Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Case of the Haunted Jacuzzi

My cell phone rang late in the day.  I saw Heather's picture and knew something was wrong as she only calls me in an emergency....or something REALLY strange.  I'll give you one guess which case this was....right, REALLY strange.

Heather:  "Do you have a Jacuzzi tub in your bathroom? How do I turn it off? Dad turned it on somehow and I can't turn it off.  It sounds like a truck idling from downstairs but I came to check on Dad and it is the tub!  In the background I could hear Gary going on about some totally different subject.  While humorous, I had to focus.

I asked several questions, like did you turn off the button?  There was only  a knob sticking up and that didn't work.  She texted me a picture of what looked more like an air duct usually found on the side of the tub.  We have not used the Jacuzzi since we moved in so I was not sure.  I told her to fill the tub with water so the motor would not burn up since she said it had been running for quite some time.

I then suggested she go the breaker box, find the one marked tub or Jacuzzi and turn it off.  Gary was still in the toilet stall so she left him, went down all the stairs, grabbed Xander's toy flashlight (it worked) and headed for the breaker.  Vioila!  She found the right switch and turned it to "off".  Or so we thought.  She went back upstairs to check on Gary (no gym membership required in this house full of stairs!) and found the tub still shooting water to and fro.  I could hear it roar in the background. 

I asked if the water was above the jets.  She replied affirmatively.  She had to leave to get Xander from day care and I was too far away to do anything.  She assured me there would be no flood so I decided it was ok until I got home over an hour away.

When I arrived home, I put on a pair of shorts to get in the tub since the spigots and the drain are on the far end of the tub (pretty stupid design).  I also tried the button which looked nothing like a Jacuzzi button I had ever seen.  Water had started to splash all over that side of the bathroom.  Since she had followed my initial directions and turned the brass button one way and then the other, the air was on full spray and doing its job.

There was no button that looked anything like a switch.  WTF?  If we couldn't find the button to turn it off, how did Gary turn it on?

Then, I remembered a silver switch on the wall behind Gary's bathrobe.  Remember when you were a kid and you went to a hotel that had a heater in the ceiling in the bathroom that had a timer switch.  Yes, one of those.  All this time, I thought it was a heater switch that we never needed.  It was stuck on zero.  Or at least there was a fine line between zero and sixty minutes.  He had turned the knob all the way around, it turned on the Jacuzzi and got stuck in an on position.  I turned it off the a moment of peaceful quiet after the raging waters from moments before!

So, how did it not turn off when Heather cut the power?  So, I too used the toy flashlight (three other flashlights in the emergency area did not work) and headed for the breaker.  It was off.  Again, there is no explanation for how the Jacuzzi continued to run with the power "off" but it did.  Crazy house. 

So, after a day of audits and regular work, I mopped the floor while explaining the answers to all of Xander's questions.  "Why did you open the shower?  What is a sponge?  Why is there water everywhere?  What is that thing in your hand called? Why is it called a mop?  Why did Papa turn on the bathtub? Why are you standing in the bathtub with your clothes on?  Why are you letting the water out?"  And.....etc.

So, as per normal, rather than trust that Gary will remember not to use that knob again when he is trying to turn on the lights...I got out the duct tape and covered the switch so it cannot be used. 

I then remembered that I needed to double check that Gary's CLUB remembered to have him wear his jacket home (that is another topic for another day).  Of course, Heather reported that  he did not wear a jacket home. I was close to blowing a gasket after spending almost a half hour prior to work this morning watching a social worker at day care run around looking for Gary's clothes from when he had an accident and came home in someone's spare clothes. 

Tomorrow morning, when I take him again, I will need to go in, find the social worker and make a real stink.  Why is Gary the only one who comes home without a jacket?  Or is he?  Perhaps I have uncovered a significant problem there? 

I have been known, on occasion, to be very vocal. I should be plenty warmed up by morning....look out world!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Public Embarrasment

Sometimes I feel punished.  I know its a mindset but it is difficult to not get bitter.  Anger is certainly an emotion that enters my heart near daily.  Why do I have to change my patterns, errands and wishes because Gary has dementia?  If I chose to get a "sitter" all the time, or impose on Heather more, I could have more freedom.  He is not so far along that I feel that is right either.  So, I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of this already in-between comparison to Hades.

Last Sunday, I took Gary to church.  It is a loving group where we have worshipped before since moving to Anaheim.  Because of Gary's constant repetition of many words he hears and due to his verbal processing (often loudly) of most thoughts, I am always on edge waiting for what jewel he may drop on humanity next.  Sure enough, a few minutes into the Pastor's sermon, Gary stood up.  I pulled on his jacket to get him to sit as I knew whatever he was processing was paragraphs behind the poor man's sermon.  I managed to get him to sit down without too much noise or shuffle.  Then, he started reading aloud the bulletin which I gave him to hopefully keep him quiet.  I tried to quiet him with the ever-dependable "shhh".  He merely repeated the noise several times growing louder with my frustration.

I could tell the folks in front of us were a little un-nerved.  How to handle? When the Pastor asked for folks to stand up who were ready to commit their life to Christ,  Gary took the opportunity once again to stand.  Well, who am I to keep the man from re-giving his life to Jesus....even though he was probably hearing some other message.

