Monthly Archives: October 2012

My Daily Bucket List

Even though I have responsibilities to take care of Gpa, it doesn’t have to keep me from having my plans and goals.

Currently the top of my list is a good night’s sleep.  When that doesn’t happen,  a nap is a good second.

His bucket list is complementary to mine.  He wants to go for a ride.  I want to go to the garden or to juggling class.  Great fit.

I also take him to an adult day care so I can get errands and chores done.  I also use that time to go to a Bible Study, paint watercolor pictures uninterrupted, and voice lessons.

We both enjoy our time apart and enjoy each other more when we are reunited.

I don’t feel like I’ve really made that much of a sacrifice.  We are both very blessed.

I don’t like to think about the next stage in dementia, no need to borrow trouble.  We’ll deal with what comes next when it gets here.

and hang out together and have a cup of coffee.

Daily Bucket List

I know that we are supposed to make a list of things we want to achieve in our lives.  Big things like climbing mountains, traveling the world, having great relationships.

But I also think the daily items are important too. Do you enjoy each day or groan that it is Monday?  Since taking care of Gpa, I don’t have a weekend.  So Monday is just as good as Saturday.

On Gpa’s daily bucket list are in no particular order a cup of coffee, a cookie and a drive with a pretty driver.  (He says it not me)

Good thing he thinks I’m pretty.

I plan to give him these things daily until the day he dies.  I still have the goal of beating his sister, who lived to 105.

But last night, I saw something that he’s not able to articulate.  We were at our now monthly sing a long.  It was a small group so small that I was the only St. Augustine’s performing.  The event was very informal and we stayed in the kitchen.  Becky asked that we get the words to In the Garden.  It was on the sheet as a solo and I haven’t gotten around to adding it.

However, at one time Gpa had told me it is his favorite song.  So I sang it solo, a Capella .  He had been distracting, playing with his coffee cup, wheeling over to the food, etc.  As soon as I started singing,  he wheeled over to me all excited and tried to join me in the chorus.

Singing this and other songs to him will be added to the list even though he hasn’t verbalized it.  It just took the joy on his face to add it. It is a simple thing really.  Easy to do and makes him so happy.

Particularly Elizabeth

I never know what Gpa is going to say.  Which makes talking to him fun.

A couple of days ago when we got into the car, he said he would pay me for the ride.  I asked him what would he pay me.  He answered, “candy, a cookie, coffee and whiskey.”  then he laughed at the whiskey.

I asked him how he drinks his whiskey.  He answered, “By the gallon full.”

We both laughed.

Tonight, as I was waiting for him to finish in the bathroom.  I asked his name.  He got it right.  When I asked him my name, he answered ‘Dororthy.”  I told him “Laura” and he said, “Oh, yes.”

So I started saying other names,  my mom, Gma’s, and then I started saying his sisters names.  I said those are your sisters.  He perked up at Elizabeth.  “Particularly Elizabeth”

She was 12 years older than him and he talked about her the most.  I wish I knew more family stories.

And why Elizabeth seems to be his favorite. (besides the fact that she’d play piano for him and put paper between the keys and strings)

Day Off Chores

While Gpa was at day care yesterday, I had a nap and then did chores.  Oh there were so many things I could be doing creatively.

I had at least 4 loads of laundry to fold and had a load of my own laundry to do.  I cleaned up the kitchen and made a bread pudding from left over pb&j sandwiches.  I added cinnamon and raisins.  Came out pretty good.

As I was hanging up the last of the clothes.  I asked myself, why not do this while Gpa is here?  Oh, yeah.  I want to enjoy the 30 minutes the house will be in order, without interruption.

It was a very nice day.

breadpudding

breadpudding

Officially 101

Yesterday Gpa had his birthday.  We took him to the Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum.  All around the park there were spiky glass things that looked like tall birthday candles.  Pockets of them here and there.  Different colors and we decided that there must be at least 101 of them.  The park is a big birthday cake for Gpa.

It was almost too warm, but we’d seek shade and rest.  There was also a pumpkin festival with little houses to enjoy.  And when Gpa was ready to go, he’d wave me over and ask to go.  He’d also say, “Don’t leave me.”

We go harvest for the food pantry today and them I’m coming home to rest.  All this partying has worn me out!  Oh and the house is trashed.  I have laundry soaking and bags of presents to find a home for.  But I’m waiting until I put his new clothes on for the party at the garden.

Gpa and blue chihuly

Gpa and blue chihuly

family at arboretum
family at arboretum

Let the Celebrating Begin

We started celebrating Gpa’s birthday yesterday. Had a party after church and then one in the afternoon in Denton.
But a friend told me about a bluegrass festival on Sat, so we got the party started early.

Today the girls and I are taking Gpa to the Arboretum to see the exhibits there. And tomorrow we’ll celebrate at the garden as Becky wasn’t able to make it on Sunday.

Um I’m thinking I’m going to celebrate Gpa being 101 for the whole year. What an

Blowing out candles

Blowing out candles

accomplishment!

101 in Cupcakes

101 in Cupcakes

Orange Peel Art

I had oranges on the counter.  I moved them when I saw that Gpa was eyeing them after dinner. He must have grabbed one then because I was sitting at the computer and he never got to the place where I had moved them.

