Monthly Archives: November 2012

When Gpa Naps

I have determined that it would behoove me to sleep when Gpa naps.  It has been strange to lay down at 8 am or 6pm.

But I have noticed that he sleeps in the car.  I’m driving so I can’t nap then and yesterday, he fell asleep while eating breakfast.

I don’t want to have to learn to eat and sleep at the same time.

I do nap while he is at day care and that helps alot.

I can hear him snoring so I’d best be off and catch a few winks.


Safer and More Dangerous

We have Gpa in a wheel chair full time now.  This is because is was loosing his balance and falling.  He still has an ugly bruise.  It starts on his head under his cap.  It has spread down his face and around his eye.

I have stopped giving him his baby aspirin.

My sister says orange juice helps the bruising.  I plan to get some the next time I am at the store.  If I remember. Hope he will drink it if I do.

He moves around faster in the house now.  He has gotten into more things.  I have had to move things to the garage.  He has torn up his arm because he doesn’t remember to put his elbows in when he goes into the bathroom by himself.

He moves backwards fast too, he pushes off with his feet.  The part of the wheel chair that is supposed to keep him from tumping over, has hooked onto chairs and other items and he drags them.

He is tearing up the house!

He is tearing up himself!

I have taken the door off the bathroom.  He’s the only one who uses it.  I will when no one is around so it’s ok not to have a door and he has more room even if he doesn’t pull his elbows in.

However, when I am in the bathroom helping him, I am very aware of things that can go wrong.  I get very nervous as I reach down to lock the wheels.  I can see the potential of getting hung up if he decides to help and pushes off backwards.

There is a dicey point when he is standing up or sitting down, the wheel chair is in between us.  if he goes over the wrong way, he’ll end up in the tub.  If he goes over the other way, we’ll both go over and tangle up in the chair.

I try not to deal on all the ways it can go wrong and concentrate on making go right.

The other place that we’ll have to be careful is when we are getting to and from the car.  The drive is at a slight slant.  Enough of a slant that the chair can pick up some speed.

I won’t be able to load the car up while he makes his way to it.  I’ll have to load him up, then get the car loaded.  Otherwise, he’ll be in danger of rolling out into the street.

I hate  that there are pros and cons to everything!




A Lonely Man

Thursday was a busy and bustling day.  Full of family, fun and food.

Friday was the complete opposite.  All I wanted was a nap.

Didn’t get it.

Gpa was very restless.  Going from one room to the next.  If he took a nap, it was for about 5 min.  I’d get settled and here he’d come.

Took him for two rides.  One I cut short because he kept popping the seat belt off.

Early Saturday morning, he said he had to talk to me.  I thought he was going to ask for a cookie.  But he didn’t.  He repeated that he wanted to talk to me sometime.

Sounded serious.

I stopped what I was doing and gave him my full attention.

“I’m lonely.  I’m a lonely man.”

Broke my heart.

“Do I have any relations, and family?”

OH, is this what was going on yesterday?

“Yes, I’m your granddaughter.”

“You?  You are family?  I am so happy.  So happy.”

Again, broke my heart.

It doesn’t take much for Gpa to be happy.  A cup of coffee, a cookie, a ride in the car,  family to love and be loved.


Not Waiting for Turkey

Thanksgiving day I got up and put the turkey in the oven and cleaned house.

Gpa had his own agenda.

I brought him outside while I gathered tomatoes.  Yes!  I still have some tomatoes.  The ones in my backyard only get 4 hours of sun a day.  So they didn’t produce much this summer, but they did survive the 100+ heat to happily give me an abundance now.

A few weeks ago, I had picked some grass that had gone to seed and had stickers on them.  Mom called them goat’s heads.   I didn’t want to put them in the compost and meant to throw them in the trash.

When I turned around from gathering tomatoes, Gpa was covered in stickers and he had some in his mouth.  He wasn’t even trying to spit them out.  Didn’t they hurt?

So I pulled off his gloves and knocked the ones on his pants off. He was impatient.  He was ready to go back into the house.

I really don’t know what is going on in his brain.  I keep telling him everything is NOT food!

