Thursday, September 26, 2013

Support groups and paint?

Support groups are great...thank goodness I have one...just wish it met more often than once a month.  It is so affirming to know I'm not alone in this care taking.  Hubby has been complaining of being really tired and not wanting to do anything, go any where.  He just wanted to sleep all the time.  Since his brother had complained of being tired which turned into a severe heart problem, I was concerned and still am.  But at support group I learned this is typical of the disease.  I will continue to keep a lookout for other symptoms.  But today he seems fine, got up early, has been working on his computer and has a healthy appetite.  He has even been cooperative about cleaning the bathroom which has been a big help as it is hard for me to get down on my knees to do parts of the floor.

Daughter and I are painting the small is a what I hope is a lovely green but until we get the bright pink covered up, it is really hard to tell.  Yikes.  I'm in the mood to paint all the bedrooms and the front bathroom all different heck with the all neutral cream color all over the house.  Bring on the color.  YES!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alzheimer's and the car keys

More brain changes
Cross section of healthy and Azlheimer's brainThis entry will surely bore many of you but I am blogging all this to document the progress of the disease for both of us in hopes that someday I may put it all together to help someone else who is struggling as a patient or a caregiver.

  Wow, it has been an interesting.  Hubby got very agitated and upset last night.  Accused me of "shang-hai-ing" his car keys.  He is furious once again about it and questioning who said he can't drive, it doesn't say anything on his license that he can't drive and who told me that he couldn't.  He still isn't speaking this morning which is interesting that he remembers to be mad.  Telling him that three docs have said he shouldn't drive and that if anything happened while he was driving, regardless of whose fault it would be, the insurance wouldn't pay because of all the medications he is on for Alz.  He is blaming it all on me, of course. 

So I'm just trying to figure out what triggered all this.  To begin with, Taylor is staying with us and she drives what was essentially his van sometimes.  He has the idea that she is going to take it and use it for a down payment on a car....(not a bad idea in my book but she has never mentioned it...she is embarassed to drive it to school with all its dents, etc.).  He must believe as long as the van shows up in our driveway, he will still have access to it.
Secondly, the whole scene yesterday at JSC when I asked about driving him in and picking him up as he no longer drives, must have thrown a kink into his works about not being able to drive onto the JSC campus by himself.
Thirdly, we started a class at our church last night that meets on Wednesday nights.  He seemed to enjoy it but at the end of the class, I asked if he wanted to attend next week.  He said "yes" and as I will be unable to attend, I asked a friend in the class who lives in our neighborhood if he would mind picking him up.  George agreed, no problem.  But again, this being unable to do it himself remains a terrible loss to him.  I understand completely and will probably fight it when my keys are taken away.  Right now I'm just grateful that one of us can drive.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back into bureaucracy

Interesting morning.  I can't find the cinnamon rolls that I bought yesterday...they were on the counter.  Whoa, here they are in the freezer.  No problem, beats the recycle bin.

The Alz guy, better known as hubby, lost his NASA Alumnae badge again.  No clue as to where it might have gone but I have looked everywhere.  For all I know he may have dropped it on the JSC campus somewhere.  Of course he has been frantic as the connections to the space program are so important to him, not just for the friendships he has made over the 45+ years on the space program but thoughts around space seem to be the deepest ruts in his brain and holding on better than anything else like where his badge went or where to put things or where the microwave is in the kitchen.

So today's mission was to go to JSC and get another badge.  I have, change that to "had", a  spouse's badge that was given to me years ago when he retired back in one of my "red hair" days but it was losing its laminate.  So into the badge office we go at JSC...Ken hands over his drivers' license and I hand over my badge to get it replaced (big mistake!).  Ken gets a new badge no problem but the nice lady says I'm not supposed to have one...that mine was supposed to be turned in when he retired, that it wasn't valid anymore.  I informed her that I had been getting on site for years with it, that hubby can no longer drive so it is up to me to deliver him when he has a meeting on site and how am I supposed to come back and get him if I don't have a badge?  Answer from the bureaucracy:  Have the employed person that he is visiting order a visitor's badge for me.  And they wouldn't give my badge back.  So now hopefully I can drive him in but I have to stop at the badge center and get a badge to just drive through the gate and pick him up standing in front of a building.  Things have certainly tightened up since 9/11 which is good but this is the first time after 40 + years I've ever had a problem.  Hubby's comment:  "Welcome to government bureaucracy."  My response: "Just don't lose your damn badge again."  Smile, grin, sigh.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Show me the money!

