There’s two strands to this disease & we think……….the silence is almost deafening!

My hospital visits haven’t featured much in my blog as to me they seem to be just full of the same old, same old, but yesterday’s visit was definitely different & I felt, worthy of sharing. I have been going backwards & forwards lately because it’s the New Year & all my appointments have started back again after the Christmas break, plus I also have my fortnightly treatment which is not an option, that is a must.

Yesterday was my joint appointment with my neurologist & immunologist in whom I would consider to be my key “ologists” involved in attempting to keep me as well as possible. I have many other “ologists” but they basically just step in when that particular part of the body decides to play up, for example, my gastroenterologist who takes care of my tummy! He unfortunately has been busy at times as this tummy of mine seems to be heavily affected!

Anyway, back to yesterday & my wonderful two doctors who couldn’t be more caring if they tried, had obviously had a bit of a chat prior to my appointment & felt yesterday was the appropriate time to talk to me about some serious “stuff”. I saw my neurologist & he did all his usual reflex/strength/blood pressure tests & then said that he & my other doctor had been talking & they thought it would be worth trialling increasing the dose of treatment I get each fortnight. I didn’t have a problem with that, in fact it seemed like a positive move to me, but he said my immunologist would talk to me further about the change & some of the reasons behind the change. By this stage he was starting to look serious, there was not a hint of a possible laugh, we were clearly talking serious business. I started to get those little flutters in my tummy, thinking to myself, what on earth is he going to discuss with me???

Back I went to the waiting room, now having to wait my turn for the Immunologist, come on Jen Jen I was telling myself keep it together there is nothing he is going to tell you that could honestly be that bad…….Candy Crush, that’s what I will do, I need to get off Level 81, I have been on there way too long nows my perfect opportunity! Out came the Ipad & just as I opened up to the Level I hear “Come on in sweet Jenni, sorry to keep you waiting so long”. Oh, that is absolutely fine I thought to myself, the longer I sit on that chair out there the longer it is going to be before I have to have my “chat”.

You see, my Immunologist is a very kind man & I could tell he didn’t particularly want to have this conversation, but in hindsight we both knew it was necessary! It is complicated, even for me to understand, so I am not going to bore you with all the nitty, gritty details but the long & short of it all is that the dreaded disease I have has two paths it can follow & one of them is where the nerves start to die but with the appropriate treatment they seem to be able to control it- that would be the definite chosen path. The second path is where no amount of treatment can contain the progression of the disease & the nerves continue to die all throughout the body. He said its path is known as the degenerative path & unfortunately from all their testings & treatments over the years they believe my body has chosen to take the second path. Bless his heart, the whole time he was explaining this to me & I was doing my best to fight back tears but really knew deep down this was the case, we know our own bodies better than any scientist or doctor, he held my hand & gently stroked my prednisone thin skin. You could tell he was as frustrated & disappointed about the whole wretched thing as I was, but he was not going to give up the fight as long as I was still willing to stand & fight!!!!! Was there ever a question that there be any other option, I will not stop fighting this battle until the day the battle beats me & I need to face reality, that day may well come! Until that day comes I will continue to get up each day, maybe with a little bit of extra help if we progress down the second path but I will let those numb feet hit the floor & I will start my day & I will try with all my heart & soul to start it with a smile because it sure beats starting it any other way, both for myself & for those around me!

It took a couple of days for all this information to sink in, I’m a bit like that if you hadn’t guessed a bit of a thinker & I tend to put things into slots until I’m ready to deal with them. Anyway, I have, as you can hopefully see from reading my post that I have well & truely come to terms with it all & the reality is none of us really know what is round the corner & we have to make sure that we treasure every day that we have been blessed with. Now, you might be reading this thinking if only she knew what each & every of my days was like, this I do not know & I don’t claim to even begin to even imagine what some of you are living through but one thing I have learned through this whole health “process” is that there is always, absolutely ALWAYS something in each day to be thankful for & happy to be alive for……..whether it simply be that the nice warm sun rays are shining through your window as you lie in bed wondering when you’re going to have the strength to get up, or the fact you’re going to a 20/20 cricket match (yes, you guessed it my beautiful friends are taking me to a 20/20 Australia vs England match tomorrow night) or that one of your close friends is dropping in for a drink & a catch up or dare I even say it, that you have a bundle of noisy,boisterous kids that drive you to drink sometimes, but what a blessing they are & will continue to be in between their moments of absolute painfulness!

