Thursday, March 31, 2005


This morning was Dad's appointment with the geriatric doc. The meeting went well and we both liked her. At first, Dad talked to her a lot about his cataracts. She doesn't really have much to do with that but she updated his info on the computer so their system will keep moving the process forward. Dad's blood pressure is much better (133/75) so they can go ahead and schedule the surgery. The eye clinic is closed right now because they're moving into a new building. We can try to get an appointment after Monday.

Then we started talking about Dad's AD. She'd ask him some questions and then look at me to see if he was answering honestly, which many times he wasn't. This made me like her a LOT. When I was telling her about Dad's stumbling he made a motion against his lips meaning I shouldn't share that with her. He did it again when I was telling her about Dad having trouble handling his finances. I said, "No, Dad, I'm not going to do that. I'm going to tell her everything." She jumped on him and told him that now is not the time to hide things and that she was there to help him. We talked about managing his meds and getting his diabetes under control.

She left the room briefly to get the nurse to come in and test his blood. While she was out he started telling me I was sharing too much information. I told him I'm not going to play games and I'm not going to lie AND I'm going to tell my siblings that he's doing this. That pissed him off but he had to hold it together because the doctor came back in.

His blood sugar was at 330. He said he had taken his meds this morning but after we got home he called me and said he found this morning's diabetes pill in his pocket. No wonder his blood sugar was so high!

The doctor told me I need to manage his meds and make sure his blood gets tested regularly. Tomorrow morning we're going to a class so he can learn how to use this new testing device they're going to give him. She gave me a log to record the numbers in. He started to grab it but she yanked it away telling him it's now my job.

I'm going to create some kind of log that will keep track of his meds, vitamins and blood sugar tests all in one book. I'll have to keep it at our house because if Dad has access to it he will write all over it and screw it up.

Just a little bit stressed right now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just whining

Don't you just hate it when other people's problems become yours?

Both girls have boyfriends who are having problems at home. One of them has a mom who is a bit of a nut job (I know, I've talked to her on the phone) and the other has a mom who is too lazy to take care of her son properly and also has a boyfriend who is wanted by the police. There isn't much we can do to help these situations but we end up dealing with the drama generated by them.

Paige wanted to bring home a rat as a pet. I reeeally don't want to take on caring for another animal, especially one that our three cats and Bozzie would love to tear to shreds. I let her know how I felt about it but she decided to apply Paige's Patented Persistent Pressure Pestering technique to see if she could get me to say yes. Jim helped me out of that one but it still left me feeling like the walls were closing in.

Then she decided she wanted a snake. I'm not squeemish about snakes. I just don't want another animal around here. Especially one that requires special care, like feeding it live food. No, no, no. She didn't pressure me too much on this one, remembering how miffed I got about the rat issue.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to the VA with Dad for his appointment at the Geriatric Clinic. I'm betting this will take up most of the day. We also have to deal with Dad's finances and his taxes. Dede and David are coming down this weekend to have a look at that and to try to convince Dad that the time to retire from the tree business is now.

But hey, we've made some progress with the giftwrap business. Today we got rejected by the first national distributor that I gave a paper sample to. At least the guy was real nice about it.

I dropped some samples off at a specialty shop that sells Mexican stuff. The guy said he'd show it to his partner. Don't call us, we'll call you. I also dropped in at Olivia's and talked to her about selling the paper in her restaurant. She's all for it, we just have to build a rack that will fit on her counter top. Woo-hoo, success!

It will be ok. Must remember to breathe.

Morning walk

Sherri and I walked up Rubidoux this morning. First she fixed me a nice breakfast and then we went walking. We went to the top this time. That's 4 miles round trip.

I can barely move.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


The Riverside Air Show is on Saturday. The participants have started to show up and it's really cool. We've got vintage planes flying around all over the place. There wil be a lot more showing up in the next few days. Last year on the day before the show it was airplane crazy here. Everybody was practicing their routines at the same time ALL DAY. They make their turns right in front of the house. I love living next to the airport.

For those of you who haven't seen where I live, we're at the edge of town next to Riverside Airport. We don't get big commercial jets there, only light planes and the occasional private jet. The police helicopter is also based there. Dad's land is right next to the landing approach so we see planes making their final turn and coming in for a landing. They're very quiet and it's a nice addition to our view.

