Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Mind...

In April of 2011, my parents moved in with us. Along with my siblings we knew it was time for some sort of needed hands on involvement in their day to day lives.
My oldest sister started seeing Dad's lack of care in paying bills anymore, simple day to day tasks such as shaving, hygiene, proper nutrition were falling by the wayside.
Several times I was being called to run to the South side to fix one or both of their televisions At one point Dad was ready to buy a new set but as it turns out he accidentally changed the input on the remote (a mistake that can fluster sane people).
With the growing list of concerns, Kim and myself had been talking a long time about them moving in with us. Everyone pitched in to help purge the apartment of un needed "stuff", my sister preferred a different description and get them settled here.

Mom's mind was slipping very fast, Dad was functional but did things that just made you look at him like the RCA dog. The need for adult diapers was recognized very quickly and soon just threw away all of Mom's under ware, knowing she could not wear them anymore. On the humorus side of things, when she does wet one she will sometimes try and wash them in the sink or shower. Those bad boys can hold a few pounds of water before they just explode leaving the insides on the shower floor. Dad has control of his bathroom functions for the most part so that's not an issue yet.
Kim is pretty amazing in this area, she will often sit on the bathroom floor and guide Mom on how to clean herself "no, Jo, still need to clean yourself some more" very patient. Joanne doesn't live here or so her mind leads her to believe. We had to install locks on the kitchen door and a upscaled baby gate at the top of the stairs to try and thwart her attempts of her trying to get to her Mothers's house just a few houses down and to the right. Throw logic out the door, it does no good to reason with her on most anything. Even the time you think you make a break through, not more than 30 seconds after the conversation she's right back to her previous train of thought.
Donna taught Kim and myself a word,

1. Psychology
a. Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
b. The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

Mom will zone in on the fact she has to leave the house for hours and hours at a time.
She's very concerned about leaving her Mother alone. Now I tried to come at it from a logical stand point and explain how old she is and that if her mother were still alive she'd be like 243 or something only to be met with Mom patting my leg and looking at me reassuringly with the comment "you just don't understand". Kim will then step in and boldly say "Jo, your Mom is with your sister" and that will usually calm Mom down and she'll relax for a bit, sometimes a few hours but lately 10 minutes. I tried to lie to her in the same fashion but just started giggling for fear of being busted. Kim once again shows her strength.

Let's talk about food.
The parental units are beyond preparing meals for themselves.
We take care of all meals unless they are being taken out. Dad's minset has reverted to a very selfish "ME" attitude that I have to say confuses me. He will get something for himself and ignore Mom standing right there. "Dad, are you going to get a snack for Mom too?" "No, she doesn't want anything" and walk away. He will use a knife to slice open anything in the fridge he wants and just leave it. We keep finding dried out cheese, meats, basically anything he thinks is his to eat. Frustrating enough that we are going to have to put a lock on the fridge just to keep him from ruining things. You can't offer suggestions to him, they are just met with "okay, you're right" and them proceed to go all jungle machete on the closest cheese package. Dad would eat Honey Nut Cheerios for every meal if we let him. He's a grazer... he just wants to eat all day then not eat a meal you put in front of him. Trust me we supply him with snacks, nuts, V8, diet root beer, coffee, sugar free candy and yet he'll still search the kitchen for something else. His latest "thing" is to finish a meal and then not more than 15 minutes later be pouring himself another bowl of cereal. After going through a gallon of milk every two days and box of cereal every three, we started taking the box away after breakfast and guide him to other things to eat. His obsession with Shrimp is amusing to some and annoying to others. Johnson's Door County Fish has a Shrimp cocktail he likes and Greek Isles has a tomato shrimp dish he craves. If we go out, it has to be one of those two places. Kim's not a big fan of either place so she misses out on the meals out....hmmm pretty smart girl.

I'm not sure if what I would do if Kim weren't around here. The level of care she gives Mom is beyond my capabilities. Kim had a high school reunion a little while ago and I was on solo parent duty for a few days. I found that if I call her Joanne and not Mom I can get her under ware on her much easier. I thanked Kim for coming home several times.

Dad is slipping fast, he will do odd things like be watching a television program where it is snowing and then look outside truly confused because it should be snowing there as well. Dad's issues are a whole different post.

So the mind...What? Why? Why are so many people afflicted with dementia?
Is it to ease our pain in getting ready to say our Earthly goodbyes, helping us to let go? Is it to test our resolve in taking care of each other? I'm not really sure why this is all happening but I'd like to know why.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Catch up...

Interesting, a guy walks past me at a wedding in MN and says,"hey, nice lens" and keeps on going. I find him on the grooms Face Book page and find out he's very involved in Scouting and teaches inner city kids film camera techniques. Okay pretty interesting. After several typed chats I realize he's pretty amusing and I ask if he blogs. He replies with "I used to but haven't in a long time". I came back with interesting, me too. He throws down the gauntlet of "I'll blog again if you do" I picked it up and slapped him on the face. Last night, he struck first with...Hot Water. So here I am trying to figure out how to catch up on a couple years of absence. Work: I tended bar and continued to do shows for the past 3 years. So much material came from the bar that I never wrote about, some sad, some funny, some twisted sad tales from customers that became regulars and some even friends. Parts of the job I seriously enjoyed. Interacting with people and teaching about different aspects of beer and doing food pairings were the highlights. Being the assembly line drink maker for 10 to 18 girls who some tipped well and some tipped well, not so well and being treated like I was just a dumb bar tender made up the majority of my negative feelings on the job. The shows came back and I started making money shooting pictures so I felt it time to take my departure from drink flinging...so far a decision I do not regret. Three Summers of nights away from Kim. It had to be done and I am thankful for Kim's understanding but no more. Pictures you say? I re vamped Prairie Glen Productions into my commercial photography page. The seed was planted while doing a photographic project I called Bar Shots I had my camera and an off camera 8 inch soft boxed flash and did portraits while I tended bar. I never took more that 3 minutes to shoot a customer or client. It was met with many people actually fixing themselves up a bit to get a portrait done. Soon I was shooting actor & musician headshots, even spending time shooting members of the Lyric Opera in Chicago. Enough encouragement and a serious offer of money to get out of the bar made up my mind it was time to leave, do shows and now do Photography part time to fill the economic gaps. Very excited... I was able to pick up some very serious professional camera gear and I'm doing my best to be responsible with it. Believe it or not all digital camera's have what's called an actuation life. Most cheaper cameras are good for about 100 thousand shots. Mine is rated at 150 thousand. Every shot counts. I do Event, family, portrait and children shoots. Weddings will come later, still learning that part of the biz. So here's my re entry to the blog world, we'll see where this goes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

21 hours...

4:45am - (3:45 central) Up, shower, check email in South Bend IN.
5:30 - Show rehearsal call time.
7:00 - 10 Client show.
10:30 - 1:30 strike show and load truck.
1:30 - 5:45 - drive to Peoria.
6:00 - 12:45 - Set show for a 5:30 call that morning.
1:00 - 1:45am - Gin and Tonic, talk about the day with Schmitty, then bed.

Long Day...