Chapter 28

This new diagnosis changed everything. Some ways that Al had been acting didn’t seem right for what PD did. In a way it was a relief to know that he now had MSA.

You can type this in your own search bar and get some information on MSA. I won’t try to make you believe that you will find all the answers to your questions. There isn’t a lot of information on this wicked disease.

From the day we got home from Zales, I began to be my own teacher. I studied for hours, days and months. I read everything I could. I talked to people and doctors. It was disappointing to me that barely anyone in my own living area had ever heard of this.

I knew that the kind of person I was, I would dig in and come out knowing as much as anyone would allow me to soak in. I would be my brother’s advocate, sister and guardian. I thought I would always stay on top of this and be mentally and physically prepared for whatever was to come at us.

Of course I was wrong. How can I actually know anymore than some doctors? But, I did learn a lot. I belong to Facebook and there are several member web pages that are full of people who have MSA.

Actually I always felt honored to be included in the web pages. We became like family. I have several friends who are suffering from this disease or have family members who are. I felt and still do that most of those suffering from this terrible illness belong on Facebook. You ask me why I think that? Because MSA, is so rare.

Multiple system atrophy has a prevalence of about 2 to 5 per 100,000 people.

People like Bonnie, and Carole, Janiece and Lise and Connie are among the dear friends I have made through Al’s illness. I believe in the old saying, no matter what storm you are going through, there is a rainbow if you look hard enough to find it.

This is the way I feel about these friends of mine. They are not just friends; they are a part of my life and family. With an illness this rare and this scary, you and I need all the support we can gather up. If you have MSA or know of someone who has it, please open an account on Facebook and type in the words MSA. You will be happy with the information you find.

Want to know more about MSA? I will provide you with some information below.

The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition
8311 Brier Creek Parkway
Suite 105-434
Raleigh, NC   27617 External link
Tel: 1-866-737-5999

Who discovered MSA in the beginning?

Click to access 379.full.pdf

Al and I fought through this wicked disease together. He continued to go to his Day Program from July 2013 through Halloween of 2013.

He had a Halloween party to attend to at the Day Program. He didn’t want to wear a mask, which I didn’t blame him or try to talk him into. Instead he picked out his favorite coca-cola clothes, and this is what he wore.

When he was dropped off back here at home. The bus driver helped him down. She then asked me, ” Has anyone called you from his classroom?” I said no, and she suggested I get a hold of them.

There was still time before they closed so I got Al safely inside and placed him in his lift chair. By now, Al didn’t walk anymore. After the strenuous therapy days he just didn’t have strength any longer. He didn’t walk alone anymore. He went from the single cane, to a four-legged walker to now total help from me. He could stand long enough to pivot for me to get him in and out of his chair or in his bed.

I called the Day Program teacher and was fortunate enough to be able to speak to her before she headed home. She told me, ” Al cried throughout much of the day, and if  he wasn’t crying, he was sleeping.”

Oh how my heart broke. Knowing that under any other circumstances, Al would have been the life of that party. To cry because for Al, pain on some level was always present. We were never able to walk away from it.

Stronger medications were used for pain and all of Al’s other medications were removed by the following week of the Halloween party. I knew things were very serious when the doctors decided to take away his heart medications.

I knew enough from my career training that the MSA was so strong within Al, the other medications he had taken to feel better and survive were no longer working. Now Al was only on a few medications. Very strong ones for pain in liquid, patch and tablet forms.

Oh how could I get through this? How could I remain strong and smiling for my brother when I knew his life was in jeopardy? By the strength of God, that’s how I did it and he held on to my hand tight and guided me throughout the rest of Al’s days.

Chapter 27

It took a few days to get into a routine of caring for Al once again. With the help of some programs we were able to get Al a lift chair. He loved it. He was able to get in and out of it without my assistance.

To me, no matter what illness you have, independence is something that should remain strong for as long as possible. The one company that had been in Al’s life got involved with me and Al again.

With the help from the waiver, this company was able to provide a transit bus to come straight to our front door. Al could be taken out to the bus in his wheelchair and with the help of the lift on the bus, Al was able to go to the Day Program.

In the Day Program, Al could be social with others like himself. He ate the packed lunch I prepared with his friends. He made crafts and made plenty of friends. But soon this died down as Al became more tired.

When Al had still been in the nursing home the staff recommended a Neurologist for Al to go see. This was for a second opinion. We went to the assigned appointment. Up until entering that door I had totally forgotten that we had seen this doctor once before, years back after he had his heart attack.

