I’ve been saying for a while on FB that Tony isn’t very well, but haven’t gone into a lot of detail. I’m more open on Twitter because family don’t see it (with one exception – sorry Ro!). It’s where a lot of my support network is. Now it’s time to put a bit more on my blog.
Tony’s got multiple complex health needs – diabetes, kidneys, congestive heart failure & AF, peripheral vascular disease, lung issues and there’s serious problems with his gut. We’re not investigating any of it because he doesn’t want much intervention and isn’t well enough for surgery etc. He lives on Fortisip, yoghurt, and ‘baby veges’ i.e. mashed potato, pumpkin, carrot etc and very occasionally a tiny bit of pork sausage from Normanby Butchers cooked by Tairoa Lodge. Oddly, it’s about the only meat he can eat.
He had a fall last Sunday and again early this morning. No broken bones, but a decent bruise and painful lump on the back of his neck. Hospice think he’s having TIA (transient ischemic attacks) which are like mini strokes caused by a clot blocking blood supply in the brain.
They seem to come in swarms, leave him very sleepy, with slurred speech for a bit and a few other physical signs such as his hands dropping constantly. He also talks rubbish for a bit – we’ve both had a few laughs out of it. I can kind of spot when they’re going to start now, which isn’t as useful as it sounds! After they stop, he sleeps deeply, often for only a few seconds or minutes at a time, but falls asleep over and over for hours.
I am booked to go for a break at the end of this week. His brother Roger and a caregiver/friend, Janet, were going to look after him at home between them. After this morning’s fall we’ve agreed that’s not safe so he is going into Te Mahana for respite care, and to try it out. It’s a big step but feels inevitable.
As many of you know, Tony has Power of Attorney for his cousin Alison, who has dementia. In less than two years we have moved her from her home to a serviced apartment, then from the apartment to a rest home room. On Tuesday she is moving to the secure unit because her wandering is at the dangerous stage.
I had PoA for Aunt J and her journey was similar. The secure unit she was in was scruffy, but the staff were fantastic. Both Tony and I were apprehensive about moving Alison because she is used to having nice things, in nice surroundings. We were both pleasantly surprised by how stylish the secure unit at Jane Winstone is. To be honest, I doubt Alison will even notice the difference the change. They have activity people on deck for around 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, which will help keep her occupied too.
Once the staff have shifted her on Tuesday we’ll need to clean out her room because she won’t need much in the way of ornaments etc, as they mean nothing to her now really, and get rid of her furniture. We’ll leave a couple of sets of clothing and bring the rest home – I’ll go through it all and see what she’s got before doing a major shop. I know, from Aunt J’s time, that she needs easy wear easy care, so it’ll be tracksuits etc.
It feels sad she is deteriorating so quickly, but of course she is unaware. As the staff member we spent time with today said, “Alison is happy and will make new friends quickly”.
Tonight I’m back into my fav Dina Wakley art journal, playing with Alison’s old photos. The words I’ve used, “my someone”, relate to her memory loss and the fact she feels no connection to her photos. I suspect dementia is harder on those watching than those fading.
I haven’t done a lot of art this weekend, by my standards anyway. I did have a big clean up of my supplies, plus some card making, but just the two journal pages.
The CMP2018 one I kept this simple because I love using my Tim Holtz stars stencil & it seemed to fit the theme. Distress Oxides, Nuvo embellishment paste, while acrylic paint.
The other one is another of Alison’s photos in my fav Dina Wakley journal. The background is Tim Holtz Distress Oxides on kraft. This has been a tough week with Alison, she was very confused when Tony visited, and he had some legal stuff to see to, so it’s good to document the happier times including her childhood.
I love Finnabair‘s work but it’s not my style, so I took some of her recipe and made it my own, which is a good way to work anyway. I’m still using old photos belonging to Tony’s cousin Alison – she has dementia and no longer remembers the people and places, so using them in my art gives them some new meaning. This is the last day of cjs18; I’ll do a wrap-up post shortly.
Day 2, inspired by Tina Walker. The prompts I used were crayons, sprays, drawing, stencils and splattering. The photo is an old family one that wasn’t needed so I figured repurposing it was better than throwing it out! The page references our journey with Tony’s cousin Alison who has dementia. Some days she’s fairly coherent but other days her long-term memory is poor and her short-term memory almost non-existent.