After she settled around 9pm last evening, she slept soundly until 2pm this afternoon.  There was one interruption as the Hospice Aide tried to get her up for a shower.  She told the Aide she was too tired.  I agreed that she needed the sleep more than a shower.

When she got up at 2pm, after getting dressed, eating something and taking pills, she sat for a while.  After lying in bed so long, the Orthostatic Hypotension (fainting due to low blood pressure when standing) was really creating problems.  She had some healthy intestinal production, but fainted numerous times before, after and during that activity.

Every time she stood up she fainted.  Even so, she kept standing up again and again.  Eventually, she was fainting so much, I put her back into bed.  She slept for another hour or two.

This morning, shades for the sun room were installed (three of the four — one needed to be remade to fit better).  The activity did not bother Mary Ann.  Also, while she was sleeping, Volunteer Coordinator Mary, brought over some flowers for Mary Ann’s birthday tomorrow.  Mary arranged the flowers and put them in a vase.  At the same time that was happening, Landscaper Sheila, who had smelled leaking gas at the meter when she was working outside the last couple of days, phoned the Gas company to check for a leak.  The truck arrived and the Gas Service Worker checked and found a leak that will need a substantial repair. He put some tape on it for a temporary repair until the full repair is done in a couple of weeks. A new meter will be put in also.

Of course the new landscaping will be torn up and a Forsythia bush removed in the process.  Sheila will prepare the area and replant the bush when the time comes.

After Mary Ann’s nap, she got up in time to enjoy the meal that friends and former parishioners Don and Edie brought over at about 6pm.  Don was the cook.  It was a great meal.  Mary Ann was very tired and struggled to eat, even with my help.

During the afternoon, former parishioners John and Marilyn phoned and then brought over Marilyn’s traditional gift for Mary Ann.  It is a three layer chocolate cake with thick fluffy white frosting covered with coconut.  Because of the frosting it needs to be refrigerated.  The cake looks as if it would be almost too rich to eat, especially with frosting so thick.  On the contrary, it is very light, melting into wonderful waves of chocolaty gentle sweetness.

After the cake, Mary Ann seemed to drift into what looked almost as if she had fainted.  While Don and Edie cleaned up the kitchen, I got Mary Ann into bed for another nap.   Don and Edie and I talked for quite a while.  After they left, I got Mary Ann up to get her pajamas on and take her pills.  She is now back in bed.

The Parkinson’s Specialist’s Nurse and I connected this morning.  She reported that Dr. Pahwa suggests trying an additional half of a Seroquel pill in the morning in addition to her evening dose.  We are to try that for just a few days and call in to let him know what is happening.  The last time we increased the Seroquel, the dementia got very much worse for three days before there was the hoped for improvement.  From the way the suggestion was reported, I inferred that there is not much hope this will help and maybe some fear that the dementia will worsen — if that’s possible.

Last night because Mary Ann slept so well, I was able to get a full night’s sleep.  It sure felt good.  I am feeling greedy enough tonight to hope and pray for another night of sleep.  Whether or not that hope is realized and prayer answered remains to be seen.

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[Too tired to edit — publishing as is.]

There seems to be no end in sight to the constant hallucinating.  It continued last night until about 3:30am or so, and fired up again some time in the 6am to 7am range.  When she is awake, she demands constant attention since the her mind is driving her this way and that.  She is anxious to tell Daughter Lisa about the girls bringing a wagon from the downstairs to help her when she fell.  Mary Ann even described the worried look on Ashlyn’s face.  They are still at their home ten hours away in Louisville, Kentucky.

As usual, gratefully, she did lay her head on the table and settle there after getting dressed, breakfast and pills — hallucinating all the while.  The position she was in looked so uncomfortable.  After a time she decided that she did want to go in and lie down.

During her rest time, I finished moving all the firniture out of the way for today’s carpet cleaning.  I also managed to get hold of the Neurologist’s office.  The call was a little frustrating since the Nurse saw that we had not followed one of the Doctor’s suggestions in the chart from our last visit.  She was not aware that in that visit, the Doctor indicated that the suggestion to get a Psychiatric Evaluation of Mary Ann, was only an option if we were not satisfied with Dr. Pahwa’s choice of medications.  Since I am very aware that Dr. Pahwa is one of the best Parkinson’s Specialists around, I opted not to try to find someone less knowledgable in the area to suggest other drugs.  The other meds for hallucinations are more dangerous and less effective for the kind of dementia Mary Ann has.  Dr. Pahwa confirmed that he was only making the suggestion to provide a sort of second opinion.

