Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mission Accomplished: Move to Memory Care Complete

Gary's move into Memory Care is complete.

I awoke around 4:00am and laid in the bed next to Gary just looking at him.  I knew it was the last time.

Jessica was due at 7:30 to shower and dress Gary and keep him while Heather and I went to the new place and moved in the belongings.  Instead, I showered and dressed Gary.  This activity can be very stressful but today it was merely a labor or love.  He cooperated fully and seemed to understand as I talked to him about "last times".

Heather took Xander to school which is right down the street from "The Happy Place" and met me there to start the move in process.  We hung all the pictures, made the bed, hung his clothes, labeled his new furniture with its contents.  When we felt it was complete, we went home to get him.

Here are some pics of the d├ęcor.

When I got home, Gary was sitting on the sofa in a blanket watching television with Jessica his caregiver. At some point, I went over to him and once again explained that he would be moving away today to a place where he will be well taken care of and be happy.  He had a glimmer of recognition of my words and then started reading the close captioning on the television.  That was exactly what I needed as a premonition that maybe this would not be so bad.

Upon arrival, we walked into the unit and all the caregivers rushed to welcome him.  We made our way to his new room and showed him the pictures which immediately received no recognition.  He sat down on the bed and started to lay back....drained.  We had him sit up just as his nurse came in the door with the unit Puppy named Annie.  Six months old and all tongue, she introduced herself to Gary and he said, "My dog."

After a few minutes, we took him to the lunch room where he was introduced to his table mates and we left to go to lunch. 

Jessica and I had great conversation at lunch and it appeared that Gary's caregiver was also on duty to serve the wife.  It was nice to have someone who understood my angst.

We arrived back at the Happy Place to find Gary sitting in their living room at a table.  I went to his room, checked on a few things and found that his bed was not working properly.  They were dispatching Hospice to fix the bed.

Standing in his room was surreal.  Gary will be LIVING there without me, without Diva.  What a concept after 30 years of rarely being apart.

I decided it was time to go.  I went into the room where he was still sitting and said, "I'm going home now.  I will visit you tomorrow.  I kissed him on the lips and he said goodbye.  As I walked away, I turned and looked at him and blew him a kiss like I have a thousand times before when leaving for work.  The trick is to "catch" the kiss and put it down the front of your shirt and pat over your heart as if the kiss is making your heart beat.  In perfect form, he caught the kiss, made his heart beat and blew back a kiss with a smile.  I caught it and made my heart "beat."

I could leave work in transitioning him was complete and accepted.

I had envisioned that part of the day to be the hard part.  I was wrong.

As I sat in the car in the parking garage, I became numb.  I started the car and realized that I did not know what to do, where to go.  For 2+ years, I have done nothing but go to work and take care of Gary.  It was 1:30 in the afternoon.  What does one do with free time?

Though it may sound silly, I was paralyzed.  I saw that my friend Shirley had sent an email and I immediately called her.  She was so gracious in taking my impromptu call and cried more than I did.  We decided that I should get a pedicure and manicure at a new place where I knew no one.  It would be easy as I would not have to answer questions, nor talk and could just chill.

I did.  It was nice having time to myself but it also made me realize that I will have a lot of time to myself. 

I came home, put out the trash.  I eliminated every trace of incontinence....all the extra pads and diapers.  I am done with that in the home. 

I received an email from Gary's coordinator that said they had fixed his broken bed motor and he was sitting in the living area with other residents playing a trivia game.  She said he had answered some questions and seemed happy.

For now, I will start seeking the new normal.  Tonight's bedtime for Diva and I will be unusual.  I hope we can sleep. 

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