Thursday, January 29, 2009

This is a multi-day post. I've come to the conclusion that I keep writing all these posts in my I have for so many months...and don't write them on the blog because I've been thinking that I need a picture for every post. And anyone who knows me knows that just achieving this place to write, this "blog" has been a long time coming. So I will release myself from the idea that I have to have a picture every time. (I can't seem to find my pics and they need to be organized in my computer too.) I need to research photo saving sites next, flickr or some other post that will organize my pics.

So some nights are for writing- some for knitting. I wanted tonight to be a knitting night- I am working on a brand new pair of socks, totally inspired by the spur of the moment yarn I bought on sale at Abundant last weekend, and a new sweater, ala Blue Moon yarn in turquoise and orange and green mill ends. Luscious. (again, worthy of a picture if I had one.) But my fingers needed to write instead of knit....such a day it has been. My grandfather is readying for open heart surgery- at 87 years old, for the sole purpose I believe of staying alive because my grandmother is still alive. He has an aortic valve problem- only allowing him a straw's width of air to his heart- thus making it very difficult for him to breathe. Tonight he is upset that he went over to tell my grandmother about his decision to do the surgery and she had less than a desirable response, mainly no response at all, except "huh", followed by "I want to go to bed." She is suffering from water on the brain and a failing shunt, which some days causes her much dementia- and others she is more lucid and herself. Today happened to be one of the not so lucid days....and the day that nampa told her about his heart....not such a good match. they have been married for 64 years.....64 years!!!!! It is hard to figure out sometimes the intended path of our lives, the answers to the questions we face are not easily found, and we lurch around going where our dedication takes us, where our love takes us, often making decisions that are a result of many years of being part of another person.

So I was sitting in the bath a bit ago- one of my favorite places on earth- surrounded by oily soft water, candles, and one bengal cat occassionally gingerly putting his paw in the water and making a very small wave, and pondering my favorite things. You know the song in the Sound of music, "these are a few of my favorite things"? Well, I heard a radio show this morning about Salzburg, Austria- and began reminiscing about my four month trip to Europe after college, when my life was all ahead of me, and who I was then compared to who I am now. I went on the sound of music tour of course- and loved every bit of it. I have a daily calendar on my desk at work that is one of those art ones from the museum store that has a gorgeous picture of a different location in Italy for each day of the year. I sat looking at it today as a mind break, or more like an ear break, from listening to "nurse, nurse,nurse' being screamed very loudly by one of our residents. I went out to see why I could help, this lady yells nurse all the time. When you go up to her to see what she wants she just becomes quiet right on the spot- she just wants someone to be with her all the time. Anyway, as I was looking at a beautiful picture of the island of Campania, and listening to Evelyn scream for the nurse- I thought about how it could be different- different for Evelyn, different for me, that we are all a product of our choices- and that I could choose right at that very moment to feel blessed for my job, not annoyed with the noise, and in that shift almost immediately felt better.

So tonight, I remember to feel blessed, to focus on what I have, my favorite things, like knitting and animals, and smooth "stirs the soul" chocolate, ( an amazing raw chocolate just discovered at New Seasons), flannel pajamas with green and blue dogs all over them. I need to also figure out how to make a link on this blog. :) And speaking of I go. As Charles Karult says at the end of one of my favorite shows, CBS Good Morning on Sunday mornings, "We leave you this hour with this scene"...........(they always take the camera somewhere blissful....) Of course when I just inserted the picture it went to the top of my post- another thing to learn, layout. This is the view out my back yard a few days ago when it snowed, again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inaugaration Day!!! I ushered in a new era this morning surrounded by living history, 12 elderly residents in their 80's and 90's- serving donuts and coffee and listening to them talk about inaugarations past. A rare moment when I look around the room and really treasure the opportunity I have daily to learn from people three times my age, and soak in their reactions to current events and times. We all wish President Obama the best- truly a time of hope for our nation! And another hopeful moment last grandmother's 83rd birthday. We brought a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to the occasion- and shared it with the staff at the nursing home. At the end of the night my grandmother was leaning against the arm of my grandfather- in her bed sound asleep. It was a very sweet moment.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thank God....seriously....for crafts. Although I mostly knit and spin yarn, this quilt has captivated my mind (and my cat as you can see) lately. I love blue and brown and green, all some of my favorite colors. And there's something about making a quilt- putting together the squares and placing the colors, that soothes the soul. And the colors can brighten any blue day. And I have had a few of those lately. Today was somewhat lovely though. I took the day off on a Monday, which was great because I was able to get so much done when life is quieter outside. I accompanied my 86 year old grandfather to a doctor's appointment. I am so amazed lately at the different personalities doctors have, and how they handle themselves during conversations. Today's topic was my ailing grandfather's health, competing with his equally strong desire for independence, which seem to be in constant conflict with one another. I am a nursing home administrator, and I took interest in how this doctor posed questions to me that I thought were rather clever. For instance, "What is it you think would benefit your grandfather by living in an assisted living setting? It really made me think about why exactly I think he needs help. It's so hard to determine when exactly is the time to step in and "help" a family member out. There are so many feelings and factors and dynamics that enter into the equation. While I'm figuring it all out, in the meantime...there's quilting, with beautiful blues and browns, adorned with kitties.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's snowing again! We have had quite a record winter here in Portland.....we live at the bottom of a big I have prepared this evening and parked my car at the top, along with the rest of the neighborhood.

