Serendopeity

The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

Monthly Archives: February 2009

It had to happen sooner or later

Today I started on a new path.  I made a call to the Community Care Access Centre.  It will be a case worker from the CCAC that will start the paperwork to get me some help around here.  Maybe someone who can come in a couple of hours a week so I can get out and not be afraid of what will happen when I am gone.  This afternoon I headed out to do some shopping – not Nancy shopping but shopping for mom and dad.  I find shopping with them too stressful and well, slow.  I can be in and out of the grocery store in 20 minutes tops and thats with a full cart of groceries when I am alone.  Throw them into the mix and we are looking at an hour easy.  And most days I don’t have an extra hour to be out and about.  I have always wondered what stay at home moms do all day.  I could never understand it – I was never one so the concept was a little foreign to me.  However, after over a year with mom and dad I can fully understand what stay at home moms do.  Between trying to entertain and feed them, break up their petty arguments, settle the stupid disputes and keep peace in the family there is not alot of time to do much else.  Additionally there is trying to keep their bathroom clean, which, these days is a full time job in itself, laundry, and meal prep. 

Anyhow, this morning I went grocery shopping.  Didn’t need a whole lot but ended up with more than I had on my list – what else is new???  I picked up some bannanas – we were down to one and I try to keep fresh fruit here at all times – it saves on the cookie consumption.  I think there was about 7 or 8 in the bunch I grabbed.  Brought them home, set them out in the fruit bowl with apples and oranges and then went about my day.  Mom was still sleeping when I left – a normal occurance now.  If we don’t get her up then she is in bed till around 2:00 – 3:00.  When I got home I was a little dismayed to say the least.  There was 1 bannana left in the bowl.  So I went on a search mission.  Don’t misunderstand – I would never begrudge my parents food.  My problem is that I would rather they eat it then me find it next week somewhere hidden and smelling…I buy it so they CAN eat it – but mom has this habit of squirreling away stuff and you never know where you are going to find something from last week’s dinner or lunch.  When we first started this journey  she carried a purse.  We had to give that up because she kept losing it.  The problem wasn’t the purse it was to time consuming to have to replace her ID every week so we got rid of the purse.  Anyone who has ever had to deal with government agencies will understand when I remark about the total inefficiency of said government agency.  If you lose your OHIP card be ready for the Grand Inquisition in addition to having to produce other pieces of ID.  Ummm…she lost her purse all the ID was in the purse.  If we had the purse we would have the damn OHIP card now wouldn’t we.  Zippy the Wonderslug and Zippy’s family who have cornered the market on plum Government jobs have no clue as to why replacing ID is such a big deal. 

But I digress…

Upon finding said bannana peels in the garbage I felt better about them – however there was the pill issue.  Every morning I place mom and dad’s pill packets on the table at their seats at the table.  Dad has his when we have breakfast together.  Mom’s sit there waiting until either she gets up or I take them in to her, wake her and wait while she takes them.  Today I left hem on the table.  I come home and the pills are gone – but so are her morning pills for tomorrow morning.  I am back to hiding the pills.

So late this afternoon I took the plunge and called the CCAC.  A intake worker called around 7:30 tonight, took all the pertinent info and said a case worker would call within the next couple of days.  We will have to wait and see what happens from here out.  Will I chicken out re putting mom (and possibily dad too) on a waiting list for long term care?  Who knows?  I would imagine it will depend on my mood when the case worker calls.  All I know is that it is getting progressivly more and more difficult to try and take care of them on my own,  I need help, I need a break. I am getting to the point of burnout and I know that if I get to that point then I will be ineffective at best and perhaps something other than I want to be to them.  I can’t be a caregiver when I need caregiving myself.

It has taken me a long time to admit that I need help.  I thought I could do this and I was wrong.  I can do most of it, not all of it and it is time to rely on some outside help.

106. I have a Chocolate Lab named Bosco.

How could anyone mistreat an animal, especially one this cute?

