Al Is So Excited

Dairy Queen

Being the nice and sun filled day I decided to call the facility and see if Al was napping yet. If not I wanted the nurse to ask him if he would like to go to Dairy Queen. She came back with the reply, “Yes he wants to go.”

“Great, I will be there in a short bit” I told her. I decided today was the perfect day as tomorrow we are to get between three to four inches of ice and snow. I knew I was going nowhere on that wicked day.

I went in and Al had his walker sitting in the doorway. He was ready! He had his jacket on and a big old smile. We went to the ice-cream shop and he ordered a mix of Reese’s pieces and Reese’s cup in a blizzard.

He struggled quite a bit getting the spoonfuls out of the cup. I helped when he could not do it at times. I think he really enjoyed his treat. After we left there we went to a thrift shop. It was sad to me in a way that he did not remember this shop, but this didn’t stop him from wanting to go in.

Once inside he took off and started his search for coca cola items.  I gazed around but didn’t see anything I couldn’t  live without. Pretty soon I heard Al just a chatting a way to a gentleman. It just so happened that I knew this was the owner‘s husband. This is what I heard.

Al; Look at this! Look at what I found! I found a coke tray and it is authentic! Look at this. Look at this! Look at the words right here!

Owner; Oh really? It’s authentic you say? Wow. Let me take a closer look.

I walked back to where they were standing and Al repeated the conversation to me. I told him it wasn’t authentic, but he swore it was.

The owner was eyeing me trying to figure out who was telling the truth, Al or me. I said, “Well Al if you think it is authentic than I will stick with what you say”.

Al smiled at me. I looked at the tray and saw no price tag. I asked the owner how much it was. He said, “Well now, I just brought it out from the back. We found it in an old building. I will have to ask the wife”.

I waited patiently for the answer and walked up to the front where I knew the owner’s wife. I told her,” Al just likes anything with coca cola on it. I don’t believe it is the real thing myself. Al thinks if he sees a trademark it is real.”

She started laughing and then said,”Well, how about $3.50?”

I asked Al, “How about $3.50?” and he shook his head quickly. He wanted it. He was too weak to stand any longer and found a seat to sit on. The whole time he was beginning to cry and repeat his first conversation over and over.

I paid for his tray and went to where Al was sitting and handed it to him. He didn’t register yet in his mind that it was now his. He just kept crying. I told him we needed to go and eventually got him back in the car and buckled up.

As we drove back to the facility I tried to teach Al about telling others, especially owners of stores that they have valuable pieces for low prices. I explained the ideals about buying and selling, and getting things for a bargain if you can. I explained to him about coming to me and telling me the big deal he thought about getting.

I asked him, ” Do you understand Bud what I am trying to say? It could be that by what you told him they could have raised the price by several dollars. You may have not been able to purchase it then”.

He nodded that he understood. We took off for the facility. As soon as we got him in the doors of the building he started shaking and trembling all over. Most of this was due to his excitement. The first staff he came in contact with he said, ” Look at this! Look at what I got! I told them it was authentic. I told them it was worth about one hundred dollars on American Pickers. My sister told them it wasn’t real so I got it for a good deal”.

I am not sure exactly if that made me look good or rotten to the core. I guess I don’t care. I was trying to teach him a lesson in wheeling and dealing. Maybe he understood some or maybe not of what I said. I do believe he thought that I did help him get a good deal though.

I was taught by the best, my father. He was the biggest wheeler-dealer in town, I swear. I never pay full retail unless I have to. I love auctions because I get to set the price in my mind.

All he cared about was he got a coke tray for a good deal. When I told him goodbye, I added, ” I hope you had a good time bud” and he said, ” I sure did Sis”!!

The Box

A dear friend of mine here in WordPress has a son who wanted to share some of his very own collection with my brother, Al. Nothing brings a smile to my brother quicker than coca-cola.

I was informed that this package was going to be mailed out, and I was so excited for Al to receive it, and it was very hard for me to keep my big mouth shut, and not give it away, that he was going to receive a box in the mail for his very own.

Today it arrived. It had been a bad day, as we are starting to have problems with yet a new situation. I won’t go into details, because I don’t want anyone to get squeamish or end up having to run to their bathroom, but it does have to deal with bathroom duties, so we are now trying to figure out better ways to make life easier for him and for me.

So after supper is over, and he is sitting in the living room on the couch, he tunes in on THE BOX. I am noticing but saying nothing, giggling inside, as I can see his brain ticking, wondering who’s it is.

I am the worst at holding back smiles for others, so I had to say, IT’S FOR YOU! I never saw it coming. He started crying. I asked him why the tears bud? He says he is scared to open it because it could be bad, as it wasn’t his birthday. I said, I think people can be nice and do things for you without reason. I explained how I have come to know this very nice lady, and her son wanted you to have something to add to your collection. He still cried. I placed the box over by me, and told him when he was ready, he could open it.

I waited about ten minutes then looked around to him, and he was lying down to watch TV. I must admit, I don’t understand the brain, nor do I understand the intimate details of this wicked Parkinson’s, but he just didn’t get the connection of any of it.

This past week or two, Al has shown much confusion in comprehension. I understand this is a big part of the Parkinson’s. He stares instead of speaking, and when he looks at me, I can see by the blank eyes, there is no one there for a few minutes.

