Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 106 - Home Adjusting, Looking Back, Looking Forward

Sunday, August 4, 2016

The cruelest part of dementia, I think, is the roller coaster.  Just when you are feeling adjusted to the loss of your loved one, they have a great day. 

George is back!  I fall in love all over again.

How does that happen?  If the brain cells are dead like the doctors say, then how can someone who couldn't carry on a conversation for many weeks is now all of a sudden able to chat with you?  Someone who can't think what to do with themselves now thinks to take out the trash and the recycling. 

Now, I know what you are thinking.  He is home in familiar surroundings.  But before we left on our trip we were home and he wasn't listening and comprehending my side of phone conversations and was forgetting about the trash and recycling.

He had good days when we were traveling.  On Sunday after we got back from our trip George had a VERY good day.

I have heard of people on their deathbeds.  Laying there close to death for days and then, just before they die they have a day where they sit up in bed and have conversations and seem so much better. 

The brain is one strange organ and life itself is a mystery.

****************

As you may recall, we arrived home in the early evening on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning as soon as the clock said the bank was open, I called.  I talked to someone and told them our story and they said they could not make the account they had shut off active again.  So I pushed and prodded, but then I finally asked, "Well, what do I do now?" and just then our connection ended.

I SCREAMED at the phone!  "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH", I yelled.  "HOW CAN I FIX THIS???  AAAAAAAAAA".  Then I saw, George standing by me watching and I looked at him and smiled and started laughing at myself.  And he smiled.

I stood up and hugged him and laughed, but then the laughs turned into sobs.  I was crying!  Not a little weep but a huge dribbly honking loud cry.  George started crying too... but he was quiet about it.

I went and blew my nose.  I was shocked.  I thought I was handling things pretty well.  Where did THAT come from???

I packed up some papers and looked up addresses.  As much as we didn't want to get in the car right away again,  We had to drive to the bank and the Insurance office to get things straightened out.

Fortunately there is a Blue Cross office in Inverness.  The agent told me not to worry.  That there is a grace period.  And he let me call from his office phone to pay the bills that were behind and keep George's insurance.  It was a relief to have that taken care of.

 Our bank is in Ocala... the Villages, actually.  I thought I was driving the right way up 41 and 200.  But when I started entering Ocala I realized I had gone the wrong way.  We were supposed to take 44 East!

I pulled out the ipad.  We were 45 minutes away from the bank, probably further away than from our home.  Sigh.  More driving.........

At the bank we opened another account with George's name on it  but with me as custodian of the account.  I asked after we signed if I would be able to see the account when I logged in.  He assured me I would be able to see it.  I needed an account in George's name to have his Social Security Checks direct-deposited.

Anyway, we walked out with no paperwork and I have yet to see the account on my page on the banks website.  So I will have to call them again after the Labor Day Holiday.

Thursday night was the Hurricane Hermine.  Our neighborhood didn't have any problems.  The wind was blowing strong much of the night and I worried about the big oak tree near our home, but nothing fell. 

Friday it was still raining on and off, but the wind had stopped. 

I had George wait outside and I went in and sprayed the house for bugs.


Then I drove us to Anytime Fitness.  Anytime Fitness was closed!  Reason... no power.  The power was out in parts of town.

We went next door to Winn Dixie.  A clerk by the door told us we could only by stuff off the self.  All things from the coolers and freezers were being destroyed.  The power went out at 2 a.m.  It was now 9:30 a.m.

Staff were gathered around shopping carts full of wrapped cheese and other items from the coolers.  They were scanning them in and the scanner was saying "DESTROY"  "DESTROY".

I told George it sounded like a video game.  How sad to have to destroy all that wrapped cheese after only a few short hours.  I am sure it was lawyers and a sue-happy society that came up with that rule.

We drove back home and went to the clubhouse where we did yoga with a video.


As always, it felt great afterward.

I worked on getting the checkbooks all up to date and to figure out where we were after selling the two rental homes during our trip.

