Daily Prompt; Tourist Trap
What’s your dream tourist destination — either a…
What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us VACATION.
I was born and raised here in good old flat-land, corn raised Indiana all of my life. But while I was married to my last husband who was never satisfied where we lived, I had the opportunity to visit places other than here.
I went to see my real mother out in Yuma Arizona a few different times. I tried actually living and working there to be near her, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Not only was my Mother’s love for me less than a dog’s instincts for her pups, I was the minority. People carried guns too. It is still like the old west in reality.
Then when I was married to my first husband, I was given the chance to travel to Stuttgart, Germany, where I lived and had my baby girl. I still dream of this country after many years have gone by. I loved everything I saw there, so this must be why I still dream about this beautiful place.
I married my second husband in Florence Alabama. I loved the southern people, the laid back life style, but I have a lot of bad memories just with married life. Big mistake, big, big, big mistake.
When our Father died, Al hated the memories of the home he had lived in. I battled for years and still do about this house. It was a nice home, but it wasn’t home to me and Al didn’t like it. We sold it. That is the battle I have. Maybe I should have kept it no matter what our feelings towards it. It was paid for and it was family, but I can’t go back and change it now. I only wish I could leave it alone in my mind. We headed south. We had one aunt and my grandmother that lived there. Our aunt who I will call M just thought we would love it here.
The first mistake I made is going on the word of someone else. I hadn’t ever argued with M, but she had lived in Florida for many years so our personal level of family was not there. I took the money from Mom and Dad‘s home and bought another home in Sarasota, Florida.
The homes are more expensive there than here. I think this is one of the bigger areas in my mind that I learned material crap is nothing more than crap. We had a home that was maintained by other people. It was in a nicer area of town. Complete with pool and tons of places to see and all several Goodwill stores and Salvation Army Thrift stores. The people were different though. I can’t tell you how many time ladies at stores would look me quickly up and down to see what I was wearing before they would respond to my hello. It was too rich for me. Many rich homes and people lived there. I had come from a size of 35,000 people to an area with more than 150,000 people. Too big, too rich for a country girl.
Al hated the pool. I got him in it one time, but he froze in spot. I helped him out and he never came within 10 feet of the pool again except one time. He sat on one of the lounge chairs with me.
I was able to find a place that was for disabled adults. Al went there M-F up until we came back home. He absolutely loved it. Since Sarasota is so large, his group was given many different tickets. He got to go to Tampa to see several ballgames. He went to Imax Theatres. He saw plays. He got to see alligators and all types of wild life.
But one day he quit qualifying for the program. His Parkinson’s was getting in the way. Al just couldn’t understand why he was not going to be allowed to go back. His heart and mine were broken. He didn’t care for the terrible heat, so he stayed inside most of the year. He didn’t like the pool and he was getting more sick, and becoming a patient of the heart and general hospitals.
Florida is a great state for retirees, but if you are a disabled adult who is mentally challenged too, you are up shit creek without a paddle. In our area there was no help. I was becoming frustrated and Al was still very sad about his day program.
I kept hearing Mom and Dad in my head. They were so mad at me because I had sold their home and went to Florida. But worse, I was thinking of coming back home. I thought about my kids and how they were here and I was there. The doctors that Al needed were back home and not in Florida. It made sense to come home but I was ridden with guilt.
The expenses of the property in Florida, giving up my parents home, and only being in Florida less than five years, plus the expensive moving in itself was enough to eat me alive with guilt by now. When I look back on this part of my life, I have come to terms pretty much with the big waste of money. It was a trip or a long vacation for Al. He had been left alone for so many years, that this was his chance to get out and experience life and have fun. Now with his Parkinson’s so advanced, I am glad I was able to give him those few years of total fun.
I talked to Al so many times back then. He never got over being miserable and his pains were becoming more often. I had the sad memories of Mom and Dad being in heaven if I came back here. All of our family but the half-sister were deceased. There was one aunt here but our relationship was ruined when our Dad died.
So why come back to a lonely and sad place? Why come back to the ugly, cold, long winters? I just knew it was the right thing to do, but still I fought with it in my mind.
My daughter gave me an idea. She lives in Ky near Bowling Green. She suggested we move there instead of back in Indiana. It was a brilliant idea to me, and Al was excited too. He loves my daughter and her husband.
I didn’t want to purchase anymore property at this time. I didn’t know the areas, and quite frankly I wasn’t sure where this Parkinson’s of Al’s was going. We found a place to rent in Bowling Green. I went on the words of the landlord. I specified that I wanted and needed a very safe area to live in.
Well it wasn’t quite like she said, considering someone took my car out for a midnight stroll one night. They broke into the car and tore up the glove box. But in general we really liked the area.
Everywhere we went people treated us like we were family. They didn’t know the word stranger. We lived in a duplex and our bedrooms were upstairs. Things went along pretty well. Al got to visit the Corvette Museum and we went lots of places. We fit in nicely. Then one day Al started stumbling. He was seeming to have heart attack spells more and more.
