Three nights are better than none.  Mary Ann was up once every two hours last night.  That is good measured by past standards, but disappointing in light of the hopes raised by three nights of sleep with only a couple of interruptions each night.  She was up and ready to go at 6:30am this morning.

There were a couple of Volunteers this morning.  Two of the three other members of the Wednesday morning group could not make it this morning, so Paul (the other of the three) and I met for coffee at PT’s (of course).  Then I spent some time sitting in the car listening to a remarkable vocal ensemble called Anuna (performed in Riverdance).  I checked out a particularly meaningful Bible Passage.  Then I walked a little over a mile at Cedarcrest.

When I returned, Mary Ann was napping.  After a while, she ate the leftover Seafood Tortellini from yesterday’s lunch.  While she was eating she said “where did you get that” while looking over my shoulder.  I asked her who she was talking with.  She said it was her Mother (who has been dead for many years) who was holding a doorknob in her hand.

There were some intestinal blowouts that suggested the onset of serious diarrhea, but they subsided after a while.  I will spare the details of those challenges.

As the day wore on, there were a two or three more quick comments that seemed to reflect the presence of a hallucinations.  She spent much of the afternoon with her head on the table.  I gave her the stuffed frog, on which she laid her head.

During that time a friend came over to talk with me about a project on helping people make meaningful plans for their own or a family member’s funeral.  Having done countless funerals over the years, I have seen what helps and what does not help when going through such a time.  It felt good to be able to talk about some of those experiences and discoveries that came from them.  It is a nice feeling still to have something to offer.

Mary Ann spent the rest of the afternoon with her head down in her lap, on the stuffed frog.  She manage to eat a little, very little for supper.  With the new Baskin and Robbins now open, I put the Lifeline button next to her head as she lay it on the table after supper, and headed off to get ice cream for her so that she would have enough in her stomach to last the night.  Yes, of course I wanted ice cream for myself — did you even need to ask?

I decided to write a request on Facebook that anyone who can do so, get ice cream at that B&R and tell them Pastor Pete sent them.  When I stop back in a few days, I will be curious to find out if anyone actually did so.  It can’t hurt to have the owners of the B&R as friends!

I have to say that it has been very disappointing to see an end come to the good days and nights so soon.  I was hoping we would get weeks or months rather than just days out of the new dosage of Seroquel.  I was not at the monitor for a bit a few moments ago and heard the telltale thump.  She was on the floor next to the bed but not hurt.  When I helped her to the commode, she suddenly got an alarmed look on her face and told me not to step on the baby.

Fifteen minutes later she was up again on the side of the bed.  I went in to see what she needed.  She said, “What are you doing here at school.”  When I asked what school we were at, she said it was Granddaughter Ashlyn’s school.  Then she suggested that she get dressed to help her get oriented.  I explained to her that it was 11:10pm, and everyone else is in bed, so it would not help her get oriented to get dressed.  She decided to use the commode, even though she used it fifteen minutes earlier.  She is lying down in bed again, but I don’t expect it to be for long.

She made it almost an hour.  This time she was on a ride in the car looking for a house, looking at a parsonage.  There were some banshee eyes (not scary to her) that seemed to be like the 3-D glasses from the yesterday’s viewing of Avatar.  Didn’t I have to pick up the kids.  The raccoon was there (first she called it a porcupine).  She said that this looked like her bedroom.  I showed her the quilt on the wall again to assure her that it actually was our bedroom.  At least so far tonight, she has not been as agitated as she was last week.  Unfortunately, it is likely that if she gets less sleep than she needs in the next few nights, that intensity will return.

More than one of us in the online group have compared the rapid twists and turns and reversals of fortune that come with this sort of dementia to torture.  Each of us has our sources of strength and wisdom.  In my world view, the Biblical literature is  the place to which I go to find the framework of reality as I understand it, to locate meaning in the middle of things beyond understanding.  This morning as I sat in the car at the lot at Cedarcrest, my mind went to a passage written by a fellow named Paul, who had by that time gone through some terrible struggles.  It reads this way:

“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12So death is at work in us, but life in you.” [2 Corinthians 4:7-12 NRSV]

Quoting Scriptures is not intended to suggest that these posts are only for those who share my theology or any theology for that matter.  I am simply reflecting the sources to which I go for strength.  When hopes and expectations get crushed, it is easy to feel hopeless.  It helps to hear from others who have been there, like Paul, a way to perceive reality that allows survival. It is the reality to which Paul refers that provides the ground on which this roller coaster we are riding rests.

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