Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Phantom Pain

Tingling pain in his arms and hands, upper back pain, chest pain so bad we had to rush him to the ER several weeks ago. After extensive tests costing over $1200, (we paid $65 co pay), they found nothing wrong with him. He took some ibuprophen and we went home. By the time we got there, all pain was gone.

The next day, we sent emails asking to be released from our callings. We were. We need time to be together, no stress, getting as close to healing as we can.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Meds ahead and more meds maybe not

Dr. Brainkeeper met us in his office and ordered a battery of tests for Aldon. This was our 3rd neurologist since Aldon's decline and strokes. None of the doctors could put a name on what was happening to my dear husband. Nor could they stop the devastating symptoms that kept coming and waning and then doing it again. He ordered two new meds and as we asked the pharmacist what Nameda was for, she yelled across the pharmacy, Alzheimer's. We both had known but kept denying it to ourselves just as his mother and brother had done when they were diagnosed. There are no words to describe the feeling of hopelessness that that word brings when used as a fate for your loved one. He is taking the new meds now and says he feels better and thinks his memory is better too. I'm not so sure and just like that I am hopeful again. It wasn't until I had a good talk with Aldon's sister-in-law, Peggy, that I realized the meds were not going to help, the mri's and eeg's, etc. were just another way of denying the A word. Another word for all this darkness is dementia. Dementia is such a dark and brooding word to me. It feels like a black hole into which all our star's light and memory is sucked away leaving an empty universe. I am so grateful for Peggy. Since she has just gone through this with Aldon's brother, Rocky, before he passed away last month, she is a seasoned, sensible lifeboat for me. Aldon has come up with a "financial" scheme to sell our 401K, pay all the taxes and pay less later or something like that. He called and talk to our investment broker about it. I made a deal with him, that we would discuss it with our tax counselor before doing anything drastic. Peggy said, "Get your power of attorney ready, a letter from your doctor and let your financial people know about the Aword. That was so helpful. I did contact our finance person, explained and would get them documentation as possible. I also told them we were to treat Aldon with the greatest of respect and courtesy and simply delay as he usually forgot his immediate plans and moved on to other issues. Then Peggy said, Forget the meds, they won't help or stop this disease. Stop the tests and poking and seeking an answer you don't want to hear anyway. Give yourself and Aldon a break from the doctor's office visits, and roller coaster ride. You now what you are facing, you can't bargain it away, deny it or reason it away. The mist is not coming, it's here. Be content, you have done all you can do. You are both in God's keeping now. I am so sorry!

Peaks and Valleys

Everyday we look out the gorgeous mountains surrounding us and exclaim to each other, "Aren't the mountains beautiful today!" Yes, the other replies. And they are, so beautiful and everyday they look different. Majestic, massive, immoveable. This is how I see my marriage of 75+ years to Aldon. Majestic as we traveled the world while he gave scientific papers and invented machines that helped our fellowman. He gave me wings-majestic thrilling experiences and education. I came from a very poor family without an education beyond high school. His family owned a business and sent both their sons off to college to obtain Phd.'s which they both did. His brother and sister-in-law had a baby right away and so I wanted one too. This had always been my dream to be a mother. I had told Aldon before we were married that I wanted 4 children. Two boys and two girls. He said, maybe two would do. Not for me, I thought, not for me. So the years began to pass by while Aldon attending college, did his PhD. and told me to wait to be a mother. It seemed I could never quite get his attention when the subject wasn't to be bother with according to him. I would talk and beg and cry and he could retreat into his lab or behind his computer. When one day, I feel down the flight of stairs in our apartment. He took me to the doctor with a few bruised ribs and torn ankle. The doctor had been our physician for about two years and told Bob he needed to tell Lorac when she could have her baby. Aldon said when I get my PhD. dissertation written and approved. Probably November. I was thrilled. And suddenly the unexplainable accidents stopped happening. I had a son, then 15 months later another son. He finished his Ph.D. and we moved to New Mexico where he went to work for a scientific lab. We have lived in 9 states, traveled to 13 foreign countries and had a very full life. Poor Aldon said I didn't run a three-ring circus, mine was 5-ring. Eventually two daughters were born to us and Aldon found himself very busy with work, church and paper routes with the boys. I loved being a mom and homemaker. LOVED IT! What a blessing to have been able to be supported in a lovely home and not have to work. I often thanked him for providing that to our family. We were conservative in our spending habits as Aldon was very anxious over money. Most of the fighting we did was about my overspending the budget. He was able to retire by the time he was 62 and I thought at last I would have him for a communitive companion. We learned to live as a retired couple; but one thing he did for me which was massive was to finish the basement and build me an art studio. He allowed me to take art classes in local colleges, attend art workshops around the country and paint. I began to gradually teach others and had a fine outlet for my lonliness with him. Because I was lonely. Around 65, he began to be even more withdrawn. He would devote 8-10hours a day to working on deep mathematical problems. He began to have high anxiety and wouldn't attend movies or watch tv with me or travel. We got a cat. That was good. How we loved our cat! Her name was Puss because she had boots like puss and boots. He adored her and would let her lie on his good suit without a fuss. His excuse for not traveling was anxiety and not wanting to leave Puss alone. So sweet, so sad for me and him!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Better Day Today

