Thursday, August 26, 2010

Days Past

It's years and years and years since the Korean War. To think about that makes me feel so old. To tell the truth Elbert and I are in our sunset years. Back then we were young and foolish and in love.......and apart. 

Elbert was a radioman aboard a ship 
and it was his job (along with the other radiomen) to take and receive messages in teletype or morse code. 
Sometimes the guys took a break
(look at the mustache on that handsome face. Only time he ever grew one)

And once Elbert got caught napping. (he wasn't on duty so he didn't get in trouble)
Until recently that man could still send morse code messages.... dit, dit, dot, dit. Even with his mind wrapped tightly with Alzheimers he remembered those codes. How strangely the brain gets tangled, all twisted and warped and then suddenly a light flickers for just a moment.... and his hand goes out to touch the key again  dit, dit, dot, dit. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What is Life?

 Life.... a four letter word. Could be a good four-letter word or a bad one. It all depends. 

Just exactly what is Life? A gift from God for sure and one we should be eternally grateful for. 

In my American Heritage School Dictionary I find the definition:

Life: The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and nonliving matter, shown in the ability to grow, carry on metabolism, respond to stimuli and reproduce.  

That tells me nothing other than life is just being. Tadpoles have life!! Life is so much more. The quality of life depends on blessings from above and our ability to put those blessings to work for the good of mankind (others, family, friends and for ourselves). If we do not,  then life turns into a sour, useless void .  

When life is nearing it's end how do we define the life we have lived? Can we say we honored the great gift of life by being and giving and loving or do we say it's been that useless waste? 

I have been thinking about life lately as I watch Elbert's life ebb away. I can say for a certainty that he lived his life honorably, loving, giving. He took care of his family, he enjoyed life and living. He loved his God and he's been blessed. Now, that's the true meaning of LIFE.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


On Wednesday I was called late in the day that Elbert was being transferred to a nursing home. To me that says that the hospital had done all they could do for him.

I have been going down each day to visit. He's extremely weak and his speech isn't as clear as it was but he does make some sentences that are recognizable. He asked yesterday 'where is Mike?' Michael and his wife left a couple days ago. Did he remember that Michael had been here or was it a random thought connecting with memories in his head? I'd like to think that he remembered parts of the week long visit while Michael and Susan were here. But, then, of course, we hang on to what we want happen, not what is happening most times.

It just about broke my heart to leave him at the nursing home. A different reason, a different scenario than when we left him at Magnolia Manor. This seemed so final. At Magnolia there were people walking around, talking, watching tv, they seemed to have some 'life' left in them. At the nursing home the beds are filled with patients who are sick and maybe dying, wheelchairs go up and down the hallways. It's a sad, sad place. Shirley and I walked back to the car after leaving Elbert and just collapsed into each others arms and cried.  Life has many twists and turns. This is one turn I just as soon not come upon.

We have to find a sunny place in all this sadness and we did..... Guess what.... no more Ms. Meany. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010


This Alzheimers is something I just can't figure out. After the last post (with his kidneys not working properly and being told they were beginning to shut down) I asked that Elbert be put on 'comfort care'. He was moved to another part of the hospital and all ivs and meds taken away except fluids with a small amount of glucose. I was satisfied, especially so after the dr. agreed wholeheartly, that it was the right thing to do. 

And, then.... God does perform miracles. His kidneys started with more output, his oxygen level got near normal and he started talking our ears off. And, what he said made sense. And, this from a man who had not communicated with us for months. We just had the best time yesterday. 

When asked what football team he would root for ... his emphatic answer was 'Bama'. He talked about a pretty girl and when I asked if that was his wife he said, 'NO, it wasn't her'. hehe. He mentioned the county we used to live in, the town, our community and two cousins. He counted something in the air (make-believe) and once said something about something to see. I asked 'what' and he said, 'you know, S-E-E. Once he had my hand and started pulling it to his face. I asked, 'Are you going to kiss me' and he said, 'yes, if I could' so I bent down and we kissed. I was just amazed, excited and enjoying every minute yesterday. Finally late afternoon he dozed off. Worn out I guess.

Prayers were answered and I appreciate all of you and your loving care so much. God bless each and every  one of you.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Wish the news was better but life is what it is. In the last few days I had been told by three of the staff at the hospital that Elbert was not going to get better. My gut feeling yesterday morning was that they were telling me the truth and they just confirmed what I already knew in my heart. Elbert had gotten severely dehydrated at Magnolia Manor and had been rushed to the hospital. It's been a devastating struggle so far.

I kept trying to see the doctor yesterday but it never happened. So, with what I knew and what I was being told I asked the nurse to put a request in for 'comfort care' for Elbert on his chart. The Doctor this morning said I had done the right thing. That is always reassuring to know we have done what we needed to do even if it is a difficult decision.

He had been in a 'step-down' unit but today they moved him to a regular room. The antibotics are gone as are any of his regular medications. He is being given halladol to try and keep him calm and morphine. And, we sit and watch and wait......

He has not been responsive to conversation on much of a level for quite awhile. But, amazingly enough, the last couple of days he has talked our heads off. He has tons of 'junk' as the cute little nurse puts it, in his throat so he is gurgling loudly. Hard to make out a lot of all this talking he's doing but we have understood all we need to. He has told us he loves us. He puckered up and kissed Marie on the cheek this morning. He smiled when told he is expecting a great-grandbaby and even arm wrestled with Shirley (He got her, too). It seems that he is doing all he can to make sure we know that we are loved. And, I know he feels the love he is being showered with. But, there comes a time in life when life must cease. I know that God will watch over me and the family as he gathers Elbert in His arms. I have already told God that it's 'okay' if He takes Elbert home.

On the other hand, Elbert is getting combative and very restless. He's hard to handle and we are getting worn out already but the end of the journey is yet down the road.

Elbert and I should have made it to our 60th wedding anniversary in December. It looks like we won't.