Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Its NOT a Pirate's Life for ME.....

Today was tough. Gary dressed as a pirate to go to the CLUB for their Halloween party.  We got up late so were running behind all morning.  His costume was last worn in the West Indies during a Pirate Cruise Pub Crawl....

Anyway, after realizing that his pants had no pockets nor belt, we had issues.  Where would he put his wallet (complete with mandatory rubber band accessory), house keys, roll of tissues (just in case he is attacked by ten years worth of boogers), collection of hair combs and his change which is usually counted multiple times and stacked in order of size? I remembered a fanny pack that has been hung on a shelf downstairs for months.....perfect for all his stuff and would not detract from the Pirate outfit.  What good pirate does not carry a fanny pack?  So, I went down to retrieve the familiar site and guess what?  It had been moved.  Dag blast-it!  So, Gary had to put all his belongings in his jacket pocket.   He complained several times before we left the house that the jacket did not have can predict where this is going....

As we drove down the street toward the CLUB, he asked if I had visited or inquired at any of the local Assisted Living Facilities.  I asked if he meant for him or for me.  He said that I need to look into them for him. Sobering thought.

I dropped him off at the CLUB and watched the man walk away and in my imagination he morphed into a seven year old pirate on his way to a Halloween party.  The stress of driving to the CLUB with me melted as he reached the door and got a hug from one of the volunteers who was thrilled to see the Pirate. He walked in and did not think to turn and say goodbye. I cry a lot at this point in many days.

Many hours later, I called him to say I was leaving work early and for him to be ready to go to church for the Harvest Party. He reported that he had a stressful afternoon because he "got kicked off the bus."  Many questions later netted the following:  He had lost his wallet, keys and I later discovered, his cell phone.  He remembered enough to know that he discovered this when he boarded the first bus but did not think to go back in and look for it.  I guess he rode for free....

Since the CLUB does not open again until Monday and he did not tell me until 5:00, I left a voicemail for them to see if anyone would check over the weekend.  I know they don't, so I cancelled the only credit card he carries and will wait.  I was livid.  Livid, livid, livid.  It does no good but I feel it anyway.

I told him to put on jeans and a golf shirt and that we would go to the party.  He had on shorts.  I knew I should have told him to change but I was so angry over the events of the day that I let him go anyway. No sooner than we arrived to see kids in costumes, he started complaining about being cold and had one of the church folks turn up the heat.  Twenty seconds later he was trying to further increase the temperature.  I tried to get him involved in one of the activities but he complained bitterly and asked to come home to change.  I explained that if we left, we would not return.  So be it. I was done.

We came home, ate dinner in silence, broke the handle on the screen door and I hit rock bottom emotionally.  I don't know how much I longer I can withstand this level of stress.  The next few weeks of moving and getting acclimated will be critical. 

Thank God his visiting Angel comes tomorrow.  I can get some peaceful hours in at work. 

I changed my profile picture tonight on Facebook to a great picture I took of Gary the last time we were in Panama. Hiking in the rain forest is very special. It portrays him perfectly and loving life.  Please enjoy it as I do.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Moving Adventures...

"So, do you want a divorce?" says Gary. 
"No, honey, I just want you to be quiet while I take a nap. I don't feel well and you have awakened me at least ten times asking me questions about the move to Rancho Cordova.  I have answered the same questions a million times and you are starting to irritate me!"

Let me paint the picture for all our blog readers.  In an attempt to get Gary mentally ready (and the packing, too), I started talking about the move and packing several months ago.  I thought it might be easier on him to get used to the idea.  In some ways that has worked because he asks questions, has helped me plan in many ways and then there are days like today. Before I tell you the questions, keep in mind that I have covered these topics MANY, MANY times. I have answered every question in many different ways.

  • Honey, the box next to the bed says to go to and read about moving. Have you done that?
  • Why are we waiting another month?  Can't we go now?
  • When are we moving? (this question was only moments after the last one!)
  • Is Ted moving out before we move in?
  • Have you gotten quotes from movers yet?  Perhaps we should go to and see what they offer?
  • Shouldn't we finish packing? (we have packed everything except for what the movers are packing on the last day)
  • I'm so overwhelmed.  Can I have a margarita?
  • We should really make a list of the things we need and go to the store.  Our pantry is EMPTY! (we have about a month's worth of food to eat before we move).
  • Do you want to go car shopping today? (We bought a car last weekend and its being delivered from Oregon)
  • We have so much packing left to do!
So, needless to say, life lately has been challenging.  The good news is the Visiting Angel we hired is working out very well.  He doesn't necessarily remember her from one day to the next, but she leaves me notes about what they actually do and what adventures they have at the park and at the store. She is okay with driving to the new house when we move. 

He was talking to me on the phone the other day when she arrived.  I told him to stay on the phone while he went to the door to see if it was Jo.  I heard the following:
"Good morning, Gary!"  "Are you Jo?"  "Yes, I am Jo.  Hi there Diva!"  He said, "Oh, you know Diva, too?"  She replied that she indeed knows her well and they have been on many walks together.  He responded that he didn't know that.

On Saturday, we did not have much to do....just a down day.  He got through the day without any "overwhelm" and did fine until dinner.  We had a marinated steak with mushrooms, sautéed chard and black eyed peas.  He sat down and quickly commented that everything was very good.  About half way through it changed to "this is not very pleasurable."  The leftovers are in the refrigerator.

This morning I awoke to his stressed sounds of "whew!  Hmpfff.  Hmpff.  Whew!"  I layed quietly but really knew that he would not work through it.  I asked what he was thinking about and he only mentioned random thoughts.  He was just overwhelmed.  Period. 