On the day before the air show it sounds like Snoopy vs. the Red Baron all day long. The vintage planes are much louder and bigger than the light planes we're used to. And these guys are flying pretty low. I love it!

Today Jim and I took two turns around the field and then I grabbed Dad and took him around two times. Yesterday Jim and I went to a pre-diabetes class at Kaiser. They have an exchange diet that I don't really like. I'm going to adapt it a little and just count up the carbs, protein and fat and to hell with those exchanges. I'm going to read The Zone again and see if that will work for me. And I'm exercising. Last night Rubidioux, today 4 times around the field. I'm on a roll! Tomorrow, if Sherri doesn't flake out we'll do Rubidoux. I'll go no matter what.

Ew. They had us weigh ourselves before the class. Ew, ew, ew! It's a great big scale that looks like it could be used in a feed store for weighing big sacks of grain. You could weigh the champion pumpkin on this scale. Thanks a helluva lot. Like I wasn't already feeling bad enough attending a pre-diabetes class.

C'mere, Dumbo, hop on.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Evening hike

I walked up Mt. Rubidoux this evening. I was supposed to walk with a group that meets there on Mondays and starts up the hill at 6pm sharp. I got there about 10 minutes early. I decided to go ahead and not wait for the group because I figured if I waited to start with them they'd leave me in the dust.

It started getting dark just as I got high enough to see the view. I made it around the back of the hill in time to see the sunset. Gorgeous. When I got to the south side of the hill I could see the big airport light that's right by our house. It was just wonderful up there. I think I like the night time view better.

When I started down it was really dark. I must remember to bring a flashlight next time. The park closes after dark but there were a lot of people starting up the hill as I was just getting to the bottom. I guess they don't enforce the hours.

Whew! My body be creakin' and groanin'. That's quite a walk.

Hot bath, good idea.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

Today we had the traditional Easter egg hunt with our daughters ages 14 and 20 (almost). I swear, I'm going to be hiding eggs for these girls when I'm 82.

I didn't feel like going out the storage container at midnight to search for their Easter baskets so I used a couple of wooden cherry baskets I had in the hall closet. They're really too small for Easter baskets but that's all I had. I managed to get all their goodies in the baskets but didn't have enough room for the Peeps. I got a couple of bamboo skewers from the kitchen and made Peep-kabobs and stuck them in the baskets. The girls appreciated my ingenuity.

I got each of them a tiny stuffed bunny. We're talking 99 cent cheapo bunnies. Paige's bunny started falling apart almost immediately. Instead of stitching it back up she decided she wanted burn it up in the barbeque, which I guess was appropriate because she had stuck her Peep skewer into the bunny. We took it outside and gently and reverently placed it in the barbeque. Jim doused it with what I thought was a bit too much gasoline and handed Paige the lighter. Her decision to chicken out was correct. Can you say "conflagration"? It was hard to get close enough to look at it. After it lost its bunny shape it looked like an angry, burning alien and it smelled like a whole package of burning foam cups.

Now the girls are out with their boyfriends and Jim and I are here having a lazy day. Maybe I'll go out and plant something. Gotta use up those sixpacks.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The birthday party

The afternoon was mostly pleasant. The food was good, we had margaritas. I gave Kenny a lei (insert joke here).

In addition to all of us and Kenny and Bernie, the guests were Bernie's daughter, Jackie, and her husband, and Bernie's granddaughter, Trish, and her husband and kids. That's it. Ken had told Kenny to invite his friends, as many people as he wanted. So, for Kenny's special day, Bernie's family!

From what we can see, they don't like her much.

Paige and Lindsay showed up a little later. We had Paige's bells in the car so she played a couple pieces in honor of Kenny's birthday. Of course, she wowed her audience. Later this talented, polite kid was chatting with Kenny, Bernie and a few others when Bernie noticed her ring and asked about it. Paige said it was a dragon ring. Bernie said, "Is that the symbol of your gang?"

The woman is freakin' braindead.

