The difference between living and existing

04/28/2019 I’ve struggled with the thoughts rumbling in my brain, putting them down for others to read is difficult. I was recently back in the states visiting with my 98 year old Father. I’m so happy that I went, despite the fact he may not even remember I was there. He does not remember that I moved out of the country 6 years ago, he does not remember that my Mother, his wife of almost 70 years has passed away. He does not remember going flying with Bill in his plane, he does not remember time spent with the boys in the Outer Banks. The only thing he seems able to recall is WWII. Something he never spoke of when we were young.

My Dad was always a strong, intelligent hard working, well respected business man. He taught the 3 of us to be responsible, to be honest and kind and to always work hard. He (and Mom) taught us to be good parents, they led by example. To see him like this is so hard, my proud Father reduced to this man who doesn’t remember if he ate breakfast. What a horrid disease dementia is.

My trip there was uneventful, I got bumped to first class on the way to Houston.

Wine and apple pie..

I realized on the way to Houston that my AT&T sim card did not fit in my new phone which meant I had no internet when I arrived at Reagan International airport near DC, my final destination. This posed a problem because this was the first time I ever flew into there AND I had to find my way to my sisters house in the dark with no GPS. I was stressing. I tried to find somewhere to get my sim card cut at Houston but had no luck. They called my flight and had us waiting to board when someone (thank you whoever you are) noticed that the plane had a flat tire. We had to wait until they changed it. Fine with me, it would really suck to take off in a plane with a flat tire.

Thank you tire Gods.

Finally, @ 10:30PM we landed at DCA in Washington DC, well, really Arlington Va. My foot was throbbing in my always super comfy Skechers that I wear to travel. I could not find where I was to go to get the rental car and walked the length of the empty airport looking for someone to ask. Finally, I was told I had to go outside and get a bus to the rental facility. When I got there I was number 9 in line with 2 agents and it was 11 PM. I was a little stressed. When it was my turn I poured my heart out to the agent and he said he would fix me up with a car with a nav system in it for 11 million dollars more. At that point, after paying for insurance (because I no longer have insurance in the US) I didn’t care if it was 15 million dollars. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I found the car in the deserted parking garage, the kind you see on movies that muggers and rapists lurk about in. I didn’t see any keys for the car but noticed a push button start, which didn’t work. I had no clue, I’ve never driven a key less car, remember, my car is 13 years old. I found an attendant who reached to the very front of the dash, over the lip, grabbed the key fob and told me; hold this in your hand, step on the brake and push the button. I’ll be damned, it started. Then I had to program the route to my sisters. Once I was on the road I was OK but still really stressed. I was driving on the poorly lit, riddled with potholes, George Washington Memorial Parkway, then I was on I 495 and I saw signs for Rte 200, which I know is a toll road. I’ve driven on it before and ended up being charged $45.00 each time because I don’t have one of those pass things. I pulled off the road and figured out how to set the GPS for no toll roads and was back on the highway again. I don’t know what time I made it to my sisters but I was frazzled.

FRED, my Ford Flex. I actually liked this car a lot. It reminds me of something Fred Flinstone and Barney would cruise around in, hence the name.

I went over to see Dad the next day. He was sleeping and I tried to wake him but he didn’t stir. I decided to go take care of my phone and buy a new sim card for it. Once I had that I felt a whole lot better. I realized that on my drive from the airport to my sisters, I couldn’t even call anyone if I needed to, it was like 1970 with no cell phones.

I had a foot doctor appointment at noon that day so I did a few things then went to see the podiatrist. The unusual thing was, my foot has been so much better since I went snorkeling a few times, I was barely limping. The Doc was very nice, read my list from the 5 previous orthopedic surgeons and their thoughts on my ailment. He said he wanted to take his own X-Rays, I said OK. He took the X-Rays and came back in to see me. His opinion was I had severe arthritis in my big toe. The one that was operated on Dec 3rd. He gave me 3 choices: a cortisone shot, orthopedics to wear in my shoes (flip flops 24/7) or surgery. I told him I would think about it and call him back. When I checked out they said my medicare number was not correct so I told them I would follow up on that.

