Monthly Archives: March 2016

a note to dad

June 30th, 2000. I remember it well. We were all in a nursing home in Jesup, Georgia. We watched you slip away. No more pain.

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We knew something was wrong when you pointed to the woods and told Denny and I that you bought a new car there yesterday. You were standing beside your same old car when you said that. Months later when I thought you recognized me, it turned out that you thought I was the maintenance man.

See ya up there one day dad! Hey, thanks for taking us fishing so much! You made it fun.

It was never meant for me to do anything great

but it was meant for me to be a part of something great. Something great because of all of you.

I could not begin to put the names on here of the folks that helped.They know who they are and I do think of them often. From the depths of my heart, I thank you!

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Here is a picture of an alzheimer’s survivor.

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All diseases that cause sickness, loss of life, loss of dreams and pain are horrific and alzheimer’s sure fits that profile.

I wish I could do more and I would try, if I knew what more would be.

I will continue on every day, doing what I do.

Doing the right thing . . . . . family

This post is about several things. The health situation of mom’s husband that passed away March 12th, mom’s health and last but not least, my priorities.

At several times the last 3 years I felt the need to change things due to the health of mom and/or her husband.

Yes, I made the right decision each time. Was it easy? No, it was not easy. I argued back and forth with myself on each occasion. I concerned myself with many factors.

This last time, when his health hit a critical point, and hers was diminishing, I came to Roberta, Georgia. I have been here since. That was January 24th, 2016

I know I was right each time. I have a hard time believing I struggled so much with each decision, but I did struggle. I got aggravated because I believed in what I was doing. Also, maybe in the back of my mind, I did not want to become a caregiver. That was for someone else right? I struggled, but made the right decision each time.

This time it’s different. Watching mom doing the struggling, has put a clear face on how important she is to me. Mom is 87 years. She still enjoys life. I want her to enjoy as much as she can.

Yes, my personal fight with alzheimer’s is pretty damn important, but it is second to my family.

I post this so times such as these may be remembered by me. I will try to remember it all!

Here, let me excercise for you . . . . .

Yeah, like that will help the person you said that to, right? It probably will help you get or maybe stay strong.

I spoke with a psychologist a few weeks back. She asked me to try something when I speak with people.

If someone looks at you and asks – “What day is today?” try asking them, in a kind way, “what day do you think it is?” – she told me I would be amazed at how many folks then go through the excercise of figuring out what day it is, and then say it. Mental excercise is important, especially when we get older. This may apply when your mom or dad say “I need to take the garbage to the street.” Maybe, that is some of the excercise they need, to remain healthy. If we do it for them, we get the excercise.

Mental and physical excercise ward off a lot of disease.

If we do the excercise for them, it doesn’t help them. It helps us.

Wow, this may sound cruel, but actually, it may be the most loving thing you can do.

Just a thought. I want my mom to get mental and physical excercise!

the hymn singers

I sat in a room with 5 or 6 alzheimer’s patients. Most were sitting, heads drooped but some were shuffling about. The door to the room opened and in walked a lady with a brief case. She went to the piano, opened her case, put sheet music in a holder, and proceeded to play old hymns and sing. Most of the folks came to life. Some smiled and some sang the words, the right words. The complexion of the room changed dramatically. That in itself is not abnormal. A lot of us come to life when we hear music we like.

They showed a couple of the ones that had sang, the words on paper, leaving some of them off and the singers could not remember one word. A few minutes before they had sang them.

an alzheimer’s patient and a dog

I sat in a room for two hours with an alzheimer’s patient out west. It was just the two of us. He cried a gentle sort of cry most of that time. At one point, I sat up and asked this question to him – “have you ever had a dog?

He stopped crying immediately and proceeded to tell me about his dog. This went on for about 5 to 7 minutes. He sounded good, he sounded strong and he sounded sure of himself.

Then as quickly as he had quit crying, he started again.

It’s like he came back for a minute. Wondering how that might feel.

Change is inevitable – family stuff

If you have been able to follow me the last 3 years you know how many health problems mom’s husband has had, and that upon his death on March 12th, 2016, the pain finally ended. My mom, age 87 has also experienced some health problems.The “Across the Land” project was affected, as it should have been, and I’m proud to say that it was. Jack was a United States Navy Veteran. He was 88 years old. He was my mom’s husband and best friend. He will be missed.

I will continue doing as much as I can to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Association, but it will be different. I actually hope to somehow incorporate her a little into what I do. May even see if she will travel with me, on occasion. I will take on the major caregiving role and share it with family that live near. She does not need someone with her at all times.

This is just part of life to me and I will manage it. At some point in the future, and I hope it is a long time, I would like to finish the 2016 trip.

Running while driving around America

Started this at Tybee Island, Georgia and was heading to the Pacific Ocean in California.

Took the car, with the signs and drove to strategic places, parked the car and ran, jogged and walked and I always wore the alzheimer’s gear.

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This trip generated some media.

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I gave out around 2000 cards/bracelets with the Alzheimer’s Association helpline phone number on them.

I stopped the trip a few miles north of Goff’s, California, in the Mojave National Preserve.
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This was a very successful trip for the raising awareness and money part. It was not completed as I had originally wanted it to be completed.

The 2013 Epic Journey

Inspired to do so by the movie “Forrest Gump”, on January 12th, 2013, I set out with a jogging stroller from Skidaway Island, Georgia. My destination was Monterey, California.The Epic Journey was to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. My dad passed away June 30th of 2000 with alzheimer’s disease. I traveled on foot 2,594 miles. I traveled an additional 450 miles in a car.

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this is a picture from the day we began

The Journey generated a lot of media coverage. The focus for the media was, in general, to raise awareness, but more specifically, to tell folks that the Alzheimer’s Association exists and can help. The Association was responsible for the tremendous response from the media.

The Journey raised over $27,000.00 for the Association.

I gave out over 3000 cards/bracelets to interested parties with the 24/7 Helpline phone number on them.

Alzheimer’s Association staff and I met in 13 cities.

Over 50 nights were spent in senior care facilities.

Several events and meetings were set up by the Alzheimer’s Association all across the country. These events were designed to raise awareness.

The Journey ended on August 26th, 2013 at “Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co.” in Monterey, California, on Cannery Row.

It was an Epic Journey!

This was a very successful trip for the raising awareness and money part. It was not completed as I had originally wanted it to be completed.

My intentions as of March 28th, 2016

will be to continue putting family first.

I will do something every day of the rest of my life to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association.

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photo taken on U.S. Highway 80 heading into Roberta, Georgia from the west.

They tell me that moderation is key. I think persistence is key. Whatever reasonable actions you must take to be persistent seems to make sense.

Anyway, I am in this personal fight with alzheimers for the long haul.

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