Ken and Sherri put a lovely party together for Kenny. Jim and I helped with the food and decorating. We bought him a nice gift. Bernie pulled Ken aside and told him that it hurt Kenny's feelings that the boys didn't call him on his actual birthday two days ago. She lectured Ken for several minutes about this. We don't think Kenny had his feelings hurt because he knew that in two days his kids were giving a nice party for him. We do think that Bernie, as usual, was talking out of her ass.

Later, after everyone else had gone home, Jim, Ken and Kenny were having some "guy time" at the computer while Sherri and I sat with Bernie in the living room. She yammered at us nonstop for about an hour. She kept going on and on about how kids aren't disciplined in the schools any more. She thinks people should be beating the crap out of their kids, I guess. Every once in a while she would change the subject but she would always return to the discipline thing.

She is seriously losing it. We're a little concerned because Kenny's health is bad and hers isn't all that great either. They aren't married and she owns Kenny's condo. If she dies, will he have a place to live? The time is coming when we're going to have to have a serious talk with Kenny about his future.

(sigh) All this is old stuff. It's been going on for 19 years. When she's gone, we'll be happy. That's all there is to it.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Ah, Spring.

I planted flowers today. Nothing says Spring like a carload of sixpacks.

Oh, baby, where have you been all my life?

Band practice tonight. Tomorrow is Jim's dad's birthday party. Woo-hoo, we're spending the day with Bernie!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Letter to the VA patient advocate

This is the letter we composed this morning. Jim is so good at this

I am writing this on behalf of my father, Stanley A. Lang.
On Tuesday March 8, I accompanied my father on an appointment with his primary care physician, Dr. George Isaac. My father is currently being evaluated for Alzheimer's. We felt that Dr. Isaac's behavior towards my father and me was rude and disrespectful. When we tried to talk to him, he would interrupt us and raise his voice while telling us "you must listen to me." Since my father has Alzheimer's he doesn't always grasp what is being said to him immediately and he has a tendency to ramble. Dr. Isaac lost his patience several times during his visit and wouldn't listen to my father or me when we tried to explain what was going on with my father's health. He then tried to cut the visit short even though I had produced a written list of other concerns that needed addressing.

My father needs cataract surgery, but in order to receive it, Dr. Isaac said that he can't have any other conditions, such as his high blood pressure. Yet even though his blood pressure was high, all Dr. Isaac did to try to lower it was increase the dosage of his prostate medicine. My brother-in-law is a physician, and he said that increasing the dosage of his prostate medicine really isn't going to be sufficient to bring his blood pressure down. We feel that Dr. Isaac should have prescribed something that would be more effective at lowering my father's blood pressure, so that his vision can be restored.

I have never had an experience with a doctor that was as bad as this one. It seems inexcusable to us for Dr. Isaac to be so dismissive and short-tempered with an Alzheimer's patient. My father and I have discussed this at length, and we both feel that he needs to be assigned to a new primary care physician.

Thank you,

- Donita Smith

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mt. Rubidoux

I am woman, hear me roar.

I did better than I thought I would. I walked up the road instead of taking the trail. I didn't get all the way to the top because they were doing some construction on the bridge that crosses over the road and I didn't feel like tripping over the rubble and orange cones. It was still a three mile walk, half of it uphill.

It was gorgeous! Lots of stormy looking clouds in the sky and the view of Riverside was ever so clear. It really is a beautiful walk. At the beginning, just before starting up the hill there was this creepy looking kid (maybe 17 years old) sitting on a stone wall. He stood up as I walked by. He looked kind of squirrely to me so I reached down and picked up a rock. He turned and walked the other way. When I came back down he was still there, kind of shuffling back and forth. I started looking around for another rock when a girl came jogging down the road. She stopped when she saw him. I said, "How 'bout you and I walking together past this guy?" She thought that was a good idea. I found a nice chunk of cement and picked it up. Again, the kid turned and walked away. She and I walked the rest of the way down the hill and had a nice chat. Man, that kid was creepy. Next time, I'm bringing a dog.

Today is Drew's birthday. Happy Birthday, Drew! Tonight we're going to Olivia's for dinner.

Lots of phone calls

We screwed up. We found out that just because Dad has a Medicare card it doesn't mean he can use it.