I hope I have had my desired effect with this post that even though at times we get news that causes the direct seconds to moments afterwards of complete silence to be almost deafening, take some time after those moments of deafening silence & reflect on what you can possibly gain & learn from this situation. Life can be so uncertain at times, yet so full of excitement & wonderful surprises!

As my beautiful doctor says to me on multiple occasions ALL POWER TO YOU!

So powerful!
So powerful!
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When family is just enough…..…

It had been a while since I had spent some quality time with my three youngest nieces & my middle sister & I was really starting to have withdrawals from them. You see before I got very sick & had to go into full time care I used to nanny for my sister, this was years ago when the youngest was a new born & she is now going on ten so as you can well imagine we are talking along time ago. Anyway, as my body started to give way on me & I became less able to take care of myself let alone three little girls I had to humble myself & admit I was no longer in a position to mind them & my poor sister had to go outside the family & look for a nanny through an agency. She has done this ever since & it has had its ups & downs but all in all it has seemed to work out!

The downside of it all is that I don’t get to see my little cherubs nearly as much as I would like to so when I get the opportunity believe me I savour every moment! It was last Sunday & my sister suggested I come over & they put me in the wheelchair & they take me for a walk around the area – this sounded like a great idea to me! Anyway, Mum & Dad picked me up from the establishment & we took our usual route (especially when my Dad’s driving) we drove past our favourite coffee bar & bought three cappuccinos & one flat white! Yummy I thought to myself, no matter how hard they try at the establishment their tea & coffee can never quite match up to a takeaway cappacino from the local coffee bar. Off we went to my sisters & it was nice because Mum & Dad were coming in to join us for the coffee drinking ceremony! There was a feeling in the air that made me wonder whether or not we were going to actually make it to the walk in the wheelchair but I didn’t care one little bit as long as I was with my girls I was perfectly happy! When family is just enough…….

The coffee was drunk by all, everyone was relaxed & happy, Mum & Dad decided to hit the road & so it was just me & the girls & my sister. We were loving lazing on the couches watching the wonderful dances my nine year old niece had choreographed herself, a few star jumps, a number of forward rolls & she was definitely showing some very creative talent! Then the big question came…..”Aunty Jen Jen, do you think I could do your makeup?” “Hmmmmm, I thought to myself, do I feel like being made into a clown, but then I remembered why I was there!” “Sure” I said to her, “just one thing I ask you don’t make me look like a cake face” (what we used to call her now eighteen year old sister when she was fourteen and used to come out of her bedroom looking orange after doing her makeup – might I add now she does her makeup amazingly and looks stunning everytime she leaves the house)! “Aunty Jen Jen, I’m  good at makeup you wait and see!”

So the process began…..she disappeared for a good five minutes & then she appears with her very own makeup kit! Never in my life have I seen anything like it, she has every brush for every part of the face, different shades of powders, eye shadow, blushes, special eye pencils that have very special jobs apparently & of course the absolutely necessary mascara! Right, paper towell was laid down on the stool incase of any accidental spills, everything was lined up & the show was ready to begin! I sat there like a princess being absolutely pampered & I would ask her the occasional question as to what was happening & she was able to tell me exactly what she was doing & why she was doing it…….a bit of blending of the powder to make sure there was no lines on the neck, of course the eye pencil which if I could remember its job I would be able to tell you but she certainly knew it’s purpose & then lastly I had to rapidly blink my eyelashes for what seemed like an absolute age so that the mascara went on just right!

