Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in San Patricio

You Be the Judge!
Christmas afternoon, APR started up, again, asking about his brother, his mother, and his father.  I was not quite sure what to do.  I told him that his brother had been dead for many years, that his mother had been dead since 1978.  The look on his face broke my heart.  I decided right then and there that I would just lie about it.  I can't do that to him again.

The beauty of Alzheimer's is that he forgot about it, a little while later.  We opened presents, and that was that.  He was not near as with it this year as last.  It is quite obvious this will be the last year we really have him.  

The strange thing about this horrible disease is the fact that you grow accustomed to it.  You simply grow accustomed to the fact that it will never be better.  You learn to take each day as it is, and try to look for the humor in it.  And - there is a heck of a lot of humor - at times.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bring Up Baby!

Pretty Baby
When Cathy was visiting in August, for the parents' 61st anniversary, APR mentioned that the one thing he wished he could have was a great-grandchild.  My mother had made the decision not to tell him about the baby, until she arrived.  She was afraid he would fret.  When they told him, on August 29, you would think that he would forget about it.  Of all the short-term things he has latched on to, it is the fact that he is going to be a great-grandfather.  He would talk about it. Periodically, he would call Rachel, suggesting that he and her grandmother take the baby and raise her, that Rachel might want to come live with them.  It was so precious.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  All he could talk about, through October and November was Thanksgiving.  What was the guest list?  Where would we be?  Were we going to be somewhere different or at that house? 

This went on for six weeks.

Thanksgiving day, he could have cared less!  Then again, everyone was on baby watch.  This morning, he became a great-grandfather.  Sarah Catherine Rowe Garland is a doll baby.  He keeps looking at her pictures, talking about how beautiful she is!

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brother Where Are You

Gram, a Cute Merchant Marine, and PWR II
The saddest thing to deal with is the fact that there is a short-term loop that is missing.  APR doesn't remember deaths of people.  He has grasped the death of Nana and Grandy, but not Donna or his family.  He calls, me looking for his brother, thinking that he's calling my cousin, Sarah.  He asks about his brother. 

What's going on with the family? 
Why isn't anyone getting in touch with him?
Are they avoiding him?
What about his mother?  Is she still in Florida?  Is anyone taking care of her?

You don't really know what to do.  Do you go with reality or just let him think that he's being left out in the cold by his family?  I wish we knew what to do.

So far, I think this is the worst thing we've encountered.  He's hurting so badly, because he thinks his parents and brother don't care about him.  

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who Shot J. R. Ewing?

APR (left) PWR(right)
We spent a long day at the opthamologist  in Alamo today. Left the condo at 9:30 for a 10:15 appointment.  We were a few minutes late.  The work-in lasted until nearly 1PM.  The good news is that my mother's vision has stabalized. When you're dealing with macular degeneration (dry), that's a very good thing.  She has dry eye.  I could have told her that, but does anyone listen to me?  Noooooo!

It was an exhausting day.  Finally, this evening, it dawned on me that the days of just sitting in an office, waiting for appointments is over.  APR did great, was right on track today, well with it, but it's still the responsibility that is stressful. 

Logistics are now different.  You can't leave him alone.  Today I discovered that he needs his cowboy books with him.  He has one of those, and we're great.  He didn't today.  He spent an hour leafing through an old People.  Saw an article in it about the new Dallas.  He read that, then asked if I recognized certain cast members!  This led to a discussion about the show.  So, he's keeping up, a little.

Recently, he had not been asking about taxes as much. Oh, he still does, but not every day, several times a day.  He's now trying to find his brother and his mother.  So, while were waiting for my mother, I pulled out my wonderful Samsung Galaxy Tab 7, and went to  I pulled up the entry for Gram, complete with all the social security information.  That satisfied him, for today.

This upsets my poor mother.  He'll just keep asking about his mother and his brother, and not accept our answers.

How do you deal with that one?

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hondo Kitty R. I. P.

Hondo Kitty 1999 - 2012
Cathy was here for the anniversary, which was a decidedly more muted affair than it was a year ago.  When I called to check on the parents this morning, APR told me that my mother was upset because the dogs killed Hondo.

I figured he was not firing on all thrusters. 
Why hadn't anyone called me?

He couldn't find her.  She was in the garage hanging up laundry.  Yes, a pair of neighbors' dogs had killed Hondo the night before.  Fortunately, Cathy and Juan were still there.  Juan dug a grave for Hondo, there with the other family members in the little cemetery. 

Hondo barged his way into their lives in the summer of 2000, when they bought the Gene Green House.  He was a full grown cat, then, so he had to be at least 13 or 14.  

