Category Archives: Staying in

Super Bowl Sunday

My daughter has been trying to move since the middle of December.  But the house repairs didn’t get done, so the landlords offered another house.

But the current renters didn’t get out.  The eviction process takes another 15 days, so the landlords offered another house.  It isn’t ready now either.

So instead of helping her move tonight, I’ll be able to watch the Super Bowl game.

I’ll help her next week on her days off.

A Change of Plans

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

Hospice 10ish
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.

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.

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.


Exit Strategies

A person I know came over the other day unannounced.  I have unfriended her from Facebook and do not return calls or text messages any longer.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she showed up.  She was lucky I was home.  Usually I am at watercolor but I was finishing up a Christmas present.

I was not dressed, I was not washed.  I don’t remember the state of the house.

If I hadn’t thought it was my daughter home making  the dogs go nuts, I might not have opened the door.

She came with dinner.  It was just 4pm.  I needed to go pick up Gpa.

I ate a plate and let her catch up on all she is doing.  When she found out I had plans that night, she offered to watch Gpa.  There is no way I’m letting her stay at my house by herself.  And Gpa needs more care than I am comfortable letting her be responsible for.

She had a card for me, it is from the sister of one of her friends.  It is about exit strategies.

Does the rudeness never stop?

This is why I’m not speaking to her any longer.  She insists on talking about Gpa’s death.  I know he’s dying.  I see him slipping away a little more every day.  But be careful if you play the ‘Grab Your Finger” game.  He still has a strong grip.

Last time we talked on the phone she told me, “He’s not always going to be here you know.”  She’s lucky I didn’t hang up on her.

So I looked up the site.  There’s a couple of other people’s stories, in 20 words or less and a forum you can sign up for.

No, thank you.

This is one of the ways this disease is not like having a baby.  You know that sometime within the year of finding out you are pregnant, you will have a baby.  All things being equal.  I know not all babies are born.  And I’m sorry for that.  The longest I’ve heard a pregnancy being is 10 months.

The average for a person diagnosed with dementia after age 90 is 4.5 years.  It’s a good thing we don’t have to wait that long for a baby to arrive.

In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating Gpa’s 6th anniversary.  And with the grip he has, I don’t think he’s leaving anytime soon.

That being said.  I know it is sooner rather than later.  He’s having a hard time bending his knees.

Earlier today, he had gotten himself on the floor.  As I was trying to help him up, I realized he wasn’t able to brace his feet and push against the floor to give us the inch we needed to get him on the chair.

So I laid us across the bed.  “No, no, no, not the bed.”

“I know, but this is the best I could do by myself.”

From there we got to the bedside commode and from there to the wheel chair.  It has a gel cushion that adds 4 inches or more.  Next time he’s on the floor, I’m taking the cushion off to have a better chance of getting him in the chair.

My exit strategy is to learn to be in this moment now.  Enjoy the time we have.  Be glad he is here and call 9-1-1 when the time comes, but not before.


Christmas Carol

When I was younger, I thought that Tiny Tim was asking everyone to bless him and his family.  I wondered, could you do that?

I guess so, for here it is.

It was not until much later that I realized he was asking God to bless everyone, giving Scrooge a chance.

Even a small, simple prayer has a great impact, more than we can realize.

Monday we received word that a dear friend was in the hospital.  I asked Gpa if he wanted to pray that she would be all right.  He nodded.

That was all, a nod.  That was good enough for me.  And later we found out she was released and home for Christmas.

So for this holiday season, Gpa and I say, “God bless us, everyone!”  May the New Year bring you all your hopes and dreams.

Today Nietzsche was Wrong

Nietzsche has been quoted to say, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger. ”

This morning, I wasn’t stronger, I became my baser self.

Gpa went into the bathroom, so I followed and started to help him. He was in the middle of pooping.  So there he is standing in the bathroom, hanging onto the towel rack, pooping.  Gravity was doing a swell job and poop was landing on his pants, shoes and floor.

I started yelling at him to sit down and tried to guide him to the toilet.  Gpa did not let go and the towel rack came with him.

I am so glad no one was hurt. I’ve been trying to get a real grab bar added to the order for the hospital bed.  Towel racks are not made for bearing a person’s weight.

He’s happy when he has a cookie, a coffee or a ride.  He is not happy when he is in the bathroom and I am yelling at him.  He isn’t aware of the poop.  He tells me he is never coming back here again.

I am not physically stronger.  Taking care of Gpa has thrown my back out of whack.

I am not spiritually stronger.  It is torture to watch Gpa slowly deteriorate.  He has a bed sore, a sore on the toe of one foot and two toes on his other foot is purple.

I am not mentally stronger.  I am drained.

I am going to bed now.  Hopefully, we’ll feel better in the morning.

We’ll see.

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.


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.