Sunday, June 29, 2014

Here's a new one....he lost the Amber Alert GPS!

Here's one for you....Gary lost the GPS.  I out-smarted him though....I found it.

The past few days Gary has had a really hard time staying clear.  He's been very confused and then he gets overwhelmed.  When he gets overwhelmed he gets very gripey....complains and is very miserable to be around at all.  Then, I get irritable and then I'm no fun to be around either.  Together, we are a mess during these times.

I am not sure why he has periods of great clarity and then other times of the "fog". He went to the CLUB last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  All went well.  On Thursday, he stayed home and was by himself until I arrived at 4:30 to take him to the ballgame.  We went to the Rivercats game with folks from the church.

It was a fun game and it never hurts when the home team wins in the eleventh inning. Gary wanted to stay the whole game and was busy most of the night watching the scoreboard and paying attention to the game.  Since he is not really a sports fan, this was highly unusual.

Friday morning came early and I spent most of the day really tired.  We had a lot going on at the college and I did not check on him but he called a couple of times.  He called me twice to tell me that he was taking Diva for a walk.  Once he called from the park and once he said he had just gotten home from the park. 

Both the maids and the gardener came so he likes to get away when they are there.  He seemed confused.  He did call me around 2:00 and said, "Hey honey, its me, your husband." (Just for the record, no one has a voice likes Gary's and we have caller i.d. on all phones, but he always tell me that he is my husband when he calls.)  "Honey, I have a thought.  Rather than put me in a home, why don't you send me back to my mother?"  

I pointed out that his mother is in heaven and that I was not planning on putting him in a home and that he needn't worry.  He seemed unphased, said thank you and hung up. I went on with my high stress day....complete with running off a television reporter.

Friday night and Saturday morning were full of overwhelm complaints and great confusion.  We moved into the house that we live in over 1.5 years ago and I finally unpacked my office.  Since we are moving in a few months, i felt the need to purge. He spiraled.

Saturday night, after tons of herbal teas, calmer downer herbs and vitamins...he calmed.  I've decided to make large quantities of tea and keep it in the refrigerator. 

Today, after church, we came home to take a nap.  My text messaging was buzzing and I discovered that his GPS battery was low.  We had not used it since...well, I don't know when he used it last.  Obviously, he had forgotten to plug it in the last time he used it and the battery was dying.  We searched the entire house and could not find it.  It has a voice feature that I can call it and hear what is going on around the area where it is....I heard nothing.  I repeatedly talked to the GPS and could not hear my voice, so I knew it was not in the house.

Amber Alert GPS
Gary did not know where he had it last.  I logged onto the computer and tracked the GPS to the street behind our house.  (If you can use the GPS to find Gary, you can also use the GPS to find the GPS, right?) I started walking and told Gary to stay home as I was pretty furious at this could he have lost it in a sidewalk walking the dog? I called the GPS on my phone and started talking and walking, all the while listening for my own voice.  I walked about 1/4 mile down the sidewalk and whistled.  It echoed...the GPS was nearby.  I knew the battery was dying so I walked faster.

I found the GPS spread across a bush, with the necklace perfectly in tact.  Gary walked up behind me.  He looked at the area and had NO CLUE how the GPS got there.  It was not in a place where he would normally stop. It was not scratched.  So either he hung it there or had dropped it and someone else put it there.  At least I found it. That is a mystery for the history books.

This week should be fascinating.  I have some serious stress potential at work, so I will try to keep it away from him...he just can't handle it. 

Our friend Lon suggested that we do not pray enough. Perhaps he is right. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Note to self: "God is in control."

Note to self:  Do not leave home without double checking that you have Gary's afternoon medicine.

Its been a fun-filled week of fire fighting, inquisitive students, employees and good energy.  God has provided me with a tremendous energy this week.  Two of my key employees are on vacation, so my assistant and I moved to the second floor to be available as needed and to "be in the middle" of all the excitement surrounding this time in our industry.

I cancelled my team management meeting this morning as Gary and I were scheduled to be at a friend's house at 8:30am to consider moving there.  He is now retired and will be needing the house through October and then we can move in.  The house is perfect for us. It is 1.2 miles from my school.  THe whole situation appears to be heaven blessed. I took many pictures for my own planning for when we move and to show Gary as I knew he would not remember parts of the house, if not all of it. I was right.  In the car, he said that he had not seen the third car garage after we had stood in it and had a conversation about the shelving and storage.  The picture triggered a memory.

