January 2020 Update

Who ever thought we would live this long?

Dennis had his 74th birthday a little over a week ago. Both of our daughters made the trip to be with him. They are always mindful now that each trip could be the last time for them to see their dad. Even though that is always the case with all of us, we take it more seriously when there is a diagnosis, a known cause for demise.

I think we all enjoyed the time together. I asked the girls what changes they saw in Dennis. I think they both noticed a weight loss, but not much else. He was even tempered, thinking fairly well, and able to be present in all the activities we did inside. None of us stayed up late or partied hard. We tried to get outside as much as we could, and that’s where Dennis declined, staying in to watch tv or take a nap. I did feel like we left him alone a number of times but he didn’t say that he minded.

His birthday gifts included a boom box which he now uses to play his audio cds, a masculine neck chain with a cross which he had expressed interest in having, and a 23andMe kit to get his DNA tested. Oh, and steak knives to help cut all that tough meat that I serve him… He was pleased with it all. Instead of cake he wanted pie, and he got it.

He has immersed himself in the viewpoints of his favorite tv speakers. That did get him into trouble once when conversing with his youngest, who had to point out to him that there might be differing ways of looking at things. I think this little tense moment might have been even worse if it had happened a couple years ago. His condition has actually mellowed him somewhat – he is less sure of himself, and maybe more humble. He did not wish to antagonize and got past it quite well, I thought.

There are always uncertain moments when he wants to speak in public, which he does not shy away from. I never know what he is going to say, although it is usually something I have already heard him saying at home. He is thinking all the time, trying to analyze his dreams and the different events that fill his days. He is always remarking about how bizarre things seem to him. I am always remarking about how awkward things seem to me.

By the grace of God, Dennis is still physically mobile although very cautious and slow. He hasn’t lost control of any bodily functions either. He is still bothered with the hand tremor and his voice is often weak and wispy, but everything else is pretty much like a normal old man (a very old man).

Activities which he is able to enjoy include exercising at the hospital gym, which has also provided some new interesting friends and some good lunches at the bistro. I read to him often and he is able to stay wakeful and interested for long periods of time. And just today I showed him the karaoke app on my iPad and had him sing a number of songs. I think that might help strengthen his voice, and he did pretty well at it.

What more can I say? I think we are doing well.

Dressed in his usual outfit, at my nephew’s birthday which was a few days after his. He looks a little bored at the moment but he had a good time.