an arch wherethro'

"I am a part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move."
Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Location: Searcy, Arkansas, United States

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Hollowness Continues (8/2/2017)

I told Ian to come by my office on the way back into town after work. I now realize that is the only way I can see him. He asked for $120 yesterday to change the oil in his car and have his tires rotated. When I looked at his account (to make sure he had enough money) I saw that he had paid out $115 to one of his friends. He explained that this person worked at WalMart and paid for the job with his discount. I hate to be suspicious but he has burned me so many times. He also said he didn't feel good so didn't want to eat with me. He was going straight home. I went to church and got home at 8:30. He wasn't here and hasn't been all night. It's now 10:35. Why am I not surprised? I miss Keri more than ever and Ian spends as little time at the house as he possibly can. It may well be his coping mechanism but it leaves me so alone. I need to cut him loose! He was such a help to me while Keri was alive, but now he is draining all the life out of me. I worry about him all the time. He absolutely refuses to keep me posted about his whereabouts. When he does tell me something, he's never where he says he will be. He comes home extremely late, usually midnight or later and I lay here worrying about where he is and what he is doing. He's supposed to be at work by 7:00 am but he almost never gets up on time and I feel obligated to beat on his wall and get him up, but he usually ignores me. Makes me feel so insignificant. The only way I can get a good nights sleep is to take some sleeping pills but that's not good for a diabetic and hepatitis survivor. So I just stumble around like a zombie. I've explained this to him several times, this afternoon included. He assured me he would come home and get some rest himself. Is he here? Of course not.

Insurance (7/31/2017)

It's the end of July and Keri has been gone for about 6 weeks. I have received her $10,000 State Farm Life Insurance and her $30.000 Harding Life Insurance. I have put them in the bank to help fund our house repairs which I now must do. I meet with the Social Security people tomorrow to get advice on what to do now. Ian has been away for 4 days and nights and popped in for a few minutes and then headed over to Sarah's. He said coming into this house made him cry because he "expected" Mom to be here.

I Need Help (7/29/2017)

I think I need some help. I just see no purpose in anything. I don't want to be with anyone but I get upset when I'm excluded (or perceive that I am). Ian no longer needs me, except to pay for thing and is always off with his friends (as it should be).

Bags and Boxes of Memories (7/28/2017)

I have spent the day going through stacks of cloths deciding whether I will keep them or distribute them. I have a bag that I'm giving to mom. These include most of the White Stag items I bought for Keri. Every time I went to Walmart, I went by the White Stag table to see if they had anything new. If they did, I would often buy it, even if Keri didn't need it. It made her, and me happy. I still go by and look. The day I buy something I promise I will seek professional help. The other bags went to Goodwill. It was hard. It was hard! There were some items that I just could not take, like her Hudson Bay Blanket coat. I will keep that, at least for now. I'm about to take it to the cleaners along with Keri's Philmont jacket. Needless to say, it's been another day of tears!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This One's For You!!

Ian's wallet ended up in a neighbors drive so I took it out to him at his job in Steprock. He is still working for Metal Roofing Supply. It's my first time out where he works and that place is huge. On the way home I went to the Bulldog Drive-In in Bald Knob. Keri and I used to come here every Sunday night after church. I've only come here once since Keri died. Ian and I came out. This time I got a strawberry shortcake to eat, all by myself unfortunately. Keri and I always shared one. (I posted earlier how the bowl would start out in the middle of the table and work its was to Keri's side.) I ate the entire shortcake this time, and the bowl stayed in front of me. What I wouldn't give to be able to share one with her again.

Watermelon Yogurt (7/25/2017)

Today went well for most of the day. I worked at the office and met Ian for supper at Chic-fil-A. (It's Christmas in July at Philmont Scout Ranch and I remember our celebration. It was always a big deal with a Christmas tree in the dining hall and a gift exchange.) After supper,
I went to Walmart to get some groceries and discovered Watermelon Yogurt. Of course I immediately thought of Keri and how I would love to take some home to her. Tears popped up the rest of my time at Walmart.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Swan Cookies

As a tiny token of our appreciation, I had some swan cookies made to give to the staff and people at Care-Way Center and the staff at Greystone Health and Rehabilitation Center. I think they turned out very nicely. Alesa and I took enough to the morning, evening, and night staff at Greystone. Ian and I will take enough for those weekend staff on Saturday. They were a big hit with the few we saw. These cookies scream out Keri to staff that had a pet name of "Swan Lady" for her. They really liked them at Care-Way as well. It was such a small token but they cost $3 dollars each. I could never express my appreciation enpough for their care of my dear Keri.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

But You're Already Gone (7/15/2017)

I want to tell you about my day,
About who I talked to and what I did.
I want to share my thoughts and my plans
My "what ifs" and "what nows."
I want to tell you about my schemes
and get your reactions and concerns.
I find myself starting to seek you out to ask or to tell,
As I have every day for the past 28+ years.
...but you're a;ready gone.

