Thursday, March 19, 2020

Corona Light - Going with the Flow in Arizona

Tuesday, March 10, 2019

Before I talk about my trip I want you to know Alzheimer's Trippin' with George e-book is on sale through April 1st at $2.99. 

It is Monday morning. I am pedaling the e-assist Scorpion recumbent tricycle that my friend Bob has loaned me.  I am riding toward my brother's home south of Phoenix.  Google bike map has directed me down a bike trail along one of the many canals in the area.

Every once in a while I am pushing the orange-painted plexiglass wind-shield away from me and studying how it is attached.  In time it creeps back toward me and my right foot starts going click click click as it hits the shield.  I know I could tighten it, do I remember where I put the tools?

I am wondering if I can remove the wind-shield along with the canvas sun canopy that protects the rider from the strong Arizona desert sun.   The canopy keeps bumping the back of my helmet and it takes extra energy to fight against the head-wind and to keep my zen-cool with the annoying scrape each time I turn my head.

I am glad to be on this bike path, though.   I am grateful for the loan of the great trike.  I am especially glad to not be driving in the traffic that I see on the streets that I cross.

I am pushing and panting even though the path is flat and smooth, the weather is just the right temperature, and I have an e-assist motor.

"Why is it so hard?" I wonder.  And I wonder if I just need an attitude adjustment or if the struggle is real.

I look at the e-assist monitor and discover that the power is already at 48.9.  I have only gone about six miles!  Later I realize that I must not have had it fully powered when I started the ride.

I stop and check the tires and realize the right front tire seems squishy.  Not bad enough that I need to change the tire, but it would be nice if I could pump more air into it.   Only, I realize after a call to Bob, that I don't have a pump for such tasks, all I have is a cartridge and a spare.  I don't want to use the cartridge to just add a little air to a low tire.   

While I am contemplating my options, a rider stops and asks if I need help.  Thank goodness for thoughtful bikers!  He pumps up the two front tires for me.  One of the tires is missing a stem cap.  When he finishes pumping, the stem starts leaking air and blowing bubbles.  I take the stem cap from the other tire and move it to the leaking stem.  Problems solved.

I get back on the bike and start to pedal.  The e-assist monitor still reads it is losing power.  I have only about 10 miles to go, but the weight of the trike is over 100 lbs with the battery, my 20 lbs of luggage, and all the extras on this sturdy trike.  I worry that I will have to really struggle to get the trike all the way to my brother's home.  I turn down the power to level one and I pedal hard.  At least I am getting some exercise.

When I get only two miles from my brother's I punch up the power and make it to his home with power still in the high 40's.

There is a prediction of rain in the forecast.  Yes, I have traveled to the desert where it rarely rains and the weatherman is predicting three days of rain this week.  The good news is that I have heard the desert is lovely after a rain.  Desert plants wait for the rain to bloom so the desert blossoms after a nice rain.  My brother makes room in his garage of the trike to protect it from the rain.  Thank you, Larry!

I plug it in and hope it powers up ok so I can make it to my lodging tonight.  I have arranged to stay at an Affordable Travel Club member's home.  The problem is it is 26 miles from Larry's home and I have booth the threat of rain and that hard ride I just experienced to worry me.  Bob had taken me for a drive the night before.  He took me over to the neighborhood where my host lives and I learned that the last few miles are all uphill.    I am worried about the ride later that day, if I buzz through the power I will be miserable and painfully slow climbing the last bit of the ride up a mountainside.   Two miles and hour takes an hour to go just 2 miles.

My brother's wife Peggy/Lenore is going to be celebrating her 80th birthday on Tuesday and has invited relatives to come for the party.  Their house will be full of blow-up mattresses and people on the couch. 

We are sitting out on the lovely back patio overlooking the golf course when I see very dark clouds approaching in the distance.

As we sit we sometimes check our phones and we learn that the NBA has canceled its games due to the COVID-19 virus.  This blows me away.  This must be serious for a big company to give up major money making opportunites.

Later, I express my concerns about riding in the rain with my friends battery and electronics exposed.  Larry offers for me to stay on the couch or on a cot  on the patio.  I like the idea of being outside on the patio.  But then it starts to sprinkle.   He has a tent-cot but it isn't like the one I have, it is hard to assemble.   So I move the cot into the garage.  Yes!  I have shelter, I am comfortable and protected, at least for one night!

I call the Affordable Travel Club (ATC) hosts to let them know I am going to show up a day late.  The hosts tell me they were going to cancel the reservation anyway because they are both over 65 and I was from Florida and the Covid-19 virus was in the community in Florida.  They were too afraid.  

What?  Me?  A pariah?

The fear of the Covid-19 (Flu) has reached me too.  I didn't blame the hosts.  

I had even thought of using this trike to ride all the way home instead of getting on a plane again.  Man!  Arizona is a LOONNG way from my home in Florida.  It would take me two months to get there by trike!