I left there and went back to see Dad and decided to wake him up. He was so surprised to see me, he recognized me right away and sat up. His socks were tucked into the nightstand drawer, far be it for my Dad to ever throw anything on the floor. His shirt was hung up and his dress pants were over the chair. He got up and dressed and we went out to the main room where people congregate. He is on the top (3rd) floor in a memory care center. None of the residents can operate the elevator, for their own safety. They have a key pad by the elevators for the workers to use. There is a lady named Shirley who thinks it’s a phone and uses it to call her Mother every day. She also tries to get on the elevator to go downstairs and escape to freedom, so you need to tell her it is going up.

That afternoon they had a nice man come in to play some music. I recognized a few of the tunes, obviously Dad did not and quite loudly said, many times, “well, he’s trying but he’s not very good.” I could have crawled under a chair.

Dad and I sat for 3 hours in this room and as happy as I was to be with him, it was heart wrenching to see my strong intelligent Father sitting there wondering what was going on around him. I saw a younger man who seemed very with it, I assumed he was a visitor but he was a resident. There were a few couples where the one partner was mentally fine but their spouse was not. One couple in particular, I really admired the man who was there because of his wife. The sacrifices he made to be with her. I wondered if he would leave and move out if and when she passed. My sister said there are many people who she never sees anyone visiting and she would know as she is there almost daily. She and her husband Mark are my Father’s angels, and sometimes he is a very difficult man to deal with. They know it’s not him, it’s the disease, it was something I had to learn again. Despite the fact of knowing that, it still hurts.

When I got back to my sister’s I got online to the Medicare website, turns out I never got the “new” medicare card. I didn’t know because I’ve never used it. I called Medicare and of course, they could not give the number to me over the phone. I decided to go to the Medicare office that was close by and get the number. I waited almost 2 hours in the most confusingly numbered system I’ve ever experienced. When I finally got up to the window the girl said she could NOT give me a new Medicare card. I assured her that I knew that but could she give me the correct number pretty please? Yes, she could and did. I was in there so long the weather went from cool and sunny to cold and rainy. I think I may have gone shopping to ease my pain. The following morning I went back to the Dr and got a cortisone shot in my big toe. It didn’t hurt but by the next day I had developed a new pain in my foot and I had a hard time walking. Great. From bad to pretty darn good to a new kind of bad.

This was my first trip to TJ Maxx where I believe I set a world record for filling a cart the fastest. Don’t even ask me what I bought, I know there were dog toys and a pair of shoes. ONLY 1 PAIR OF SHOES THOUGH.

I went back there a few times with my sister. We share the same shopping skills, inherited, passed down from our Mother. Our wallets thank her.

My sweet adorable nephew’s wife came over to see me and she and Missy and I went to Target in Gaithersburg. O M G. I miss that store. I wanted one of everything. Missy, Sofie and I did a substantial amount of shopping, I was feeling good, I love to buy new stuff. We got back to Missy’s and Eric, Sofie’s hubs and my favorite (only but still favorite) nephew came over to see me. He made some kick ass guacamole and we had another amazing meal.

I’m sure I’m getting my days mixed up but I’m allowed to, I’m not on a schedule. My BFF Olivia lives in Bel Air, MD and we have not seen each other for too damn long. She took a sick day and met me at TJ MAXX in Columbia, MD. We did some shopping and then went to a fabulous place for lunch. We were debating going in when a cop walked by us and said, “have you eaten here?” We said no, he said, “try it, it’s fabulous”, so in we went. My BFF Olivia is a foodie, she lives to eat. I eat to live but we have found common ground and it works for us.

Everything was fresh, made to order right in front of you. It was delicious.

I made sure my nephew Eric and his wife knew about this place since they just bought a new home in Columbia.