“Well, Aunty Jen Jen I think we’re finished & you look beautiful, doesn’t she?” the question aimed at her almost fourteen year old sister who had shown a distinct lack of interest throughout the whole “process” other than to make the occasional comment on the heaviness of the powder or perhaps the mascara might be a bit thick, to which she got the usual sister to sister reply “shut up & mind your own business I’m the one doing Jen Jen’s make up”. The fourteen year old was now allowed to speak as she had been asked to give her opinion & she thought it looked great, possibly a little thick & dark in places but other than than that apparently I looked beautiful. Well, there was a smile from ear to ear & one very proud nine year old, she was very impressed with her handiwork! So, now it was time for photos, sensible ones & then of course a couple of silly ones. I will put in a few with this post so you get to enjoy some of fun that we all had!

Even though it was only a few hours that I spent there it was the best few hours I had had in a long time! There is something refreshing about children & their innocence & particularly when it is family it just makes it that much more special. I guess that is the reason why I titled this post “When family is just enough”, there are times when all you need & sometimes all you want are those around you who know you best & hopefully love you in spite of all your weaknesses & believe me in my case there are a few, but everyone is comfortable just to “be”, something I need on regular intervals when living in the “establishment!”

I truly hope you as the reader have times when “family is just enough……” – it is most refreshing!!

The make up artist with Aunty Jen Jen being silly!
The make up artist with Aunty Jen Jen being silly!
A nice one!
A nice one!
The made up one with the fourteen year old!
The made up one with the fourteen year old!

It’s Thursday & it’s Council Cleanup Day tomorrow……..

It’s been a while since writing a post & for that I’m sorry as it is not due to lack of content but more lack of energy on my part, it must be living with the oldies is making me tired & old!!! No, to be honest part of the illness that I battle daily is low blood pressure & it makes me incredibly tired so even though I have great intentions sometimes they just don’t become a reality but here we are back with another post!!!

My day had been fairly quiet being Saturday, not a lot happens around the establishment on a Saturday, so I had a nice dinner of pumpkin soup (my favourite- particularly as I don’t have many to choose from) & raspberry jelly & I was making my way back to my little room. In order to get to my room from the dining room I have to go along a fairly long stretch of carpet before I turn a corner & go straight down a ramp to my floor. I have to be careful on that ramp as it is quite easy to pick up a bit of speed & sometimes lose control of my trusty walker so I am always cautious coming back down the ramp.

“Wow”, I think to myself as I look ahead & see a pile of beautiful furniture piled up outside Patty’s room, she had her lovely wooden side table, a wooden chair, a few pictures & she was still in the process of removing & stacking outside her “house” as I later found out the name of where she was living!

“Patty” I shouted, well, not exactly shouted but certainly used a raised, shocked voice, “what on earth are you doing?” She looked up at me with a rather bewildered shocked look on her face as if to say “what on earth is wrong with you?” & then what came next just made my day, she said,”don’t you remember it’s Thursday & it’s Council Cleanup day tomorrow & my husband & I can’t live with this clutter anymore in our house so I’m putting everything we don’t need anymore out on the footpath!” (Footpath….last time I looked it was a strip of blue carpet but I wasn’t about to argue over something so trivial!)

Well, how do you respond to something as “out there” as that??? Firstly, we are not living in houses, we are living in small rooms & secondly poor Patty’s husband passed away a number of years ago & one thing I can confirm he definitely is not living in he house with her!!!!! I knew I needed to think long & hard about how I was going to respond to this one as I didn’t want to upset her but at the same time I thought I should let her know that it was not Thursday & as far as I knew Council Cleanup wasn’t this week. I proceeded along those lines with my response & I also added how beautiful her furniture was & how sad it would be to have the Council pick it up & dispose of it. After some long & hard thought  she could see my point but didn’t have a clue how she was going to get all this beautiful furniture back into her house from the footpath!

“Hmmm, I have a suggestion” I said to her. How about after all your furniture moving you go back inside your house & sit on your comfy remaining chair & when the staff come down after dinner they can help you move your furniture back inside your house”.  How does that sound Patty?”. Well, she thought that was a great idea after being so tired from moving it all out so she was thrilled with the arrangement!