The Nurse seemed quite frustrated that I had not done what the chart indicated had been one of the suggestion for us.  The chart listed the suggestions, but not the result of our conversation at the appointment.  She did agree to talk to the Neurologist.  Since we were away from the house on account of the carpet cleaning, I missed the return call.  Somehow I also missed the call on my cell phone.

I got Mary Ann up to get in the car and head out when the carpet cleaner came.  We met former parishioner Jay for lunch at McFarland’s Restaurant, where Mary Ann feels especially secure — and the food is good.  There are lots of folks our age and older who frequent the Restaurant.

We had a great conversation.  Mary Ann was really struggling to stay alert and functional.  Even with my help she wasn’t able to eat very much.  We sure seem to have lost a lot of ground.  It continues to appear that it is not a temporary decline, but a new location on the ride.

After lunch, we tried to go home since Mary Ann was so tired.  The carpet was still too wet for us to go into the house.  We went over to the church from which I retired to use the bathroom, since I thought it would be quiet enough that I could take her into the women’s rest room without fear of interruption.

Then I broke down and took her for ice cream to Baskin & Robbins.  It was uncomfortable, but I will get over that.  The ice cream was good.

The next stop did not go well.  I drove to the grocery store.  We went in and gathered a number of items.  When we were about two thirds of the way done with our list, Mary Ann said she had to go to the bathroom for serious business.  They have no family bathrooms, but very active Men’s and Women’s rooms.  Since it was major business, I could not just ask someone to take her in.

It would have taken too long to try to check out with what we had before leaving to go home and use our well-equpped bathroom.  I took the cart to the Service Desk, told someone there that I would be back for it, and we high-tailed it home.  Things went fine there, but afterward, Mary Ann had to lie down and nap.  There was no way I could get her back to the store.  With the potential for bathroom needs and a store because of construction almost fifteen minutes away, I could not leave her there while I drove back, got the rest of our items, checked out and drove home.

In our world, nothing is easy.  Volunteer Coordinator Mary came to our rescue.  She has helped with groceries before and offered to help whenever she could.  I called her and asked her for help.  She immediately offered to pick up the groceries, stopping by the house to get the coupons and the rest of the list.  She quickly called back to offer to stay with Mary Ann while I went back and finished shopping if that would work better for me.  That is the option I chose.  It turned what had felt very frustrating and distressing into a few moments away to in a relaxed way get the task completed. At the store they had been thoughtful enough to put in a cooler the items in the cart that needed to be refrigerated.

When I returned, I thought Mary Ann would still be sleeping, and just need to be changed for bed to complete the night.  She wanted to get up for a while.  She needed something to eat.  All through the time she she was up and then eating she was lacing her reality into the reality visible to me.  Since going to bed, she has been hallucinating some.  There is not clear evidence yet as to whether this will be a night of sleep or of multiple interruptions by the hallucination/delusions and dreams mixed with reality.

One thing is certain.  I need to get to bed soon so that I at lease have a chance of getting some sleep.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

Stress sometimes produces odd markers.  My stress marker apparently is clenching my teeth.  It is a bad idea.  I ended up at the Dentist’s office while Mary Ann was in her Tuesday morning group.  The good news is that the pain is apparently not signaling an abscess.  No root canal!  Yeah!  The bad news is that I am wearing though the surface of my teeth, even some crowns.  It does not bode well for the future.  There are likely to be expensive sittings in a dental chair coming at some time.  For now, a night guard is the weapon of choice for trying to stave off major work for as long as possible.

While there are some obvious stress producers in our current situation, I suspect the problem would be the same no matter what the source of the stress.  The threat of many thousands of out of pocket dental expenses is a strong motivation to use the night guard regularly.

Today was a better day for Mary Ann.  She slept very well last night.  She was alert and participated in her Tuesday morning group.  Volunteer Scheduler Mary took us out to Boss Hawg’s Barbecue for lunch in honor of Mary Ann’s (5/15) and my (4/14) birthdays.  What a treat!  Mary Ann ate lots.  She needed help after a while, but she stuck with it until the food was almost all gone.

Hospice Nurse Emily came by this afternoon.  Mary Ann’s vitals were all fine, but her blood pressure was low this time, 108/64.  Emily commented that she never knows where Mary Ann’s BP will be when she takes it.  Mary Ann is always an interesting and entertaining patient to any health professional who takes care of her.  She is never boring!  I can’t remember what exactly it was she said when getting up from the toilet stool once today, but it was one of her smart aleck comments that brought laughter from both of us.

