Thursday, December 8, 2011

Unreliable Sources

Cupie Doll Photo! (Wind storm)
The weather outside has been absolutely frightening for nearly a week!  Today was the first time since last Tuesday that the parents' have left the house. My sister and I have created a no ice policy.  Last Friday morning, APR went out to feed the cats, slipped.  We don't need a broken hip.  When he stays home for more than a few days at a time, he gets bored and cranky.  Today was a cranky day.

We have daily questions/phone calls on the following subjects:
  1. Do you have any checks.  I need a few.  (He's not going to get any, either)
  2. I need the tax bills so I can look through them.  (They're paid, he's seen them, he's not getting the original - he will lose them - and that's not the Alzheimer's)
  3. I need a credit card.  (He maxed his out and I'm trying to pay it down)
  4. Why won't you let me drive. (Insurance purposes)
  5. Is the checking account overdrawn?  (No, that's why you don't get a check.  The last time he had one he wrote a check of $1800 and told us a week later!)
  6. Can I have copies of the tax bills?  (I don't have time to copy them.  The excuse works).
  7. I need a check.
  8. I need to see the tax bills.
  9. What about my credit card.
He has one set of questions he asks me, and another he asks my mother.  I don't think he's started on Cathy.  Other than that, he's doing good.  He's up on the latest news. All in all he's doing fairly well for an 87 year old!

For the people we do business with on a fairly regular basis, we tell them what is going on.  Most people are so nice about it.

Today the constant questions were a little much.  I was trying to do a car-pool thing with Rumsfeld and Doc Holiday.  I was running late. Had to get to the beauty shop.  Had to drive down to Glencoe to pick up mail.  So, I hung up on his, twice.  He was really ticked, told my mother so, twice.

This is so hard for them both.  She is exhausted, quite upset at times.  I'm learning that you need to be a bit cold-blooded.  It's no fun.

ABOUT THE PHOTO:  I showed it to Leroy today on my iPhone.  He thought I was terrible to have taken it.  There was a tremendous amount of wind.  APR was sitting there, looking like a little Cupie Doll. Naturally I had to send a copy of it to my sister.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Charge It to My AARP Card!

You Can't Get a Decent Photo of My Mother!
We have noticed a problem with spending.  My father, once the most careful person in the world, now doesn't care what he spends.  Ergo, he is not allowed to have checks.  He has one credit card.  I had my mother take it away from him because he had maxed it.  After a couple months, I'd paid it down a little.  She gave it back to him.  He maxed it in 2 days.  He was told he could keep it in his wallet, but not to use it.

The check book is in hiding.

Every time they go out to eat, he complains that he doesn't have a credit card or a check.  Darn right he doesn't have a check!

This evening the usual argument ensued.  My mother gets upset about it, but either you laugh or cry.  He flipped out his AARP card to give it to the server.  Fortunately, she knew he has Alzheimer's and was very nice about it.  I just shook my head. 

My mother was getting ready to cry.

Then I though about Aunt Eva and the chicken bone.  When my sister and I were little kids, we were visiting in Louisville, at Aunt Eva's house.  She had a little problem going on, tried to get my sister to eat her chicken leg, which had nothing left on it.  Over the years it has become a standard family joke.

Tonight, I thought about that.  Mentioned            it to my mother, who went from dismay to laughter.  It was funny.

What else are you going to do but laugh?

On a rather annoying note, and I should not be annoyed, he calls at least once a day to ask about property taxes. One of our dirty little family secrets is the fact that we had a difficult time catching the Alzheimer's.  One reason is because his basic personality resembles someone with Alzheimer's!  He was always misplacing things.  Property tax time was a nightmare from hell, while he rushed around looking for the bills he tossed aside until the last minute. 

So - every day - he asks about taxes.  I try to be patient.

 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

There Ain't No Sanity Clause

Just a Couple a' Republicans!
I come from a very Marxist family - Harpo, Chico, Groucho, and even Zeppo!  One of our family's favorite movies is A Night at the Opera.  The first time I saw it, I laughed until I was crying.

One of the classic scenes in the movie is the discussion between Chico and Groucho about a contract for tenor, Ricardo.  They went through the party of the first part, ripping section after section out of the contract.  Finally they reached the Sanity Clause.  Chico's comment, "There ain't no Sanity Clause," is the stuff comic dreams are made of.

During the past year, the parents have been working on their wills, trust, powers of attorney, medical directive, etc.  About a month ago it came to my attention that it would be a good thing to have a physician sign off on the fact that both parents were 'in their right mind'.  I was a little annoyed at first, as was one of the attorneys they are working with.  But, it needed to be done.  (I will admit one of the reasons I pushed it is due to the research on a book I am doing about dealing with seniors and what their children need to know).

The reaction of their GP was a bit strange.  I was really ticked, thinking he was concerned I was trying to take advantage of the parents.  Come to find out, he'd never even thought of doing something like this, and was also experimenting on it. 

Lo and behold my father did better than my mother!  He ended up answering some of the questions posed to her!  She was quite pleased with that one, so they both passed the sanity clause.

Seriously, there is some evidence that the B-12 injections are working!  They say after 3 months, and the 3rd injection, you will know if they are going to have an effect. 

They are!

We still have problems with directions, and tiring in the evening.  But, the effects are obvious.  On Tuesday, Maggie was telling me she could tell a difference.

He is still furious that he can't drive.  That specific awareness is gone, so there is no way he can drive. He's ticked about that, but all in all,  his disposition is much better.

Maybe there is a Sanity Clause after all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food Fight

When I Was A Few Days Old
We have a little problem.  APR wants Worcestershire Sauce on anything with meat!  There are times when he really doesn't want to eat beef unless he has it.  Sergio, at the little Mexican restaurant where we eat has gone so far as to keep a bottle for him.  When we eat at Cattle Baron, Heather automatically produces a bottle.  He always did drown everything in it, so why not be consistent.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chocolate

Trolling for Candy!
There is a dramatic change in my father when he is all sugared up!  We've discovered when he starts lagging a little, we hit him with some sugar, serious sugar, coffee, this sort of thing, and give him 45 minutes.  He perks up like crazy.

So, my mother decided to get him chocolate. 

That's where the problem is.  Whatever my father eats, Sadie eats.  She's in serious need of a diet, BTW.  If she's not careful, she won't be able to fit into her adorable new pink hoodie.   Well, every time APR hits the candy dish for chocolate, we are terrified he is going to give something to Sadie.  The other day my mother finally put up the chocolate.

He's doing fairly well.  I do think there is a difference with the B-12 shots.  We're having some short term replay, but not bad.  It is surprising how well he is doing.  There are times when he is driving my mother crazy.  She frets, constantly.  At night, he goes around checking all the doors, unlocking them!  I suggested she unlock them, then when he checks them, he locks them.  Last week, she had me take him with me to do some errands.  He wanted to nap while I was in the grocery store.  If she had known, I would have been in trouble.  I get all the way around to the veggies and he comes in, knows where I am, no problems!

