Ups and Downs

Supporting Brad at the state competition. April 2014.

Supporting Brad at the state competition. April 2014.

It is time! Brad’s Odyssey of the Mind team is headed to Ames, Iowa to compete in the World competition. I am so, so lucky I was able to take off  work and go with him.. I always seem to spend more time with Frances for some reason or another and it makes me so happy to get to share this grand experience with him.

Of course a huge dilemma was leaving Frances and Jim for 6 days with no transportation. As luck would have it, my awesome nephew just finished his first year of college and was not only available, but willing to come stay with them and help. Again, our lives are blessed by those we have in it.

Another huge stressor is getting everything ready. I am in the process of fixing some sauce to have ready in the refrigerator. I will put dinner in the crock pot before we head to the airport. I have cleaned, shopped, asked friends to be on call and organized the schedule for the rest of the week. Naturally Frances has a softball tournament out of town while we are away and thankfully (again) some parents have stepped up to offer help however need be.

Tonight while I was trying to pack, I noticed some clothes that were in the dirty laundry earlier in the day now hung up in our room. I did 3 loads today so I was familiar with what still needed to be washed. There was a not washed linen skirt, all jacked up on a hangar dangling in the closet door space. So, I start investigating, which I have come to realize, albeit too late most of the time, that I should just stop doing. Yes, dirty clothes were put away with the clean clothes and wet towels were thrown on top of some of the clothes left in a basket and then another basket was put on top of a basket of clothes as well. Everything dealing with our laundry was completely awry.

Then to top off the day, I was putting groceries away and one of the shelves on the door of our fridge literally broke when I put something in it. I quickly emptied the contents while putting the rest of the food away and fixed dinner. It wasn’t until after dinner I opened the door and saw the empty shelf back in the fridge, waiting for someone else to put a bottle in it to only fall on the floor. And yes, Jim was standing right there when it broke in the first place. He had no recollection.

It has been that kind of day. My bicycle tires were flat and I couldn’t get the air pump to work to put air in them. We had windows open with the air conditioning on. A block of cheese was put away with the wrapper ripped apart so that the cheese was now a much darker orange and hard as nails. The dog was left alone and grabbed a brand new bag of bagels off the counter and ripped them open. It was just one thing after another. The relatively new can opener no longer works. The flowers that were supposed to be watered were drooping bone dry. I was ready to scream!

But in the quiet of the night, I sit alone, and feel calm. I feel like it is all going to be ok. I feel cared for and supported. I realize all of the little things that go wrong make room for the big things to go right. All it took was a quick phone call from a friend wanting to touch base before we left tomorrow.

I am telling you, a quick note, phone call, lunch, drive by “hello”, whatever, makes a huge difference to someone. You may think they are living a perfect life. You may know the struggles they endure. Either way, we ALL need to know others care. We all need to feel like our worst days are better than someone else’s.

Some of you might be wondering why my fabulous parents, who always come to help, aren’t coming to help this time. Well, good question. They are driving to Iowa and coming to cheer Brad and his team on. How lucky am I? I have a nephew willing to help. Parents willing to help. Friends helping. What do I have to complain about? Nothing. Now if I can just get a new fridge shelf, working can opener, fix my tires and figure out a new system for the laundry, I would be the happiest girl in the world.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized and have Comments (5)

5 Responses to “Ups and Downs”

  1. And…………you will do all that and more.
    Have a safe trip, don’t pay the toll twice “worrying”. Let your nephew do all and you……..have a great time.

  2. Kimberly Smith says:

    Congratulations on your son making it to the world finals! What an honor. I know you are one proud Mama! I hope you get some rest while you are away. It really does help when it’s one of those days when everything goes wrong, to just think, it could be worse and is it really worth getting all worked up over it. I still have times I just want to explode, but it is what it is, as I read in another blog a few days ago and it seems to reduce my stress level a little when I just accept it and go on. What choice do I have? I have three kids to take care of and a husband and mother both with dementia that depend on me. You are so right about feeling like someone cares. It does make a difference. Just having someone to talk to makes a huge difference and knowing you are not alone. I never knew how little it really takes to make me happy these days. Enjoy your time away with your son. Hugs, k

  3. Allan Schur says:

    Use your time in Iowa to “let go” and unwind. Concentrate on…… NOTHING!! Watch your son’s activities but walk around and see the other activities. It will give you renewed faith in the future. BREATHE!!! Like all caregivers, in your “normal life” you have/take no time for that basic function. Regain your strength and ENJOY this special time… and know that YOU DESERVE IT!!!

  4. Wendy Sweigert says:

    I hope you soak up all the good times you will have with your son in Iowa!

  5. Sandy says:

    More than 25 years ago I was told by my mothers doctor that me, my brothers, and my sister have a 50/50 chance of getting early onset. All these years later this list Karen writes of how Jim is changing sounds like I am reading my mothers story. My mother had 4 kids one gone as she did and now Jim. It’s so past time to stop this disease in its tracks. I can’t wait ti see Jim next month and I am so afraid to cry in front of him.

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