Archive for the ‘Mary’ category

Mary

July 23, 2018

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote a post on Mary. So today’s the day.

She continues to get more and more weak and frail every day. Her memory is pretty much shot. She remembers Paula and my names, but that’s pretty much it. I give her three things to do: brush your teeth, wash your face and get dressed. She only remembers “brush your teeth”.

Last week, Paula took her to her dentist to have one of her molar crowns replaced. Doctor put a temporary crown on the molar. He told her not to pick at her teeth. Mary has a habit of picking her teeth with a tooth pick. Her tooth picks have been put in hiding for the duration. (Maybe forever, disgusting habit.) Permanent crown will be installed first week in August.

So we took Mary to church this morning for the 10:30 am service. She knew about going to church, but she couldn’t remember the name of our church. (The church that she has been attending for over fifty years.) So after the service, I pointed out the view of LA Harbor out the back of the church. The name of the church is “Ocean View Baptist Church”. Do you think that seeing the image of the harbor will help you remember? Nope, not a chance. We went to the Pacific Diner for brunch after church. The owner comped her breakfast that morning.

We were going to go to the Chili Cook-Off at lodge, but decided that it wasn’t worth getting Mary out of bed and dragging her off to another function. Better for all of us to have a decent afternoon nap. Leftovers for dinner.

Every now and then Paula and I have the discussion about whether the time is right to put Mary in a nursing home. We have decided not yet. We have a regular sitter that watches Mary for short term gigs, so that we can go to a movie or something. We have an agency that we use for longer term service. We have a couple of weekends scheduled for August OES events. (One in San Diego and one in the Bay Area.) It will be good to get away for a weekend.

And finally, a hat tip to our Uncle Jack (Mary’s younger brother who lives in Louisiana) who is a faithful reader of this blog.

TTFN,

Joe

2 More Weeks

June 23, 2018

2018-06-22 12.21.46Two more weeks to go. Nine treatments. I get the 4th of July off for good behavior. We’ll probably go to lodge for a cook out and watch the fireworks over LA Harbor.

So this post is going to be a little bit about Mary. She continues her long descent into the abyss. She remembers nothing. I told Paula that I wish that Mary could at least once say to me, “How did your radiation treatments go today?. But she can’t, sigh.

On Friday, she asked Paula, “How did your day go?”. You see, Paula spent most of the day with Mary to take her for her hair appointment at the beauty shop and the ice cream place to get her a chocolate shake. (Frappe for you guys in Mass.)

Last week Thursday was cancelled due to all of the machines being down. So they added one additional day to my schedule. I’ve noticed some hair loss around my left cheek and under my left ear. I was just standing under my hot shower the other morning when I noticed that there wasn’t the usual morning stubble on my left cheek.

Doctor gave me a Rx for some sulfa cream for the infection under my left ear. Seems to be improving.

So today is date day. We went to the grocery store for shopping. Got my usual Starbuck’s iced coffee with a chocolate croissant. Very tasty. As I’ve said before, chocolate is one of the few things that still taste good.

We’re going out to the movies tonight to see “Solo”. Then tomorrow church, diner, crossword puzzles, etc. Then on Monday, back on the merry-go-round.

TTFN,

Joe

Mary

June 3, 2018

2018-06-02 20.42.38Time for another post on Mary. We took her to church this morning. Lately, it seems that she has been agreeable to going to church on Sunday. The only challenge is getting to brush her teeth, wash her face and get dressed in a timely manner.

Her memory continues to fail. When we got home from church, she asked us if it was breakfast time.  No. we told her, it’s lunch time. She has trouble differentiating morning from evening.

Everyone at church are happy to see her. She doesn’t remember who they are but she smiles at the attention she gets.

So pretty much the only things she gets out for are church on Sunday and hair salon on Friday when she gets her hair done. We also drag her to the OES meetings on the first and third Mondays of the month. She always sits in the same seat in the lodge room. I should put her name on it “The Mary K Stanley” seat.

