View From My Window

Wednesday evening, October 13, 2021 — They say that all good things come to those who wait. Well, we’ve been waiting and wonder upon wonders, I received an e-mail from the daughter-in-law of the man who owned Unit #26 at Mountain Aire Estates. Sadly, they had two deaths in the family within months of one another–one is bad enough, but to lose two in less than 6 months is very difficult.

Meanwhile, she wrote that they were working at removing the personal effects and wanted to fix a few things in the place before putting it on the market. She estimates some time in Spring of 2022. I wrote her back and thanked her, telling her we would purchase the home in a less than perfect condition and that we loved the way the home was situated on the corner. Our previous home in San Diego was a corner home, and it was also a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. And, the garage was 2 car and was situated on the side of the house, just like #26 is. Is the Universe talking to us? I believe it is. I’m more than happy to wait as long as they need. I told her although Robert’s dementia is progressing, we’re still not in a hurry and can wait as long as it takes for the right home.

Speaking of dementia, tonight was a truly difficult time. I asked Robert last night if he’d like to go to Jake’s Steakhouse tonight to celebrate our anniversary. He said yes, that would be o.k. So, instead of making a reservation, we showed up at 4:00 p.m., their opening time. We got seated and I asked for coffee with creamer and Robert asked for an 805 (which he never really drank). Then we went over the menu and he said he’d take the prime rib (he never orders prime rib, but I thought perhaps he was confusing it with the sirloin steak, which he usually orders. Nonetheless, when the waitress came, I ordered for him and added a dinner salad for him. I ordered the Mahi Mahi, that came with a mound of rice & risotto and a serving of cold #1 green beans in a red onion and Vinagarette. They were similar to the fried green beans usually found on the Chinese Buffet line, except they were COLD! Talk about a shocker… I eventually got my green beans traded for a baked potato. When our meal was delivered, I noticed Robert was having trouble with his knife and fork, switching them back and forth and using the fork upside down — just trying to cut his meat. I asked if he’d like some help and he said, “No.” So I continued with my dinner until he’d spilled the Au Jus all over his plate and some into his lap. Then the small container of horseradish sauce was next to be juggled onto its side. Finally, I reached over and said, “Here, let me help you.” I flagged down a waitress and asked to see our waiter. When she came to the table, I pointed out that Robert’s prime rib was very fatty and it had so much gristle he was having difficulty cutting it. She asked if we wanted to exchange it for something else and Robert declined, saying the flavor was good, but there was a lot of gristle. I managed to take the knife and fork and cut the meat away from the fat, cutting it into small, bite-sized pieces. I urged Robert to work on his baked potato since he hadn’t touched it at all. By this time, he appeared to be very tired and was shutting his eyes and looking like he was going to go to sleep right there at the table. I caught our waitress and asked if they had a dessert tray–she replied that they had a menu and I asked if they had cheesecake. She gave me the two flavor choices and I selected one and asked for the check at the same time. A few minutes later I realized Robert needed to get home — now. <sigh> So I once again flagged down the waitress and asked that the dessert be packed to go. I got the bill, signed it and we got up to leave just as they brought the dessert in a to-go package.

I realized when I got Robert home, that tonight was probably the last time we would be going out to eat where he had to cut something in order to eat it. He just couldn’t manage the task at all. And I felt helpless sitting across from him, watching him struggle. It reminded me of the time when I shared caregiving tasks with a friend who was a live-in cook/caregiver to a woman who had Alzheimer’s. I told the friend that eventually, she wouldn’t be able to allow the woman to eat in a restaurant, and more than this, eventually, she would have to be placed in a care facility. My friend objected, saying that would never happen–but it did–just as I said. Sadly, after the woman passed away (in a care facility, mind you), my friend returned to her home back east and the last I heard from her granddaughter was that she had Alzheimer’s and was in a care facility.

Life is a cycle, and I see that I was prepared for these days with Robert by my experiences in caring for another who had Alzheimer’s. Notwithstanding my experience and training at San Diego Hospice, the education I received firsthand in dealing with an Alzheimer’s patient was truly a blessing in disguise.

Be safe, take care of yourself, and know that whatever you are experiencing in life, it’s what you’re meant to experience. I think we have to look deeper into what we do in this life, and be grateful for all of the many blessings we have. And please be sure to tell those you love that you love them. It’s the one thing that keeps us going.

About tehachap

Happily married and retired, my hobbies are quilting, reading and anything to do with trains (watching, photographing and running them in our G scale garden railroad). My husband and I have truly enjoyed our retirement, and have fulfilled one of our primary goals in life and that is to own a home overlooking train tracks so we can watch trains 24/7. We are sincerely blessed in this life.
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10 Responses to View From My Window

  1. cacjjc says:

    Oh Carol, this brings back so many memories for me. I remember as I watched my husband’s decline the overwhelming discouragement and sadness, both for myself and for him, as he was slowly but surely losing ground. Birthdays and anniversaries became bittersweet, with my realization of the inevitable changes and loss from dementia.

    You have such a good understanding of dementia; what to expect and how best to navigate this time in life. This will serve you well as you make the necessary changes and adjustments wrought by this cruel disease.

    My heart goes out to you and Robert. He’s so fortunate to have you; a loving partner doing her best to navigate this journey with dementia.


    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is such a poignant description of what comes tumbling onto the caregiver as you shepherd your person through “normal” activities. So sorry you’ve come to this point, and yet, as you imply, the more you know, the more you can modify your own expectations and plans going forward. Hang in there. Hope your support group can be helpful, and that there is some way for you to get time to yourself.
    We moved to a new house in a new town when the dementia was still quite modest – it was very challenging even then. Keep your eyes open to the real demands of moving, and consider carefully how you might accomplish it as R becomes less able to contribute, and more in need of supervision. Warm thoughts coming your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 67andgood says:

    I’m sorry that the dinner out didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. I’m sure Robert won’t remember the sad parts. But what good news about the home you like becoming available. Maybe you can get it at a lesser price if you want to do your own remodeling. You will have time to have it done so it is ready when you are.
    I recall my mother in law having a problem with feeding herself because of ALS. We finally stopped taking her out because it became so frustrating for her and for us. We brought food in to the nursing home where it didn’t matter how much she moved and threw her arms and food around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tehachap says:

      I saw that Jake’s offered curb-side pick-up and I did ask Robert if he wanted to do that rather than going into the restaurant but he insisted we go inside. Next time, I’ll order the food and go pick it up so he can eat here at home where he’s comfortable, and if he needs to nap mid-meal, he can do that too! Thanks for your response and for being here.


  4. mageb says:

    I’m so honored to be your friend.
    Have you got a friend or professional who can come in and give you a break when needed? I worry about George as my caretaker. Lots of love….

    Liked by 1 person

    • tehachap says:

      And likewise from me to you. I have the support group, even though we’re not really in touch, if I need to have an ear, they’re there for me. And too, I can talk to the one neighbor, who apparently saw that Robert was struggling getting out of the car the last time we went to dinner with them. She said she took his arm as he got out of the car and walked with him, pretending that she needed his arm to help steady her. I didn’t see this and I thanked her for watching out for him.


  5. Joanne Noragon says:

    This is getting harder and harder–for you! I hope all your little “hacks” will make a bit of difference. The new home will be excellent.


  6. Sending quilted hugs to wrap you both in.


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