I talked with the Hospice Nurse about my considering returning the Midodrine to the meds to see if our quality of life might return to something closer to what we had six months ago when Mary Ann took it daily.  It is the med that raises her BP to levels that are not good in the long run.  Since quality is more important to both of us than quantity of days it seems like a reasonable option.  It is within the range of options acceptable to the Cardiologist.  When I talked with Mary Ann about it later on in the day, she said that she didn’t really want to change anything.  She feels it is all working well now.  Looking at it from my direction, it doesn’t seem that it is working well.  On the other hand, it is her body into which the meds are going.  For now, I won’t press the issue.

There were a couple of deck times today and another chapter in the book on St. Patrick’s morning prayer.  This chapter, “Christ Before Me” as well as the one I read yesterday, “Christ Behind Me” have both been thought provoking and comforting.  Maybe more deck time and devotional reading will help reduce the teeth clenching.

Parish Nurse Margaret stopped by with some fresh asparagus from her garden, which I added to the bratwurst and sweet potato fries we had for supper.

All in all, today the scales balanced in favor of clarity and good communication.  There were some times of confusion, but they were less prominent than the last couple of days.  Mary Ann has been especially restless tonight.  It is very late and she still seems to be awake and moving around.  While that does not bode well for tomorrow, tomorrow will speak for itself.

It is almost 11am, Saturday morning, and Mary Ann is still sleeping.  I wrote no post last night since I was especially tired.  The two nights before last were not wonderful.

Yesterday, Mary Ann was again very tired all day long.  The hallucinations/delusions/dreams mixed with reality continue. Yesterday morning she asked me to check on the towels.  I confirmed that she meant the towels for the people she is convinced are living downstairs.  She admits that she thinks I am lying when I say that they are not here at the house.  I offered to take her downstairs.  I think the bed is not made but has the clean sheets folded on it.  The problem is, not only would it be almost impossible at this point to get her down and up the stairs by myself, but she would probably just conclude that they cleared out for the moment just to fool her.

We did not get out yesterday except to make a quick circuit to get my coffee and a take-out luncheon Lasagna from Olive Garden for Mary Ann.  Later in the day she opted not to go out for ice cream but eat what we have from the store here at the house.

I don’t know if this is actually a decline or just temporary, but the confusion becoming a routine part of each day, increased fatigue, and the reluctance to go out is a little unsettling.  Maybe it is still the Urinary Tract Infection.  She is done with the ten days of anti-biotics.  We will be getting a specimen for the lab when she gets up to see if it is actually gone.

…Mary Ann is up now.  She got up at about 11:15am.  She ate a usual breakfast and then sat for a while, pretty much dozing most of the time.  Understandably she did not want to lie back down even though her head was hanging.

When I asked about lunch, she said she did want to go out.  I was apprehensive since she appeared so tired, but it seemed worth a try just to get both of us out of the house.  When she stood up to put on a light jacket, she ended up having a major fainting spell.  After she came back around, she still wanted to go out.  She, of course, has little awareness of the fainting.  I rolled her to the door to the garage and she walked down the steps as usual (she handles steps better than flat surfaces) into the garage.  Before I could get her into the car, she had another major fainting spell.  I have four folding chairs lining the garage wall along her side of the car, so that one is always in reach.  I grabbed one and got her in it before she went down to the floor.  I have put the colorful foam playroom squares along her side of the van so that if she does fall, the damage will be minimized.

I finally got her into the car, and we made our way to Perkins.  Since she was in the wheelchair except when transferring from the car and into the chair in the restaurant, she did not faint during that outing.  She managed to eat a few pieces of pancake on her own, but then she allowed me to help her eat more after ceasing to be able to get them speared and into her mouth.

When I got her out of the car back at the house, she had another major fainting spell.  After she was awake and able to stay seated in the folding chair by herself, I prepared the portable ramp into the house and got the transfer chair.  That way i was able to get her into the house.  As always, she needed a trip to the bathroom.  She fainted again there, but this time it was not a major outage.  By the way, when I refer to a fainting spell as a major one, it means after jerking and stiffening for a few moments, she goes limp.  Then she remains out for a minute or two (rarely it is many minutes up to a record fifteen).  During that time she is snoring as if having a spell of apnea, sort of gasping for breath, and saliva comes out of her mouth (my sleeve usually gets wet since I put my arm across her chest to keep her from falling out of the chair).   Gratefully, she is completely unaware of all of that and remembers nothing of it.  She sometimes seems to think I am making all of that up, that she does not actually faint.  Since she has no conscious awareness of the fainting spells, she has no natural reticence to getting up and heading out no matter how many times she has fainted.

