly planned for I had two boys and a dog with full tummies all tuckered out and ready for naps.

The day had been going great, so far anyway. Naptime was over though and we were all watching tv when Gary said that he thought he might go for a ride on his trike. I said no Dad, you can’t go anywhere without us. He asked why and I told him that he might get lost. He said that that wouldn’t happen if he was right on his own block and close to home. Again I told him no and assumed he had changed his mind as we all continued to watch tv. Xander had finished the afternoon snack he happened to be eating at this time so I took his plate and started cleaning up. While I was putting things away I noticed Dad was no longer in the living room and just thought he must be in the bathroom. A few minutes had passed and he still hadn’t returned so I decided to check on him. The bathroom door was open and as I opened the door to the garage I saw a bright light which happened to be the sun shining in at me from the open garage door. I quickly grabbed up my baby boy and raced to the end of the drive way. I could see Gary down at the other end of the block riding his trike toward the park doing circles. To make a long story short, Dad was gone we got there and we drove all over looking for him. I understand that Dad hasn’t lost all his marbles as of yet, so to speak and that he has good memory days and bad ones. But he needs to understand that we are all just trying to help him and keep him safe. Luckily my Dad ended back at home today with no problems but there has been days where he did get completely lost. It is because of those days that I became a very scared and worried little girl today, franticly searching for my father hoping that he was alright.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Heather visits with Alexander....

Heather and Alexander (2 1/2 years old) came to visit for a few days and help with "Papa".  We haven't seen Alexander since September and so he doesn't really remember us but knows us from pictures Heather shows him.  So we are "Papa and Gramma". Pretty cute, huh?

So, this morning, I got up really early and went to the grocery store to make sure we had the right food for guests.  I left the car keys for Heather in case they wanted to go somewhere and took the BMW for the day.  Gary was up when I left and worrying about making breakfast.  I told him to relax that Heather would be up soon and she would help.

About 9:30 I received a call asking how to start the Prius.  Logical question if one doesn't know how to start a hybrid.  As it turns out, they were going to the store to get yogurt and I pointed out the yogurt in the fridge.  In the early afternoon, I received a voice mail from Gary and he was very concerned that he needed to call Pastor Jerry to explain why he was not at Bible Study.  I called back to tell him that Jerry and I had exchanged texts and that all was well.  I asked how the day was going and his response was "Phenomenal."  Not a normal word for him so I inquired why.  He said that Heather had been such a great help to him.  Why? She had helped him fix breakfast and they went for a walk. Then he took a nap.  The alarm that I set for him daily to take his vitamins went off and she tapped on his door to make sure he took his lunch pills.  He was comforted by that action. 

I didn't get home until 7:30 and then we all made tacos and had a nice meal together.  Heather reported on the days activities...she said that watching the 2 year old in a strange house with no toys is much higher maintenance than Gary.

Oh, other thing that happened today.  Gary told me that he had seen a Heald commercial on TV and wanted to go to my school.  He called the number, got one of our Admissions Advisors on the phone and scheduled an appointment to visit the school tomorrow.  Heather couldn't stop him.  We both explained why having dementia and going to school don't really match and for now, once again, he has given up on the idea.  After all, he worked in a hospital 45 years ago and he is experienced. 

I asked Heather if she wanted to write the blog tonight but she declined.  Poor thing is probably exhausted.  I am glad she is our daughter. 

Gramma just got a goodnight kiss.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gary's First Day of Volunteering at the Adult Day Care Center....Or So I thought!

 The day started off smoothly.  Gary and I got up early, had coffee, fixed our protein smoothies for the hour long ride to Rancho Cordova and got all "ironed up" for his first day.  When I went to visit the site a couple of weeks ago, the lady gave me all the paperwork and made sure I understand that we needed a recent TB test in order for Gary to participate.  She said there was no need to make an intake appointment if we had all the paperwork complete...."just come on in."

So, in the car....