When we were entered into the data system and shown which door to go into to wait to see the doctor, I was still a little leery of this doctor. After all we had a Neurologist already. Our doctor was full of life and made Al feel at ease and sometimes produced laughter from him.

But on the other hand I wasn’t going to argue. Our Neurologist did not prescribe certain medications so Al was at a standstill. So maybe this doctor could add something to the recipe.

When the doctor walked in I recognized him immediately. How could my mind have slipped so bad? I place the blame on being a caregiver and dealing with so much all at the same time.

The doctor said hello and then turned to Al. ” How have you been since the last time I saw you Al? I can see there have been some significant changes since you were here before.”

I didn’t say anything to that remark. I guess I didn’t want him to realize I had forgotten who he was. Al smiled but didn’t say anything. By now, Al didn’t talk near as much as he used to. It was quite alright for me to do his speaking for him, although he was right there beside me in the room.

After doing some tests on Al he looked at me and said, ” I knew what was wrong with Al the first time he was here but I couldn’t say what it was because there wasn’t enough documentation per say. But now I am absolutely positive, your brother has MSA.”

I shot a look at the doctor. I was so surprised to hear this. Oh not that he hadn’t said these silent thoughts before but for the fact here I was in nursing for over 20 years. I had dealt with all types of illnesses in those years and had never heard of this.

I asked the doctor, ” What in the world is MSA?” He went on to explain, ” It is a neurological disease. It is similar to Parkinson’s Disease but there are a few major differences. For one, MSA,( Multiple System Atrophy) does not seem affected by the popular medications that are used for PD. Another difference is the brain loses contact with anything Al would want to do with his body. The memory stays in tact with MSA. Rarely is it ever lost such as in a PD patient. The last thing is the life expectancy. PD patients can live many years with this disease, but for an MSA the average life span is six to seven years.”

I looked at him but really didn’t say much. I glanced at Al to see if he had caught much of what the doctor had said. I don’t think he did. Al was more interested in going to lunch like I had promised him we would do after leaving here.

My mind was starting to roll like a train taking off on the tracks. What is he not telling me? What is this MSA for sure? I kept hearing six to seven years life expectancy. Looking back, Al had already had this terrible disease for five years now.

The doctor wrote some notes on a yellow sheet of paper and when Al and I were ready to leave the doctor handed me the paper. He patted me on the back and said, ” Read these notes. If there is anything or anyway i can be of help, please don’t hesitate to let me know.” I smiled and then wheeled Al to our car. We were off to lunch and I could tell from Al’s actions and words the doctor’s words didn’t sink in.

We went to Al’s favorite place, Zales Pharmacy. Al and I had grown up there I should add. Our parents had gone there it seems forever, so everyone knew us. The staff always made Al feel so special. They waved at him each time he went in and said hello. Different people would sit and chat with him while we ate at the inside luncheonette.

This time though I didn’t talk as much. I spent my free time reading the paper the doctor had given me. It pretty much said in easy words, that there was no cure for Al’s disease. That this disease could affect his already damaged heart. I was to make sure Al kept up with appointments at his heart doctor. The last thing he had written was how sorry he was that he had to give me this terrible news.


Chapter 26

What I didn’t expect to happen when Al moved into the nursing home was guilt. Guilt surrounded me. Everywhere I went, every thought I had; guilt was there eating me alive. I went to see Al almost every day for the six months he was in there.

I ate lunch with him each time. Sometimes I went for supper or breakfast. I had been in the nursing field for over twenty years so I made several non-routine visits. Everything seemed to go well the first few of weeks.

Lots of attention was showered on Al. Staff coming into his room more than I had had dreamed, but then things calmed down, and then the storms started to brew. When Al went into the nursing home he could still walk with his cane.

Before Al had entered those big, front doors he had already spent three months here at home doing physical therapy with the staff from this nursing home. Al complained a lot from pain but I thought those old words, no pain, no gain.

I requested that he have no more therapy once he entered the nursing home, but somehow my feelings got over looked and therapy became a constant in Al’s life for the next several weeks.

What I didn’t realize, but was beginning to recognize was the more Al did his workouts, the more tired he became. His bounce didn’t come back like it does for the rest of us. With lots of studying and learning I discovered that after a certain point of having MSA, the muscles do not bounce back. They have the reverse effect. They begin to crumble.

Of course, at this point I did not know that Al had MSA, (Multiple System Atrophy). I was under the assumption  he had PD, Parkinson’s Disease. Al began to sleep more but I thought this was due to the illness.