Was I just too stupid to accept this earlier?
As you lost your ability to respond,
I just kept talking. Did you think I was crazy?
You smiled at me! Was it a smile of pity,
Or did you find comfort in all my talk?
We continued to laugh!
Who will I laugh with now?
Will I laugh again? Can I laugh again?
Do I want to laugh again?

Remembered (7/9/2017)

Yesterday was a good day. Keri's memorial took place and it was exactly what Keri would have wanted. All her family met at the Swaid Building at 12:00 for a Whistle Stop BBQ lunch. The service in the College Church Auditorium began at 2:00 to a very large crowd (Robin estimated 250-300 people). Mike read the obituary and began with a prayer, Lambert spoke and Cliff led some songs. It was perfect. We then headed into the fellowship hall for "Just Desserts". The Barnabas class and the CSD program faculty had taken the lead and it was set up beautifully. There was a table with photos and flowers and three or four dessert tables with watermelon dessert plates and napkins. I got a photo or two before it started. I then spent the next several hours standing by the door greeting people. There were Keri's friends from childhood, from St. Vincent's, from Scouts, from Harding, and from Searcy in general. She was truly remembered. My only regret is that her watermelon Bible disappeared off the display table. I'm so hoping it was an accident. That someone was looking at it when they got distracted and walked away with it. Hopefully they will discover it and return it.

Preparation (7-7-2017)

It's been a good, though emotional day. I spent the day getting the program ready for tomorrow. We have an insert for the Alzheimer's Walk, photos to display, etc. Tonight we had dinner at the Jameses. Tim and Tammie gave us his painting of Keri and Mike showed us the slide show for tomorrow. It is absolutely perfect. Steve made it to moms and Enola, Dani, Jake, and AJ flew in, in spite of heat problems in Phoenix. Tomorrow, we will meet at the Swaid building for lunch, have the service at 2:00 and then I will return home with Mom. That way I can visit with Steve and his family until they leave Sunday.

Happy July 4th! (7/4/2017)

This is the first holiday since I lost Keri. We had a cookout at Alesa's Sunday night. All the Garner's were there except Lauren and Tammy Higdon came over. I was not emotional but I sure missed her. Ian was still in Alabama. 

Came up to Mom's yesterday since this is where I'm "supposed to be" on the 4th. We always went to the fireworks at Altus until Mom got where she couldn't get around. I brought a stack of Keri's shirts and pants and Mom can wear them. She is wearing a red, white, and blue top with Keri's favorite jeans. Mom asked if it bothered me. It really doesn't. As a matter of fact, it pleases me that at least the cloths can go on. I treasure every thought of Keri and it's bittersweet to see Mom wearing her cloths. Of course Ian is not here and is not due back from Alabama until tonight. I probably need to add here that Ian's phone went in the lake yesterday. The insurance will again cover 2/3 of the cost but since this is the second time in a short while, they have canceled his policy. I'm just happy they paid this one. 

I got Mom's lawn mowed. I've got this horrible crick in my neck. I've had it several days and ANY movement is extremely painful. Mom saw a notice about a fireworks display in Clarksville so we drove down to the high school to watch. We got a bench in front of the school and enjoyed the evening. I'm glad we went. 

He Was Here ... and then he wasn't. (7-1-2017)

Happy Canada Day! Great 150 Years!
Ian left last night with Luke. Luke drove here to get him on his way from Searcy to Alabama. Of course I let Ian go. He has his own mourning to do. Yesterday was such a good day. I spent way too much $, most of it on Ian. I would have bought anything he asked for. I only teared up once and it passed quickly. Unfortunately, today, I'm a "hot mess" as Amy always says. I guess I'll walk around a little more and then head back to Searcy. I'm not looking forward to going "home".

Oxford (6/29-7/1/2017)

I just needed to get away so I decided to head to Oxford. I asked Ian if he wanted to go and he said yes. There was no real purpose and we drove over and got a hotel for a couple of nights. I have enjoyed my time with Ian, although he slept all the way from Searcy to Oxford. I was able to tell some Keri stories and revisit some of our old haunts. We ate breakfast at Bottle Tree Bakery, then went to Oxford Square Books. I bought Ian a couple of books and then got him a hat at Neilsons. We tried eating at The Soul Kitchen but the lady at the window said the only thing they had left was chicken strips. It was only 12:30. I think she was just lazy. I showed Ian where his mother and I had last eaten there and got a little emotional. We found Rebel BBQ and had a great rack of ribs and some tamales. We ran into Gloria Kellum while walking around campus and I promised to call her at "4:30" but discovered I didn't have her phone number. I drove to her house and discovered that Jerry is having some difficulties. I left my number for Gloria but haven't heard. We'll head back over in a minute. 

