Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Visit

Daughter Susan came down for a visit bringing our two grandsons, Griffin and Tighe. It had been too long since they had been for a visit. This visit for Griffin, I think, was a bit of a shock to see his Grandpa not even conversive. I felt badly for him, he so idolizes his Grandpa, says Grandpa is his hero. 

When we arrived we found Elbert sitting on the sofa in the living room area with his arm around Louise and she's fast asleep. Elbert wasn't much better. I wondered how it affected Griffin (and Susan) to see their Dad/Granddad with his arm around another woman but I never asked. I thought it best be left alone. 

We started to walk Elbert into the dining room so we all could sit at a table and visit. It was too close to dinnertime to take him all the way down to his room and back again. Well, he couldn't make but one or two steps and began falling. Thank goodness big strong grandson Griffin was there.... So, out came the wheelchair for Elbert. I found out that he had fallen twice already yesterday. 

I am worried about how much longer they are going to deal with the falling. It's so frequent. And, one of these days he is going to break a bone ... or two or even more. 

Elbert was a little more responsive once we got to the table. He didn't say much but did toss a ball back and forth with the grandchildren. And, arm-wrestled with Griffin. Griffin let his Granddad win.... twice. Good thinking, Griffin!! 

It was getting close to dinnertime and residents started wandering in. One sat down next to Tighe who happened to be playing with 'Cranky' a crane in the Thomas the Train set. 

She asked him what it was and Tighe, who is 2 1/2 said, 'it's Cranky'.  'Oh', she said, 'Tracy'. 'No, Cranky', Tighe corrects her. and she says 'Tracy' .... this goes on for awhile and Tighe is getting a bit ticked that this woman keeps calling his toy Tracy so he corrects her again. He's never ugly about it but just keeps up the No, Cranky response. She never got it!! It actually was funny. We were laughing at the two of them, one old lady and a little toddler arguing over a toy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whistle a Happy Tune

The other day when I was posting about Elbert whistling all the time I knew that I did not have a picture of him in the act. But, lo and behold, while I was scanning some photos for daughter Shirley I found one. Just had to share. This was taken at our 50th wedding anniversary celebration.... Shirley was dancing with her Dad while he whistled the tune to her. Precious memories. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blue Skies

Elbert was sitting in a recliner in the dining room all by himself. The tape player was playing oldies. I said hi and his smile warmed my heart. I pulled up a chair and took out the 'Birds and Blooms' magazine that I had just received. He commented particularly on the 'red birds' and 'the pretty flowers', looking through the pages twice. I was looking at the AARP magazine and found a picture of Andy Griffith. He enjoyed my chatter about the tv show and then I noticed he was singing along with the tape that was on. 'Blue Skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies do I see.' Yep, the skies sure are bluer these days. He's more alert. I am loving it. 

We put the magazines away and he was telling me some big tale about Walker County. It made no sense but he had mentioned the place we lived before we moved to Virginia. And, then he said something about 'old lady McCoy'. The McCoys owned a store in the community where Elbert grew up. His brain was pulling bits and pieces of old memories to the surface. Wow. He's not called anyones name, not even mine or the childrens much less anyone else, in a very long time. 

Then along came a girl with a dog.... a labradoodle (did I spell that right?). Elbert always owned dogs but he had shown no interest in any therapy dog that had visited the home before . But, here he was, commenting on how pretty she was and his eyes followed her as she pranced about at the end of her leash.

Dinnertime was approaching and residents began to drift into the dining room. Mr. G. had been pacing back and forth trying to exit first one door then the other. He's been at the home maybe a month and is just not settled in yet. He stopped to ask Elbert if he knew the doors were locked and Elbert told him 'Yes, I've heard that'. Miss Cutie Pie (the 99 year old) came in and sat down at her table ready for food. I gave my goodbyes and headed home before Miss Meany made her appearance. Just better that way. (grin)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Roller Coaster Ride

Daughter Shirley visited Elbert Friday and came home telling me that he was not verbalizing much, kept his head down.... so different than what Marie and I had witnessed on Thursday. I was upset. Suppose that medicine (the Ritalin) was not working. 

But, today Elbert was talkative and alert. He even mentioned his cousins that we used to live by. It was just the sir name that he recalled but he had not even thought about them for a very long time. So, I'm thrilled again.