What I learned though was staff quit paying attention to him. They came and helped him for sure, but the extra time was not there anymore. He was becoming bored. With his mentality at age 10, these older folks that reside in nursing homes just plain weren’t keeping Al’s interest.

He did enjoy Bingo. He won treats which he kept stored up in his room. I always told him, ” You are storing these like a squirrel stores nuts for the winter aren’t you?” He would laugh and soon I discovered he was eating them at nights along with  his bedtime treat staff gave him.

Now I always kept Al’s dresser full of treats. Anything from Reese’s cups, Twinkies, Granola bars, about anything he requested, and of course pop. It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on when the staff began to let me know of Al’s weight gains.

I had seen too many deaths in my career and always believed that if I was going to get a terminal illness, it was better to be on the heavier side. I know, this sounds crazy. We are supposed to eat lean and stay fit.

But I saw things in a different light. Knowing Al had PD, I wanted him to be as happy and content as he possibly could. I should just come right out and say it, I spoiled him rotten.

I knew what PD could do to his life and so I was determined to make the rest of his days full of smiles. In the end, I was very thankful that Al had gained weight. It saved his life for a little extra time.

So, back to what I was talking about. When I noticed Al was getting weaker and learned the information I did, I demanded therapy quit working him so hard. They did listen to me and turned to an  infrared machine that they would place on Al’s sore muscles and help them to feel better.

They spent more time with him working his fingers to help them relax and stay flexible because of the nasty tremors. Al seemed to draw into himself a little more each day. I began to carry more guilt at how I was to blame for him being there, even if he did want to go.

I was about to go to the head of the company and make a request that I wanted to take him  home for good. Before I could carry that thought out, staff came to me wanting to talk.

” I am afraid this is not working out. With Al’s mentality and his attitude changing I think he would be better off somewhere else.” I agreed and thought how easy she had made my own speech for me.

What I didn’t know is just in the changes he had already made it was going to be a little harder to care for him at home than I thought. Thankfully, some caring staff members opened my eyes to waivers. I had never heard of these before.

After careful explanations about the several waivers there were I decided on a particular one. The process began but it took three months, so Al had to remain there longer than I wished. The waiver I had chosen stipulated that the patient had to be in a nursing home in order to qualify for this certain waiver.

It was worth it though. When Al came home in June of last year, there were programs in place that allowed Al to still go out in the public with the aid of wheelchairs and ramps. When Al came home he was tired. I could see how much weaker he had become since entering the nursing home.  Part of it was due to being more restricted in a room than the outings and activities that he and I had shared here at home. The other part was the illness.

Chapter 23

The calming medications helped a little with Al’s issues of being frustrated with the tremors. The Parkinson’s medications didn’t help at all. Each visit I took Al back to the doctor, different PD medications would be tried, but none worked.

The doctor kept him on them though. I really wasn’t happy with that. I have this thing about medications. If they don’t work, get rid of them. We dealt with each day and I watched as his tremors progressed. Nothing else seemed to be happening in this illness.

Al continued to go to the adult day program and I tried to live as if nothing had changed. He went to this one outing where the clients all went to a discount mall. Afterwards they stopped to eat and when the bus driver brought him home he stayed long enough to let me know that Al had seemed pretty tired and had actually fallen asleep on the way home.

If you knew Al like I do you would know this wasn’t something he would ever do. Al was such a social butterfly. He would fight sleepy eyes in order not to miss talking to one person.

I told the driver thank-you for the information and when I went inside to ask Al if he had a good time he was already in bed with lights out. I wished him a good night’s sleep and didn’t mention what the driver had said.

The next morning seemed pretty normal. Al ate his breakfast but instead of watching the TV like he usually did on Saturday mornings he wanted to lay down and nap. I thought this is odd. Al never misses the Three Stooges.

After he got up he seemed back to normal. I asked him, ” Do you want to go to the flea market?” and he said yes. So we hopped in the car and drove the couple of miles. Al seemed happy. He smiled and talked to ever vendor. He found a couple of coca cola bottles and that seemed to make his day.

We didn’t have anymore issues for some time, but then things changed again. Al was having chest pains. I made another appointment at the heart doctor. After checking Al he decided Al needed to be hospitalized to check for blockages.

Al wasn’t crazy about this. He always commented, ” More needles?” He was getting used to being admitted I think. The test showed Al had more blood clots in his heart valves but the doctor said they were not big enough to remove. So along with this information and now knowing that he has Angina of the heart I was getting concerned for his health.

