Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Taking Billy to a new daycare on Friday morning was tough. I didn't remind him until that morning that he was going, and he handled it better than I anticipated. He told me he would go "just this once," and he proceeded to ask me the following...
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Click on the title "Remembered: Alzheimer's Photography Project" and enjoy. Thank you, Karen, for sharing this with me. I intend to send Billy's pictures in to share also.
Tomorrow will be Billy's first day at the new daycare. Pray all goes well.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I notice that Billy does better in his own environment, so I had dinner at our house for my sister, brother-in-law, and Claire and Connor. Claire LOVES Aunt Kathy's meat loaf, so there is no question of what I make when they come for dinner. Billy really enjoyed the kids being here, and he always loves being around my brother-in-law, Shawn. We teased Billy about his voracious appetite. He was losing weight steadily for months, and with the change in medications, I can't fill him up at night. At bedtime last night, I told him he couldn't eat anything else as he went for his second or third helping of ice cream after having cobbler for dessert.
Things were different tonight, though, as he brought home half of his sandwich from Jason's Deli. As the disease progresses, I notice behaviors that we saw in his mother, and it's unnerving sometimes. One thing she did was wrap up her food in napkins at various meals. A few weeks ago, we were having supper at Whataburger before church, and as we sat down, Billy pulled a bunch of napkins out of his pocket. I asked what he had, and he said, he thought it was a cookie. As he unwrapped it, I could see that it was part of his lunch. He often feels pressed to be finished, and he feels he can't finish his meal. I eat very slowly, so I always tell him he might as well finish his meal because he has to wait on me anyway. He did this again tonight and started wrapping his sandwich in about 5 napkins. It's all I can do not to admonish him, and I appreciated that my sister-in-law went to get a takeout box for him.
Today was a very pleasant day, and I am so thankful for that. I feel certain that Billy gets bored on weekends when we don't have scheduled activities. I love those weekends, but he wants to know what time we're leaving, and I often have nothing planned. I've learned it's best to run a few errands or go get lunch, as long as he has a little outing. He asked to go out for lunch, and he even named the place he wanted to go, so off we went to Joe's Coffee Shop. He rarely has a specific request because he can't remember names of places, so I was happy to comply, even though it would not have been my choice.
It was suggested by my Alzheimer's counselor that I give Billy his Xanax regularly rather than waiting until it's "needed," and I believe that is helping with his calmer demeanor also. He never got into his usual Saturday anxiety of "when do we leave for church" like he usually does.
I know that all of this can change in the next hour, but I want to relate the good times as well as the distressing times, and I know from whom these blessings come. Praise God for still waters.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I am working on getting Billy into an adult daycare program closer to home. I have several reasons for trying to make the change. First of all, the location is bout 5 miles from our house as opposed to the 25 miles between the Cottage and our house. The program is in an assisted living facility that is specifically designed for Memory and Alzheimer's Care, and it is secure. The staff is trained to deal with the quirks of the disease. Finally, the program is less expensive than the Cottage. In addition to a less expensive daily rate, every Wednesday is free at this one. The glitch is that Wednesdays are currently full, and they don't have room for him that day, so he's on a waiting list. All of these are good reasons to change, but if Billy doesn't do well there, I'm not in favor of it. Change is really difficult for him, and I don't know how he will react. If his days are uneasy, that carries over to home, and the struggle gets worse. Please pray for a peaceful transition if that is best for Billy.
I must go now and see if I can get Billy to bed. He fell asleep on the couch for about an hour, and now, he thinks it's morning. :)
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Thank you for reading this blog and supporting us. Your constant prayers and support keep me encouraged and upright as we care for Billy. Please continue to read, and I will keep on writing.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Billy and I both come from loving families, but they are different. My family gets together as often as we can - birthdays, holidays, and just because days. Billy's family gets together once a year - Christmas Eve. They are close knit within their immediate families, but the extended group - not so much. Billy's 55th birthday is July 12th, and because his decline has been so rapid lately, Shelley and I really want this to be a special birthday for him. We are having a party for him this Friday night, and I called his older sister to let her know. Unfortunately she will be out of town, but she invited us to her daughter's house this past Saturday for a pool party where her three children and all of her grandchildren would be together. So, off we went to buy Billy a swimsuit and sunscreen for Saturday. It was great to see him enjoy his family so much. I doubted he would swim because I chose not to, but I sat outside with him, and he actually got into the pool. He was not anxious to leave, and in fact, I was the one to say we needed to go in time to get to church on time.
After church on Saturday evening, we had dinner with family and friends, and Billy was relaxed and talkative. He did get very nervous when I told him we were meeting my sister and her family and some friends at my school to watch fireworks from the roof of the building. We've done this for the last 5 years, and he's always enjoyed it, but this year, the anxiety got to him. He did calm down some after we all got up to the roof, but he was really relieved when it was all over.
On Sunday, we enjoyed a relaxed morning, went grocery shopping, and had lunch with Shelley and Andrew at our house. Afterward, Andrew agreed to hang out with Billy while Shelley and I ran some errands for a few hours. Billy really enjoys Andrew and feels comfortable with him, and Andrew is an awesome young man who is very patient with him. According to Andrew he didn't seem real anxious but he did talk a lot about us playing soft ball on Sunday night. Who knows where that came from...I can guarantee I had NO plans to pay softball that night or any other nights in the future. But by the time I got home, and we talked a little, he made no mention of it. We ate and went to my sister's house to visit, and he really enjoyed himself. Another really great day for Billy!
Today we celebrated July 4th with my parents who live about 75 miles away. We had hotdogs and Mom's homemade peach cobbler. Billy couldn't compliment the cook enough! He kept us all wondering what he might say next, and I'm sure I was the most nervous. I would describe his actions as silly when he's in a good mood. At one point, my dad and I were talking about a cruise he and Mom had taken, when Billy interrupted, and looked at my dad to say, "Let me ask you something." I held my breath for a moment because he's said that to me a few times lately, and then he says something like....Can I sleep with you tonight? I couldn't imagine what he was about to ask my dad. Then he said, "If we were to invite you, would you come spend the weekend with us?" I was really relieved and amused at the same time. My dad knew we had given Shelley and Andrew our guest room bed, and he told Billy, we didn't have a place for them to sleep. Without a moment's hesitation, Billy said, "I'll be sleeping on the floor." His intent was really sweet. He loves my parents, and he wants them to visit, and that was on his mind. He'll be thrilled when they come for his birthday party on Friday evening and actually spend the night because I got a bed for them. :)
Billy seems to be at a stage in the disease where his emotional maturity is much like an adolescent boy. He gets very silly and says things that he thinks are humorous and laughs easily. Many of the things he says do not make sense. The words are real words, but I don't know what he's talking about. As Shelley says, his filter is either turned off or missing. It's hard to be around him and not laugh with him. It's infectious, but we aren't sure what we're laughing about. He's also very quick to express his feelings, and as we left my parents' house today, he gave my dad a hug and said, "I love you." Even though I have a close knit, loving family, my parents have not always said those words readily. I've never questioned that I was loved, but we didn't make a practice of saying it out loud. Billy's family has always been very open about saying they love each other, and Billy has always said that to his family members, but recently he says it to his caretakers, and today to my dad. My dad's response to him was, "The feeling is mutual." And I believe it is...