Today in spin class, our instructor told all of us crazy spinners of an Asian man in her class years ago. He was 90 years old, agile and full of life! His motto...."Oxygen make you happeeeeeee!!" I can't help but laugh as I recall all the times on that bike....shouting out, sweat pouring down, "Oxygen make me happeeeee!" Exercise is key to surviving this marathon.
As most of you know, the Alzheimer journey can be quite long. Even the end stages can be long. Yesterday, when I went to see Jerry he was sitting back in his room in his lazy boy. What a blessing to have that chair. It was given to us by our dear friends from our church. I was such a "hoity" thing, that poor Jerry never got an easy chair his entire life! I'm glad he has one now.
Up until now, Jerry has usually been in the activity room with all the other residents. Now, however he is on the cusp of "non-ambulatory." He no longer can walk on his own. A wheelchair has been brought in, however, his legs are so long that he sits crumpled over in the chair and they are afraid the chair will come out from under him and he will fall. SO, he is now, all comfy in his recliner. Bonanza is on the television.
Back to yesterday. When I walked into his room, he must have recognized me. His room is a corner room with two large windows. The sun was behind him so all I could see was his silhouette in the chair. But, as I got closer, he was leaning forward and one arm was beginning to stretch out. Remember the days in the past when he would come running? Well, yesterday, in that split second, his arm gestured it's way toward me. We sat together in his easy chair and just "Be--d". What I mean by that is that there was no talking, not much moving, we were able to just BE. BE together. Side by side.
When the dinner music began to play, I noticed Jerry getting a hint of restlessness. Every mealtime, the staff puts on the same crazy loud jiving music. It's the Que that it's mealtime. All the residents, no matter how much they have deteriorated, seem to spark at that Que. I knew I couldn't move Jerry and I'm glad I didn't. When the staff members came in, they told me of the risk of the wheelchair, so all three of us walked Jerry down the hall. With a girl on each side (HE WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT), and me in the front encouraging him to come forward (HE WOULD HAVE LOVED THAT, TOO), Jerry was lifted up and his legs weakly straightened below him. He moved them ever so slowly, about three inches at a time, completely off balance with very little weight on them, but moving forward until we got him to his table.
This too is yet another shift. Another first.
That is where we are. It's time to get back on that bike now.