On Saturday mornings our bike group meets for breakfast at the Hen House in Inverness.

I set the alarm so we would be up in time. 

George had changed the tube and not the tire and it must have still had something in it because my front tire was flat again.

No problem, I have a two wheel bike for such occasions...


There was a lot of debris on the trail still from the storm.



I didn't bring the camera in and take pictures of our bike group.  There were about 16 people at breakfast.  AND, Dick M. bought our breakfast!  He said he was glad to see us back safe.

Thank you Dick!

We biked a bit with the Snails of our group.  But rain threatened so we turned around after only 5 miles.

After running some errands on our bikes and getting quite wet, we arrived home.

Later the sun came out and I went out and mowed the lawn and trimmed bushes.  We have a service that is very affordable, but the rain kept them from coming and our grass in places was Thigh-high.  Time to mow!

While I was out our neighbor, Dianne D. came over and gave us a fresh tomato off the vine and three fruit from her cactus.   She said the seeds are crunchy and the fruit is slightly honey sweet.
 

We liked them!  I don't like growing cactus because they are hard to weed around.  But the flowers she gets from her cactus are gorgeous and these fruits are pretty cool.


Tiny little ants have found out we are home.  They are in the cupboards and on the counters.  So one of the errand stops was to pick up these ant stations.  They take the food home and it kills off the queen and the whole colony.

We got a call from our Canadian neighbors, Louise and Richard.  We do a lot with them in the winters and have gotten quite close in the few years we have known them.  They told us they might not make it down this year.

I turned the phone over to George so he could say "Hi" and George started to cry.  "I miss you guys," he said.  Louise was surprised he was so emotional.  The part of the brain that keeps that in check is gone.  Plus he is dealing with having this dementia happen to him.



Sunday the ants were still around.  How long do these things take?


We have a wasp building a nest by our door.  And I took pictures of this old abandoned nest.





Sunday, we were going to go for a trike ride.  I announced on Facebook we were going for a ride and asked for company.

We stepped outside.  Hot and very humid.  I was suddenly feeling VERY tired.

I got a call from my sister.  We had a nice chat.  I told her I had been thinking about looking for a duplex in the area.  The lawyer had said to buy a big house because if George needs nursing home care it will take all our funds before we can start getting financial assistance from the Government.  They allow the well spouse to keep the house and a car. 

Right now we live in a manufactured home on rented land.  So that isn't much of an asset for me to keep if I should survive George.  Anyway,  I mentioned this to my sister.   I was in the kitchen talking.  George was in the living room reading.

After I hung up George came in and said, "So you are thinking about buying a duplex?"  It surprised me.   He's doing good today!
 

We went for a drive instead of riding trikes.  We became gawkers, we drove toward Crystal River and the Gulf Coast to see if we could see any damage from the Hurricane/storm.


 A few piles of carpet outside of homes, mostly branches and sea grass, on the road out to the beach a lot of sea grass that had been already cleaned off the road.

Mattresses....
 The most furniture we saw on the curb was at a Government office.


But at the park, folks were out on their boats... maybe they were gawking from the water side...


Utility workers were stringing up lines on a Sunday....  Thank you Utility Workers!

We tried to get to the beach where we heard the dock was out.  But the road was closed.  So we drove back home. 

I was still exhausted and like a hypochondriac I started to worry that I had pneumonia or something...

But around 2:30 I felt energetic again.  So I asked George if he wanted to go for a trike ride.  Yes he did.  He had changed my tire, we were ready to roll.

We were riding in the afternoon heat.  I said, "But it will be cooler in a couple hours."

As we rode I started feeling better and better.

In Floral City we saw they were working on putting in a parking lot for the rest-stop.  I turned around to take pictures and George followed.




While we had been gone our friends Regis and Cindy had sold their bike shop and retired.  The shop still looked good and open for business.


I started feeling really good and even did some sprints.  George and I were both happy to be on this nice wide trail with shade and without having to stop and read the map.