The rest of the service was uncomfortable for me.  Of course, the anger started.  Is it lack of control that invokes the anger?  Is it embarrassment?  Yes.

Then today, he really needed a pedicure.  I can't effectively take care of his feet so I choose to have him professionally soaked, massaged and clipped every so often.  I haven't found the right person who completely understands his behavior, needs and quirks.  Today, we came close.  The lady doing his manicure (I just asked for a pedicure and he decided LOUDLY, that he too needed a manicure) was very sweet and spoke English in a tongue he could clearly understand.  She told him that we were treating him  special because his birthday was this month.  He treated the entire audience within the salon's hearing range with his signature "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" and "That's more better than good."

The other discomfort for me is not knowing how loud he will be or what he might say.  (for example, he told the woman she had nice breasts and asked if he could touch them). I apologized and told him his behavior was inappropriate and that he needed to stop and that certainly he could NOT touch her. She understood, laughed and said she understood.  I watched her body language for several minutes and she really did seem to accept his mental disorder.  There was a woman around my age who was there with her adult daughters.  She sat next to him and talked to him while my procedure was being finished.  She asked how long he had dementia and that she had a friend in my "situation".  All I could say was that I was sorry for her and that I wish the disease on no one.  I gave her the blog address for her to share.  Perhaps it will help someone else.  Perhaps it is a hell that they would better cope with if they don't know what is coming.  I'm not sure that I want to see the future. 

There seemed to be a sigh of relief when we left.  All employees were tipped very well.  I will have to consider whether I go back to the same salon or find a new one.  Do they want our business?

So, one should be able to see why I am beginning to think that I can't take him anywhere.  I guess I will have to start shelling out additional dollars for a sitter, even for routine errands.

I will have him from Wednesday afternoon until Monday of next week due to the Holiday.  Heather and Xander are escaping for the weekend. Escaping.  Yes, I said "escaping".  Bless them both.  They put up with so much.

Pray for us all.  Sometimes being a part of a family and having committed to a relationship is hard.  I will not let him down. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Words from my mouth on Sunday......

Some utterances from my lips on a Sunday....not necessarily in order and with no context to assist the reader in understanding the insanity of dementia.  I will omit conversations with anyone other than Gary.

12:38 am "She said she was taking Xander to the Emergency room.  He has an ear infection. Go back to sleep."

2:38 am "Honey, you are in the closet.  Come out and go to the toilet.  Gary, go to the toilet.  You are in the closet.

Did you flush?  I didn't hear you wash your hands.  Okay, dry your hands and come back to bed."

7:20 am "Good morning.  I'll be right back.  I'm going downstairs to make coffee and get your pills. Cover up and stay warmy dormy."

The quotes from the rest of the day will remain timeless....

"Finish up your coffee, take off your clothes and get in the shower.  No, take off your pajamas.  Hand them to me, I'll put them in the drawer.  Get in the shower.  If its hot, turn it down a little.  Then, turn it up to warmer. 

Hold still while I shave you.  Don't rinse the conditioner out of your hair.  Rinse after I shave you.   Yes, I will help you wash.  Okay, rinse your hair and get out.  Step on the rug and towel off.  No, you may not use my towel.  You have your own.

Now, brush your teeth and comb your hair.  Your underwear, shirt and pants are on the bed.  Lean against the bed to put on your underwear.  That way you don't fall.

Okay.  Here is the hairspray.  Don't spray your hair and then comb it again...it will make it gooey and you'll look like Alfalfa.  That is a fake drawer, not a real one.  This is the deodorant drawer.  You have already put on your deodorant.

Now, put on your clothes.  Where are your glasses?  No, Gary, not those shoes.  You have to put on your clothes before your shoes and those are your slippers.  Your church shoes are at the end of the bed.  No, lets put them on the correct feet.

Oh Lord, wont you buy me a Mercedes Benz?  Oh right, you did.  Thanks, Lord.

Gary, I already put the granola in your yogurt, stop flipping the top over.  I already did that.  Gary, stop playing with the napkin and eat your food.  I'm taking Diva out to poop.  Stay here and finish your coffee.

Why did you come out here?  Diva is just going poop.  Yes, you may sit down.....lets relax a minute. Ok, lets go so we aren't late for church.  Do you have to pee or poop?  Ok, good.  Lets go. You just said you didn't have to go....ok, go ahead. 

Gary, are you done?  Hurry up, we're late! Did you wash your hands?  Gary, why are you doing that?  Don't wipe your hands on your shirt.  There is a towel here its right there.  Dang it, now go upstairs and dry your shirt with the hairdryer.  NOW!  Oh hell, come on up.  I'll do it.  NOW!

What were you thinking?  Oh right, you weren't.  I'm sorry.  I know you can't help it.  That doesn't make it easy.

Okay, lets go.  Get in the car.  NO, not out the front door.  Gary. Stop.  Stop!  Oh hell.  Get in the passenger side.  No, get in the front seat. Put on your seatbelt.  Stop messing with your jacket and put on your seatbelt, please?