I have this terrible feeling we're not giving him enough credit for things.  Jeff McClough warned me about this.  I've been so frantic about other things in life, I've not paid much attention to it.  I must start doing better.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Like a Sugared Up 87 Year Old!

Just Married - 60 Years Ago!
We have been experimenting on my father.  While the word "experimenting" may contain elements of shock - what have we been doing - well, it's not as bad as it sounds.  He's done quite well with our experimentation, actually.

For the past month or so, we've noticed a difference when APR had a breakfast of real oatmeal, sugar, whole milk, and fresh strawberries.  On days he has such a meal, he does quite well. 

We've also noticed when he has a lunch, following breakfast of toast, eggs, and bacon, and the lunch consists of good healthy food for a diabetic, he gets the fuzzies.  The first time we really noticed was in Roswell at Chilis.  He had his favorite Margareta Chicken, black beans, and a dab of rice.  This is a diabetic's dream meal.  Well - within the hour he could not remember where he lived.  He wasn't sure how to get home.  Wasn't even sure what day it was.

Stopping at Starbucks, we tanked him up on a grande strawberries & creme frap.  Within 45 minutes he was great.  He began mentioning if I did not slow down, I was going to miss the turn to the house!

About 2 weeks ago a very dear Christian woman from New Orleans sent me a link to the so called "Alzheimer's Milk Shake" that is being marketed in the UK.  There is one here, that is having mixed results.   The one being marketed here is based on the premise that the Alzheimer's brain does not properly metabolize insulin.  It is not as effective as the one being used in the UK, which is based on food products that are not much different from what he's getting with his morning oatmeal, cinnamon, sugar, whole milk, and fresh strawberries.  It also has a truck load of sugar in it.

Last week, starting on Tuesday, we began experimenting.  On Tuesday, they had an early appointment in Las Cruces.  Breakfast consisted of coffee and toast.  We had lunch at Lorenzo's.  APR had a small salad, Italian dressing, 3 excellent yeast rolls, and eggplant parm on penne pasta.  By the time he had finished the meal, he was getting the directional fuzzies.  We decided to try a dessert on him.  He had chocolate mouse and coffee.  We went from Lorenzo's to Starbucks, to grab an iced tea on the way back up to Ruidoso.  My mother decided to experiment, so she got him the usual strawberries & creme frap.

About thirty minutes later it was like a light flashed on.  He perked up and started remembering numbers, details, dates, locations, stuff he'd not talked about in years!  It was like a sugared up 87 year old!

The next day I learned that my mother had run out of oatmeal.  So, she gave him healthy breakfasts of eggs, bacon, fruit (excluding strawberries). You could actually see him go downhill, to the point where, on Saturday an Sunday he was having hallucinations. 

He was getting desserts.  His blood sugar in the morning would be about 130 or so.

Monday evening she found some oatmeal in the freezer.  Starting on Tuesday morning, he's had oatmeal, whole milk, several tbs of sugar, cinnamon, strawberries, toast, butter and coffee.  He's having dessert, and quite a few sweets.  His morning blood sugar is anywhere from 105-120 or so.  Yesterday, he was doing good.  By today, he was doing very well.

He was great at lunch today.  He had a steak at Cattle Baron.  He did the salad bar, if that's what you call his "salad" which consisted of macaroni something or other, a few carrots, and a marshmallow something.  For dessert he had about a half cup of banana pudding.

About 30 minutes ago he called.  He discussed politics, voting patterns, finances, and mentioned that my mother was annoyed with him, yet again.  She had him sitting on a bench outside the beauty shop.  Glenn Chang, walked down the street for the mail, waved.  He talked about Glenn.  He discussed Obama, and 20 years of oppression under Democrat rule during the Depression until Ike!  While he was doing this he was counting motorcycles.  There's a huge bike rally here.  He said he was counting bikes, had to be nearly a hundred going past while we talked!

What have we learned?

APR requires old fashioned, real, cooked oatmeal in the morning.  My mother is adding cinnamon, sugar, whole milk, fresh strawberries, more sugar, toast, orange juice, butter, and coffee.  I doubt if Michelle Obama would approve of it. Neither would the diabetic associations.  The family care physician's nurse is already on my mother's case because she said strawberries have too high a carb count for a diabetic.

The things we are learning are diametrically opposite to some of the things the official diabetic party line is telling about Alzheimer's.  With APR there is definitely a connection between the amount of actual sugar, the kind Michelle Obama does not want you to have, and the diabetic police say is bad for you - pure refined sugar.  It is what is keeping him from acting like a senior citizen who has a few little problems, and someone who is dealing with Alzheimer's. 

His blood sugar has dropped so much, they've cut his diabetes medication in half. 

I wonder if it's the cinnamon?

There is a moral to this story.  The food police are not always right.  If we were to listen to the party line on what he should be eating, my father would be in very bad shape.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Day After the Day After

By Sunday Evening, Sadie was Exhausted!
It's over. 

Everyone has gone home, intact.  Rachel's SUV made it back to Memphis in one piece.  Laura's apartment and her cat were not harmed when Irene hit NYC.  My cucumber sandwiches were a disaster.  Other than that, and a few shattered nerves, things went quite well (sort of). 

My mother is exhausted.  She's still in her jammies after two days of rest (we hope). Our real fear was that APR would have this tremendous let-down once the 60th Anniversary celebrations were over.  On the contrary, he is doing great (thus far).  He's quite with it.  There were some shaky moments late Sunday, but not bad at all.  Cathy feared major fuzzies.  He did great! 

60 Years! 
Yesterday he called several times while my mother was napping.  He called today, while she was napping, looking for the car keys.  It was obvious he wanted me to come down to the house after I picked up the mail.  I did.  Sadie was a little down, bouncing off the wall, bored after her admirers left the building, but other than that, things were fine. 

We made a major discovery this weekend.  So far, with this phase of the disease, the more going on around him, the more the intellectual stimulation, the better APR does.  I suspect this may run contrary to popular opinion, which calls for calm.  He does great with a group of people and things going on, the more things, the better.   He did not eat as  well as he should have, but we suspect he may have been grazing a little.  I know on Friday, he and Dustin, according to Dust, were tossing back Ensure shooters!  APR had chocolate and Dustin had strawberry, if anyone is interested in the gory details.

Sadie Slept Through the Photo Opt
On Saturday, Dustin pulled the old Buick, my old powder blue 67 Rivera convertible, out of the shed.  They spent the afternoon tinkering with it.  I have this feeling, as the years progress, Dustin is going to be the one to be able to reach him, through their mutual love of cars.  When I told him, this afternoon, that Dust wants to get the Buick running, and take his grandfather cruising down Route 66, he was so excited.  A light went on in his eyes!  Now he has someone to share his car books with. 

Dustin is going to try to get back in a month or so, to work on the car.  I think it will give APR something to look forward to.  I have a feeling things like that are going to be increasingly important.