Right after we left the house, I took Gary to the CLUB.  We got him there right on time.  The arts and craft supplies were on the table and ready to go for all participants.  The ladies at the check in table asked if I brought Gary's pills as they have a check in and monitoring system and I had not made the deposit.  I instantly remembered that I had not packaged his afternoon pills this morning because I was busy removing a wrinkle from an article that was crammed way too far back in my closet.  Oh poop!  I went back to the car to get Gary some Sedalia to take at lunch.  At least that might help with his stress in the afternoon.  When I went back in to deposit the pills, Gary had gone to the restroom so I waited for him to exit before I left.  We usually kiss goodbye.

I waited for what seemed like forever.  He finally came out and sat at the table forgetting that I was there.  I was mid conversation with the Room Lead, Barbara when he noticed me.  He said, "Hey honey, we are going to color butterflies!"  I asked for a pretty one, kissed him goodbye and left.  I was so stressed when I got in my car that I sat there for a few minutes to decompress.

My morning was back to back exciting issues, events and updates.  Some of the girls and I went to lunch and to pick up invitations from Kinkos.  Everything fell behind and Jennifer ended up taking me to pick up Gary.  As we pulled in, most of the participants were exiting the CLUB...all of them were using walkers.  I always see them all sitting in a circle, not moving around.  I was shocked at the difference between them and Gary.  His disability has not impacted him physically other than his cognitive issues.  It was depressing knowing that he is among them.  It was exciting having a place for him to belong and never get frustrated. 

He seemed fine when we got in the car.  We drove across town to pick up an employee we had left at Kinkos.  He knows both of them but I reintroduced him to both.  We were in the car less than ten minutes and he started his noisemaking.  Here it comes.....wait for it....quietly he said, "I'm so overwhelmed."

Why Gary?  He responded that he didn't know.  We hurried into the school as I was late for a meeting.  I told him that I was leaving him in my office to read as I was working upstairs and had a lot of appointments.  I armed him with a positive book and a cup of destressing tea. About two hours later, I asked Erica to go down to check on him.  The next thing I knew, they were both in the office next door and he was reading to Erica.  I went in and asked him to go to a private office where he could read and not disturb anyone.  At that point, he was very antsy. 

We headed home and by the time we hit the freeway he was over the top freakazoid.  He huffed and he puffed.  All the way home. It was 75 degrees outside and cooler in the car.  He insisted he was cold, very cold.  We drove about 25 miles with an 85 degree heater blowing.  Note to self:  "Pretend you are in Haiti and don't complain."

We immediately fixed him a tranquil bath upon arriving home.  Extra lavender and epsom salts did the trick for about 20 minutes.  I pumped all the destressing pills and hot tea into him hoping for a quick remedy.  He didn't finish dinner.  He sat with his head down while I worked out on the Gazelle that we have moved to the living room.  When I finished, he took my place and then spent some time on the Total Gym.....all of a sudden, I noticed he was acting more normally and hasn't puffed or complained for almost fifteen minutes.  It is 9:55pm and he just decided to go out and water our garden.  Hey, if he feels like it, great!  Oops, false alarm.  Its too cold for him. Now, he is doing dishes.

I think the medicine kicked in.....he is normal now.  I want to sleep now.  Not sure how I do it.  Hoping for strength and continued patience for him and for myself.  I love my job and I have always enjoyed the adrenaline rush of it.  This new adrenaline rush in my life is a whole new ballgame.  Heather suggested Adrenal overload might be a part of her Dad's problem....well, could be mine, too. Naw.....just a thought.  Note to self: "God is in control."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why does he get so stressed on Sunday afternoons? Could it be me?

Gary seemed to be a little "off" all day.  He just couldn't seem to focus correctly in Bible study.  He has learned to "fake it" when he doesn't understand something.  He will either make light of it, make a joke or just repeat what someone has said if they have asked a question.  I could see right through it today....the problem is that I did not see if for what must be years.

