Tag Archives: dementia management

Halved Horse Blanket

There is an old folk tale where a man asks his father to let him have the farm now and not wait until the old man dies.  Especially since the older man was getting too feeble to work the land.

The old man loves his son so much he agrees.

The son then tells his father to sleep in the barn.  The old man complies and goes to the barn.  After the old man leaves, the weather turns cold.  The son tells his son, go take a horse blanket to the barn.

The son cuts the blanket in half.  The father asks, “What are you doing?”  The boy replies, “I’m cutting it in half so you can have something to keep you warm when you are old.”

I am concerned that if we are not careful we as a society will make choices like the man responding to the age of his father.   Especially as the need increases.  Who will be caring for the elderly?

Gpa has had some great care givers and he’s had some that I suspected of abuse.  What happens to the people who don’t have an advocate? Who will be their voice? Especially those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia and cannot advocate for themselves?

Will we seek a full solution or will we slap a half-hearted, half-baked, half-horse blanket on it and be done?

A Hero’s Journey

I am listening to a book on tape.  “A hero’s journey’ has been mentioned a couple of times.  I think that if you ask the hero when he/she started out, maybe even when they are done, they never felt like a hero.

They just did the next thing that needed to be done.

When Gpa first got diagnosed with dementia, a friend told me about a family counselor that was free.  So I’d go on my lunch hour.  Oh how I needed this.  But then the woman got promoted and I graduated me.  Said I wold be fine and really I was doing much better than most of her clients.  I felt fired.

Once when I was there telling her of the struggle, she asked, what if God were just asking you to push the obstacle but was not expecting you to move it? Well, that would be something then.  I could just stand their and push and not be frustrated that I wasn’t getting anywhere.

My daughter tells me that when Gpa and I fell, I yelled, “Why is this so hard”  I had thought I just thought it at God.  But that is what got my daughter in the room to help us up.

I’m thinking maybe it’s been hard pushing so long because the sign says pull.

And I’m going to have to go through the door without him.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Following are some pictures the kids have posted on Facebook.  Plus the one I took on Saturday.

Gena also posted the following on Facebook.

Hard to believe this picture was taken almost four years ago(pic below with her and Gpa in hospital).
I’d say his last year was one of his best: Horseback riding, eating cookies all day every day, taking his great grandchildren to Disneyland and riding rides with them, celebrating his 101st birthday, eating homegrown vegetables from his garden, flirting with everyone, learning how to juggle bean bags, daily car rides were one of his favorites, pop-tarts being the best food ever, and having his granddaughter play his favorite song “In the garden” On her ukulele while he passed away.
RIP GRAMPS! 1-15-13
gpa and gena 4 years ago

4 years ago

Gpa and Cagney

Gpa and Cagney 1 12 13

in front of the chicken coop

in front of the chicken coop, last month

in California with Rocio

in California with Rocio

family portrait

family portrait, the picture on the wall, Gpa painted in 1964

incognito at disneyland

incognito at disneyland

 

A Change of Plans

Yesterday the following is what I wrote down to get done:

Hospice 10ish
Library
Hair cut 1
? truck
practice music
look up about copyright

The only thing that got done was practice music.

It had snowed in the night and there was 2 inches in the back yard.  It was funny to see  the dogs reaction.

Because of the snow, hospice called and asked if they could come at 11.  Sure, we weren’t going anywhere.

Because of the snow, the stylist asked if we could move the hair appointment to Wednesday.  My daughter said, I could also see about a different day.  So I said I would wait and call to reschedule, if that was OK with the stylist.

Because the truck wasn’t ready, we didn’t pick it up.

I cleaned off the car because I didn’t yet know we wouldn’t be leaving the house, started laundry and gathered my music to play for Gpa.

I changed him and shifted his position.  Got settled myself and began to play.

I played, “In the Garden”, an admitted favorite.  Then went on to other church songs that he grew up with.  I finished with songs the band I’m in has written and plans to record next month.

I was playing the ukulele and had planned to practice the violin next.  I looked over and Gpa wasn’t breathing.  Or was he?  I had put him in plaid pajamas and couldn’t tell if it was the look of the pattern or if he was breathing very shallow.

I went to ask my daughter if she thought we should wait for hospice.  She asked about his pulse.  Oh, yeah, I had forgotten we can check that.

No, no pulse.

I called hospice and they asked if I called 9-1-1.  No, I wanted to know if they still wanted to come out.  No, they said to call 9-1-1, so that if they could do something to revive him, they could.  I replied that he has a DNR.

She had never had this happen before so she put me on hold to discuss with her supervisor.  I’m not surprised,  Gpa is a one of a kind type of guy.

She said to call 9-1-1.

And the rest of the day was filled with taking care of Gpa, then talking about Gpa.