Later, we had a lovely visit with the family which made the chaos of the morning worth it.

A New Girlfriend

Last night at juggling class there were only 3 regulars.  Then a little boy peaked in and I asked him if he’d like to learn to juggle.

He said yes. I asked if his mom was at the library?


Please let her know you are here in the juggling class.

He went to get her.  She was glad that I checked that she knew where he was.  Then she left to go back into the library.

Gpa went out the open door and followed her.  She made it to the library proper.  She didn’t know he was following her.  Gpa was still in the lobby area when I caught up to him.

When I tried to wheel him around, he put his feet down and asked me “What the HE** are you doing?”  The volunteer closest to the door, looked up.

I could not get Gpa to pick up his feet so I started dragging him backwards.  He fussed all the way back to juggling.

I guess he had found a new girlfriend.  One worth following.    Sorry Gpa, I can’t keep up with all the ladies you have on the line now.

Self Perception

What one thinks of oneself can be a good thing, or a bad thing.  It depends on how one treats oneself because of it.

Gpa thinks (and probably feels) he is much younger than he is.  I think that is why he flirts so.  I do try to keep him from mirrors.  They remind him he is old.  He also thinks he is an ugly guy.

But he is not.

My 25 year old daughter has a friend that has been fighting bulimia since before they met.  They met in junior high.  That is a long time to think and feel that one is morbidly obese and be underweight.  It is also a way she feels in control.

When this young woman was in her early 20’s her body took that control away as well.  She had gotten to a point where she didn’t have to do anything to purge after eating.  She just did.  She came very close to dying.

I’m not clear if she’s started again or has just confessed that she is purging now.  The good thing is that she is seeking help.  Looking into ways to get support.  I’ve taken her to a support group not unlike AA.  I couldn’t go in but I could walk her to the door.  I hope she keeps going.

She shared with me that because of her success, she’s gained some weight (this is a good thing because)  this makes her feel fat (this is a bad thing)

I told her that for a while she is going to have to allow herself to feel out of sorts as she changes her self perception.  I hope she can do it.

I think changing one’s view of oneself can be the hardest thing ever.

A Hard Week

Last Monday Gpa fell at Daycare.  It was two hours before they realized he may be hurt.  Any by them he was inconsolable.

Really people, he has dementia, he may not know he is hurt.  So check him out at the time of the fall.

So I got a call.  At first it was come pick him up.  I was across town and the car was in the shop.  So I let them know it would be a couple of hours before I could get there.

But Gpa now aware of his pain could only express it.  So I was called again and asked which hospital.

The one closest to me is the one where the kids dad died. Not the best choice because of old memories, but good in that I knew where everything is.

I would meet him there.

Oh, he was so glad to see me.  He was ready to go, or at least scoot further down the bed.  He was as far as he could go.  I had my job cut out for me to distract him and keep him on the bed.

The x ray guy thought the date of birth was a typo.  Nope, he really is 101. He had to use the portable x ray machine because Gpa was not going to sit still.  Does he ever?

At one point I took off his hat, which is really a cap and saw a goose egg.  I showed it to the doctor and was able to get a cat scan.

Poor Gpa, they had to strap his forehead and his chin down.  I could not reach him, not with my words or by holding his hand.  All he was aware of is something wrong with his neck.

Good news, he had no broken bones and nothing wrong with his head but a sinus infection.  Which explains the falls, I guess.

There were moments while in the hospital that Gpa and I really connected.  Looked at each other in the eyes.  All else fell away.  It did not matter we were in the hospital.  We were together.  And love filled the room.

It is Sunday night and there’s been a few more falls.  I’ve brought the wheel chair in the house.  If he wasn’t before, he is truly a bull in a china shop.  He wheels as fast as he can go forwards and backwards not aware of the chair hanging on other furniture and dragging it around.

I am running on very little sleep and looking forward to day care tomorrow so I can get a really good nap.

Life is cruel.  This slow descent into nothingness.  There is nothing I can do to stop it.  I hate that he will continue to decline until I am relieved that he is gone.  Not just a ‘whew’ glad that is over. But more like a sigh from every fiber in my being that this part of  his and my journey is over.  And I hate that.  I don’t want to get to this point.  But oh, it is there.