So, I arose and made sure he had all medications and breakfast.  He quietly forgot about his overwhelm and we went to church.  Before we drove just a few miles he had managed to irritate my every nerve with one thing or another.  Thank God I was going to church.  That place always centers me quickly and in a strong way.

Many people have asked how they can pray for us.  Pray for clarity and peace for him and patience for me.  Pray that I stay healthy and can continue working and paying for whatever care he might need now and in the future.  I don't know God's plan and that is probably a positive. 

We continue to laugh and love each other every day.  Blessings come from those laughs each day. 

Today, we giggled that the waitress did not know that Dill Pickles were made with cucumbers.  We laugh so often.  Perhaps those are things I should write about here, as well.  Not everything is dramatically negative.

Our friend Michael is taking Gary to the Bay Area to his home for a few days while I manage the movers and move the house.  He will need a list of things to be aware of in watching him.  I told him via text that he needed to pretend he was taking care of a precocious seven year old only with short term memory loss.  He responded, "Oh, so nothing has changed?  I'm just kidding."

No, Mike you are right on the money.  Here is a picture of Gary several years ago playing with a monkey in Costa Rica. 

I wish I could afford to travel with him full time....oh, the adventures we would have again.

Mike, Gary and I have all been friends for 29 years.  It will be good for Gary to get away from what will be chaotic.  I trust Mike implicitly to care for him and he is looking forward to the challenge.  Thanks to all who love us!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dementia causes a victim to forget his least some of them.

I was off work last Wednesday, so I invited a Visiting Angel over to meet myself and Gary to see if she was a good candidate to be his assistant.  Her name is Mary Jo.

"Jo", as she prefers to be called, will work out just fine.  She is retired, very fit (nice for Gary's walks with Diva) and very patient and capable.

This Thursday was her first day.  I went to work as normal and left him with repetitive direction that her name was Jo and he was to work with her to complete the list of things to do I had painstakingly worked on to create.  

I noticed that Gary's GPS system sent me an email around 11:15 that he had left the "home" zone. This was not unusual in that I have it programmed to notify me if he goes more than 1000 feet from the house.  I thought nothing of it, as I knew she was with him.  More unusual, a few minutes later, his over 35 mile an hour speed indicator went off on my phone.  I was curious where they were headed so I logged onto the website and saw them heading south on 99.  I recieved a business call and forgot about it as I knew he was Safe.  (stop and think about the peace of mind I have with her on payroll!)

He called a little while later to report they had gone to a nature preserve, but Diva could not go in so they came home.  All was well.

On Friday morning, JO was to return at 10:00.  I awakened Gary and reminded him that Jo was coming and that they had to be out of the house for the maids to properly do their job at 10:30.  He did not know who I was referencing.  I reminded him about 10 times before I left.  He called me several times during my commute to ask details about maids, Jo and what they were supposed to do together. He got very upset and we did not have a pleasant exchange.  So much for my makeup for the day.  He was quite overwhelmed when I reached work and we hung up the phone.  I had itemized the trip to Sprouts for shopping, a walk and stocking the groceries when they return home. He seemed clear.

At 9:30, he called me to tell me that he and Diva were leaving to go for a walk.  I very vehemenlty demanded that he stay home as Jo, would be there at 10:00 and he had to let her in the house.  He said that the maids had arrived early and that he remembered that they had requested to not be there with him alone (without an assistant).  He remembered that fact!

I reminded him that he needed to stay there for 1/2 hour until Jo arrived.  He agreed and we disconnected.

At 10:00, the office of Visiting Angels called to tell me that Jo was at the house, Gary was not there and the maids would not let her in the house.  I explained that Gary must have gone to the park and that I would call Molly Maids and tell them to let her in so she could check-in.  I called Gary on his GPS (his phone was on the counter at home) and explained that Jo was at the house waiting for him, the maids would not let her in and that he needed to go home immediately.  He understood and said he as on his way.  Meanwhile, the office of Molly Maids called to say there was a strange woman outside our house trying to get in and that Gary was not there.  I explained that Jo was an employee and they needed to provide her entrance.

Then I called back to Visiting Angels to hear that Jo had proactively driven the neighborhood and found Gary and Diva walking down the street toward home.  All was well.

The whole time, I was supposed to be on a corporate conference call.  Dag blast it! 

Later, they called to report that all grocery shopping was completed and items were stored in the pantry.  The poor woman survived. At the end of her shift, Jo left and Gary called me immediately.

Her report was thorough and she will return on Monday. He still does not understand the need.  Having someone there gives me peace of mind....well, sort of. I never know what he is going to do next.

Today, we went to breakfast and had a delightful talk with a local retired man who had a very colorful, full life.  He gave us a copy of his book.  I look forward to reading my first book in a long time.

We then went to our old neighborhood for a barbeque. Everyone there was someone that we know very well after living in that area for 6 years or had at least met about six
months ago at the last gathering. He remembered very few people except for the hosts, who are very dear friends.  He did not remember that we had lived in the house across the street for so long.  He tried to act social but I could tell by his behavior he was very uncomfortable.  He reintroduced himself to two people who refer to him as "uncle Gary".

When he refused to eat as he was overwhelmed.  After 45 minutes of sitting in a chair, not interacting, he said, "I really need to leave." I did not hesitate to grant his wish.  After that, I did not want to be there either. 

I took him to the nail salon. He is always happy there.  It worked for a while. 

After pedicures, we came home and he asked for dinner.  Our friend had suggested I bring a plate home.  He ate but seemed very overwhelmed again.

We talked about it and he indicated that he wants only peaceful encounters, positive information and no conflict.  He cannot handle alot of stimulation. 

I am not sure how I could ever provide Utopia for him.  Since I don't know this solution, I am reduced to figure out how to keep him as calm as possible so my life will be sane.  God is good.