Tag Archives: dementia

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.

Happy New Year

Last night millions of people celebrated the start of a new year.  Parties, toasts, music, fireworks and spending time with friends and family are just a taste of what people did.

Great stuff.

But I woke up this morning, thinking what would happen if we celebrated each day with the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm.

Gpa does.  He is always so happy to see me in the morning.  Impatient to get up, he’ll swing his legs over the bed before I’ve finished lowering the bed.

I’m going to use this example and be mindful that each day can be as exciting as last night.

I hope 2013 brings all the things you hope for.

This year I’ll be 50 and Gpa will be 102.  Yep,  I’m thinking we’ll be partying all year this year.

Getting the Belt

As a kid the worst thing to hear dad say is, “I’m getting the belt”  I don’t think dad ever used it.  I do remember him grabbing it and snapping it a few times.  Boy, that would get my sister and I to shape up quick.

Yesterday the PT gave me a gait belt to help keep Gpa on his feet.  Oh, what a big help something so simple is.  My back is so happy.

So in the middle of the night when Gpa got up and was so wet.  I told him, “I’m getting the belt.”  I had to smile because it means something completely different.

I wonder if his dad ever said he was going to get the belt?

We’ll never know.

Holding a Grudge

I have learned a long time ago that holding a grudge hurts the one that is doing the holding.

My dad was mad at his dad for a long time.  His dad died before I was born and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out the issues at home weren’t my doing.

There is a family member who has been upset with Gpa since we were kids.  When he first got diagnosed, I told her now is the time to clear the air.  But she hasn’t and she brought up the story again during the holidays.

That’s a long time.

I’m not going to hold a grudge against my friend, but  I am going to set some boundaries.

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.