It’s been some time since I have been here to make an update to our situation. So many things going on and life happening, I guess.
First, a trip to Japan to visit the kids and grandkids which was great fun and a much-needed diversion. Marv did just fine while I was gone for three weeks and even though he was glad to see me, didn’t seem to think it had been a long time.
Since returning there have been a bunch of doctor appointments, teeth cleaning, toenail clipping at the podiatrist, and regular check-up with his PC Physician. All things are good so we have reached a nice plateau and holding steady again for a bit.
A new resident has moved in and she is a great addition. She is 93 and really a pleasant person. She apparently had some health issue and must be on oxygen always but she trots around with her long oxygen hose like it was no problem at all. She will get up from a chair or the couch carefully but then take off at a pretty fast clip. It reminds me of those little wind up toys. When I come in, both she and Irene have a lot to talk about with me. I’m glad they have each other for companionship and mental stimulation.
So it is the Christmas Holidays and I find myself wanting to be more and more with Marv and enjoy this phase of childlike pleasure with everything. I opened a Dove chocolate recently, the ones that have a little saying on the wrapper, and it said “Give the gift of your time.” Yesterday, I did just that. Robin and I took Marv to the mall for shopping but I just hung out with Marv while she got some last-minute things. We watched the little kids waiting for Santa and in the bookstore. Marv was delighted with every child and would point them out to me and coo over how cute. He laughed and we laughed and generally just had a great time. Without the urgency to find things to purchase, the people and activity, sounds and smells, made for a pretty enjoyable time.
Back at the home, when I laid him down for his nap he wanted me to lay by him. So I made myself relax and stay there for a bit, enjoying the comfort of him patting my back and repeating over and over, “I love you” as he tried to stay awake to be with me. Soon he couldn’t keep awake any longer and as he was sound asleep, I slipped away to make the drive back in the snow.
See ya next time.
What a great day it was Tuesday celebrating Marv’s birthday. It’s amazing to me that an event like this can bring the residents out of themselves and they all seemed to enjoy the time at the table eating cake. The husbands of the two other women came for the festivities and added to the nice chatter and attention for Marv. He has always enjoyed that attention AND cake.
Deni took the day off from her new job and went with me to see Marv and couldn’t stop hugging and kissing him. Over and over she told him how much she missed him and was going to come see him more often. What a fortunate event it was to find her when we truly needed her special brand of caring.
On the way home, I once again started into what I have come to call my “litany of regrets.” I mentioned to Deni how I wished I had been stronger and able to keep him home and how I should have tried harder to find more help to that end. She quickly set me straight to the fact that things are as they should be and had I kept him home he may not be in this delightful phase. I want the new character at home but that isn’t how he was at home. I’m glad to be able to voice those things out loud and have someone to help me analyze and sort, to come to agreement that, of course, things are as they should be for all concerned.
On a humorous side note, last week as I was driving home, I was stopped by a train crossing with a bunch of traffic. I glanced to my left and saw an older lady in the car next to me singing and dancing in her car. Wow, that’s me, I thought, as I often do sing and dance in the car but not really so publicly and with such lack of caring should any one see. I rolled my window down to hear what she was listening to and was totally shocked to hear a hip-hoppy pop tune being played full blast. Something about boys in cars buy us drinks in bars. Boys, boys, boys! Too funny and not expected. I liked it.
See ya next time.
I was thinking on the way home from visiting Marv yesterday about how small children, when you don’t see them for a few days or even a week, seem to change so rapidly and make noticeable progress. The reverse is true of the folks in the assisted living home. In just a few days time the decline in several residents is so fast.
Dee, who broke her hip in the last few weeks and had surgery is no longer chirping away. Instead she mostly sleeps and to see her sleeping is a bit scary as you can imagine she is not long for this world.
Irene fell into her closet and they had to drag her out all tangled in clothes and belongings. Then the required trip to the hospital in an ambulance. Her shoulder is all banged up and will most likely require surgery.
Les and Regina spend a good deal of time sitting out on the deck. Les stares blankly out into space or at a paper in front of him while Regina yammers away.
Ruth, after the initial contact, has gone back to sleeping.
Shelley has moved to the new home.