Gloria called. We went to the house at 8:00 for a visit and some dessert. It was a wonderful visit. I told a Keri story or two and she told some of her memories. Ian was attentive and seemed to have a good time. When we left, we met up with Luke, a friend of Ian's from Searcy. His family are all going to a lake in Alabama and invited Ian. I thought they were going to head down tomorrow but they have already headed out. I'm here alone. But we had a good day. It was just what I needed.

From WE to ME (6/24/2017)

I did not sleep well last night and woke up emotional. I snuck around until 9:00 and then went to wake up Ian to go to Waffle House for a remembrance breakfast. Last night he told me he was going climbing and planned to be back around 10:30pm and I actually thought he would. His bed was empty and he hadn't come home. This was the final event that make me realize that he no longer needed me. He has his friends, as it should be. It doesn't occur to him that I no longer have anyone. WE -> ME!

I got in the car and started driving. Starbucks on the way out of Searcy, burned remains of Cothams in Scott, Morris Antiques in Keo, the Clinton Store (now a restaurant) for lunch. I plan to go over to Trapnell Hall and who knows where else this afternoon. For some reason, this is the worst day in a long time. I have inserted a photo Ian took of Keri and I headed across the road to Cothams when we went in January. I didn;t know that it would be our last visit together and that it would burn down in June.



I went to the Arkansas Wildlife Museum when I left the lunch spot and then walked to the River Market. I forgot to go Trapnell Hall when I left the River Market. I drove to TCBY for a chocolate malt. Then on to Cabot for the back road back to Searcy with a drive by the park in Beebe where Keri and I had lunch. Then back to Searcy, then on to Pangburn to visit where we saw the swans (Keri's swans). Our favorite spot is now fenced off with a "private property" sign. Hopefully they will open it when the swans come back. I came on up to the original swan spot. Of course, the swans are all gone, but I felt compelled to visit. I'm sitting in a lawn chair overlooking the lake typing now. Of course, this whole day has been a silly indulgence. I needed to mourn. Hopefully this will help.

Loose Ends (6/22/2017)

Went to the funeral home today to pick up the photos and plants and to pay the bill. The charge came to $9,200 for everything. They did a nice job. Sat there for awhile visiting about my mom and dad. They knew him and know her and had good stories to tell. Afterwards, I drove back by the cemetery. It is such a calm serene place and the bobwhites were calling. It seemed so appropriate for Keri's final resting place. 

It's time to go back to Searcy. Suddenly I am all emotional again. I'm not ready to go " home" yet. I'm not sure I'll ever be ready.

Buried (6/21/2017)

Keri's visitation and graveside service was today. It was unreal and seemed to have little to do with me or my life with Keri. I was overwhelmed with the number of people who came. Scouting, Scottish Country Dancing, Harding, the Barnabas Class, and SVI were all well represented. Kay and George Knife even made it. Now life will need to go on. We will see.

Status ? (6/19/2017)

I came to Mom's Saturday evening and Ian was to follow. I had hoped for some time with just he, I, and Mom. It was not to be. Ian left Searcy much later, and stopped in Conway for awhile before heading on. At about 10:30, he called from Lamar where he had fallen asleep and driven off the road. Fortunately, he hit no object or other vehicle and the car was drivable. He got it back on the road and came on. I am so worried about him. He is angry about his Mom and angry that I have "imposed" an exile on him. The bottom line, however, is that he is sleeping.

We met the caretakers of the Hess Cemetery yesterday and worked out our issues. We've restored 4 of the plots to our original 16. This leaves us with 12. Keri and I will take up 7 and 8. Then I took Mom to the ER with a badly swollen leg. It was not a blood clot fortunately. She received antibiotics for cellulitis and we made it back to her house by 8:00 last night

Faye brought some food around noon today and interacted with Ian. It got him activated again and he headed out to mow the lawn. At least he's moving again. He now wants to drive to camp and visit everyone. The problem is, he doesn't have his drivers license. He left his wallet in Sarah's car but doesn't worry about it. I managed to keep him here but he's not happy about it. I'm so worried about his impulsiveness. He is going to refill his ADHD prescription tomorrow and I'm sure that will help. 