APR's Perkins cousins, Jean, Kerry, and Jean's husband Lee, arrived on Friday evening.  They had dinner with us on Saturday, and were in and out Sunday and Monday.  Late Monday evening, APR got a few things mixed up with some stories, but that's okay.  By that time, I don't think any of us were quite with it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clueless in Ruidoso (and everywhere else)

Sweet Sadie (She's sleeping, that's why!)
I am ticked and annoyed.  My mother just called.  No, I'm not ticked that she said they were on the way to the ER with my father.  His arms and legs were tingling.  He thought he had a pain in his left arm and chest.  She then called and said they were not going up, but meeting Alicia for lunch. 

I'd read somewhere about tingling in the extremities being a symptom.  I know restless leg is.  I started looking up physical symptoms of Alzheimer's.  Well - try finding a list.  There isn't one.  There are lists of body systems affected.  There is information about behavior.  There is information here and there.  You can find end-stage physical issues, but that's not much good early on, not much good at all.

The list of cognitive symptoms is everywhere. I found an idiotic piece that exercise may delay onset.  That's a total crock.  My mother has kept APR very active.  I can't imagine anyone would be so pathetic and manipulative to try the exercise gambit.  In fact, WebMD's information on Alzheimer's is the least helpful and far less accurate than other sites.  The bottom line is there is no one single list of physical things to watch for - early on.

Early physical symptoms that may appear before the mental symptoms:
Difficulty getting up out of a chair
Difficulty getting out of a car.
Difficulty getting up from a table.
Constant feeling of being cold.
Difficulty walking and maintaining balance.
Changes in urinary habits.
Recognition of scents and odors.
Hand grip

So far, this is my list. I keep looking for additional things.  I think there is a great disservice to people, not to have a list like this.  APR's early symptoms were more physical than cognitive.  If we had known to put these symptoms together with the constantly lost wallet (he was always losing things, so that never bothered us), etc. maybe we could have caught things earlier and saved a heck of a lot of trauma.

I never became truly disturbed until last December when I noticed that he could not do certain math problems the way he once did.  That's when I knew we had a real problem, but never thought of Alzheimer's.  It's quite obvious that we are at the first stage, and have been there for at least a year.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Fuzzy Day in Roswell Town

Cathy, Sadie & Hondo (who was ticked with Sadie)
Yesterday was a very fuzzy day.  I'm not sure if it is an additional change, but APR's directional problems were worse than usual.  He was okay when we left the house about 12:30.  He napped for about 30 minutes.  When he woke up, as he frequently does when in the car, he did not know quite know where he was.  He knew he was in Roswell. but was a little fuzzy on the directions.  The "usual" questions lasted until we were nearly back at their house.

  1.  My head isn't working right.  Just what road are we on?
  2.  Are you sure you know where we are?
  3.  Just where is our house?
  4.  Are we going back to where we were to pick up our clothes? (he thinks it is a motel)
  5.  Just where are the dogs?
  6.  Is this the right way?
  7.  This road just doesn't look right?
  8.  How many houses to we own in Lincoln County?
  9.  Are we going back to where we were last night?
10.  Are our things safe where they are?
11.  Aren't we going to go pick up our clothes?
12.  Are we going to stay where we've been for the past four nights?

He asked these questions, repeatedly - over and over.  My mother was very good with him, very patient.  I felt sorry for her.  Then again, she learned that someone they know is now in such bad shape with diabetes that he has lost his vision, cannot walk, can barely use his hands and is dealing with dementia.  What is worse, that or Alzheimer's?

One thing we did note that, yesterday he only had a piece of toast and a doughnut for breakfast.  He usually has 2 cups of old fashioned oatmeal (you think my mother would do instant?), toast, fresh fruit, OJ, and coffee.  He ate nothing else until 2:30 and then it was almost all protein.  I got him a Starbucks strawberry & cream frap.  Thirty minutes after digesting the frap, he was his old self.

Is there a connection?

Or - are we hitting another six months problem?

Yesterday evening he was okay.  My mother thinks the problem is that we have traveled so much that he has it on his mind.  He's just not quite clear between here and South Carolina.

Today's he is okay.


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Great Lawnmower Affair

Rumsfeld and His Grandmotehr
One of the very real problems with Alzheimer's is the fact that the judgement sector of the brain eventually is ruined.  One of the earlier signs of this is abject bull-headed stubbornness.  You can't even begin to talk a person out of something they want to do.

My mother experienced this today with the great lawnmower affair.

The front courtyard is a mess.  Thanks to the wonderful rain, grass is rapidly growing.  My father wants it cut.  He wants to cut it himself.  There's no way he can cut it.  He has a hernia.  He is very shaky on his feet.  He's already lost 1.5 toes under a lawnmower.

He has been on this track for two days.  Yesterday Maggie tried talking him out of it.  Every time I've talked to her today, when her back is turned, he heads for the mower.  Also, the moment her back is turned, Sadie grabs one of her stuffed bears and goes behind something so she can pull the stuffings out of it.  When my mother would ask my father not to mow, Sadie would run after him, yapping.

Ray is cutting grass.  I suggested she get Ray to stop cutting on the big mower and go cut the courtyard.  It would make things so much easier.

This stubbornness is an early sign of Alzheimer's. 

Pay attention to it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Dog Ate My Hearing Aid and Other Excuses

Sadie, Before the Crime
My father was surfing on one hearing aid.  Several years ago one was lost somewhere between Sierra Vista and Tombstone on a rainy July 2 evening.  He was doing okay until Fred cat-napped the remaining one and did his thing with it.  Last Wednesday we went to Alamo to see what could be done with it.  They were able to repair it!  For free no less!

Well.....

That night Sadie found it.  The following morning, when they were finally able to find the hearing aid, nothing remained of it but some chewed parts. 

So, the Alzheimer's wouldn't be so bad, but he now hears squat!  It is rather humorous.  Today he caught several things wrong.  Just rough. 

This whole thing with the price of hearing aids is so wrong. 

We went to LC yesterday to his urologist.  Got good reports there.  He's still having problems with the planter's wart on his foot, but we take that as it goes.

He is so looking forward to their 60th Anniversary.

Monday, July 18, 2011

No Knife!

Patriotic Sadie!
It looks like there will be no surgery!  The cardiologist nixed it.  "No knife unless there is an emergency!"  That takes care of that!

APR was a little fuzzy on Friday when we went to Las Cruces to the cardiologist.  It was a long, hot day - miserable!  He had directional problems, he was tired.  Did okay on the other things, though.  He was late for his appointment.  He just did not want to get ready to leave.

It took several days for him to catch up and not be so tired. 

We've noticed when he is tired he gets fuzzy.  His directions get bad.  We also learned there is a direct correlation to having a bad evening and not doing well in the mornings.  So, now we know not to plan early morning functions and doctor's appointments. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Doctors, Diagnosis, and Possible Surgery

APR and Sadie July 1, 2011
My father has had a physical problem that has been getting more and more serious.  We went to LC today for an appointment with the urologist.  The morning, before the parents' left the house, he mentioned that he wondered if he was having a recurrence of a hernia that plagued him 70 some years ago.  Low and behold - he is absolutely correct!