After church, I went to the American Cancer Society Store to drop off some donations.  He was so sleepy and out of it that he stayed in the car, in the heat, with the windows down and took a nap. After that I asked if he was hungry and he replied in the positive.  I asked if he wanted a hamburger and he replied that he didn't care.  (I will eventually learn not to fall for that one!).  I drove to Five Guys and parked.  He asked what we were doing there and said that he did not want to eat there. I asked what he wanted and he said, "can't we buy something at the store and go home?"  Sure, honey.

I remembered that I had purchased barbequed ribs last week and they were still in the refrigerator that looks like Sanford and Son's junkyard.  (For those youngins in the crowd, Google that one) In all the chaos of this appliance, I actually forgot I had baby back ribs.  He nodded approval and after two stops, we headed home.

I put the ribs in the oven and set it for 45 minutes....just long enough for Gary to finish his nap. An hour and half later he awoke.  I asked why he was so sleepy and he had no answers.

We ate lunch and did the dishes.  He asked if I wanted to go to a movie.  I knew Jersey Boys was opening this weekend and thought it would be light enough for him.  Anything with a complicated plot is just too much for him anymore.  We forgot to take a jacket for him to the movie and that soon proved to be a big mistake.  Once he is cold, getting his attention span back is near impossible.  I wrapped my sweater around him like a child and he stayed warm.

Halfway through the movie, he started making noises of overwhelm and displeasure.  I asked what was wrong and he mumbled a response.  A few minutes later he said, "Have you seen enough?"  "No, we are not walking out of another movie.  Please stay and let me watch the rest of the movie, okay?"  He nodded and of course, I missed what Frankie Valli and his partner agreed to when they shook hands.....UGH!!!! I found out later.

He hung in there and by the musical finale he was signing along and tapping his feet.  We stayed through all the credits just so he could listen to the music.  So, here is my deduction:  Music=good.  Any plot what-so-ever:  Not good.  (Most TV shows have to be explained to him now and that takes alot of the joy out of the activity as he asks explanation questions in the middle of scenes.

We got home and we determined it was trash and recycle night. He got irritated when I would not let him put all three cans to the curb.  After I told him for the umpteenth time (every week) that the waste people do not pick up recycle and green waste on the same week, he calmed down and announced he wanted something to eat.

Then after announcing how overwhelmed and tired he was, he decided now was the time to move the exercise equipment around and to bring the Total Gym from our exercise room on the second floor to the TV room on the first.  Mission accomplished and he is now working out on the Gazelle.  I have to admit it was a great idea due to the fact that the exercise room triggers my claustropobia and I haven't used it in a year and a half.  Might actually use it now.

This week will probably be extremely heavy for both of us.  There are some big events going on with the College and he is aware of them.  Perhaps that is where some of his anxiety is coming from and causing his issues.  So, I, again have to bear the weight on my shoulders.  Perhaps I should read, "Atlas Shrugged" again.  Glad I restocked my products today.
See you all soon with more adventures in the life of GRG and Merge (our nicknames).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lost items no longer lost.....we are giving them to society instead!

Last night during dinner, Gary said that he had bought me a present on the way home.  I said thank you and asked him where it was.  He didn't know.

"Honey, where did you buy it?"
"Target, its really nice.  But, I can't give it to you." 
I asked some detail questions and decided he had bought me something and lost it between the cash register, the bus and home.  He had searched the WHOLE house and was quite frustrated.

He then announced (at 7:30) that we needed to go to Target so he could show me what he had bought me.  I told him that I was tired and it would be better if he just told me what he had purchased.  "Its the thought that counts, so don't worry about it."

He got very indignant and said that it did matter and that we NEED TO GO TO Target.  I convinced him that we could do it today on the way to CLUB/work since the Target he is referencing in 10 miles away but on the way to where we are going anyway.  He settled for that option.

This morning, bright and early, we headed out to our normal locations and stopped by Target.  He went to the jewelry counter and found that there were no other earrings like those he had purchased.  I said that I really don't need anymore earrings but that he sentiments were sweet. 

As we left the store, I watched as he looked down at every step and checked out the bus stop outside just in case the earrings had been dropped and no one retrieved them.  I suggested that the universe probably allowed someone who really needed the earrings to find them.  We decided that maybe ALL the items he has lost recently are merely donations to people in society who need them worse than us.  Great idea.

