FOR GREGORY. He was not a VICTIM of ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, he was a HERO!
PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Sweaters are out of the question as he needs to have his top changed several times a day when they clean up what we will generously call his "bathroom accidents" which are now his standard way of processing his waste. Also, Lieberman like most care homes is usually over heated. I have learned to wear less when I visit.
Overcoats, top coats, his tuxedo, many pairs of shoes, gloves, scarves, earmuffs are all fair game for the give-away pile. I know that Gregory is not dead, but this part of what I must do sure feels like it.
I have kept a number of his plaid button up shirts and he will be able to use them in the cold months. But most of the other stuff no longer has a purpose to serve.
While doing this is necessary, and while in no way am I of the type to hold on to his clothes for sentimental value (I didn't smell his shirts once like they do in the movies,) it does remind me of the finality of our situation. And that hurts.
All of his "stuff" will live on through Casa Norte, a support service organization that helps young Latino men trying to shake jail, drugs, gangs, crime, etc.
Ironically I picture one of these good looking young men being very excited about discovering one of Gregory's beautiful, in perfect condition, expensive Armani shirts in the Case Norte Help Yourself Closet. That makes me feel better.
We have brought our outlived clothing to Casa Norte many times before and Gregory and I always enjoyed knowing they would be used with love, as they were given with love.
So while I will not talk about this with Gregory, I know he would love the idea and if he could talk back, he would say in his limited use of words fashion, "Fine!"
Visiting Gregory around 3:30, in his room, watching South Pacific, again.
Fire alarm sounds, fire alarm flashes, all doors in the hall and rooms (magnetically held open) slam shut.
Voice on PA system announces: "Code RED, seventh floor, Wing B. Code RED, seventh floor, wing B."
My "school teacher trained self" goes on the alert. I leave Gregory in the room with Manny and go out into the hall to see if my help is needed. Sounding, flashing, slamming, announcing continues as adrenalin pumps.
Two Resident Care Assistants come through the wing (by the way we are in Wing B where two floors above the code RED had been announced) carrying fire extinguishers, exit through the exit stairwell after punching in the door's security code, and head upward towards the trouble.
Another RCA sticks her head through the closed double doors of our Wing B, I say, "I'll watch this area." She thanks me.
I begin going from room to room, knock, open the door, check to see if anyone is in there. I make mental note: Muriel in bed, Eva in her wheel chair, Betty in a side chair, Gregory in the room with Manny, Ben in his adult walker walking, Meriam pacing back and forth a little more agitated than usual.
Here is the hard part. Is it a drill? Did someone pull the alarm accidentally? Is it a real fire on the seventh floor in Wing B? Even if it is a drill, no one is informed so the efficaciousness of the drill is not diminished.
Now that I have made note of people who are still in the wing, if this is a real fire, and if smoke spreads ... what does one do? How does one help all these people who cannot help themselves.
I think "go out onto the balcony in the fresh air if need be while at the same time knowing the doors to the balcony are locked."
I know even with Manny's help, we couldn't get Gregory down five flights of stairs to safety. And even if we could, how could I leave the others behind. And then there is the question of flee and safe myself or stay with my honey and die together.
So instead of thinking about all of this, I make the rounds again to make sure everyone is OK and staying calm. They are.
Then we get the notice to move everyone to the center area. So Manny moves Gregory past the double doors and comes back for another. I get Muriel into her chair and wheel her to "safety." Next I push Ben in his adult walker and finally help Martha.
Then the all clear is announced: "Code Red is now all clear. Code Red is now all clear. Return to your usual activities. Return to your usual activities."
So what do I do with the release of tension? I begin to quietly sob, cover my mouth to muffle the noise, and cry a little. I recognize that my reaction is the result of my emotions releasing the "what could have been."
We begin to more everyone to the dining room as it is time for dinner. One of the RCA's, Mary, thanks me for helping. "Welcome," I reply, "what else could I have done?"
The other staff are not frazzled as I am but I am sure that they have gone through this many times. The good part is that everyone remained calm, everyone knew what to do, and another drill proved that being ready for all possibilities is a good thing.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
"WAIT, WAIT" - Gregory almost shouted at me.
I sat back down took his hand again and asked, "What?"
"I ... I ... JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW ... " he almost shouted again ... and then he stalled.
"That you love me?" I asked.
"YES, YES," he replied.
I kissed his forehead, "I love you too!" and left.
Whether that is what he wanted to say or whether I invented it ... it was another Perfect Moment!
Even though he does not feel well, Gregory has been able to "settle" into his cold and be calm and stay comfortable. Manny continues to push the water and juice and has allowed Gregory to just rest.
Today when I visited, Gregory and I just sat and held hands. He slept for part of the time but was aware and focused for part of the time as well.
When I offered him a piece of chocolate he took it in his mouth, closed his eyes, and sighed "Oh my,' a few times.
Gregory's reaction to the chocolate reaction was A Perfect Moment.
Let me go ahead and answer. I'm not. It was CSI around here; me with my bad nerves. And it burst again last night.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Sometimes someone will be sick, and someone who loves the sick person will say, "Abraham, I'm wanting to help this person." And we say, just hold the image of them in a place of utter Well-being, and trust that through the path of least resistance, either they will recover and Well-being will be restored here, or they will withdraw and Well-being will be restored there. But in either case, whether they stay or whether they have what you call death experience, the Well-being is always restored.
Taken from: Abraham-Hicks
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
So I say I've changed names so I don't get sued but the odds are minuscule and if I get any complaints, I'll call her Marilyn. See what I mean, just doesn't feel the same as calling Martha, Martha.
She usually does this with mild exasperation and a "what can you do" attitude which makes me really wonder what her family and friends must have been like. Her attitude is endearing and her complaining engaging, not put offish.
Martha: "May I call you Jack."
Me: "Yes you may."
Martha: "Is that your name?"
Martha: "Then what is your name?"
Martha: "Well I'll call you that then."
Today at lunch Martha, talking non-stop, was fussing with the little bit of left over food on her plate. She pushed it this way and that, back a little, pulled it forward a little while talking about wrapping it up and putting it in the car.
Then she stopped and asked no one in particular if putting the food in the car was a good idea? "They might come and steal the food. They might just do that. But then again they might come and still the car so I do not know what to do.
Made perfect sense in her wonderfully demented way of thinking. I'll try to remember more of what she talked about because she gets really creative. She makes me laugh a lot although sometimes I just want to say, "Martha, lets play the "Can you be quiet for two minutes?" game.