Keri's Obituary (6/18/2017)

Keri M Tullos nee ThIompson died peacefully June 17,2017. She was born January 28, 1959 in Little Rock to Squee and Mary Thompson, at St. Vincent Infirmary, the hospital where she spent her entire career as a Medical Technologist in the Hematology Laboratory. Keri was a graduate of Little Rock Central High, Harding University and UAMS. Keri is survived by her husband, Dan, son, Ian, sister, Alesa Garner, and a host of nieces and nephews. 

Keri and Dan spent their married life in Searcy as a vital part of the Harding University community and attended College Church of Christ. 

Keri and family had the privilege of many extended travel adventures on several continents. From childhood, Keri was a nature lover and a friend to all creatures. She loved cooking and entertaining and was known for her sweets at Christmas. Keri was an avid fossil hunter, natural artist and sketcher, and a very precise softball pitcher. She and Dan loved Scottish Country Dancing and working with the Boy Scouts. She lived large, laughed loudly, and loved passionately. Keri was the most kind, gentle and sensitive soul whose absence will be felt by many. 

Visitation will be 1:00 to 3:00 PM Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at Hardwicke Funeral Home Chapel in Clarksville, AR. Graveside service will be held 4:00 Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at Hess Cemetery in Coal Hill, AR. A memorial celebration will be held 2:00 PM Saturday, July 8, 2017 at College Church of Christ in Searcy, AR. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider participating in or donating to the Walk to Cure Alzheimer's team formed in honor/memory of Keri. 

 I tried to do the obituary but it was so template-like so I asked Alesa if she could help. This is what she came up with. This is exactly what we needed.

Waiting (6/11/2017)

This post is out of order. All of these posts were completed on my iPhone and this one was completed on my iPad. Blogger has not updated their software so that posts can be made on these devices. I can still use my Mac but who knows how long that will be possible. I spent last night and this morning transferring my posts to Blogger using my Mac. Unfortunately i Missed this one and want it to be part of that record.

8:30 AM - What a horrible time it is as you wait for a loved one to die! You know it is inevitable, and you worry about your Love's suffering. You repeatedly tell them that you love them and that they need to let go and rise up into God's hands. That all pain will be over and that all confusion will be gone and they will be able to say whatever they are thinking. What a blessing that will be for Keri after these years of confusion and frustration. It is what I truly want for her and pray for. But when she has a period of apnea, I want to scream at her to BREATHE! I keep thinking that I literally am about to scream out my grief and want to so desperately.  ...but of course I cannot. I just rub her head or arm or hand and tell her that Ian and I will be OK, that she has done a good job and she can now just rest.

On the other hand, how precious is this time? These last earthly moments of our life together. To sit here with Ian, Alesa, Debbie, and others of Keri's friends through the years, is truly a blessing. ...to see what an impact she has had.  ...to see the love she has generated from the staff here at Greystone. ...to see people that have only know her a few weeks go out of there way to offer some kindness and come by when they get off work o say goodbye. This truly has been a blessing, in spite of the horror. I have mentioned our Baci quote several times in my posts, but it also applies here. "We were together, nothing else matters!"

Friday, July 14, 2017

Release (6/17/2017)

My darling wife, love and my best friend died this morning at 7:17. She has suffered for such a long time and this was an answer to prayer. We had called Alesa and she made it back to be there. Ian, Sarah, Alesa, and I were all there when she took her last breath and she was released to her full memory, motion, speech. There will be many more tears, but the worst are over. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.

I received a message from Tim Hacker shortly after Keri's death. It contained a painting he had done in honor of Keri. He was upset that he hadn't gotten it to me earlier, but it really came at the perfect time. 

Never Think That YOU Are In Control (6-16-2017)

I have been having several days of unsteadiness. I was also drinking tremendous amounts of water, but I had no idea what was happening. Wednesday night I ate supper with Ian and Sarah but my mouth was so dry I couldn't even swallow. We all went back to Greystone but I felt so tired that I could barely move. I took my 20 units of insulin and drank several glasses of water. I took my blood sugar again and it was still HI, which means over 500 on my scale. I took 15 more units 90 minutes later. Still no change. Then I threw up my supper. Ian got the Greystone nurses to come and their tester said HI which meant over 600. Sarah drove me to the emergency room at the Baptist in NLR. They said my blood sugar was 710 and they couldn't believe I could walk in. They admitted me directly into intensive care with tubes hooked into every vein. All day yesterday, they just pumped fluids through me. Alesa, who is sitting with Keri and Ian called at 3:00 this morning and I was able to talk to Keri for a minute. They are working to get me released this morning.