He sat down at the table with a spoon and an orange.  He was scooping out orange from the top.  OK never seen it done that way.  But if it makes him happy.

He spent at least 30 minutes chewing away.  He’d get done with a piece, he’d either throw it on the floor or behind him.  When I told him to stop, he nodded.

He didn’t stop.

He did go to bed shortly after and slept until 1:45.  YAY!  That means I got some good sleep too.

I took pictures of his new art creation.

Orange Peel on bookcase

art created by Orange Peel on bookcase

Orange Peel on the floor

art created from Orange Peel on the floor

Why Did You Say That?

Shortly after my mother passed away, both my sister and a neighbor told me they knew mother wasn’t going to live long.  It made me wonder why they didn’t say anything to help prevent her death.  Or at least give me a heads up.  I was living with her  and I was surprised and shocked when she died.

It made me feel that they felt superior to have the knowledge they just shared. It made me think less of them. And it was hurtful.

Yesterday, I was on the phone to a woman I know.  She had just gone to a funeral.  She went to support her friend whose grandmother had died.

Then she talked about taking her son to ball practice.  I told her those days go by fast.  Now I wish I had kept my mouth shut.

She replied that I to had a short amount of time with Gpa.  REALLY????  I’m talking about your son growing up and you are telling me that Gpa will die soon.  And she sounded so happy when she said it.

Do you think I’m not aware of the short time I have with him?  We go to the doctor every three months and he has lost weight each time.  And it’s not for lack of feeding him.

I know I say that his sister lived to 105 and I’d like him to beat that and live to 106.  This is a wish of mine.  I know that it is a long shot.

I don’t like to talk often about checking his breathing.  I am very aware that there will be questions on the day I do have to call 911.  How long has he been ……… in his bed, in his chair, on the floor.  I don’t know what the circumstances will be.  I just know that sooner  than I would like, I will be making the call.

I also hate that there are days that the house is a mess.  So I figure the paramedics will be thinking other negative things about me.  But many are the days that the laundry is piled up and there are days it’s in the machine and then for about 30 minutes, the clothes are all clean and put away.

Same with the floor, dishes and clutter in the house.

I’m not good at dealing with my feelings when they happen, mostly because I stuff them down and unpack them later.  So don’t tell me I  should have told her what her comment did to me.  I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it at the time and I don’t want to bring it up now.  Either way, what I have learned in the past when I share my feelings,  is that people just defend  themselves.  I don’t want to go there.

I won’t be answering her phone calls any more.  I really don’t need the grief before it’s time.  And maybe it grieved her to hear that her son won’t be 10 forever.  So I am sorry if I caused her grief.

Mental Illness

We treat mental illness the worst.  We understand, barely, sometimes that dementia is something the afflicted person cannot help.

However, we tell depressed people to ‘get over it’.  We blame schizophrenics for the actions they take that the voices they heard them tell them too.  Really?  How do you discern what thoughts you should carry out and which ones you should not?

How many people have said in hindsight, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

It has been hard to watch Gpa’s decline.  Though I do see glimmers if  I am paying attention.  And for the most part he is happy.

I sang a part of Jingle Bells while taking him to the bathroom at the garden.  When we got back to the pavilion, he finished where I left off!

When we were getting ready for juggling practice today, he stopped and looked me in the eye and told me I was a beautiful lady.

I’m glad someone thinks so.  I have been spending most of my time doing the basic minimum routine so I know my skin is flaky and my hair is pretty crazy.  But they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I told him thank you.  It was nice he noticed.

Lillie has a friend that has several issues and is now wanting to focus on her depression, maybe even go into an in patient program.  Her doctors are trying different drugs, which are making her sleep and her parents think she can pull herself out of the depression on her own without the program.

UM, what skills or experience does she have to do this? Has she done this successfully before? All of this young woman’s stress relieving strategies are self destructive.

She was supposed to call me after her doctor’s appointments today, which ended at 3pm.  But she didn’t.  I thought about it while getting ready for juggling.  I thought, I’ll keep my phone on me and pick up.  But she never called and I haven’t thought about it again until now.

I do hope she is all right.

I can’t fix Gpa and I can’t fix Lillie’s friend.  It’s situations like this that  make me wonder why love isn’t enough?  And if love isn’t enough, what is?   I stand here and watch them slip away.

Can You Practice a Sing a Long?

If you are singing a long how can it be practice?

Sometimes during Tuesday morning harvest, I’ll practice the music I plan to perform at the sing a longs.  Today was one of those days.

Gpa sang, “la la la”, a couple of times.

Then he wanted to go to the toilet.  While there I kept singing and one of the songs I sang was jingle bells.  I thought it was simple enough for him to follow along.

It wasn’t until we got back to the pavilion that he sang some words that I could understand.  It was a part of Jingle Bells, I hadn’t gotten too!

It is always great to me when we tap into some of Gpa’s memories.

Becky thinks that the horse back ride may have had something to do with Gpa’s interaction today.  She could be right.

Oh, and the girls tell me that they plan to get me on a horse when I’m 100. That may be the next time I do so.  We’ll see.