Not that Last Ride

Last Wednesday, I had decided that it would be the last time Gpa went to daycare.  He had gotten to the point he could not stand on his own.

It was a cold and rainy day.  I almost said never mind and kept him home.  But I had a couple of things I needed to get done before becoming housebound.  And I had made plans to have lunch with a friend that I didn’t want to miss.

On the way to daycare, I was sad that this would be his last ride.  He loves them so much.

But I was wrong.  It wasn’t his last ride. On Friday, a beautiful sunny day.  Thank you Texas weather! My daughter needed a ride to her car.  I told her I could do it if she helped me put Gpa in the car.  She asked what about when we got home as she would go to work after dropping her car at the shop.

I told her that I can get him out of the car better than I can get him in the car.  As it worked out the home health nurse wanted to meet about that time and she helped me get him out of the car.

The nurse had the “H” word talk with me. So over the weekend I looked up a few hospice companies and one is coming tomorrow.

In the mean time, the truck is still not fixed and my daughter loaded up Gpa into the car yesterday and we had another lovely ride.  Sure he slept through it but he’s been doing that lately.  It was nice to be able to give him another ride.

But I don’t know it I’ll learn not to say this is the last time for …. or not, we’ll see.

Equal to the Task

There are days that I am overwhelmed by what I need to do to care for Gpa.  There are other days that I actually sit in the moment and enjoy our time together, the laundry and dishes can wait.

He however is single-minded and wants to get to the table so he can have a cookie.  Before we got the hospital bed, I put his bed on the floor hoping to keep him from falling.  I found him in the morning on his knees pushing his chair backwards and was beside the table!

If only the rest of us were that determined to reach our goals.

I have been reading, “The Magic of Thinking Big” and this statement caught my attention,

“A fellow, who really thinks he is equal to the task, is.”

I’ll remember that the next time, I get overwhelmed.

Serenity Prayer

Tuesday was rainy.  Tuesday was also garden harvest day.  Even if the weather is bad,  we get together and have breakfast.

So I planned to go and take Gpa.

While getting him out of bed, he couldn’t hold himself up and went down, knocking against my knee (which I equated to a quarterback’s injury) I had to get my daughter to help me get him into the chair.

In the struggle, I asked God why it had to be so hard.  He replied, I didn’t have to go to the garden.  I growled that I had paid the price to go when my knee got whacked.

So we got Gpa loaded into the car and had a lovely breakfast.

Oh before I could get to the lovely part, I told one of the ladies I needed a hug and how hard the morning had been.  She is going through a similar situation and reminded me of the serenity prayer.  She shared that she says it daily.

I have known about the serenity prayer but it has been a long time since I prayed it.  I was doubtful that it would help, but I’ve been praying it instead of railing against the bars of the cage called life.  And it has been helping.

It goes like this:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

This is what most people know but I looked it up once and it’s longer.  Check it out sometime.

Music Language

When I was younger, my mother bought a piano and my sister and I had lessons.  She told us that we would be glad later that we had the training.  She said this when we complained about having to practice our lessons.  She is right.  I am glad I know how to read music and play the piano.

When the kids were little, I learned to play the guitar.  I play mostly by chords or if there is tab notation.  I know that I could learn the individual notes but I haven’t taken the time.  I wanted to get to playing.

Last year I got a Ukulele and I learned it like I did the Guitar.  I have learned some picking patterns and tried out a claw hammer style strum.

Now I have a violin.  It is quickly becoming my favorite instrument.  (Don’t tell the others)

I have discovered something very interesting.  Since I am learning to play by reading the notes, I am having to map where the note is on the piano before I can get the right finger to the right string.

It feels like piano is my first language and I’m learning violin as my second language.

 

Going to Class and Not Learning Anything

One of the best things about Gpa wanting to go for a ride, is that I can take him to things I want to do.

Saturday, we attended a home recording class at Guitar Center. He slept through it.

A friend and former classmate showed up and we caught up with each other.  That was nice.

On the way home, Gpa asked me why we were there.  I told him it was a class, he told me he didn’t learn anything.  I told him it was because he slept through it.

He just gave me a look.

I laughed and said it was a class for me.  And I did learn something.

 

Monkey Business

In the movie “Monkey Business”  a lab chimp creates a formula and puts it in the water cooler.  Things start happening for Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers.  Marilyn Monroe even gets in on the hi-jinks    It looks like Cary has found the secret to youth.  He traces what he has done and thinks it’s heat.

I think of that every time I crush Gpa’s pills and put them in his oatmeal.  I wonder if heat is changing how they work.  At the homes he was in they would crush the pills and put them in applesauce or pudding.  No heat.

It’s just something I think about at 5 am while I make breakfast for my hungry boy.