Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 39 - White Salmon, Washington, Bike, walk, Museum and Brain Loss Symptoms

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We are always moving.  Whether it is on our bikes or in a car or on our feet.  Sometimes the moving is from one stage to another -- from denial to acceptance, from independence to dependence...

We did our exercises by the cliff and then we were hungry so we knocked on our host's door.  She swung the door wide and welcomed us in with a big smile.  How nice is that!

She put George to work chopping onions and I went to work making coffee.  Peyt put out a nice spread of an omelette with spinach, onion and colored sweet peppers. 

She dined with us and the conversation flowed wonderfully.

Then off we were to bike.  We drove to the trail that Peyt had shown us yesterday.

Across the Hood River Bridge.

Up a winding road for only about 1/2 mile.

It was very windy.  I asked another couple that was just starting their ride how long the rail was.  He said 9 miles round trip.

It was a WONDERFUL short ride.


The trail was beautiful and had some inclines that made us work.  At the far-end I had learned there were bathrooms up the road.  So I turned, geared down and had to work to gear down again.  Once you get a lot of strain on the chain, it can sometimes be hard to shift.  So you really need to plan ahead when biking.  Look ahead and know what is coming so you can gear down.  By turning sideways to the hill I was able to get it into the low gear…. I call it the “Grandpa Gear”.  I climbed the hill and at the top I looked back and there is no George.

So I park my trike and walk down.  He can’t change into a lower gear.  So I lift up the back end of his trike so he can shift.  IT still doesn’t shift, but he thinks to unclip and use his foot to push the chain toward the smallest gear on the front sprocket.  So it is something.  He can figure some things out and other things he is can’t. 

I saw that there was a fee station at this end of the trail.  So I grabbed an envelope and put money in it, but could not find anywhere to put the envelope.  No slot.  So I put it in my trunk to show proof that we tried to pay.

On the way back the wind was in our face and it was REALLY STRONG in the tunnel.

At the start of the trail was a visitors center.  But it was closed.

When we got back to the car I studied the map to find another trail.  Though there were green lines indicating a bike trail, when I investigated further they were dirt bike trails.  But I found one that I thought might work.  It was 30 minutes away, starting at the Bridge of the Gods.

We were supposed to be back at the house and ready to go with Peyt to a music concert in another town at around 5 pm.  So I figured we could get a couple hours of biking in before we had to head home to shower.

So we took everything out of the car so we can put things in.

I started driving West on I84 when I saw a sign for the ANTIQUE AIRPLANE AND AUTO MUSEUM.  I had suggested going there yesterday and George wanted to go.  He is/was a mechanical kind of guy and loves old cars.  So I turned off and we paid the $24 admission to get us into the museum.

We got down the first aisle and George needed to find a bathroom.  I led him back tot he entrance where the restrooms were.

While in the ladies I noticed that the strugglig to keep my hat down had caused my hair to stand straight up just on top in the middle.  I tried to wet it down,  The fix didn't work.

There weren’t just cars and airplanes there.  There were motorcycles, bicycles, and wheelchairs.  There were cameras and telephones and wagons.  There were lots of videos.  We watched one on Wilber and Orville Wright.  It was interesting, but long.  

Then we started looking at stuff and passed several other videos.  We stopped at one about women in aviation and in particular the female pilots race of 1929.  It was also interesting, but at one point I said we would never get through the museum if we didn’t stop watching videos.

Later I asked him which car thrilled him the most.  And he said, “They all do.”  So I was glad we took the time to go to the museum.

George pointed at the rear of this bike. I said,, "Yes, it looks like it got bent up pretty good."  Then he stuttered and said, "Gear drive, there is no chain."

Oh ya!

 The founder offered to take our pictures in the corvette.

We started getting hungry and George was losing interest.  So we left.  I had passed a place that said “GOOD NEWS GARDEN and CAFÉ”.  So we went back there.  It was awesome.

We didn't get a cookie, but they looked big enough for three people.

This ant was parading back and forth on the windowsill.  As soon as I took his picture he exited stage left.

OK, bellies full.  I decide we have time to at least look at the trail we were aiming for.  On the way we saw this sign.

"Naked Wine, We aim to Tease."

The trail head is close ot the Bridge of the Gods.  I looked for information about the trail at the trail head but found none.  I looked for information about why this place was called "Bridge of the Gods".  I found none.

We decided to walk down the trail.

I assembled this man and took his picture and I thought it would make George smile at my silliness.  But it didn’t.  I learned later why he wasn't responding as expected.