On Monday we went to see Dr. Ibrahim. He's the neurologist that Drew and Mindy recommended. We gave them Dad's Medicare card and thought that everything was ok. Turns out it wasn't. Dad has Blue Cross and is enrolled with the Riverside Physician's Network. His primary care doc doesn't refer to Dr. Ibrahim. Without a referral Blue Cross won't pay and neither will Medicare. The day we saw Dr. Ibrahim Dad also got an EEG and some blood work. Now we're stuck with a big bill.


Today we made a bunch of phone calls to try to get this straightened out. We're gettin' educated. If he changes his primary doc he can still see Dr. Ibrahim and Blue Cross will pay for it. Or he can keep the primary doc and see a different neurologist. Dr. Ibrahim's office will send the claim through to Blue Cross which they will probably deny. They'll send Dad a denial letter. After that we can appeal the denial.

This took all morning. I'm already worn out. Sherri is working on painting something today so she's unavailable for the Rubidoux hike. I think I'll do it anyway. I need to work off some stress. Three times up and down the mountain oughta do it.

Actually, if I make it halfway up it'll be a miracle.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Shallow thoughts

I'm getting tired of everything being so heavy and significant. I want to think shallow thoughts and do something meaningless. In Santa Rosa I'd get together with the girlfriends once a month for a Stitch and Bitch luncheon. We'd drink wine and eat good food have a good cackle. I could use one of those right now. I'm not saying this activity was shallow and meaningless. It was an escape from heavy significantness.

Tomorrow I want to clean up the studio so I can get started on a project. I'm going to make a ukulele case for Jeff. I have it all planned out in my head and I have a pattern and measurements of the ukulele. It isn't shallow and meaningless but it is something that has nothing to do with Alzheimer's. I've been babysitting his tenor uke for a couple months now. He's going to give it to me in exchange for making the case for this other uke, which has an unusual shape.

On Wednesday, Sherri and I are going to walk up Mt. Rubidioux. We have made a pact. At least once a week we will do some kind of vigorous exercise together. For now, it's hiking the Rube. This will help with the significant heaviness.

Ok, this is better.

This morning we met with the doc that Drew and Mindy recommended. He did some tests, nothing too involved, just quick stuff in his office. Later Dad is going back for an EEG. He's also getting some blood work done. He gave Dad some samples of Aricept so he can get started right away. This is what we've been wanting- A doctor with a human heart who won't stuff Dad into a system. We'll see him again in a few weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Property taxes

This morning Dad got a cold call from a real estate agent. This guy had been snooping around the county records and found that Dad hadn't paid his property taxes last December. Dad talked to him for a while and then called me. Jim and I think this guy is probably preying on the elderly. I got his phone number from Dad and called him and left a message on his machine. I haven't heard back from him yet. If he calls Dad again he's going to tell the guy he needs to talk to me.

But the good thing is, he gave us a heads up about the property taxes. Dad and I went downtown and got everything caught up. We need to make sure we watch the mail for stuff like that.

We had some time left on the parking meter so I suggested we take a walk. I'm trying to get some exercise in whenever we get the chance. We walked around a couple of the big blocks downtown. I was watching Dad's steps and warning him about the curbs. I also reminded him to pick up his feet and allow his arms to swing at his sides. At one point there was a construction sign lashed to a sawhorse in the middle of the sidewalk. He moved to avoid it but ended up falling on it. I tried to hang on to him while we danced around on the sidewalk and ended up with him clutching the sign and me holding him up from behind. I'm wondering if a cane would be a good idea.

After that we went to lunch and then to the grocery store. He said he wanted to go get a haircut but I was ready to go home. He said he'd deal with it later. Drew's truck was still here and Dad had the key. Later in the day Drew showed up with Dad's car. He wanted to get his truck back but Dad had taken it to go get his haircut. Dad hadn't told me that he was going to take Drew's truck and I didn't know that he had left. I'm thinking that Dad didn't really have Drew's permission to drive his truck and that Drew might be a little miffed. I guess I'll find out later.

