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.
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!
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...
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.
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.
Letters to friends from a young-old woman, author and life explorer. This is Susan's journal of continuing travel adventures, goofy mishaps, and life experiences.
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