He was a little cranky today at times, but not bad.  When he went into the doctor's exam room, my mother told them that he had Alzheimer's.  According to the nurse practitioner, if she had not mentioned it, they would not have noticed it.  The new medication is working, wonderfully!

The only problem we usually have is directions - and oye!  He never did do directions well.  We won't talk about the last trip to Illinois, and his attempt to read a map (and that was before the Alzheimers!)

I can't get over how well he did this past week during the fire there in the Valley. So far it has burned a little over 100,000 acres, and everyone's nerves - everyone but him.  He's been great, with it, following the storyline, keeping up, the whole nine yards.

We must keep remembering that we are living on "borrowed time".

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fire Near the Parents' Home



They say the fire has been put "to bed" until tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon is going to be crunch time. Alicia is spending the night with the parents tonight. I'll go back down in the morning. Alicia and Scott have taken almost all the pictures off the wall. The parents' car is loaded with the usual things. Tomorrow, if it looks like the fire is getting closer, I'll get the old photos and things into the Durango. I also need to line up a truck and some people to help move the antiques out of the house to safety.


Evidently this was not to happen.


My mother's friend, Rosa, lies about a block or so from where the fire broke down the canyon. I felt like a jerk pulling up in the Hondo Post Office parking lot (like every other yahoo taking photos). I saw her house, and just called my mother, "Start praying for Rosa!". I gather her house is okay.



This evening The Pink Flamingo had a call about 8:30PM that all you know what was breaking lose. Thanks to Josie and James, I finally realized that it was the inferno. Scott, Alicia, and Sydney beat me down to the house. I knew Maggie was there, so I went on down to Hondo to see what was going on. (local radio report)


Somehow the fire managed to gut Alamo Canyon, where my parents have 2000 acres for sale. I guess it's a fire sale now! It started to cross the Rio Hondo (nothing in it right now - unfortunately) right near the Hondo School where they were evacuating everyone!


If you listen to the radio clip, you will learn that the fire line jump was a total shock. When I talked to Jennifer Myslivy, PIO, for the fire fighting team, this was not in the cards. I talked to her about an hour before this happened.


Earlier in the day, the third lightning strike fire merged, creating something like a 50,000+ acre monster. Hondo is about 5 miles or so from the parents' house. They are between the river and Hwy 70. The fire has not topped the ridge behind them, where they are. There is a nice rosy glow. As I left home, I saw where it had topped the ridge between San Patricio and Glencoe.


With luck, some time tomorrow, their yard will turn pink from slurry. One good thing is the parents' get their irrigation water (if there is any) tomorrow morning. If it can flood the orchard, that will help, even more.

We need some prayer -
Firefighters
Rain
Homes will be saved
And - for my parents

About midnight, after Alicia and Scott left, my father was starting to get "fuzzy" as I call it. He was tired. He did not quite focus on what was happening. If they lose the house, he will not survive. I don't know how well my mother will do. He's now 87, with a little asthma. The medication for Alzheimer's is working quite well, but I don't know how well he can handle a disaster. My poor mother is exhausted. She has a very serious heart condition. Neither one of them need to be outside.

Funny thing, the smoke seems to be worse here in town.

This is turning to a monster fire. All the media can focus on is Los Alamos. There are those who suspect all the good resources are up north, fighting that fire, because all the media is there. They are sending out messages from Los Alamos constantly - but ignoring what is going on here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Do People Think Alzheimer's Is So Dirty?

APR and B-2 Day Before He Turned 87
I was talking to my mother today.  She has started telling people about my father's Alzheimer's Disease.  The more you talk about it, the more obvious it becomes that some people just look askew at it.  Like she said, "Why do people think it is almost dirty?"

They don't get that way about cancer.

We were on something of a playback loop this morning. 
Have the taxes been paid?
What is the checking account balance?
Did you pick up the mail?
What about the insurance?  (He remembers that Glen is our insurance agent).
What about the real estate taxes?
Have they been paid?
Did you pick up the mail?

We finally get through that - it takes a good 15 minutes.  Then it is all about the house in Hondo.  He needs to get it straight.  Is that where they are going to be living?  What about that other house in Ruidoso?  I tell him there was no other house, and yes, that is where they are going to be living.  That's good.  Hondo likes it there.

My mother said she is now telling him everything to do.  I made a smart remark that she always did, so what's new with that? 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Swear the Cat Has His Paw in the Phone Book Under Pawn Shops!

From now on, everything is bittersweet.  I have had the very good fortune and abject misfortune to know that this is our last real Father's Day.  I sadly know what is coming and I have had the good fortune of being able to have a few very good hours on a day that will never really be - again.  We have no idea how far along APR will be next  year.  Because of this knowledge, we are profoundly blessed by the realization that this is it.
APR, Dustin, and B-2

My cousin, Linda, was not that fortunate on Mother's Day.  She had no idea that her mother, my mother's older sister, would not even make it another month.  I honestly don't know which is worse, knowing what is to come, or what Linda faced. 

Intellectually, I know it is never going to be as good as it was today.  We may get lucky.  The meds may work for awhile, but it is only "borrowed time" nothing more.

There was only one crises today.  The wind has been blowing so hard, it was creating havoc with the new swing.  APR went out and figured out how to keep it from being blown away, so that was a very good thing!

Many of the passages of our lives have been passed eating Chinese food.  Today was no exception.  We had lunch at the Great Wall.  The owners, Ryan, Nana, and Glenn are more like family that most members of our family!  I took APR his bag of cowboy books Cathy and were giving him.  He had some cards in the bag (from the cats).

We had nearly finished lunch when Glenn came in.  We talked for awhile.  My father told Glenn about Fred stealing his hearing aid.  I did not know that Fred had stolen his gold watch awhile back, hiding it in a cache in the garage!  So, my father tells Glenn that he noticed that Fred was learning how to read the phone book, and caught him with his paw on the page with the pawn shops!

That was so good!
Feeding Time at the Parents' Cat House - Fred at Top of Photo

He's a little foggy this evening, but then again it's called "Sundowning".  We went through the usual about location, where I am, where they are, and where he lives.  That's okay.  He knows it is Father's Day, and had a very good day.

Isn't that all that really matters?

Even though he had the directions about where he was living all mixed up, he knew exactly where Sierra Vista was.  I told him about the huge fire.  He knew where Hwy 92 was.  I described where it had begun on the Mexican side of the border.  He knew where the mountains were.  I told him the fire had crossed the road and was heading toward Hereford.  It was pushing toward the Mall and the base.  He mentioned that it was at least 15-20 miles from Tombstone.  He's just not sure about Lincoln County and Hondo. 

That's life, isn't it?

My mother said that she and Betty Mason were talking today after church.  Betty told her she did not understand why people were so ashamed of Alzheimer's and dementia. 

Why is that?

My mother is coming to grips with things.  She said when she finally decided to face what was going on and fully admit it, she is feeling better.   I think she's finally starting to sleep better. 