On our walk I mentioned I had to go potty, but I knew that as soon as I squatted some biker would zoom by.  So I would wait.

When we got back to the car (2 mile walk) there was no bathrooms.  I mentioned that to George..  As we were getting into the car George looked down at himself.  “Do you need to go pee?” I asked.

He nodded.  I said, well come on, there are bushes over here.  So we walked a few feet down the trail and I stood guard while he relieved himself.

We got back in the car and traveled the bridge over the Columbia River to Washington.

Right after the bridge I saw a historical marker sign and pulled in and found a porta-potty for me to use.

Then I read the kiosk and it explained the name of Bridge of the Gods.  It came from a native American story that at one time their people could walk across the river on rocks in that location.  Geologists have confirmed that this Native American history story actually occurred.  A land slide actually happened that was big enough to block the river..

When I got back to the car, George was gone.  I was surprised that he needed to use the porta-potty since he had just urinated on the other side of the bridge.

When he got back in the car he brought an odor with him.

I didn't beat around the bush or criticize.  I think I did good.  I said, "I smell poop.  Did you have an accident?"  And George said, "I had an accident."

I touched his head and said if you can tell me you need a bathroom I will try real hard to find one for you.  You need to tell me if you can.

He nodded.

I stopped at one more marker.  George stayed in the car.

The wind was so strong that the water was splashing over the dock.

We went through three tunnels.

We got back to the cottage it was 10 minutes to 5.  We were supposed to be ready at 5:00 to go with Peyt.

George was already in the bathroom when I got into the cottage.  I offered help, he didn't want any.

Soon he opened the door all dressed and ready to go.  He had rinsed out the clothes well... I double checked.

But I told him go back in and take a shower.

Bossing him around like this is new to both of us.  It started shortly after his diagnosis with getting him to do the exercises.  He resisted and I told him that I didn't like it either,  But this diagnosis has changed things for both of us.  I have to tell him what to do and he has to accept that.

George is out of the shower cleaned up.  I hug him.  Then I hear Peyt.   It is time to go she says and she heads for her BMW in the garage.

I look at George and the front of his shorts are wet... Another accident!

Another quick change.  I grab a towel for the evening and worry he will have an issue in her BMW.

Peyt takes us for a lovely ride through the countryside away from the gorge.

She takes us to a very small town, Glendale.

Yet the restaurant had veggie burgers.  All we saw in town was a few houses, a park, the General Store, and the restuarant.


In the park was a concert.

They had sheets of paper on a table held down from being blown by the wind.  It was the songs they play.  Each of us were to go up and pick a song.  I picked “5 foot 2” and “The Green Green Grass of Home”  Someone else chose “King of the Road”.

It was enjoyable.  There were about 20-25 folks there.  Afterward they served water melon

Peyt drove us back home a different route.

Back at the house, Peyt wanted to make us breakfast tomorrow and I wanted to get an early start, so she made us egg salad.  I gave her some containers to put it into.  When I was doing that she asked about George.  He was in the cottage and we were in the house so we could talk about him.

I had already told her and she had already sensed and witnessed George's loss in cognition.  But I told her about the incontinent moments.

She hugged me.  She was very sweet.  She wants to help.  She has helped herself with some alternative healing practices.  

She has a way of asking a "higher power/God/Guardian Angel/whatever you want to call it" for guidance.  “Do I need this?” and she gets an answer.  She tried to teach it to George.  She was hoping this might help stop, slow, or reverse his illness.  

When I tried it on a couple things, I definitely got an action.  But we didn’t see any action when George did it.  Peyt really wanted to help. 

Anyway, we talked for maybe 5 minutes.  When I entered the cottage George was standing in the living room near the door.  Just standing there.  I asked if he was going outside.  

"No," he said.  

"what are you doing?" I sak.

"I don't know," he says.

I think this is the day had been extremely fun and different.  I did not get to sleep until after 2 a.m.

One of the things I worry about is keeping my cool while packing up the car.  He wants to do things.  He can do things.  I just sometimes feel so rushed trying to stay ahead of him.

Here is the reality in pictures.  This is a scan of a healthy brain.

This is a scan of George’s brain taken over 1 year ago. 

A scan of his brain activity showed diminished capacity on the left side of his brain, hence, planning ahead, strategic thinking is harmed. A positive is that he is less critical of things, activities, stuff.  And THAT makes for more fun.

What amazes me is that so many times he returns and talks and seems to think like he used to.  How can that be???

Going On 70 and Feeling 30

When I returned from the Everglades I parked my trailer at an angle so that the distance from the electric box to my trailer would be shorte...