Everyone, including Sadie and the other cats went through a serious mourning period for him.  The parents are so upset.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Faith, Hope, & a Couple Cute Doggies

APR, Sadie, and Rumsfeld
I sent part of this to a friend tonight. 

The reason Paul had the thorn in his side was because it was to  keep him humble.  What if the trials and tribulations some of us go through as Christians is not "breaking" but that old thorn in the side?

What if the biggest hang-ups in our lives - via unanswered prayer - are those thorns?

I am reading the most incredible book on the role of women and the church.

Christ told the male that he was to protect and cherish his wife as Christ did the church - in other words, die for her, be tortured for her, give everything for her....

That works for me.

What is so wonderful about my father, he may not know if he is to go to church tomorrow, but he is still firing on all thrusters with his faith.  He looked at me....  "And you think that is a revelation...any man who is married knows that the wife comes first, no matter what..."  It was said a bit sarcastically, with just a bit of that humor he still has

This week I have noticed that APR is quite with it when it comes to matters of faith. The other day I was talking to him on the phone.  MD asked if I would talk to him.  He was having a "bad" day.  She wanted to see if I noticed if he was comprehending as badly as she thought he was.  Got on the phone, had a fantastic visit about the Lord.  He came up with a line that surprised and shocked me.  I want to use it as a title for a book.  "You know, the Devil is deceptive." 

What a book title!

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

UPDATED: Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Left to Right:  Paris, David, APR, Uncle P, Jim

Monday morning my mother called.  "Your father is getting dressed to go outside.  He has put on his coat and hat.  He swears it is very cold outside."

It was about 96 outside.  She talked him out of the coat and hat.  He went outside to feed the deer.  She made him come in, it was just too hot.  This was all in the same ten minute conversation that included her telling him that it was too hot to wear the coat!

She called last night.  We were talking.  I heard her tell him it was time to go put on his pajamas so he could go to bed.  "No, you have on your t-shirt and your pants."

"Those aren't my pajamas?"

"I've laid out your pajamas.  Go put them on."

She noticed the look he gave her.  "I swear he knows what he is doing and is just trying to antagonize me."

According to my sister, that may be exactly what he is doing, at times.  Seems he told her he likes to do things that will cause her to worry about him.  "She needs something to worry about!"

Little stinker!

That's the problem.  We aren't quite sure just what is the Alzheimer's, his hearing loss, and just being 88 years old.  My sister thinks it is a mixture of all three.  I'm inclined to agree with her.


MD called this morning.  "I told your father to go out to the garage and bring in the electric griddle."  He did.  He washed it for her.  "Do you want me to wash the chord!"  She said she shrieked, told him no.  He looked her.  "Thought that would get you!"

So, some of this is for effect!  Now, we just need to know which is which.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Dog Ate My Hearing Aid

I'm the Cute One in Pink
My mother called Monday morning.  Sadie had snacked on APR's hearing aid the night before when he took them out and put them on the coffee table.

The following is from the letter I wrote, for my father to give to the hearing aid company to send in to get his hearing aids repaired.  What can you say?

 July 25, 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

 On the evening of July 22, I removed my hearing aids and put them on the coffee table.  The following morning I discovered that my Bichon Frise, Princess Sadie, had snacked on them during the night.

 My wife rescued them, hoping they can be repaired.
A. P. Reidhead

With luck, this worked.  They think the hearing aids are repairable.

This illustrates the larger problem - he's just putting things down - doesn't matter where.  MD is required to go around, after him.

We also stopped at Verizon.  The fixed his phone.  He's happy about that.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Foggy Day in Hondo Town

Birthday Boy, June 11, 2012
We need to face the fact that APR is failing.  This morning, he thought it was still evening.  He argued with MD over putting oil in his new lawn mower.  It is just one thing after another.  He must now be followed.  She can't let him out of her sight.  The responsibility is beginning to show, take its toll on her.

When we were in Tombstone, she rested.  I couldn't get over the difference in her appearance.  Now that we're back home, she's exhausted, again.

I feel so sorry for her.  You don't know what to do.

When he needs to go to the bathroom when he's out - she must make sure there is no other way out.  Big challenge.

He does better when he's slept, eaten well, and has some mental stimulation.  He doesn't follow television well.  There are times when he is in his own world.  Not having hearing aids makes it much worse.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Food Fight

Ricky Ricardo or APR?
Getting APR to eat is becoming a problem.  The morning of July 3, Cathy and I decided the problem was the fact that his taste buds have changed.  We've noticed that if he  eats something savory or spicy, he eats.  If not, he doesn't really do more than pick.