She was so grateful that I turned up just in time to tell her she had got the days mixed up for the Council Cleanup so she didn’t go & move anymore of the furniture out onto the footpath unneccessarily & I was just happy that I had got to her in time before the after dinner rush came & by that stage she would have blocked the whole hallway oops I mean footpath……

As I know I have said in some of my previous posts there was a time when the Patty’s of this world would have known full well it wasn’t Thursday tomorrow & she wasn’t living in a house & there was never going to be a Council cleanup but as I choose to look at it, a wire goes funny up top & makes people who were once intelligent, sensible people do totally outrageous behaviours. We never know whether we are going to be one of the ones that  the wire chooses to go funny with but what I say is enjoy every moment, never ever take for granted each moment you have been given & if you happen to be touched by someone who has had a wire go funny up top try with all your might to love them & treat them with the dignity & respect you too would want for yourself if the roles were reversed!

Believe me when I say this I am writing to myself as much as to my readers & to be totally honest I am surrounded by “Patty’s” 24 hours a day & I certainly don’t always treat them with the same love & respect that I would want for myself at times, so this post was very much a challenge to me & a reminder of how we have no choice on how life is going to take its toll on us but as those living in community we certainly have a choice as to how we are going to treat those we are interacting with!

Here’s to the beautiful “Patty’s” of this world!!!

I’ve been blessed with a new Grandad!!!

First of all I need to make a huge apology for being so slack in my posts…….the last last couple of months have not been the easiest health wise & the whole thought of sitting down & writing posts was just not appealing to this tired & fighting body, but I’ve decided I get so much pleasure from doing them & from all the wonderful responses it seems that so do so many of my followers, so I’m now back on track……GET READY FOR MORE POSTS as I’m certainly not lacking in content!!

So here goes…….you see, it kind of all started with just a simple Christmas card addressed to one of my favourite old residents. For this post were going to call him George and George is just a spring chicken at the young age of 98, hasn’t hit the triple digits yet! George has lived here a while now, he moved in with his wife Pat initially but she passed away close to three years ago now, but George has simply just got on with it, I’m sure missing Pat in the process! Anyway, I just quietly gave George his Christmas card and didn’t think anymore of it. Little did I know what this simple Christmas card would mean to “young” George. His life would clearly never be the same again!

That day at dinner he came up to my table and got as close to my ear as was physically possible and with these beautiful warm tears trickling down his sun weathered face he quietly said to me how touched he was by the words that I wrote in the card and they meant so much to him. He apparently had never read anything like it and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it and squeezed it and squeezed until I thought it was going to fall off. I said to him that I meant every word I wrote and I held him in high regard and he had been a wonderful friend to me since I had arrived at “the establishment”! Well, that was the final straw, the tears that were once a trickle had now become a flood and he proceeded to tell me that all his grandchildren live overseas and he was wondering if he could become my Grandad, which ofcourse meant  that I had the wonderful honour of calling him Grandad, would I be prepared to do that????

Well, Grandad, was my immediate response, ofcourse I would and not only that I would consider it an absolute honour to call such a wonderful man “Grandad”. I don’t know a huge amount about Grandad’s life but I do know he has two daughters in which he adores and I’m sure the relationship is reciprocated as they are here on cafe days taking him down there for his malt shake & toasted sandwhich! His favourite treats on the weekend!

I guess my purpose in writing this is to remind us all that everyone needs to be loved and even if it is something as simple as a name,that name holds so much meaning and even 98 year olds need to know their loved and haven’t been forgotten!

Is there anyone in your life today in need of some special love and perhaps a name????

Hello, Hello, Hello!!!

The sun was just coming up & I was in a wonderful blissful sleep dreaming about who knows what when all of a sudden I felt this body very close to mine, way to close for my likings at that time of the morning. I suddenly went from a quiet, blissful sleep to a heart racing fear of what was trying to get into my bed!!! My eyes opened very quickly & to my surprise there was the beautiful Maggie saying Hello, Hello, Hello!! Now that is Maggie’s usual greeting night & day, whoever you maybe you get the hello, hello, hello!

After I gathered myself & woke up a little more I tried to explain to the extremely demented Maggie that it was way too early for her to be up & worse still to be up & attempting to get into the wrong persons bed. You see, even though Maggie has severe dementia she is not one bit aggressive & is absolutely gorgeous. She has certainly gone back into her childhood days & ways & although I’m sure it is very sad & unsettling for the family to watch, she is certainly a pleasure to have & to be around. She was not at all convinced by what I was telling her & knew without a doubt she was in the right house!