Monday we have an appointment with a different doctor. A non VA doctor. Drew and Mindy set this appointment up. This guy was Mindy's dad's doc and they say he's really good. We were going to wait until after the VA appointment but since they were able to get him in we decided to take it. I'm looking forward to this one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I made Dad go for a walk today. He came over to dry his laundry and we started talking about his cataracts and getting his blood pressure down. I told him he should do a circuit around the back field every day. He said he'll start doing it after Debbie leaves. I said how about today? He said how about tomorrow. I said how about now? He hadn't eaten lunch yet. I sent him home to eat and then we went for a walk. He did two circuits around the field. His choice.

He was walking with his hands clamped behind his back and he was shuffling. Every once in a while he would stumble. I told him to let his arms swing when he walks to help with his balance and to walk heel to toe. The shuffling was too jarring and I think that was contributing to the stumbling problem. He did much better after that. I had to keep reminding him, though.

He was pretty tired after the walk but I don't think it was too hard for him. The exercise will be good for his blood pressure and his diabetes. It won't do me any harm either. For his safety I'm going to have to go with him. At one point he almost fell over.

Tonight is Debbie and Bob's last night here so we're going out to dinner after the Little League game.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ah... But don't breathe too deeply in Dad's house.

The citrus trees are blooming. Man, it smells great around here!

Paige got her braces off today! She be happy. Her teeth look great! Well, they'd better, after spending $3500.

Today Debbie and I snooped around Dad's house and gathered up as much as we could find of all the chemicals he's got stashed around there. Debbie and Bob have done a LOT in Dad's house this week. Bob's been doing repairs and today he changed the deadbolts so the house won't be a death trap. Debbie's been cleaning and organizing and getting the poisons out of the house.

That has been one thing that's been driving us all nuts. Dad has herbicides, pesticides, motor oil, fertilizers and other scary chemicals stashed around the house in all kinds of TOTALLY inappropriate places. He's got them in his dresser drawers, in his file cabinets, plant food in with his dishes, a big bottle of bleach in his bedroom closet, stuff mixed up in spray bottles and icky chemicals in containers that were originally intended for food.

They've got everything set on shelves in Dad's downstairs closet. At least now it's not in his living space.

Debbie and I also had a real good talk about some of our personal history. Dad and Bob had gone to the store so we had a lot of time alone. Good stuff, very productive. Juicy bits!

Later I drove Drew's truck and took them on a Riverside nostalgia tour. We cruised around downtown, the Mission Inn, Fairmount Park, Redwood ave., Mt. Rubidoux and finished up with the old neighborhood. When we got home Carlos came walking up with some creepy guy. Carlos and Rosa had been working in the field and stumbled across him. Scared Rosa to death. Carlos was questioning him when we drove up. He said he had done some work here some years back but he didn't know Dad. Something was way off about this guy. Carlos said the guy had been talking to himself. We all talked to him for a while and followed him down the driveway to make sure he left. Bob, Debbie and Dad got in the truck and drove up Central towards the airport to see where he went. They saw him sitting by the road, drinking. They called the cops but he was gone by the time they showed up.

So, was he like, camping in the Christmas trees? What was the nut job doing up there at dusk?

I reeeally hope he stays away.

The beau spends the night.

When we came home from the restaurant last night Lindsay's boyfriend was here. He's been having trouble at home so, could he spend the night here? I've been hearing about his problems with his mom for a while so this was no surprise. I had Jon dial up his dad so I could talk to him. I guess they've all been driving each other nuts. The dad said the mom was going to call me later but she never did. So, Jon stayed in the studio last night.

We don't want this to become a habit.

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's been two years.

Today is the second anniversary of Jim losing his job. To celebrate we are going to the Spunky Steer to consume red meat.

Seems appropriate.

Sunday's visit.

After lunch everyone came over. David took Dad into the office to try to find his medical insurance info. Turns out his Medicare is still current so he can start using it again and get his own doctor. He can still get his meds through the VA.

While they were in the office the rest of us walked around the house and made a list of Dad's possessions that have any value. We needed that info to finish up the trust. After that we went out and toured the farm. We looked at the Debbie field to see if it was a viable place for RV storage. It could be a quick source of income for Dad.

Then we walked around the barnyard. Stacey and I knew what to expect but I think Debbie was a little shocked. We filled her in on the Timio situation and she feels the same way the rest of us do. Timio's presence here is a drain on Dad's resources and something needs to be done about it. It's a very sensitive subject with Dad. He thinks Timio does a lot for him with the farm so he thinks it's worth it to have him here. We strongly disagree. It will be a happy day for me when we can finally tell Timio adios.

