AN ALZHEIMER’S LOVE STORY – AND BEYOND

Man and woman in a canoe.

Borrowed from a Facebook post. Love the quote attached to it.

March 15, 2013 — Every so often we run across a story that touches our heart in many ways.  I have a lot of friends on Facebook; that social media thing which could command much of our time if allowed, but today I am pleased to have skimmed through and found my cousin Sara had added an Alzheimer’s video to my page, a story about an older male  caregiver, responsible  for his sweet wife.  I stopped and watched “Bill and Glad: a love story.” Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-03-16 21:44:11.

Alzeheimer’s and the Importance of a Name

HER NAME IS ROSE 

Young woman in early 20th Century

 In the beginning, as individuals,                            we are all given a name.  Her name is Rose.

 

March 8, 2013 — “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Dialogue from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet tells us, perhaps, a name isn’t that importasnt; but there are times when I disagree.  It was with Rose, Ken’s mother, when I began to realize how important a name can be to any one of us as we travel through our earthly sojourn, often alone.  A name identifies who we have been and who we are. 

WHAT’S IN A NAME

Long before Alzheimer’s entered into their lives my father-in-law Nick always referred to his wife as Rose, or Rosie and sometimes he called her Roses.  Perhaps, challenging Shakespeare, he thought the variations as sweet, if not sweeter in repetition. I never knew him to speak of her as Mama, although he may have when the children were small so they would mimic him and learn that she was their mama.  If he did it was long before I knew either of them, or for that matter, long before I knew their son Kenneth, the man I married. 

I liked that Nick called his wife by her given name.  That’s who she was before all of the other titles of family living descended upon her: sister, cousin, aunt, daughter, wife, mother she was Rose.  It was the name bestowed upon her at christening, the name she carried through her youth, marriage, adulthood, and should have carried into the Golden Years, a name not vanishing under a sea of titles, illness and oblivion.

WHAT TO CALL MY MOTHER-IN-LAW  

I found it difficult as a new bride to call my mother-in-law Mama or Mom, titles I reserved for my own female parent.  For our generation it would have been much too familiar for me to call her Rose.  After all she was an elder and needed more respect from her son’s wife. Mother Romick sounded too contrived, and Mrs. Romick was too formal, cold and indifferent.  I cared about the woman and she cared about me, so I managed our conversations quite adequately by just calling both her and Nick nothing.  I believe Ken did the same with my mother and father. Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-03-10 03:51:12.

LOVE LETTERS AND ALZHEIMER’S

 

love letters

Love letters from the past bring thoughts of old times to this Alzheimer’s caregiver.

March 1, 2013 — Spending an evening with granddaughter Liz we ran across a decorative box filled with letters. 

Out of college she has traveled the world and was stopping by for a few weeks to visit with me and Ken before deciding what might be next on her youthful bucket list.  Memorable as our young beauty is her Alzheimer’s grandfather has shown no signs of recognition, viewing her with suspicion whenever she coos him a hello while passing his chair or chats with him for a minute or two.

OLD LETTERS

Holding the box and peering inside her big blue eyes opened wide as if she had found “pay dirt.”

“Yes,” I told her, “those are letters from me and your grandfather written before we married.  He was working for the railroad in central California and I lived and worked in San Francisco.  The two of us kept in touch by writing letters to one another.”

Love letters,” she asked?  “I suppose you could call them love letters,” I answered.  It was before we became engaged, during and right up until we got married.” Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-03-02 03:52:26.

REFLECTIONS ON “IT”S A SPARROW”

February 23, 2013 –This is a first for me.  With winter almost over I have acquired a beastly bug which has left me bed-bound and looking forward to a week’s rest reading something wonderful until this thing which has knocked me for a loop is gone.  I am so grateful for Ben and Crizaldo and their care for Ken so I can rest and recover.  Therefore, I have re-posted a very early blog, and one of my favorites.  I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
GOOD THINGS ON THE INTERNET
sparrow on a fence

Reflecting on a video I saw on line.  As a caregiver I am reminded of a most important element to the peace and mind of caregivers and the well-being of our AD loved one:  that of patience.

I have found the Internet to be filled with information that goes far and beyond email.  We all know that, but it’s usually the email we go to first. It’s like long ago when we checked the mailbox for personal mail. Remember people writing letters? Now, to receive something with your name handwritten at your front door is unusual — if not downright thrilling. Most of what the mailman delivers is junk or bills, and email is often like that as well. No bills, some junk to delete, and at times I’m disappointed to see only forwards. However, I have come to appreciate even some of those.

There are LOLs (and that’s the text jargon meaning laugh out loud, and like or not it’s here to stay). Some I read and delete and others are good enough to forward. They can be funny, inspirational, nostalgic, political, informative, enlightening, spiritual, sights to see beyond description, travels that can take your breath away, and fabulous photographs from all over the world, under the sea and outer space. Yes, even those pesky forwards can be worth the time. Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-02-23 03:10:28.

A Valentine’s Day Without Alzheimer’s

DINNER FOR TWO PLEASE

musicial notes and hearts

Karoke and Valentine’s Day,  remembering a fun evening without Alzheimer’s

February 15, 2013 – That’s the usual request just about anywhere on Valentine’s Day, especially if it’s early and no one thought to get reservations. It was many years ago, before Alzheimer’s was part of our life,  when Ken and I ventured out for a spontaneous dinner on that special night for sweethearts. “It’s early,” he assured me entering the restaurant not too far from home, and far from the beaten path of the more popular eating establishments. “We shouldn’t have any trouble getting a table.” Wrong! The place was already packed and it wasn’t even six o’clock. “Dinner for two? Sorry, we’re already full for the entire evening, but I can seat you in the bar if you don’t mind,” offered the maître d’. “The only difference is the table is a little small, and it may be a bit noisy.”

Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-02-16 22:23:42.

ALZHEIMER’S AND SUPER BOWL SUNDAY

Super Bowl IXVII

Once an enthusiastic sports fan Ken can no longer follow any game.  Alzheimer’s has robbed him of memory.

ALZHEIMER’S ROBS FAN

February 8, 2013 – Before Alzheimer’s and even a few years into the disease Ken was a sports’ nut, and has been all of his life.   I suppose I could just say “Fan” instead of nut which might be considered a more polite term, but the word fan is taken from fanatic, and Ken was fanatic about sports, so for me “nut” is definately appropriate.

I was a sports’ nut too, but only when any one of our children were involved.  It wasn’t as though I didn’t understand the rules of just about all sporting events; I did.  Furthermore, as a youth I was rather athletically inclined and participated in whatever games were scheduled in my P.E. classes during my school years. Everything except, of course, football, which I quickly learned having been afflicted with a mad crush on our team’s quarterback.  Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-02-09 18:30:55.

ALZHEIMER’S AND THE ART OF DOWNSIZING

DOWNSIZING: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Holding back full closet

Whether you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or not, downsizing is easier to do sooner than later.

February 1, 2013 – As we continue with life’s journey along its often bumpy highway there comes a time to think about, if not begin, downsizing; a polite way of saying “get rid of some of that stuff.”  Whether the husband or wife has Alzheimer’s, or any other kind of debilitating or terminal illness, isn’t necessarily part of this decision. Possessions – stuff – have a tendency to reproduce and accumulate; well perhaps not reproduce, it just feels that way.  However, stuff does seem to constantly collect jamming drawers, crowding closets and overwhelming the garage while the inhabitants continue searching for additional storage.

(Special Note: This blog has been nominated for  The Best Seniorhomes.com Senior Living Award, Personal Blog. Please give it a vote by clicking on the certificate to the left. Thanks!) Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-02-02 19:41:24.

A BUSY MONDAY AND A SPECIAL MEMORY

roll of toilet paper

Gifts of paper for the first anniversary. What else but  bathroom tissue?

January 21, 2013 – Monday:  School is out, no mail delivery and the banks are closed.  It’s a holiday, and much, much more:  Martin Luther King Day, Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., and most important of all, it’s Ken’s and my wedding anniversary.   In retrospect, there are more years than I care to count, and far too many years living with Alzheimer’s, but it’s our day and I remember it with fondness.

Earlier this morning, thinking of it as just another Monday, I put a few letters at the box for the mailman to pick up. Several hours later I remembered it was a holiday and brought them back into the house.  Furthermore, there was no need to drive to the bank.  Meanwhile, they were celebrating in our nation’s capital, and I found myself thoughtful about it being the 21st, reminiscing about Ken and me, our life together before Alzheimer’s, and our very first anniversary.  Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-01-26 07:04:54.

TONS OF TATTOOS AND ALZHEIMER’S

January 18, 2013 — Disclaimer up front:  Tattoos have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s.  However, Ken does have both.  Not tons of tattoos, but more than the average sailor from WWII.  He also continues his journey into the dense fog of dementia’s number one disease.

tattoo on shoulder

After just one tattoo Ken’s mom made him promise, “no more.”  16 tattoos later he obeyed.

A few evenings ago as I sat on the couch next to Ken’s bed watching Wheel of Fortune while my husband, having completed another day in his battle with AD, settled in for a good night’s sleep.  He turned a little, raised one arm high into the air, pulled at his sleeve until it fell past the elbow, and then scratched where it itched.  I glanced over to make sure he didn’t need anything more for his comfort.  In doing so, my eyes drifted to the array of pictures covering the  aging skin of his arm, and I thought of our third meeting (not a date) at my company picnic.

Ken didn’t work there, but our mutual friend Jim did and invited him to come along.  The men, already relaxed after a few beers in the sun, were tossing around a football on a nearby lawn.  Off to the side a pile of sports shirts grew as the players threw off their superfluous clothing in favor of either bare chests or white tees with a crew neck.  Good grief, I thought to myself, both of Ken’s arms are covered with tattoos. I did not know about his tattoos before the picnic and the discovery reminded me that I hated the ugly markings with  an unbelievable passion. Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-01-19 08:02:18.

ALZHEIMER’S, ONYCHOMYCOSIS AND TOE NAILS

cartoon of toe nail fungus

Many people with Alzheimer’s have other health issues to deal with including Onychomycosis.

January 11, 2013 — I wrote about one of our adventures with this particular doctor’s visit a few years ago, but with Alzheimer’s you can’t get too much information when you’re a spousal caregiver.

A FUNGUS AMONG US

Onychomycosis is an extremely contagious fungus that lives and breathes toenails (rarely  fingernails). Unfortunately, or fortunately, for the victim there is a medicine which can be taken orally, but after I listened to and read all of the possible bad side effects I doubted I would ever recommend it to anyone.  Yet, because Ken has had the fungus for as long as I can remember, and his toenails are so incredibly yucky the desperate idea of asking for a prescription periodically pops into my mind. That consideration was prompted only by an account by my dear friend Pat, her toenail fungus, the successful use of the medication and its healing results.  (I have also learned that Laser treatments are now available.) Continue reading

Originally posted 2013-01-12 17:10:00.

Sign-up For Our Newsletter

Sign-up for our free newsletter and receive expert tips from Ann Romick, a woman who has cared for 4 different family members with Alzheimer's over a span of 30 years. Be the first to get notification of her forthcoming book, Journey Into the Fog, based on her experiences.

We respect your email privacy

Email Marketing by AWeber