He also eats things that are sweet.

We've been "guiding" food selection, helping him decide to eat savory, spicy, or sweet and it is working!  He's beginning to gain back a little of the weight he lost.

Another small battle won, for now.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Monday, July 9, 2012

On the Road Again - Part II

Cathy Has Never Changed
We went to Tombstone on July 2.  Instead of stopping overnight, my mother thought we would try APR in one long day in the car, see what happened.  This is contrary to the way you are to travel with Alzheimer's.

He did fantastic.

By the time we reached Wilcox he was tired, sundowning, and doing his usual directional thing.  I stopped and got him a couple maps, which he used, obsessively.  The following day, when we were driving back from Sierra Vista, he decided to fold the paper map.  It was hilarious.  He was loud, fussy, and obsessive.  After 10 minutes he had it folded, perfect!  Cathy reminded me that he was always that way about folding maps.

That night we had dinner with Marge and Steve.  I had to push the parents to get them to leave before a heavy rain set in.  Didn't work.  By the time we reached the Larian, he had to go to the bathroom.  After a battle, he just got out in what was a 2 inch rain, getting soaked, to go to the br.  Gordon helped him into the room.  MD and I sat in the car for nearly 15 minutes waiting for the rain to stop.

He had a blast!

The more stimulation the better.

On the 5th, we went to Tucson.  He went to Mimi's for chicken pot pie.  My mother and I went to Louis Vuitton.  She bought Baby Cate her first piece of LV.

We've decided not to tell him about Cate until she makes her way into the world in November.  He would fret too much.

We drove back in one day.  He did fine!

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's My Party

5/10/12 Rachel, Grandfather, and (not visible yet) Baby Cate!
What a miserable party for the ultimate Birthday Boy!  Ruidoso was hit by a massive fire, the worst natural disaster in the state's history, with nearly 250 homes. So many of the people who were to attend the party were unable to do so.  Cathy and Dustin did not get in until the morning of.  Things were so bad, the smoke was so bad, we would not let SJFR outside during the party.

My Durango was in the shop.  All of his birthday presents were in the back.  He was very upset because he did not get anything for his birthday.  I managed to get my car back on the 15, so I did some quick shopping for his birthday and Father's Day.

I met the parents' at The Great Wall for lunch on Father's Day, bringing with me a load of "presents".  I soon discovered it was like dealing with a little kid.  I've learned what worked better than other things, so that I took him cowboy books, a portable shoe-shine kit, and little things.  It helped - lots.

At least he's still reading his cowboy books.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On the Road Again

When we left Roswell, on the trip to Memphis, a stop was made at Starbucks. They had two large expresso fraps that needed a good home.  Deciding to experiment, I took them both.  We tanked APR up on two cheeseburgers from MacDonalds and the fraps.  He had very few problems with directions, handing the trip to Hereford quite well, save for several emergency bathroom stops.

He did okay the next day, from Hereford to Oklahoma City.  I did not stop for food until we reached the outskirts of OKC, where we went to Cracker Barrel.  Sharon met us at the hotel, and visited for ages.  He was great.

The next day, we stopped fairly early for lunch.  I was going to try and make it to Memphis.  By mid-afternoon, it became apparent that we couldn't do it.  Once he ate lunch, he was disoriented much of the afternoon to the point where I stopped in Russellville.

Sharon, who has a husband with Alzheimer's was telling me about travel.  I looked things up and realized we were doing everything wrong.  We needed to travel in short spurts of about 250 miles a day.   

That last day, I followed the recommendations for travel, stopping frequently, keeping him very well fed.  He did great.  Then again, he seems to best when there is something going on, getting lots of attention.  He did fairly well in Memphis.

On the way back home, we left on the 14th, he was tired.  About the time I turned into Russellville, he lost it.  I was afraid he was going to get out of the car while we were driving.  My mother was talking to Floyd.  She had to hang up on him and just start fussing at APR.  He was freaking because he needed to get to a restroom.

We've discovered, when traveling, he would get upset about that.

The following day, he was terrible about directions.  He kept telling me to get off the road so he could find out where we were.  I managed to get him to agree if we went into the welcome center in Oklahoma, and he was told we were o the right road, that he would be quiet.

Forget that.

The next day, we stopped at Fort Reno.  He was very interested.  Then, as it grew later, we had the same problem with directions.  I stopped at a truck stop and got him a map.  He was obsessive with it.  I was going the wrong way.  I needed to go East.  Why was I going the way I was.  It was exhausting and annoying.  He kept fussing that we didn't need to go through Amarillo.  Then, when we were through Amarillo, why haven't we been through Amarillo.