As I lay there & wondered to myself what the heck I was going to do next as she also mentioned to me in “conversation” that she needed to go to the toilet, I quietly snuck my hand that wasn’t holding hers under my doona & pressed the emergency call button which was hanging around my neck. I knew if she saw me pressing any buttons she would catch on to the fact that I was getting some “friends” to come & see us. Before too long two staff members walked into my room & encountered a situation they certainly weren’t expecting to find. Both of them had a chuckle & attempted to explain to Maggie that she was in the wrong house & her house was down the hall!!!

‘No, no, no’ she tried to explain to them, ‘ I live here with my friend’……….more laughs were heard. Anyway, after a short discussion & some light convincing Maggie’s feet were firmly planted on the ground again & off she went to see if they were right about her house being down the hall!

Well, there I lay all on my own again with still about thirty minutes before I had to get out of bed myself but I knew there was no way that I was going to go back to sleep. I started to think about Maggie & wondered what she was like as a little girl. I thought to myself, I bet she was the one that made everyone laugh & have a smile on their face. Then I thought I bet she was a real mischievous teenager, giving her parents plenty of cheek. Even as a grown woman with a young family of her own she would have been happy, laid back & ready to take on whatever it was the world sent her way. You see, I don’t know about you, but so often I look at people like Maggie, who wouldn’t  have remembered that she had tried to get into my bed, by the time she got back to her ‘house’ & I see them simply as they are today. But, I feel so challenged on so many occasions living in ‘the establishment’ to remind myself that all the ‘Maggie’s’ I live with we’re once healthy little boys & girls & then young adults & then in most cases older adults & they just happened to be the unlucky ones that the dreaded “D” word, dementia, decided to hit.

I am glad I had that experience with Maggie, (even though it was a little unnerving initially) as it forced me once again to remember how precious life is & to never take a day for granted because none of us, not one, have any idea what is in store for us around the corner! It also was a good reminder to try & be more patient with the many ‘Maggie’s’ I live with as they never chose to walk this road that just happened to be mapped out for them!

So to Maggie I say Hello, Hello & Hello (even if it is at 5:45 in the morning!!!!!)

Off, off & away!!!!

It was an overcast morning with a bit of wind blowing but they had forecast the temperature to reach 30 degrees so I really thought the bus trip to the beaches would be a bit of fun! Then……I get a phone call from a fellow resident who I have a somewhat “love, hate” relationship with, basically I adore her but just in small amounts. She’s calling me to tell me that the resident council meeting is on & there is no way she is missing that, she has too many important things to discuss. Oh, now I was in a dilemma….as I had previously told her I would also go to the council meeting but at that time I didn’t realize it was going to clash with the bus trip. I ummed & I ahhhed & I thought about the meeting & I really didn’t have anything I wanted to bring up & I was certain my friend would cover absolutely everything that needed to be said. Decision made – the bus trip it was!

So I packed my bag, made sure I was ready & took myself off to the bus trip meeting area. At this stage we didn’t know where we were going……it was a “mystery tour” but we did know we were heading for the beaches! The loading of the bus began, all bodies on first, then two residents in wheelchairs were coming, so they needed to be loaded, then the bags for morning tea, plus the hot water & last but not least one walker, for the “just in case moment” someone might have & they require a walker to get there. I might add just about here that without going into too much detail I had one of those “just in case moments” & believe me I was extremely grateful for that walker & the beautiful carer who helped me. There are not sufficient words to describe how hard these carers work & not only how hard they work but how much care they put into their work. I am just so thankful for each & everyone of them as it certainly would not be a pleasant or fun job at times!

