Monday, January 2, 2017

"Don't Leave Yet!"

Happy New Year 2017!

After returning from a short family vacation to LEGOLAND and the Safari Park, I went to visit Gary today.  I took along a nutritional supplement, MSM with me.  He ran out a few months ago and the prescription provider could not get it.  We tried a few months without it and I'm convinced part of his issue with his hand is arthritis/joint related.  So, I will buy the product and take it in. 

He was sitting in the Living Room of the Unit with his eyes tight shut.  He was obviously asleep and the angels reported that he did not even wake up when the therapy dogs came to visit. I kissed him on the cheek.  No reaction.

It was time for the ambulatory residents to go for a walk upstairs in the Assisted Living Floor.  We were asked to go so I pushed Gary in his chair and we made three laps.  He was semi awake but it was more visiting time with three of the ladies.  We took Annie the dog along and all seemed to need to get out of the memory care unit.

As we arrived in the living area, Gary abruptly awoke.  I kissed him and said "Happy New Year".  He replied and puckered for a kiss. It was time for lunch so I sat next to him at the table and started to feed him.  He picked up his glass and drank his juice out of a straw.  He needed a little help sitting it down, but seemed very aware today.  Even stranger was the fact that Nancy, 96 years old/non-verbal and always needs help feeding was feeding herself.  She picked up her spoon and put three mouthfuls of peas into her mouth and chewed.  I acted as if I was not watching so that if she had a moment of clarity, she would not be embarrassed or stop.  She then sat back in her chair and refused to eat anymore at that sitting.  She was trying desperately to put words together and was adamant about something related to the brown pureed stuff on her plate.  We giggled together and then my attention turned back to Gary. 

After lunch, we moved to his bedroom to do some trimming and snipping of moustache and fingernails.  He chatted and made words but really, nothing made sense at that point.

We moved back to the living area and left to go to the drug store for more combs, shampoo, Body wash and assundries.  When I returned, there was a travel documentary on about sailing around the continent of the United States. 

Gary loved the sport of sailing so much that he wanted us to go sailing full time.  In fact, we spent many years preparing even though we will never go.  I  tried to show him the screen and show him the sailboats on the screen.  He would not look at the television but repeated every nautical term he heard.  The entire time, I was holding his hand, stroking his arm, scratching his head and rubbing his legs.  I put my head on his shoulder for a few minutes and relished in the closeness that I so desperately miss.  He kissed my head and kept repeating what he was hearing on the cruise-show.

I knew that I had to leave and told him that I had to go back to work tomorrow and that I would be by tomorrow night.  He grabbed my hand hard and would not let go.  He said, "Baberoon, don't leave yet."  It does not get any more personal or present than that.  Not only did he call me by a loving nickname, but he stated what he wanted. 

I sat back down and stayed another half hour.  We just sat together and held hands.  He would look over at me with that blank FTD stare but I knew by the hand squeezes that he was there.

When I did get up again to leave, he let go of my hand.  I told him that I would be back tomorrow night and he said, "Tomorrow night.  I love you."

Even a manicure, pedicure and a dinner later, I have very little feelings.  I started my diet again today...for real this time.  I am supposed to start the book today.  I have writer's block.  I am not sure where to start.  What would Gary want me to say?  I'm sure the words will come.


  1. You are an angel. My brother has semantic dementia with aphasia. Very similar to FTD. He is now 66, but has been having symptoms for six years. He is in Assisted Living. He doesn't know his siblings, nor his children. He tries to talk to us, but only babble comes out. He remembers to call me (how) just to say hello and he "loves me very, very much." It's something I started when he first started showing symptoms. Now, he only says "very, very much." He knows when it's time to eat (8, 12 & 5), walks every day around his unit and plays Parcheesi with anyone who wants to play with him. It's incredible what the mind remembers and the memories that are wiped clean. My heart goes out to you and all of us who are losing our loved ones to these horrible diseases. Bless you.

  2. Oh Ada, may God continue to show you your have blessed me by your share. I'm praying for you booth.

  3. >"I am supposed to start the book today. I have writer's block. I am not sure where to start."
    I think you are writing it here.

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