We talked a lot about how to get rid of all the scrap metal. Drew and I are going to handle that one. He's going to mark it all with spray paint. We're going to put an ad in the paper for "free scrap, you haul" and have our phone number on the ad. As for the rest of the stuff, we'll just have to get in there and get to work. First we'll tell Timio to get his crap out of there and then we'll do the rest. I suggested we divide the whole project up into sections so it's not so overwhelming.

It's still going to be a battle working with Dad. Yesterday I asked him about this tv that was sitting on the bricks around his fireplace. I asked if it works. He said, "What difference does it make?" His tone was confrontational. I said, "Why are you asking me that?" He gave me a little more crap and then backed down and gave me a straight answer. I think he was showing off for the sibs. Mr. Tough Guy.

The selfish part of me sometimes wishes he was a little more "gone" so we could just step in and get it all done. Getting him started on meds will help him hang onto what he still has. But what he has now can be pretty darned hard to work with!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Big Meeting

It was a good meeting. Of course, I was the first one to get emotional but I still managed to get my points across. I've given this stuff a lot of thought so I knew what I wanted to say.

I got pretty mad at Dad at one point. We were talking about cleaning up his house, something he had agreed to when it was just the two of us talking. In front of everyone else he decided to dig in and resist it. His house, that BIG house, is stuffed to the gills with STUFF. He wanted to have final say on everything that will be thrown away. Man, if we did it that way it would never get done. I told him he couldn't have final say on throwing out old crap and that we wouldn't throw away anything that was important to him. We're going to be there working our asses off so he'll have an easier time living in his house. We're not going to get his ok on every item. He started going into the same bullshit that he's been saying for years whenever we'd complain about all the clutter in his house. I wasn't going to put up with any of that so I barked at him pretty good. Maybe it wasn't the best reaction but I'm ok with it.

We're not going to move in next door until it's clear that Dad really can't live on his own. Monday, Bob is going to change the deadbolts on Dad's doors. He has those awful deadbolts that can only be opened with a key. We're also getting smoke alarms.

We're going to do what we can to AD proof the house but there are some things that will still be dangerous, like his oven and stove. He's been storing cans of Coke in his lower oven, Debbie said when she got up this morning the upper oven was on warm and the door was open. She thinks when he was up last night he got cold so he turned the oven on. All kinds of possibilities for disaster are present with that one.

The other thing that worries me is the stove. It's this horrible, monster stove that has a solid glass top. It heats up super fast. It has those burners that light up with this nuclear orange glow when they're turned to high. When you turn it off the burner is still hot! it has a light on the controls to warn you but it's not very noticeable. The surface is a big, black slab of glass that is the perfect spot to plop down papers, groceries or anything else you might have in your hand when you come in the door.

It was kind of funny this afternoon. When I first got there everyone was in the kitchen looking at pictures and stuff. We chatted for a while and then decided it was time to fix dinner. The guys left the room (of course) and the sisters got to work getting out food and dishes and setting up our individual work stations. Funny how natural that comes to all of us. Since Dad was just out of earshot we all started up with these funny little whispering conversations with each other while we were puttering around. We were just talking about different things that happened with Dad and exchanging ideas but it all seemed so conspiratory. It made me laugh hearing all the pssss, pssss, psssss stuff flying around the kitchen.


We got a lot handled tonight but it also brought up a whole new set of things that need to get done. I guess that's the way it's going to be from now on. Tomorrow they're all coming here to walk around the farm. David can get a look at the house and see what else needs to be done to insure Dad's safety.

It was a very good meeting. It got pretty serious a few times. It felt good to talk it all out with them. I do have a good family.

There's more, but it's late.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Not much going on.

Debbie and Bob are here. We're all mainly hanging around and doing a lot of chatting. We're not playing at Pepito's tonight but we may still go over to Ken's and practice. Just not too much happening around here today.

Dede and David will be here late tonight. Tomorrow is our family meeting. I guess everybody's saving it until then.