Stop reading signs.  No, we are not turning right.  The church is straight ahead on this road.  Stop stomping your feet.  Why do you do that? Yes, Jesus loves you.  Don't wave to the people in the car. Put the window up.  Stop locking the door.  Stop unlocking the door.

Here we are.  Now, we're late so try to walk fast.  Hi, Ms. Dru, I really have to go to the bathroom.  Can Gary stay with you?   Thanks.

Ok honey, lets slip in the chair over there behind Pastor Jim.  Stand up and sing.   Ok, you can sit down.  Are you tired?  Stop fidgeting.  Shhh.  Shhh, the woman is praying.  Shhhhh!!!

Amen.  Lord, thank you.  Help me.  Help us.

Hey, I have an idea, lets go get something quick to eat and go see the new James Bond movie.  How does Carl's Jr. sound? 

Yes, it is a good burger.  We are going to be late for the movie, so lets go to the store and then home and go to the 2:30 movie.  Its the new James Bond movie that came out this weekend.  Do you like James Bond movies?  Good.

Stop putting your napkin in your mouth, that is disgusting.
Do you have to pee before we go to the store? 

Take off your seatbelt and I'll come around and help you.  Wait, that lady is getting out of her car.  Gary, STOP!  You almost hit that car door!  Stop means DON"T MOVE.  I've told you that a thousand times.

What did you do with my list?  Why did you ball it up?  OH geez, this isn't the list at all.  What did you do with it?  I know, you don't know. Now, I have to remember the list.

Coffee.  No, I want beans not ground.  Because we have a grinder.  No, you can't have alcohol.  Wine is alcohol.  You have had your lifetime allocation.  It mixes with your medicine.  Come on honey.

Walk faster. You are holding up traffic.  Come on this side.  Watch your head.  Put on your seatbelt.  We are not going that way, we are going home. 

Help me carry in the groceries.  No, this way.  To the kitchen.  Go straight into the kitchen.  thanks.

Now, lets go upstairs and get out the clothes that are too big for you.  Because you can't wear them anymore and there was a bad fire at an apartment complex and they need men's clothes.   Try this on.  I know you like this one but your stomach sticks out. You have gained a lot of weight.

Besides, if you lose weight, God will replace them.  Someone else needs them worse.  There was a fire at an apartment complex and they need the clothes worse than you. 

Carry this box downstairs.  Nevermind, I'll do it.

Get your shoes on, its time to go to the movie.  We are seeing the James Bond movie.  Do you have to pee?  I don't want you to have to go in the middle of a chase scene.  The last three movies you did that.  Go pee.

Well, that movie is full.  I should have purchased the tickets online.  I know better.  Ok, we will wait on the next show...its only a half hour. No, we will get a small coke and you can sip it.  I don't want you to have to pee during the movie.  Oh yeah, and Gary, you have to be quiet during the movie.  You repeat everything and you can't do that in the movie.  Understand?

Here is some popcorn.  Only a sip.  Shhhh.  Be quiet.  Be quiet.  Shhh.  Be quiet.  I don't know what he said, you were talking. Dammit.  You really have to pee?  Can you wait until this action is over?  Ok, go now.  That way, over those people.  I am so sorry.  Go, Gary, Go.

I can't believe you have to pee.  Come on, hurry.  Do you realize that I just can't take you anywhere anymore.  I am 52.  I am too young for this.  This is not the life I want.  No, that is the men's room.  I will wait.

What took you so long?  Did you wash your hands?

We can't go to the same seats... we'll just slip in seats on the end....in the front.  I know this is too close, but we are not crawling back over those people.  SHHHH.  Be quiet.  Sit still.  Stop wiggling your legs.  No, we can't kiss.  Be quiet.

Shhh.  Be quiet.  Oh no, really?  Again?  Get up!  Go.  I can't believe you have to pee again.  We ARE going back and I am GOING to see the end of this movie.  Hurry up.

What took you so long?  Let's go back to the theatre.  Are you enjoying the movie?  Its James Bond.  I'm going to have to start getting a sitter.  I'm missing out on too much life.  God gave me you for a reason.  Look for it, ADA.

That was the end.  Let's go.  Home.  Put your seatbelt back on.  Why did you take it off?  Oh good, Lord. 

This is our home.  We live here now. I'll fix supper.  Chicken.

Why did you put your spinach salad in the mayonnaise.  Now, its wasted.  You better eat it. Stop feeding Diva.  She had her supper.  Gary, stop feeding Diva.  Why did you put your napkin in your drink and suck it?  That is the most disgusting thing I've seen you do in a long time.  Stop it.

Bring your plate in here.  Let's put you in the chair.  Want a blanket?  The heat is on.  Don't touch the remote.  It is set on relax with heat.

No, Diva.  NO more treats.  Diva, stop.  What Gary?  Stop calling Heather, I am right here.  What do you need?  WHAT?  No, we don't need to buy another car.  We have two. 

Its right down the hall.  Turn the chair off.  I'll help you.  Its down the hall.  Turn on the light, close the door behind you. 

Wash your hands.  Did you flush?  No, I'm not going to bed yet.  I'm watching Madam Secretary and writing a blog.