My dad has an amazing relationship with my grandparents. He has been much more than a son in law to them. He's always willing to help out in any way possible, giving tirelessly to everyone- and has always had a special place in his life for my grandparents. His own parents died when he was in his 30's. Now as my grandfather ages, (he's 86) and my dad's condition takes a turn for the worse, they have found a very symbiotic interdependence on one another, a relationship that brings them both meaning and purpose. My dad hasn't worked a job in two years, and has really become the main companion to my grandfather, much due to the fact that he has so much free time. My "nampa" as I call him lives in a retirement setting- and we moved my grandmother into a nursing a year and a half ago. He is incredibly devoted and visits her every day- often my dad and he go together, making an outing of it. One picks up the other, whomever has access to a car that day, and they carpool over to the nursing home, have lunch together, and stay and visit. As the year has progressed I have noticed my grandfather's increasing interest in involving my dad in all his doctor's appointments, and often my dad is the only family rep available to accompany my grandfather to the doctor. It is at times difficult to have information relayed, because in my dad's brain it doesn't all stay in order of how it was said, so things get lost in translation. But one thing that is more clear than ever is my dad's love and devotion to his "dad", and tonight was one of those instances.

Conversation went something like this: at 3:00 this afternoon.

"Ring Ring" Me: Hello?

Dad: Hi Kimber, it's dad. Dad fell and he can't get up. And I don't have a car to get him.

me: Is he hurt?

Dad: I don't know, he just can't get up from the floor- didn't ask if he was hurt.

Me: Well, I'll call him, I can't go over and lift him up if he is hurt. I'll call him and call you back.

It continued until I convinced my grandfather to push his lifeline button and the ambulance arrived. Four hours later we are all home, my nampa with a broken rib. In the hospital we determined it might be good if my grandfather wasn't alone tonight in his apartment, and as he adamantly refuses to "burden" anyone by staying with them, my dad elected to go spend the night with him. My mom remembered that my dad's medications were at home and she would need to get them for him.

What amazes me about my dad is that he had thought ahead to just simply put them in his pocket just in case he might need to spend the night over at Nampa's tonight. And the funny dad has taken pictures his whole life, thousands and thousands of pictures, and now what does he use for his daily pill containers? Film containers. So everyone is all tucked in and safe, it is white and quiet outside, and regardless of the white and quiet in my father's brain, the most important parts, the ones that control the heart and dedication and love, are firing on all squads, as he lays reverently in the bed next to my grandfather, ready to be at service at the mere whisper of my grandfather.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!
I have been wanting to write a blog for several years- and this morning I was inspired by a fellow knitting blogger who wrote a story about her father who has Alzheimer's disease- and that did it for me. My blog has been born and I have been given a clean slate to voice to all my thoughts. How refreshing! Now I'm sure I have lots to perfect as far as the "look" of my blog- but just having one is somehow quite exciting and motivating. 0---------32(and this blog will be filled with lots of little helpers....(the previous little typo is thanks to Symeon the Bengal cat walking on the keyboard. :)

Seems fitting to start this on New Year's Day....and to state my goals here. I hope to someday launch a book from this experience of writing a blog....(which has also been in my head for many years). I started my year this morning with an hour of favorite thing to do....I am determined to finish a certain orange sweater I began last this I can start the infamous "February lady sweater", featured on Ravelry. I love this sweater, and that sweater, so motivation should not be a problem. Except for the 33 projects I currently have on needles...oh well all in good time.

My dad, my awesome wonderful dad, has Early Onset Alzheimer's disease. Diagnosed five years ago at the age of 57, we have been traveling this road slowly, and now more quickly...and the time is ticking away at my opportunity to capture him, at least in the way that I feel will commemorate him, by writing about the journey. My original idea was to have a shared blog with him, where we would write to each other- but it seems I started too late- for he was not inclined to sit at the computer and write to me. Perhaps he may be compelled to post comments here on this site- I hope so.

So I begin this year of 2009 with a blessing wish to all of you, my family and friends, to celebrate your existence and live each day this year to the fullest- and may good fortune follow you in all that you attempt! And to you Dad, this blog was created in your honor- and I hope to make a difference for you, and any who are open to the traveling thoughts of me, your daughter.

Happy New Year!