She Says, He Cries, I Think

US Navy 100607-N-6410J-036 Physical therapist ...

I hear my voice saying calmly, it is alright, we will blame it on the dementia. You didn’t mean to, it is not your fault, but on the inside I am yelling at this PD. Two good days in a row, hardly any tremors, and this is including the day today.

The therapist comes and gives Al exercises to be able to strengthen his arms, so the goal of lifting the full glass up to his lips, instead of lowering his head to the glass, might be accomplished. While the therapist was here, she was telling me that Al is improving, that he has made progress in this one week they have been here.

Inside of me, I am saying show me where? Show me where the tremors are laid back for days. Show me where he did quit soaking the bed? Tell me that now I will not have to cut food up nor feed him. Tell me he can walk better than yesterday.

As the therapist was using plastic, empty cones, laying them on the floor and asking Al to pick them up, which he did, she looks at me with a big smile, and says see? he can do it. I said, yes, he can, the glass is empty. She looked at me and said nothing.

The therapist also said that he had a low-grade fever, and I have  heard Al complain the past two days of having a dry mouth, even though he is a huge drinker of water. I told the nurse who came this afternoon what the therapist had said, so she listened to his lungs and took his temperature. Now the lungs are clear, and the temperature is only 97. I see nothing wrong, she says. I mentioned that all morning Al’s voice was raspy and I could hear something rattling when he talked. She advised me to keep an eye on it, but she thought nothing was wrong.

My coffee pot went on the blink this morning right after making me my coffee, so I have to consider this an emergency, and with the therapist suggesting to buy Al a two-handled cup, I said we will get it today, because I must have my coffee.

We go to Wal-Mart and I buy us some lunch at the inside restaurant, Sub-Way, then after done, we go to the grocery aisles and get him some orange juice for breakfast, since he was out. Next, we went to the small appliance department  and I saw the coffee maker that I had at home, but guess what, the only coffee makers they had on the shelves were the expensive ones. I glanced around to see if there were any employees around, and as usual, there was not.

I asked Al if he would like to go over to the toy aisle and pick out a cheap car, that cheap is what he could afford this week after buying an expensive car last week. I asked him if he remembered how to get to that department, and he nodded yes to both questions.

He left on his scooter and I grabbed the first employee walking by, and I guess I was not very nice, because I asked her why is it every time I come here to get something much-needed, all the shelves are empty except the expensive ones. I reminded her that with the economy being so bad, they needed to keep the shelves stocked with the common priced ones. She didn’t deserve it, and why I acted that way, I am not sure, but she did go back to the back and look but came out empty-handed.

I did not want to tackle getting Al in and out of the car more than I had to, so I picked out one of the brands I like that was common priced, but it had no timer on it, so now I have to start it in the morning instead of waking up to heavenly coffee. Oh well, it won’t kill me, but it was a nice luxury for me.

I then went over to where Al was and he had a pile of cheap cars in his cart. I think my eyes bugged out, there were so many. I explained that we could not have more than one today, and he said he didn’t know that, that he had heard me say cheap, which each one was $3.59, not bad price, but over $.99, but when you add up several, it cost a lot! He started crying saying he had messed up again,and that his brain is so confused. I told him to pick out the coolest one of all, and he could have that one, but needed to put the rest back, which he did, with no fuss. He kept telling me he just didn’t understand, and I believe him, other wise he would have been throwing a fit to keep all of them, but he did not do that.

So tonight during supper, we were both eating and he tells me the bucket is missing. I ask him what bucket and he says the grey bucket. My mind is going to the movie I just watched yesterday, the Bucket List, and he says it is missing. I question him some more, and then I got it. He was saying to me that the bucket for the commode was missing.

All of a sudden I put my fork down, as I was no longer hungry, because my mind was picturing the mess I was in for when I went in to his bedroom. I went in there and saw no urine on the floor and sighed a sigh of relief. I lifted up the lid, and the lid was on the bucket, but the lid was full of pee. He had peed on the lid thinking it was the bucket.

When he finished his last bite, I told him the bucket was there, and he argued no it was not, and so I took him in and showed him the urine on the lid, and he said that I had placed the bucket back for him,and asked who’s pee was that. I told him that the lid was on top of the bucket and he had accidentally peed on the lid instead of taking the lid off peeing in the bucket. He cried again, and asked me what is wrong with his brain, that it is all messed up. I told him not to worry, that it was an accident, and I would clean it up. He walked out of his room crying and asking himself why he can’t remember things and why he screws up all the time, and then he looked back at me with big tears, and said, I really try Terry, I really do try.

