Category Archives: Funny chats & how they make me think

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!!!

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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!!!!!)

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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Is it 10 o’clock yet?????

Every morning I seem to have the pleasure of bumping in to this same woman who is insistent that on her sheet it says that the bus leaves at 10am for the shops. Now, there is some truth in that, we do have a shopping bus trip that takes those more able & trustworty resident’s to the local shopping centre for one & a half hours on a Friday so we can do our little bits & pieces for the week. Needless to say ‘our friend’ is not on that bus & will never be on any bus that allows her to roam independently.

I decided foolishly & against better judgement to advise her that there is no buses today nor will there probably be any for the week. Well, it started, do I have any idea what it is like to have done flower arranging for 81 years???? Well, no I don’t guess I do was my response! But I had a better suggestion, ‘what about exercise classes they are always fun & a laugh’………..’i’ve been doing exercises for 81 years & I don’t feel like a laugh!!!!’

OK, I wasn’t having much luck with my cranky & getting crankier fellow resident! She then proceeded to rant at me for a good two minutes as to why the ‘establishment’ was not the place for her, that she needed to catch buses daily & get out to be with other non-boring people. After wiping my rather wet face (from the many sprays that I received as she described her unbearable predicament), I walked away telling her she would be best to go & wait for the bus if that was what she wanted & I hoped for her sake she was lucky enough to get a ride!

Two hours later I saw her at lunch with a big grin on her face throwing back a nice big rack of lamb………the bus trip all but forgotten! Ah…….living with the oldies – a fresh perspective, keep your sense of humour Jen!!