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, October 21, 2015

Testimony: Part II

In a post dated February 25, 2014, I talked about the futility of worrying and that "working at not worrying" depleted one's energy as well and served no purpose.

The post began with: This post is a testimony to NOT worrying about the future. I know that one has to experience on their own to learn lessons, telling doesn't help all that much, but maybe a few words from my experience might help you.'

And now, Gregory did it again. With his passing on October 4, 2015 at 12:00 noon, he jump skipped over many of the "possible scenarios" that could have been, that could have caused worrying, that could have caused me to spin and spend my energy erroneously and unnecessarily.

I do believe that I did a better job of not worrying (or working at not worrying) than I have done in the past. I would recognize my feelings of worry, acknowledge them, and quickly release them; having faith in myself, in Gregory, and in the universe that order would prevail and both Gregory and I would be able to deal, cope, and live with any situation.

So many of the things that cold have happened, that I read about might happen, that has happened to others; NEVER HAPPENED to Gregory or me. I will add, however, that what ever might have came in the future, Gregory and I would have gotten through it gracefully. Without worry. Only love.

Gregory never forgot who I was. During his last month, his level of acknowledgment or joy at seeing me (or any visitor for that matter) was not as energetic as it had been but none-the-less he always was happy to see me (and visitors.)

Gregory continued to give me kisses, to enjoy his chocolates, to hold and munch on his pretzel stick, to sip his juice from the foil bag container, to sigh when you massaged his back, to squeeze your hand when you squeezed his.

He continued to enjoy his meals; hamburgers, skirt steak, chicken, lox and bagels,  sandwiches, stew, cereal, omelettes etc, etc. He never needed "mechanical," which is food chopped to facilitate eating and while delicious amounts to "piles" of food and limited choices. He never needed to move to "puree," which is food reduced in a blender with thickener added and then baked in moose like loafs, which amounts to a green custardy like square (green beans,) a white custardy like square (potatoes,) and a brown custardy like square (beef.)

I will say, to Lieberman's credit, that all of the food was tasty and of the same quality. The marinated, roasted chicken breast that Gregory enjoyed was the same one that was chopped up or pureed. I know because I tasted all levels of that chicken breast and all were tasty!

Gregory always loved his music on the earphones or on the speakers in his room, his "South Pacific" DVD which we must have watched 100 times, going down to the community room for the Sunday concerts. He enjoyed playing rhythm band with the instruments I brought in, dancing (arm and body movement in his wheel chair) to Abba, singing, and whistling.

He never became comatose, totally unresponsive (except for the four days he was preparing to leave us,) angry, fearful, confused, frustrated (in part due to the loving care from Manny and the Lieberman staff and in part due to the carefully monitored, minimally dosed Risperdal which was prescribed by joint decision of the doctors, nurses, and me. I know that the use of antipsychotic drugs is very controversial but in Gregory's case they served a good purpose.

His skin help up beautifully even though he "lived" in his wheel chair all of the time except when he went to bed, even though he had to shit an pee himself as a way of going to the bathroom and sometimes had to sit in it until an aide could get to change him. In the beginning, he hated soiling himself and would grab his penis as if trying to hold it in. I would tell him, "It's OK. I know you hate this but just do it. They will clean you up all fresh. Just let it rip!"Eventually he just released what he had to without a care. As the children's books says, "Everybody poops, you know!"

He always kept his sense of humor, his sense of empathy for others, his patience, and his compassion. He always had a smile, an arched eyebrow, a laugh. He loved doing his accent correct imitations, although with nonsense language, of a French man, a Russian man, a Jewish man, a developmentally disabled person, a child.

His unexpected death (I had anticipated another two or three years at Lieberman with a continued downhill trend) allowed Gregory to skip over most of the difficulties inherent in a death caused by Dementia/Alzheimer's. 

So if I had worried a lot, that would have been a waste of my energy and would have diminished the time I was able to spend with him; being happy, being content, being good to myself and therefore being better able to be good to him.

As I said in my previous post about life in general: In the end, what is there to worry about? When you have seen death approach and leave with your parents, when death has also taken friends and relatives and pets, as death slowly but surely took away the person you most love in the world, and when you accept that eventually death will come to for you ... fear looses its edge. Nothing to worry about. Be happy! 

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