NOTICE: I want to apologize for the length of time since my last posting. Somehow my life has spun out of control and I cannot seem to accomplish anything. One example, in Michigan we rake leaves in October and November. Today, January 8, I spent most of the day raking leaves. I hope to finish tomorrow because rain is coming both Friday and Saturday and the forecast is calling for three inches of rain over those two days. The only reason I can think of is my health. I’ve had pneumonia once and bronchitis twice, since October, and this has made my asthma flare up. I am back in the saddle, so to speak, and am working to bring the blog up to date. I am also working on two articles for the, Caregiver’s Survival blog. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
October 9 – November 4, 2019
We returned home, from Vermont, on October 9th and our Anniversary Celebration was set for November 2nd. Fortunately, while we were having fun in Vermont, our daughter, Michelle, a few friends, and relatives, were busy making plans for our Fiftieth Anniversary Party.
Our Nephew, Barrett Dvorsky, had been hired to make, address, and mail, our invitations. He was a commercial artist in Chicago, who quit his job to move back to the family farm and plant an apple orchard. Although he continues to do freelance artwork, his ultimate goal is to produce an apple drink for adults. I don’t think it is applejack but some kind of apple mead. The invitations looked like a gold coin or medal printed on cardstock. Very creative.
Our two grandsons, Isaac and Aidan, were working on a song list, as they were chosen to be the DJs. Our Granddaughter, Tabby, offered to make 150 special cupcakes in white, chocolate, and dairy free varieties. Sister in law, Cindy brought over samples of cheesecakes in a jar; New York style, and Chocolate. They were both so delicious that we couldn’t wait till the party to have more. Harriet and her dear friend Mary, came up with table decorations which included an, illuminated, glass Christmas tree with a swag around its base, which was set on a mirror tile. The food table was going to be covered in gold wrapping paper, with gold pumpkins between the food trays. Michelle had taken five crates of pictures, and photographs home, and was scanning some, for a DVD presentation, and putting others in frames to display on a table. She also hired a caterer and bought napkins, cups, mugs, and other party goods. I lined up the sound system for the dancing and the drinks, which included: Draft Beer, four kinds of wine, alcohol free beer, lemonade, water, tea, and coffee. I had rented the hall at Holy Family Catholic Parish for the celebration.
Before we left for Vermont, Harriet had been seen at the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency Room. Because of this we had decided to get a primary Care Doctor who was in the St. Joseph system. We had our initial appointments on October 14 and Dr. Mendoza referred her to a Neurologist and me to a Urologist. On top of that the pain clinic had made an appointment with a pain Psychologist for a five-hour test and examination. Altogether we had about eight doctor appointments before the big day.
Harriet had volunteered to make over 25 swags for the table decorations. Soon our dining room table soon looked like a craft room, with silk flowers, ribbon, green wire, vines, baskets, branches, and assorted tools, piled up on its surface. She had gone to the Orthopedic Clinic and had the old cast cut off and a new, tighter one, put on the day after we got back from Vermont. I mention this because the cast was causing her extra grief as she worked on the swags. When she was having a good day, Harriet could make quite a few swags. However, there were days when she couldn’t make any because she couldn’t seem to figure out how to get the wire snug enough to hold everything together. She would blame the cast saying that it was in the way.
Harriet was really excited about the Anniversary Party. She said that she had to wait 50 years to get the wedding reception she always wanted. Her dad was Czechoslovakian, and her mom was English with some other countries thrown in for good measure. Harriet has memories of Polish and Czech weddings with lots of good food, beer, dancing and great times. When we got married her parents were newly divorced, she was pregnant, and the wedding was quickly thrown together. At that time, I was a member of First Baptist Church in Tecumseh, Michigan. The wedding and reception were both held in the church. When your reception is in the fellowship hall of the Baptist church there will not be dancing, or alcoholic beverages, (unless someone spikes the punch). Anyway, I was 19 and she was 18 so we were too young to drink, as the legal age is 21 in Michigan. The food was cold cuts, cheese, chips, potato salad, and coleslaw, and there was a punch or coffee to drink. I hadn’t been to many weddings and didn’t have anything to compare it with. Besides, I was thrilled to be so in love with such a beautiful woman, it didn’t matter to me what kind of wedding or reception we had.
I don’t know if this has really bothered her for the past 50 years, or if this is just the dementia talking. There have been several conversations where she says some things that are shocking. For example, we were with my sisters and Harriet told the story of the time in which her and my mom got into an argument about something. Harriet said that, she came out of the back door with the intention of leaving and not coming back. However, my dad, aware of what had happened spoke with her asking her not to leave and explaining that my mom had mental illness issues, and that Harriet should try to ignore anything mom said, or did, that was mean or ornery. Harriet concluded the story by saying that if dad hadn’t intervened, she would have divorced me. I guess she could tell that the story surprised me because she went on to say, “I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings but that’s just the way it was.” It surprised me because, even though I remember the event, I thought we were together in our anger towards my mom. So, I wonder, is that really the way it was or is that just the dementia talking?
On Wednesday, October 30, Harriet had the cast taken off her arm. She was given a brace, that could be tightened with Velcro. They also provided her with some exercises which would strengthen her arm. She was happy that she would not have the cast on during our 50th Anniversary Celebration.
On the morning of November 2, some of our family and friends went to the church and set everything up for the party. All the tables were set in place and decorated, the mixer and speakers were set up and tested, and the pictures were all arranged in a very nice display. The drinks were put in place, with extra bags of ice in the freezer. Everything was ready to go and so I went home and put on my tuxedo. Harriet wore the same dress that she had worn for Zach and Gina’s wedding in Toronto back in June. One sad thing was that Gina, and her parents, could not come to the party. This was because Gina had an emergency appendectomy a few days before. Her parents stayed with her so that Zach would be free to attend.
The evening started with the renewal of vows, which was led by Deacon John Crowley. It was the traditional, no loopholes, Christian ceremony. We promised to continue to be faithful to each other in sickness and health, richer or poorer, through good times and bad, to love, honor, and cherish until death parts us.
Following the renewal ceremony, toasts, and prayers were said, and then dinner was served. After dinner, Harriet and I danced to Shania Twain’s song, “You’re Still the One.” And then our favorite dance song, Old Time Rock and Roll, was played and almost everyone was on the dance floor.
The rest of the evening was spent, visiting with friends and relatives, or dancing. Harriet and I danced to the first two songs and once more later in the evening. She wasn’t up to dancing any more than that because of her back pain from the fall she took in June. Dancing was a lot of fun, and included: line dancing, the twist, the Polka, the waltz, and whatever you call it when rock and roll is played, and people get on the dance floor and just start gyrating.
The party started at 6:00 pm and people started leaving around 9, which was an indicator that we didn’t invite enough young people. By ten the party was over, and we started cleaning up. We were home by 11:00 and Harriet was beaming with happiness. Before we went to bed, we opened the cards. Even though the invitation said, “NO GIFTS – We want your presence not your presents,” some people gave gifts anyway. It was a great evening thanks to family and friends who volunteered to help. I couldn’t have pulled it all together by myself. We went to bed that night feeling loved, supported, happy, and content, it really did all come together.
It took Harriet 3-4 days to recover, things like that are exhausting for her. Exhaustion, after an event, is a part of the Dementia and is common among people who have FTD.
Thank you for your continuing prayer support. I would probably be in much worse condition without the prayer cover you provide. Please continue to pray for us, and we will continue to pray for you.