And if the kids ever found out I even remotely felt this way, we’d have such a row.  For, “Mother how can you even think that!?!”  Dear, heart, that is just a part of life.  A part of the process of letting go.  And I have been holding on so long and so hard.

And what of these memories we are creating?  They are just a fleeting thing, like a butterfly.  Who knows if I’ll ever choose or have cause to remember  the joy found in the day we hung out at the hospital.

I no longer can say things like, “I’ll remember this always.”  For there is no guarantee that I will.

And tomorrow I’ll start my preparations for Thanksgiving.  And if I take the time, I will find a lot to be thankful for.


Grab a Camera

Sometimes if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

Sometimes you have to grab the camera before you take care of the situation.

That happened the other night.  Gpa got up and was wandering around.  He has begun playing with the lights.  And sometimes he’ll have all the lights off and try to get where he’s going.

Not a good idea.

I was on the sofa and it woke me up when he turned off all the lights.  My first thought was great, I sleep better when it’s dark.  Then I heard him moving around.  Before I could get up, I heard him go down.

The little dog thinks he’s helping if he barks.  Even when I tell him to stop, he’ll keep barking, sounding the alarm.

Gpa in a laundry basket

Gpa in a laundry basket

Gpa had fallen into his laundry basket.

Of course I had to take a picture. (after making sure he was ok)

Day of the Dead

Last night Gpa and I saw Groupo Yaoyollohlti Aztec Dancers at the garden for a Los Dias de Los Muertos celebration.

I had originally planned to watch.  Then I read the email and saw that we could bring a picture of a loved one that is no longer.  I took a picture of mom and Gma.  They were probably the best part of Gpa’s earlier life.  We lost them within months of each other over 18 years ago.  It’s hard to fathom that much time has gone by.

Still miss them.

I’m glad I took the picture.

The evening was really two events.  First was a  Velacion or vigil.  Each person in attendance had an opportunity to sing with a drummer.

I sang Sanctuary.

Most everyone else sang in Spanish and while I listened I  thought about mom and Gma.  And I realized that when Gpa passes away, he’ll be going where they are.  He’ll be in good hands.  I guess I’ve been thinking he’d be going to some void.

But not any time soon.

Then there was dancing. It was great to watch and Gpa was able to stay til almost the end.  We went in and got him a cup of coffee.

I plan to take my dad’s picture next year.

I like the idea of honoring loved ones who have gone on to the next thing.



Love vs Grace

I have a friend who has recently filed for divorce.  I don’t know the details but I know the next few months will be difficult.

I’ve been through three divorces. The first one when I was a junior in high school.  My parents had been unhappy for a long time.  Well all my life really.  My dad was mad at his dad.  That grandpa died before I was born.  I know very little of him and about the only picture I’ve seen is in my parent’s wedding album.

There were other issues as well.  Mom would call my sister and I into her room periodically and let us know we may be leaving Daddy if he didn’t stop drinking.  So when she asked me what I thought that last time, I told her, “You’ve been talking about this for years, go ahead and do it.”  She did.

And life fell apart.

I married a few years later.  Way too young.  However, I have children I love dearly and wouldn’t change a thing.  Well, yes, I am sorry there wasn’t more I could do for the kids dad.

Love wasn’t enough.  He had demons he was fighting and it destroyed everything.  I stayed as long as I could but there came a day I knew none of would be OK if I didn’t get myself and the kids out.

I didn’t hate him, I just didn’t love him anymore.  Or more correctly, the most loving thing I could do was to leave.

Then another marriage.  That failed.

And now Gpa has dementia.

Love hasn’t been able to change a thing.

It hasn’t been enough.

And I struggle with that.  I love all these people and it doesn’t make a difference.  Life is still hard.  Demons still torment.  Past anger still festering.  Things said and done that can’t be taken back.

But what is enough is grace.

Grace wipes the slate clean.  It’s a do over.  Let’s start fresh.

Create something new.  Better.

I want this for my friend.  Something to look forward to, a letting go of the baggage.