PD, heart issues, what was next? Al was a little more quiet when we arrived back home. He seemed a little more tired and slower in movement. When the following Monday arrived he wanted to go back to his Day Program so I took him.

When I picked him up a staff member asked me to come in so we could talk. Al stayed in the rec room and I went into the office. The director said, ” We all love Al here at Day Program. He is such a nice guy; but we have rules. Everyone that attends here must know his medications and what they do for them. All must know their address and telephone number. We are not a babysitter service. We are here to over see.”

I had tried many times to get Al to repeat his address and phone number but he never got it. I couldn’t understand why the Day Program felt it was important for the clients to know what medications he took and what they were for.

The Director explained, ” The clients that come here are,


Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfrniə/) is a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, auditory hallucinations, confused or unclear thinking, inactivity, and reduced social engagement and emotional expression. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the person’s reported experiences.

Clients with this diagnosis need to be aware of what they take and why so they can live a more productive life. Al does not have this diagnosis and we all voted for him to join us here since he is so nice. But now, he seems tired and he is starting to repeat himself. So we don’t have time to keep a better eye on him, so we must ask you to not bring him back anymore.”

I was devastated but I knew Al would be much more than that. Standing up to leave the director shook my hand and gave me his apologies and said, “We sure will miss him.”

I went in and found Al and said it was time to go home. I didn’t mention the conversation all the way home. He went to his room and turned on the TV and I went about starting supper.

During supper we were both quiet. Al didn’t talk much unless I started the conversation when it was just us. He never could mentally separate me from our dad. Al and dad didn’t get along at all. With dad not accepting Al for being someone other than the common word normal, there was much friction between the two all of Al’s life.

Dad was short-tempered with Al. He wanted him to be quick to move and answer like most people. There were barely conversations between the two that were ever looked at as social.

Al looked at dad as the boss. When I started caring for my brother, I had to guide and teach him many times and Al looked at me as the boss. He could never separate the two people.

This was Al and my biggest issues in our living together. It hurt me so bad that Al couldn’t see how much I loved him and wanted him to have fun and to be happy. Many, many times I would end up almost screaming at Al after a trying conversation that I was not dad, but me, Terry, his sister.

I would ask him, ” Do I look like dad?” He would begin to cry and say no. I would get frustrated and walk away. None of this changed until many months later.


Al His Life and MSA Chapter 20

The clouds hung lower and tension began to build in our home. I was busy trying to work with the attorney for the estate. Al was home all the time and seemed to spend a lot of time in his room.

I tried very hard to take him out every day. The seizure after-effects didn’t last long. He was able to still do many things, but for Al, he thought his life was about over.

Our parents were gone. Our sister turned a corner and began to drift out of our lives. I had my three kids but something was missing. Joy, is what I call it. For Al, it was a reason to continue on with each day.

There were three families that lived in separate houses on one property.  An Aunt and Uncle had moved out of Indiana to Florida. Our wonderful Grandma had moved to Florida also. She was getting older and without my dad near by, she needed more help than what any of us young ones could give her; so she moved in with her daughter.

We began to hear more from our Aunt in Florida. Her family had moved there from Indiana when one of their children had Cystic Fibrosis. They had been relocated about 25 years it seemed like to me.

When our Grandma was still living up here Mary would come here and  help begin the process of transferring her personal items and her to her home. I got the chance to talk and spend some time with her.

Once they were moved our house seemed rather lonely. We drifted from one day to the next. I worked my weekends. Al ended up not being able to go to auctions on Saturdays since I was gone and he couldn’t drive.

I started taking him to local auctions that were on Mondays. This seemed to help but I still felt sad for him. He had nothing to do on the weekends so stayed in his room more and more.

Our Aunt began calling. It soon became an every day occurence. She would call to check on Al and me and that felt good to know someone out there cared. Soon without even realizing it, the conversations turned to moving to Florida.

I couldn’t think of that. My children were here, close to me. How could I move so many miles a way from them? But as each day continued and people started drifting back to their normal lives from our dad’s funeral, the thought of warm weather and a chance at a new life sounded interesting.

Mary and I began searching for properties. Something that was easy maintenance. Al couldn’t mow and my Diabetic neuropathy stopped me from several things. She mentioned a condo type  living.

I chewed it over and I began to ask Al how he would feel about selling the homestead and making a fresh start. I was amazed at how eager he was to go. He told me, ” Living here has bad memories of Dad. I want to move out of here.”