You face it.  You don't hide what is going on.  You don't hide the person you love.  It is like cancer.  You don't hide that. 

I feel sorry for people who won't allow themselves to accept that someone in their family has an illness that is eventually terminal.  It is not going to be pretty, but it is life.  My parents have friends and neighbors who are doing just this.  They are locking themselves away from the world. 

Maybe that is even worse than the blasted disease itself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What? I Can't Hear a Thing on This Phone!

APR and Rumsfeld
Those who haven't seen APR in a week have noticed the difference.  Like a friend said, "He's almost his old self!"  Yea, right, complete with the cat stealing his remaining hearing aid.  Even though the meds are working, wonderfully, he can't hear a damn thing, which makes him sound like he has Alzheimer's!

This afternoon, about 3PM or so, a fast moving wild fire broke out in a forested subdivision about 2 miles from me.  We were going to meet at Cattle Baron for early dinner al la Seinfeld (an old episode).  By the time I went to the post office, and stopped at the laundry, they were announcing evacuations and highway closures.

I call the parents.  My father's words are in the regular text color.  Mine are in Red.

"Are you there yet?"
"Where are you?"
"Does your mother have time to get the car washed?"
"There is a fire..."
"She will be there in less than five minutes."
"There is a bad fire..."
"You are already there?  She said she would be there in about five minutes.  There is a fire?  Does your mother have time to get the car washed before you meet us?"  I hear him tell my mother I will be there in three minutes!

(I am not kidding - this was the conversation).

"They are starting to evacuate along 70.  You need to meet me at Jorges."
"Why are they evacuating?  Oh, there's a fire?  Is Champion's Run on fire?  Where are you?  We're getting the car washed!"
"May I please speak to my mother?"
"Why?  She's driving.  She's going to get the car washed and meet you for dinner.  Are you there yet?"
"There is a fire."
"What wire?"
"The fire is behind K-Bobs."
"We're meeting her at K-Bob's for dinner."
"They've evacuated K-Bobs.  That is where the fire is."
"What wire?  I thought we were going to Cattle Baron, but now we're going to K-Bobs.  Your mother doesn't like K-Bobs."

He finally gives the phone to my mother.  I explain about the possibility of highway closures and evacuations.  I told her where we needed to meet.  I hear my father, "Why?  What fire?  I don't see any fire?"

About 5 minutes later I have made my way through town.  By the time I reached Schoolhouse Park, "traffic" (if you can call it that) has begun to back up.  The smoke looks horrible, blowing toward the condos where I live.  I hear on the radio that they were evacuating down to the Track.  Jorges was being evacuated.  Walmart was being evacuated!

I call the parents.

My father answers.  "What's going on?"  (I swear he said that).  "Are you meeting us for dinner?"
"They're evacuating down to Walmart.  You need just to get through the "Y" and head home."
"Why?  We aren't having dinner?"
SJFR and Ronald Rumsfeld Reagan Reid
"There is a huge fire.  At least one home has burned."
"I don't see any fire.  Say, are you hungry?  Where are we going for dinner?  What?  What wire?  Where are you?"
"I'm being forced to turn.  There are a bunch of back roads..."
"Why are you on back roads?  Did you know there is a fire!  You said something about a fire, but the cat ate my hearing aid.  Where are you?  Are you being evacuated?"
"I need to talk to my mother."
"She's driving.  The traffic is terrible.  Why do  you need to talk to her?  What?  Where are we meeting you?  Who is being evacuated?  You said the church is on fire?"

Josie called then called.  I hung up on the parents.  I had to hang up on her and curse a little as I was instructed to turn off Suddreth.  I ended up driving around the Middle School, toward Sonic.  I call the parents, again...!

"Where are you?"
"We're near the health food store.  I can't  hear you at all."
"I told you to head to the Downs."
"Your mother wanted to get the car washed.  We're coming.  I can't hear you!"
"They are closing off the entrance to the hospital."
"Why, is the church on fire?  The fire hasn't spread to the Downs has it?  Why do you need to talk to your mother?"
"I need to tell her which road to take."
"She's going to the Downs."
"They have closed the roads."
"Yes, we're on the road.  Where are you?"

As I drove down on of the roads that led to the Sonic, I noticed that the fire appeared to be so close to the Presbyterian Church that it was going to go up in flames.  I did not have a camera to get a shot of one of the planes dropping slurry.   The phone rings.

"Where are you now?"
"I am trying to make my way home.  They are sending everything over to 70.  Take the road by the church."
"We're behind Walgreens.  What road do we take?  You said the church is on fire?  I can't hear you on this phone!"
"It looked like the Presbyterian church was on fire."
"The church is on fire?  It doesn't look like the fire is near it.  Where are you?  We're at Walgreens, all turned around."
"Tell my mother to go back up to the church and turn town 70."
"How can she?  She's lost.  Where are you?  I can't hear you at all."

Rumsfeld
Thank goodness Josie called so I could hang up on them.  I was talking to Josie when I drove into my condo.  She told me if I did not hear from them to tell my mother to pull over and she would come find them.  About that time they pulled up behind me in the parking lot where I live!

My mother was clutching the mail to her chest.  The wind was horrific.  My father had a box from Shadow (my seamstress) in his hands.  I asked them to leave everything in their car.  If I had to evacuate, quickly, then I would have something to wear.

I asked them to evacuate Rumsfeld.  If he were not here, and I needed to catch the cats, then it would be much easier.  We had to argue with my father over that, the package, and the mail.

Oye!

Rumsfeld is quite happy being evacuated, playing with Sadie.  The fire is contained.  Unfortunately nine homes were burned.  There are a lot of people out there who need prayer, including a mama bear and a set of twins who were lost in the fire.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The New Meds May Be Working!

APR, Cathy, Dustin & The New Grill
On Saturday my father turned 87.  He had a good day.  About 35 people or so showed up for his party, which went quite well.  He gave tours of his little white elephant.  All in all, he had a great time.  By the end of the evening, Sadie was exhausted!

The new medication appears to be working!

He started taking it Monday evening.  By Thursday, I could see a difference.  He still gets fuzzy when he is tired, but I think there is a huge difference.  I've heard if it works, it works, and quick.  If it doesn't, then that's about it.  Pat Huckins calls it "borrowed time."

Cathy, Dustin, and Laura left yesterday.  They took a U-Haul with quite a bit of furniture.  My mother crashed after they left, and spent much of the afternoon sleeping.  APR called, told me he was going to start up his little white truck and take it to the orchard, and spend a couple hours watering his apple trees.  He did, evidently reading a cowboy book in the process.

For his birthday, besides the new BBQ and the swing, we gave him a bag of cowboy books.  He's been reading them, quickly.  The best part, today when I went down to take some Meow Mix on an errand of mercy, he discussed the topic of the book with me!

I am using the cowboy books as my measure of how far he is with this horrid disease.  As long as he is reading,  we know he's still himself.  I know it is only a matter of time before he won't be able to read.  It breaks my heart.

