I looked back to see my early December post from 2012 and discovered this:
Last year at this time, I was sitting with my feet up on the sofa, taking pain meds and wearing fleece pants over a “boot” due to foot surgery. This year, Frankenboot is a distant memory. My toe that received the majority of surgical attention isn’t 100% but it is livable. Ugly, but livable.
Our tree is up and decorated as of December 8th, but I am yet again/still behind on preparing for Christmas in a myriad of ways. Last year I could blame surgery; this year, I can blame my work schedule — but really, this happens every year because I am a procrastinator.
Luckily, I do love fall decorations…
Our tree is up and decorated, thanks to my two teenagers and the older teen’s girlfriend.
And that is about all I’ve got. Some success at a craft fair on Saturday (hoping to squeeze in a sale at the community college this coming week), and a really busy schedule over-all.
Jen on the Edge is hosting the 6th Annual Holiday Homes Tour, scheduled for December 20th. You can click on the link to sign up for a stop on the tour.
I’d like to say I have time to walk down each path, to follow you to your place and “set for a spell.” The reality is that I don’t even have enough hours in a day to keep up with my e-mail. For the next two months, work will consume more days than are allotted for my job. For the next month, Christmas preparations will consume more time and brainpower than I have available.
My life is full and so is my schedule. I am happy and busy, but there is little time to stop and reflect, to think, to write.
I’m practicing thankfulness and attempting to practice mindfulness.
Count your blessings, name them one by one…
I’m using Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’m challenging myself to come up with them alphabetically. (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)
I suspect some of you thought I’d given up on finishing the alphabetized list of counting my blessings. I promise you that I am committed to finishing this exercise! However, as cliché as it may be — and yes, it is indeed a cliché — it is also true: I’ve been really busy. Frankly, I’m going to be really busy through the month of January. After that, I hope to breathe and blog a bit more. (Okay, so I’m still breathing… but not so much blogging. There are over 200 unread posts in my Feedly reader again. *sigh*) But back to business here…
Welcome to W week!
WWW is for the world wide web (that is what it stands for, isn’t it?) and boy, howdy! am I ever grateful for the internet world of friendship and blogging. Because of blogging, I have met some wonderful people in person and many, many more digitally. I have quite a list in my head of folks I hope to meet “in real life” someday.
Back in April when my computer hard drive froze (just stopped driving, not even my computer guru friends could fix it) I “lost” nearly 18 months worth of photographs. The devastation wasn’t nearly as bad as I originally feared because I had shared so many pictures here with all of you. Those photographs were saved from digital disappearance — yet another blessing from blogging. Without you, dear Reader, I probably wouldn’t bother with a blog.
W is most definitely for all the wonderful women in my life. Tonight is my monthly Book Group dinner and discussion, and knowing us, there will be laughter and tears.
W is also for work. I am grateful for a job that both fits my skills and challenges me. And that is where I am headed now. I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can!
What are you thankful for this week?
My little P&S camera arrived safely at my house on this afternoon — O happy day!
To celebrate, here are the “best of” pics from last weekend.
[Click on any pic to embiggen]
Happy to be out on an adventure — I pushed his wheelchair down the long driveway (walking backward where it was steep) then across the road and up a steep driveway to get to one of the other houses in his facility. The caregivers there were surprised and pleased to see him. Everyone was surprised that I was able to manage the hills/wheelchair/dad/myself all on my own. He’s a big guy and I won’t say it was easy, but he had the difficult job of holding his feet up enough to not drag when we were traveling faster than a snail’s pace. We stopped many times to give him a break. Next time, we’ll need to figure out some sort of sling to hold up his legs and feet. He can’t use the foot pegs that most people use on wheelchairs; his legs are so long that his knees end up in the air in a painful position. Normally this is not an issue — he shuffles his feet along to assist in propelling the wheelchair, which works well indoors or on smooth pavement, but it is very difficult on uneven surfaces.
Five things I learned this past weekend about Parkinson’s Disease:
- Caffeine consumption appears to be protective against Parkinson’s disease. The more coffee you drink, the greater decrease in risk of PD.
Score for me! Pass the coffee pot, please!
- Sleep problems are a feature of the disease. My dad suffers from insomnia on a regular basis and –probably related — drowsiness in the daytime (he fell asleep constantly during lunch on Sunday — yet woke up enough to snitch my last bite of dessert when I left the table to refill my water glass).
- While I knew that dementia often accompanies PD in the later stages, I didn’t know until this week that a person with PD has two to six times the risk of dementia compared to the general population.
