Rick is happy and when he’s happy I’m happy. We went to the beach with my sisters and friends and he loves listening to music and hanging out with us. He likes to be social now. It’s interesting because they say that socializing is the best thing to stave off Alzheimer’s. Maybe his wouldn’t have been so bad if he had enjoyed socializing more before he got the disease. Oh well, we socialize a lot now. As I said he comes to the beach. We went to a coworker’s wedding last night and we both enjoyed it. It was fun!
He cleans up nice too!
Today he went on an excursion with the gang at Silverado! They went on a harbor cruise, had lunch and spent the day out! I can’t wait to hear about it from the staff when I pick him up at the end of the day.
I will post a pic of that if they share one with me!
Going to a restaurant with someone with Alzheimer’s is a bit like going out with a toddler. They don’t make conversation and they play with all the stuff on the table. Rick loves to put his water glass right on the edge of the table so that it’s likely to spill. He does this at home as well. My worry is that the knife will be used instead of the fork. It’s a bit lonely and I’m a bit nervous when we go out. Rick laughs at other people’s conversations sitting near us even if they are speaking in another language.
Today he put his shoes on the wrong feet and I corrected them. At the restaurant he was uncomfortable sitting on the bench opposite me but he gets mad when I tell him to fix the pillow behind him. I ended up sitting on the same side as him, fixing the pillow, cutting his pizza into bites and helping him eat the Caesar salad. Someone with Alzheimer’s doesn’t remember how to fork their food or stab it. No matter what he’s eating he lifts it onto the fork; salad and pizza and blueberries are a problem.
It worked out for me to sit next to him because we could eat together and be snugly. We enjoyed our lunch and had a good time.
For some reason our age difference is very obvious lately. No matter where we go people assume that he’s my father. The age difference didn’t really come up before. I guess because I’m helping him or taking care of him it appears that way. When I was 17 and Rick was 34 it just didn’t seem like a big deal. My friends thought that it was gross. I guess I would think it was gross now that I am an adult. Rick was younger than his real age. I was used to being around people 17 years older than me. I was a surprise to my parents. My mother had me when she was 42 and in 1967 that wasn’t the norm. At first the doctors thought that she had a tumor in her stomach, but it turned out to be me (I’m not a tumor imagine Arnold’s voice). I remember when they would tell the story; the doctor called, my mom answered the black old fashioned rotary phone on the wall in the kitchen and when he said it “it’s not a tumor, it’s a baby,” she fainted.
It’s weird that the distance in our ages seems larger now. I guess that I am an old soul but I still love cartoons and to act silly. Rick was a late bloomer. He didn’t even get his driver’s license until he was 25. So we both have our quirks, but we fit.
Rick at memory mornings, Alzheimer’s Association LA
Rick with group at Alzheimer’s LA
So those of you who know me know that I’m a pleaser, a co-dependent, a doormat and pushover, a good babysitter and nurturer. Lately I get a lot of advice on how to take control of my life. I should stop all the crazy things that I do like; overspending on my credit cards, obsessively cleaning my house, cleaning out my closets and changing the furniture around. I still bite the skin around my nails until they are bloody and I’m on an anti-depressant and the doctor said that it would make me stop but it hasn’t. People who know me understand that I am a fixer. I think the reason why I obsessively clean and try to have order in my house is because I want order or consistency in my life. Rick and I were happy for 30 years because we used to try to set each others expectations. But now there’s no way to expect anything but loss. I tried therapy but I was telling the therapist what she wanted to hear and not what was really bugging me. I get these characteristics from my father. I am exactly like him. He always wanted to keep order and avoid drama even though my mother was a huge drama. I am terrible at being confrontational. The reason for this blog today is that I realize that I am spending, cleaning obsessively, and organizing my closet to try and have order because I can’t fix Rick. It drives me nuts that I can’t fix it. All I read and hear is that It’ll only get worse. Whenever I think things are bad, they will get worse. This disease only gets worse, relentless as they say. In the beginning I had this compulsion to fix him. I can’t fix it. I am supposed to accept the things I cannot change right? I think the reason for my compulsive behavior is that I can’t do anything. I am all or nothing kind of person. Living with Rick having Alzheimer’s is like being in limbo where the outlook is only bleak. It’s hard to accept for someone who solves peoples problems for a living. It’s tough to make myself believe that there is no hope and no cure. By the time they come up with a cure, it’ll be too late. It’s already too late. Things aren’t going to get better. “Renee….Stop living in a fantasy! Renee get real!” It’s hard to accept. I am living a bad dream every day watching my loved one slip away. I have to keep adjusting to the changes in the disease. I am at the mercy of Alzheimer’s and it sucks! I am angry, frustrated and the only thing that I can think of to do is shop or clean or walk or organize. I really need to take up drinking.
like the song Edie Brickell wrote says “choke me in the shallow water, before I get too deep.”
In 2011 I made a video of Freddy Moore and Dennis Peters performing a song at Genghis Cohen in Hollywood, which Freddy wrote in 1991, “Born on the Wrong End of the Mississippi” that they also recorded in the studio in that year.
I’ve known Freddy (we call him Rick) since the late 70’s when he had an up-and-coming rock band, The Kats, and was friends with the sisters of my twin brother’s wife. Freddy later married one of the sisters after his divorce from Demi Moore, and we’ve all been close ever since. The bad news is Freddy has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last few years, inherent in his family. Posting this video is my personal tribute to him.
When I went to edit, I found that the audio track from my camera was not very good, so I decided to meld the studio track to the live video and was very pleasantly surprised how closely it matched up, they were that tight. (I covered up some mismatches with superimposed photos.) The very beginning is live, and as soon as the music starts, it transitions to the studio recording, and back to live at the end.
Please enjoy – Michael Kohan (PS – I’m also planning to perform the song at an Open Mic day for my seniors ukulele group.)
We had brunch with Rick’s youngest brother, his wife and some friends from out of town. One of which we were expecting and the other was a nice surprise. Everyone told a bunch of cool stories about working with Rick and playing music with him and when they worked together they formed a band at work called the Stoopers. Hearing these stories made me think of a funny story from our past.
When Rick and I were dating we used to drive up into hills and park and look at the beautiful views from high above the city.
This one time we were sitting on the top of a hill in Rick’s Honda Accord. It was a wealthy residential neighborhood. We sat looking out at the twinkling lights and stars and we thought how peaceful things were. Out of nowhere the top of a head of curly hair appeared just outside the passenger side window! It was about the level where the window was open and we both screamed…What the hell is that!
We thought that someone was creeping up on us and it really scared us! It turns out it was a large standard poodle trying to figure out what the strangers (us) were doing in his neighborhood. It was a really funny thing to see and be scared by. But once we realized that there wasn’t any danger, we laughed while we drove back down the hill.
The featured picture above was taken about a year ago when we visited the Griffith observatory during the giant moon exhibit. We got to see the moon through a giant telescope and it was amazing. I don’t have an old picture to share to go along with my story so I thought that I would put this picture in because that’s what the city looked like from where we would take our scenic drives.