Bosco

Bosco

 

This is my “baby” Bosco.  I got him from a woman who had rescued him from a Lab Rescue Shelter.  He was 15 months old when I got him in 2003.  The people who had him originally had, since the day they got him, kept him in a cage.  No walks, no playtime – he ate, slept and did his doggy business in that cage.  Why they had ever gotten a pet was beyond me, but I was thankful for the turn of events that got him to me.  The woman I got him from had gotten a new job and was moving from a house in Kitchener to an apartment in Toronto and thought it unfair for him to be in an apartment.  I could tell from speaking with her that she loved this dog, but she couldn’t keep him.  I picked him up on Saturday, brought him home on Sunday.  He has been my “baby” ever since.  He is truly my best friend.  We had some issues when he first got here but happily they have been resolved. He still doesn’t like it when I go out.  He could have people around him 24/7 and it still wouldn’t be enough for him.  He is very social and I have only ever seen him growl once and that was at another dog that used to cut across the front lawn on a daily basis.  The dog in question was a nasty dog – he didn’t like anyone, animal or human except his owner – and his owner wasn’t the most likeable person either. 

Bosco or Boo as I like to call him (don’t ask why because I don’t know) runs this house.  He has me trained – but more importantly he has dad trained too.  My father and Boo have a bond that is unbreakable.  Additionally Boo likes to sleep on mom and dad’s bed.  This isn’t too much of a problem when mom is sleeping but dad has been known to sleep in the chair beside the bed as not to disturb the sleeping dog. LOLOLOLOL.  But, it was Boo’s bed before mom and dad moved in so I guess he has squatter’s rights.  I always tell dad, just kick him off the bed but dad won’t.  I tell ya, the dog gets away with everything LOL.

He likes to sit under the dinner table – either with his head on my knee if he thinks he is going to get some of my dinner.  If I tell him to “go away” he does – straight over to the other side and puts his head on dad’s knee because he KNOWS he is going to get something to eat no matter what.  Mom is a little more cautious handing over her food – she loves to eat as much as the dog does.  It is always a test of wills to see how long it takes for her to hand over a bite of something.  She eventually does but not before she has made it known that she has been goaded into it.  I have always said that if my mom or my dog stop eating there is a problem going on.  Boo likes everything but lettuce and dill pickles but if either are on a sandwich or a burger he will happily scarf them down.  His most favourite thing is kielbasa.  I am not sure why but he will do just about anything for a chunk of it.  And I don’t know how, but he can always tell which bag it is in when I bring home the groceries. 

All this eating has made him a little portly – ok, more than a little.  This wouldn’t be too much of a problem but he likes to think he is a lap dog…and he has a habit of jumping on me in the mornings to wake me up.  When I first brought him home I was still working.  The alarm would go off and I would hit the snooze button.  No snoozing for Bosco – it was time to get up.  If I didn’t get up immediately he would stand up and then flop on top of me.  That got me up pretty quick.  I call him my Slim Fast Diet Failure Poster Boy.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I was worried about what would happen to Bosco while I was in the hospital and recovering.  I would be gone from home for at least 6 weeks and then when I returned would be heading out for Kingston weekly for another 6 weeks.  Additionally there was no way I could risk him jumping or flopping on me after major surgery.  My brother Jim and his family agreed to take Bosco in while I was away.  The day I left him at Jim’s was one of the saddest days ever in my life.  I had always promised Bosco I would never leave him.  It was a deal we made with each other when I first brought him home.  As I left Jim’s that day, crying, I told him “Mommy would be home soon”.  I hated lying to him – he was my buddy – and at that point I didn’t know if I would ever see him again…

When I finally got to pick him up almost 6 months later I thought he would have forgotten me or at least been very mad at me for leaving him but he didn’t/wasn’t.  He was as happy to see me, as I was to see him.  But, he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t sleep with me right away.  I was still undergoing my final 2 chemo rounds and was pretty sick.  Boo would sit at my bedside and the minute I moved his ears would pick up and he would look at me as if to ask if I was ok.  There were days when I was not ok – days that I wished it would all be over, I was that sick.  He would follow me to the bathroom and sit outside the door.  If I cried (and there were days…) he would sit his head on my lap as if he were crying with me.  I couldn’t walk him, but my nephew Alex would come over every morning and take him to the beach. 

I truly believe that Bosco saved my life.  Without him, I would have probably given up fighting but I knew if I did he would again be “abandoned” and that was not going to happen.

