Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Emotions...

Remember being 14, and being in LOVE with that cute girl, but she does not even notice you. You are heart broken, confused, angry, sad, hurt, and you are SURE, nobody in the history of the world has ever felt that way before! All of us have had that experience, hundreds of times in our lives. We could not talk to Mom or Dad. Our older siblings teased us, our friends used our problems against us. We were ALONE in the world! No one to help us. They couldn't help because they could not possibly understand what I am going through! Well, that explains the emotions that have gone through over the past two years since being diagnosed with Parkinson's and Dementia. Not all the time, but on those quiet evenings, alone in my thoughts, or when I awake before my wife, I thought, everyone tried to understand, but they can't.

Well, I am here to tell you, I was wrong. Each of you who read my Blog, interface with me everyday, put up with my insecurities and moodiness, and love me, really DO understand what I am going through! I am NOT alone! I have found that many of my friends and many wonderful people that I have never personally met but who read this Blog, do care about me and do understand my illness, my emotions, and my fears! I have learned that many of you have done research on PD and Dementia, not to expand your knowledge base, but to help me! I was wrong!!! I am not alone!!! I have never been alone! I have never been so glad, so happy, so blessed to be wrong in my life!!

So, first of all, let me apologize for being SO wrong. Second, let me thank each of you for being the best friends, the best support group, the best family, anyone could have. God has blessed me and I know that there is nothing that can defeat us. I am strong, capable, happily looking forward, to the future because of the support each of you give me. I realized this tonight, after discussing a number of things with my wife, that happened today as I visited the folks at work. It was reinforced after my best friend, who himself is going through some serious health issues, called me to discuss helping with our move. It was solidified when I realized how wonderful, responsible, and loving my son is and how worried he is about my well being. With a support group like this one, I am Superman!

So, while I realize there will be tough days, days of depression, and issues, (remember, I am a realist) I can still depend on each of you for support because you DO know what I am going through and moreover, you DO care! Wow!! Thanks, I love each one of you! God Bless each of you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The consequences of life's decisions!

The packing has begun! In our many moves, most of them since I retired from the Navy, and most of them for reasons I now don't remember, my wife has always packed our china first. I remember proudly buying that Nortake China set on my first WESTPAC cruise. As it turns out, it is a limited edition set, only made for military export. But it is precious because it was the first thing I bought for our life together. You will remember we got married and I deployed to Viet Nam almost immediately. My wife lived in a furnished apartment in Whittier California while she completed her Bachelor's Degree at BIOLA college. (Now BIOLA University) In any case, the china represents us together, and it is cherished by both of us. My wife always packs our china and takes loving care in protecting each piece. But the packing of the china signifies the beginning of the move! It is like the lighting of the Olympic flame at the beginning of the Olympiad. So, while we don't take possession of our new apartment until March 1, the move has officially begun.


While both of us are excited about moving into our new apartment, a place more suited for my issues, I can't help but have some reservations and depression about this move. This move, is probably the last move we will make willingly. All of our moves, even my Navy moves, we had a hand in the decision making. I negotiated orders when I was in the Navy, trying to get the right jobs to help me promote while having some fun along the way. After we retired from the Navy, we moved from house to house, looking for better neighborhoods, schools, locations closer to our Son and his family, or what ever whim happened to move me. My wife always has taken my wanderlust with a remarkable measure of calm and composure. I am sure that she would have been happy to stay in any one of our homes. After all, they were all nice, comfortable, secure, safe, and located in a good neighborhood with all the modern conveniences. But I have dragged my wife all over the Tidewater area in the last 27 years. We have lived in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, (three places) Norfolk, and back to Virginia Beach. The china has been packed up more times than I care to count. But she never complains. She is truly amazing and frankly, I owe her an apology for making all of these moves.

But, like I said, this is most likely the last move I will orchestrate and I am sad. Sad, because I caused her to move so many times, for no good reasons. And sad, because I know where this all leads. Yes, this is a good move for all the best reasons. Heck, I get tired starting the lawn mower, well enough mowing the lawn. Yesterday, I used my drill to tighten some screws on the dinning room chairs, and I broke a sweat! No, moving to a home where I do not have to do the maintenance is the RIGHT move. Me on a ladder makes no sense at all. I am dangerous in the attic!! But, I also know what the next move holds. No body looks forward to deteriorating mentally or physically, and I am doing both! We ignore the fact of our own demise throughout most of our lives. Some of us get plastic surgery, Botox, VIAGRA, We have LASIK surgery so we don't have to wear glasses, die our hair, and have Liposuction. But sooner or later, our deteriorating body catches up with us. Mine has just become a reality earlier than most. As a friend of mine says, "It is what it is."

So, as we pack, move, and unpack, don't be too surprised if I am a little misty, sad, moody, or depressed. I believe GOD still has some things for me to do, but I know the time I have to accomplish that list is getting very short and my abilities are beginning to wane. I wish I could remember exactly how President Regan said it, when he wrote his letter to America, explaining his Alzheimer's. He was so eloquent and uplifting. But the basis of his letter was, he was on a slow journey into the unknown, and so am I.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life's decisions.

My wife and I, along with my son and his wonderful wife, have been able to make some life's decisions concerning where my wife and I will live. I know, at least I think I know, that I have addressed in the past, our desire to make our lives simpler. Get rid of home ownership responsibilities for me and my wife. We discussed this with my neurologist during my January visit and she agreed that NOW was the time to make the move. Why, because I need to get used to where I am, I need routine, and as my Dementia progresses, the unknown will be even harder to deal with. We also discussed this with an "Elder Law Attorney and he agreed with our reasoning. In any case, there is this new construction "over 55" complex that we have had our eyes on. But, we were having difficulty making the final decision. One day last week, we were out and about, and we visited another apartment complex, that is not "Over 55" that is close to the beach. I will admit, the complex is beautiful, wonderfully maintained, and equipped with all the class "A" amenities. But, it was not "Over 55" and did not have the handicap access I knew I needed. Just the same, we liked them. So, I asked my wife if we could revisit the community we liked. She agreed and we quickly drove over to them. We have been looking at these places so long that the staff knows us by name. It just so happened that they had only one apartment left un-leased and it was the model we loved. We took a tour of it and decided to sign the lease on the spot! We move in March! This apartment has every item on our list including grab bars in the bathrooms, showers and bathtub. We came home, called our realtor, and put the house on the market in the middle of the worst snow storm for our area in 20 years. We have had three different people look,, and I know someone will buy our home, because it is a great home in a wonderful neighborhood, and mostly because I believe GOD has directed our steps. So, the decision has been made, and soon, the next chapter of our life will unfold. GOD is good!! I am happy.