I couldn’t take it. I cursed the disease, and plastered a smile on my face, grabbed a knife, and cut all the tape so he could open it easily. I placed the box in front of him, and said please open it bud, you are going to love it!

It took him forty-five minutes to take the items out of the box, not because he didn’t want to, but I could actually see the slow-timing in his body. The arm reaches for the paper packaging, used to protect the items, and he grabs one by one, with his hand. He lays the empty bag beside him on the couch. I counted by seconds, and it took his hand twenty seconds to release the paper from  his fingers. My heart broke, as I knew he was trying so hard to keep moving, but the brain was not co-operating.

There is one thing my brother knows, and that is each piece of his collection. He knows when he got it, where he got it, how much he paid for it, and how many he has. As he was taking the goodies out of the box, I would ask him if he liked it, or had one like it or anything generally I could think of in order to get some look of excitement from him. To my despair, he told me he didn’t know if he had this collection piece or not. There were no smiles ever from this, but I do know that he liked it by his signals at the end. He took each piece and went to his room, and I can bet right now he is in there comparing them to his pieces, looking at every detail, and using his book to look at the originals.

Thank goodness he did this. If he would have let the gifts set, I would have known he truly wasn’t here with me tonight. I probably won’t see him again until snack time. This will keep him pretty busy, and help him to not think upon himself.

I want to thank-you dear friend for allowing Al to have an evening to enjoy himself. He may not have actually shown it like we do with awes and wow’s and smiles, but I know that he at least still has the ability to feel from within, and connect in his own ways to his coca cola.

His Way Of Thinking


Coca-Cola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I woke up to blue skies and a chill outside. God has truly made a beautiful day. I woke up late, and my brother was already awake, as I noticed his bedroom light was on. I poked my head in and said good morning brother, did you sleep well? He looked up at me and nodded yes.He was deep in turning the pages of his Bible. I have nothing to say negatively about the bible, just noting that ever since Al had the conversation with God, where God told him he would receive a sign when God was going to take him home, Al spends most waking hours in his word.  If you remember from prior postings, Al is obsessed with coca cola. He spends many hours reading his price guide books and holding coca cola items on his lap and others are sitting on his bed waiting for him to pick them up. He has turned away some what from those items and I always see the bible in his hands. I can not even pretend to know what is going on in his mind. Nor can I even say I have any real feeling of understanding the conversation he and God had, but I do know at this point in his life, this is a wonderful thing. I want him to be able to cling to this hope that he has. I believe it carries him through each day. It is his to own and no one can take it away from him. He wanted eggs for breakfast, and I told him I would go get them ready. I have always bought him frozen breakfast items for breakfast, only for the reason that it keeps his independence. He fixes his breakfast on his own, and I believe this helps him to keep a hold on his pride. After his teeth were taken out Tuesday, he has been on a soft diet. Today is Friday, so I just knew he wanted me to quit making his breakfast meal and he would have his french toast sticks, that he loves. Today is the day, he can go back to his routine, but he said no, he wanted eggs. I am not sure if it is the eggs he really wanted, or the fact that this is another small way that I can show him I love and care about him. I think it is the later. I am finding that I may be wrong. He does want me to do some things for him. This is fine with me. I am the type of person, that I also like to feel needed also, so it is equal on both sides here. If you know anything about mental illness, you will understand what I am about to say, and if you don’t, one thing that is common with mental illness is routine. After breakfast, I went into his bedroom to change his bed sheets. This is Thursday, so we change bed sheets unless there is a death. It is what it is and there is no changing it unless you want arguments and tears, and I definitely do not want to be the one to cause this. He does enough of this on his own with his Parkinson’s. I notice that is dementia is ever more present each day, as there are books and coca cola lined up neatly on his bed. This starts at one end of the bed and continues all the way to the opposite end. It is as if he has already placed in his mind, his whole day, which book to start and end with. Which collection piece he would pick up. Al can tell you about an item he has, and he can tell you on what page it is found in which book, and has the complete details memorized in his mind, so I knew there was great planning in this. I reminded him that this was Thursday. Did he want his sheets changed or maybe I could come back later on in the day and I could do it then. He seemed a little startled, as he realized what day it was. I watched as he lovingly picked up each item, and I am talking about maybe fifty items, and placed them on the floor and in  his recliner. I have always known about patience, but I have been taught by God the true meaning of patience, as I stand by knowing my coffee was getting cold, and I had not eaten breakfast myself yet, waiting for him to do what he needed to do. The time now has come and I take the dirty sheets off, and I start putting the new ones on. He tries so hard to help me. He grabs one corner to put on, but isn’t strong enough to do this and he falls into his bed. I tell him this is alright, I appreciate him trying and that I will help him. I see his face wrinkle and a tear start to fall, and I go to him and give him a squeeze. I tell him it is so important to me that he is still willing to help when he would rather be sitting or lying back down. He gives me a tiny smile. I make a deal with him. I tell him if he wants to take the dirty sheets to the laundry area, that would be a big help to me, and then I will finish his bed. He liked that. So the sheets were changed and all worked out. I gave him his privacy back, and left the room. I started his load of laundry and as I was at the washer I peeked in and he was very carefully, with much love, placing his precious coca cola books and pieces back on the bed. I swear they are placed in the exact order that they had been placed earlier. I will never be able to understand the mentality of his mind, but I know what is important to him. He is able to count on me and he has his love of his life, coca cola surrounding him all the day long.