I love my dog and in return my dog loves me – unconditionally.  Even when I scold him he looks at me with those big eyes and I am instantly smiling and laughing again.  I can’t stay mad at him – look at that face.  I have been told that he has human eyes – and he does.  Somewhere in there is a human soul. 

I would lay down my life for my dog and I know in my heart he would do the same for me.

 

A week later…

…and we are slowly returning to “normal” around here, whatever normal happens to be for the day.  There are alot of things that most people would consider bizzaro in this home, but the one thing that remains constant is mom’s need for sleep.  She would sleep the day away if we let her.  I am sure this is part of Alzheimer’s.  If not, then I may have more problems showing up than I thought.  She is always tired and could sleep right through the day and night if we let her.  I will not let her though because I am afraid that sooner or later she will be up all night if she sleeps all day.  I am hoping that since the period of daylight is getting longer her need to sleep through it will get shorter.

We missed all our activities this week because everyone was not feeling well.  I decided that it was better to keep everyone home rather than take them to their group things and pass on whatever it was that we had.  Their group activities are attended by mostly seniors and I knew how we all felt and I wouldn’t wish that one anyone else.  Dad was particularily upset that he missed his group.  He really enjoys getting out and “chatting” with the guys.  I think the men do more chatting than the women, only about different things.  It would seem that all the men have “war stories” about their former careers.  It’s a really nice group of men that met on Thursday mornings.  They are all really cute.  I just love old people. LOL.

Mom’s group is very grandmotherly like.  They drink their tea and coffee out of cups and saucers which I think is a really nice touch.  There are some women there that are recently moved to Brighton from other places and they are also very “British”. 

Both groups are put on by the Community Care Centre.  They do wonderful things for our Seniors.  They run the Wheels on Meals program which feeds over 50 seniors on a daily basis with a hot meal.  The program is staffed by volunteers and everytime I walk into the centre to drop mom or dad there is a wonderful aroma of whatever that day’s meal is.  The week before last it was a cherry – lemon cobbler that had just come out of the oven…oh my, it sure looked tempting LOL. 

We also missed Bowling and Bingo this week.  So we will have to pick up next week where we left off.  I am going to talk to Sue about maybe doing the paint/craft this this week.  I know that Dad and Ivy are looking forward to bowling again so crafts can always wait – and besides the pain I bought kinda sorta froze in my trunk LOL.  I forgot it was there until yesterday when I was loading groceries.  Ya ok, I know, sometimes I should be blonde!

It’s bright and sunny today so perhaps we will just go for a ride.  I don’t know how cold it is – when Bosco came in from his last trip to the backyard his back was warm so the sun must be emitting some warm rays.

To everyone who emailed, left messages – thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I truly appreciate the care and concern you all show for us. It helps to know that I am not alone.

Have a great day.

It’s good to be back on this side of sick.

Happy Birthday to you…

Today one of my bestest friends in the world is celebrating a birthday.  She is lucky enough to be living in a warmer climate…Myrtle Beach, while the rest of us are still trying to figure out what to do with all the snow we have.

I have known Louise for about 20 years.  It doesn’t seem that long but it is!  I met “Lou” through my dad who picked her up in a bar. LMAO.  It’s not how it sounds!!!! But it is still a pretty funny story.

It is true that it was a bar.  It isn’t true that dad picked her up LOL.  My father and I both worked in the Stock Brokerage business for many years.  He has always been an early riser – even to this day he is up before the anyone else in their right mind who does not have to get ready for work.  It was the standard joke at home that dad was downtown in the morning to open the door of  the Toronto Stock Exchange for the janitor.  Anyhow, I was never downtown that early, but I would always meet up with dad for coffee before going to work.  We met in a place called Sammy’s Exchange which, by day was a restuarant and by 4:00 pm when the market closed a loud, smokey bar.

There was always this woman there in the morning when dad was waiting for me and she would say good morning to dad everyday.  One day she just decided to sit with him instead of at a table by herself.  I walked in that morning and thought “wait a minute, thats not my mom”!!!!  Reader’s Digest version – we have been friends ever since.  We have travelled together, eaten more meals together than I can count and most importantly no matter where either of us have landed we are still as close as can be.  She is the lucky one – always landing somewhere warm, sunny and usually with a beach near by.

