Moving Right Along

The fields of wild flowers are blooming red and purple with poppies of salmon.  Such exhilarating fields of happiness! 

It's a constant challenge to stay "UP" while journeying through Alzheimer Disease.  It's a daily discipline to see the positive and soak in the lovelies of life.  

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When visiting Jerry today, I peeked my head around the corner into the activity room.  The residents were in a circle holding Mexican shakers in an attempt to participate with the visiting accordion player's tunes.  Jerry was asleep in his chair with his eyes barely open. From what I understand, Alzheimer patients sleep a lot.  Whenever they are able to be alert and participate, that is equivalent to a healthy person taking a final exam.  It doesn't take much to completely exhaust them mentally.  These days, Jerry is asleep most of the time.  

I stood there for a few minutes hoping he would see me.  I waved my hands..his eyes opened a bit more.  I kept waving bigger and bigger waves.  After a few minutes, he began to move.  I motioned for him to come toward me.  Jerry is a lovey thing, so when he thinks he's going to get a hug, he usually comes.  It doesn't matter who is at the end of that path.....he's just coming for a hug.  As he came closer, I could see that he didn't know me.  His eyes stared blank as I wrapped my arms around him.  I looked at the aide, "Awe.  He doesn't know me."  My tears began to flow.  

It's been a while since I've shed tears.  Maybe I've stuffed those feelings down deep in order to survive.  Maybe I am numb.  Maybe I've gotten use to this in my own weird way.  Whatever the reason, it was good to get them out.  The aide took Jerry and cleaned him up...shaved him, changed his clothes and brought him back out looking all dapper.  By now, he was a little bit more alert so we ventured outside for a walk.  The more we walked, the more he picked up his pace.  I let him lead the way and today he led me straight into the tall grass in the vacant lot next door.  Don't know where we were going...but it didn't matter.  Tall grass is good.  

After a 5 minute walk, we sat on the front porch with all the other residents.  I've actually begun to look forward to chatting on the front porch with all these beautiful people.  These are the "independent" living residents.  They share old stories and gripe about how their kids never come to see them, yet, somehow, find the time to use their beach houses..  We've become "old" friends.  

I've noticed that Jerry does not last long now.  About 15 minutes was the most he could handle on the porch.  I could see he was getting a bit restless and his eyes were beginning to look weary again.  So, we shuffled on back to the memory care unit where he smiled (well, sort of).  Jerry's smiles are less frequent, by the way.  Not that he's grumpy.  He's just not aware.  BUT, he was aware of his aides...they make him smile.  It's all I care about now....is that he smiles....even if just for a moment.

Let's see.  Where are those wildflower fields?