So, when I consider all the items, I have to report that there are people out there who needed:

4 pairs of Gary's prescription eye glasses
2 hats
1 pair of earrings
2 dog leashes
Too many combs to count
Chewing gum
Millions of dollars in cash (just kidding, but its a lot)
1 gold coin (1 ounce, currently worth $1271)
...and socks....lots of socks....

So, if you are needing something special, please send a note to the universe and Gary and I will make special arrangements to secure that item for you! (NOT!)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"You are my wife?"

"Good morning, honey." For some reason I said this to Gary upon awakening.  Normally we don't talk very much until we have coffee.

"Good morning.  Did you sleep well?" 

"Yes, I guess so.  Did you?"  I knew he had slept like a rock since I tossed and turned most of the night and KNEW he was out.

He rolled over and looked me square in the eye and said, "When are we going home?  I really miss my wife." 

He didn't know I was his wife. Since this has occured once before, I did not react with severe emotion or even let on that those words hurt.  I quietly said that I am his wife, Ada and that we are at home and that we have been married for 28 years.

He said, "You are my wife?"  "Yes, I am Ada your wife."

He instantly apologized and said, "Oh, honey, I am so sorry.  This memory loss has me all confused.  You are really my wife?  I thought you were someone else and all this time I have been staying distanced from you." to handle this one?

I reiterated that I was indeed his wife, that we married at Stoney Creek Resort, we have traveled to many places and all the furniture that he sees in the room is ours.  He looked around and agreed that everything was familiar. I also explained that since he was diagnosed that I have had to take on a little different role with him.  Since I am now his caretaker as well as his wife, that he may in fact not like me very much sometimes because I have to tell him things he doesn't want to hear. Could it be that the caregiver that you don't like is the one that you think you are not married to?  He agreed that he likes the wife role better.  (Frankly, so do I!)

He then started saying the following phrases off and on for about 20 minutes:

Oh my, I am so confused.
You are my wife!?  I am so glad.
We really live here?
That is Diva Gerl, our beagle.  Best ole Beagle in the whole wide world, thats our Diva Gerl.  Yah!  Thats our Diva Gerl.  (a rhyme we have sang for years).
Wow, how long have we been married?

I took it calmly and just kept reieterating reality and assuring him that I loved him.  After coffee, he didn't remember the confusion and argued that he had not said those things.

Heather called to wish him Father's Day and he was very excited that she did.  He hasn't seemed to notice that we did not hear from Gary, Jr.  Then again, for so many years he has been disconnected.  Nothing unusual there as he has his own issues.

In church, Gary stood and thanked the Lord for caring for him through his diagnosis and dementia.  He still has the love of Christ in his heart.  I am thankful that he knows the Lord and has not disconnected.

Here is an example of something that happened today that really touched my heart.  Gary and I have gone to the same church for 6 years now and see the same people every Sunday.  He does not know most of their names.  This morning, he got out of the car and encountered Chris.  Chris said, "Good morning Gary.  I am so glad you are here.  I am Chris and we are very good friends.  I am always glad to see you."   Wow, I wish everyone who knows Gary would realize that this type of interaction with him makes it easier.  He doesn't remember and probably won't.  Thank you, Chris for not denying the disease and assisting with making it a little easier.  Gary knows that he doesn't rememer people but it still so polite that he would rather pretend he does than say, "I don't remember you."   Society does such cruel things to us!

After Father's Day lunch at Chilis, we took a long nap and subsequently, I forgot to call and arrange his transportation home from the CLUB tomorrow.  A few expletives flew....I could kick myself as now, I either have to leave him home or let him go and pick him up at 2:30 and have him sit at the College for hours.  The latter is the only choice as it is too disappointing for him to not go to the CLUB.

I sat down to write this blog and Gary was standing over me asking questions about Facebook.  So, I logged him onto his computer and he is now reading my Facebook and asking ten thousand questions about the software, how it works and details about every pages someone has "liked".  Oh my, the patience I am trying to develop is not coming fast enough.

Thanks to all who pray for us.  Gary and I pray together everyday and for the most part, he prays for everyone else.  Rarely does he ask for help with his own situation....I guess he is leaving that to our readers! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reno or Vegas? You decide.