Another Day (6/13/2017)

1:10 AM - Sarah and Ian returned and we moved a settee in. At the moment, they are asleep on the settee, Keri in her bed and me in the LazyBoy. Ian is holding his momma's hand. I took a photo because he will want it. 

2:05 AM - I'm glad I took the photo because they came in to re-position Keri. 

2:50 AM - Keri choked on her medication and doesn't seem to be able to swallow. Lots of activity with suctioning. When asked if I should call Alesa, April said that it didn't look like it would be tonight.

3:10 AM - Things have calmed down for the moment.

Staff Goodbyes (6/12/2017)

Keri continues to hold on. It's so precious having a few more minutes, but it is not good. This is not a quality life for anyone and she needs to let go. 

9:25 PM - Some of the staff that have worked with Keri are stopping by to "check on" this or that. They tell little stories and say how much they think of her. I have a sense that they are saying their goodbyes. I'm semi-holding it together. The visits are very touching. At the moment, it's just the two of us. Alesa, Dave, and Lauren have gone home for a nights rest. Ian and Sarah have run back to Searcy for him to get a shower.

Waiting (6/10/2017)

I went home to sleep last night. After two nights at Greystone, I was able to go right to sleep around 10:00 PM. Unfortunately, I woke up around 4:00 AM and decided to get up. I was looking for Keri's jewelry to find her blue quartz necklace and earrings but can find them nowhere. I also can't find her black pants. I should have been looking earlier, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I arrived at Greystone around 6:30 AM and Ian and Debbie are sleeping in chairs.

June 9, 2017

6:30AM - Ian's 20th birthday. No child/person should have to spend his 20th birthday this way. Who knows what it will contain. For many years, we always spent this day in Destin at Jetty East with Keri's family. His first birthday, we were fighting aspiration pneumonia. We had birthday parties with kids from the beach. Beginning in 2013, we were in Africa for his birthday. Keri, Ian and I celebrated his 13th birthday on Jordan's Rock in Namwianga, Zambia with a hot dog cookout with the HIZ-Path group and his friend David Merritt. In recent years, we've spent this day at Camp Rockefeller. Today we spend it at Greystone Health and Rehabilitation one last time with Keri. It will be a hard day, and a birthday he will always remember. 

Alesa is coming home early from the beach and Dave and Lauren spent most of the day. Debbie Ganus came and wants to spend the night here along with Ian. Landon Ganus, his wife and little girl came and brought a birthday cake. They lit the candles and I was afraid it would set the smoke detectors off, but Ian blew them out and shared with all present and the CNAs. Only later did I realize that Keri was using oxygen. It could have been an explosive birthday. It was as festive as it could be. He had his last birthday with his mom.

Small Kindnesses (6/8/2017)

I'm obsessed with having Ian or me with Keri as she is in her final stages. I can't stand the thought that she would die by herself. Of course, I doubt she knows we are here, but we are. It's 4:30 AM and I'm thinking about some small kindnesses that have made such a difference. Her nurse tonight pulled out her cell phone to show Keri a photo of a swan because Keri said that so often. This lady had gone to the zoo and taken this photo to share with Keri. Of course Keri couldn't see it, but the nurse showed her just the same and talked all about it. The two housekeeping people that have been so kind to us these last several weeks brought me a coffee and Ian a Dr. Pepper from Sonic. Cliff, Lambert, and the Ryan's have visited in the last several days, and Claire Freer regularly stops by. Jill Valentine contacted me yesterday morning and asked if she could organize the upcoming "Walk to End Alzheimer's" in honor of Keri. Of course I agreed and she posted the notice this afternoon. I'm afraid it will become a walk in memory of Keri.

"Terminal Anxiety" (6/7/2017)

Mary, the hospice nurse, completed an exam earlier and explained the process of dying and Keri is certainly in that process. This extreme anxiety that Keri has been experiencing is referred to as "terminal anxiety". Our goal is now to keep her comfortable. 

I just received a text from Jill Valentine asking if she could do the "Walk for Alzheimer's" in honor of Keri. Little did she know that it would be a walk in memory. I feel so honored and I will get involved this year. 

We have had such a good life. God blessed us so tremendously when he allowed us to meet and marry! I'm so glad we traveled, danced, and loved when we were younger and had no money instead of waiting until we retired. I will just have to do it for both of us now.

"The End"? (6/6/2017)

Keri screamed until around 1:30 this AM. They used a phinigrin patch, as much ativan as they could and finally resorted to morpheme. She is calm right now, but the hospice nurse wondered whether we were moving to "the end." I don't want her to suffer but I'm not ready. Is one ever ready? I know I will live through this, but I wonder if I really want to. We are blessed not to know how our lives and the lives of those we love will end. If we knew, we would do whatever we needed to do to avoid the broken heart. But I have to remember that what breaks the heart are all the wonderful experiences and memories that got us to this point. During one of those tornado outbreaks several weeks ago, I thought it might be best if a storm just took out both of us.

