This week has been better in a lot of ways: With the new plugs for the drier installed, we are able to wash and dry our clothes while doing other chores. Harriet hates to go to the Laundromat which added stress to her life, and that is never good for someone with Dementia. I seem to have adjusted to change in my medication and the depression is much better. Harriet continues to be mentally sharp and was able to make a curry stew that was wonderful.
On January 31, our dear friend, Joy Dumire died. She had been battling Pancreatic cancer for the past few years. We had visited her a few days before she died and she assured us that she was ready to go, but we still didn’t want to lose her. She welcomed us to St. Joseph and was an important part of our transition. Joy always made you feel loved and special. The visitation was held on Monday evening February 3rd and the funeral Mass was the next morning at 10:30. Harriet was exhausted and couldn’t go to the visitation or the funeral. She felt really bad about it but being in a crowd of people really takes a lot out of her.
This is something new for Harriet. She used to love to go to dances, weddings, family reunions, anywhere there’s a lot of people you would find her mixing in. However, as it is now, if she goes to an event today, she will probably need to sleep most of tomorrow and probably the day after that as well. Her sleep schedule is messed up anyway, she sleeps a lot in the day and is up most of the night. For example, before her dementia she would be at Sunday Worship every week come hell or high water. Because of Dementia she hasn’t been at church since Christmas Eve. I knew this was a problem, but I didn’t realize that she was dreading any outing where there would be large groups of people.
On Saturday February 8, we went to our Bible Study group. Harriet feels so loved and supported by this group that, unless she is not doing well, she loves to go. Steve, Joy’s husband, was there, and Harriet apologized for not being at Joy’s funeral. Steve put her right at ease and assured her that he understood completely. This group starts with dinner, moves on to general discussion and then into the Bible Study. Our discussion went so long that the group didn’t begin to break up until after ten pm.
On Sunday I was a part of the cleanup crew for the Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast. I went to ten o’clock mass, had breakfast with some friends, and helped clean up after everyone. The KOC President, Dave, asked me if I would be able to help with the breakfast after the bilingual service. I called Harriet and she was good with it. I went to the bilingual mass, which always makes me wish I could speak Spanish more fluently. Right now, I speak just enough Spanish to get in trouble. We lived in Miami Florida for six years and I came to really love and appreciate the Spanish speaking people. I really enjoyed the service and decided to learn to speak Spanish much better than I am able to at the present time.
This week was taken up with getting ready to visit Michelle and family in Peoria, for Valentine’s day. Our plans were to leave Thursday morning and arrive at Michelle’s in time for dinner. However, the weather forecast was for heavy snow Wednesday Evening and most of the day Thursday, with heavy winds on Thursday, causing drifting snow. Because of this we packed up and left our house about five o’clock Tuesday evening. We drove until after ten p.m. and stopped in Jolliet, Illinois. Harriet slept most of the time I was driving and quite well that night. The next morning, we were up by 8:30 and went downstairs to the free breakfast. We were on the road by eleven and the traffic was light. It started snowing as we were coming across the Illinois river to enter Peoria. It snowed the rest of the day and into Thursday, with a total accumulation of around six inches. In the past, unless the forecast called for blizzard conditions, with drifting snow and whiteouts, we would have waited until Thursday as planned. However, now the best plan is to avoid stress which only causes confusion, fear, and paranoia.
Harriet had a few troubling episodes this week. She has these reoccurring headaches, which are normal for people with FTD, but aren’t any fun. Also, her back pain has returned. This is troubling because it has only been a couple of weeks since she had the shots to take this pain away. These shots are supposed to help for a couple of months and she shouldn’t be in this kind of pain already. We were going to be in Florida for all of March but may have to adjust our schedule to take care of this problem.
On Saturday morning she woke up and said that the left side of her mouth felt funny. It seemed that it wouldn’t move in a normal fashion. She was concerned that she was having a stroke, but she passed all the little tests they say to do to check for one. Still the corner of her mouth was drooping and whereas the right side smiled normally the left side seemed to turn down. She talked to Steve, who is an Intensive Care Nurse at University of Michigan Hospital and he said it could be Bell’s palsy or a TIA (a mini stroke). He advised us to keep an eye on things since a series of mini strokes could indicate the onset of a larger stroke.
When we arrived at Michelle’s Harriet was extremely unsteady on her feet. She could barely walk up the steps and into the house. This condition started on Tuesday before we left home but has cleared up. Because of all the falls she has taken, she is very careful about walking.
Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day, Harriet and Michelle are off to get a pedicure and the guys are going to watch, The Last Jedi. Later we are going to take everyone to Thanh Linh Vietnamese restaurant. After that gifts and cards will be exchanged. (I bought Harriet something that was delivered to our house after we left for Peoria.) Tomorrow we’re going to go to the movie theater. The women are going to see, Little Women, and the guys are going to watch, The Rise of Skywalker. I hope that you have a blessed St. Valentine’s Day. (Eat lots of chocolate and drink a toast to love.)
Our nephew Eric bought Dad’s house and we closed on the sale today. Next week we will be moving most of the things out of the house and into my garage. (In 50 years of Marriage I can count on one hand the number of months that you could actually get a car into our garage.) If things work out, we still plan on going to Florida sometime in March. There is a memorial service for Dad on March 8, in Tice Florida, which I am presiding at. I will write more next Friday and let you know how things are going with us.
Please keep us in prayer and be assured we are praying for you.