Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reunited...

Today the original 4 Brandts were together. We brought Mom to see Dad and he was very happy. When we announced to the staff that 'Paula was here' they started cheering and clapping. Obviously Dad had been driving them crazy about seeing Paula for the past week.

Dad told Mom, "It's been years since I've seen you." Well actually only about 4-5 months, but that probably feels like years to him. When we asked Dad to show us his room, he kept handing Mom pictures of me and Megan like a proud Dad. I do
think he understood who she was and that she was our Mom. He called her "The Mom" at one point. And, while we were sitting outside, he looked at her in disbelief and said really loud, "Paula!? I Love You.!" (and he elongated the 'o' in Love) We all laughed and Mom said, "Well, thank you, how nice." :)

His mood was great and we took the opportunity to get a picture of the four of us - reunited. I also attached a photo of the four us around 1995 and the one of us 15 years later. A lot has changed.... I always find myself thinkin
g about how different things are now... It doesn't make me sad or happy... I just find it interesting.

We also got a hold of one of Dad's family members!!! Yay. We may be able to go see Grandma Olive soon. Dad will be extremely happy about that.

I got an email from Alzheimer's.org and there was an article about taking a positive approach to Alzheimer's. And I
thought... hey! We do that! All I have to say is if Dad can stay as happy as he has been the last couple of visits then we'll have no choice but to be positive. Of course I know there are bad days lurking, but Thank God they aren't all like that.

Here is a passage from the article that really resonated with me...

"We live, unwittingly, in a world of assumptions: that people will make sense; that they will do certain things; that we agree about time and place; that we can understand and be understood. But when all that unravels, where are we? My answer for Hob and me would be that we lived in an open, shifting, spacious reality where everything was undefined and totally unpredictable. "Wasn't that the way reality is anyway?" you ask. No, this felt quite different. This was a totally new experience. When I was rested and in balance, it was compelling, even exciting because it was so alive and immediate, a perpetual wake-up call to live wholeheartedly in the moment. Meanwhile, it came to me as a revelation that amidst all the losses, the essence of this man I loved was still very much present. Sometimes my own preoccupations obscured my seeing, but astonishingly there he would be the wholesome of his spirit shining through his acuity, his sensitivity, his playfulness and humor all intact."

To read the entire article you can copy and paste this link....
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marguerite-manteaurao/overcoming-the-alzheimers_b_735860.html





Monday, September 27, 2010

Obsession

I am naming Dad's newest behavioral phase Obsession. (sounds like a perfume huh?) Past phases include 'escape artist', 'anger', 'going off the deep end'...

I characterize a phase as a strange behavioral conduct that consumes him for longer than a week. The last few weeks he would get someone's name in his head and then become obsessed with seeing that person. Right now he is obsessed with 'Paula' (our Mom). The reason I use quotations around her name is that we're pretty sure that most of the time he is confusing her for someone else (mainly he's thinking of his Step-Mom who is 91 years old).

He's driving us crazy because it's like talking to a person that has amnesia every 5 minutes. "What about Paula?" five minutes later "I need to see Paula" three minutes later "Where's Paula" and on and on... We have also talked to him on the phone four times in the past 48 hours about Paula and even visited him and talked about Paula. We have told him numerous times that Paula will visit him next week, but of course he forgets. After the tenth time of him asking about her whereabouts I said nonchalantly, "She's probably dying of the heat right now." It was over 100 in Fallbrook that day and he said, "She's dying?????" SHOOT. No, she's not dying Dad, never mind. I was losing my patience fast.

I really have been trying to get a hold of his family so that he can go see his 91 year old Step-Mom, but I'm having a tough time getting someone on the phone. I had to tell Dad that they are on vacation, because he thinks we can just get up and go see them. How do you explain to Dad that you have to call someone first before just showing up at their door? There's no reasoning with him. Everything is very urgent and dramatic to him. He has to see them NOW.

On the plus side though, Megan and I had a great day with him yesterday... Yay! Megan finally got a good day. He was sweet and funny and talkative. We took him to an antique store and he was very engaged in everything we were looking at. Sometimes we would look back at him and he would be looking at a picture of John Wayne or sitting in a chair like he was testing it out or asking us questions. We listened to Frank Sinatra station on Pandora in the car-ride and he was singing along to everyone song.

We also saw Dad's girlfriend and he told her to "go get on your mop and fly away." (Basically calling her a witch.) She responded by saying that they were over and done with. Dad took his hand and dramatically wiped it across his forehead and said, "Whew!" Then they both laughed. I don't think he'll be getting rid of her that easily!

The video below is a conversation that we had with him in the car. We were teasing him and making him laugh... and then he said some funny things... :)
video