We discussed selling the home and moving into a different one in our own home town, but it was winter and that brings snow and cold and the sound of warmth hit the spot. We both came to a decision, and that was to move.

I listed the house. It bothered me a great deal. Not so much the house itself. It didn’t hold that many memories for me. I had never resided there and it was on five acres so I had to pay to have someone mow the property.

The house itself was very nice and the setting was beautiful, but still; it was missing something called family.

My daughter informed me not long that she and her husband would be moving out-of-state for a new job. I was devastated. She and I were so close. We hung out at each others homes all the time. How was I going to survive without her? I couldn’t wait for the house to sell.

I had the sadness of leaving life and memories behind. I had the feelings of Al and how he felt about this home. I knew my daughter was leaving, and the biggest tug at my heart was; what would my dad say if he knew I was selling his home.

I had to keep in mind that dad was in heaven. I had to make choices according to how I was living at the present. So I just prayed daily. If we were making the right choice to move to Florida and not remain here, God would allow the house to sell.

God did do exactly this. The house was sold within one week. I was amazed. Look at how God had let this happen and so quick. I kept Al informed of everything that was going on. He and I spent more time looking at homes online and searching out things for him to do in the new city.

We looked at shorts and clothing suitable for warmer weather. Our time became consumed with moving. With the help of our Aunt, a condo was located and we purchased it.

It was such a smooth transaction I just knew God had been the one in charge the entire time. Al and I began to make a list of things that needed to be done. So many things, such as boxes obtained, bank accounts transferred, the estate was closed and finalized.

On a warm, sunny day everything was loaded up and we said good-bye to our familiar territory.

Al His Life and MSA, Chapter 19

Al seemed bored through the days. I could understand. His routine had been broken so what was left. I didn’t work through the week so I started asking him if he wanted to go out to eat for lunch or supper. He never turned that invite down.

It took Al no time at all to walk up to the front counter and place his order. He was proud. Sometimes he would pay and others I paid. He would get the biggest grin on his face while he pulled out his wallet and paid for his own meal. He would sit the wallet on the counter and pull out the exact number of bills. He carried a sandwich baggie in his pocket and he would take that out and get the exact change. Al always had to be exact with whatever he did.

When we were home Al stayed in his bedroom. Every day I would encourage him to come out and watch TV with me or spend time out of his room but he refused. His room was his refuge, his hide-a-way. He went there whenever dad was home. After mom passed away I think Al spent most of his time there.

When it was meal time Al wanted to eat in his room but I insisted he and I were family and we needed to eat together. He did come out then. We ate pretty much in silence. He would then rinse his dishes and put them in the dishwasher and return to his room.

This felt so awkward to me. I wasn’t used to eating alone when there was another person in the house. Eating like this continued for many months. I just had to get used to it. In fact, it got so stressful with no talking that I would eat in the living room and he ate at the kitchen table.

He seemed to like that better. He started speaking out more and we would talk from room to room. It was a long, long process but eventually we each adjusted to our strange way of sharing a meal.

On Friday nights I went to my job. Al went to either a ball game in town or he would go to an auction if there was one near by. I felt a little uneasy knowing he was driving and I was at work. I had to trust that he would be alright. He had been forced independence years ago and I had to continue to let him do things on  his  own.

Saturday nights he went to an auction that was out-of-town. Because of his routine the weather never came in his mind. He just knew it was Saturday and it was auction night. I used to worry while I was at work. I knew he was driving in the snow and I hoped he would be alright. Sunday mornings he went to church.

In my eyes Al was never the perfect driver. He had a few accidents which thankfully what got damaged was non-living. It was the mentality that he and I challenged many times.

He drove the same speed always, slow. He took the same route no matter what the weather. He and I lived out in the country so there were many times the roads were bad. I would pray to get to my job safe and Al just knew his routine.

I am glad I let him do his thing when I look back. We don’t know our future and sometimes as we sit and look back at what we have done we can be thankful for some of our decisions.

Al and I were at home. I was in my bedroom and he in his. I was surprised when he entered my room. I was thinking wow, this is great. He and I are going to spend some time together apart from meals.

He smiled at me and continued to stand there. I started chatting with him and then suddenly he started shaking. I immediately stood up and asked him what was wrong. He didn’t talk and the smile was gone.

I reached out to him and he partially collapsed in my arms. It turned out Al was having a seizure. I dealt with this and once I knew what was happening to him my training kicked in and I was able to keep him safe.

His seizure didn’t last long and I helped him back to his room and helped him lay down on his bed. We made it through that night but first thing in the morning I called his doctor. An appointment was set right away and I drove Al to the office. Al didn’t even argue about me being the driver.