I had thought of changing my flight and getting home before the fear spread even more and Southwest Airline started canceling flights.  I had packed disinfectant wipes and used them to wipe down my table and arms and seat buckle on the plane on the flight here.   

Fear is the enemy.  People are buying up all the toilet paper in some areas because they are afraid of being isolated or running out. 

Anyway, I was glad to be staying with people I knew.  The cot is comfortable, and we left the door of the garage up a few inches so I had nice fresh air.

I remember when I was hunting for a place to stay, there wasn't much around here close by.  I guess I am staying here three nights.  I worry that my added presence will be an added strain on my brother and sister-in-law.  I vow to myself to be as helpful and self-sufficient as possible during my stay with them.

Then I will move on to an Airbnb.  It is only five miles away so I will still be able to come back and visit.

The Party and the Ride

On Tuesday Lenore's family begins to arrive.  Then Larry's sons and their spouses.  It was fun to meet new people and re-connect with my nephews and their partners.

The party was in a room at the club house.  Several of us went over early to set up.  The thing is, we never thought about decorating until someone mentioned it at the party, sorry Peggy!  The picture below is Peggy not looking at all like 80 and her granddaughter, Tasha.

It was a full room and it was fun taking pictures with my nephews and their spouses.

 I ate too much at the party and then we went home and I ate some more.  Larry bought pizza and I ate a bunch of that.

Mary, Lenore's daughter, wanted to take a spin on Larry's golf cart.  It turned out my trike was fully re-charged so I took a spin around the neighborhood with her.  It was an easy ride.  I rode in front of the golf cart zig zagging around and waving at neighbor's.  It was fun.

The WIFI went out at Larry's.  Probably because there were so many of us accessing it.  So I am writing this on my iPad in Notes.  I will copy and paste it when I get a chance and the WIFI is back up.

While I was writing this in the kitchen, Mary came into the room and we chatted.  She had major surgery in 2019 and had most of her colon removed.  She now lives with an colostomy bag.  I asked her about infections, since I have a friend with an exterior bladder bag and he has had a couple hospital stays due to infection.

She said no infections but the tape on the skin is tough on her skin.  OUCH!  Can you imagine!  Taking layers off you skin each time you pull it off.   She is learning tricks that help.  She told me due to the medical issues and time off work, she lost everything.   

Mary is a sweet  and kind woman who has been through hell.  I am feeling grateful for my gut, my skin, and my good fortune.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we want to visit a museum.  It is supposed to rain all day.  But then I remembered that Larry and Lenore's bridge group wanted me to speak at 1:00 about the books

The Alzheimer's Presentation

Wednesday, 3/11/2020

What a hoot!

A couple players from my brother's Bridge Club had asked him to have me speak to them while I was visiting.  So they set up Wednesday at 1:00.  They never got in touch with me so I had no clue how many participants or how long they wanted me to speak or even the focus of the talk other than it was "about the books."  Which Larry had shared with them.

I walked to the clubhouse at 12:30 and entered the room that Larry had told me they had reserved for the talk.  There was a group in there just setting up to do something with essential oils.  They had the room, their leader said.  I checked the schedule on the door and my "Author Talk" was on there for 1:00. But the Essential Oil Leader wouldn't look at the schedule and insisted they had the room.  

There was a divider in the room and I said we could close the divider and they could have half and we have half.  

"No," Ms. Essential Oils said.

She told me the next room wasn't being used.  It was scheduled for crafts.  

"No one ever comes for crafts," says the Essential Oils Lady.  "You can use that room."  

So we go in that room.  About six of our clan that is visiting for my sister-in-law's birthday and three Bridge Club members show up.

We giggled over the change and our ability to go with the flow.  Someone suggested that Ms. Essential Oils needed to hear the talk.

At 1:00 I started talking about George's dementia story.  I emphasized finding the person that remains in spite of the disease.  There is still life that goes on after the diagnosis.  At 1:05 in walks a woman with a walker and three others.  They are crafters and need the room.

After some shuffling, we used the room divider and moved into the smaller section.  Our small audience gathered around those felt card-game tables with pockets in them.  We got another laugh out of our ability to adapt.   Some had been paying attention enough and were able to remind me where I had stopped in my presentation.  Thank you!

No one in the audience was currently a caregiver, but they all were attentive and I hope they learned something - like don't force your person to do anything they refuse to do.

I told them that the short-term memory is gone.  So just say, "Ok, of course you don't have to."   A while later, try again.   Let them win, be respectful and empathetic.  Let them be comfortable.  It is scary for someone with dementia to not recognize things and people.   So much to tell, but I cut it short and answered questions.

Thank you, Bridge Club for the warm welcome and to Peggy's family for being supportive.

We didn't make it to the museum.  Instead we met my nephews at a restaurant.  There were 12 of us there... this is before the COVID-19 warnings were sinking in and being accepted.  The restaurant was packed.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, this journal is so interesresting i could not put it down.
    i ran it read it over and over. i lived there so i think i enjoy u talking about all the sights also.


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