After a few visits to the ER we discovered he had Angina. Now he had this along with his heart attack a few years back. What was causing the Angina was the stairs. Every time he climbed the stairs he would have another attack.
The doctor told me we had to definitely move out of a two-story place or Al would have another heart attack. I was disappointed and I think Al was too. At this point in my life I gave up the fight and we bought our mobile home back home in Indiana. I had to bring Al back. My conscience could not see it any other way.
Being back home in Indiana gives me very few comforts. Yes, I know my way around very well. Yes, my one son lives within walking distance of me. Another son lives about an hour a way. We don’t see him often and the son who lives close we seem to always be at odds.
Now Al has been dealing with Parkinson’s and the ugly parts of it. He lives in a nursing home but is coming home. I am lonely without my parents. Too many memories here. The winters are cold. My feet suffer so bad in the winter from my Diabetic Neuropathy. They burned and burned most of last winter even with socks and very warm slippers on.
I know my two boys are here, but my daughter is in KY. I know that I loved that area so much.
I know my dream is to be back in Ky, but I don’t know if I will actually ever be able to do something about it.
I can hope and dream. I would be selling the home I live in, but to purchase another home with mobile home profits would be difficult. I guess if God wants me to go back to the blue grass state, he will find a way to help me make my dream come true.
Parkinson’s Gave Me Gifts
English: The Parkinson’s Disease Society in Vauxhall Bridge Road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have had a few people from blogging world and in real life that have told me there is a reason Al will not be going to heaven just yet. Some would say that maybe there were lessons in this sad illness.
In truth, I used to get angry, not at you, but at myself. I didn’t like it that Al was suffering and I was on the outside looking in. I was able to drive and walk, and feed myself. My numb feet from my Diabetes look so small when I see what Al is going through.
But as I look back in time I had to stop and wander a few things. Would I be as close to God if Al didn’t get this nasty Parkinson’s Disease?
I don’t know since I can’t go back and replay the scene. I do admit that I was a floater. I would float in and out of church when I felt like getting up and going. I would plaster my smile on my face and speak to strangers; when what I really wanted was to be home in my comfy clothes. Alone and not smiling.
There is a difference between being alone lonely. When I was in high school, I knew 98% of my graduating class. When I thought about friendships, I was friends with maybe 30%, but digging deeper I was friends with only 1 or 2 people.
I can’t imagine why, but I really did like it that way. Crowds bug me. You will never see me at the big pool parties, or the center of attention in any ring. Today, I am pretty much the same way. I have 1 very close friend, about 10 friends that I speak to on a regular basis, and I know hundreds of you here at WP.
Church, is another topic. Let’s see if I can explain it so you can understand where I am coming from.
I don’t care for church. I used to, but through my sorrow of loss of beloved family and seeing what Al is going through, I cry when I am in church. Then I wish I wasn’t there. Next comes the guilt that is heavily laid across my shoulders.
Mom always told me that a good woman could be found with a strong church background. So, I was disobeying her, although she is in eternal heaven, I know that it is wrong not to go to church.
Now flip that coin over. I am closer to God today than I ever was. I used to go to church regularly but I never gave it another thought once I walked out the church doors until the next Sunday.
Now, I pray and talk to God on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis. I feel like he and I have a connection. He is my rock and I am his sheep. When I get scared I run to him. When I feel weak or tired, I tell him and I expect him to help me. I thank him for the tiniest of things. If I stayed within my budget at the grocery store, I thank him for that. Like I said, I know that he is helping me every minute of the day.
So I know that I am stronger with him today than ever. This is probably the biggest thing Al’s illness has brought into my life. I know there is so much controversy about heaven and hell. There is one, there isn’t. It is another higher scale of this earth we live on. I have heard so much, but the truth be known, I grew up in church, so I believe in heaven and hell.
Through looking at cute boys, to falling asleep in church, I learned things that stuck with me forever. I am not going to take that one chance and intentionally blow my chances of going to heaven.
What if there really is no heaven? So what? I can look back from where ever I am after my last breath and say to myself, I did Al a lot of good. I was kind to people. I turned the other cheek.
One other point I want to make and then I will shut up, is this. When Al became ill and I learned through the months that there wasn’t too much of a support system out here for me, I got my big defense wall built up, and said I can do it all alone. Who needs them?
Another false belief. I learned it feels good to have a support system. I don’t have to cry alone. I can pick up the phone and call my friends. I can email you. I have gained so many friendships through WP and Al’s illness, I now realize I will never be alone even when I am sitting here where it is quiet. I have God and I have all of you. For this I am thankful for Parkinson’s Disease. But don’t push it, other than this, I hate his disease and what he is having to live through hourly.
I am being told by nurses at the Nursing Home and the pharmacy that Al‘s new Exelon Patch is not causing him to act so strange. Al reminds me of patients I used to be in charge over. He is dazed. He sleeps more often than not. His lips don’t move so I can’t understand him anymore. He cries all the time and he is confused.
The other day he asked me if I was going to come back for lunch. I was already there and we had just finished lunch. He is now confused about what day it is or sometimes what time of day.
