Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Random tidbits:

WHOA! Can you even imagine? Read this.


Just finished reading:

and it was alot like reading Scar Tissue (memoir by the lead singer of the Red Hot Chille Peppers) in that both books talk, in detail, about drug use, sexual encounters, and family dysfunction. Plus, you get a whole lot of hockey. (Or in the case of Scar Tissue, a whole lot of rock n roll.)

If you're a hockey fan, and were alive in the '90's - then you'll find this book interesting. Riveting, possibly. If you wonder how a person can recover from decades of cocaine and alcohol abuse (tens of millions of dollars, thrown away on addictions), then you will read this with horrified fascination. I'm so thankful that the player I hated the most (next to Chelios) (and maybe Messier) has found a way to live in recovery. I wish him peace.


Re: my dad

Have you heard of 'sundowning'? No? What? You don't have a dad with dementia? Oh.
Well, sundowning is:

Sundowning is a psychological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with some form of dementia. Most commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease, but also found in those with mixed dementia, the term "sundowning" was coined due to the timing of the patient's confusion. For patients with sundowning syndrome, a multitude of behavioral problems begin to occur in the evening or while the sun is setting.

Symptoms are not limited to but may include:
  • Increased general confusion as natural light begins to fade and increased shadows appear.
  • Agitation and mood swings. Patients may become fairly frustrated with their own confusion as well as aggravated by noise. Patients found yelling and becoming increasingly upset with their caregiver is not uncommon 
And seeing I mostly visit my dad in the evenings, I get to be a part of the sundowning experience. It is hella-fun.

After I'd fed dad and played shuffle board and walked the halls for half an hour? He noticed that his bed wasn't made. He wanted me to 'straighten up his bed.' Then take the blanket off. Then put it back on. Then put the blanket on him. Then tuck the blanket around him. Then take his arms out. Then take his feet out. Then adjust the blanket. Then. Then. Then.

He has broken his seat belt 3 times in the past 4 days. He DOES NOT WANT IT ON.
He has fallen from his wheel chair all weekend BECAUSE HE WANTS TO WALK. (Or something.)

So just before I left, I reclined his chair all the way back, and lowered his bed right to the floor, and put his swollen-to-twice-their-normal-size feet/legs onto the bed because I thought that would be more comfortable than just having them dangling. 

"Just wait a few minutes, OK dad? The nurses will come and help you get into bed."
"Go to bed."
"Yup. In a few minutes. One of the nurses is on her break." 
"Go to bed."
"Yes. You will be going to bed. I'm just going to tell Jenn. Stay here. Don't move."
"Yes. You are going to bed. We need to get a nurse to help us. JUST WAIT."
"Yes. Go to bed."

I slip out the door to find a care aide and he starts yelling.
"What are you yelling about? I'm right here."
"Go to bed?"
"Yes. I'm just getting Jenn to help us."
He is fussing and pulling on his blanket. He is agitated. Again.
I retuck him, change the movie, assure him that we will get him into bed. Can he wait a minute?
He looks deep into my eyes. My face is two inches away from his. "Go to bed?"
"Yes. Go to bed."

I leave the room again, and look back over my shoulder. He has defied all logic and thrown himself upright in a fully reclined chair. Apparently, we've been assured, this is impossible to do. The wheelchair manufacturer has not met my dad. Even having had a massive stroke, he is able to do what a 'normal' healthy man cannot.

"DAD! What are you doing? Lie back, ol man. Do you want to get hurt?"
He points to the bloody bed beside him. "Go. To. Bed."

I leave the room and ignore his yelling. 
I wander around looking for some staff. The RN is no where to be found. Nor are the care aids.

I see Henry (not his real name) (Dad's new table mate) (whom I just chatted with over dinner) parked across the door of Mr. Ah-So-Chu (not his real name)'s room. Mr Ah-So-Chu is trying to get out, but can't push open his door because Henry is blocking him in. Mr. Ah-So is screaming on the other side. Henry is yelling at him... "Just wait til the RCMP arrive. You will be put back in jail! I have to protect everyone. You will not escape this time." Hazel (not her real name) is yelling at Henry, "You did this last night too! You are a crazy man. Let Mr. AhSo go." 

Henry looks at her and goes berserk. "You are a liar! Get away from me! LIAR!"

(Meanwhile from dad's room, I hear him yelling, "JANE! JANE! DEAR?! Go. To. Bed. JANE JANE JANE..."

Hazel makes a fist and is ready to clock Henry in the head. Mr. AhSo is crashing his door over and over again against Henry's chair. Henry is not giving an inch. Hazel is a liar. And Mr. AhSo is a japanese enemy. 