I'm snoozy.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Another long day

First thing this morning I took Dad to the VA to get blood drawn. Then we grabbed breakfast and headed to the airport to pick up Debbie and Bob. We came home and hung around a while and then went to the boy's softball game. After that we all went to dinner at Olivia's.

When Dad wasn't around I was able to have some pretty good conversations with Debbie and Bob about Dad's situation. I think it's going to be a very productive visit. Dede and David are coming late Friday and Saturday we're having the big family meeting at Stacey's.

Hoo boy, I'm tired.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Paging Dr. Soup Nazi

I could bust a vein.

I went with Dad to his doctor's appointment today. This guy was one arrogant SOB and that's putting it mildly. I was trying to have what I thought was a normal conversation with him and he yelled at me, "Don't talk when I'm talking! You must listen to me!" Then Dad tried to talk to him about getting his cataract surgery scheduled and he yelled at Dad, "I don't have anything to do with that! You must listen to me!" The whole visit went pretty much like that. He yelled at Dad and then said, "Ok, I'm going to have the nurse come take your blood pressure now." WTF?????

He went through everything that he already had in Dad's records and then got up and said, "Come on, we're going to send you to the pharmacy now. Come on."
I said, "What? You're done?"
Him- "Yes, I'm done."

The dickhead almost dropped his clipboard.

I had a whole list of things we needed to talk about. Dad has a huge, doughy lump on his elbow. He'll have to see the rheumatologist for that. I asked how we do that. He yelled, "It's in the system! They'll contact you!". I asked about his Alzheimer's evaluation and getting Dad into the Geriatric Clinic. Guess what? It's in the system! They'll contact you! We talked about Dad not being able to drive. Dad was really trying hard to understand but this is an emotional issue for him and he didn't listen to every word this sorry puke was yelling. The doc said, "This is where I get really mad at my patients. You have to listen to me!"

So, he KNOWS that Dad has AD but he's going to get really mad at him and yell at him because Dad doesn't quite get what he's saying???? This guy is the WORST doctor in the WORLD! There were several times during the visit where I was talking and he interrupted me. I'd stop, then let him finish and then start over again. I'm sure if I had yelled YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME he would have called security.

I took notes and will give the full report to the sibs when we're all together. We got Dad's prescriptions refilled and he got a chest xray. Tomorrow we're going back for blood work. He can't get the cataract surgery done until his blood pressure comes down.

MY blood pressure is pretty freakin' high right now.

Monday, March 07, 2005

No Klones

Big oops. Ken booked the Klones for Friday but there are no Klones available. Looks like it's Casual Sunday on Friday. But will we have a drummer? We're going to try to get Brian there but he's usually tied up on Fridays. Also, there's the little problem of him being just 15. His mommy might not want him playing in a bar on a Friday night. We wouldn't get finished until 1:00 AM. We might try to get Eddie, the drummer we jammed with a couple weeks ago.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Aviator

We saw that yesterday. I was underwhelmed. I don't get Leonardo Di Caprio. Yeah, ok, he did a fine acting job but all the acting in the world can't cover up the fact that he looks like a giant baby to me. Maybe in 10 years he'll look like an adult. The skewed color in the first half of the movie was distracting. It made me want to go to the projection room and scream FIX IT. I liked Kate Blanchett, tho.

Afterward, Ken, Sherri, Jim and I went out for Thai food. Then we went to their house and sat on the patio drinking champagne. We talked about band stuff and got silly. I needed that.

I only talked to Dad once yesterday when I called to check on him. He seemed fine. He took all his vitamins and meds. This morning he got his own ride to church. I probably won't see him until late this afternoon. This is good, I needed a break.

I wrote to Dean this morning that these days I feel like I have a five foot long piece of string tied to me with little piece of cardboard attached to the end. The cardboard drags on the ground or sometimes flutters in the wind. I can get through my day but I'm always aware of it and sometimes I have to stop what I'm doing and deal with untangling it.

The Klones are playing Friday at Pepito's. We don't know if Tony will be there. Even if he is, Ken wants me there to sing back up. So, if they want to, Debbie, Dede and David can come to Pepito's and see the Klones.

I'm sure they'll be thrilled.