I called Dad late one morning to see if he wanted to go to McDonald’s. He has always loved a plain cheeseburger with fries. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about. So I repeated myself. He started shouting that he didn’t know what I was saying and why was I bothering him with this. He didn’t know what I was talking about and didn’t want to go. I said, “Dad, why are you yelling at me?” He said you are talking crazy talk and he hung up on me. My brother in law heard the conversation and came out and said, give him an hour, he won’t remember a thing. I waited until after lunch and went over. Mark gave me a can of Coke for him and a straw. He did not remember talking to me and he guzzled that Coke down so fast. I got him to go out and walk around a little bit. Not for long though, he wanted to go nap. He came to Missy’s one night for spaghetti and meatballs. He ate a good meal but was ready to go home before we even ate.

 

Dad and I.

Missy, Dad and I. Sorry these are smaller, can’t make them any larger.

Dad taste testing the spaghetti to see if it’s done.

Missy had some cards made for him with photos of family and flowers and other things. Two cards of each photo and he tries to match the cards. He really enjoys playing it but can not, for the life of him, remember where the matching cards are.

Mark, Eric, Missy and I went out for dinner one evening to Cava. It looks very nondescript from the outside, it is in a strip mall, but once inside, OMG.

More bar seating but we were at the actual bar, of course we were.

My first ever Moscow Mule made with Vodka, Ginger Beer, crystallized ginger and lime juice. These things are dangerous.

Eric and his dad Mark. So much fun to hang out with them. I love that Eric wanted to spend time with me.

Me, Eric and Mark at Cava.

They serve Naan bread and some hot spicy dip and oil and tzatziki dip, we got chicken skewers, fries, grilled brussel sprouts and lamb sliders. I did not eat Mary’s Little Lamb. The rest was delicious.

Missy, Mark and I outside of Cava.

The next day my brother and his daughter Devon came down for Easter. They came a little early so they could see me too. We all went over to see Dad one afternoon. Missy and Devon found a puzzle so we helped Dad put it together in the dining room. He was very upset because we were in the dining room and people didn’t usually hang out in there.

Dad had a difficult time with the puzzle but Devon helped him.

Yep, I look like my Dad.

Dad and his kids.

PJ and Devon. She is such a happy girl, always smiling, unless PJ is making her do something she really doesn’t want to do, like turn off the computer. I’m so glad they came down and I got to see both of them.

We were sitting out on Missy’s deck when I got an alert from United saying they were expecting severe thunderstorms in the afternoon on the day I was leaving. I called Bill and he said to call them and reschedule. They put me on a 10:10 AM flight, which meant I had to leave at 7 to return the car and find my way. I went over to the memory care center at 4:20 that afternoon to say good bye to Dad. He was in bed and would not get up. I wanted him to go eat dinner but he said he wasn’t hungry. I gave up, didn’t want to upset him so I hugged him, kissed him good-bye and left with tears in my eyes. It sucks to leave, you don’t know if that’s going to be the last time you see him or not. He still doesn’t understand that I am not close and can’t pop over for lunch on a whim.

Missy took this of me on her deck.

Me, Missy and PJ

That night we all (minus Dad, he doesn’t do trips more than 10 minutes very well) went to Eric and Sofie’s new house for dinner. They just moved in a few weeks ago and were excited for us all to see it. It’s a great house, lots of room and a beautiful back yard. They made parmesan chicken and stuffed shells. Missy made a salad and I took wine. It was delicious.

Sofie has hit the ultimate coolness factor with me. She has a T-Rex sippy cup. I was in love.

Devon took this of Missy and I. The first one she took was hysterical, it was of her thumb. This is a picture off of a phone.

Eric, Sofie, PJ and Mark, waiting to dive into a fabulous meal.

Getting ready to dig in.

PJ, Devon, Sofie, Me, Eric and Mark.

We helped them clean up and then headed for home. I still had to pack. UGH. We sat around and talked for a short time after we got home but I had to get up early and get on the road so I said good night.

I was out the door at 7 AM, stopped to fill up the tank and then got lost in VA trying to return the rental car. I was pulled off the road cursing at the Nav system because it just stopped and I was clearly nowhere near the rental return. Just then a cop pulled up and asked me how I was. I was stressed and lost. He was so nice, he told me exactly where I needed to go, repeated it several times and said, don’t take this turn…I finally found it, dropped off the car and made my way to the airport. Once I was checked in I got something awful to eat (donuts) and went to my gate. My foot was hurting so much I could hardly walk. Once I got on the plane to Houston I was able to sit back and relax. I arrived in Houston much earlier than scheduled due to my flight change times. I was spending the night at the Marriott at the airport. You have to get your luggage then go down a level and catch the subterranean subway to the hotel. I made it to the hotel a few hours before check in, they said no problem. I got checked into my room, took my shoes off and opened my suitcase only to realize they had ruined my suitcase, the zipper pulls and the TSA lock were missing. Now that it was opened there was no way to close it. I called United and she told me to take it back to Terminal C and they would replace it for me. My foot hurt so bad I asked if there was anyway they could deliver it. She said no, but she had just been in Roatan on vacation and loved it. YAY. I emptied everything out of it and trudged back over to Terminal C. I spoke to a man at the United luggage desk. I expected it to be a lot more difficult than it was. He got some info then walked me over to these glass door closets filled with NEW suitcases. He asked if I wanted a hard or soft side, I said hard please. He gave me a brand new 28″ suitcase and sent me on my way. As I got on the subway to go back to the Marriott a girl said, “you must have come from somewhere warm.” I said, not really, I’m going home, I live on Roatan. She said, OMG, I just got back from there and am going again in August. Then she proceeded to pick my brain for the short 4 minute ride to the hotel. I got back to the room, re packed, took a bath, called room service and ordered a chicken ceasar and opened my box of wine.

Brand spanking new and I adore new suitcases for some odd reason.

Cracked open the box before I even got home!

I couldn’t figure out how to work the remote in the hotel room, (it had 300 buttons on it and was more than likely handled by very germ laden people) so I went to sleep. I was up by 7 and at the airport by 7:30 and checked in. 10 minutes later I was at my gate for the almost uneventful trip to Roatan. All was fine until we got ready to land and the pilot could not see the runway. He was way too high to even bring it in if he could see it. We flew over the ocean for awhile and he came in for another landing. This time I could see the runway, phew. I just wanted to be home. I was waiting for Bill when he walked up behind me. He had Max with him, once Max saw me he went crazy. He missed his momma. We came home and when I unpacked I realized the TSA agents stole my damn Skechers. I couldn’t wear them because my foot hurt so much, so I hid each in a separate travel cube. My cubes were open, clothes strewn all over and my shoes gone. Another call to United, they are taking care of it.

The dogs were so happy to see me and to get their new toys. When I got home my foot was way worse than it was when I left and I didn’t know what to do. I called the podiatrist in Maryland and he said it didn’t sound like a cortisone flare (I had googled that and it was not the issue), he suggested I see an ortho doc. Thing is, I’ve seen 5 and none of them helped me at all. Wonderfreakingful. I was talking to my friend about her results from seeing Mary Mason, a chiropractor from Austin TX who has a practice here. She suggested I go see her about my foot. So I did. My friend Steph and I went together, she is having neck/back issues. Dr Mary has a much different approach to chiropractic work than I am used to, I’ve seen chiropractors for 50 years. She worked on some bones behind my ears, the backs of my legs and my hips. She had me go out for a walk while she worked on Steph. Then she gave me another adjustment before I left. I was really sore (and still am) but I can walk without a limp. I’m going back to see her again tomorrow, hoping that one more treatment is all I will need.

Boys having a swim.

Lola getting comfy.

I wanted Dra Diana, the vet from Tegus who gave us the miracle cream for Max’s wounds, to check Max’s ear, he seems to be shaking his head a lot and we wanted to get both he and Highway tested for heartworm and erlichia. Max and Highway were in the back of the truck, Max sat there perfectly quiet and Highway howled the whole damn trip (25 min) to the vet. I was losing it to the point that Bill threatened to turn around or let me out. I had him drop me at the vet and he went to the plumbing store. After they were tested and Dra Diana tested the goop in Max’s ear, we were ready to go. Bill suggested I sit in the back with Max and allow Highway up front. UGH. Fine, whatever. Can you believe this idiot dog didn’t howl once on the way home? He must have called SHOTGUN in dog speak and I didn’t catch it. He was howling BECAUSE I WAS IN THE FRONT SEAT. He really pushes my buttons..