Boy, this Alzheimers mess is a roller coaster ride. You go up, up, up climbing to the top and then there's a sudden crash to the bottom only to climb up again. Full of surprises, good and bad. 

 Oh, I wanted to mention that Elbert's sister has Alzheimers. She has recently been placed in a home after a long and very trying time for the family. I ask you remember them in your prayers, please.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cloud Nine

Was today ever fun in The Garden!! Marie and I went for a visit and at our voice Elbert's head shot up and he smiled at us. And, for the entire visit we were just in awe at the change in that man. He was alert, engaging, funny.... nearly like he was a year ago. Elbert has been put on a trial test using ritilin. Never heard that used for Alzheimers before. It's for ADD but it is working and I'm not complaining one iota. I just hope that it continues to keep him alert.... and fun.... 

Martha, the director, came by with ice cream.
 He would not decide which flavor he wanted and finally told her he'd take both. That was so like him, the man who used to eat anything and everything was not going to turn anything away. So, she gave him chocolate. He would not feed himself so I started scooping spoonfuls and fed him. 
 Nearly to the finish line with the ice cream race, he announced he had to make a potty run. I laughed at him so hard when he came out of the bathroom.  He was always such a jokester so it was great to see a little of that in him again. As he walked toward me he was scratching one side (like you do when you are imitating a monkey) so I said, 'I have found me a monkey' to which he very snappily replied, 'no, I've found me one' and pointed right at me... and he smiled. Oh my, how I loved it. 

He continued saying funny little things. He looked through two picture albums (before today he would turn a couple pages and then lay it aside.... more progress).
He filled his cheek full of air so I started punching it and as the air would escape he'd make this big whooshing sound. You could tell he was having fun. 
When we got ready to leave I leaned over and asked for a kiss and that little stinker would NOT kiss me. See that silly little grin on his face.
He'd make smacking sounds with his lips and grin but he would not lean over for a real kiss. I asked, 'you not going to kiss me?' and he shook his head no. Okay, dokey.... buddy you asked for it for I gave him a big one. 

Another residents wife came by and said, 
'I have to tell you. As I started into the Garden to visit Glenn (her husband) I could see your husband and Glenn standing in the hall just chatting up a storm. So I stayed just outside the door and watched. It was so good to see'.
I appreciated her sharing that with me so much. It affirmed my feelings that this med may be the answer to our prayers.

I left that place feeling like I was on cloud nine. They had told me that when they started the ritalin they weren't sure which way it would go.... would it work? would it not? They also told me he is staying awake a lot more, walking up and down the halls, talking more. Great news. I just pray so hard that he continues to be more like he used to be.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Milk Shake and a song

As Shirley and I were out and about yesterday we swung by to visit with Elbert. We had bought us each a strawberry milkshake at Sonic and got Elbert a chocolate one. Didn't want the strawberry chunks to get caught in his straw. Shirley asked 'Dad, you want a milkshake?' His eyes flew open and he nodded his head. He put the straw in his mouth and didn't take it out. Well, I thought to myself, he doesn't know how to pull that liquid up through the straw but Shirley said, 'Mom, his adams apple is going up and down. He's swallowing'. Wow.... After a few short minutes we heard the slurping sound of straw pulling just air up, no shake left in the cup. He looked diasappointed. I had some still in my cup so I asked him if he wanted the rest of mine. Yes, a big yes. So, he down that as well. I think he would have sat there for an hour drinking milk shakes if we had anymore. I will always remember how much enjoyment he got and I promise to bring shakes to him more often. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bump on the ole Noggin.

Elbert got a knot on his head Tuesday night. Fell again. So, I headed over Wednesday morning to see how he was doing. There he was sitting at the table in the dining room eyes closed but he smiled at me when I spoke to him and I actually got a bit of conversation out of him for a half hour and then he closed those eyes again and was out like a light. But, talking was fun for a little while. He seemed briefly interested when I mentioned that it was cooler outside. I even started naming off places we had lived when he was in the Navy and when I was finished I asked if he remembered any of them and he nodded his head. Now, to tell you the truth, I don't know if he remembers anything about his Navy days or any other days but it was comforting to me to have that response out of him. If he only knew what an appropriate word or two means to me............ but I take what I can get and ask for nothing else.