Chicken Vegetable Soup

After our great time at the Purple Poulet a couple days ago, we brought home a lot of chicken. I wrote earlier that it was the best chicken I have had for some time. Leftovers do not keep forever, however, so with 4+ inches of snow on the ground and Cincinnati playing Buffalo again, it seems like a good day to use the last of the chicken for soup.

I called our neighbor and friend Jan and explained my plan. She came over at halftime. She is a bigger football fan than I am. We left the TV on through grace. The Lord will understand.

Jane’s back was bugging her and has been for some time. She left early to lay on her own floor and stretch and do leg lifts while watching the football game. (She did not want my yoga mat.)

The soup turned out great. And except for Jane’s back stealing the show, it was a good evening.

Carpe Diem.

Ago

When we were young Cheryl was a very good seamstress. She impressed me by making me and the boys a couple of shirts. I have no idea of the amount of work, effort and skill it takes to make other items of clothing but the year she made us custom fitting flannel shirts for Christmas I was super impressed. I still have a couple. The rest overtime I managed to wear out and fray most of them beyond repair. I can tell you that there is nothing, nothing better than a well tailored shirt. If you have ever had a shirt made for you, shirts off a rack are never the same again. Although I never owned one I can understand why men could spend thousands of dollars on a hand made suit. No wedgies in your armpits or elsewhere.

Today for whatever reason she has decided the pillows need to be trimmed differently.  Here we are in Joann Fabrics. It is hard for me to understand what she is thinking. She has a hard time expressing her thoughts. It is overwhelming like a lot things these days. I really do not know how to help her.

The plan that I conjured was to get outside before the inclement weather turned up. Maybe a walk even though it is cold the wind is still. And afterwards we can have some lunch somewhere. It is Sunday and we have no plans.

But she found her stash of earrings when she was putting her clothes on. I was in full on waiting mode in my little office hide away hoping to not get frustrated and jump in to speed her up. This is January in Ohio and it has been weirdly warm for a couple weeks and that usually means the crap is coming. I became anxious and went back to check. She was messing around with her earring stash. I reminded her we were going to take a walk and have a little lunch somewhere. Oh yeah, that’s right said she. She came out of the bedroom with a bunch of her earrings in a box to take to the jeweler for repair that they did not need. I pointed out that it was Sunday and her favorite jeweler is closed today. She said maybe we could go sometime this week and I readily agreed.

Let’s go take a walk and get lunch. Okay she said.

That all went out the window as we got into the car and she told me about Joann Fabrics and pillows and fringe and trim and once seam binding. Happily I knew what all of those were but had no idea why she was telling me or what she had in mind. I had a lot of questions. I reluctantly drove toward Joann Fabrics instead of our favorite park to walk in. Switching from earrings to pillows left me dumfungled.

I drove to Joann Fabrics and later after we had absorbed enough of the ambiance, we went to a close by Cracker Barrel for salads and pillow talk. This was a soft talking day and Cracker Barrel was a bad pick for quiet conversation but they did have a nice wood fire going near where we were seated.

Later when we got home she showed me the green pillow that she had been talking about. I think she made this waiting for one of our kids to get big enough to be born. I do not remember which one but this pillow has been in our household for several decades.

Carpe the sewing project Diem.

More on Parkie Time

There is lots of discussion about apathy and Parkinson. This morning I decided that Parkinson merely enabled Cheryl’s brain with a different sense of urgency or importance. Perhaps I needed to embrace that.

Last night as I coaxed her to bed her impostor syndrome was strong. We drove around for a few minutes and looked at the Christmas decorations while we “drove home”. It usually works and she thinks she is home. It did not work completely that night but she seemed to accept the fact that she was very tired and needed to rest. She went to bed with pajamas on the bottom and her normal daytime shirt on the top (just in case).

In the morning she slept late. When I woke her and got her going I pointed out that she had about two hours until her exercise class started, so she had to move it along unless she did not want to go. She refused to be speeded up and responded that I have been late before. She thinks exercise is important and wants to do it and enjoys it once she gets started. I know that it helps her too. But my sense of urgency and lateness is much different than hers.

I shifted my schedule to agree with her parkie time. My urgency evaporated along with my stress associated with getting her moving.

Small adjustments reduce stress

Carpe late Diem.

We Got There!

When she is running on parkie time and I manage to get her to her exercise class on time without arguments, mostly none, I get a feeling of pride of accomplishment. Seek accomplishment in the small things of life and bigger things will follow. Or I think that they will.

There are lots of life plans and platitudes similar in sentiment. Keep track of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves- is one from the business world. Manage the little things and big things will come your way. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

She seems to be enjoying class. It consists of a group of boxing like motions while seated. A similar class uses dancing moves. The constant motions raises the heart rate.

Friday is always a bit tricky since the class that she likes is at 11 am. All other classes are at 12 pm and later. Generally her best time of day is 10 am until about 7 pm.

Carpe Diem

Parkie Time

… is different than any other time.

I think that when I want to do something with Cheryl, parkie time shows up to slow things down. It is inevitable. She will say- let’s go or are you ready to go- or words that convey the sentiment that she is ready. Nope. That is a incorrect interpretation of the language.

If I stop to consider parkie time though it makes sense. I thought we were headed to the car. Actually we were headed to check on several stacks of paper in her office before we go. The thing about parkie time is that it has little to do with clock time.

There’s a period of hesitation while one remembers what is happening next and what is required for that activity. If I realize what is happening I can help but sometimes the help is unappreciated. It is a delicate balance of gentle help and unintentional stress. Memory loss mingles with confusion to create stress.