When Hospice Nurse Emily came to pick up the specimen for the UTI lab test, I asked her to take Mary Ann’s vital signs since Mary Ann had appeared to have labored breathing and admitted to having some difficulty with her breathing.  Her vitals were fine.  The blood pressure reading was 158/92.  That reading came after there had been some fainting spells and before we headed out for lunch, experiencing a number of major spells.  That reading would be high for anyone under normal circumstances.

Here is my dilemma.  Do I add back into her medication regimen the Midodrine that raises her blood pressure all the time.  When she is on the medication, it is as high as 220/120 in the mornings and goes even  higher sometimes when measured at doctor’s appointments.  Many months ago, when she was taking a full therapeutic dose of Midodrine, we were able to do much more in the way of traveling, eating out, participating in activities.  We have long ago decided that the quality of our time is more important than the length of it.

As I write, I would like to be attending the wedding of the daughter of a family of which we think very highly.  Her Mom was on the Staff at the church from which I retired.  I have enjoyed their kids and value them as friends as well as former parishioners.  If that is not enough, one of the Pastors doing the wedding is a young man whom I watched grow at that church, and had the privilege of Ordaining into the ministry not long ago.  Lot’s of folks whom I came to know and love during the twelve and a half years as part of their lives will be gathered there.  I take some comfort in the fact that I am at the moment doing exactly what Katie and Jacob are  promising to do, what I promised to do over forty-four years ago.

Tomorrow is the day of the concert in which I will sing as part of a trio in a larger choral piece.  It would probably be a good idea to get a good night’s sleep tonight.  Mary Ann is in bed and appears to be sleeping at the moment.  Here is hoping that she sleeps well throughout the night.

Today, we were pretty much home bound.  I had hoped we could get out, but it just didn’t materialize.  As I reflect on the day, I realize how much activity comes to us instead of our going somewhere else to find it.

There were no Volunteers scheduled today, so unlike many Wednesdays, the option to go out on my own was not available.  Mary Ann was tired today and napped at times that kept us here.  We still haven’t made that trip to the grocery I have been trying to get in for a number of days.  Since food has been brought to us recently, we are eating well.  We are on the last package of Mary Ann’s pads (disposable underwear), so tomorrow will have to include a trip to the store.

This morning began with the Spiritual formation group that meets here.  If those folks were not willing or able to come here, I would simply have no Spiritual Formation Group experience regularly. It is both garbage day and lawn maintenance day on Wednesdays in our subdivision.  We have recently incorporated the garbage truck sounds into our spirituality as a metaphor for ridding ourselves of unwanted garbage in our lives — letting go of things that just bog us down and clog our spiritual arteries.

As I was setting up the deck in anticipation of the arrival of the group members, there was an aerial attack on the pair of Mallards in the back yard by another pair.  There was much squawking as the dive bombing hen chased off and flew after the hen already on the tarmac.  The same thing happened with the drakes, with the addition of their fly by almost clipping my ear.

The lawn crew provided weed-eating next to the deck as we had the concluding prayer.  I am sure that we will come up with some sort of metaphoric understanding of to the mowing and weed eating that will incorporate those sights and sounds into our Spiritual Formation.

Again, during the group time Bath Aide Zandra came to the house to provide friendship and help as Mary Ann with through her morning regimen.

By the time the Group was done, Landscaping Tech Sheila had arrived and begun working on our disheveled garden areas.  It is at this point that another venture into bringing beauty into our lives is beginning.  Sheila has presented and then adapted a plan intended to provide more beautiful surroundings at the side and front of the house.  Her original proposal was elegant and well-planned.  Mary Ann and I redirected the project.

Shortly after moving in we had added a berm in the space between our town home and the one next to us in a spot that was in full view when standing at the sink in the kitchen.  The first plan would have returned that spot to sod.  After thinking about it for a while, I realized that we were more concerned about what we see from inside the house than what people see when looking at it from the street.  Now that I am at the sink an inordinate amount of time each day, I am especially in need of having color and activity and growth and change to stimulate my visual cortex.  We can’t get to lots of beautiful places away from the house, so we are bringing them to the house.  That is what all the changes at the back of the house were about.

Stacey came by later today to take the final measurements for the sun room blinds for privacy at night.  That project continues.  Sheila is doing some work in a small back area at the side of the deck to fill out the setting.  The leaves are now out on the trees in behind and beside the waterfall and in the neighbors’ back yards.  The area is now almost completely green and secluded.