What a gorgeous day, it was today. Sunshine, green lush lawns and trees, flowers in glorious colors. We both attended the temple today. It felt wonderful to be there. But first, I went to see a specialist for sleep disorder. He said for me to be tested to see if I am getting enough oxygen because the other two tests I did over 7 years ago and 4 years ago said I am not. He wants to know why and perhaps take me off the sleep machine. Now that would be wonderful, but then he said; However, you may need oxygen at night. Getting old is not for sissies.

But I have decided I am going to be happy at 100, with God's help and friends and family, I shall.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How do I do this?

How do I do this? I'm not doing it very well. I don't want to talk to him because when I do it is a work, a lot of work to try to relate to what he is remembering or not remembering and what I do or don't know that will help us both. I am so sad, sorry and burdened. I feel guilty and want to run away, I love him, I want to help; but am helpless, angry, frustrated, bitchy. I pray and ask God for direction. I overeat and try to find energy to cope. I exercise and feel better. Then another day, another cog slips and around we go again. Gropping through the mist. Dear God, please help me do your will.

I Know, I Was There! Wasn't I?

Yesterday at church, I was shown a lovely, large room that we will be able to teach Family History. The brother that showed me the room, was excited and I told him I would show Aldon as soon as I could find him. After Sunday School, Aldon was going on about wind turbines and the conversation he had with someone when I told him there was something I wanted to show him. We got up and walked to the new family history room. He was delighted and said over and over how nice it was. We left the room and he walked to class with the brother who had given me the room and thanked him.

After church, we were standing in our closet hanging up our church clothes when he turned to me and said, "I have great news! The church has given us a large room with internet to teach family history." I just sucked in a deep breath, looked at him worriedly and said, "Aldon, I was with you, I know I was there! Don't you remember?" He looked blankly at me and said, "Were you?" "Yes, I was." "Are you okay" He said., "My mind can't seem to hold onto thoughts today. I couldn't understand the lesson in church." Me, "How do you mean? Connecting one thought or statement with another." "yes."

I know I was there! I was! Just keeping it real.

Memories are made of mist

Intro time. My name is Laroc Carlsdatter. I am old and so is my spouse, Aldon. My birth date is recorded as 1925. You do the math. I was born on the 4th of July in the heat of a Chicago summer. My family was disjointed, dissolving and divorcing or at least contemplating it by the time I was 9 months old. My father hated my mother's mother and she likewise thought him quite the fool. He gave mama a choice, him or her mother. She must have chosen Nanny because he divorced her when I was 9, sis 8 and brother 4. But enough of my childhood. I met and married a good man, sweet, quiet, kind, intelligent. Did I say intelligent? An understatement to say the least. He eventually finished with a Ph.D. in some subject that no one could understand let alone converse with him in. That was okay, because he didn't like talking all that much. I worked for five years and we had our first child, a son, named Aldon, Jr. Aldon came into this world hurting and we could never figure out why. He cried when we fed him, cried when he was tired, bored, wet, or for no reason.

We had another son, Alred, who eventually gave us a dozen grandchildren. Then two longed for daughters, Avery and Belle who added 8 more grands to the pot. Then several grandchildren married had babes and soon our numbers were nearing 100. We had to rent a hall every year to hold our annual all-family get together. Now you know the intro., but that is not why I am writing this blog. This blog is meant to be a ways and means for me to document my Aldon's declining memory.

Why do I need to record this hateful, hurtful time in my ancient life? My husband is losing his power to connect with me and I am freaking out because I feel myself slipping into this mist of uncertainity about what is real and what is not. So I hope that as I write and share these day to day fogs, mists and blurs, I will be able to remember me and not lose myself in the search for what is real.