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Welcome

WELCOME to my website and let me introduce myself. I am Ann Romick:  a wife — Mrs. Kenneth Romick — a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and have enough additional common, yet treasured, titles to fill a couple of 3 x 5 business cards — if they made that size. One title I do not hold in any way, shape or form is that of a medical person.  Other than passing through countless seasons of mothering where I hugged away bruises and bumps, kissed away tears, and closed the wounds on any and all of my children with a homemade butterfly bandage, took temperatures when they were sick, and gave the dog a few shots in the rump I am as far away from being a professional medic as I can get.  Thoughts from my writing are my own personal opinions and experiences, and are not meant to be taken as medical advice, but merely what has worked for me.

I am, however, a writer and have been for a many years.   I have ghost written a personal history, edited a few books, and have three of my own working their way out of my computer.  My articles have appeared in national magazines and for years I was one of several writers who wrote for the Sunday magazine section of The Sparks Newspapers serving the greater part of Southern Alameda County in California U.S.A.  The small, privately owned chain has long since been swallowed by one of the large conglomerates that are striving to keep the dwindling newspaper industry as part of the information media.  To show my support I still subscribe to our local paper which continues to be reduced in size and days of publication, although like so many others it can be read on-line.

I love the written word.  I love reading it and I love writing it.  This website, the blogs herein contain my thoughts, experiences, hopes, frustrations, joys, sorrows and anger, and are written in a friendly, informal, journal style rather than a structured list of do and don’ts as I continue to travel with my husband Ken through the awfulness of Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition, I find that I do philosophize a bit.  I write about things that are funny, believing it’s okay to laugh because laughter is good for the soul, and I write about sadness because it is a fact, and I write a lot about life in between the laughter and sadness because that’s where most of life takes place.  I write for me, but I post it for any who might be looking for comfort, information or a shoulder to cry on.  I offer this as a place for sharing when life seems to be unbearable.

I am also the caregiver for my husband Ken who is entering into another year of battle with Alzheimer’s disease as the enemy. Ken is still living here with me in our home.  Since 2010 I have part-time help.

If you, like me, are a caregiver, or have loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s, my website might contain some information and understanding for which you may be searching.  From the beginning, once we adjusted to the dreadful diagnosis, I have approached my husband’s AD experience with a matter-of-fact attitude — accept those thing which cannot be changed — and have whispered the rest of the serenity prayer over and over during the rough times.

Ken began his AD journey in January of 2004, although symptons — barely noticed, but caught by me — were evident as far back as the mid 1990s.  In retrospect it all seemed like just a short breather since I cared for my own mother who suffered from the disease in the late 80s and early 90s.  Prior to that, Ken’s parents, Nick and Rose, were both stricken during the mid and late 70s with me as the available person to care for them.

There wasn’t much coming from the medical community when the family was faced with caring for our parents as they moved into their last years with mental disorders.  Their “illness” was often labeled “old,” “second childhood,” “senile,” “sundowner’s disease” or  just “demented.”  The term Alzheimer’s was coming into use as a possibility claiming that positive diagnosis could only be made with an autopsy. Even though the responsibility of mom and dad was shared by Ken and his sister Loretta, the constant demand and heavy duties still belonged to me as Ken and Loretta were both employed full-time.  Although we still had children in school, my time was flexible.  Caring for Rose and Nick, who remained in their home, meant commuting 60 miles round trip several times a week.  The routine continued until Nick required a care facility and passed on after one week’s stay.  It wasn’t long before the family found Rose needed placement in an assisted-care facility.  Nevertheless, her care needed an overseer, and to complicate matters Rose suffered from bladder cancer requiring appointments and continuing treatments.  I was still on duty.

Meanwhile, my mother began showing the same discouraging signs of dementia.  Well into their 80s and even with my father’s capable care they required additional supervision resulting in another round trip of 140 miles.  Understanding they could no longer live so far away from family, my parents reluctantly elected to move from their beautiful country home in Sonoma County, California, USA to be closer to where Ken and I lived on the east side of San Francisco’s bay.  What my parents wanted was to be as independent as possible, living in their own home being close to family, but not living with us.  Buying a house less than a mile from our home, the living arrangement proved to be the near-perfect solution.  All seemed to be going smoothly until my mom broke a hip and her AD worsened, eventually requiring a live-in caregiver which tremendously eased my responsibility.

While watching any loved one slip away into the wretched nothingness of Alzheimer’s is numbing, seeing your life’s partner, your best friend, your spouse, your love and the other parent of your children spiral down the same bottomless staircase as I had observed in three of our four parents, brings about unspeakable pain on a 24/7 basis.  Through these years I have made every effort to be positive as we were carried helplessly into the daily battles by striving to live in the moment — both the good moments and the bad.   Helping to get through the maze I remember the good times of happier days which I share in my writing.  I have found that writing gives me perspective and helps keep balance to my life.

Following a devastating automobile accident involving a drunk driver in February of 2010, it became necessary to find caregivers for Ken during my 3-month absence.  How blessed I was to have devoted family members taking charge and then finding two wonderful men who were able to help with Ken’s damaged and declining condition.  With my return home, and through my long healing process, these professional caregivers continue  their work with Ken where he is still most content: at home.

Our story on these pages are my thoughts as  a caregiver, weighing in how I would want to be cared for, treated, and written about  if I were the patient.   I write about life as it is and was, allowing memories, feelings and emotions color and be a part of these shared stories of family and the effect Alzheimer’s has had on all our lives.

To the reader, I want you to know you are not alone in this universal tragedy.  May you, hopefully find a shared commonality, fresh resolve and fortitude to carry on — strengthened — to handle your situation with love , patience and understanding.

Ken and I are the parents of five grown children, 18 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.  We have been married more than 50 years.

5 Responses to Welcome

  • Jacqueline Dunn says:

    The story I have just read is remarkable in that Ann is/was able to continue her own thoughts, live her life, albeit the many concerns/worries/dispair which had to be there. This story is most important to be shared with those who must/may have the same fears that come to caregivers of aflicted loved ones. God bless, continue to be strong in your love.

    • aromick says:

      Jackie, Thanks for tuning in on my new web site and reading about my thoughts as Ken and travel through this dark tunnel of Alzheimer’s. I do hope you and Lester are doing well.

  • Christean says:

    I so appreciate your website. I (age 71) am caregiver for my husband, Robert (age 78), who is apparently in late mid-stage. It is a blessing to read your articles as Robert and I move through the dark tunnel. May God bless you always.

    • aromick says:

      Christean,

      I’m not sure if my reply went through as it isn’t noted on my dashboard. In writing AD24-7 I do hope that it brings some comfort to others who are the caregivers to their loved ones in knowing that they are not alone in their awesome duties and dedication in caring for their special someone. Remember to take care of yourself as well. Thanks for reading and posting.
      Sincerely, Ann

  • Pingback: November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. | Romick in Oakley

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