Highway, the howler. This dog is lucky he didn’t get thrown out of the car when we went to the vets.

Max was perfect, as usual.

I have company coming on Thursday and I can’t wait!! I haven’t seen Tammy since 2013, looking forward to catching up with her and showing her around the island. I have a zillion things to do so I should probably post this thing and get moving.

It’s hot and humid, my weather app says: OMG, It’s so hot and humid. Who the frak even needs clothes today. Forget clothes. It’s 9:45 AM and already 86 but feels like 97. Luckily, we’re up on the hill top so we have a nice strong breeze blowing through the house.

Happy Monday everyone!

Dementia. You suck.

Stages of Dementia. Poor judgment, memory deficit, irritability, apathy, indifference, pacing, restlessness, and agitation may signal a patient has developed dementia.

07/07/2018 First things first. There is nothing funny in this post, it is not my normal happy go lucky, vodka induced island life. It’s just freaking real and I am having a hard time grasping that it’s my families (PJ, Missy and us and our kids) new reality.

I was going to write about grand-parenting or the inability to actually be allowed to do it, but have changed my mind. It’s undeniable that we will never have the joy of getting to know our grand-children because their mother wants it that way and our son can’t/won’t speak up. The mother keeps them close to her, like her little dolls, her play things. She makes the 12 year old sandwiches. The 15 year old has no chores because she doesn’t like to do them.  Everything we do or say elicits an eye-roll from one of the girls. But, I’ll say no more, heartbreaking as it is. I have issues that are bigger so I’ve put that one aside.

My parents are not doing well. They are no longer the people that I knew all of my life. I often ask myself, “who are these people?” I knew this would happen sooner or later. I just always counted on the “later” aspect. Well. It’s now later.

Mom and Dad’s Grandfather clock stopped working, Apparently they are unable to tell time on any of the other 5 clocks in their home. Missy took an old clock of hers and hung it on “Big Ben;” Ben has now been properly fixed.

My sister Missy, who is 13 years younger than me and her husband Mark, are the most incredible people I’ve ever met. {They will be referred to as M and M.} However, I worry about them. They previously lived about 90 minutes one way from the parents. M or M was running down once, maybe twice a week. We all knew it was time the parents give up their condo and move into an apartment in a retirement home, preferably close to M&M. They moved and they hate it there, it’s not Asbury, where they used to live. Asbury still holds good memories, memories of Dad driving and them having friends and doing fun things and that’s pretty much all they have to cling to right now. The memories they can pull out of their brains are where they wish they still were on this path of life. They remember nothing recent, although they say they do. Bedford, where they live is quite nice with excellent food. That is one complaint Dad had about Asbury, food was cafeteria food. This is not.

Mom has had a lump on her abdomen for 3 years. The docs said it was a hernia. Lately, it started to hurt so M took her to the Dr. Well, it’s no hernia. It’s a squamous cell cancer tumor in her abdomen. They have no clue why it’s there as it usually always presents itself as skin cancer. The lump is growing. They wanted to do surgery but Mom turns 93 Aug 1st. The surgery will kill her before the cancer does, it’s a massive recovery and she is very very weak. They chose to do immune therapy, hoping to shrink the tumor. She had one treatment and because she is incapable of using her nebulizer and meds consistently, she had a severe asthma attack which she was hospitalized for. Guess what they gave her? The same meds she is to take 2 times a day. Once discharged they hired a nurse to come twice a day to make sure they got dressed, she did her meds and they went to eat breakfast and dinner. Dad hated the nurse coming. He also refuses to allow Mom to use a walker. He thinks she looks stupid and lazy using it. He needs one also.

I decided I needed to go visit. I messaged Trace and said I wanted him to go also, it’s been a long time (years) since he has seen them. Chance was there in January. I flew to Baltimore on Friday, got there at midnight, made my way to the rental car place, rented my car, set my GPS and started driving to M and M’s house, 40 some minutes away. I got there by 2. Mark was sleeping on the chair, M heard me and got up. We chatted a bit and both went to bed.