With some testing and conversation Al had a big piece of information given to him and he was not happy about it. His driver’s license was being revoked. Al could no longer drive.

I felt sick about it. Al had been independent for some time. This was not a choice. It was thrust upon him. Dad had a belief I didn’t agree with. It was out of sight out of mind. Even when we were kids dad believed we should be seen but not heard.

So not being able to drive was another stab in his life. He had a rough life at times.He was the child that wasn’t normal, but then again, what is normal?  He had his heart attack. He was let go of his job and now his driving privileges had been taken away. I knew this was going to be a challenge to get through.

My Brother, His Life and MSA, Chapter 18

Life seemed to settle down into a routine. Al worked Monday through Friday. I had breakfast for him, packed his lunch and had supper prepared when he came home. On the weekends he had to take care of himself. I made sure there were easy foods for him to microwave and eat while I went to my job taking care of another couple.

It wasn’t easy but I was able to juggle the Estate of our father, taking care of Al and doing my own work. Days turned into weeks and then the bomb fell for Al. I received a phone call from his job.

The conversation was pretty one-sided. I was informed to come in the next morning; we all needed to talk. Al was aware that something was going on. I think he had been having some issues at work. Since he ran on routine he knew he was at work, but I knew he was aware he was not the same after his heart attack.

The next morning Al went to work as usual. I sat looking out the windows watching deer run through the field as I drank my coffee and pondered on what the meeting was about. I had my suspicions. I could see that Al just wasn’t back to his normal self after his heart attack.

I finished my coffee and went and got myself presentable and then left for town. I turned on the oldies station, trying to deter my mind from bad thoughts about what was about to be said.

Reaching the parking lot and walking through the front doors I was greeted by Al’s boss and other people who knew Al in production. I was guided into a meeting room where Al was already seated. Coffee was offered and I politely turned it down. I wanted to get this out in the open.

The office people smiled at me and then the conversation began. ” We all love Al. He is just a real joy to have here. He will do anything that is required with a smile, but we have noticed that since these few weeks have gone by, Al can not get his speed back up.”

Others chimed in with affirmation that yes, they had also noticed. Then Al’s closest boss started tearing up and stated,” No matter how we feel about Al, we still have rules and regulations to follow here. We have given Al every opportunity, and through no fault of his  own, his health will just not let him do his job properly. We must let him go.”

Al understood this and instead of getting mad like I  thought he would, he broke down and cried. Others followed his lead and soon everyone was crying and telling Al how much they loved him and would miss him. Each of them had some type of memory gift from the factory and then Al and I were led to the front door.

We walked to the car in silence. Once driving back home Al made one comment. ” I am just plain dumb. I am retarded, just like dad said I was.” I wept and tried ti reassure him that he was nothing of the kind. I told him we will make it through this bud, we will make it through this.

Al loved milkshakes so I offered to stop by his favorite place, Dairy Queen and get one. He turned that down and instead ordered a Blizzard. A mixture of Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

It sounded really good to me, so I got a small one and of course he got a large. He never went back to shakes again. It was a blizzard and the same type from that day on. We went down to the park at the lake and sat on the picnic benches with our treats. Neither of us talked. We just watched the ducks and looked out over the water.

Throwing our cups away we drove home. Al went to his room. I tried to talk him into coming out in the living room and watching TV, but he had been trained to go to his room and so he wouldn’t budge.

As I tinkered around the kitchen I thought about choices I may have. There didn’t seem to be any choices. I knew in my heart that the right thing to do was to move in with Al full-time. Any ideas I had previously of moving Al into his own apartment where disabled adults lived I tossed out the window.

Al didn’t give me any argument. In fact, he went with me to my apartment and helped carry things out to my car. It was a small apartment. I had moved there after leaving my husband. I called it my Box Apartment, because it was so tiny.

It didn’t take Al and I very long to get everything finished and by dusk, I was moved in. I have to admit I felt a little uncomfortable. This was our parents home. I had grown and left the nest. Now I was going to be sleeping in my parents bedroom.

After making sure Al was settled for the evening I went to my parents room and unpacked my clothing and bathroom supplies. I squeezed in my knickknacks between mom and dad’s things. I did my best not to upset Al’s routine. I left him alone to watch his TV and do his own thing.

I didn’t need to upset Al though. He was confused. He thought he was a failure. He had been fired as he stated. No he had no money, he thought. How was he going to go to his auctions? How was he going to have gas money?