All I wanted was to go somewhere warm, go swimming with Gary, perhaps get a massage and relax.  It was NOT too much to ask.  The weekend away turned out great. Whew!

I went in with a "I will not get frustrated" attitude. It worked most of the time.

We took Diva Gerl to a new boarding facility on Thursday morning on our way to Reno. We stopped for breakfast in Newcastle. A Hell's Angel sat in the booth behind us.  He seemed real nice as Gary turned around in his seat and said, "good morning, gentlemen."  A few minutes later, an older man walked up to the table and started witnessing and praying for the Hell's Angel.  He told him that God's angels are always stronger and can take him further.  His response was thankful and the old man left.  Oh, to have that courage.

We took our good time going up the mountain on Highway 80. Its always a little freaky going down the other side with only two lanes and a cement traffic median on one side and a sheer cliff on the other.  I like to have options and that leaves none.  We arrived at Hotel Siena and checked in.  After we arrived, we found it was a pet friendly hotel and we could have taken our Gerl.  Oh well, too late.

The room was horrifically cold.  Gary turned on the heater to warm up the room and of course, it blew cold.  After a few minutes, we called the front desk to ask for a fix or a new room.  While an engineer was on his way, I checked out the pool which was right down the hall. It was perfect.  A rooftop pool that was crystal clear and full of sun. 

I went back to the room to find an engineer announcing that the heater did work and that the room would heat quickly.  We changed and smothered ourselves in sunscreen.  After all, it was 90 degrees outside and I planned on staying a long time.  We did.

We laid in the sun, turned over, laid some more and then splashed and played.  I swam and swam and could feel the stress melting away.  I had worked myself up pretty good over the few days preceding the trip.  We felt a nice breeze as we exited the pool and actually ended up in the hot tub.  Then, a nap next to the pool was extremely needed.  We did it all again and again. 


We cleaned up and went downstairs for a spectacular dinner.  Way too much food but all exquisite. We walked through the casino and decided to walk outside.  We went down a pretty path by the river and ended up at the baseball park across from the hotel.  The game was not something Gary wanted to experience as he was starting to get tired and overwhelmed.  The short walk back to the hotel was stressful as he was walking very slowly and seemed out of it.  He was in bed by 8:30. I logged onto the computer and did some reading.  Around 9:00 he asked me to turn off the t.v. and computer as I was disturbing him.  So, we fell asleep.  I needed it so I was not upset....until about 1:00 a.m.

Remember the "problem heater"?  Well, it had warmed up and sounded like a freight train roaring through our room.  There was no choice but to turn it off. By morning, Gary was "freezing" while I was comfortable.  He complained alot so I got up, showered and called maintenance.  I did not want to be up at 7:30 while on vacation.  Let it go, Ada.

Maintenance determined that heater needed to be disassembled so we had to move rooms.  We do not pack lightly so repacking and moving was stressful on Gary.  He did not understand and had forgotten about the train in our room.  I re-explained several times.  Breakfast was next.  I couldn't wait for coffee. We went to the coffee shop and they had no soy nor almond milk, so since I don't like black coffee, I ordered a diet Pepsi.  We had a breakfast sandwich and went to the room to prepare for our massages.

Wow!  80 minutes later we were massaged and relaxed.  Wonderful.  

Next we had a nap.  Gary was doing well with all the scenery changes and activities.  We went to the automobile museum across the street and saw millions of dollars in classic automobiles.  I only lost Gary once but found him next to a copper Rolls Royce. 

Gary is very proud of his Grandpa hat and t-shirt.

Next, we visited a restaurant called "Men Wielding Fire" for barbecue.  Upon the first pick up of the barbecue sauce, it squirted all over Gary, the table and the window beside him.  I picked it up and dropped it under the table and about a 1/4 cup of sauce poured out on the floor.  The waitress did not seem to care and the amount of fat we pulled out of the sandwich was disgusting.

We headed back to the room and watched television until we fell asleep.  When we were close to asleep, Gary asked if we were in Las Vegas.  I explained we were in Reno and that I understood his confusion due to the casino in the lobby.
We heard fireworks and opened the window to a spectacular display that was closing the ballgame.