On Friday, when he fired up his new grill, I found myself thinking that this was his last new grill.  I have realized I cannot allow myself to think about this. 

SCENES FROM THE BIRTHDAY PARTY


Rumsfeld's Godmother Willa, Grabbed the Swing!

The New Swing Was Quite Popular

Glenn and Alicia

Not Bad for 87 Years Old!

Sadie and Rumsfeld Partying!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

From The Pink Flamingo

APR (left) and Paris W. Reidhead
This is being cross posted at The Pink Flamingo.

It has hit our family.

On Wednesday, we were given as definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease as one can get. So, now the battle begins. Ronald Reagan called it the long good-bye. Our family has decided not to look at it that way, and to fight it the way one would fight a "normal" dastardly illness. One of my mother's comments was, "We know how to fight this thing." Previously, we had been given the dreary diagnosis that my father had some form of a hardening of arteries in the brain, and there was no treatment at all. You know it is rough when you look at Alzheimer's as "oh, we can fight this."

One of the big arguments the past few days is telling him that he has the disease. Having survived melanoma, I'm of the right between the eyes school of medical disasters. Just give me the information and I'll do the rest. My mother has hesitated to talk to him about it.

This morning he told her he figured he had it. He told her he did not want to go into hiding, wanted to travel, and when he started drooling, he would then withdraw. Until then, he didn't care.

We have friends who are going through the same thing. The family has withdrawn, hiding the disease. That's bunk. It is a disease, like cancer. You don't hide a cancer patient. We're not hiding this. We're attacking it head on, literally.

My father has always wanted to see the Grand Canyon. I'm going to get something scheduled for fall, I hope. He wants to go to Memphis. I guess we're doing that.

I am going to ram the crossword puzzles down his throat. I told my mother, who has hesitated about getting iPhones for them, because she is afraid he can't work one, that they are getting one. It is about learning something new.

The Pink Flamingo is one of those weird people who is into alternative medicines. The minute we finally knew who the enemy was, I began researching what to do. I've found some fascinating things.
  1. My father is a diabetic. If a person is a diabetic, their chances of developing this monster increase by 65%.
  2. If one is a diabetic and consume more than 25 grams of fructose via fresh fruit, the odds are even worse. My parents live on fresh fruit to the point where that is one of their primary food sources.
  3. My father has always been into whole grains. Add that to the list of bad things to eat for the brain.
  4. My mother has relied on good nutrition - all the right things. By relying on the "right" things, she may have been dooming my father for years. (Limiting beef, eggs, lamb, etc)
  5. My father has never been into learning new tasks to keep the brain exercised.
By the time you add those factors, he has been a ticking time bomb. The reason I'm forced to go into "other factor" is there is not one single instance of this disease in his genealogy. I should know, I've taken his family - every branch of the tree - back at least 300 years. With the exception of the Martins and the Millers, I can go back to Edward III with just about every line.

It's not there.

In our family, it is not genetic.

If it is not genetic then we must consider chemical and nutritional. I'll meet with the pharmacist today and pick up the medication the neurologist has suggested. I've ordered vitamins for both he and my mother. We're going to start him mega-dosing B-12 ASAP. There are fascinating results with that, and with coconut oil. I suspect coconut oil is going to be, on of these days, one of the great "secret" cures for numerous ailments. There is a direct correlation to the rise of obesity in this country and the damning of coconut oil as bad for you.

From what I've reading, a diet to prevent Alzheimer's and to nurture the brain is in direct conflict with Michelle Obama's new "plate". Her dietary experts are now saying that a person should eat all the fruit and veggies one wishes, but to leave off all but complex carbs, grains, and only have good "protein". If what I am reading is any indication that there is a dietary connection to this horrible disease, then the Obama nutritional guidelines are going to doom this country.

We're putting my father on old fashioned foot. He's going to be eating more beef, lamb, and salmon. I told my mother to cut out most of the fruit. They don't do soy, so we get a break there. They're going to go go more European style breads, and ditch the whole grains. And, we're going to be pushing the eggs down him. He likes all of the above, so that helps.

I know, we're probably grasping at straws, but it's worth a try.

As for The Pink Flamingo Blog, it may not be updated as often. I'm dealing with my father and a 81 year old mother with a serious cardiac problem. I stay packed. I have an ER kit by the door. This is going to be my life for awhile. And no, I've not touched the book in months. I'll get to it when I can.

I've begun keeping a blog about what is going on with APR. I'm calling it The Pink Flamingo's Father. Please, feel free to read it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't Blame Me, I Have Alzheimer's

Cute Princess Sadie
Unless he is tired, which hits about 3PM or so, my father has been quite with it lately.  Yesterday he did something.  I remember telling my mother that he's going to start using Alzheimer's as an excuse, for things he knows perfectly well he is doing.

We picked Laura up at the airport in Roswell this morning, then went to Chillis for lunch. We were sitting there when APR asked if he need to get my mother a gift for his birthday.  He did not remember getting her anything for her birthday.  He did not.  She received a large gift for Christmas, which would last for a year's worth of gifts from him.

He told her that was good.  "Don't blame me for forgetting about your birthday, I have Alzheimer's!"

I looked at him.  "I suppose you are going to say the same thing when you forget your anniversary."

"That's not a bad idea."  So, he looks at my mother.  "Don't blame me for forgetting your anniversary.  I have Alzheimer's.   I'm not in my right mind."

We were heading to the airport to pick up Laura.  I went a different way, taking the bypass, which goes right into the airport, coming out near the former hanger where the alien bodies were allegedly taken.  On the way down to Roswell, he told me he would take that bypass.  I just needed to turn right.  He got that right.

There was a discussion about when I should make a left turn.  I argued a little with him - I'm not letting him get away with stuff because he has Alzheimer's.  Finally he admitted he'd never been that way, and he really can't remember because he has Alzheimer's.  I finally made a left turn.  "See, I told you that you would need to turn left."

He was right.

When he is rested, his mind is still working very well.  It is when he gets tired.  That bodes ill for his birthday party at the end of the week.  We need to get him rested.

We need to laugh as long as we can.  In a way I think he is relieved to know there is an answer as to why his brain isn't working right.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Just Don't Let Me Drool

APR and Steve's Duesenberg
The big discussion the past few days is been whether to tell APR or not.  I've been pushing that he needs to know what is going on.  My mother and sister are of the other school.

This morning he asked if he had Alzheimer's.  My mother told him that he did.  He said that was fine, he knew something was wrong.  He told her he was not going to withdraw from life until he started drooling. 

He said he did not want to hide, but to keep going places, seeing things, and doing things.  This has been my philosophy from the moment I knew what we were fighting. 

Now the war begins.

At least my mother has some peace abut things.  For the past week APR has been very lucid.  He even gave me directions to the a shop here in town.  He has a problem late in the evening - Sundowning - they call it. 

It's life.

We're treating it like the disease that it is, not a cultural stigma. 

