Lynne’s youngest son graduated from Garfield High School Last night. He’ll take two courses at Seattle Central College this summer to complete his Associate’s’ Degree. This picture drew a broad smile from Lynne when I visited her after the ceremony. #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors
Lynne and I meandered on a path along Lake Washington last week. I explained my snack system to build up my strength.. “After mid-night I cut a banana in three sections and put two sections in the refrigerator. I slice the first section into small bites covered in chunky peanut butter, and do the same with in mid-morning and the afternoon.”
She laughed. “Dad, stop. That’s too many bananas.”
I don’t think it’s too many. I think it’s clever. I reward myself after writing by eating protein and sugar in healthy doses. I’ll keep it a secret.
Lynne was concerned about a man on her floor. I promised we’d take care of it. When we returned I reminded the concierge to get her dressed on time for the free photo shoot with her son in his high school graduation robe.
The boy’s father canceled that afternoon because their son wanted to take the photos at the graduation ceremony. I told the concierge to cancel Lynne’s visit. He said, “I’m not going to tell her, and hope she doesn’t remember and get disappointed.”
The excited caregiver on the floor didn’t cancel plans either. She bathed her, brushed her hair and curled the ends, put her in a black sports bra under a deep V-neck full length black and white polka dot dress in her comfortable black shoes. She felt pretty.
The concierge called. “Lynne is dressed and ready to go.”
“I’ll be right over.” What was I going to do? My inner voice rescued me: “Drive her to the boys home because they canceled it. They’re going to rescue us.”
The boys were surprised. Tucker whirled in his circles to catch his tail. He barked and pushed his head into everybody as the boys yelled, “Stop, Tucker. Sit. Tucker! Tucker!” The graduate disappeared and reappeared in his robe with mortar board and tassel. We took pictures and pictures on the sunny back patio.
Time for ice cream. The oldest said, “I can’t go. I just got back from work. I’m too sweaty.” Everybody else disappeared to get dressed and head out the basement door. The oldest reappeared in a clean pair of sweatpants.
It was cold for ice cream. Her graduate zipped up Lynne’s red jacket. The posters listed ice cream, sorbets, sundaes, sherbets. The boys said she had two favorites: scout mint and salted caramel. She ordered scout mint and I ordered salted caramel to share. I warned the boys she will eat the ice cream non-stop and get brain freezes. They took turns feeding her and talking with her.
She told the concierge she had a great time. He told her she looked pretty in that dress.
5/31, Dear Susan and Karin, I haven’t thanked you for visiting Lynne last week. Of course, it seems to make no sense for me to say thanks when you visit a friend and have a good time. So why do I feel grateful and how should I say it?
It makes me feel good when someone is there entertaining her with a different interpersonal relationship than I have. I ache when she is alone and I am not going to see her. I urge myself to go more and I do what I can, always knowing I could do more if I didn’t have other things I choose to do in my life. So, I relish times whenever friends care enough to make a special effort to see her. I feel less guilt. I feel more supported.
Also, I like to hear exactly how Lynne responds and how you and other guests respond. I learn from your, and other, visits, get ideas, try other things. I can report other experiences on the blog to encourage other people to visit.
Many, I think, fear coming to see her because they feel uncertain about what to say. So, I appreciate your willingness to risk a little time that may feel painful, soothed only by the truth that she knows you care. So, thank you. Dad
6/1 Hi Jim, Thank you for your very thoughtful message. Susan and I really enjoyed our time with Lynne. Our visit worked out just perfectly with time to chat in the hallway, see her room, take a walk in the neighborhood, meet some of her Aegis friends who all adore her and sent her off on her field trip. When she saw us, she greeted us with the biggest hugs!
After our visit, Susan and I met five of our Microsoft Posse for lunch down the street, and it was wonderful to see everyone and talk about our favorite old and new memories. Getting reacquainted with this group the last few years has been so wonderful for me, and it really is Lynne who has brought us together.