At Townsend park we went down to see how high the river water was.  Our favorite tree had lost a branch recently, but the big ones were still there.




I asked George if he wanted to go into Nobleton and see if the ice cream shop was open.  He smiled and said, "Sure!"

It was 4:00 on a Sunday.  I thought it might be closed.

It was open!


The owner dished out our ice cream and then told us we could go behind the shop and sit in the shade by the river...

 Oh my!  It was lovely! 

We sat for a long time... as grey clouds rolled in with booming thunder.


One lone duck, beautiful, came and watched us cautiously.  We could see that the owners had put out corn meal for the ducks... but he was too nervous with us right there to come close enough to eat.

 But then three ibis arrived and the duck seemed so happy to have company.  The ibis started eating right away, the duck did too.



After a long sit we decided to head back.  We made it two blocks and  could see the rain coming.  We pulled over and stood in the doorway of the Nobleton Post Office waiting for the worst of it to pass.


George used to complain and avoid the rain like it was acid or something.  Now he says, "It's just water."




When it lightened up we headed out again.  A bit cooler but not uncomfortable.

How wonderful to be on our trail, wide enough to ride side by side.


Monday morning I went for a walk before George was out of bed.  I saw my neighbor Diane and walked with her a bit.  I told her about needing to buy a house and she told me that she and her daughter are both nurses.  They will help me when it is time.  I don't have to put George in a home!  She said we were much better off staying in this neighborhood where we have support.

I said, "When he starts wandering..." and then I realized that in this neighborhood people would know where he belonged.  We have support here.

I am relieved and want to believe.

I signed up for a September 14th "Coping with Dementia" for caregivers.   If I learn something new, I will share it with you here.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Day 72 - Getting Around in Broomfield, CO

Monday, August 1, 2016

Last evening I talked to George about going to England.  After thinking about it I realized I would be spending my time in Colorado trying to get everything set up for our trip to England.  George never really had that on his bucket list, it is my thing. 

So I contacted the lady who was wanting us to house sit in Kingsley, UK and said to go ahead and hire someone else for the gig.  She already had someone picked out in case we didn't come. She was understanding, her father had Alzheimer's Disease.

I took a few more pictures yesterday evening when we took a walk down to the Grocery Store.  It was a four mile walk round trip.




 The sun was setting on our way "home".




Now for TODAY.

This morning I felt so tired... so frustrated.  I had no plan for our first full day in Broomfield and George was waiting.

 I used up some of Arlene and Dicks onion and the brocolli I bought at the store last night and make us scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.



 The toaster only toasted one side of the bread and doesn't have a lever to release.  It slowly lowers and raises the toast by itself.

 I learned later that to make toast I should push the toast button twice.  I had pushed the bagel button and that was why only one side was toasted.

 During and after breakfast I studied the ipad map.  I do not have a paper map and the area trails, yet.  I decided to go check out the community center and see if they had weights and if we could pay per visit.  I also decided that we would bike to Westminster.  I was frustrated to learn Westminster is 34 miles across and I could not find an "historic downtown" on the map or on google.

After breakfast, George went out and filled up the tires on the trikes and then was ready to go.

But I had to water the plants outside with fertilized water and I had to clean up the kitchen.  I had to feed the cat and clean his kitty litter.

I had to get George to fill the water bottles with ice and water.  I had to pack an emergency snack and make sure we both got lathered up with sun guard. 

A single person does it all themselves without any help.  It shouldn't be a problem to do it all.  But it is a constant reminder that we used to be a team in such things and now so much of it is up to me.

I also think the stress for me is that George is waiting... watching and waiting... sometimes following me around closely with 5 inches between us... watching and waiting...

The community center is only about a mile away, easy to get to on  a bike.



 Wow! It has weights and equipment and a pool with a slide and classes!  $6 per visit per person.  When we go I will have to remember to pack George a book and stuff to do because I will want to work out 2 and 3 hours and he will be done in 45 minutes.