Overwhelmed with Grief (6/4/2017)

I sit here besides Keri's bed and I find myself overcome with grief. I thought I would run out of tears but that never seems to happen. Today, at 9:00 am, she is still asleep. In spite of Ian getting her to eat some last night, she seems so unresponsive this morning. Are we really entering the end? Can I bear it? I have decided that I truly know what love is?

4:30 AM (6/3/2017)

Ian didn't come home again. When I get up to go to the bathroom and see that he's still out, I can't go back to sleep. I worry so much about him and his future. ...so I'm sitting up watching Midsomer Murders. 

I came to Greystone early and arrived here by 7:10. I wanted to see how Keri was doing in the morning. Nothing has changed. She remains in a "drug induced coma." This will be the 3rd day in this state. I'll call hospice after breakfast. 

?????? (6/2/2017)

I arrived at Greystone today around 11:00 and Keri was in bed and asleep. They brought her lunch meds but didn't give them to her because she was asleep. They brought a lunch tray around 1:00 but she never stirred. They picked it up around 3:00, untouched. Around 4:00, she started moaning a little so I called to get her up. While they were getting her up, they brought her night meds. She took these, but then would never raise her head. I took her to supper but gave up as she slumped lower in her chair. I took her back to her room and they had to have a special lift to get her back in bed. I mentioned yesterday that we may be dealing with a new normal and I am glad there is no screaming but I'm not ready for this. I have been thinking that hospice was premature but now it seems not. I guess she hasn't eaten for two days. Is this the end we have to look forward to?

Calm (6/1/2017)

Keri is obviously drugged today. After the horrors of yesterday (screaming and crying from 11:00 Tuesday night until 7:15 Wednesday night). The hospice nurse called and heard Keri in the background so she ordered ativan that could be squirted under the tongue. They must have started that last night. It is certainly better than the screams and may be the new normal. Last night she would keep grabbing my arm and saying "I love you" and "I'm sorry". I just gave up on lunch. She loves brisket, turnip greens, brown beans, and corn bread. I could only get several bites in her and she never opened her eyes.

Worse Instead of Better (5/31/2017)

Keri had several moments of calm yesterday. There was even one time when she seemed to be following what I was saying. I managed to take a good photo.
Things seem to have gone downhill. I arrived at Greystone around 11:00 and Keri was quiet. When she saw me, she got excited but that rapidly changed to this cycle crying. With the help of banana pudding (brought by the daughter of a 95 year old that has befriended us) and cookies, I got it stopped long enough for lunch, but it started back immediately afterwards. They are increasing the adtian dose, delivered sublingually because she is resisting her meds. The hospice nurse called while we were sitting outside and she heard Keri crying. She immediately called in this new order. I'm so glad I've taken off this summer. It is shaping up to be a long one.

Memorial Day (5/29/2017)

Yesterday was a wonderful day, but today was not. I was at Greystone by 7:45 or so and stayed until 8:45 last night and Keri really had a good day. Unfortunately, today was not so good. Keri started crying shortly after lunch today and it continued until they put her to bed tonight. Hopefully, the hospice people will step in tomorrow and come up with something.

Hospice (5/25/2017)

I had a care team meeting scheduled at Greystone this morning. Keri's screaming has created problems here and they gave three alternative care options. 1. A new drug for pseudobulbar palsy that will hopefully deal with the symptoms ($750 per month), 2. a dementia care facility, or 3. Hospice. I was not prepared for hospice and couldn't help crying. I think we will go with hospice because that then covers the drug costs. I'm glad Alesa was here and I wish Ian had been here to hear the discussion. I'm scheduling a meeting with the Greystone hospice man and I'll make sure Ian is at that. No kid should have to go through what Ian has had to deal with during the last 5 years. I'm convinced that this has led to his behavior.

Such Precious Time (5/19/2017)

Keri's screaming has not subsided. She had a rough morning yesterday but had settled down by the time I arrived at 11:00. She enjoyed her okra for lunch but had no time for anything else. Greystone transported her to see her neurologist and I met them there. They changed her meds some but nothing else. They said that at the rate she is declining, she could live another year or two. I knew it, of course, but it was still a shock to my system. Keri slept most of the time. They transported her back and during supper she started getting upset again. It all seemed to be directed at me. I would ask if she wanted another bite and then she would bat my hand away when I tried to give it to her. Ian arrived at that time and I excused myself and headed home. Fortunately, it was cool last night and I opened the window and took a couple of sleeping pills and got through the night. 