I started crying immediately. My heart was breaking. I felt his pain and embarrassment. On one hand you have therapists and nurses saying he is improving, but in other areas they are deteriorating. Dementia is moving in faster and faster, he could pick up an empty, plastic cone with the therapist, but at supper he could not pick up a plastic half-filled glass. He cries wanting to know why he is messed up, and he didn’t realize prices at the stores.

I don’t know how to feel anymore, I feel confused. I tell myself to get hard-hearted, but I struggle with that. Nurses and doctors say he is in the beginning stages of five, the final stage. The nurse tells me today, to expect things to move quicker now, and that tremors can almost disappear in the fifth stage. All I know is Al is sick, and his body is changing and so is his mind, and as bad as I want to believe that he is improving, I only see him getting worse, when you look at the whole picture.

Continuing Story Part 25

Dahlia felt so good inside that the teacher had asked her to be a tutor for a new student.


She wondered who it was and where the child lived. She forgot those thoughts quickly as she was remembering all the positive things that the teacher had said about her.

Once she got home from school, chores were done, and supper preparations were beginning. The other boarders came to her, and they all wanted to hear the news from the horse’s mouth. They had heard through others that there was going to be a wedding.

They stopped what they were doing and all gathered around the table, making Dahlia sit down and spill it all. Dahlia had no problems sharing her news with them, and told them that she and Drake were planning on being married the day after graduation. All the ladies congratulated her in unison, and clapped their hands for her. They all decided that they were going to throw her a bridal shower party, and they couldn’t wait to start the plans.

All through the dinner preparations talk was on nothing else but the wedding and bridal shower. For the evening meal, tonight there was going to be meatloaf, baked potatoes, tossed salad, green beans, and cherry pie for dessert. As they were preparing and setting the table, others came home and soon all were talking about the upcoming wedding. As they all sat down at the table together, holding hands, they said a prayer of thanks, and also thanked God for bringing  these two, Drake and Dahlia, together.

Drew was sitting at the end of the table, and he even partook in the prayers. He glanced at Drake and their eyes locked. No smiles were exchanged but hope was in Drake’s heart that his brother would be healed of his behaviors. Drew lowered his head once again, and said an extra prayer to himself for himself.

Supper over, and the evening held nothing major, so each was doing their own thing. Drake was grading papers in his room, but his mind was wandering, thinking of Dahlia, and Dahlia was in the back yard, practicing harder than ever at the dance bar. Others were on the porch singing, and others were studying their school work.

Ralph and Rachel found Drew on the back porch steps. He was just sitting there looking out over the property. They both sat beside him and explained that the doctor’s appointment was tomorrow after the school day was over, and they would meet him outside the school doors and would accompany him to the doctor. Drew nodded his head up and down, barely getting the word, thank you out. He was struggling with what he had done and he didn’t really feel that well tonight. He just sort of felt achy all over but his head was throbbing. He thanked his parents for their help and excused himself to go to his room and retire for the night. They patted him on the back and said their good nights, and all departed.

The next morning, everyone got up and got ready for school and classes. Drake walked Dahlia to school, and as they stepped outside the front door of their home, he stole a quick kiss and told her he loved her, and that he had thought of her all evening long. She smiled up at his face, and whispered she loved him also.

It was midterm in school and each of Dahlia’s teachers stopped the regular class teachings and went over with the class of how each student was progressing so far. There were some claps and whistles and happy times, as the news was that each student was working very hard and it was showing in their grades. The entire school administration was proud of this years students, as the marks were very high for their academics.  At the end of the school day, there was a small party in the dance gymnasium, with refreshments served, for a reward of their good works.

Drew did not partake of the festivities, but instead found himself walking out alone through  the front doors of the school. As promised his parents were waiting at the curb, ready to drive him to the doctor. No words were exchanged between the three as they drove to the doctor’s office and parked the car and then went in and announced their arrival. In a short time, Drew’s name was called and they all went behind closed doors.

The doctor asked many questions, and wrote all of the answers down. He decided that they needed to run some tests. They would start with a CBC, and then they would run a Cat Scan and see if anything was happening that would show any changes from those years before.

Drew went down the hall to the lab and had his blood drawn, and then went to the Radiology room, and had his scan performed. When all was finished, the doctor came back to them and said it would a few days before the results were in, and that the receptionist would give them a call and set a time for them to come back, and with that, the doctor disappeared, going to see his next patient.