I put my hand on Hazel's fist and gently lower it. "I'll look after this, Hazel. Go have a seat."
"He called me a liar. NO ONE CALLS ME A LIAR."
"I know you're not a liar. It doesn't matter what he says. He's not quite right in the head right now. Can you just let it go? Have a seat...."
"He did this yesterday too. There is something wrong with him."
"Yes, there is. I agree with you."
While she is dropping her hand and calming down, I am wheeling Henry backwards, allowing Mr. AhSo to escape his imprisonment. He comes rolling through his door ready to attack. He is screaming an Asian language. I agree with him. Totally unfair. Not right. Yes, he has a right to be angry. He jabbers on and on and I keep backing Henry up because tiny Mr AhSo is out for blood. 

I give Henry's wheel chair a push towards the lobby, then take Mr. Ahso's wheelchair and point it in the (opposite) direction toward the vacant nurses's station. He spins around and follows Henry, taunting him. 

I check on Hazel who has found a seat in the living room area. 
"You know, Hazel, you don't have to get involved. That's the nurse's job. Just go find one of them and let them sort it out. You are retired. Just call the nurse."
"They are always on breaks. And you know what? THAT used to be my job. I used to break up fights all the time. And NO ONE CALLS ME A LIAR.  Oh, and one of the nurses is outside on the deck."

("JANE?JANE?JANE?JANE?JANE?JANE?" Bellowing from my dad's room.)

I open the door to the deck.
"Hi. I know you're on your break, but World War Three was in the midst of breaking out between Henry and Mr. Ahso. Hazel seems a bit shook up. And my dad wants to go to bed... When you have time."

"I'm on my break. I'll call my partner. But she can't do anything til I'm done. And then she has her break, so it will be awhile."

I go back into the common area to find Mr. Ahso chasing Henry down the hall, screaming at him in Japanese or something. Henry is wheeling up and down the hallway calling for the RCMP. My dad is calling for Jane to put him in bed. Hazel is telling anyone who will listen that she is not a liar. 

And that? Is sundowning. 


I went to Heather's beach last week:

We walked out through tidal pools and onto sand bars and it was excellent. The sun shone, the wind blew, and we talked. Life? Doesn't get much better than this.

It was the very best way to spent the first hot sunny summer day. 

After walking and talking, we grabbed some Adirondack chairs and sat on the lawn. She knit. I read. This was our view:

For snacks, we raided the garden. YUM. Raspberries. Cherries. 

I think I may have to go back this week.The cherries should be perfect:

Did I mention that our wheels were a convertible? Like, no roof. Like, it was totally awesome?


The next day, after visiting dad, a few friends and I celebrated a birthday on the shores of Kits beach in Vancouver. Dinner at the Boathouse was DI-VINE. Watching the sun set while enjoying good food and good friends was life giving.

Afterwards we walked and talked and had coffees (teas) (water) at the local starbucks and chased away all the men sitting in our area. 

I love summer. Alot.


On Saturday, I visited my dad. Sigh. 
Then instead of going to church, I attended an evening NA meeting with Max. His sponsor was getting his two year cake and I kinda wanted to support him/congratulate him on this huge milestone. I am so glad I went...such an inspiring, emotional, celebratory event. Afterwards I turned in all those pennies (coins, actually) that I'd been collecting all month to The Door for their family program. THANK YOU to everyone who contributed. If you have pennies you'd still like to pass along for this life changing cause, I'm happy to get them from you. For The Door, this is a year-long fundraising effort. 

At 11 pm, Sandra and I drove up to the lake to stay for night. Clint and Jesse were staying over too. And the next day, Drew and Danica came up. And then John and Val came for dinner. And it was all good. 

Clint and Jess needed to break something on Sunday. So I asked them to take down the (rotting from the inside) tree house that my dad had built. Sad. Sad. Sad. 

While the boys dismantled the tree fort, Sandra and I plunked our chairs in the lake and caught up on the details of why Katie left Tom.

And Drew and Danica went for a swim:

From our shore dock to the floating dock:

And thank goodness it's only the second week of July because I have been waiting for this season since last September. 


Three FIVE things I'm thankful for:

1. My new Escape. I love it. Muchly.
2. This new laptop. Yup yup yup. So thankful for insurance. 
3. Anti anxiety meds. Dad has been getting them in the evening after I leave. Peace of mind knowing that he eventually calms down.
4. The color blue.
5. Books that make me think.


No comments: