I Asked, And He Answered

Today was the day that I went and picked up Al to take him to our favorite restaurant. I got

Close up image of Cradle cap

Close up image of Cradle cap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

there on time, and he was dressed in his coat and hat and all ready to go, but something seemed different.

I thought that the main reason he wanted to go to the nursing home, was different from my reasons, he wanted to socialize. Every time I go there, he is not socializing. I can’t put my finger on it, but something is not the same.

I know, it takes time as you all tell me, and this is an adjustment period, but I saw things today that made me quite upset, and I did say something when I took him back. When we got to the restaurant he could not take his own jacket off, and when I questioned him about simple things he cried and I could tell he was confused or didn’t understand things.

He told me he was getting prunes for his snack, so I simply asked  what else to go along with them, and he said nothing. I asked him if he asked for anything else and he said no. He didn’t know he was supposed to ask.

His fingernails were awful. They were black and I could tell by some colors under his nails, that he has been doing some digging too. Here we were at the restaurant, and I could barely eat, looking at his nails, or I would have been ill.

I asked him about activities he had been doing, and he said therapy. I asked what else, and he said nothing. I asked him if he told anyone that he wanted to be involved with activities, and he said no, he didn’t know what activities there were.

He explained to me that his vision is blurry again, that he can not see. I told him I didn’t know what to think, as we had just picked up brand new glasses for him two weeks ago. He said he didn’t know.

Everything was I don’t know and tears. There was more confusion today than I had ever seen before. I am going to give it up to PD, that this is the reason. I dropped the questions when our food arrived, and we ate. He ate good but could barely got the glass to his mouth, his tremors were so bad. I could see that he is definitely getting weaker in strength.

In the car on the way to the restaurant, his tremors were so bad, it made me dizzy watching him. I am not sure if this is the progression of PD or what. He ate a breaded cheeseburger, fries, a diet cherry cola, and a piece of sugar cream pie, so he has a good appetite!

After we were finished, I searched through the store for snacks for him to take back. I had taken him snacks that were left over from here at home, when he was placed, and he was sure to let me know he was running low. I can’t figure out if he is eating the snacks during the day, or at bedtime, and this is why he is not being offered snacks or what is going on.

He told me that the nurse told him to take his money and buy himself a shelf for the wall. He started crying because he said that the nurse should know he doesn’t have any money. See where his comprehension is coming in? I explained that the nurse thought if she told him that he needed the shelf then he would tell his sister, and she could go get him a shelf, which I did.

After lunch, and getting the shelf, I asked him where else he would like to go, and he said no where, he was ready to go back. I asked him again, saying anywhere you want to go, let’s go, while it is nice outside, but he still said no, so I took him back.

Once back he was content to sit in his recliner. I  had brought him some goodies so he and I opened them. He could not open anything by himself, his fingers were too weak, so I opened and he watched. I had gotten him something that he had wanted so bad, the merry-go-round that you see at Christmas time. It plays music and lights up. I just knew he was going to be so excited, but all I got was a half-smile.

After we opened everything and I discarded the empty boxes, I placed things within his hand’s reach, and told him I was going to go speak to the nurse. He didn’t say anything, so I went out of his room for a bit. I found his nurse, and for the second time, I explained about the filthy nails, and that they needed to be cleaned every single day, and hopefully this time, I said it plain enough. I explained to her about his cradle cap all over his face and in his hair again. I explained  when I brought him in there, about the terrible cradle cap due from the PD and that his head needed to be oiled each day and lotion needed to be applied to his face each day. I said all the work I had done is now gone, because it is all back.

I explained with a smile, that I was not trying to be a pain in the butt, but, if they didn’t do as I requested, his face was going to be a mess and he was going to start digging and scratching like he did at home and he would be a bloody mess.

She listened and she made notes, so hopefully this will be taken care of. I explained for the second time that Al won’t ask for anything, and then showed her the list of things that he wished for, and she said he needs to speak up. I said that I agreed with her, but he will not speak up. He is mentally challenged, and doesn’t get the picture, ask and receive. Once again, more notes. Hopefully through time, this will all be taken care of. I just don’t want him to suffer for things that a minute can fix.

Al is a complicated person. He has trouble with comprehension, and understanding, but in other ways he is very brilliant. He is crafty in some ways, and very innocent in other ways. He made the mistake of letting me know that he had money in his wallet. I asked him how did he get money?

He explained he goes down to the little lady at the front desk and tells her he wants money so he can buy a soda or snack, but then he doesn’t buy it, he clings to his money. So he had done this each day and now had a nice little pile in his wallet.

I explained to him for the third time that he can not carry money, that something could happen to it, and if it did, the facility will not make it reappear in his wallet. I am sorry, but inside, I was laughing a little, because he just amazes me at how he thought up this idea to have money once again. On the other hand, I feel bad for him, because he has carried money all through his adult life, and now the facility says no, you may not.

I told the nurse what had happened, and they walked him down to the front desk lady and had him put the money back into his account. He got upset with them instead of me this time, which was a nice change, so I don’t know what his next creative idea will be.

It was a good day, and I may seem a little picky, but I keep my ears and eyes open, and I do ask questions, because Al is going to answer me much better than any staff volunteering answers.

Now, I am home and have taken Polly outside, then brought her inside, and she peed again on the carpet. It stresses me out, I am sorry. My mind is not healed from all of the daily issues from Al, and here, I have a pup, who is the cutest thing, but I am too stressed yet to enjoy her. Walking on my feet and on my heels, whimpering if she doesn’t get held every second is driving me up the wall. I love her, but for heaven’s sake, give me some breathing space! Part of me just wants to sleep and drown out everything around me that I think of all the time.

Something has to give, but I am not sure what it is. Thanksgiving is next week, and although it looks like it is going to be a small dinner gathering, I have not even went to the store yet. I just don’t want to. I have to change my train of thought!



41 thoughts on “I Asked, And He Answered

  1. Maybe a playpen type of arrangement for Polly? I spent some time with a friend who has a new puppy at home. NYC apartments are tiny, and having a little one underfoot can be quite daunting. So she’s opted for putting a playpen for the puppy in her living room, so Stanzie can see her while she’s going about her business. About the carpet peeing, perhaps putting a wee-wee pad at the entrance as you take her out so that it’s there when you come back? I realize that the point is to stop Polly from going in the first place. While that training is happening, perhaps a little something to help your stress level lower?

    It’s good to hear the overall upbeat tone of your post! 😉


    • thank you Margarita! She isn’t doing bad at all potty training, but being little she still dribbles, I just wish she would get it all out of her at once, hehehe. her getting under my feet is getting to me bad. I have to watch every single step I take. obedience classes sound so wonderful, wonder how much they are


  2. terry1954, you are having difficult times and all I can tell you is that you need some support. anti-depressants? They saved my life with taking care of my mother for the last four years of her life. Granny Selma was a mess and it was so hard to see her decline mentally and physically. So hard. All you can do is the best that you can and visit regularly. I do think it makes a difference in their level of care when the family continues to visit. Let Polly cheer you up – she’ll be there regardless of how you feel when you come home to her!


  3. Please give yourself a break, Terry !! You really need some “me” time. Maybe some obedience training for Polly and you?! She has to learn she is not the boss. Please take care of yourself and God Bless!


    • I love that little Polly, but she is constantly under my feet every time I walk, it is driving me crazy!!!!!!! how do i get her to stop??????? the potty training is going pretty good, I know sometimes she doesn’t go all the way outside and will dribble in here. I am patient with that to a point, but the feet thing is out of control. looking at obedience classes may be an option according to price. I still need a job and haven’t located one yet


  4. Sending hugs and good thoughts your way, Terry. Sorry it was a tough day. Glad you were there and able to help get things going better for Al, though. That is very good of you. Wishing you a peaceful weekend.


  5. God bless you, Terry, as you keep doing as much as you can and as well as you can. You are a wonder woman! I think you need to keep an eye on things for Al. it’s not being picky, just loving him and looking out for him. I’m so glad he has a sis like you!


  6. I think it also takes time for nursing staff to adjust to the new resident (that is my experience anyway). I, too, have had to make requests – oh so politely – that Anthony always has socks on and a jumper handy because he feels the cold. The hygiene thing isn’t a problem as he is showered every day. Group activities and physio. happen fairly regularly but I think Anthony often refuses these. Is there a sitting room where Al could sort of mingle?
    Re Polly, perhaps take her for a long daily walk – this will exhaust her into not whimpering fingers crossed!
    It’s obvious that Al’s dementia is getting worse as is Anthony’s and sometimes outings can be more disorientating during this time of readjustment – dunno. I face this dilemma constantly as our outings have been a dismal failure in many ways.
    Hope this helps – you are a hero, Terry and my thoughts and prayers are with you all the time. Juliexx


    • yes, i think Al’s confusion is dementia also. it is sad when you observe this happening. Polly doesn’t walk on a leash yet, as far as walking. she only weighs about a pound and a half. thanks for the great compliment my friend. i think of u all the time


  7. I think the idea of a playpen or even a smaller place for Polly while you are trying to do your work would be a good idea. As long as she can see you. You may just have to put up with the whimpering for a while until she gets the idea that you are not going to let her out all the time. Then, if she stops the whimpering, give her a treat. You might have to get some earplugs! 🙂 It’s just like a baby that cries every time you put them down. Eventually they get the idea that you are not going to carry them around 24/7 and things settle down. It may be annoying for a few days, even a week or so, but I think Polly will get it. You will just have to be firm with her.


  8. If the tremors and confusion have escalated since he moved, you might want to make certain he’s receiving his meds at the proper times and dosages. Is there a way you can find out for sure?


    • I have gone over this with the nurse so many times, and they are giving him his meds, but most are given at different times than when i gave them. i don’t know if this would have anything to do with it or not. like some of his meds that helped with pain and his heart were given to him at 11p and they give them to him at 8p, so just changes like this is what i notice


  9. This is so tough…And what an emotional day, you must’ve been exhausted afterward. To add on to your first comment – being somewhat confused, Al might not even realize if you skip a day or two, so why don’t you seriously consider taking a break?


    • I didn’t mean to actually take that break, but I am going to. I am going to be doing some work here at home tomorrow and expecting visitors in the late afternoon, so I am going to wait until Monday to go see Al. I hope he is not going to whine and cry. Each time I visit, he wants me to bring all of his coca items from his bedroom, and I just can not do that due to limited space in his room, but he keeps on me and on me, and it frustrates me, because I explain why I can not, but he doesn’t want to hear it


  10. A tough day again Terry, yet I see glimmers of hope. It sounds like you were listened to by the staff and that although Al was subdued at times he was calmer and didn’t get upset at you. Hopefully I’m not reading too much into it but, though it was a tough day it did sound encouraging. It sounded a day that at the end of you were tired rather than despairing. Correct me if I’m wrong. Whatever, as always, I am praying. 🙂


    • You are right Ken. It was a good day all around. I was able to recognize that I can leave or stay without guilt. After telling and reminding the nurses that Al takes a little extra care, i think they are getting it. I did not go this weekend, I just needed to stay home and get myself together some, doing nothing really. I am going to go see him tomorrow. I think the adjustment is coming along!! thank you for caring Ken and giving a heart felt comment


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