Drew, and his parents got up and made their way out the door and headed for home. Excitement was over flowing in the kitchen as everyone was talking about the party that had been given to them. They decided to celebrate here at home also, by having a pizza party. They made hand-made pizzas with all the works. The pizzas were so heavy laden with goodies, they were hard to get into the oven, but it was done, and soon the aromas were filling the room with yummy smells.

After everyone had stuffed themselves with pizza and sodas, they cleaned up and all went to the porch and sang songs of joy. Ralph played his guitar, and they all sung for a good hour. The skies were being overtaken with clouds, so each got up and made their way into the house, and Ralph went with Rachel to the back yard and helped take clothes off of the clothes line that had been hanging to dry all day. The two of them took this private moment to ponder on the doctors visit. Ralph asked Rachel if she thought everything was going to be alright, and Rachel said she did not know, but she did notice that Drew looked pale tonight at supper. Ralph nodded because he had also noticed too. They decided that prayers would be lifted to God tonight when they retired to their bedroom.


Less Tremors, More Naps

Yesterday was another one of those days where the tremors had decided to give Al’s body


parkinson (Photo credit: ibarakaldo)

a rest. Sunday was like that also. He has been more smiley these past two days than any other days. I wish I knew, once again, what it was that is allowing him more calmness, because I would make sure I kept that activity a priority. Again, though, it could be all the prayers, and it could also be the fact that he is now in his final stages of PD.

Parkinson’s Disease, from what I have studied and researched, can prove to have tremors become less and less in the fifth stages. I am not sure what causes this, but there is a part of me right now, that if this is true for Al, I almost wish the tremors would flare up to their normalcy again. This way I don’t have to think of any ending at all. I hope this makes sense to  you.

I love my brother and although he suffers many days, I don’t want to be unselfish. I don’t want to ever say goodbye, but that is selfish, and I have placed Al in God’s hands many months ago. I have to trust in God that he has this all in his control, and is doing what is best for Al and for me.

This morning, I knew that Stanley Steamer was coming to clean the living room carpet and the pathways of both bedrooms. I had put off picking up the small items until this morning, knowing I would have plenty of time. They were not to be here until the hours of 9-11AM.

Al got up at nine and we proceeded to get his breakfast fixed along with medications distributed. While Al eats his breakfast, I go into my bedroom and pick up throw rugs, and shoes, and anything else I see lying around.

I go into his bedroom and  pick up numerous coke items strewn on the floor. Now I tell him constantly not to leave items on the floor as it will cause him to fall easier, but he doesn’t listen to me. I go over to make his bed, and find the bed pad and the sheets soaked.

I was really surprised, because Al is always wet, but never soaks the bed or bed pads. I go ahead and pull  all dirty sheets off and start a load of laundry. I disinfect the mattress that is thankfully, plastic. I place the clean sheets on the bed and make it nice and clean for him. I clean the commode and the urinal, and then I go out to the kitchen where he is still eating, and ask him if he had any problems the night prior, and he says no.

I mention that the bed was a little wet and he says he doesn’t know how it got that way. Alright, whether he does or does not remember, is not a big issue, and I will not bring up any reasons for him to feel more guilty than he already does with the side effects of this disease.

So all is done in his room, and he is all finished eating, so I take him to his bathroom, and do a total wash up and get all clean clothes and a clean brief  on him. I breathe a sigh, as I know for now, he is all taken care of and smelling fresh.

I still have my house robe on and as I start to go to my bedroom to get dressed, the door bell rings, and low and behold, the cleaning company is well on time. I am forced to answer the door with hair unkempt, my pretty blue full length flannel house robe, and I try to divert their eyes by giving them my biggest fake smile I can produce. They both look at me, and smiled, saying, hi, we are from Stanley Steamer. I am thinking uh duh, I see the truck dudes!

I let them in and tell them I was just on my way to get dressed, could they forgive me while they get out their equipment, and they nodded yes. Well, they have come and gone, and the carpets look great! You have to wonder how carpets get so dirty when we both take our shoes off at the door, but they do, believe me!

So here I sit at the computer, Al is dozing on the couch as he is commonly found now, which I still have issues with getting used to. Al is a routine man, and he knows by his own rules, that there is no sleeping until three PM, nap time, so to find him napping mornings and evenings is still new to me. My white socks that I am to wear, waiting for the carpets to dry, which will be about four hours,  are already soaked. My feet are shriveled like prunes, my body is cold from having two fans running on the carpets, when it is only 50 degrees outside, and Al is lying with no covers on, head cocked to the side, sound asleep.

The day is good, Al’s tremors under control, clean bed, laundry working, my two cups of coffee drank, and carpet sparkling once again. Can it get any better???