Now, bring on the B-12

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dreaded Diagnosis

APR and Steve Elliott in Tombstone
Ronald Reagan once called it the long goodby. 

It has begun for my father. 

Today my mother was given the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.

There is nothing that can be said.  There is some new medication we are going to try.  In two weeks we will meet with the neurologist to discuss what we can expect.

I feel so sorry for my mother.

She said he had a good day today.  He's been having good days.  She's been keeping him busy.  I think that is terribly important, to keep him busy and involved. 

He can still read, which is a good thing.  I ordered a batch of cowboy books for his birthday next week.  I hope it is not the last time I will get to order books for him.

Last Wednesday night my mother's oldest sister, Donna, went to be with the Lord.  The following evening she and my father were talking to my cousin, Linda, and her father, J-Roy.  On Friday, APR told me how sorry he felt for J-Roy, who just wasn't with it.  He mentioned how bad it must be to be losing one's thought process.

The punch line came in the next sentence when he asked if they were going to stay in the little house where they were, or go on home.

Somehow you must learn to laugh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Need a Benadryl to Help Me Sleep!

A Very Weird Looking Sadie and Cathy
Anyone who knows APR knows that insomnia has never been a problem.  If he has ever excelled at anything in his life, it is sleeping and napping.

My mother just called.  "I had to put up all the medicine and hide it."

"Why?"

"Your father got into it and started taking my Benadryl.  He said he could not sleep, and needed to take one!"

My mother takes a Benadryl once in awhile to help her sleep.  We have been warned that the judgment part of my father's brain would cause him to do strange things.

She has no idea how many he took.

It is another lesson learned.

Right now, we just hope he did not take too many.  They can be lethal.  There's not much that can be done.  So, my mother, who truly does need sleep, is having to stay up most of the night.

She's quite upset about it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Does Anyone Have $5.00

APR and Hondo Yesterday
One of the things that really bothers me about all of this is the fact that really bothers me is the fact that there is absolutely no hint of any sort of dementia, Alzheimer's, or degenerative brain disease in my father's genealogy.  I should know.  I've wasted 20 years of my life working on it.  It's just not there.  I've gone back, straight line, almost unbroken, for at least 600 years.    His family does have a history of strokes, but those who have them don't reach his age.

It's terribly frustrating, for all of us.

Yesterday, Ray was doing some work on my father's beloved old tractor.  My father needed to pay him, something like fifty bucks.  He had forty-five.  We've been very careful, lately, not letting him have much cash simply because he's not as careful as he once was.  We came up with the five dollars.  Going outside, my mother was in tears.  He was so happy.

Lesson learned.

From now on we make sure he gets his cash, and has some in his wallet.  I'll take care of that on Monday.  We need to be careful because he's so easily duped.

Then there is the former business associate who calls and constantly upsets him, trying to get stuff done.  It is almost like he has little strokes when this happens.  He gets terribly upset, and no matter what we tell this person, he just doesn't get it.   He's treating my father like dirt.

I had an email from some dear friends, Jeff and Caroline.  Jeff reminded me of something we've not been doing like we should be with my father.  It's another lesson learned.    We've all been so wrapped up in our own misery and heartache with this, that I know I've not considered how my father feels about what is going on with him. 

What would we do without friends like Jeff and Caroline?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Having One's Head Examined!

APR and Rachel
Last Wednesday we went to Las Cruces for the CT scan on my father.  He kept asking why he was going, and I kept telling him he was getting his head examined.  I wrote about the day on my main blog, The Pink Flamingo.  The border patrol stop was quite interesting.

There are moments when he is foggy.  They seem to coincide to the times when he is under quite a bit of stress. He is also foggy when he's tired.  I continue to find fascinating the fact that he is rarely foggy when it comes to the news, elections, and current events. 

He's interested in my iPhone.  Maybe we can get him into one.  I think it would help him remember things.

On Monday my sister called.  She wanted to know why her father was so depressed.  That's simple.  He was planning on having Ray come down and play on the tractor, cutting the orchard.  He couldn't get his way, so he was pouting!

Tuesday, when we went to Las Cruces for another doctor's appointment he did really well, then sort of lost it on the way home. 

It's been a good week, I think.  His eating is much better - as long as he gets what he wants to eat!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just Answer the Phone When I Call So I Know It is Working

My father has never been known as a techie, not by any stretch of the imagination.  There have been times that I've threatened to get him a cell phone that was basically 2 empty tomato cans and string.   This is enough background to understand the technical expertise that is going on in his head.

When we picked my mother up at the hospital yesterday afternoon (she has an ulcer and the new blood thinner caused a bleed), he left his cell at my condo.  I did not go back to get it.

His day began at 7:30 Sunday morning when he decided to go check on her.  She was having both ends scoped allegedly at 8AM.  She calls me around 8AM, says that he is dressed in the same clothes he'd been wearing for 3 days, and was going to walk to the hospital.  I finally get him to understand that the doctor was late, she would not be having the test until at least 10AM.  So - go have a nap.

APR and Doc Annala
I got him moving about 10:30.  Made him change into something less comfortable, including clean unmentionables.  He was quite spiffy in his black and white checked slacks, black loafers, black socks (little argument there, black silk shirt.  Looked good.  Why not, he was going to have lunch with his 'girl friend'.

My father and Cathy Annala are buds.  They have near the same birthday, celebrate every year together.  We began referring to Cathy as my father's girlfriend years ago.  What we did not know was that the Annala family had begun calling my father, Cathy's boyfriend.  It is now just quite humorous for both families. 

He has a good visit with Doc and Cathy.  They drove him back to the hospital.  Doc noticed how completely confused he was with directions.  It was good for an additional party to notice this.

My sister have been complaining about their home phone being "transferred" to their cells, because the local cell is frequently down.  He transferred the phone back to the home phone (easily) yesterday afternoon. 

Then the discussion began about the regular land phone.  He called last night after my mother went to bed.  We went over, repeatedly, why he just needed to take the receiver to the bedroom, and not the whole blasted thing.

Oye!

I fear I was a bit impatient with him.

I took his cell down to him today.  The cell tower near them had been repaired, and was working.  "Just let me call you on your mother's phone and answer it."

"But, I just used my Blackberry."

"I need to make sure it is working.  Just answer it."

He rang my mother's phone, I answered, and he was happy.

I need to be more tolerant.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'll Pick Up the Mail

Sadie Has a Sitter Tonight.  Hope She's Okay!
My father has been doing fairly well this week.  We went to Las Cruces on Tuesday for an appointment for a foot problem with him.  He did great.  Then, as the week progressed, things have slowed down a bit.

He was fuzzy last night, a bit.

Today he called about 11AM told me he would pick up the mail on the way into town with my mother.  He called back about 10 minutes later to tell me the same thing.

When we had lunch he was okay, but not great.  Is fussing because he is not allowed to drive.  My mother is battling him over food.  I'm not sure how much is his problem and how much is the fact that he is pushing 87 and his taste has changed.

