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Archive for August, 2009

Today is Mom & Dad’s 35th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, they along with Sister and Puppy went on a little road trip to Santa Barbara for the weekend. Although the Hubs and I weren’t there to join in the festivities, we were able to hear all about it and see some pictures.

The weekend consisted of checking out some of Santa Barbara’s wineries, snacking on delicious pastries and fudge in the Dutch style town of Solvang and then hitting the beach. From the sound of it, they all had a lovely anniversary dinner at a local restaurant inclusive of an acoustic guitar solo in their honor and a specialty dessert courtesy of the restaurant.

Here are a few pics of their weekend:

Heather & Dad wine tasting Mom & Dad in Solvang Puppy in the sand

Looks like a lovely way to celebrate 35 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! We love you. xx

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Some of you who faithfully read this blog may have noticed over time that my entries have dropped off a bit. The frequency has decreased as things in my life have gotten hectic. So, those who continue to check for updates, I thank you for still following along. It’s time to get back in to blogging and so, I’ll catch you up on what’s been going on… a few entries at a time.

The first big bit of news is that the Husband and I have moved. After 14 months of living with and co-caring for Dad with Mom, the Hubs and I decided it’s time to focus on our future together. When we left Sydney, Australia to return home, we gladly did it knowing it was the right thing to do and that Mom and Dad needed help. Granted, we were newlyweds and never imagined that at 29 and 30 years of age we would be living with the parents but life happens and it was what was needed. Last year was not a good year for Dad and his health. Luckily, things have slowly improved after the New Year and I would say for the most part, Dad is now doing much better. Of course we all know how LBD can fluctuate and you just never know what’s going to happen. Despite the unknown, the Hubs and I made plans to move East and make Boston our home. I wrote about some of this on my personal blog but I’ll re-post some of it here, because really, it’s just easier.

“After much deliberation and taking into account my Dad’s health situation, it just made sense to make Boston our home. In an ideal world, Mom & Dad will sell the California house and return to Boston to be closer to family, friends, good hospitals and doctors. The market being what it is right now, the move for them might have to wait, but hopefully good fortune will be upon them and things will move along sooner rather than later. The hubs and I spent 14 months living with Mom and Dad to help caregive but the time had come for the Hubs and I to get back to us. As hard as it was to say goodbye and the stress and worry if they’re going to be okay can be overwhelming at times, we take comfort in knowing we’ll always be there for my parents- no matter the distance or any obstacles. I thank my lucky stars that I have married a special man that has the patience, respect and good nature to deal with such a difficult situation and all that it entails… but that’s a post for another time.”

Sister has been staying with Mom & Dad for the summer to help out while we’re gone but soon the school year will resume and she’ll be heading back to NYC shortly. I’m sure once she’s gone Mom is going to be in for some tough times ahead without anyone directly around her to help. I imagine she may be lonely, stressed, feel like the weight of the world is upon her and as if she’s going at this all alone. Even though she’s not, I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for a spouse to see their beloved succumb to this terrible disease and to shoulder the burden of all that comes with it. We’ll all take things one day at a time and hopefully she can develop a routine that works for her and Dad. Sister and I will be calling every day, several times a day and will be there to help in any way possible. It will be a bit of an adjustment for myself in providing long distance caregiving but I know every little bit helps- and just knowing someone is in your corner is a source of comfort. Now that us kids will all be on the East Coast, I’m hoping Mom & Dad will be able to get out to Boston very soon. How soon depends on the finances and either selling the house or renting it, which during these times, is a bit difficult. Mom understandably doesn’t want to sell right now with the market prices being so low. Mom needs to sell at a higher price as she’ll need that money to pay off the house, move to Boston, rent or purchase something in Boston and ultimately, have some money left over to live on and pay for some of Dad’s medical expenses. At this time, it feels like a bit of a pipe dream.