He did not snap out of it until we were in Hondo.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Monday, April 16, 2012

Peter Cottontail

Palm Beach - 1957
Cathy and Rachel came in for Easter.   One thing that we immediately noticed was how actively APR was following their progress after they left Memphis on Saturday.  He didn't do bad with directions.  Once they arrived, it was quite obvious that something new, a little excitement, and attention is very good for him.  It stirs up the brain a little

I made Easter baskets for everyone.  APR had a blast with his, which was filled with jelly beans, candy corn, wrapped chocolate eggs - the stuff he loves.  When I delivered them on Sunday evening, he was rather irate with the world.  Not really irate, just disgusted because no one bought him any jelly beans.  When he went through his basket, he pounced on his!  Yea, he ate the whole thing.

A few days later, Sadie decided she would eat a few pieces of left-over candy.  She found 3 Godiva truffles in her mother's purse.  Dr. Franklin's office stayed on call all night.  Sadie was okay.

APR kept asking about Cathy and Rachel, how they were doing on their return trip, etc.  He did okay, after they  left.  It was quite obvious having them around helped - greatly.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Riding Along in My Automobile

APR in 1951 - Just Married!
 What happens when you leave one very bored person in the car while you have your nails and hair done?  Well, if they don't have Alzheimer's and have something to do, they take the car and go run errands.  If you've done this over the years, and really don't have much to do, you go find a friend with whom you can visit.  When you have Alzheimer's and suddenly the car is gone, with you driving it, well, it's a bit scary!

My mother looked up and APR was gone!  The car was gone with him driving it.  The past few months, here in town, two men have gone off like this, one of them ending up dead of exposure after having become disoriented.  My father's sense of direction is shot.  So is his driving judgement.

Naturally, my mother panicked.  I was at the beauty shop myself, so I didn't answer the phone.  Fortunately, the woman who was doing her nails took off, looking for him.  So did my best friend, Josie, who has her shop across the road.  Josie simply told her customers to fend for themselves.

They found him at The Title Company, visiting with the owner, who knows he has Alzheimer's.  The only real damage done was to my mother's nerves.

She was furious with me for now answering the phone.  In her panic, she forgot his phone number.  He had his cell with him the whole time.  I was still having my hair done when she dropped him by to stay with me, while she had another appointment.

He was so funny!
Very proud of himself. 
When he came in, sitting down, he announced, "I guess I'll be eating Kal-Can for awhile."  I told him I'd heard he would be eating it for a month!

Moral of the story:  Never leave a person with Alzheimer's alone in the car with a set of keys!

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Keying the Pick-Up Truck

Parents and Rumsfeld Dec. 28
We were in the ER today for about 3 hours with my mother.  No sign of congestive heart  failure, pneumonia, nothing bad.   They're putting her on steroids for  6 days for her cough.

She has had this miserable cough since November.  Needs to get rid of it.  One reason she's not sleeping well is because she worries so much about APR getting up while she's asleep.  So far, he's doing okay that way.

Still, she worries.....

I am soooo glad we went.  Dr. Whitty (he won't take any of her crap)  gave her a lecture on pain. Said the basic problem is the extreme pain  she is in for her back, fibro, and osteop.  Just let her have it  because she won't take Tylenol, or anything.

Said she's not sleeping because of the pain, which doesn't help her  breathing, which doesn't help her at all!

I felt like doing a na na na na na!  I did do the I TOLD YOU SO.

So, now we start dealing with the pain - I hope.

APR was fuzzy.  I don't know if it is the Alz. or his hearing.  We go  tomorrow to get hearing aids (again).    He's had a rough week.  I  think there is some cognitive slipping.  We're noticing that he's 
eating like a person does when they get old.  Wanting to share, not  taking full portions, leaving food.  It is part of Alz.  But, when  people hit a certain age they do that.  I'm suspecting age.

We're on a playback loop:
Did you pay the taxes?
Yes - I have the receipts.
Where did you get the money?
I used you checking account.
Do I have money in it?
Sure do.
How do you know?
Bank statement and checking it online.
Do you remember the name of the banker I used?
I want to call and see what I have in my checking account.
I check it online.
Have you paid the real estate taxes?
And there was enough money to pay them?
Your mother says we should let you do all the business.
I know, I'm organized and you aren't.
Okay.... and he is satisfied (until tomorrow, when the same question 
is asked)

Other than the money thing, and directions, APR's not bad.  When Dustin was here Thanksgiving, they were out playing with the old pick-up truck.  My father lost the keys.  The other day, he was going outside to "play" with Robert (yard guy).  He went to put on his workshoes - low and behold, there were the keys.