 I mapped our ride on the ipad to take us to the visitors center in Westminster.  George lived there a long time ago and I thought maybe they could tell us where the old Westminster is located.  I also wanted bike maps.

The thing with using the ipad to map our route is I have to hold it in the crook of one arm all the time.  It is hazardous going down hill, and occasionally I hit the screen with my breast or my finger and I lose the screen/window I was following.

Right away after leaving the Rec. Center, I took a wrong turn and we had to turn around.



By the Rec. Center is some city reserved open space.  This one had a large prairie dog town.




George could not find his sun glasses before we left.  We stopped at a gas station and found a pair he could wear over his prescription glasses.


We traveled trails and bike lanes.  We passed a city crew laying sod in the area between the sidewalk and the road.  I think it is a waste that the cities educate people to conserve water and plant native plants and then they lay sod that has to be watered and mowed forever and ever... amen.

I thing the idea that grass looks good came from when most people had nothing and were indentured servants and the Lord in the big house had grass around his property.  We still envy that look...


The area is growing.  There is a lot of construction and new houses in Westminster area.  Arlene and Dick had told us that modest houses are going for 1 million dollars.  It isn't just the Denver area, but as far away as Longmont I had heard someone getting $65,000 over asking price for their house.

One person said the explosion happened right after the marijuana law passed.   I don't know if that is a catalyst.  There must be jobs in the area.  A person can't buy a home without having a job and money.



 Some new neighborhoods had architecture resembling the homes built in the 40's.





As I was taking the picture below a smaller bee was flying up to the flower.  Can you see it?




We passed another prairie dog town.


The ipad route directed us to turn onto a single track dirt trail through tall grass.  I had to figure out how to get around that.

Then the ipad too us to where there was a closed gate and on the other side of the gate was a golf course and golf cart paths.  We couldn't go that route.  So I told the ipad we were in a car.  We were pretty close, only maybe 1/2 mile away!

The route took us up and up through an upper middle class neighborhood...


 And then we ended up at a dead end!  What's with that???

I studied the map a while and then gave up.  I think the person at the chamber that placed them on the map didn't know where she/he was.

It is getting SOOOO HOT!   There is hardly any shade at all, anywhere.  I am almost out of water.

 We started heading back toward businesses and "home".  We got a nice view of the mountains off to the West.


We looked around a shopping center and picked Zoes for lunch.  We got lots of ice water.


After lunch I went looking for 1) a small blender like a bullet.  2) a sewing kit so I can put a  button back on one of George's pants and maybe sew a sling for my Ipad so I don't have to hold it in my arms when I am using it on my trike.



We ended up at King Sooper Grocery store and there they had blenders, including a Bullet.  So I got one.

Back home I was investigating were we will go tomorrow... what will we do?  "We really can't bike around here when it is so hot and there is no shade," I told George. 

I got excited when I saw there was Yoga at Red Rock... but it turned out to be only certain dates... and none of them when we are here.



I made a list of places we might want to go.

I saw there was a bike tour of Denver.  It actually listed the places they visit on the 10 mile tour.  So I made a list of the places.  But we REALLY need a bike map.  I don't want to rely on the ipad.


Arlene and Dicks son stopped by to get keys to her car and pick up there itinerary.  I was embarrassed a bit because our stuff was scattered everywhere and I had not cleaned up after myself in the kitchen yet.

 We had a smoothie right away and then a few hours later we had another smoothie. 

In the evening I thought I should spend some time sitting with George instead of on the computer blogging.  So I offered to watch a movie with him.  Arlene had left us a Netflix DVD to watch.

But I couldn't figure out how to use the DVD player on the TV.  So we watched an old movie with Sandra Bullock.  It was silly and I stopped watching when I got tired.  George was done too.

Tomorrow is still up in the air....

Trips Coming, Thoughts on Personal Impact, Audio Book

Exciting times!  So much to learn, to decide, to experience! Ok, now what do I start talking about first?  Do I start off talking about...