Friday, March 04, 2005


I took Dad to Costco today. He really enjoyed it. What a freakin' flirt! Every time we turned down another aisle he found some woman to put the moves on. Ok, it wasn't that bad but he was putting out that Continental vibe.

I took him there because I wanted to load him up on precooked meats that he could keep in his freezer. He always has the same boring stuff in his fridge so I thought it would be good for him to have more to choose from that would be easy to prepare. I think he's going to be happy with what he bought.

Afterwards we went to Applebee's for lunch. It was a good shopping trip and it got him out of the house for a few hours. He seemed brighter today. Still searching for words but his conversation was easy and cheerful. He's even remembering to take his vitamins and meds on his own. Well, today anyway.

Band practice tonight. We need a new drummer. Brian is losing interest. Danged teenagers.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Zoloft kind of day

Got the blues. Just a bit. I've been feeling lately like nothing in my life is working. It's ok, it will pass. There are a number of contributing factors and if I knock some of them out it will help get me unstuck. I feel better now than I did this morning.

I went to Kaiser and got another blood test. Now I can make an appointment for a physical. I want to see what I can do about my weight besides go on yet another diet that will probably fail. I want to get some prescriptions refilled. I want to see if my doctor will shoot my elbow full of cortisone and make it better. This elbow thing is a big fat drag. I want to be able to be Dad's caregiver without letting myself get dragged down.

He was actually doing better today. He managed to take all his vitamins without me having to explain how to do it.

The owner of Mrs. Tiggy Winkles gave some samples of my paper to one of her sales reps. The sales rep called me today. She said she works locally and won't be going to her main office in L.A. for another week or so. But she said she'll show her boss my paper. Fingers crossed.

We cleaned out the car and I got the laundry under control. These are small things but they do make a difference. I think this is the kind of stuff that helps the most. Clear away some of the overwhelm.

Now I am going to put clean sheets on the bed. Clean sheets are a treatment for depression.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Very foggy

Dad's thinking was pretty cloudy today. I set his vitamins up in the easiest way possible (at least it seemed that way to me) and he just couldn't grasp it. I went over there and set his lunch time dose out on the counter on top of a note that said EAT LUNCH AND TAKE THESE VITAMINS. He came into the kitchen, picked up the vitamin packet and moved it aside. Then he picked up the note and asked what it was about. I had him get his lunch and then I sat with him while he ate and took the vitamins. If this is going to work at all I'm going to have to go over there every day and hand him the vitamins and stay with him until he takes them. This curcumin experiment will need a lot of supervision.

The realtor came over today. Dad decided he'd rather watch the boys' softball practice so Drew, Scotty, Jim and I walked around the farm with the realtor. It was a good meeting. He's going to do some research and get back to us. He knows of a guy who needs a couple acres real soon to store cars. Dad could live quite comfortably off that rent alone. Then he could take his time deciding what to do with the rest of the property. When I told Dad about it he said we should try to talk the guy into renting 4 acres. Heh, heh! Scotty was right. Put a dollar sign on the idea and Dad's all over it. I think he's pretty tired of having no money.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Eternal sunshine...

Tonight we watched Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. I really enjoyed it. We've got the dvd until Sunday so I'm going to watch it again. It's a little weird seeing it after dealing with Dad's situation. The visuals are full of stuff falling apart and holes in Jim Carey's memory. It seemed like it might be a good representation of what the Alzheimer's experience must be like. Good movie.

We've got a realtor coming tomorrow. Good!!! Things will make another jump forward.

Brain pills

I gathered up all Dad's vitamins and brought them here. I read all the labels and added up the dosages to make sure we don't OD him on this stuff. Then I put everything into little plastic bags so it was all organized. I put all those into paper bags and labeled them. I took them all to his house and cleaned up his kitchen and got all the crap off the counters. The bags are lined up there now. I'll check on him every day to make sure he's taking them correctly.

He's been pretty good about throwing stuff away. While I was there cleaning he let go of a huge jar of hot sauce packets. At first he said he wanted to give it to Goodwill! I convinced him that the poor really don't need his packets.

It will be good when we can get his house cleaned. There's way too much visual confusion right now. Hell, I feel like MY brain is draining away when I'm there!

Ok, today he started on curcumin and a bunch of other stuff. We'll see if it makes any difference.