The important thing is to not respond to the smart-Alec comment or to make one. Running down the road jabbing at each other with pointed sticks does not accomplish much but admittedly can be momentarily satisfying to both. Resist doing that. The road is smoother. There is less apologizing later. Certainly there is less guilt at having trod all over someone’s emotions.

The disease is not them. It is hard to remember that in the rush for the door to leave and go somewhere.

Carpe Diem.

More Things I have Learned

After a sleepless night and an early rising at 5:30 am I begin to doubt my great idea of buying a new bed so we could sleep better. The last couple of nights have been a build up to last night’s insomnia.

After that experience I notice a couple of things. We are both on edge. She is upset that I am angry that she could not sleep and wants to offer an explanation. I am only-one-cup-of-coffee cranky and unwilling to accept any explanation made up out of whole cloth. As the day continues we will ease up and move on as we recognize that we both are very tired.

Most nights the big new bed has made a huge difference in our sleep. Lately I have been letting her sleep in a bit because it seemed to me that she was very tired in the morning. The LOUD AND ANNOYING clock did not wake her up. I think that will change.

I Have Learned

  • Kindness returns after 2 mugs of black coffee
  • Cheeriness requires more coffee
  • Grumpy can last all day if you allow it to.
  • Maybe listen to the explanation while getting more coffee
  • Get her to take 7am meds and get breakfast
  • If she wants to make Christmas cookies, let her.
  • Her conversations will wander all over the place when she has slept poorly.

Carpe Diem.

An August Evening

Rainy days in August have produced sundowner’s confusion and dementia. On this particular day it seems a bit worse.

Cheryl has had a particularly busy week. Two physical therapy visits and an exercise class happened this week. On Monday evening our HOA board had a meeting to discuss maintenance schedules and what new projects we could take on with the money on hand. Jane came across the hall and sat with Cheryl on our back porch while I attended. (Jane is a wonderful neighbor.)

On anything goes pizza Tuesday we had dinner with our neighbor Jane as usual and in addition our new upstairs neighbor Joe joined us. Joe moved into the front condo over the garage spaces. Much of getting to know you conversation happened. Cheryl knew of a woman which she attended high school with who had the same last name. Her name was Kathy. As it turned out she was Joe’s younger sister. Jane’s husband used to play in several bands when he was still alive many years ago and Joe’s last name was familiar to her also. As the story developed it became apparent that her husband John had played in a band with Joe’s father.

It was a great getting-to-know-the-neighbor conversation. There were lots of memories for Joe and from Jane and Cheryl. When we got home Cheryl was exhausted.

Wednesday, I had arranged for my cousin-in-law, Linda, to come and take Cheryl to her physical therapy appointment. I went to visit the lab of a local community college program that I am still involved with. That facility is twenty minutes or so down the highway and I was gone for about two hours. We later met back up in a local diner for lunch.

Thursday it was my intention to attend a exercise-for-care-partners class at Parkinson Community Fitness after Cheryl’s twelve pm exercise class. I had previously arranged for my daughter to pick up her mom so that Cheryl would not have to stay. I found out my class was canceled at the last minute so when Anna showed up we all went to lunch. Our grandson Max was with his mom and he showed off his new laptop he purchased for college. He will start in a couple weeks.

I had hoped to ride my bike for a bit so Anna and Max remained with Cheryl. Alas, the weather did not cooperate. As I entered our condo Anna was helping her mom sort coins. These had been residing on the dining room table for several days but the project was several weeks old. Cheryl found them back in her office a few days ago. Cheryl told her daughter that when they were finished they would give the coins to her dad. She used to help her dad roll coins from his gas station business many years ago.

Max was frustrated with his new laptop. The camera no longer worked. What ensued afterward was a chat via the internet with some Microsoft expert and ultimately a complete reload of the operating system. That seemed extreme to me but I am an old retired electrical guy whose been fooling around with systems, software and computers for fifty years or so. We are living in a new age now. Ultimately it was discovered that Lenovo had placed a privacy slider to cover the camera on the upper edge of the case. It was a mechanical failure or an operational one depending on who is characterizing the action.

On Friday I was still hoping to ride my bike and the weather was still not cooperating. Cindy came anyway And I went to get a haircut and run a few other errands. I returned about an hour later.

This whole week was generally gray and overcast. It was not gloomy like the wintertime but gray and rainy nevertheless. It is still rainy and poopy outside as I write this.

The rest of the day was filled with visions and stories of her family. She was looking for Scott. Later in the evening she told me a story about Easter eggs, coloring them and Mavis. She eventually called our daughter-in-law Mavis to ask about what her objection was to coloring Easter eggs.

Earlier in the evening she asked, “Where is Ken?” I told her that Ken was probably home but I was not sure. She should call him and talk to him. She did not take that suggestion.

It was a frustrating afternoon and evening for me. Later I realized after she had exhausted herself with a very busy sundowner episode that for the first time this week only I was here with her and she could relax and let all that out.

As she laid in the bed she asked me to make sure the kids all got home okay. This morning she slept until 10 am.

Carpe Diem.

A Different Reality

Where is this?

Cheryl awakens in a different place each day.  She thinks that multiple people bring her morning meds to her.  She sees multiple copies of her things. Why do we have so many bathrooms?, she asked me.

It takes a bit of time and a bit of routine for her to get a grip  on reality.  I promised to not tease her and always tell the truth. Sometimes her grip on the actual world around her is tenuous.

It makes me sad. This behaviour is presenting more lately. Mostly in the morning but sometimes we have talked about it at other times as she works through her perceptions.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on.