Mary Ann’s day was not her best.  She fainted quite a bit this morning and ended up back in bed for at least a couple of hours.  At a late lunch there were a couple of falls without damage to Mary Ann, but our relationship was stressed some in response to them.  From her perspective, she was just doing what she did automatically before the disease took its toll.  From my perspective, she was making choices (twice within minutes of one another) that unnecessarily complicated our lives with substantial clean up and the physical demands of getting her off the floor.

I spent the rest of the time she has been awake sitting a very few feet from her, ready to jump each time she stood up.  Bringing activity and stimulation into our immediate environment helps especially on days like today when even stepping outside is limited.

Hallucinations have continued at various levels of intensity.  We seem to be having less and less of the good, lucid times.  A few minutes ago when I saw her moving in bed, I went in to help her turn so that she is facing the opposite direction.  She said that she guessed we were at the first table.  There were, of course, people here, but she wasn’t sure if they were tables for playing cards or what.

I am not sure what way we are swinging at the moment.  I don’t know if there will be lots of daytime sleeping tomorrow, or much sleeping tonight,. I don’t know if there will be some calm and lucidity tomorrow or hyperactive delusion/hallucination/dreaming going on.  I will find out.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

Are you at least a little curious?  Can you picture just turned 67 year old Pastor Pete Kiteboarding at Lake Perry on a Sunday morning?  This retirement is really something!

An old saying about a snowball’s chance in Hell comes to mind as the caption to that picture.  Since we attend the Evening Service at the church from which I retired, and since the tradition of Volunteers spending time with Mary Ann on Sunday morning still continues to a certain extent, I have opted to use Sunday morning as a mini-retreat time.

Most often I head up to the lake to just sit in the van and read, walk, meditate, watch for birds and other wildlife, and just spend time in the moment, experiencing whatever it brings.

This morning it brought a very chilly and very strong wind.  I opened the window on the van, covered myself with a jacket and just celebrated the power and the sound of the wind.  Last night was a difficult one.  Mary Ann was up at least four to five times an hour until almost 4am.  Gratefully, at least she slept the next four hours.

I was glad that a Volunteer was scheduled this morning.  Volunteer Jan and her husband, Tim, are in our time in life, so we have lots in common.  Jan does a treatment on her finger nails that Mary Ann appreciates. They just enjoy talking.

As soon as Jan came, I headed for the lake.  When I was passing through some fields after the turn off on the way to the dam area, a juvenile American Bald Eagle and an American Crow took off from on of those fields not far from the van as I passed by.  I suspect that the two of them had had some sort of disagreement that landed them there.

Just as I was driving off after a couple of hours there, an Adult American Bald Eagle treated me to a fly over, then circled for a couple of minutes.  In between the two Eagle encounters, I did a lot of devotional reading.  I have needed as much grounding as I could find the last day or so.  The three or four different articles from journal and online Spiritual Formation sources helped draw me back to a better place.  They were all thoughtful and very well-written.  Each helped reframe reality in terms of something that does not depend on external circumstances to create health and well-being.  There was nothing there that I don’t already know.  It is a matter of bringing the truth into a more central place from which it can generate renewal. I was also refreshed by Pastor Jim’s message at the Service tonight.

After a substantial time with the reading and meditation, a car came blasting by me in the parking lot and landed in the corner of the lot.  Two young men jumped out and started unloading cloth bags and containers and equipment and spread it all around the car and in the nearby grass.  It didn’t take long to figure out what was going on.  It probably took a half hour from arriving in the lot to heading into the water.  Only one of the two actually kiteboarded.  He went back and forth a number of times right by the shore.  He was not out on the water for as long a time as they spent getting the equipment ready and putting on all the paraphernalia.

We had a good meal after returning home, Lisa’s meatloaf, baked potatoes and asparagus.  Even though she had been up so much last night, Mary Ann never took a nap today.  She just refused to do so.  She didn’t really even nap with her head down on the table.  The fare on the television was no better than yesterday.  She was up and down quite a bit.  I just hung close to her.

The Evening Service got us out and with people for a bit.  There was a stop at Sheridan’s for Concretes (chocolate with pecans) to take home and eat.  I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to head into Baskin & Robbins after the nasty treatment the last time we were in (see post from April 15).  When we are in the mood for the flavors of ice cream that we favor there, I will not let my anger interfere with the pleasure of enjoying a couple of scoops.  Life is short.