Lou – sorry but your birthday card will be late – see my post about being sick.  We are just now getting over the worst of it and it started a week ago.

Whatever you do today Lou – have a great birthday.  And I wish you many many more my friend.

Have a glass of wine for me!!!!!!!!!

Love you and miss you !!!!

Nancy, Bosco, mom and dad.

When will it end?

I haven’t felt this sick since chemo back in 2005. My whole body hurts and no matter what I ingest it just doen’t want to stay put.  I did some research and I should be able to follow the BRATT routine for anyone with a stomach bug/food poisioning.  Not sure which one I have but I am leaning toward the “bug” thing.  Anyhoo,for anyone whoever has a stomach thing going on BRATT is a doctor promoted eating routine while you are recovering.

B   =   Bananas

R   =   Rice

A   =  Applesauce

T   =   Toast

T   =   Tea

The worst part is the Tea.  I haven’t drank any amount of tea in I don’t know how long.  For the most part I would drive for hours to find a real cup of coffee – good coffee, with real cream not milk and 1 1/2 sugars.  However, in the interests of science and hoping to fell better I had lowered myself to drinking tea with lemon and sugar.  I love Iced Tea – or Swet Tea for you Southerners but hot tea just doesn’t do it for me. 

I can eat bananas no problem.  However with a much lessened stomach capacity a whole banana is not possible (and no comments from the cheap seats k?)  And I actually like them so it’s not a big deal.  However bananas now give me heart burn.  I have not had heart burn since…well, you know.  So this is scaring me a little – ok, ok alot!!!!!!!

Rice is pretty boring, but I knew along time ago that rice was a great stomach “cleaner” .  Thank travelling to Mexico and the Caribbean for that little piece of info.  I would hate to count the number of times Customs Agents in little warm countries looked at me funny when noticing a 1.5 litre bottle of water and a bag of Uncle Ben’s in my carry on.

Applesauce – I tried that this morning, very early this morning to be exact and it seemed to do ok.  Stayed where it was put and aside from causing a “lump” in my chest not too bad.  At least it didn’t want to return to it’s former glory outside my stomach.

Toast is toast no matter how you toast it and this morning I did manage to keep 1/2 bagel down.  I really miss cream cheese though…

Mom and dad are well on the path to recovery it would seem.  Mom slept till 3:00 this afternoon, but that is nothing new.  However upon waking up and moving around her poor knees are not doing too well.  I don’t have the heart to tell her that the chances of the Doctor’s agreeing to replace them are very slim due to her Alzheimers.  Anesthetic in any shape or form could seriously impair what is left of her fragile mind.  So it would almost seem like a 6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other.  Fix the knees, kill what’s left of the brain or leave the kness and keep what’s left of the brain. 

Bosco is the only one who has remained untouched by all of this.  He has been a really good boy, although I could do without the play time in the morning just yet.  143 pounds of Chocolate Lab flopping down on me while I am still trying to sleep has not endeared him to me the last couple of mornings.  I know this is his routine, and I know, like mom his routine is everything to him but please boo, give it a rest for a couple more days…I promise you that when I feel better I will take you down to the park and we can play until your little heart is content. 

Ok I am finished whinning for the time being.  If I didn’t feel so horrible this would almost be funny.

When the Caregiver needs Caregiving (warning graphic descriptions herein)

It all started Saturday morning.  I woke up early to get ready for a Relay For Life breakfast at the local high school.  Unfortuneatly my body had other plans for the day.  After almost choking on a piece of toast I grabbed some oj to try and wash it down.  When that didn’t work I hightailed it into the bathroom to try and throw the little sucker up.  Lo and behold, instead of throwing up I was faced with a different problem.  I headed upstairs to shower and change.  I spent most of Saturday sleeping on and off and running to the bathroom about every 15 minutes.  Most times I made it, some I didn’t.  I tried to make dinner for mom and dad but didn’t have the energy to do much more than hold my head up and try to tell mom how to warm up some chili I had made for dinner on Friday night.  After dinner I grabbed a ginger ale and some plain cherrios thinking that I needed to put something in my stomach.  I wasn’t sure what but I needed something if I was going to stop the endless stream.  The cherrios and gingerale stayed down and Saturday night passed almost uneventfully.   I had one or two runs (to say the least) to the bathroom but I had ample warning and no more messes.  Sunday morning I got up and had a piece of toast and 1/2 cup of coffee. Anyone who knows me well, knows that 1/2 cup of coffee just doesn’t cut it for me but I wasn’t going to take any chances.  As the day progressed I felt better and better.  My jaunts to the bathroom slowed considerably and I was drinking more and more ginger ale and eating cherrios.  I felt that we had averted a real crisis and we could get on with it.  That changed in a New York City minute.