People have asked us what we do when we travel as when we flew to Boston last Month for Mass Grand Chapter. We use a service that provides us with 24/7 care coverage. It’s expensive, but no where near what a nursing home would cost. For shorter time periods like going to the movies or out to dinner, we have a couple of sitters who can come over and spend the evening.

The past couple of weeks have been a challenge for Paula doing her Assistance League duties while I have to be at my radiation treatments up in Hollywood. Last week Paula had a board meeting to go to while I was up in Hollywood. She just took Mary with her, gave her a cup of coffee and gave her a seat.

Mary

April 16, 2018

2018-04-16 10.25.51Time for an update on Mary. She is doing pretty good for 94 years of age. Her memory though is failing badly. We try to get her out to events where people know her and will interact with her. So we get her to church on Sunday. She doesn’t seem to put up a fuss about going. We usually can get her to OES meeting. And, of course she gets her hair done on Fridays.

While Mary is under the hair dryer at the beauty salon, Paula and I get together for coffee and to do grocery shopping. Wonderful to get some time alone together.

So on Saturday, Mike and his family came over for dinner. Sunday was Mike’s birthday. We watch the kids so they can go out to a movie. So on Sunday morning, Mary sees the Happy Birthday balloon on our table and asks “Who’s birthday is it?”. We tell her “Mike’s”.

“Who is Mike?” she says. He is your grandson, we tell her. So we go out to lunch after church at the Pacific Diner. Then, on Sunday night, the question gets repeated, “Who’s Mike?”. Sigh. Then, she asks us what day is it? It’s Sunday. Don’t you remember going to church? Going to the Diner for lunch? Apparently not. More sighs. Got to get rid of the darn balloon.

 

Why Blog?

March 29, 2018

The time has come to answer the question “why blog?”. I have been writing this blog now for about six years. Here I go. In March, I turned 70.

I started the blog back in the spring of 2012. My wife Paula and I had made the decision to sell our house in Billerica, MA and move to San Pedro, CA to live with Paula’s aging  mother. At the time, we had lived in the house for 30 plus years. Moving across the country was not going to be easy. Thus the name of the blog became “Cal-here-we-come”

So, what do I write about? Blogging gives me the opportunity to document the things that are going on in our lives. So I write about Mary and the the trials and tribulations of elder care. I write about our travels. In 2012, I wrote about our trip to Ireland. I write about books I’ve read and movies we’ve seen.

Paula’s mother had her 94th birthday back in January. Back in 2012, she was living alone. Paula’s Dad had died in 2009. Paula is an only child, so there was nobody else to step up to the plate to watch over Mary. We were beginning to hear stories of occasional falls and trips to the ER. Nothing very serious but it was establishing a trend.

She has been living in a 3 bedroom condo since about 2010. There was plenty of room for us.

Another factor that helped in our decision was that one of our sons lives in the area along with our two very cute grand children. We have another son who lives in Salt Lake City. If our sons were still living in MA, we would have flown out to San Pedro, packed Mary up and moved back to MA. But they live out here now, so we are too.

In 2011, Paula had been out to visit about three or four times. I couldn’t go, because I was working as an IT contractor at IBM. No work, no pay. We had a mortgage to pay. After each trip, she came back with more stories of woe.

So on April 1, 2012 our house of thirty years went on the market. We were lucky, we had an offer in 10 days. It happened a lot faster than we expected. So Paula and I both gave our notice to our jobs. Then we both filed for Social Security. They say that the three most import rules of real estate are location, location, location. In our case, selling our house, it was timing, timing, timing.

Closing was set for June 21, 2012. Time to start selling furniture and making arrangements to ship the small amount of stuff we were going to send to California.

We spent two weeks in July of 2012 touring Ireland. Finally, we shipped a few more boxes of stuff to LA and then on August 2 we hit road for LA.