Mary Ann has gone to bed and appears to be sleeping.  I am counting on nothing, however.  One sleepless night does not guarantee that the next one will be a restful one.  Tomorrow evening Volunteer Tamara came by late today to pick up some dishes so that she can bring us a meal tomorrow to put in the oven for supper.  We are looking forward to that treat.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

I had little doubt we were on our way back to confusion last night.  The numerous commode trips returned along with a couple of times just sitting up on the side of the bed.  This morning she accused me of lying to her when I disagreed that when the kids were visiting they had been playing with a ball with fire in it. I let that one go without trying too hard to argue against what she was convinced she had seen.

A television report on the news last night must have found a spot in her mind.  The Phelps family blight on Topeka was in the news since an estranged son was in town on a book promotion talking about his difficult childhood before getting away and moving out of town.  Mary Ann asked about one of the Phelps’s talking with me in another room.  She said she had to arouse me from being sort of hypnotized.

She was not in the intense mode that sometimes comes.  I suspect that may be coming next in the cycle.  She was fairly calm, but still getting up often, unsure why or where she wanted to go or what she wanted to do.

Meals were somewhat confusing.  The spatial problems made her insistence on feeding herself pretty tough for me to deal with.  Food was ending up in lots of places, the spoon digging in spots where there was no food to be found. I was not very patient with her today.  She finally did allow me to help her eat the last of her lunch.

Mary Ann was not ready to head out in the car, nor was she interested in taking a nap.  Sometimes she sat with her head down, sometimes not.  The television needed to be on.  Everything that was showing, at least that she would tolerate, seemed to sort of suck the life out of me.  I could hardly stand to be in the room.  I did a lot of pacing.

I have to admit that it was not a good day for me either.  I had a bit of the feeling of a trapped animal, no alternative within reach with enough draw to grab my attention.  I read emails a bit, did some posting to Quicken.  Reading a book simply does not work for me when there are multiple times attention must return to my primary responsibility.  Some people are good at switching into a deep focus quickly when doing tasks. It is not easy for me to do so. If I do get engrossed in something too deeply, I am afraid I will not be there when needed.

At about 5:30pm, just minutes after she had decided to put shoes on so that we could do my errands, Mary Ann decided that she needed a nap.  The good news was that I was able to spend time on the deck reading some devotional material and just experiencing the moment and the environment. I had the video monitor nearby so that I could check on Mary Ann regularly without having to go in the house every few minutes. The bad news is that she did not get supper and the late nap may result in more awake time during the night.  A short time ago I got her up to change into her pajamas, gave her the bed time meds and a container of applesauce. At the moment, she seems to be sleeping.

I am going to try to find the right music and devotional material now to see if I can continue the restoration of peace begun on the deck.  Some days are just harder than others.

It seems odd that a simple day of getting up, doing stuff and going to bed could be so great.  We both had an appropriate number of hours of sleep.  We got up and a reasonable hour.  Mary Ann seemed to be connected to the realities of the day.

Not too long after breakfast, Hospice Aide Sonya came to do Mary Ann’s shower and hair.  It was almost comical to hear Sonya describe it.  Mary Ann had a couple of monumental deposits to make during Sonya’s time with her.  Sonya described in great detail the nature of the deposits.  Her description reminded me of the latest round of Subway commercials.  I will leave the rest to your imagination.  I was grateful on a couple of counts.  One, Sonya got to share the joy of waste management duty, sparing me the task.  Two, it was a much needed basic bodily function that will help Mary Ann function better and feel better.

After that, we watched television together for a while.  I made trips to the computer to read emails.  I also got started on a couple of loads of wash.  Mary Ann ate a pretty substantial lunch, then we headed out in the car.  The local Asparagus is coming on, so we headed to Meier’s market to pick up a few pounds.  I practically live on it when the locally grown crop is available.

After that we headed to Flowers by Bill.  Daughter-in-law Becky made a deal with me, trading the benefit of my cell phone on their account for me getting Mary Ann fresh flowers periodically.  This is the second time I have done it, and both times I have been surprised at the spectacular bouquets I have received.  I have gone in each time and told them what I am doing.  I have asked for whatever they can give me for ten dollars.  Each time they have come out with an arm load of beautiful flowers.  This time there are daisy mums of many different colors (20 open blossoms), carnations (9 open blossoms), alstermaria or peruvian lilies (3 stems each with multiple blossoms on each stem), and a huge yellow rose.  The bouquet has filled the living room with color.