This evening my mother did the ER thing.  Is now in ICU waiting for some tests.  APR is with me at the condo.  He did great at the hospital.  Was hungry.  I took some cheese and crackers with me, which he ate.  Ate some soup at the condo.  Not much, but a little. 

We're having a problem with him and his blood sugar levels in the morning.  I need to be concerned about that.  I'm concerned about my mother and a test she needs in the morning.

By the time I talked him into going to bed, he was quite confused.  Thought it was Cathy that was in the hospital.

Major test for him scheduled on Wed.  I would sure love to wait a couple weeks and have Cathy go with them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just a Good Day

With Dustin - 2007
The past few days have been quite fuzzy.  Last night my father called and told me that he'd just learned that my sister was going to be living in Memphis.  He was a bit indignant when I told him that she's been there for years.

Today the parents went to lunch with the Bloodworths.  He ate a good lunch, which is part of the battle.  Then again, my mother did not allow him to have a salad.  I don't mind admitting I'm a little annoyed with her over his eating.  When my grandparents were his age, and very picky about what they were eating, she let them have what they wanted to eat, when they would eat.  Not my poor father.  She is the Food Police.  Part of the problem is what is going on in his head.  The other problem is his age.  When people hit a certain point, they don't eat near what they did.  He's lost a lot of weight an has managed to shrink his stomach.  He just doesn't eat as much as he once did....unless it is cookies, candy, peanuts, etc.

When I talked to him this afternoon, he sounded good.  He was giving my mother a rough time when they bought gas at Circle K - heckling her about her driving.  I have a feeling this is not about his problems but revenge for those years when she constantly was on his case as he drove!

He called a little while ago, sounded his old pitiful self. 
No nap.
The you know what had hit the fan.
He was in trouble, and would join Sadie in the doghouse.

My mother called.  I asked her what was wrong.  He'd broken two of her hummingbird feeders (also not related to his problem).  She made him fix them.  He had to help her with the cats.  He had no Sunday nap.

I told her he sounded like his old self.  He'd been having a very good day, had a great visit with Hal.  It just goes to prove my point. He does better when he is out with people, not stuck there in the house.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Repeatedly

Hondo Kitty
We went down to Las Cruces today to meet with an neurologist.  He wants to do a PET CT.  My mother isn't too sure about it. 

The neurologist said that the eating problems we were experiencing were "normal".  As long as my father is stimulated and gets what he wants to eat,he will.  He said he will do better the more he is out of the house and visiting with people.  He also told us that the directional problems we were experiencing were quite normal.  Said it is the first in a long series of things that would happen. 

I suspect I was a little impatient today.  He was very chatty, repeatedly.  I know I should not have been so impatient with him, but I guess I was.  When he's like this you can't have any sort of a discussion with anyone - just him.  Now I know why my mother is so frustrated at times!

So we discussed - repeatedly
  1. Did I pick up the mail?
  2. Had I paid the property taxes?
  3. What was the name of the realtor here in Ruidsoso?
  4. Was the insurance all paid?
  5. Did he have any mail?
  6. Was I sure the property taxes had been paid?
  7. How did I know the property taxes had been paid?
  8. When had I last picked up the mail?
  9. Had I paid the property taxes?
  10. Were the taxes on the I-85 property paid?
At least the or four times....!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Did We Go to Church Today?

My father and Doc Annala
Some days are worse than others.  Today my father wasn't sure if he went to church or not.  Then again, every time I talk to him, he asks if I've picked up the mail. 

It makes sense.  For years his business was dependent upon the mail.  The other day I simply left the stuff that I would have thrown out, and put it in the stack of mail for him.  It left my mother in tears, but he was satisfied.

On the other hand, when we had Easter lunch with the Annalas, he did quite well.  Once again my theory that the stimulation of being around someone other than my mother and I is very good for him - is right.   Now it is getting my mother out of her gardening rut.  Yea, it's that time of year - again.

One of these days I am going to work out my theory of putting a large magnetic calendar on the back of the fridge.  I don't know if it will work.  I do know the approach of handling things like one would a hyper-active child may just work - for awhile.

The next problem - dealing with his eating!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Your Father Is Not Paying Attention to Anything I Say"

How Sadie Spends Much of Her Day
Thus spake my mother. 

"Your father is not paying attention.  He's not grasping anything I say.  I must tell him three or four times, and still he pays no attention to me."

I asked if he had on his hearing aids.  He's deaf as a post.  My mother assured me that he did.  She was terribly worried because he was not focusing on anything.  Was he getting worse?

She called later. 

Yes, there is a punchline to this story.

He wasn't wearing his hearing aids!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yikes!

Another Princess Sadie Glamor Shot!
I think my mother and I have learned something about my father's condition.  The more he is around people he knows (besides us), and out and about, the better he does.  We went to Roswell on Friday.  He did quite well, very with it.  They went out with their friends today after church.  He enjoyed it, did quite well there.

My mother would be a recluse if allowed.  Her reclusive tendencies are not good for either she nor my father.  Now the idea is to keep them doing stuff, meeting people, and interacting with their friends. 

Yesterday I went down to SP to pick up the things I'd sent home with the parents when those fires were raging around my condo.  Some of the things had been put in the storage building.  My mother suggested APR bring my Durango around so we could load it.

It took forever.  When he finally arrived (a block across the yard) he pulled in between the building and the property fence.  My mother would not allow him to drive on her attempts at growing grass, so he had to back out, between the building and the fence. 

We have realized there is now a problem with judgment - and that's why he's not allowed to drive on the highway.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That Man Could Not Drive!

My father and Steve Elliott behind Steve's museum in Tombstone. 
While the parents were up on Meechem shopping at Lawrence Brothers, my mother was suddenly hit with an earache and dizziness. They were meeting me at Cattle Baron for lunch.  It wasn't that far.  She had no choice but to let my father drive.

Wrong move!

When it came to making the turn from Meechem onto Suddreth, he went into the other lane and nearly ran a guy off the road. 

As soon as they reached Cattle Baron, and my mother waited for him to park, she told me what he did.  She said the guy nearly had a wreck avoiding him.

That's when you pull the plug on driving.  No more.  No more tries.  It's over.

The way I know it's over is because all my poor father could do was complain about how bad the road was.  The turn wasn't good.  The other driver was terrible. This has always been part of my list to decide when either parent needed to stop driving.

It's normal, when you screw up, to give a sheepish little wave and admit you screwed up - and be thankful you did not cause a wreck.  When you blame the other person for your screw up, it's time to turn in the keys.

My father has been driving since he was about 12 or so.  This is terribly sad.  He is/was an incredible driver, logging so darn many miles between South Carolina and Florida over a forty year period.  He still thinks he can drive.  We keep telling him it is on  his medical records - no driving.  (Actually he can drive if we are with him, and we think he can - forget that).

Nana told him if he wanted to drive, now his insurance rates would go way up.  Since Glenn, her son, is our agent, that helped, for the day.  The poor thing just doesn't remember why he can no longer drive.

It is so sad.  There are times when life just plain old sucks.  This is one of them.