We did have a little black poodle.  In fact we had two — one for thirteen years and the other for sixteen years.  MAT’s Happy Suzette was Mary Ann’s dog.  We got her from friends (with her papers).  She was our first — the pet that comes before children.  Actaully, she barely tolerated the children.  She was Mary Ann’s dog.  She was pretty grumpy.  When Mary Ann went to the hospital to have our first child, Lisa, Suzette tore a hole in the bottom sheet of our bed, scratched until the threads that formed the pattern on the bedspread were all in a huge clump in the middle of the bed, and destroyed two souvenirs from our trip to Europe, a decorative candle and a hand carved wooden horse from Oberammergau, Germany. 

After Suzette died, KC Sugar Dandy joined the family.  She was a happy little character who knew nothing but a time when the kids were here.  She fit right into the family since she loved ice cream.  She lasted sixteen years.  After she was gone, a few years ago, we decided not to tackle having a dog again. 

When we were heading out to Mary Ann’s spot in the living room this morning, she sort of jumped and told me not to run into the dog.  I asked her to describe it.  She said it was a little black poodle. 

After she got up annoyingly early, took pills and ate breakfast, she decided to lie down again.  There had been a pretty substantial fainting spell.  She slept for about two and a half hours.  During that time, the plumber came and replaced a leaking garbage disposal.  It seems clear that they are made in a way that includes planned obsolescence. 

When she got up, we headed out to Perkin’s for her pancakes and bacon.  We ran home for a bathroom stop after the restaurant.  When I was wheeling her from the door to the garage around the corner of the stairway railing, in a matter of fact voice, said, “put something on.”  I asked her who she was talking to.  She answered, “Micah.”  Micah is our now thirty-seven year old son. 

Since she was not sleep deprived it surprises me a bit that the hallucinations have worsened.  I mentioned in last night’s post that she saw the Thursday people and asked me to close the bedroom door for privacy’s sake while she used the bedside commode.  I referenced them today, and she is still convinced that they are real. 

We did some Christmas shopping in mid-afternoon.  As short a time as we spent doing it, with only two stops, it wore both of us out.  Neither of us are good shoppers anymore.  I am the get-in and get-out sort of shopper. 

I have been using the word “decline” a lot in the last few weeks.  Mary Ann seems to be weaker, in need of more help in walking.   She struggles with eating far more than in the not too distant past.  At least it seems so to me.  Her urinary incontinence has increased substantially in frequency and quantity. 

It was reassuring a couple of weeks ago to hear a description of Mary Ann’s heart and kidneys that seemed to suggest that the decline in the cardio-vascular system is pretty slow.  She is at risk, of course, but fairly stable in the last couple of years.  The Neurological problems, the Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s Dementia, Autonomic nervous system problems seem to be more intent on taking us to a less happy place. 

I looked at the monitor and could not see her.  When I got to the bedroom (moved very quickly), she was sort of wandering in between the beds.  She wasn’ t sure where she was going.  She had a mild fainting spell.   I had to manipulate her to the center of the bed.  Then she wanted to use the bedside commode and fainted again.  After I finally got her positioned facing the way she wanted, I understood her to ask if she needed to run somewhere. 

I have begun realizing that the physical demands on my body in caring for her seem to be on the increase.  Manipulating her in bed is becoming painful in my lower back almost to the tailbone.  I am holding her up more when we walk.  I hold her tight at my side and almost carry her along.  The awkwardness of helping her up and down from the commode, holding her up with one hand while pulling up her underwear and then pajamas with the other is seeming to be more taxing as she seems to be less able to help in the process.  No one change by itself is very dramatic.  It is the cumulative effect of a number of incremental changes that seem to be adding up to something noticeable and a little troublesome.   It could not have anything to do with my getting older, fatter and getting no exercise other than what I do to help Mary Ann. 

Let’s hope for a good night from now until morning. 

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