Monthly Archives: September 2013

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!
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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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