Added to the stress of finances and selling the home is Dad being a bit resistant to leaving California. I think once Dad realizes it’s just him and Mom all alone, he’ll come around a bit as he’ll want to be near his kids. As much as Dad doesn’t want to leave California, it just makes sense- if not for my Mom’s own sanity. Being in Boston, Mom will have her kids close by, as well as, all her siblings and extended family. Having that kind of support so close will prove to be invaluable and allow her the opportunity to take a break, visit with family and so forth. It will also be good for Dad because he so enjoys seeing the family, too. I think being around friendly, familiar faces will help stimulate his daily functioning and give him something to look forward to- family birthdays, BBQs, watching the Red Sox and Patriots games with his brother-in-laws, etc. He’ll also only be a drive away from being able to see his own Sisters and their family and I know he would love that more than anything. However, something at the back of my mind is that a move East could also prove disorienting for Dad and send him downward. Those with cognitive and memory impairment tend not to do well with change. However, hopefully being back in Beantown where he and Mom spent most of their lives together and being surrounded by family and friends will help ease him in to the transition. Obviously, the sooner they move, the better- especially while Dad is still doing relatively well. If only we could win the lottery, right?

So, that’s where things stand for now. At the beginning of this month, the Hubs and I packed up our belongings in California and left the majority of it in storage. We loaded up the car with a few suitcases and drove across country. We are currently renting a furnished unit month-to-month while we search for our first home to purchase- hopefully before the winter sets in. Once we buy and are ready to move in, we’ll head back to California to pick up our belongings and once again, set out across country. It will also give us another opportunity to head back to Mom & Dad’s for a bit.

As you can see there was a lot going on between packing, preparing for the move to Boston, helping out at home and the normal every day things. There’s also more to it… but I’ll save that for another entry to come soon.

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I don’t know what it is but Sister has the magic touch when it comes to Dad. Despite how hard my Mom and I try to get Dad to do certain things, or try new things, he fights us on it and just won’t cooperate. When Sister comes to visit, it’s like Dad caves to her every whim, which is generally for the better for him. Often times, we end up looking like liars because on the phone we tell Sister how we have to do this for Dad or he won’t do this or that. Sister comes to stay and within a day or two Dad is doing whatever she asks with ease.

For example, for such a long time we had to get Dad ready in the morning. He couldn’t get showered and dressed on his own- most times- no matter how much we tried. Well, Sister now has him doing his morning regiment all on his own, except for shaving because that takes like three hours if he did it on his own. She still has to tell him what to do- take a shower, dry off, get your clothes one, brush your teeth, etc., but he does it all with his own will. Then there’s breakfast, we always had to make him his English muffin- he couldn’t do it himself. Now, Sister has him doing it. I love to swim and always tried to coax Dad into going in to the pool but he always had an excuse- the Red Sox are on, it’s too cold outside (mind you in the summer it’s 110 degrees), the water isn’t warm enough (it’s 88-90 degrees), etc. The past few days Sister has had him in the pool swimming laps. I would ask Dad if he wanted to do a puzzle or play a game or the wii but the answer was always “no” or “not tonight.” The other night, Dad asks Sister if she wants to do a puzzle with him! It goes on and on… Seriously, it’s unreal. She’s magic, magic I tell you. He’s cast under her spell! Hopefully her spell last when she departs because the summer is coming to an end which means Sister will be returning to NYC soon.

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If you missed the Lewy Body Dementia Association commercial which aired over the weekend, you can see it below:

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I received the following email from the Lewy Body Dementia Association:

Hut, Hut, Hike!

Join with us this month to watch a special message from the Lewy
Body Dementia Association during the television broadcast of the
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival’s Timken Grand
Parade Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.

This special 30-second commercial on Lewy body dementia is the
first of its kind to be shown nationally. The parade will be
available in more than 81 million households throughout the
month of August – click here for information on your local
station’s airdates and times.

Thank you to the Bankert family and all who have helped make
this incredible opportunity possible, and to you for joining with us
as we Increase Knowledge, Share Experience and Build Hope for
all those affected by LBD in more ways than ever before!

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The other day, Dad had an appointment with his primary care physician. The Doc was very pleased with how Dad was doing and thought he seemed happier. He was also happy to see Dad’s blood pressure was up and within a normal range again so that’s great news. It was just way too low before. Overall, things went well and the Doc didn’t really have any concerns.

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