I slept like the dead until 9 AM. When I got up Miss had already gone to the parents apartment. When she arrived she noticed the side of Mom’s face was drooping and she was slurring. Dad, sadly did not notice. M called M and told him what was going on and she was coming to get her cell and me. When they got there, I went out to greet Mom and she seemed fine, weak but talking OK. Then it happened again, another TIA. M and I looked at each other and said let’s go.

We took Mom to the hospital and checked her in. After a few hours they admitted her for observation to a room. Miss and I were with her all day long. She didn’t know what she was there for. They did a brain MRI and some heart tests. The brain MRI confirmed that she did have two TIA‘s. Her heart was OK, it showed the normal signs for the heart of a 92+ year old woman.

Dad sitting at the hospital with Mom. Quite a poignant photo.

She seemed very weak, couldn’t really feed herself, couldn’t hold the tube of the nebulizer in for 2 min let alone 10, I had to hold it for her. She could not manage to go to the bathroom alone. When I helped her pee for the first time in my life I thought back to the role reversal and her training me to use the toilet. Pretty potent shit.

She stayed on the hospital observation floor most of the time then they moved her to another floor for the last day or two. On Tuesday morning I drove to BWI @ 5 AM to pick Trace up at 6. He had flown all night to get here. We went back to M&M’s and they were both waiting for Trace. Miss was going to work that day so Trace and I went and got Dad and took him to see Nonie at the hospital.

Those of you who do not know my Mom, she was and still is a smart ass and a fireball, a red headed Irish woman. Crazy as shit but a good Mother. She has not lost the “mouth” part of her personality. (Wonder where I get it from? Look no further).

Dad, Trace and I walked in to her room. At first she didn’t recognize Trace then she said, “It’s my little shit head.” Trace smiled and laughed. She used to call him turd knocker. Close. We sat with her, I ordered her lunch and helped her eat. She was turning up her nose at everything. When she would say she wanted to go home I would remind her what the doctors said and she would give me the finger. She told me to tell them to shove it. Trace was all bug eyed, he never heard her talk like that. Off the wall. But when the nurses came she was freaking Pollyanna. I’ve not seen her like this, nor have M&M. We think it’s a product of the TIA‘s. I told her she needed to regain some strength. She asked if I wanted her to move furniture for me. She also said she could take Trace & I. WTH? Dad agreed with us (surprise, lately we do nothing right). He told her it was for her own good and that she needed to get stronger. She became a fan of Sabra Hummus (I was buying it in the cafeteria) and pretzels but she could not pick a pretzel up off of the plate to dip it. I had to dip it and hand it to her. Another damn role reversal. Later that day Dad came for dinner at M & M’s.

Dad at dinner with the two jail escapees, Missy and Trace.

Trace, Dad and I

On July 3rd they decided to move her to a Rehab facility. I’m sorry, this song was constantly on my mind. And yes, it’s now playing. RIP Amy. The rehab facility is # 2 out of 20 in the area and it’s in the same complex where they currently live. Score for us!

Mark, my hero of a brother in law, walking Mom down the hall. She is wearing her favorite sweater, one PJ got her.

Welllllll, preparing for the rehab move went like shit. She was refusing to go, said people thought she was an idiot. She yelled at Dad to do something and stick up for her. Don’t let these girls do this to me. THESE GIRLS??? Vic, you always took care of me, take care of me now. Why aren’t you saying anything Vic? I would say, Mom, it’s NOT up to Dad. It’s what the Doctor says. She yelled. “they can shove it up their a$$.” It was OMG moments, occurring every few seconds. My brain was leaking from the assault.

Finally on the 4th of July, she was moved and her flame seems to have not been extinguished. Since she is in Rehab they will not continue the immune therapy cancer meds. They said when she gets out of Rehab, they will need to re-evaluate. Freaking medical malpractice in the US is over the top. She is adamant she is not staying. She was continuing to call M&M all day saying come get me now. I’ll have you arrested. M&M’s son and wife came for 4th of July dinner. It was so awesome to see them! Mark and Eric (nephew) went to get Dad to take him from rehab back to his apartment. He let loose on them, was verbally abusive, as was Mom. They returned before dinner and my sister was brought to tears from the story. They got in a quick game of corn hole before dinner.