Anyway, back to the bus trip, off we all went, great anticipation & excitement was felt all around the bus! Some of the residents rarely get out of the ‘establishment’ so this is a great thrill for them. As expected we headed for the beaches & we were spoilt rotten, we drove all along the Northern Beaches coast line & the more the day progressed the less cloud there was & the sun was out & it was actually hot! We saw beautiful trees, houses overlooking the water, beaches that were full of people & then our final stop was a little beach that was hidden away & hardly had a person on it. We pulled up in the bus & the staff started the production line of morning tea……who’s for coffee, tea, who has sugar, milk & it was on then the cream biscuits were passed around. “Do you think I could have two?” the lady across the aisle from me piped up, she had only just finished telling me five minutes before that her “mongrel of a doctor” told her she was overweight & needed to lose weight. “How dare he!” She said, “I think I’m just fine at a size 20-22!!!! I had a quiet chuckle as she grabbed her second & then might I add later on third Monte Carlo!! We sat & drank our coffees & teas & looked out at the views that I will post below & just enjoyed each others company & listened to stories of how some had grown up close by & others had lived close by after they were married & how nice it was to come back & see how much it had changed! You see for so many of these “oldies” this is their only chance to get out & see some of the outside world so it is a real treat for them & I think that is why ‘the establishment’ really tries to make sure they have two bus trips a week, so that as many people as possible can get some outside exposure.

Well, the time had come to pack up all the finished with plastic mugs, pack the cool bags & start on the homeward trek. It always seems so much faster going home & I think it literally was faster this time because we went the straight route rather than along the coastline. The trip home was a bit quieter than the outward bound trip as I think people were truly relaxed from a bit of sea breeze (they opened all the windows on the bus while we had our morning tea)  & a nice fresh morning tea. I’m quite sure if I did a quick scan of the eyes on the bus many of them would have been struggling to stay awake – except hopefully for the driver, although he is only three weeks out from having a brand new baby so I sure his eyes were wanting to close after limited sleep!

Before we knew it we were reversing into our parking space back at ‘the establishment’ & the unloading of the bus would now begin. Walkers first, then wheelchairs, then bodies, they have got the system down perfectly, which they need to in order to avoid falls or any other type of accident. Off we all got, one at a time & made our way up to the dining room ready for what is for me a puréed Vegie lunch, yum yum!!!!

I know I had a great trip & by the oohs & aahhs & laughter of the other residents I am sure I wasn’t on my own in that enjoyment. I am so grateful we have staff who see the importance of these outings & go to the extra effort of making it so exciting & enjoyable for us!!!!

The bus!!
The bus!!
Looking out over the headland!
Looking out over the headland!
The lagoon where we had morning tea!
The lagoon where we had morning tea!

And a baby was born…….

I thought I should add a quick post with a photo of a baby “wishing doll” that we made in art this week. It is basically just a miniture version of the original “wishing doll” & they are just so effective & it is so nice to see the pleasure it brings to not only myself but also those in the class! One gentleman who did give me permission to put his photo on the blog, but I decided it would be better for his privacy just to talk about him, made a wonderful “wishing” doll, all dressed up in a ball gown which he painted in a gold glittery colour & he named it after his wife. A lot if his work links somehow back to his wife which he lost a number of years ago.

I love my baby “wishing” doll & it bought me a lot of pleasure making it & painting the little face. The best thing about it is that only I know what my “wish” or “prayer” is & it is scrunched up very small & placed inside the head & that is how the shape of the head is created! It is a wonderful activity to do with all ages, young & old each getting so much pleasure!

The amazing thing is that it is so simple to make……..a square piece of calico for the body, wool of your choice for the  arms, legs, body & hair & some paint for the face & there you go, you’ve got your “wishing doll”.

The beautiful thing about them is they can be totally

Mummy & baby doll
Mummy & baby doll

nameless & not made in memory of anyone or as I said earlier in the post one of the gentlemen made his wife dressed up in a ball gown & it is so sweet as I go to his room each morning to deliver him his paper there is his “wife” sitting up on the chair next to his bed……he openly admits he misses his wife terribly but I’m sure the doll brings him some degree of comfort!

“Wishing dolls” or “prayer dolls” are the best & I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to participate in creating them. As you can see from the above photo they are very effective & lots if fun!

Spring has sprung!!!

I don’t know about you but I just love this time of the year. The trees are magnificent, the bushes are bulging with flowers showing off the most amazing & breathtaking colours, but the trees that get me that make me smile with absolute joy whenever I see them are the blossom trees. I am not sure of all their individual names, but what I do know is they are something to die for as you watch them bloom.