I spent the morning with millions and millions of dollars but this is all I came home with...a capsule of shredded money so don't get your hopes up of borrowing any from me or for that matter, my morning venue.  I went with a group to tour the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Houston, an incredibly beautiful and totally functional building.  Amazing architecture and even more beautiful furnishings and I'm not talking about the $$$ in its 5 story vault.  So tastefully done with an impressive collection of Texas artists.  It was designed by Michael Graves...yep, the same guy who creates household items for Target.  Walls and furniture in beautiful oak from around Austin and hill country limestone on the floor.  The beautiful board room with a wall of windows onto Allen Parkway, inlaid huge conference table with lovely blue leather chairs embossed with the seal of the Federal Reserve.  90 million dollar facility to hold the millions but a beautiful asset to Houston.  So now every plain white 18 wheeler I pass I have to wonder if it is carrying an enormous load of money to very secure gates of the Federal Reserve.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vino and Van Gogh

This is a collage I created at a fundraiser called Vino and Van Gogh for The Arts Alliance Clear Lake Center at Opus restaurant in Clear Lake Shores.  It was a fun evening trying to create something on canvas with limited supplies and a very limited palette.  The 8 x 10 canvases had all been painted with a background and there were lots to choose from.  I had imagined a real getting messy workshop with lots of paint and stuff flying and wore an old T-shirt and usual paint attire.  Ha! It was obviously a society event and the attending ladies were decked out to the nines...well, maybe not their "nines" but mine for sure.  And obviously many had never created anything like it in their lives.  The ladies at my table were very nice but kept quizzing me about what I was doing.  I just kept on gluing and tearing and painting but believe me, they had a hard time understanding why I was creating what I was creating.  I think Van Gogh would have loved it...I do and I do want to support TAACCL.  It has been a real loss to our community when they had to close their facility.  We are all hoping that a wonderful venue will be available soon.  But in the meantime these mini-workshops are very well organized with a good instructor and I encourage my friends to go and have fund while giving support.
I love this idea for fundraising and several from my book club are going in Nov. to another Vino and Van Gogh at the Sundance Grill.  Who knows what the next creation will be.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

They're back!

"Hi, honey, I'm home."
They are back and it must mean that some cooler weather is on its way.  I never get tired of watching these tiny beings darting back and forth to the feeders from tree branches and telephone wires.  There are two different kinds this year...the ruby-throated and another metallic green and they seem to get along well together, even sharing feeder time, moving from feeder to feeder and not continuously chasing the other birds away.  Our backyard has become a zoo of the early morning hours I am stalked by a squirrel sitting in the shiffelera just outside the living room French door waiting for me to hand her a peanut or place an ear of corn in the feeder.  She sits staring, watching and waiting.  I think she must be nursing a family somewhere. 
Sparrows have discovered the other feeder along with the red-bellied woodpecker and doves and black & white pigeons scout the ground for the corn debris left by the squirrels.  The other day there was an all white pigeon among them and I fantasized it carried some message.  Maybe a message from the Great Mystery telling me to enjoy all this and protect it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A new woman

A haircut and a pedicure...I'm a new woman.  Sometimes it takes so little to change a day or week around.  A pedicure with dear Jennifer who does an awesome job but whom I can only understand an occasional word or two or three does so much to brighten my week.  I can only afford her cheerful healing touch once a month which is fine as it might lose its specialness if I went more often.  Jennifer continues to babble in Vietnamese to the other employees and she must be really funny as they all laugh a lot. 
Yesterday she gave a big smile and nod of approval on my color choice..."Much better", she said.   "Purple you get in the winter."  And so it is that I once again have bright red if only I could remember the name of the polish.
I'm trying the new chicken enchilada recipe for dinner tonight but so wish the weather would cool down...almost 100 degrees here on the Bay yesterday.  No sign of winter here or even fall.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wow, it has been a long time but I've been busy...with what?  Life, you know, how it gets in the way of your plans.  My house is a mess and I can't find the broom.  Our granddaughter is coming this afternoon to spend a week while her mother is in Iowa getting married which is a great thing but for the next 10 days I will have the granddog, granddaughter, three cats and my husband with Alzheimer's along with trips to League City to feed the other cat who lives there.

Now about the Alz...I've come to realize that he is getting worse in spite of the new medication and it does make life interesting.  Today I can't find the broom.  The dust pan is in its usual home but the broom is missing.  I've looked everywhere and of course, he doesn't remember anything about it.  Glasses are sitting in the cupboard where the coffee mugs sit and naturally, coffee mugs are showing up in the cupboard with the glasses.  And the "sundowning" has begun....that is where the patient goes more confused and rattled around dinner time.  He complains of being tired but I think at some level he is aware that he isn't as sharp as he now wants to walk the dog in the morning instead of the afternoon.  I'm all for it as the days get shorter and the chance of his getting lost increases.  So far he has been able to find his way in the neighborhood but I insist he carry his cell phone.  Now whether he remembers to use when he is lost is another matter. 

This brilliant man has always been somewhat compulsive.He probably had Alz long before he was diagnosed but has been smart enough to develop coping skills to cover up what he couldn't remember or figure out.  He sits at the breakfast table for hours going over the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal with a yellow high lighter and later goes back and cuts them up with articles he wants to read again.  This is a brilliant man who never developed any woodwork, no sport, no stamp collecting, nothing but the space program. 

Last week he was compulsively watering everything in the yard...hose on full blast over and over every day.  The tomatoes drowned, water was running down the street and God knows what our water bill will be.  I try to redirect him but the first thing I know he is out the door and has the water on.  He isn't interested in television very much anymore...he used to watch MSNBC programs over and over but not so much anymore.

He is still such a sweet and kind man.  The cats adore him, the granddog adores him, little children love him and so do I.  It is just so sad to lose one's life partner this way.