Mary (and other stuff)

March 12, 2018

2018-03-11 12.32.38It’s time for an update. Mary had a tough go of it a couple of weeks ago. She came down with an urinary tract infection on Monday 2/26. So Paula made an appt to see her primary care doc in Torrance. Her doc got a urine sample and wrote her a prescription for an antibiotic and sent her home. He had us give her ibuprofen for the pain. So Paula gets the Rx filled at the local CVS. She was feeling pretty miserable.

Two days go by and she’s still not getting much better. Paula takes her to urgent care and sees a different doctor. New doctor prescribes a new antibiotic and gives her an Rx for Tamaflu. He was thinking that maybe the flu was involved although she wasn’t running a fever.

She’s feeling much better today. She was feeling good enough to come to church with us. It didn’t hurt that our grandson Jonathan was singing in the kids’ choir. The picture above was taken this morning during brunch at the Pacific Diner in San Pedro. (One of our favorite places for brunch after church.)

2018-03-03 19.11.38In other news from San Pedro, I celebrated my 70th birthday on March 3. Paula and I got a sitter to watch Mary while we went out for dinner for just the two of us. It was so nice to get out without Mary. We went to a steak house called “The San Franciscan” in Torrance. I had a steak and shrimp, Paula had the prime rib. Very tasty.

We shared a piece of cheese cake for dessert. When Jonathan saw the picture of my “birthday” cake, he told us that wasn’t a proper birthday cake. Grownups, I try to teach them right. So we got a real chocolate devil’s food cake for last Friday when Jonathan was over for dinner. Much better he thought.

We’re finally getting some rain. It rained yesterday and today. Forecast for rain on and off for the next week or so. It’s been a light rain. No soaker like we had last time a couple of months ago that caused mud slides up in Santa Barbara. It’s finally beginning to feel like a typical San Pedro winter with temps in the 50’s and rain.

Mary

February 23, 2018

It’s time for another post about Mary. Every once in a while, the topic of nursing homes comes up between Paula and me, especially after we have had a frustrating few days at home. It all started at dinner on Monday. On the first and third Monday evenings we all go to our Eastern Star (OES) meetings in San Pedro.

On those nights, we usually have a pizza for dinner. So Mary asks us, “What’s this?” and “how do I eat it?” Once again, we patiently explain for the hundredth time what pizza is and how to eat it.

2018-02-22 18.45.45So she is sitting at the dining room table in her PJ’s. She had basically slept all day until 5:30 PM. We tried to get her to hurry up and finish so we could then get her to get dressed. “Why do I have to go?” she says. Because we don’t want to leave you alone.

So we eventually get her dressed and we get on our way to the lodge building. So, here’s the $64K question, do we give up on getting her out to meet with her friends? Or, do we look for a regular sitter for the evenings when we need (or want) to go out?

At this point, she usually doesn’t go to church or Senior Bible study. The only other events that she goes to are to get her hair done on Friday’s and the monthly luncheon at Assistance League in SP.

We are considering getting a sitter for the Mondays for OES meetings. Maybe for all Mondays, that way we can go to the movies (or something) when we are not going to OES meetings.

We’re not quite ready for a nursing home, but the time might be coming soon. Nursing homes cost big bucks. We can afford a lot of sitters before we get anywhere close to what nursing homes cost.

Here’s another issue we are facing. It seems that she is eating less and less. She rarely finishes the portions that we put on her plate. And we always put less on her plate than for Paula and me. We seem to think that maybe she is unconsciously starving her self. There is nothing that we are planning to do about it except encourage her to eat. We try to have meals that she likes and are easy for her to eat.

And one more thing, a couple of years ago the three of us went to an event put on by an elder lawyer by the name of Susan Geffen. She has run seminars that present various elder agencies and service companies to talk about their offerings. She is the author of a book called “Take That Nursing Home and Shove It“. It’s worth reading.

TTFN

Joe