I think that Rick used to be a lifeguard back in Minnesota when he was a young adult. Since Minnesota is the land of 10 thousand lakes, so he swam in the lake in the back of their Richfield home and he loved to swim. When we used to go to Hawaii every year we would swim twice a day in the beautiful blue pacific. I’m not a very strong swimmer but Rick was like a fish!!!!!!!!
Lately the weather has been in the 80’s here. I decided to take Rick to our local pool. It’s the same childhood pool that my sister and I played in. It took me about 40 minutes of coercing to get Rick into the pool. I finally got him into the pool and everyone around the pool clapped because they were happy for me. Once he was in the pool, he was great and we had a really good time. I told Fabiana to take him to the pool sometime. She said that last summer when she took him; he used to swim from one side of the Olympic sized pool to the other. One year later things have changed because AD acts fast. I told her he wasn’t going to swim.
I am telling this story not because things went smoothly but because it was a challenge. He has forgotten how to swim. He can only tread water. To get into the pool you must go down a few steps backwards and step down into it. Last year, Faby was able to have him jump in but not now. The shallow section is 3 feet deep. She tried to get him in but verbally trying to convince someone with AD can be frustrating sometimes because they don’t understand what we are saying.
Faby and Rick got to the pool and she had someone walk him through the men’s changing room maze. Faby ran through her side and waited for him at the other end. They used the chair lift to lower him into the pool. He sat on the chair and she asked him to take his t-shirt off. As usual he answered why? As if he was aware of everything. She explained that he was going into pool. She tried to pull his shirt off and he looked into her eyes and said: what are you doing? – Taking off your t-shirt – Why? 5 minutes later, she did it. She wanted to put sunscreen on him to protect him, as we all know he has light hair and eyes. The moment she sprayed the sunblock on his skin, he went crazy. -Stop! Don’t do this! He started to stand up and get really angry. Faby said sorry, sang some song to him, distracted him, and sprayed it on her hands instead of him.
I have told you that Rick is always cold and doesn’t like to get wet, like a cat.
Once she put his feet under the water he was already screaming: – This is horrible! OMG! I don’t like it! So she kept putting the chair down. I hate it! – Faby: Rick it is good! We are at the swimming pool! Look around! Everyone is having fun! She lowered him down until he got his Twinkie wet. What Rick used to say was, once you get your Twinkie wet it’s all over. She was really careful to go slow until everything was wet. He kept complaining. Once the entire chair was in the water she grabbed his hands and tried to pull him into the pool. By this time he was in the water up to his chest. He didn’t like it so he decided to stand up while still in the chair and tried to try to climb out and run away. It seems like he was being tortured.
Since Rick loves to hug lately, smart Fabiana asked him for a hug. She imagined she would hug him and pull him into the water. Smarter Rick hugged her with one arm. Tapped her back so when she asked him for his other hand, he moved the hand hugging her and held onto the chair with his other hand. He may be confused sometimes but he is very strategic. Meanwhile everybody was looking at the scene which was embarrassing but funny. I laughed a lot when I heard her recounting of the story. At this time Faby had been trying for about 10 minutes just sitting on the side of the pool. Another 15 minutes on the chair. She tried to just pull him toward her into the pool but he is very strong. He kept trying to climb out of the pool. This was dangerous because he could hurt himself. Two lifeguards were aware of what was going on and one of them jumped into the pool and another stood on the side. The girl in the water said:
- (girl-lifeguard) Sir. You can’t climb the chair. Please sit down and I will take you out!
- (Fabiana) No! He needs to come inside the pool!
- (Fabiana) Please Rick, sit!
- (Rick) …. Not aware of anything, just trying to save his life like a cat that he is Freddy the Kat
- (girl-lifeguard) Sir. Please sit!
- (Fabiana) Rick! Please help me! Just sit!
Meanwhile Fabiana still had the remote, so she decided to lift the chair up a little so he didn’t feel like he was going to die in the water and he could sit but as he was standing up and moving the chair and the remote stopped working. At this point she decided to pull him into the water. He was holding on with one hand. One hand! Fabiana said to lifeguard in the pool: I am going to pull him and you help me with his other hand. The lifeguard was really scared, she must have thought, poor old man, crazy caregiver. The lifeguard’s eyes opened so wide that Faby thought they would bug out. One, two, three and they pulled him.
Fabiana held him as if he was a baby. He got angry. He stood up in the swimming pool where the water was up to his chest and he walked in the pool with his arms up saying its cold. After some time he got used to it and he was smiling and happy.
She held him on her lap and carried him around, she pulled him around by his feet and in the end it was a great afternoon. They stayed until the swimming pool closed. All the lifeguards were ready with the chair lift for him to exit the pool but he got out with by climbing up the steps and holding onto the hand rails to pull himself out. These are our challenges every day. He was very happy that afternoon and at night he slept well. I’m glad. I laugh at stories like this, because I am happy when he is happy. Song: “When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you” (by Louis Daniel Armstrong).