I got a call this morning from Greystone and they said Keri had another bad night and they had consulted their psychiatrist who prescribed some new meds. We shall see. I discovered yesterday that our insurance does not cover prescriptions given at a "long term care" facility. Our Human Resources is looking into it but it appears that my out of pocket drug costs for Keri could be around $1000 a month. 

I came home at lunch and the air conditioner was working. It probably kept me from having a breakdown. I worry if/when it will happen.

So Alone (5/18/2017)

I'm sitting here with Keri at Greystone waiting for her breakfast. I guess I feel more alone than at anytime in my life. When I moved to Canada, life was so full of potential and I just had to open it up. Everyone around me was a potential friend, waiting only for me to begin the process. Now, I am surrounded by such major life issues and I see little hope for solutions. God has indeed blessed me and we will get through but I no longer have my best friend and confidant as Keri has progressed. My son is making horrible mistakes in his choices and could care less about any advice. His last choice, which put everything I've saved and which I need to take care of Keri, in danger. This indicates that he is no longer there for me. Mom is struggling to hold on to her independence and I find that I can't help her as much as I need to. I guess I'm much better off than many (MANY) but this still very depressing.

I Guess I've Known All Along... (5/17/2017)

Things seem to be going downhill fast. The old saying "going to @#^ in a hand basket" comes to mind. Keri has been crying and screaming since Saturday night. It has gotten so bad that I stayed here last night to see if I could help. The crying began at 2:15 am and I was able to head off the screaming until around 3:15. They gave her an ativan but that didn't help. They finally got her up at 4:00. They said my presence helped because it would have been louder had I not been here. The crying and screaming has continued all day and they are now doing an enama to see if hat helps. I went home around 11:30 and took a nap. 

When I got home, I saw that our air conditioner was no longer working. Mom's went out this last Sunday. I was able to get someone to come look at it, but when I took him back, I saw 6 or 7 "items" that shouldn't have been there. It made me sick at my stomach thinking about what could have happened to Ian, and to Keri and me and to our house and savings. I'm not sure why, but I have failed to raise him well. I love him so much but I worry what will become of him.

Dinner (5/15/2017)

Here we are, sitting on a porch, looking out on a vineyard in the Napa Valley. It's just the two of us and we have finished a wonderful dinner with wine from this vineyard. It's cool and everything is perfect.
(The reality is an assisted dining table at Greystone with this scene in a painting on the wall. Our adventures have certainly changed, but we are still together. I plan to spent the night in Keri's LazyBoy because she has gotten so upset in the middle of the night the last couple of nights. There is probably nothing I can do about it but I'll try.)

28 Years (May 13, 2017)

28 years ago today, I married my best friend. We have had a wonderful ride and are determined to continue through this horrible disease of Alzheimer's. Most of the old Keri is gone, but there is enough that she still recognizes me and many others. I was determined to have a good anniversary and we did. I spent most of the morning with her and then we headed on an adventure to the Sonic nearby. She ate two corn dogs and about 10 tatertots. We then headed back to her room where I had an anniversary cupcake waiting. It was a treat and she loved it. We laughed a lot and held hands. I had supper with her. She didn't eat much and I could sense the beginnings of anxiety but she was OK until she fell asleep, around 8:30. It was as perfect a day as I could have hoped for.
Anniversary Sonic Dinner, 5/13/2017

Guilt! (4/30/2017)

I may have used this title before but it seems appropriate today. When we got to Greystone yesterday, Keri was about to get her shower. She said hello but didn't smile. Ian and I spent the day with Keri and I got more and more depressed. She spent a great amount of time staring at me. I wondered at the time what she was thinking and I wondered if she blames me for leaving her there. It really was/is necessary for her to go there but I don't seem to be able to stop crying.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep (4/29/2017)

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Lonely (4/28/17)

Keri was crying out when I got to the dining room tonight. They said it had just started and I was able to calm her down quickly but it was disconcerting. She didn't eat much but we had a short visit before she got ready for bed. I headed home around 8:00 because Keri was going to sleep. 

I stopped by "Smallmart" on the way home and again got emotional as I tried to shop. I kept thinking that I'd never again shop for Keri and that she would not be there when I got home.

Milestone! (4/27/2017)

Ian has just headed out for his first non-Scouting job. He is working for a metal roofing company in Judsonia. The job is part-time and involves welding. Hopefully this job will be a stepping stone for him.