I remembered, when in SC, when he would come in for lunch or something, he would go in through the basement, and leave his wallet, keys on the chess table.  There were times when he would drop them in his shoes so that he would remember them!

We do go through a list of who is and isn't alive.  It is hard on my mother, especially when he keeps asking about his parents and his brother, but I told her she's going to need to get tough about it.  I can say that.  I'm not in her shoes.

So, yes, the taxes have been payed, the check didn't bounce, and I have the receipts!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Loathing the Fear

A Couple of Good Republicans!
There's something we've noticed, lately.  Several of my father's old friends have not been calling. 

When a friend called and asked my mother if APR was able to talk, it dawned on us that people are afraid to face my father and the Alzheimer's. 

The other day, during a phone call, someone asked if he were able to talk on the phone.  Then I explain unless it is late in the afternoon, or he's not sugared up, if you did not know he had Alzheimer's, you wouldn't really now it.

Cathy and I were talking about it today.  Like she says, we are all afraid to face this sort of thing.  We all do it.  You can't blame people for something we all do.

APR does quite well, most of the time.  He wants the keys back, to drive, but he can't.  We've also realized we need to come up with some sort of way to let him handle a limited checking account.  It's so hard at times.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Miserable Facts of Life

Princess Sadie in Her Christmas Frock
I think it's time we stop fooling ourselves, then again this latest slip is recent.  Like I wrote a few weeks ago, APR was doing great.  He has gone down hill, visibly.  We were at lunch today at Cattle Baron. Heather, who works there, told me she noticed a big change today.  I've not seen him since Sunday, and I see a difference.

We keep making excuses.  He doesn't feel good, has a little bit of the bug going around.  When he says he doesn't feel like eating that vile banana pudding they serve on Cattle Baron's salad bar, I know he isn't feeling good.  He was having spatial difficulties today with his food.  He loves ribs.  I sure wish I ate meat, because they looked fantastic.  Anyone who knows my father, knows he can clean a rib better than a piranha. Heather brought them out, along with the bone plate.  He reached for the little hand wipe, and had a hard time opening it.  My mother had to tell him he didn't need it.  She cut the meat off the ribs, but he didn't eat them.  He didn't touch his potato.  This will then start the battle with her trying to feed him tonight, to get him to eat.    She had tanked him up on a protein shake about 12:30, so that may have made a difference.

This morning he was fairly okay with things.  We can usually discuss the news.  He follows politics quite well.  He was just out of everything.  Couldn't focus. He does the sundowners thing, late in the afternoon.  The other day, he thought my mother was his old girlfriend, Jackie.  He wasn't going to go put on his jammies because he did not think it was proper being in the house with his girlfriend. 

Last Friday the neurologist and hit my mother right between the eyes with what was going on with the disease.  It hit her quit hard.  She had been approaching this with a sense of humor.  Today at lunch she was in tears.  I don't think she realized exactly what was going to happen.  The day before, he was extremely lucid.  They were doing some paperwork.  He was far more with it than she was.  I can't believe the difference in a week.

Maybe it is because he isn't feeling good.  You grasp at straws.  They were to get their B-12 shots today.  It will be interesting to see if that makes a difference.  He's also been using frozen strawberries instead of fresh.  There could be a difference with that, also.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flu You!

Christmas (What Else?)
My mother is down with the flu.  Did meals on wheels.  APR does incredible when he is required to take responsibility!   Very few fuzzies, which is great.  Took him fried chicken.  Told me he needed a soda for the pizza.  My mother looked at him like had Alzheimer's.  He found the frozen pizza I brought him.  My mother said he takes better care of her now that he has Alzheimer's than when he didn't!

Cathy and Laura were here at Christmas.  Both noticed he is better than he was in August.  Like Cathy said, he's doing much better than he was in Feb when they started working on a diagnosis.  The B-12 shots are amazing!

He had problems late in the afternoon, around 5:30, but, once he eats, he comes out of it.  While Cathy was here, he was quite on the mark.  The more excitement, the better he does.  He did chores all day today for my mother.  Called me to tell me she wasn't feeling good.  Just fairly up on things.

Then again, he totally screwed up the gas delivery, but they'd been warned about the Alzheimer's - so he does have his moments.  But - right now, there are far more good moments than bad ones.  Wouldn't it be wild if the B-12 shots actually worked!