Today when I walked in there he was very depressed looking. Come to find out he thought I was coming earlier. I told him that I don’t come earlier anymore because he is always napping. He apologized, and I didn’t want him to. It isn’t his fault he is napping.
I can’t totally trust the professionals. My gut tells me that part of this is Parkinson’s but another part are these darn medications. I have explained myself repeatedly that I never want Al doped up to the point he is not enjoying his life at all.
This is a drug world we live in. Not just the illegal ones, but the legal ones too. The pimp or supplier is often our physicians. I am upset. To spend the time and the money on gas to only see someone who is a shell really makes my skin crawl.
He has a plate guard that goes over his plate. Today at lunch he could barely lift his spoon up and over the guard. Of course he started crying then but he also wanted to do it himself. He refused any help.
Friday the kitchen was asked by the Nursing Supervisor to puree his meats for the entire weekend. I had been in on Sunday and had brought him a cheeseburger. It took him a half an hour to eat half of it. He finally told me to quit bringing him sandwiches. He refuses most of his meats at the facility.
I have been a licensed CNA for over 23 years. My charting for food intake has been the same no matter where I worked. Here at this facility they mark 50% above or below. There is no monitoring for proteins, sugars, or carbs.
I keep telling them since last week Al is not eating his meats. It has to be a texture thing I think. He chews it alright but then can’t swallow. He gets down applesauce, puddings and ice-creams very well. When I went in today I asked the nurse, the supervisor nurse, and the dietary manager all about the new experiment of puree meats for Al over the weekend.
I got the same response from everyone. I don’t know, I wasn’t here over the weekend.
Did they even try it? I don’t know. What will happen to Al if he gets too little protein? The Dietary Manager said she could substitute his meats for cottage cheese and yogurt. I didn’t realize yogurt was a protein. I guess I learn something new every day.
So what is going on? Is this Parkinson’s Disease causing him problems with swallowing? Is it the medications making the swallowing lazy? Or is he just too out of it to put any effort into swallowing?
When I got home from seeing Al there was a message for me. The facility has made a new appointment for him at a new neurologist. I don’t mind, but if they put him on more medications that freak him out or make him an empty shell, I swear I am going to scream.
I don’t want my brother to live like this. If he isn’t going to have any life at all, then why bother with anything. I don’t want an empty shell for a brother.
By noon this morning I had received two text messages from two of my kids telling me Happy Mother’s Day. On my way to go see Al I stopped at the mail box and got my mail. Inside was a beautiful card from my daughter who lives outside my area. There was a very useful gift card inside. I had never received a gift card and felt a little embarrassed when I had to ask my daughter what to do with it.
She called me this afternoon and wished me a Happy day also. Then tonight I heard the door bell ring and there stood my one son’s better half and their two kids. They brought me a card and a pretty necklace.
I felt pretty darn special, let me tell you. It was real nice to have one day off from the bad crap I have been dealt with this week.
When I saw Al today it was a complete turn around. No, he still has Parkinson’s, but his attitude and personality was wonderful. The new anti-depressant patch had obviously worked. He cut up with jokes with all the staff that walked by.
He talked to me about different shows he had watched on TV last night. He even did some embarrassing things at the dinner table like farting. Each time he did it he just giggled. It was making my face turn red but he was really enjoying his musical talent.
The only thing that bothered me besides the toots was his one hand. All five nails were gray and stayed that way the entire time I was with him. Inside where I can’t see the Parkinson’s is doing its thing. I tried for the most part to ignore and not keep glancing at them. His other hand was normal color. I don’t know what that meant, one being gray and the other hand pink nailed.
We had a good time. I took him soda and snacks for the week, and he sent me home with raisins and miniature snicker bars. He couldn’t get them opened by himself and when the aids helped him he couldn’t chew them. His jaw must be weak or his mouth or his chewing is becoming weaker. I know that he still chokes on foods so no more gooey snack foods for him.
So far we have taken out of his foods, any kind of stringy meat like roast. We have taken out jello because the tremors won’t allow him to keep it on the spoon. French fries have to be monitored if he eats those. Milk only once a day because of choking. Cake icing seems to get stuck in his mouth, so I monitor this. He can’t have any kind of white meat chicken, and all meats have to be ground. Most meats even ground are starting to make him choke. We are training him to take a drink after each bite of meat.
I stayed with him until he fell asleep in his recliner. About an hour ago I got a call from the facility. He fell again. No one was in his room, and according to the nurse, he must have reached behind him and unhooked the bed alarm and stood up to go to the bathroom. He walked three steps and fell hitting his back on the corner of the bed. She stated there are no bruises and no scrapes.
I was calm, and I do know that I have seen Al stand up and head for the bathroom and I will instantly ask him what he is doing. He says going to the bathroom. I ask him if he is supposed to be walking and then he says he forgot and sits back down. I always sigh a deep relief because when he stands it is only seconds and he is down. I think it is his Parkinson’s/Dementia causing him to think he can walk.
I hope he will be alright. My internal alarms are on alert basis now. Not only from the fall but it seems about every two weeks we head to the ER from more of those internal tremors in his heart and chest, and it has been two weeks. I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one.