Much Better Today! (4/27/2017)

I was so worried about Keri that I came back this morning. I was relieved to see her sitting in the activity room. She was much happier. The nurse just told me that she had a good day and has not cried once. They are getting her ready for bed now.

I Want to Go Home! (4/25/2017)

I worked all day today and headed to Greystone afterwards. She was eating when I arrived so I joined her in the dining room. She seemed sad so I took her back to the room. I asked her if she had had a good day and she said "no". She has looked like she is about to cry all evening. Nothing I do has produced a smile. I'll talk to the nurse later and see if there is some reason. She may just mad at me for being away all day. 

I think she just does not feel good. She is jerking more and seems to have less control of her right hand. I'm more depressed than I have been since she's been here. The nurse just told me she's had several screaming episodes today. They are going to see if she has a UTI and get her in to someone to check about the jerks. One of the care workers said that Keri kept saying "I want to go home." Way to break my heart.

"There he is." (4/21/2017)

We arrived at Greystone after Keri had gone to supper. I looked in and she was seated with three other women and seemed to be interacting well so I headed back to the room to wait. Awhile later, I went down to the nurses station and Keri was sitting there and she said "there he is." as soon as she saw me. She seems very tired but is interacting well. I think that she needs to go to bed as soon as they can come get her ready. 

I stopped by CareWay to pay for the first half of April and discovered that one had already visited with Keri and that the others had worked out a schedule. CareWay really was a special place that came along at just the right time.

Day Four 4/20/2017

There have been visits every day and the nursing staff/physician has made several changes in meds. Keri is no longer drugged all the time, and last night she had no acid reflux. Yesterday afternoon she was back to her pre-Christmas level. She saw me first and called my name. She then told me some of the events of the day. They have removed some of the misery that she was experiencing at home. 

The Barnabas Class gave us a gift card that allowed us to purchase a recliner and a sofa table for her room. She loves both. 

She had a bath this morning. She is jerking more right now then she has since her seizure. They give her one every other day. I'm hoping she's not building up to another one. I know she is missing CareWay but she seems to be content here. That is a blessing.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Greystone it is!

Met with the Greystone people yesterday. This has all worked out so quickly that it has taken on a trajectory of its own. I called Tuesday and they had two places. Gloria, the admissions advisor happens to live in Bald Knob and wanted to stop by and get some information. She did that yesterday and Keri was quiet and just listened. At one point, there were some tears on Keri's cheeks. Greystone offered her a spot and asked if she was ready to move in on Friday. I delayed until Monday because I wanted us to have more time together and this is moving too fast. I told the Careway people that we would be moving on Monday and  Kami asked to say a prayer for us and I was happy about that. MANY TEARS! Greystone said that we could bring some furniture to make it feel like home, and suggested a recliner. We've never had one but the Barnabas class sent us a card on Monday with a gift certificate for $500. We will shop for Keri a recliner. I called Alesa and she is going to look at the room and facility this afternoon. My Mom was supportive and offered to help with finances. Kami said that Greystone comes highly recommended. She shook her head when I mentioned The Crossing at Riverside. I am writing this as a private journal but if anyone stumbles on it, please keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Confirmation!

When it came time to get Keri to bed, I had the confirmation I needed to know I was making the right decision. She was having a hard time using her left leg and was very unstable getting to the bathroom. When we got there, I was almost having to carry her. at one point we both fell. I was able to get her up but I had to carry her to the toilet. By this time, she was screaming. I was able to get her changed and I was able to get her back to the bed. She is calm now.

I Can't Stop Crying!


As I have said before, Keri is having such difficulty getting around that I needed to start looking for a place where she could be safe. Someplace where they would help with her diet, and brush her teeth, and other things that I can no longer do. I started on Sunday, looking at Cabot Health and Rehab ($175 per day). and Oakdale in Judsonia. I visited The Crossing at Riverside ($200 per day) here in Searcy today during lunch. They have a two month to two year waiting list, but we put our name down anyway. Another one in Cabot was also recommended so I called Greystone today. Much to my surprise, they think they have two beds and wanted me to send her medical records immediately. They are also going to come by my office tomorrow afternoon to visit with Keri and we will go from there. I had no idea it would move so fast. I'm just not ready, but I'm afraid to let this opportunity pass. I haven't asked the cost. The very thought makes me start to cry when I look at Keri, when I see photos on our wall, when I do anything as I think that our adventures together are limited. As hard as these last several months have been, we have been together. When we were traveling in Italy years ago our Bacci statement was "We were together, nothing else matters." What will I do without my love, my best friend, my constant companion. Greystone is 30 miles away. How can I spend all my time with her, and how can I spend my time without her?