We argued over the fact that Reno was in Nevada not California.  After I had him convinced, he then argued that we were really in Las Vegas.  I gave up and fell asleep.

Next morning....Gary argued that we were renting the apartment we were in and we had been there for several weeks.  I explained the truth and started to really get aggravated....then, I let it go.

We packed up and headed toward South Lake Tahoe.  It was a beautiful drive and before we knew it, we made it back to Folsom to pick up the Gerl.  She was thrilled to see us.

I fixed a great salmon salad for dinner using the new olive oil and balsamic that we purchased at the Olive Oil store.  Gary chopped up his food and we ended up storing it rather than eating it.  He had lost his appetite and again, we went to bed early.

Church was fascinating as usual and then another nap was in order. 

Yep, I am rested.  Now, Gary goes back to the CLUB and me, back to work.

Stay relaxed, Ada.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bras, TRIKKES and a bicycle!

Sundays are a great day for a nap.  After church, lunch and Gary's haircut, we came home and promptly had a restful nap.  I awoke after an hour and decided to go to Kohl's to do some "needed" shopping.  At first, Gary said he wanted to go but then decided to try and nap some more.  It was good to have some alone time, even though it quickly turned frustrating. 

You see, I needed new bras.  Guys, you may never understand the frustration of bra shopping but it is a horrible experience. Women understand the trauma.   I am convinced that every few years, all bra manufacturers get together and change the sizes so when a desperate woman goes to the store to shop for a bra, they end up buying several.  Here is the scheme rolled out for you.  A woman walks into a store to try on bras....there are thousands...all sizes and all colors... the woman has changed sizes since her last purchase so she is confused by two things: 1) what is her new size based on reality and 2) what is her new size based on the manufacturers' master scheme?

Anyway, she tries on what appears to be several hundred sizes until she finds two that "might do".  Out of frustration, she buys four.  Two of one style in nude and black and two of the other.  Whew.....glad that is over. Now, on to the fun part of looking for cute work skirts for summer.

Then, the phone rings and I saw Gary's snorkeling picture on my phone.

"Hi honey, this is your husband, Gary."  "I know, honey, I always know its you as your picture appears on my phone. So, you never have to identify yourself when you call my cell phone." He went on to tell me that he was having difficulty putting his trikke and bicycle back together.  He said he was feeling confused.  He asked how long I was going to be.  I explained that I had a few more things to buy and that I did not want to be rushed.  He accepted that I would be home soon.  Of course, after that, I lost interest in shopping and started toward the cash register. 
A few minutes later, he called again and had slipped into a deep place. He said that he was having a very difficult time processing everything and that he was feeling extremely overwhelmed. I told him to sit tight and that I was headed home.  Upon arrival, he was laying on the sofa watching television.  His voice is very quiet and pitiful when he gets in this place. 
In the garage, we found my TRIKKE. Mine was still folded and he opened it easily. I found his TRIKKE outside by the garage door.   I couldn't figure out what he was talking about his TRIKKE being broken, as he said the gears weren't working.  The TRIKKE does not have gears.  He had just used it yesterday and it was working fine.  I told him to ride it around the back patio and he did with no issues.  He said the brakes weren't working, but they were after several tests.  Mine worked fine,too.  I'm not sure where his mechanical difficulties were coming from other than maybe he dreamed about it. Okay, next source of confusion was his bicycle. 
Remember, a previous post where the nice man brought Gary and his bicycle home in pieces.  It had never been reassembled.  He put on the front tire and then tried the back tire.  Between the brakes, the chain and the grease, we couldn't get the tire right.  I reminded him that I am not the mechanical one in the family and that I could help him no further. That just added to his overwhelm.
We came back in the house and I promptly tried to find ways to take his mind off the overwhelm and confusion.  After several futile attempts, a complete facial worked.  Dermabrasion peel, clay and rinsing.  He relaxed on the bed while I fixed dinner.  He came down about an hour later and appeared completely normal. 
We had a nice dinner and he once again explained that cutting all his food up in small pieces and mixing it together is perfectly normal.  He took out the trash and put away the dishes. 
It won't be long before we go to bed.  Thank you, Lord for giving us a peaceful evening.