Where I live, the street at the top of ‘the establishment ‘ has got a row of blossom trees & each time we are brought back from an activity on the bus or I come back with one of my friends or family I have the sheer delight of watching them change, the blossoms have come out more & I always comment out loud ‘hey everybody take a look at those magnificent blossom trees’ (I’m sure I’m starting to sound like a cracked record but I just can’t help it, they are just so beautiful!). I will include a photo below of the row of them in the street so you can get some idea of what I’m talking about, but I’m still not convinced the iPhoto comes close to doing it any justice, but its worth a go.

There is also a beautiful rosé garden down the bottom of ‘the establishment’ that Tash the therapy dog & I often go for nice walks. I have been watching the rosé bushes start to develop since they have been pruned right back, but they are not at the flowering stage yet, I can’t wait until they are so I can take some photos & show them off to you all. What is down there that has caught my eye over the last few days is a little baby blossom tree & it is producing the most unbelievable buds & I couldn’t keep on walking past without capturing another picture. I just smile each time I walk past & am reminded once again that even though there is so much hardship & battles in life we have been surrounded by little reminders like blossom trees & different seasons that bring us so much pleasure. Sometimes, we need a little jolt every now & again to remind us of these little pleasures but I’m sure once reminded it doesn’t take long for that face to light up again!

Thank God Spring has sprung!!!

The baby blossom tree!
The baby blossom tree!
Row of trees in street!
Row of trees in street!
Some blossoms close up!
Some blossoms close up!

The smartie medicine cup that I’ve never had before!!!!

There is one very special lady who lives in ‘the establishment’ with me & for the sake of anonimity we will call her Valda!

I met Valda on one of the first days I was here as her room was only a few doors up from mine so I would often see her roaming the hallways aimlessly not exactly sure where she was heading! Some days I would grab her hand & take her down to the main lounge as I was pretty sure her body clock was telling her it was time for a cup of tea & funnily enough most days she was pretty much on time. Other days it would be early in the morning, way to early for Valda to be up & about & because I’m the newspaper deliverer I’m up quite early & I would find Valda walking down the hall in her pyjamas, looking half asleep. On one particular morning I asked her what on earth she was doing up so early & worse still walking around in her pyjamas & her beautiful response to me was ‘I have to go down to pay my 18 dimes so I can keep my room’! Poor Valda……the sad thing was, was that she wasn’t convinced that she wanted to keep her room as her bed was not all that comfortable! Well, I had a perfect suggestion, how bout I take her back to her room so she can give her bed another test & have another little sleep in it & that might help her with her final decision! She thought that was a fantastic idea & so yet again Valda & I clutched hands & started the slow walk back to her room. I reminded her at that point that her room was very special as she even had a photo of herself blown up & put on her door just as a reminder that was her special room. She did agree with me at that point that the 18 dimes might just be worth spending, but she will still have to wait & see!

Unfortunately Valda’s dementia reached a stage where she was no longer able to manage in the hostel part of ‘the establishment’ so she has recently been transferred over to the nursing home section. It is still all part of the one main building but it is just further out the back & I don’t get to see Valda as much as she is not given the freedom to “wander”!

I noticed since Valda had moved to the nursing home section that she had lost weight & I suspected she was starting to lose her interest in food, so I came up with a plan. One day I asked her if she liked smarties & she rapidly responded ‘oh yes, there my favourite’, I wasn’t convinced that she had any idea what I was asking about but I thought it was worth a shot!

One of my favourite things to do seeings I am unable to eat anything is to suck on smarties  so I always have an endless supply of smarties. They just melt in your mouth so beautifully so I thought they would be perfect for Valda! Every time we get our medications here we get them in a little disposable medicine cup, so I thought that would be a perfect size for some smartes for Valda! I managed to convince one of the carers to give me a supply & I liked filled one & took off on my little smartie giving trip! WELL……….Valda was thrilled, it was like Christmas had just arrived & Santa had come bearing gifts. She loved them & ate them very slowly but you could tell she savouring every new smartie! I was thrilled, she was thrilled so we had two very happy campers!