We made an obligatory stop at Dairy Queen, since it is still buy one Blizzard and get the second one for 25 cents week.  I guess today could be designated Flower Day.  Shortly after we got back home, Volunteer Maureen drove up.  She delivered birthday presents for Mary Ann and me.  One is a vining geranium in a hanging basket, providing color just outside our kitchen window (where I now spend an inordinate amount of time each day).  The other is a Gerber Daisy sporting lots of large yellow blossoms.  Maureen remembered that yellow flowers are a favorite of Mary Ann.  That now sits on the deck just outside a glass panel in full view of Mary Ann from her chair.

At supper time I actually made a sort of normal meal – a rarity.  I browned cut up ring sausage in olive oil with lots of onions.  Then a ton of the fresh Asparagus went into a pan to be steamed.  At the market there were some small white potatoes that the owner had kept back for the family last fall.  They had some left and offered them for sale.  I steamed them with salt, dried onions and parsley, drained the water off and covered them with butter (margarine).  I was surprised at how much of the garden flavor they had retained.  Mary Ann apparently approved since she cleaned her plate of every speck of food I put there.  That almost never happens.

After finishing the couple of loads of wash and cleaning the pots and pans from supper, I decided that if there is some sort of certification as a domestic engineer to be had, I am now qualified.

I plan to spend a little time tonight with a newly obtained book on St. Patrick’s Breastplate.  Each chapter is a reflection on one of the phrases in the prayer.  YouTube will provide sung versions of the prayer to give it fuller expression.

I will accept today as the gift of a kind of normal day that most would find boring, to be taken for granted.  To me it is a refreshing encounter with something to be cherished, never to be taken for granted but instead savored.

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It started again last night.  This morning she was up at about 6am and hopelessly confused.  It was 4pm pill time (there never has been such a thing); she needed to make hamburger BBQ; those were the most lucid of the first words this morning.

I got her back in bed so that I could take a shower and get dressed to prepare for the 7:30am Spiritual Formation group that meets at our house.  As soon as I got in the shower, she started yelling for me.  I got out to see what had happened, and she just wanted to know where I was.  The shower is in the bathroom right next to her bed.

Moments later, she needed to go to the bathroom.  She had been to the bathroom just before I went in to take a shower.  It was tough just to get the preparations in for the Wednesday morning group, since she was in her streaming delusion/dream/hallucination mode.

I have been especially tired the last few days.  Today, I have not felt good at all.  Here is where the grateful dimension kicks in.  Volunteer Maureen arrived at 7:25am to spend a couple of hours with Mary Ann.  as always, she had a meal for the freezer, a couple dozen homemade cookies, Blueberry muffins and three very tasty Macaroons.

Maureen gave Mary Ann her yogurt and a muffin and kept her occupied while I spent a couple of very spiritually therapeutic couple of hours in the Spiritual Formation group on the back deck.

Bath Aide Zandra came and took Mary Ann through her morning prep for the day.  Parish Nurse Margaret arrived just as Maureen was due to leave.  Margaret spent the next two hours with Mary Ann while I did some morning chores.  During that time I gave Mary Ann her pills.  Margaret checked Mary Ann’s blood pressure (122/80) and her pulse (60).  I was reassured by the normal pulse after yesterday’s unusually rapid heart beat.   The BP would be great for anyone else, but low for her.  She had already done some fainting this morning.

Mary Ann settled into putting her head down on the table in front of her as she sat in her spot in front of the television.  During this same time, Kristie, who does the monthly cleaning, came and started her work.  Part of my chores on this day is to do the pre-Kristie cleaning up so that she can get to all the places that need cleaning.

I headed off for a short time to squeeze in a couple of errands.  At 11:30am Volunteer Doris arrived.  I got Mary Ann’s lunch.  She could hardly keep her head up.  Her nose was almost touching the plate.  She finally let me help get the food to her mouth.  She did not want to go in and lie down, so I moved her to her spot where she resumed resting with her head down.  I remained at the house, since Doris needs help moving Mary Ann.  After a while I was able to get Mary Ann to lie down in bed for a nap.  I set up the monitor so that Doris could let me know if help was needed.  That allowed me to read emails for a while, do a couple of household tasks and sit for a few moments on the deck.

Then Tom from our pest control service arrived to do his quarterly task.  While he was  here Volunteer Scheduler Mary came to spend two and a half hours with Mary Ann.  She brought Lasagna and bread for supper, along with shortcake, strawberries and ice cream.  There was also a large container of Mary Ann’s favorite, Ambrosia Salad.  During the time Mary was here, we spent some time talking about her ministry as a trained (two years) Lay Assistant at the congregation from which I retired.  I spent some time on the deck and then headed out to sit at Cedarcrest and try to nap while sitting in the van.