Marv is still the most active and he seems happy and content. When I walked in, he said, “Oh, hi sweetheart. How did you get here?” Then he gave me a great big hug and just kept hugging me which was nice. He always tries to introduce me to the gals and we go through the motions for him.
Monday was the visit with Marv’s brother, Sterling and his family. Sterling told him several times, “I’m your brother, Sterling.” Marv would just look confused and shake his head no. After about three times, Marv looked at him and said, “You know, you look a lot like my brother Sterling.”
We all had a great laugh over that one. So things are somewhat settled and not too much going on but a nice comfort has been reached, I think.
See ya next time.
Life has settled in at assisted living and Marv is doing very well. He is content and happy even though he has broken his teeth again. That didn’t last long. I’m finding it hard to write about the new situation as all the episodes involve other people now which seems to be a violation of sick persons privacy if I write about them. I’ll have to give it some hard thought to see how I could do that. We have had some trials with the interaction between residents so it isn’t all sweetness and light. Still, a good decision as viewing things from outside the box makes for a new perspective on our arrangements. I continue to be Marv’s advocate for good care and quality of life as best I can from this distance. Carrying on like a good soldier.
See ya soon.
It’s a rainy tuesday in Dementiaville and the phone rang first thing this morning. It was Todd, Marv’s son, wondering if since it’s raining perhaps we should take a drive over to see his dad. I’m all for that so we took off down the road to the Falls again. I really like somebody else driving Miss Julie around for a change. It seems I have been the exclusive driver for quite some time.
Todd was a little apprehensive as we arrived, not knowing exactly how his dad would receive him or if the place would smell. (I had that first reaction in the nursing home that it smelled terrible.) Marv’s home is very clean and no bad smells, just the usual cooking and cleaning odors. He was pleasantly surprised to find Marv knew him and gave him a hug and was quite happy and content. This pleased us both immensely. We showed Todd the nice bedroom he has and looked through the box of pictures a bit. We were all pleased with the visit.
So each day progresses with a little more ease and less anxiety about the decision. I still miss him being here but that’s a good thing as well.
See ya tomorrow.
After a challenging start getting Marv into the car today, we have his teeth repaired again. Once again, an amazing job by Dr. Weston. So now onto the adventure of trying out the assisted living home in Idaho Falls. After filling out a bunch of paperwork myself and Dr Kirk filling out a bunch, I think we have things in order as much as possible to make an attempt at this living arrangement trial. If all goes well and Marv settles in to the little five person unit, he may stay there semi-permanently. Along with peeing in the dryer and increased anger and striking out at Deni and myself, I found last night that I slept through Marv getting up in the night to open windows and move things around in the kitchen. I guess this means I’m so tired I can’t stay on high alert any more. There are too many things to go wrong if he can get up in the night without supervision so we’ll try this and see what happens. Wish us Luck.
See ya tomorrow.
I’m pretty sure this time it was my fault that Marv got into eating trouble. Deni brought me a nice plant on Sunday morning before she headed off to church and I put it on the counter where Marv was eating his breakfast. I opened the card that said from Marv, which was a nice thing for Deni to take him shopping for a plant for mother’s day. I turned to throw away the envelope under the sink and when I turned back Marv had spooned a big bite of dirt into his mouth from that plant. Wow! Perhaps at some point I will learn that anything placed in front of him, especially during eating mode, is something to taste. Actually the taste doesn’t seem to matter. It doesn’t deter him or get even a reaction most of the time. He will fold up a napkin and try to bite it.
We went for a nice long drive and took many snacks along for him to eat. Wolf Den was open, so he got to have his milkshake while we looked at the countryside starting to green up a little. The downside to all this snacking is the little basketball sized belly he has now. If he had any awareness of this, it would cause him a great deal of grief as he was always very fastidious about dressing and being slim. He also would point out someone who was overweight and say, “would you look at that.” Maybe a little Karma is involved here as well.
All in all, it was an okay day without too many upsets.