Coffee?  Check.
Smoothie?  Check.
Paperwork including TB test? Check.
Address in the GPS? Check.
Raincoat? Check.
Glasses?  Check.
Medication for lunch in the pocket? Check.
Cell phone? Check......
Packet of Tissues?  Check.
Book for Gary to read when I pick him up and he has to wait on me?  Check.
Cash for donation?  Check.

Whew....what could we have possibly forgotten? I had planned an hour commute in case of heavy traffic. OF course, today there was NO TRAFFIC so he didn't believe that every other day is truly heavy and this was a fluke.  We arrived at the location at 8:45.  No one was there.  Since we knew it started at 9:30, we settled in to wait for someone to show. 

Ooops, I have to go to the bathroom.  Lets drive back the way we came and go to McDonalds.  Done and back to the church. Still, no one was there.  I started to get a little concerned as Erica had said the day she went to check it out that they were there at 8:00.  So, this inquiring mind figured out that possibly they were closed for some reason.  Now, Gary has to go to the bathroom.  Back to McDonalds.

After repeatedly calling the number on the brochure and figuring that it was ringing inside the empty building and no one was answering that I had certainly overlooked some important detail.  Frustrated beyond belief, we drove back to Elk Grove.  After another smooth commute, we got home to find the original pamphlet that gave the annual schedule for the center.  This week is CLOSED.  ARGHHHH>>>>!!!!!(&**%^%(&%%) Yeah, I think I"m so smart and have everything figured out......oh well.

So, I made sure Gary had everything he needs and left for work.  We will have to trust another week is ok for him not to get into trouble....prayers for this precocious 65 year old are appreciated. :)

He is looking forward to volunteering next week.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Anger as a coping mechanism......

Just for the record, when one is frustrated and angry with a person who has dementia, yelling and freaking out only makes the situation worse.

Yesterday afternoon at work, I had a back to back conference call and an interview.  I had turned off my cell phone and put my desk phone on do not disturb.  So, for about two hours, I had no idea that Gary had listened to an old voicemail message at 2:11 and thought I was on my way home.  At 2:30, he was concerned that I was not yet home and started burning up my phone,  He was freaking out and imagined that I called and told him I was in an accident.  He got really freaky and called the police to report me missing.  Meanwhile, he called back to the office and I answered.  I explained that I had been in my office the whole time. He called me back to tell me that the police had just left and he explained that I was ok after all.  As I drove home, a neighbor from our old neighborhood called to ask about Gary as an ambulance had visited our old house from where we moved over a year ago, and they were asking for Gary.  For the life of me, I don't know how that happened and neither does Gary.  At that point, I was fried.

I got home from work last night and after all this and a very long week, was really tired and irritable.  I had purchased fresh wild salmon and tortellini to cook for dinner.  Upon opening our small oven to put in the salmon dishes, the wire rack was missing.  I lost it.  I started looking frantically through the kitchen for the wire rack so I could cook.  Then, I realized that about half of the items in the cabinets were in the wrong places as a result of Gary putting all the dishes, pots, pans, etc in the wrong places. Don't get me wrong, I so appreciate everything he does, but after not being able to find my ceramic crock pot for six weeks, I just couldn't take anymore.  I cried, pulled my hair and went upstairs to cry in the bed.  After about 20 minutes of this pitiful crying jag, I got over myself and went back to the kitchen.  He never missed me.  He wondered why I always "blame" him for missing items.  There is no one else here.

I asked him if he had found the wire rack.  Of course he had.  It was in the sink right next to the oven the whole time. I cooked the dinner, put away a pan and found the innerds of the crock pot that has been "missing".  I was just numb for the rest of the night.  Sometimes I just cant be strong.

The part that really took me over the edge was Gary saying "Ada, you really need to control your emotions."  He has no idea how I control my emotions.  He has no idea how I cope.  Sometimes, I cry.  I wanted to run away and just sleep in a hotel for the night. Telling him about what he puts me through does no good. He can't help his brain problem.  I hate that fact.