After I returned and Mary left, Mary Ann was still sleeping.  Neighbor, good friend and former Parishioner Ann stopped by to see the new sun room and waterfall as well as visit for a bit. After Ann left, I decided to try to nap a bit myself.  That lasted only a few minutes before Mary Ann finally stirred.

It was another very busy Wednesday.  I am profoundly grateful for so many Volunteers spending time with Mary Ann today.  Any times I interacted with her, she was still in the streaming hallucination/delusion/dream mode.  It helped to have others here.  Since she slept so much, it would have been doable, but it was a comfort not to be alone in the task.  I had a chance to enjoy talking with those who came, making my day better.  I need and love times of solitude, but I need human interaction just as much.  The Mallards came by for a while today also, filling my need for entertaining wildlife.

We had the wonderful lasagna meal and dessert.  I spent time just sitting with Mary Ann as she watched an hour or two of television.  Then she decided to go to bed.  After a day of sleeping, I am not sure it will be a very restful night, but I certainly need one.  I absolutely cannot allow whatever it is that is making me feel bad physically develop into anything that interferes with the functioning of our system.  The only power I have is to try to get some rest.  Otherwise, I am fully aware that I have very little to say about what does or does not develop.

I am trying to finish this earlier than usual tonight, so that I can allow more time for rest.  How much rest I actually get will depend on how Mary Ann’s night goes.

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This Face book business adds a whole new dimension to life.  I don’t think I have ever been wished a happy birthday by so many.

The morning began bright and early with cards from the Spiritual Formation Group members and a cherry and apple kuchen.  Before the group meeting was over, my Sister Gayle called and sang happy birthday to me.  There were more cards in the mail, in addition to a few yesterday.  We had no special plans, except, of course, some ice cream from Baskin and Robbins late this afternoon — but then every day is an ice cream day.

The last three days have been pretty active ones.  On Monday, after Bath Aide Zandra came, Mary Ann’s friend Jeanne came, brought lunch and then spent the afternoon.  Mary Ann had some time out outside in the beautiful weather.  During that time, I ran errands, including a trip to see Dr. Tim about manipulating my back to help with the consequences of Saturday night’s challenges with Mary Ann’s fainting.  Volunteer Patrice came to spend the evening with Mary Ann. I combined a few errands with some time sitting in what had been a favorite spot for quiet time.  The area has changed and it seemed to have become everyone’s favorite place to drive through.

On Tuesday, Mary Ann did well in Bible Study.  We picked up pizza slices for Mary Ann to eat for lunch, then went to see Doug and Marikay for haircuts.   It had been so long that he needed to use hedge trimmers to cut my hair!  We always enjoy the conversation with those two.  We share a love of the outdoors and wildlife.   Following the haircuts we went right to the grocery store.  I marvel at how much we buy just to feed the two of us.

Volunteer Shari came for the evening.  After a couple of little errands, I spent time again parked in the beautiful spot nearby.  For some reason there was very little traffic that evening.  It was a beautiful night and a wonderful experience.  A CD of choral music titled “Shakespeare in Song” by the Phoenix Bach Choir provided stimulating and exciting choral music, lifting my spirit.

This morning toward the end of our group time, Bath Aide Zandra came.  Mary Ann was still in bed and asleep when Zandra arrived.  Later in the morning, Hospice Nurse Emily came for her weekly visit.  Then Volunteer Cynthia came for two and a half hours, followed by Volunteer Rebecca who stayed another two and a half hours.

During Cynthia’s time with Mary Ann, she did the ironing!!! God is good!  So is Cynthia!  Also during that time Sheila, who does landscaping for folks in the area came by to do her every two week clean up.  She did some clean up on the waterfall to tide us over until Brad comes by for the official spring refreshing of the plantings.

During Rebecca’s time with Mary Ann, I got a major errand run, all the useful remnants of the clean up taken to Good Will.  Then came supper, followed by ice cream, followed by Mary Ann going to bed.   Doug and Marikay stopped by to deliver some salmon they had smoked for us and to see the new sun room.

Both of our Kids, Lisa and Micah made their Happy Birthday calls.  All in all, it has been a pretty good three days for both of us.  Last night when I sat down to write a post, I fell asleep at the computer.  I decided I needed to get to bed.

Now that I mention it, my head has been bobbing as I have been sitting here writing this. Thanks to all who sent cards or Face Book greetings.  It made the day a very special one.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.