In a past episode of “Ghosts” the young woman protagonist uses the term “maybe” instead of a direct “no.” Cheryl says, “I’ll think about it.” Reading the care giver’s guide to the galaxy book which is a part of the class I am attending to learn some things the communications chapter discusses saying “no.” It talks about the implications of negativity which go along with saying no. I have noticed that most times people cannot say no with out offering some explanation to lessen the blow of the no.
It is much harder with a dementia patient. The no may be a greater blow than one can imagine. But sometimes it is very important to the care partner to express “NO” and then explain the the care receiver why no is important this time and then discuss alternatives that may sound like “we’ll see.”
A good friend of Cheryl’s from church organized another luncheon with her and another mutual friend today.
Back in the bygone days of younger kiddos and the everyday working world, Cheryl was part of the group of women (mostly) who decorated the church for various holy days or other events in the church calendar. Often Cheryl’s job was to clean and press and arrange the alter cloths just so. The group would spend an evening or Saturday decorating the church for the occasion.
These days are gone for her and the decorating committee and St. Ann’s sodality has thinned over the years. Today however Cheryl and Barb are hooking up with Diana, the team leader, who has moved to a retirement community with her husband on the other side of town.
It gave me time to experiment with banana bread and fool around with other things. Maybe even blog a little.
Cheryl was going through a bit of confusion as I put dinner on the table. She kept getting up to look for her deceased sister Janice. (She called her Janice instead of “Jan.”) Eventually she was satisfied that Jan was not here to eat with us. She became interested in food and ate what I had cooked. (Chicken, noodles, green beans and broccoli)
I had put some music on the radio to play quietly while we were eating. Jimmy Buffet and “Margaritaville” came on when we were finished with the meal. I asked her if she wanted to dance. She said yes. We did.
For a few minutes we were young at a dance with Jimmy Buffet. Our dancing these days is more of a swaying-in-place but it is fun anyway.
We had a wonderful dinner with friends last evening. This gathering had been put off three times for various reasons but yesterday we got together. Gary showed off his wine aerator when he was pouring the wine. He told me he cannot tell the difference. His palate is older than mine and I had gin and tonic. Perhaps he was sold a bill of goods by an aerator salesman.
Everyone contributes when we have these dinners. My job was bread. Yesterday after several false starts I got two loaves of italian (my version of italian) together. They were remarkably good so I should perhaps I will note in my notebook of cooking disasters what went wrong and what I did to recover.
Today Cheryl is very tired. She refuses to admit it. I suppose I am tired also. We did not stay out late but we did sit up and watched a PBS show to unwind a bit when we got home.
We had french toast made from the second (leftover) loaf of bread from last night. It was good again. I am very thankful that I do not have celiac disease. One reason to not be grumpy today.
Cheryl spent some time cleaning the kitchen after she had her french toast with blueberries breakfast. All the time I was worried about her. I think I am anxious for her because the last few times she has fallen, it has happened in the kitchen. This time however she moved a lot of things around and wiped counters; swiffered the floor; threw the kitchen tablecloth into the washer along with the clean one she got out to replace it with (both will be clean in soon); and then became tired and uninterested. She took her ten o’clock meds and went to lay down for a bit. When she awakened, she announced, “Today is my birthday!”.
It is not and stupid me pointed out that it is May the fourth. I thought about – may the fourth be with you – but left that unsaid. She responded with, I wish people would stop changing the dates or some other angry anxious comment. I backed off quickly. I apologized to her and pointed out that her birthday was next week on the tenth of May but tonight we should go somewhere and celebrate her birthday.
She became calm and sat down to watch the gabfest on the View. I brought her a coke and set about putting the kitchen back together. I discovered that she had thrown the tablecloth from the table in with the folded one from the drawer into the washer and I did not catch that before tossing a bunch more towels in on top. (Damnation. I became immediately grumpy.)
I sat down to write this little story and laugh at myself. I do not want to be grumpy today.
She actually slept pretty well and later today we will probably get out and take a walk in the park. And celebrate her birthday. There is nothing to be grumpy about. We had dinner with friends last evening. It was good company and good conversation.
There is absolutely nothing that goes fast in our life anymore. Do I miss it? My immediate reaction is NOT.
I like how the young people emphasize comments by using ALL CAPS. That enables their fast comments about most anything that strikes them.
FAST however is gone from our life with Parkinson. Planning and thoughtfulness and SLOW are the current buzz words in our life.
I have noticed as I get older (I am Old) and drive my wife with PD to various exercise or other social activities that many drivers – not necessarily young drivers – move through traffic fast. What is their hurry?
Even when I am feeling as though I am late for something, I ponder what will be the result if I am later than I expected to the destination – mass, restaurant, exercise, whatever. The end result is similar to removing one’s arm from a bucket of water.
This company wants me to buy a device that pretty much tells me I am not dead yet. I already know that. I run to the store and run to the library and run to the doctor fairly often. I am pretty sure I am still running okay and not dead.
Many people, probably most, spend a great deal of time running here and there. It is ingrained in us. We chide each other if we are not active. But instead of running what if we took a deep breath and stopped to look around at God’s wonder of Spring and the renewal of life. It happens every year. It is truly amazing.
Breathe and notice the world. Run for exercise and health but do it outside where He can show you His wonder.
Wouldn’t it be great if there is a manual for living? Wouldn’t it be great if there is a book that tells one how to do everything. Wouldn’t it be great if there is book that tells one what to do different when something goes wrong? It would be like an appliance troubleshooting page in the operator manual.
But life is not like that. It would be great if it was but it is not. I am ecstatic when I find one of these charts because any problem I have is rarely on the chart.
In my working career I occasionally helped to create charts like these for industrial machinery but there is no such manual or chart for life. There are however lots of pious platitudes. Social media platforms are full of them.
This last one with the turtle has become my mantra of a sort. Forward is forward. Progress is progress. With chronic degenerative disease one can maintain hope for a cure, that being said, it can be more useful to accept the situation and play the hand that was dealt to you. (My very own platitude.) Forward is forward.
Stephan T. Patsis is a favorite cartoonist. His signature work, “Pearls Before Swine” is the cartoon in the comic section of the local newspaper that I read first when my wife hands me the funnies and says, “There are some funny funnies today.”
You have to choose to be happy. The goat who is somewhat intellectual and thought provoking tells rat. An absolutely true statement from a smart goat. One does choose to be happy and no one else can make that choice for you.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. – Desiderata by Max Hermann
The previous post was self serving but I would like to have my old life back. I would like to have my young body back too. That is not going to happen anymore so wishful and wistful thoughts are not going to be helpful to looking ahead. Let me face forward and move on.
As hard as it is I want to try a new tactic. Much of my anxiety about Cheryl is fear for her failure and subsequent embarrassment. I project that on her. She is not concerned. She is talking about apple pie again. Today we bought more apples and she chopped them up to make an apple pie for Easter dinner.
Last night or perhaps the night before her confused head decided that she should call her sister Deb and chat her up about making an apple pie for the Easter gathering. As time moves on she seems more and more confused about what and when and who. I have explained that we are going to our daughter’s house for Easter dinner. Somehow that gets converted into Nancy and Jan and Deb.
Nevertheless I asked my daughter-in-law Mavis to come and help Cheryl finish the pie. She readily agreed.