Connecting the posts on this blog to Facebook has brought a wonderful new dimension to this experience.  It is hard to describe how meaningful it is to be noticed by so many of the folks we have known and cared about over more than six decades.  It is easy to feel very isolated when spending most of every 24 hours inside a small townhome.  It is hard to feel isolated when reading comments of so many who wish us well.

It struck me today that it is a time of anticipation.  So many things are converging on the next few days.

  • The Neurologist okayed the removal of one of Mary Ann’s long time meds.  It is called Amantadine.  Its purpose is to reduce the dyskinetic movements produced by years of taking the main Parkinson’s med, Sinamet.  Dyskinesias are the wavy  movements that are apparent when Michael J. Fox is on television.  Those movements are not caused by the Parkinson’s but by the medication that gives basic mobility.  The Amantadine can trigger hallucinations and fainting spells (Orthostatic Hypotension).  Both are major problems for Mary Ann.  We will see if the trade-off is worth it.  We have stopped the Amantadine and we are waiting to see how Mary Ann will fare.
  • We are anxiously awaiting our Daughter Lisa’s arrival late tomorrow evening.  We both love having our children with us.  Lisa lives a ten hour drive away.  On that account it is a special treat.  It will be good for both Mary Ann and Lisa to have a couple of days of one on one time.
  • I am anticipating almost three days of solitude at St. Francis of the Woods Spiritual Renewal Center in North Central Oklahoma.  I will hike and read and pray and sleep and listen to music and look for birds and varmints of all sorts.  I will walk for hours and let the endorphens wash over my brain.  I will think about where we are in our lives and how to better deal with it all.  The reading will include devotional material, the Scriptures, a couple of books that deal with Quantum Physics and Theology. I will do each thing if and when I choose.  For a few hours the locus of control will shift from external demands to internal needs.
  • I am anticipating, assuming it works out, time talking with as good a friend as a person could have.  Many years ago John and I spent hours talking as he was going through the loss of his wife to Cancer and I was trying to come to terms with Mary Ann’s Parkinson’s.
  • I am anticipating a visit at our house tomorrow afternoon from a couple of people on the Staff of a local Hospice program.  They now have access to all of Mary Ann’s doctors, and whatever information they can gather from them.  I will, of course, have many questions.  There are certain criteria that must be met to be served by Hospice.  Actually, I would like very much to be told that Mary Ann is not yet eligible for Hospice.  This is a time we would love not to measure up.
  • I am anticipating the delivery of materials tomorrow and the beginning of the construction on our new sun room, which will become interior space in the house.  When it is done, we will be able to see from the inside of the house the waterfall project that was done six months ago in our back yard.  Since we are here pretty much 24/7, we want the best and most nurturing environment possible.  I am bummed that the project will begin while I am gone.  The weather here forced the later beginning time.
  • I am anticipating sitting with Mary Ann (depending on how she is doing) and Daughter Lisa and Son Micah this Saturday evening to talk about Hospice, especially the prospect of putting in place a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order.  This has been a tough journey for the kids.  Gratefully, they are committed to whatever seems best for both Mary Ann and me.

The day went pretty well today — better than I expected since she is in the hallucination cycle.  She went to her Tuesday morning group and tracked well there according to Mary, who sits next to her.  There was some intestinal activity, but since a number of the ladies in the group have served as Volunteers with Mary Ann, Eva and Mary managed to deal with the situation. While Mary Ann was meeting with hergroup, I enjoyed some time talking over coffee (PT’s of course) with the Pastor who is now in the position of Senior Pastor from which I retired.  It was a good time together.

Mary Ann wanted to go to McFarland’s, the restaurant at which we were eating when I decided that it was time to retire and be with Mary Ann full time.  I thought again how grateful I am to God that the decision was so crystal clear.  It took approximately 13 seconds to finalize that decision as I watched Mary Ann struggling to eat.  Today she struggled again.  She got nothing in her mouth until she finally agreed to allow me to feed the hamburger to her.  I had long since finished my meal.  With my help she was able to consume two quarters of the hamburger.  She had some left over Baskin & Robbins ice cream from the freezer when we got home.

Later we managed to get out to the grocery and buy lots of food, especially ingredients for Lisa to use to make some things for our home freezer that I can thaw and just pop into the oven.  That is a tremendous help to us, since I am well-known for my lack of skill in the kitchen.

Supper was another challenge, but she did get some food down.  She then ate the new two scoop B&R treat that we had brought home this afternoon.  Are we bad or what!

Tonight the dreams and hallucinations are active.  She called me to come in and said, “I am awake, but I don’t know how to get up.”  She thought it was daytime.  She had one of the dreams that she cannot differentiate from reality.  I was taking a Call (another position at a church somewhere), and we had to get ready to leave.  There was a hug and a kiss when I told her I am not going anywhere, I am for her and her only.

Well, there is no telling what tonight and tomorrow will bring, but whatever it is, we will make the best of it, grateful for the time together.

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