I was in the kitchen trying to clean up when Dad yelled at me to come quick.  Mom had fallen in the bathroom.  I literally pushed him out of the way and ran in.  She was lying on the floor.  When I spoke to her to ask her if she was hurt in anyway, she could barely speak, speech garbled and very incoherent.  She thought she was sitting on the toilet.  She was clammy and sweaty and by the time we got her up off the floor she was able to speak.  I got her into  bed, where she said she wanted to go and she drifted off. 

The next alarm came when I was called downstairs by a frantic dad.  As soon as I hit the ground floor I could “smell” what the problem was.  Great, she now had what I had previously.  We got the bathroom cleaned up as much as possible.  While doing so it became apparent that the bathroom sink was leaking. I mean apparent by the pool of water forming on the floor.  Dad was a real trooper, cleaning up what he could.  I, on the other hand had to leave the room several times.  The smell was overwhelming and in my already not feeling well state it seemed exaggerated 100fold.  I got mom into the tub and showered her off, redressed in some clean clothes and back to bed.  About 15 minutes later it happened again. I asked her how her stomach was feeling ans she said she was hungry. This is always a good sign from mom.  I have always said that if mom or Bosco stop eating there is a problem somewhere.

Not be able to cook a real meal I popped a couple of TV dinners into the oven.  The third time I knew we were in trouble.  I asked dad if he was ok on his own and headed out to the drugstore.  If we were going to get through the next 36 – 48 hours (based on the length of time I was not well) then I needed reinforcements.  It was 5:40 pm.

For what ever reason the closest drugstore was closed. The door said they were open til 6:00 but I guess in a small town, 6:00 pm comes early on a Sunday night.  Keep in mind I was in my pj’s and slippers with my winter coat thrown over top.  Quite a sight.  I jumped back into the car and headed for the next drugstore – ok, they were closed, but their sign in the door did sayt 5:30.  Off to No Frills.  Finally somewhere that was open.  I picked up the needed supplies and headed home.  Damn, I’m fast, 20 minutes and I was back in the house.

I loaded mom up on Imodium while dad ate his dinner.  She tried but couldn’t get anything down and went back to bed.  So far, so good.  I wasn’t eating but told dad I would have a coffee with him after dinner. 

It didn’t take long before mom was back in the bathroom.  She was pale, clammy again and had not quite made it in time.  However, the adult under garments I had gotten at the drugstore helped to stem the mess.  We got her cleaned up again and back to bed.

Dad and  I sat down to watch some television.  Everything was ok – mom was sleeping, Bosco was sleeping with her, dad and I were watching CSI:Miami.  At 10:00 I made us some toasted crumpets and coffee.  He went to bed and I went upstairs.  I had slept most of the last two days on and off so I was far from tired.  And since I haven’t had any real food for the same amount of time I didn’t think it was a good idea to take my meds.  I will probably pay for that in the long run.  So far my stomach isn’t too bad but the pain is. 

At 2:50 am I heard movement from downstairs.  By the time I hit the stairs running and got to the bottom I heard retching…I knew that sound – many times I had heard it coming from the bathroom when my father had a migraine.  This is wonderful – now him too.  When it rains it pours.  Luckily enough dad is still in some control of his facilities.  Aside from some memory failure and an arthritis problem he is, overall, not even close to the level of mom’s decline and/or progression of Alzheimers.  I got downstairs in time to help him into the bathroom.  He had the presence of mind to grab something when he started throwing up so there wasn’t a mess to clean up.  However, by the time I got back into the bedroom mom was up and throwing up.  She did not have the same quick thinking process and most of herself and the carpets on the floor were covered. 

