There was a note on the kitchen table.
Fix Dad’s glasses.
“Did his glasses fall apart again?” I asked Mike.
“What happened this time.”
“I don’t know. The lens fell out.” I looked at the glasses.
“You mean both lenses fell out,” I said. Mike came over to look.
“What?? I just had the technician put on bolts to the screws to keep them in longer!”
“I think Dad may have undone them, although where he got a screwdriver to do it, I have no idea.”
“No, he just keeps stepping on them. There’s no way he could see and concentrate to do that.”
And so Mike took Dad’s glasses in for another repair. We talked about maybe not bothering with his glasses anymore since he can’t read and doesn’t watch TV (the remote is too complicated for a dementia patient). But he does need them to be able to see his plate when he’s eating a meal.
That lasted for about a month. Dad breaking them, Mike taking them in to be fixed. And just as suddenly as it started, it stopped. Then some other behavior changed that we had to problem solve.
And so it goes with caregiving for a dementia patient. You barely have time to get your bearings, when the problems change and you need a new strategy.
Never a dull moment.
It has been some time since I last posted here. A variety of family
issues have taken precedence over almost everything else. Whenever I've
had a spare moment, I've either been gardening or practicing calligraphy.
I've found that the slow, methodical, and rhythmical repetition of learning
different hands can be a source of meditation. A great help when it's hard
to get yourself centered in the midst of a storm.
My husband has been having issues with his heart, but things seem to be
going okay right now. He'll be checking in with his cardiologist in a
couple weeks to evaluate what is next. I've been having terrible pain in
my left wrist. It almost has felt as if I were being stabbed. I've had to
give up coffee, chocolate, wine, and some sugars to decrease inflammation.
I've also been doing a treatment called acoustic compression that has been
very helpful. For a time my father-in-law was having a serious decline,
but once Hospice got involved and adjusted his medication he did so well
that he no longer qualifies for Hospice.
During this time, I've done very little to promote the book but it is
steadily chugging along without my help. Not by leaps and bounds, but
little by little the word is getting out. Friends have been sending it to
family members, authors, Bible schools, and media hosts.
Last week it was our thirty-second wedding anniversary. We decided to forget all
the medical appointments, visits and crises and have fun. With that in
mind, we went to Crystal Mountain to go on the alpine slides. It was great
until we were rained off the mountain. Nonetheless, it was something
completely out of the ordinary for us, it was a lovely day for being
outdoors, and we could forget about all the cares of our daily lives.
I will try to leave you with a video of a run. If you can't access it, follow me on Instagram to see it. Enjoy!
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.