See ya tomorrow
This is the second time I have had to call poison control so I’m putting it on speed dial. Thank you Kathy, for this valuable information. 1-800-222-1222
Deni and I had just managed to get Marv to lay down for a nap and we were in the crafting/computer room doing a little sprucing up of second-hand purchases. We had the music going quietly and were chatting away like we do, when here is Marv up again. Both of us saw the telltale ring of yellow paint around his lips at the same time. He had picked up the bottle of acrylic craft paint and had a swig. I made him head for the bathroom where we swished his mouth with water and spit bright yellow about four times and still the back of his tongue was yellow. Poison Control said to get him to drink and eat to dilute whatever he may have swallowed and that they don’t consider acrylic craft paint to be poison but it would cause upset stomach perhaps. So far he hasn’t complained of stomach ache or upset but that could be because of all the candy and treats he put on top of that paint. He must have an iron lined stomach as he can dump sugar in there all day long and it doesn’t seem to bother him. What bothers him is not having a steady supply on hand. (Thanks again to Kathy for the bag of treats!)
The other dilemma of how to get him to stop peeing in the dryer is still eluding me. I tried a child-proofing door handle cover but it wouldn’t work on the oval door knob. I put down a piece of carpet that makes the door harder to get open but that only slowed him down a tad. Now I have white duck tape on the doors to make it harder to open. It’s hard to see the white tape on the white machine, so maybe that will slow him down long enough for me to hear and get him to the proper room. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this works. I don’t want to have to change the door knob to a locking version just yet.
See ya tomorrow
We made it to town today to get Marv’s teeth repaired and I must tell you something; Dr. Weston is an artist. He spent the greater part of an hour with Marv sculpting some great teeth out of some dental product to cover up the black posts in the front. I had worried about Marv holding his mouth open or understanding what he was doing but once he was in the chair and it was leaning back, his mouth automatically opened. The teeth look even better this time than last time and since they lasted 4 months, I think it was a great option. If it happens again, as it most likely will, we will try the same thing again. Everything went great up to the point of leaving. Marv for some reason had in his head to say something to Dr. Weston, who had already moved on to the next patient. I talked and cajoled, trying to get him in the car but finally decided to let him go back inside to see what he wanted to do. We went in the bathroom and he peed so I thought okay, that was it. But no, he was still adamant about going back to do something. I finally asked the receptionist if she could go get Dr. Weston as Marv wouldn’t leave until he told him something. When he came out, snapping off his gloves as he came to shake Marv’s hand, Marv said, ” I’ve got two feet.” We all had a moment of silence while we tried to think what that might mean. Then I said, “Okay, we need to let Dr. get back to work now” and he let me lead him to the car and got in nicely for the next adventure.
See ya tomorrow.
I should have known since this week has been a total upheaval of Alzheimer’s madness that the moon was on its way to being full. If you have had any experience with nursing homes, hospitals or demented people in general, you will know that the full moon affects them in increased wackiness. The support website http://www.thealzheimerspouse.com has one discussion thread devoted to the Full Moon Effect. The stories shared there are a testament to the validity of this concept.
Marv has been off and on angry for days and yesterday morning he wouldn’t let Deni in the house. I was in the laundry room with the water running and didn’t hear her come to the door. I always get up in the morning and let the dog out and leave the door unlocked so Deni can just come in whatever I’m doing, but Marv relocked it. She has a key just in case, as I have been locked out several times and have had to hide keys around the house, so she unlocked the door to come in and Marv told her to leave, we didn’t need her around. She doesn’t get her feelings all wrapped around it and just waited a few minutes and tried again. She managed to work him around to some semblance of okay for a while but it took most of the day being jolly and cheery at him. Oh my goodness, that is exhausting when you don’t feel like being jolly and cheery.
We got Marv down for a nap and Deni on her way home. I thought I would finally have a few minutes to myself. Here was Marv up and on the move again. He didn’t sleep more than fifteen minutes. I got him settled on the couch with some candy and went to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and returned to see him holding a small white candle and chewing with some distinct crunchy noises that didn’t sound good. I didn’t have a clue where he got that candle but the crunchy noises sounded more like gravel being chewed so I tried to get him to spit it out, but he wouldn’t. In the process though, I got a good look at the place where two front teeth used to be which he chewed up and apparently swallowed.
Our excellent dentist will be seeing us in the morning. What a champion he is to get us in next day to see what he can do for us.
See ya tomorrow.