Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday Changed Everything

This week has been a very difficult week for the Barton family. Elbert and I have been married 58 1/2 years. A long, long time. And, this week I moved him into Magnolia Manor, into the memory wing. Hard decision and a heart breaking one.

Daughter Susan (the baby of our family) flew down from New York and the night before the move she and her Dad sat at the dining room table looking at an album of pictures and stories about a trip the three of us made to Europe 18 years ago (when things were wonderful and we thought they always would be). The next morning (Tuesday) we left the house and headed for Smithfield. Here is Susan and Tammie (the sitter) helping Elbert out to the car.

But.... first.... we had lunch together to celebrate Shirley's birthday. Her birthday is Sunday and she wanted to share her birthday with her Dad.

A picture with our hands all joined in support and solidarity. Grandson Christopher (who is left handed and has to sit where he doesn't elbow his lunch neighbor) was at the end of the table and you about can't see him.
Elbert and me at lunch.
Susan feeding her Dad some of her lunch.
We left the restaurant and drove over to Magnolia Manor. All of us walked down the hall to his room and he went in, sat down in his rocking chair and was soon taking a nap. Guess lunch wore him out.
After a short nap we heard him singing an old 50s tune under his breath. Can't remember now what it was. We asked him how he liked the room and he said he liked it, it was a very nice room. He didn't seem stressed, seemed more at home than we imagined he would. Then it was time to leave. The director said she'd bring a gentleman down from the assisted living wing to talk to Elbert while we left so it wouldn't leave Elbert so alone. The man had been military and also a school teacher just like Elbert. So, we said our goodbyes.
The next morning (yesterday/Wednesday) the director called. She had called from her home back to Magnolia Manor two or three times during the night to check on her newest resident. And, she reported he had a good night, ate a big breakfast and was in exercise class when she called me.

Later in the day Susan wanted to go by and see her Dad before she left this morning early to go back to NY and her family. She and Shirley visited him for awhile. I elected not to go in with them as I felt three was a crowd and might be overwhelming to him. So, I sat in the lobby and ran into the head nurse who reported some great news. The head nurse said that this morning as she walked down the hall she saw him outside his room so she went to him, helped him put his shoes on and took him to breakfast. Later in the morning he went with the rest of the residents out into the courtyard where they talked, sang songs and had juice. She says he's learning his way around, has learned who are the talkers and who won't talk to him and he acts like he has been there months and months, not just two days.

That report just lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. He is happy, he is doing more than he would do for me. OH.... and when the girls went down to see him he was watching an old Clark Gable movie. He's already picked out a favorite chair to sit in when he goes into the common room where the group gathers for activities and tv watching. I am so thrilled that the transition is going so well and that is making my transition so much easier. He always was a sweetheart... he still is.


Kenna said...

This had made me weep. So many feelings - just so glad to hear things are going well.

Dorothy said...

It must be heart breaking to have to leave your loved one like this! But if we live long enough, that time will come to most of us. It is wonderful that there are such nice places dedicated to caring for them. Blessings and peace as both of you make this transition.

Dolores said...

I'm crying for you with joy and sadness........ This is such a difficult time for you, a new chapter in your life, but I'm so happy for you that you found Magnolia Manor and that Elbert is already adjusting. What a blessing for you to have a supportive and loving family.
God bless you all!

Susannah said...

Hello Lantane, We have been away for a few days but I was thinking of you and Elbert. I am glad to hear that things are working out okay.
Yes, 58 years is a long time...a very long time..but your loving long marriage has helped to make you stronger. You made this decision for both of you....just as you always have done in the past. Your family must be very proud.
It sounds like you have picked a wonderful place for Elbert. That should make you feel good.


Kim said...

I can only echo what has already been said here. You and your beautiful family handled this so so well and I am pleased for all of you.

Martha Z said...

This must be one of the hardest things you have gone through but I feel sure you have made the best decision. He will be safe there with caring professionals to look out for him and you can take time to look to your own health. He needs you to be his advocate, an important job that you can do best if you are healthy and well rested.
I imagine that it is a great comfort that his first days at the manor have gone so well.
May God bless and protect you all.

CAB said...

My prayers are with you sister Latane. I am so behind on my blog reading, I had no idea. I will keep you both in my prayers. I'm thankful all is going well.

Peggy said...

Hi Latane, it looks like there is a huge weight off of your mind. I am so glad he is settling in well and it makes it easier for you and the family also.