Good day to you all. Sorry but I have been under the weather the last few days so I will try and catch up today. Hope you are doing well. On with my story.
This was one of the hardest moves I have ever made. Kristina was married living in Oklahoma. Jennifer took off with Adias to Oklahoma. Erik got an apartment because he was in love and wasn’t going to let Betsy out of his sight. Jessica decided to go to Maryland for college so she could be near Zack. Regina was still in high school so she didn’t have a choice but to come with us.
I finally found out what empty nest was for a mother of five to have all of them but one leave in a single day. I was having trouble handling this. But we had no choice. We had to take care of dad, or I guess we could put him in a nursing home, but that idea was not registering in my head.
We drove to Palos Heights, Illinois to his house. Joanne had a truck in the driveway taking out her belongings and we were putting in ours. Grandpa Joe was so confused. We took out dad’s
refrigerator and put in ours. We had boxes all over the house. Dad was sneaking around the corners trying to figure out what was going on. I mean when we first got there we said hi to dad and told him we were moving in but I am not sure he really understood what we were telling him.
Finally he walked around all the boxes and asked me what we were doing with his stuff. He said that he put his hard work and sweat into this place and now we were packing him up. I tried to explain to him that we were moving in and Jimmy opened the boxes to show him that the stuff in side was not his. This was the first time for me to see him so confused and it hurt to see this man who taught me so much of life appear so helpless.
The next day we were busy cleaning out kitchen cabinets and closets. Some of the old dishes that were in the family for years I boxed up for my kids to keep as a reminder of their grandparents. Dad just watched me, and seemed pretty confused with all my hustle around his kitchen.
Dad had his own room so Jimmy and I made mom’s old room ours and the third bedroom we painted and fixed for Gina hoping to make her feel at home in her grandparents house. My task was to help Regina have a normal life in high school while trying to take care of dad with his Alzheimer’s.
We also made a doctor’s appointment for him at the VA which was an adventure in itself. He did not want to go. This man never went to see doctors except when he was in the army so why now. He was upset in the car asking us why we were bringing him to an old people’s home but was polite to the nurses and doctor when we finally arrived.
Mean while my niece Becky and her son and Nicole came to visit me. We explored Navy Pier and had such a great time in the city of Chicago. Jimmy and I were looking for jobs and Regina was back in high school.
I made plans to go to lunch with Aunty Ann and Aunt Yolanda. They were my mother in law’s sisters and great friends of my father in law. So that morning when dad was getting ready Jimmy had to help dad shave. It seemed that dad was using the wrong side of the razor as he tried to get the beard off his face. Dad kept asking me over and over again where we are going like a child. I think this was the first time we really could see that dementia had taken over his mind. He was just so confused.
As I drove to get the aunts, we were in a traffic jam, and dad was impatient wanting me to drive on the shoulder of the road. He had been a truck driver all his life so I was pretty sure this was aggravating him to have me chauffer him around. Dad looked as cute as he let the two women hold each of his arms as we entered the restaurant and after wards we went to the nursing home to see Aunt Betty. I decided that
one of my jobs while living here was to let the four of them get together as much as possible. We had a good time but the sad part was by the time we got home dad completely forgot where we had been.
I decided that I was going to take dad out more often; maybe his mind would come back to him. Yes sometimes I am really naïve. So I took dad to the Lincoln Park Zoo in down town Chicago. It was such
a pretty day but I am not sure that dad thought it was such a good idea like I did. He complained all the way there, and after I put him in the wheel chair to push him around he still wasn’t real happy. It wasn’t until I bought him lunch that he settled down. I than took him across Lake Shore Drive and we strolled down to the beach and walked along listening to the seagulls. It was a pleasant day, one that I will
always remember but I am afraid that one he forgot by the time we got back home.
I found my new job of taking care of dad was going to be a lot harder than I thought. Neither of us was ready for his confusion. For instant Jimmy bought him an electric shaver since he was having trouble with the other kind, plus putting a rash on his face. But dad kept constantly misplacing it. So we bought another one and hid it. When he would lose one we would bring out the other one and go on a man hunt for the first one. Plus one time we went to the store and when we came back we found my father in law in the bathroom, he had the top of the toilet tank off and water and feces were on the bathroom floor and in the sink. He was frustrated telling us that he was fixing the toilet. To see my father in law so confused broke our heart. This man could do anything. In fact when we first got married he built an apartment in the basement of his house for us to live in the first year. And this house he owns now, really needed a lot of work and he did it all himself.
I finally found a job at Trace Ambulance. This meant Jimmy was going to have to watch dad full time. What a hard job for Jimmy. He found he didn’t have the patience that he needed to take care of dad. So the hunt was on for Jimmy to quickly find a full time job so that I could go part time and do more of the caring for dad.
My son Erik and his girlfriend which was now his fiancé came to visit us and we toured the John Hancock
Building. My girlfriend Evett and her boys came for a visit with a tour of The Science and Industry museum. I needed little excursions like that because I was really missing my kids and I was driving my poor Regina nuts. I just wanted her company all the time.
The holidays rolled around with Thanksgiving at dad’s house. Jimmy was busing cooking the Turkey with Joanne and her daughter, Melissa and my Erik, plus Cousin Colleen came for the evening. Dad had a good time eating, listening to the conversation and letting us know that this was his house we were in. It was like he was reminding himself where he was at.
Well I think I will finish for today. Remember that to the world you may be just one person but sometimes to just one person you may be their world. Take care.
I am the Author
a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and still believe in the power of love &