Trace and Sofie. Sofie has also been amazing, she has her doctorate in audiology and has been fine tuning Mom’s hearing aids.

Missy and Eric, my nephew.

My baby, Trace. I was so proud of him and how he handled the uncomfortable situations we were all thrown in to.

She may be 13 years younger than I am but she acts like me and that makes me smile.

We sat down and had a fabulous meal, ribs cooked á la Sofie.

The grill master

Just as we were finishing our meal the rehab center called and said Mom was wigging out, we needed to come. So M and I went over. Mom was sitting at the registration desk and as soon as she saw us, anger formed in her eyes. She was ready to do battle with her daughters. We took her into an unoccupied room and had a chat with her. She said she would punch us both, she said she called the police and they said nobody could hold her against her will. She then said she was going to throw a phone through a window and then shoot herself. I reassured her if she attempted any of those things they would have her strapped down to a gurney and she would not be happy. She glared at me. She yelled, she cried, she was furious. Miss and I got her calmed down, so we thought. We do believe she slept through the night.

Mom called the next morning demanding M come get her. I told my sister, no, do not go now. Wait. M & M have a tendency to go immediately when called, which is admirable on their parts but does not allow them any quality of life. Mom is OK, she is in a facility, she can’t get out. They watch over her. M & M need to step back.

M & M had plans Thursday night and Trace and I were returning my rental car and spending the night in a hotel near the airport. We all said good bye to the parents at the Rehab center. Mom seemed in an OK mood. Mark got Dad back to his apartment.

M & M were getting ready to leave and I was packing. The phone rang, it was Dad screaming at Mark. Mark handed the phone to me and Dad was yelling at me. I asked him what he wanted. He said why was he there? I told him he was at his apartment and he said that’s just great. I said, That’s good, night Dad. M & M left and the phone rang, Dad again. I answered Hi Dad, how are you. Did you have a good dinner? He said, “Where the hell is everybody? I’m here alone and I don’t know what to do.” I said, have some ice cream and watch some TV. I mean, it’s what he’s done every night for the last 10 years. He yelled, “Fine, this is just fine.” I said, Great, have a good night and hung up. I have no clue how many more times he called that night because Trace and I left.

Family portrait, Missy closed her eyes, other shots were blurry.

PJ tried to call Mom and they told him they took the phone out of her room because she called 911 FOUR TIMES! Miss said the phone is back in the room but the list of phone numbers are gone. The nurses can contact M & M if there is a medical emergency.

I’m spent. Wasted. Not sure what to think or feel. I am guilty to the core because M & M are there and I am not. I see all this as a beginning to the end. When they moved in to Bedford it was stated Independent Living may happen as long as both of them are living there. She is no longer there so we believe they will be moved to assisted living, which will put my Dad over the edge. He’s a very proud, macho Italian. 97 or not, he can’t grasp the fact he is no longer in charge.

My brother PJ is in Williamsport and does what he can to help. He will go down if they have to move to assisted living and drove to Asbury to help them move to where they now are. He and Devon (his daughter) plan to go down for the big anniversary/birthday weekend. 70 years married July 31 and Mom turns 93 August 1st. I don’t want people to think PJ does not help, he does more than I do and is always ready to be there when M&M need him.

As my islander friend says: Once a man. Twice a child. Never has this been more evident.

I came across 55 videos done by Joey Daley about his Mother, Molly Daley. They started Molly’s Movement. If you or anyone you know suffers from this dreaded disease, watch these videos. Molly has recently passed from Lewy Body Dementia, she was 67. There is also a FB page called Mother and Son’s journey through dementia.

Please encourage people to talk about this. The videos made me cry my eyes out but I learned so much. The posts on the FB page are gripping, sometimes precisely what we are experiencing. It’s always good to know you are not alone, that so many others suffer. Some with no family to support them or to be there in a time of need.

Another good read is; https://goodmenproject.com/families/mollys-movement-a-mother-and-son-story-worth-following-dg/

Thank you for reading along. Dementia is a horrible disease. I am fortunate that my parents both made it to their 90’s before this struck and took their minds.