Parental Journal 40 from Planet Elderly: Pastries and Purging Papers

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 – 3:30 p.m.

Quite a contrast in Dad between yesterday and today.  Yesterday he was still in comedian mode.  Today he was rather sleepy and didn’t say too much.

On the way to yesterday’s visit, Mom and I stopped at Lovin Oven Cakery.

Mom and Lovin Oven Cakery Jan 26 2016

We picked out some pastries to bring to the staff in Dad’s wing, and we bought a plain cake donut that has always been his favorite.

Goodies at Lovin Oven Cakery January 2016

Our server, Sarah, was kind enough to cut our selections in half so we could more easily have reasonable portions to share.

Sarah at Lovin Oven Cakery January 2016

They had a specialty item:  maple glazed bacon long johns.  Sarah tried to talk us into trying one because they are such a favorite.  Had to pass.   I refuse to betray my primal love for a good cheese Danish.

bacon covered long johns at Lovin Oven Cakery Jan. 2016

Dad was on a “great” and “best” theme yesterday.  He talked about his father:  “He sure showed the world that he was the greatest guy there is.”     “He deserved all the good stuff.”

Grandpa Carl was pretty special, and although he was my step-grandpa, I have very fond memories of spending some summers in Syracuse, NY when I was a preteen.  We fished for perch in Oneida Lake…but of course, he had to put the worm on the hook.  And I’m sure that watching him garden was one reason I enjoyed gardening as an adult.

Other comments from Dad:

“I’m enjoying it.  The best of everything for me.”

To Mom:  “You got the best of everything.  You got me.”

“I think we’ve gotten the best that there is.”

“Great…great…great.  What a world!”

Between the pastry sugar highs and Dad’s comments on the great and best in life….it was a fun visit.

Purging Papers

Yesterday afternoon I had to see if I could find more documentation to assist with tax preparation.  I found some items, but not others.  Mom had no clue of what had arrived…even though I asked her to put all mail in one pile for when I return.  “I don’t get any mail,” she often says.

I got lucky, though.  I found some important papers in the first drawer I tackled.  Then one drawer led to another and we ended up spending three hours purging old bank and utility statements and shredding them.  Mom likes shredding.  She’s also quite patient when it locks up.

At one point Mom came into the room I was in and asked if I needed anything.  I was on the floor buried in papers.  “Wine,” I said.  Sure enough.  She came back with the bottle of Riesling I had in the fridge.  “I might need some, too,” she said.

My folks don’t have a filing system.  They have an envelope system.  They’re everywhere…but at least we tackled one small dresser of them.  There’s a bunch under the bed, but Mom forbids me from going there.  Okey dokey………..for now.

One thing I’m grateful for:  My folks live fairly simply…and even at that there is/will be a lot of stuff to sort through.  I can’t imagine what it is like for folks whose parents have 75 years’ worth of S.T.U.F.F….from their youth, their kids, their grandkids.  At least I’ve been spared that.

And today…Dad was quiet.  He sat with his eyes closed.  Mom brought him another donut from Jewel, but he did not open his eyes to look at it.  He just ate it…with his eyes closed.  Why not?Dad Jan 28 2016 eating donut with eyes closed

 

Also today…we went to Dad’s new room:  130.  It has a double window…so lots of natural light.  He has a new roommate, Franz, who is new to the unit and rather quiet.

After we arrived, the staff showed Mom how Dad reacts if they attempt to have him try walking with a walker.  There were three persons assisting and Dad was unable to understand what to do.  “What the hell’s going on?” he shouted.  Mom cried.  Part of her still wants him home where she can take care of him, but that is impossible.  Most of the time she realizes he is safe and comfortable where he is, plus medical emergencies can be addressed quickly and efficiently.  And as we heard yesterday… he thinks things are pretty “great” and he’s enjoying the “best.”

Joe and Jan

Married residents Joe and Jan have both passed away. He was once in the Air Force; she was a teacher at one time. Joe died several weeks ago.  Afterwards, Jan went downhill quickly.  The change seemed dramatic to me:  she was in a wheelchair, barely spoke, slept a lot…not at all the lively gal who would bebop around the community room dusting and taking care of her sweet Joe.

Sunday I noticed that Jan’s bedroom door was closed and an “Oxygen in Use” sign was on her door.  Monday her nameplate was gone and her room was being emptied.  When I asked the nurse if Jan had died, she nodded and had tears in her eyes.

To Joe and Jan:  Good night, sweet lovers.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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