Please know we love her very much and would do anything for her. Let us know if we can do more. You, Lynne and the boys are in our constant thoughts. 😊 xoxo Karin
6/1 I’m choked up right now with tears in my eyes. I hope you appreciate how much your care supports our family. Jim
Two co-workers/friends from the 1990s visited Lynne. “She was happy to chat and walk outside. She seemed calm and listening as we walked arm in arm. Staff supported us with the freedom to visit. Such a joy for us to see her in person.” #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors
Two friends of Lynne since they worked together in the 1990s had a nice visit with Lynne. Kristina wrote, “I don’t think I’ve seen her for a couple years. Kristine joined me. We took a long walk in the neighborhood and enjoyed a latte at Queen Bee. I’m not sure if she recognized me this visit. She answers questions but answers are pretty short. She wasn’t able to direct us to her room. Makes me sad and reminds me of my dad and grandma who also had Alzheimer’s.”Their trip made Lynne happy as you can see from the smiles on Lynne’s face. And told me she remembered the fun she had with the visit and enlivened with the puppy.
Lynne and I have good days and bad days. On good days she had her nail’s done and joined in a bell choir. One visit she finished her dinner and staff gave her an extra plate. She ate most of the chicken and mashed potatoes and avoided both broccolis. She used her fork or used her fingers without spilling. “This is so good.”
“Do want a piece of banana cream pie?”
She shook her head, “No, it’s …”
I corrected myself. “It’s lemon meringue pie.”
She nodded, “Yes.”
Suddenly she shook her head, “That’s (name). She’s a piece of work.” She was listening to dining room voices. She’s upset with residents and staff several times and needed to be restrained. They will slightly increase Resperidone to calm her.
I told her the ultra scan after my vascular surgery looked good. She was pleased.
“I told her the story of the dangerous vascular surgeon’s offices on the 14th and 11th floors. I walked down from 14th to 11th floor and got locked out in the stairways. I had to exit into the garage.” She looked concerned.
Staff said they were locked because of Covid, so I suggested they warn your patients.” “My vascular patients don’t use the stairs. You’re an exception.”
By the time I left the office had full-page signs in a plastic holder. I complained, “Wait, you didn’t give me any credit at the bottom of the sign.” They laughed. Lynne laughed.
I told Lynne I walked uphill for three blocks to the bus stop with my right hip muscles and glutes tightening up so hard I had to sit to recover. The doctor explained the soreness was expected after my surgery. “Keep walking and blood may find a way to get there in 6 to 12 months. If not, you’ll have to live with it.”
Lynne was concerned. I said, “That’s OK. If I have to, I’ll buy a scooter.” She laughed.
Her oldest twin had a boil on his buttocks that made him cry out from the bathroom. I said, “It’s ok now, they were able to drain it.”
Lynne nodded, “Oh, good.”
I added, “He was afraid they’d have to lance it.”
Lynne scrunched up her face, “Ow.”
She said, “We should go home now.”
A caregiver unlocked the door for us. I said, “Oh look, here’s your Mother’s Day card from your boys. Let me read what they wrote.” She stood still. I read one note, “Well, you did well on that one.” She laughed. “Let’s check the next one. Well, you did real well on that one too.” Let’s see how well you did on this one.” She listened with a big smile.
“Well, you did well on that one too. Three out of three.” She laughed.
“How does it feel to be a mother of three boys who love you so much?”
She glowed. “It’s time to go,” she said. We walked back into the dining room and said she wanted to go home. I told a caregiver Lynne wanted to go to her room. She shook her head, “She goes in and comes right back out.”
She walked with me to the elevator. “I love you so much,” she said. We hugged. She grabbed my hand tighter and tighter as she walked away. “Lynne, let go, I have to leave.”
“Oh, that’s right.” She let go and slowly walked toward the dining room.
Like everybody, we have good days and bad days.
The boys planned Mother’s Day and wrote her a card. Dad freshened up his apartment. Clemens ordered Thai food and boiled the meals. He baked a carrot cake, Lynne’s favorite. Lynne ate every serving. And said over and over, This is so nice. #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors
Lynne’s friend mailed me a letter for Lynne. She often does. I gave it to her as she ate. She held it with a smile. I opened it for her. She was pleased. I pulled it out of the envelope. She opened it & was excited to see Happy Mother’s Day. #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors
A friend since college grabbed Lynne’s arm and talked and laughed with her for an hour. She shares by talking with Lynne far better than I can, like how they danced in College and laughed at her funny looking dog, Daisy. I just followed along. #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors
We bought a pedometer to count Lynne’s steps listening to music, often arm in arm, inside or outside. We clipped one to her waistband with her cell phone in it. She walked 13,408 steps the first day, 18,635 after 24-hours. She welcomes arms. #Alzheimers #Alzwa #alzauthors