The floors of the house are hardwood so I have strategically placed throw rugs all over the place.  I picked up the last 2 on the floor in their room and took them outside to put into the bag.  I think I will be spending sometime at the laundromat tomorrow.  Between mom, dad and myself there are 3 garbage bags full of dirty laundry…and it still isn’t daybreak yet.

So, it’s 3:45 am.  I am wide awake, afraid to even lie down in case mom and dad need me downstairs in a hurry.  I made Bosco come upstairs with me and he is sleeping soundly on my bed – straight across it – I couldn’t go to bed if I tried.

I can’t do this.  I feel totally out of control and like a complete failure.  I made a solemn vow to myself that I would do whatever it took to help mom and dad and today I dropped the ball big time.  I got angry, yelled at mom, wished I was somewhere else, anywhere else.  I cried to dad that I was sorry that I wasn’t taking care of them like I told them I would.  The house smells so bad that I am not sure if m own stomach will last until morning without revolting. I have washed floors, cleaned toilets, tried to maintain dignity for all concerned and failed miserably. 

I need help – the caregiver needs caregiving. For the first time in a long time I miss Jeff.  I miss having him to hug me and tell me that it’s going to be ok, his shoulder to fall asleep on.  I need a break, I can’t even get sick and it’s only some stupid stomach bug.  What happens if my cancer comes back?  Who will take care of them ?  Or me?   I must have been some nasty mofo in my last life, because I am sure paying for it now.

Happy Birthday to you…

Dear Maggie Kate

21 years ago this afternoon you made your entrance into this world.  I can still remember that day as though it was yesterday. ( Happily I didn’t feel as awful back then as I did for the real yesterday.)

Upon coming home from the hospital, I named you Worm, a name that has stuck with you since.  You were all bundled up because it was February but the minute we removed all the swaddling you moved like a squirming worm…

You have grown from a little tomboy to a bigger tomboy housed in a beautiful woman’s body.  Not only are you beautiful outside, you are beautiful inside too.  You shine with enthusiasm, stubborness (which you get from both sides of your family) and most importantly an amazing sense of independance.  I shouldn’t be surprised by this, you have shown that independant streak since the day you were born, refusing to look at your dad as he leaned into the cradle to take one of the first of many pictures.

I look back on those pictures and they all make me smile.  My favourites include you in your high chair, half naked on your first birthday eating half a grapefruit at Gramma and Grampa’s.  You had a fever that night but you still managed to eat – Hmmm…LOL  You sitting on the floor with your skirt all splayed out around you, you and Alex dressed for Halloween…the list goes on to more recent pictures. You and Gramma at the house at Presquile, you and Bosco, you dressed up like Ragedy Anne…

I always say that you got all your good qualities from me.  Alas, it is time for me to come clean.  Although I had a hand in some (or would like to think so) you are what you are because of your mom and dad.  No one is prouder of you than them, although there are many standing in line behind them.

You latest adventure has taken you into a realm of entreprenuership with the love of your life.  May your love for him and your dream of your own business last a lifetime.

I couldn’t love you move if you had been my own daughter.  There are a million things I could write here but I don’t want to embarrass you any further.  So I won’t.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays today Magz.  At 21 years old you can vote in any country in the world, you can drink in any country that allows drinking and most importantly, you can DRIVE in New York City.

Have a great day and many many more birthdays.

I love you Magz.

Happy Birthday

Love always

Aunt Nance.

Under the “B”

Thursday afternoon is BINGO time for the Seniors.  Sue came up with the plan to give us something to do.

At 1:00 pm I take mom and dad over to Sue’s to join Ivy and Grace in a lively couple of games of BINGO.  Sue and I take turns being the caller while the other ensures that no one misses any numbers that are called.  We also take turns hitting the local dollar stores, buying up little trinkets and the like to hand out as prizes.  To date mom and dad have managed to amass quite a little collection of bobble head birds, little animal knick knacks and some cute voltive cande holders.  I know, I know, it’s just more stuff, but they all seem to enjoy winning it, so what the heck – no one is getting hurt and it’s all in fun. 

We start the afternoon with coffee, tea and treats.  Grace is a wonderful baker and today we had awesome Lemon Squares.  Sometimes she makes cookies that are just like my Gramma used to make.  Ginger Snaps, Oatmeal Coconut, Chocolate Chip and to-die-for shortbread, which she doesn’t just bake at Christmas.  Other times, Sue and Ivy will bake a cake in the morning and we will have that.  I am the “lazy” one – I stop at the bakery.  (not really lazy, just time challenged for the most part).

Then it is time to play BINGO.  It is actually quite fun because you never know what is going to come out of it.  Today, not paying attention, mom stuck her hand into her coffee mug thinking it was the little dish with her Bingo markers in it. 

Ivy’s sense of humour comes through when she continually asks to trade numbers that are called with someone who has said number and she doesn’t.  She also likes to munch on the chocolate covered almonds Sue sets out, but, Ivy doesn’t like the almonds only the chocolate covering, so sometimes instead of a Bingo marker on her card there is a naked almond sitting in its place. 

Mom can get a little indignant when her numbers are not called.  She also has a problem hearing somethings and many times she will say, “I thought you said “D” ” when under the B or G are called.  It would be too difficult to try and get her to understand that (a) there is no D in BINGO and (b) the numbers are static to the letters . 

We usually play 5 – 6 games. The first couple are single lines, the next two games, 2 lines are needed to win and the last game is always a full card game.  Dad likes to play 2 cards at a time.  Today he called BINGO during the 2 line game…Ummm Dad – the two lines have to be on the same card!!!!

Grace and Dad are usually fairly quiet, checking their numbers as we go along.  However, all 4 of them can get quite verbal when their numbers are not being called LOL.

Getting out and doing activities seems to be helping my frustration levels immensely.  I still get frustrated with both of them but when we are out and doing something it is much easier to just go with the flow.  They are having fun, not losing things and most of all the interaction with others keeps them from becoming bored and restless. 

And there is a big bonus to doing activities. People who are afflicted with Alzheimers lose their ability to remember things, especially short term memory.  Their brains become confused, words get lost, thoughts unfinished.  Mom and Ivy are the ones that have been diagnosed for the longest.  Mom, Ivy and dad have major problems with short term memory loss and things are gone from their minds almost immediately.  However, something pretty amazing happened this morning.

Sue got to Ivy’s house at her usual time and the first thing Ivy asked her was if they were going Bowling today.  This may seem like a small thing, but in the world of Dementia, this was awesome.  It was the first time that Ivy had recalled something from the day before ON HER OWN!!!!!

Now, none of us are naive enough to think that there is some miraculous turnaround happening to Ivy.  Rather, it would seem that for whatever reason Ivy’s brain retained the Bowling activity, recalled it a day later and actually let Ivy articulate the words.  In the grand scheme of things, this may never occur again but for today at least there was a short glimmer of recognition for Ivy and it was a good thing.

We are going to continue BINGO on Thursday afternoons as it is a fun time for all.  We are also going to add Bowling to our activity list, however that won’t be weekly, more like every 2 or 3 weeks.  Next week, we are going to try a Craft afternoon – I picked up canvas’s, paints and brushes at the Buck Store and we are going to see who the next Piccasso or Da Vinci will be.  If it is mom or dad I know the artistic gene was not passed on to me – at best my stick people drawings would send a normally sane person running to the nearest “loonie bin” to have me commited.  Rorshak has nothing on me!!!!!!!

Hope your day was as fun as ours.

Nancy

Bowling for Seniors.

Today Sue and I decided to take the Seniors in our lives bowling.  First of all, there are not alot of outdoor activities that we can partake of due to the crappy weather and secondly it was something to do and get the old folks up and moving for an hour or so.

Mom, dad and I met Sue, Ivy and Grace at the bowling alley at 1:00.  They were already pumped and primed to get moving.  It took a couple of minutes to “shoe up” and then the frivolity started.

All 4 of them (the Sr’s) were a little shaky at first.  Mom had a hard time grasping that she got 3 balls to throw on most given turns.   She kept throwing the ball to the left.  At one point she ended up on her keester – ok, ok, I did make sure she was alright before I almost fell over laughing.  I couldn’t help it – she looked really cute doing the almost splits.  I shouldn’t laugh I know because she didn’t do it on purpose – but it was pure entertainment.  (anyone who wants to tell me how horrible I am needs to spend a day around here – you either laugh or cry and I chose to laugh this time).  Her knees have been really bad lately and she wasn’t for playing a second game.

Dad, once he got the hang of it did really well.  His first game he bowled 108.  Hell, thats better than I do on Thursday night in my league!.  He got a couple of srtikes and was as proud as a peacok. LOL.  He played a second game, but didn’t do as well – personally I think after his victorious first game he just got too cocky and was trying to hard. (Not really by the second game his shoulders and back were sore. I could tell by the way he walked.) But the trooper he is, he still went out and throw a couple of strikes.

Ivy was the lead off and the first couple of frames were almost intimidating for her. Once she started to hit pins though, it was hard to keep the smile off her face. She also has a hard time with the 3-ball concept.  After her first ball she would start to head back to her seat.  Sue would remind her that she had 2 more balls.  Ivy would then take a ball in each hand – oh,oh – no Ivy, one at a time.  Late in the second game Grace remarked that it was probably due to Sue using the word “Two”.  Sue reworded it to “One more ball Ivy” and she didn’t pick up two at a time after that.

Grace did ok too – she would get a little upset with herself for the gutterballs, but she managed a comeback in Game 2. She did better than game 1 – I think  Game one was more of a practise run for all concerned.

Grace is Sue’s next door neighbour and of the 4 at 81 years of age she is the only one not showing any signs whatsoever of slowing down. Her mind is as sharp as a tack.  I love her dry wit and sense of humour.  Sometimes she can be a little crotchity – but hey at 81 I think you have earned the right to have those “moments”.

And for the record – Sue and I are the youngsters in the Gang. Dad is 77, mom 75, Ivy 80 and Grace 81.  I am the baby at 48; Sue is…well I’m not going to tell you but safe to say she is a tad older than me but lots younger than mom LOL.

Sue and I played the second game with Dad, Ivy and Grace.  It was a blast.  We decided that we (Sue and I) would not “try” so that the Sr.’s would think they were whipping our butts…It worked for me, my score sucked…oh ya, I was trying LOLOLOLOL.  I am just bad at the game.  But I love going out and playing on Thursday nights.

Tonight will be a definate A535 and painkiller night in this house, I can tell you that LOL. 

All in all a good day for all of us.

Tomorrow is BINGO!!!  I’ll tell you about that one tomorrow. LOL

Hope your day has been as fun as ours.

Nancy

Living in the Past

Why is it that people with aged related Dementia can’t remember what they did 10 minutes ago and yet can remember what happened when they were a child.  I am 48 years old and have difficulty recalling many things from my childhood.  Of course the major events and those documented with photos and movies (most in 16mm) I can recall with ease.  There are some things I think I remember  but I am not sure if it is a true memory or I have seen a photo so many times or been told the story so many times that I actually can recall it.  Case in point – I was 3 years old when John Kennedy was assinated.  I remember (or do I) watching the funeral unfold on TV and watching John Jr. saluting the Casson as it went by.  Is it a real memory or I have I seen the photo so many times that I think I remember it?  I am not sure. 

Mom and dad can reminice about things that happened when they were young.  Some of the stories I have heard over and over again, usually in a short span of time, and some I hear for the first time on almost a daily basis.  And it’s not things that you would think that a person would retain.  Little things, not always monumental events in their lives.  I find it both fascinating and sad at the same time. 

Both of them sometimes cannot remember who I am.  I have been a variety of people – sometimes related and sometimes not.  But, I have heard many times about both their families when they were young.  I am not sure if the memories are real or not, but I would like to think that in all this madness of Alzheimers that a brain would not be as cruel to reproduce events in ones mind that did not really happen.  I don’t mean the delusional thoughts which I know occur, but rather the sweet sometimes melancoly thoughts that show up out of the blue. 

A brain is a truly complex organ.  It runs the rest of our bodies; without one we can’t survive.  I can only hope that each time they do remember something it brings a kind of peace to their hearts.  I know there will come a day when they will not voluntarily remember anything and I dread that day more than my own death, but I do hope that I will be able to face it and get through it.  So for now, we will live in the past, catching glimces of what life was like for them before their disease took over.