- Not too surprisingly, there are issues with mood difficulties in people who have PD, especially when the PD is combined with dementia. The top 3 mood difficulties are depression, apathy and anxiety. (My dad is often vexed in the middle of the night, so I am grateful that he can take anti-anxiety medication.) And seriously, wouldn’t you be depressed if you were dealing with PD?
- Some of Dad’s behavioral issues that the family has been made aware of recently might be related to the disease or his medications — or, I can continue to believe that with age and dementia, the filters fall away and behaviors & thoughts from earlier in life come back to roost. Nevermind the mixed metaphors, just guard your dessert plate, the kitchen counter, and the garbage can.
You probably know that I just got back from another trip to see my dad in Arizona. He’s definitely slowly going downhill these days. Once upon a time — just over 22 years ago — he stood tall at 6’2.5″. (This picture is also proof that once upon a time — just over 22 years ago — my oldest son was a bit pudgy! You’d never believe it by looking at him now.)
Yes, I am a P.K. (preacher’s kid). Yes, he baptized my 2 oldest sons, although this photo was not taken on that particular day.
But 22 years have passed. On Sunday afternoon, I was pushing a wheelchair for my dad instead of a stroller for my son. Dad can maneuver about by himself but it is with tiny steps on the floor and tiny rolls of the wheel under his hands. I don’t want to take away his independence but I also don’t want to wear him out, so I had to balance his desire to do it all on his own with my desire to not let him wear himself out. He has advancing Parkinson’s Disease and is still in denial about what he can and can’t do. For instance, he can’t get out of bed on his own… but he still tries, especially at night when he becomes confused more easily. Some of this behavior is due to the dementia and some of it is due to stubbornness. The staff puts an alarm under the bed pad, which goes off when he starts to maneuver his way off the bed. It gives them enough warning to come running before he falls. While I was there this past weekend, he didn’t want me to think that he was incapable of anything, so he transferred himself onto the toilet. He announced that he was going to use the bathroom with such nonchalance that I was fooled; he knew he wasn’t supposed to do it, but he was determined. It was a delicate situation: I was trying to give him privacy and trust… but also questioning him. Eventually, he admitted that he had done something against the rules. This was after he wore himself out trying to get back off the toilet. He could not stand up and was in great danger of falling. He refused to push his call button so I went in search of help.
I won’t go into details, but in the end he was appropriately chided but also given due respect — and we all let him think that I didn’t really know what was going on. Dignity is important to everyone.
I know that he sometimes feels that he is a prisoner because he has voiced it as such. Yes, he is a prisoner of PD in his own body, but he also feels stuck in one place — a very nice place. In the past, I have tried to get him to agree to getting in the car and going for a drive but he declined the offer. Almost 2 years ago, he was in a transport van coming back from an appointment at the clinic when another vehicle rammed into the side of the van. It broke his wheelchair and banged him up pretty badly (like most older folks, he bruises easily). After that, he refused to ride in a vehicle. The nurse and sometimes even the doctor come to see him instead. But with time and PD dementia, he let that detail slip from memory and suggested that I take him for a drive to see the sights around Tucson, entirely forgetting that the safest (and quite nearly the only) way to move him from one position to another is with a Hoyer sling. So instead, I got permission from the staff (who all thought I was underestimating the difficulty) and took Dad for a walk down the long hilly driveway, across the road, and up the steep driveway of the other two houses that make up his assisted living facility complex. He questioned my ability the whole way over to the other houses but clearly I impressed him because he didn’t question me on the way back! The caregivers across the road were surprised and pleased to see him. (Dad couldn’t remember being there before, but I was assured that this was not his first visit. Score again for dementia.) I suspect this was the highlight of the weekend for my dad, being out and about on a lovely day.
What he probably won’t remember is that at lunch on Sunday, when I got up to refill my water glass, he snitched a piece of zucchini bread off my plate. I’d heard from his caregivers that this has been a problem, that he had been doing this to other residents. I had also seen him eyeing things on the kitchen counter (leftover pie, for instance) with full intent to snag them when no one was looking, so I wasn’t really surprised to see my plate empty when I returned to the table. I’d baked a loaf of zucchini bread at home and brought it as a gift for him. It was not a big deal that he took a piece of bread off my plate, but I was pretty sure that he would deny it if I “called him on it.” He had dropped it onto his own plate where it nearly blended in with his own food. (And yes, he had a large slice of his own zucchini bread!)
Lord, when I am old and in a care facility, please don’t let me steal food from other people, the countertop, or the garbage can! [Yes, he does that, too.]
It was just 5-1/2 years ago that he drove himself around the perimeter of the contiguous United States. He spent 30 days in total, driving alone — which scared all of us — and had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in Washington State, Idaho, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Florida before returning to Arizona. The picture here was taken in May of 2008 at my home in Virginia.