Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prayers and Part III of the Isabelle and Amelia Grand Adventure

So many bloggers have asked for prayers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and I need to do the same.  I had been trying to get ahold of a dear friend both before and during my trip, via phone, Facebook and e-mail.  When she finally answered she told me she has been diagnosed with an early stage of the disease.  So Izzie and I made the trip to Dunedin to see her.  Now she's been in a wheel chair for years because of an MS-like disease, so this is a double whammy.  Connie is a dear.  When we both lived in the Bay Area we were prayer partners and most Sundays had lunch together after church and frequently saw each other during the week.  When I moved to Michigan for my first interim, she moved to Florida to be closer to her daughter who has four young boys.  Now she is planning on moving to Albuquerque to live with her son.  He has bought a house with an in-law apartment for her to live in, so that should work for the near term.

I could see some changes: repeated questions like forgetting that she had asked me to check her mail and asking me a number of times and much confusion about past events.  It was still wonderful to see her and much of our conversation was quite normal.  I had hoped to take her out for dinner, but the elevator in her condo wasn't working so she couldn't get out. Izzie and I used the stairs. We ordered pizza instead. She is so much more frail than she used to be and that is sad as well.  Please pray for Connie and her family.

We spent two nights there.  When we arrived Izzie took off after Squanto and he disappeared under the bed.   The second night we thought he was in the living room when we went to sleep, but it turned out he was under the bed we were sleeping in and in the middle of the night I heard a scratching at the door. Then there was this lovely cat face staring at me from the bedside table.  I got up quietly so as not to disturb the queen (Izzie) and let Squanto out.  I think by the time we left, they were beginning to get along.  Connie got Squanto in Berkeley and he's always been an indoor cat and NOT used to dogs (or even other cats for that matter).

After leaving Dunedin, we drove northwest across Florida, past Orlando toward I-95.  That interstate is pretty boring, although it does lead to places I've never stopped at like Cape Canaveral.  A cousin of mine used to live near there in the late 60s and 70s and his mother and father, my Uncle Don and Aunt Claire became snow birds for a while, spending the winter months close to their son and playing contract bridge.  I was living in California at the time, so unlike my younger brothers and sisters, I never visited.  Izzie and I spent the night in South Carolina and then went on to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville is where Anne, a deacon from Maine spends November through April.  She is a hospice chaplain, a retired physician, a lover of opera ( really all kinds of music), an oboe player, and an avid golfer.  Anne is great fun to be around. After my GPS sent me off to Ruckersville, I called and got directions.  Izzie decided that Desi and Luci, two standard poodles, were just too much and decided to pee on the floor at least three times.  It could also be that she was worried I was going to leave her there.  Anne and I went to her gym for an exercise class, had a great late lunch in downtown Charlottesville and then drove out to Monticello.  We were too late to take a tour, but we explored the gallery and gift shop. Izzie stayed in the car.  I really need to get back there as well as the long list of other places I've mentioned in earlier posts.

The last day I had planned on stopping somewhere in Massachusetts, but decided to continue on.  The  weather was good and I felt fine.  It was only when I pulled in at the house and got out of the car, that I realized my legs were really weak.  I got my two walking sticks and used them until I got my balance back.  It was nearly ten pm, so I took the necessities out of the car and decided the rest could wait until the next day.  I didn't go to church Sunday because I was way too tired.  Since then we've had snow and more snow.  In fact it's still snowing.

The warm Los Angeles weather seems so far in the past, although I'm not sure I'd like to be there right now with all the driving rain.

Thus ends the tale.


Brian R said...

Prayers fro your friend. Glad you were able to spend time with her. Alzheimers is such a sad and frightening disease. I will keep her in my prayers as I move to the other Dunedin tomorrow.

motheramelia said...

Brian have a safe trip. Let us know how it all goes.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Amelia, I prayed for Connie. A man in our congregation is slipping deeper into Alzheimer's or dementia, I don't know which. He was a runner, and now he's unsteady in a slow walk. He looks bewildered most of the time, and I don't even know if he recognizes people any more. It's a sad thing to see.

Brian, I hope that you arrived safely in Dunedin.

motheramelia said...

The only positive thing is that I had my friend David from California call her. He suggested she take vitamin D, curcumin (comes from tumeric), l-lysine and melatonin. She went right out and got some and started taking the amounts he suggested and said her mind has cleared up considerably. I do know that UCLA has started clinical trials on the first two. The last two are his ideas, although melatonin is used in some nursing homes for "sundowning" The lysine is because herpes simplex has been found to be associated with the AD lesions.