The next day came & I thought to myself, I had better make sure I stay true to my smartie promise ‘I will see you tomorrow Valda with your smarties’, so off i went again with the half filled medicine cup of smarties. Walked into Valda’s room & presented her with her smarties that I had promised her from yesterday! She looked at me with a blank look on her face & said ‘I didn’t have any smarties yesterday’ & I thought for a second was it wRoth my effort going into the details of how I brought them down etc & I quickly decided it wasn’t! So, we went down the same road again…….it was just like Santa had come for the first time with a half medicine cup of smarties. The look of delight on her face was absolutely one of sheer delight & if only I could have taken a picture of her adorable face, but for her & her families sake I feel it is important that I give her some privacy. What I did capture though was a picture of her holding the smartie cup & that is just special in itself!

After spending the time with Valda that I have since I have been living with the oldies I have learned that Valda held an extremely professional job when she was younger, which would have required many years of study. She still to this day is a very attractive lady & takes great delight in being told how pretty she looks. The only thing that poor Valda is missing is her ability to remember her day to day activities, her ability to shower & toilet herself, & Im sure it won’t be too long where she will no longer be able to feed herself. What a horrible disease that can affect anyone! No matter who you are, what you’ve done in your  life you are not immune from the dreaded “D” word, dementia.

In saying all this, I don’t want to finish this post on a negative note as that was not at all my intention! Even though Valda is not able to recall that I bought her a cup of smarties the day before, the sheer pleasure she gets each new day from her new surprise is so wonderful. VaIda is happy, she is not distressed by her situation as she is not aware that she is not able to remember. I guess for me, it is just a reminder to enjoy & treasure every day, never take anything or anyone for granted because you just never know how long you have them for!Major on the majors & leave the minors to take care of themselves! God bless the Valda’s of this world!

Valda with her smartes
Valda with her smartes

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Just what every girl needs…..a PEDICURE & A MANICURE!

I don’t know whether your feet have ever got to the stage where you’d be ashamed to have an elephant see them????? Well, believe more mine had certainly reached that stage, being winter & all, you become less self conscious of what your toes look like because all your shoes are closed in so really, who cares????? Me!!! I HATE crusty feet, especially being in the establishment & having people help me with my shower every day, I can’t exactly hide them away! I have been dying to get out & have a pedicure but its not that easy these days. Firstly, I can’t just wander up the street & book myself into the local Vietnamese pedicure production line place, ‘the establishment’ is not so keen for me to go on little self initiated outings by myself……..can’t think why, I think I’m quite steady with my four wheeled frame, as long as I don’t come across any bumps in the pavement😉.Secondly, my finances these days don’t allow for too much self indulgence & I would certainly consider a pedicure indulging oneself!

But, what you need to know about me is that I have the most amazing friends who spoil me rotten & this was one of those occasions. I thought we were going to get our crusty feet made fresh & brand new but as it turned out she had also booked us in for a manicure. I couldn’t believe my ears when the lady announced “two for manicure & pedicure”, I turned around & said to my friend “are we having a manicure as well” & her response was”of course, we can’t have one without the other!!” Oh, my goodness I thought I was about to die & go to heaven…..not only was I out of ‘the establishment’ but I was going to be pampered for the next 90 minutes & pampered I was!

We were spoilt with hot wax on both our feet & hands which once removed made them feel so soft & not crusty. My feet were massaged, my calves were massaged & then the final part, painting my now soft & moist toes with my favourite toe nail colour – bright red! I had to take a photo & ill put it at the bottom of the post!

We then moved onto our finger nails & the pampering continued & I honestly felt so spoilt! The chairs we were sitting on we’re like big red thrones & so comfortable I could have easily fallen asleep, but I couldn’t, I just couldn’t or I would miss out on being spoilt. My finger nail colour is a lot  obvious obvious I prefer my hands to not be the centre of attention

I truly must say that even though I’m living with oldies & the establishment can sometimetimes be a little trying I am one of the luckiest girls around. I have so many wonderful friends who genuinely care for me & are so kind to me!!! All I can say is I am one BLESSED girl & thanks a million Kym I had the best time ever! A day to remember!!

My beautiful red toes!!!
My beautiful red toes!!!