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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

:) I'm Back

I've been gone for quite a while! Thanks again for all the comments and emails. I really appreciate it! Things are going remarkably well...except that I've been having some serious computer problems., and Fee has been out of town. Since I've been so busy lately, it hasn't bothered me as much as it normally would, but it is amazing how addictive blogging is and how much you come to depend on it.

Laddie's surgery went smooth as silk, and the pacemaker is working quite well. Leaving him in the care of my brothers, Fee and I left on Friday afternoon to go to Natchez and then to Baton Rouge for Mila's birthday - a fun-filled and hectic party with 4 year olds! Then returned on Sunday night.

Laddie was released from the hospital on Tuesday, and we had made arrangements for him to go to The Cottage at the Glen, an Alzheimer's Unit. It is a marvelous place, and he thought he was in a hotel and wanted to tip the staff! The place is huge and beautiful, and everyone is professional and caring. For the first few days, I went twice a day and watched television (huge, flat-screen), interacted with the "guests," sat in the sunroom, listened to a lady who can't remember much other than how to play the piano (and she plays beautifully... all the old tunes that generation love), had disconnected conversations with the friendly residents/guests, sat on the patio, exercised, etc.

As the days have gone by, Laddie has seemed more and more comfortable, less shy, and more content, although he never protested, as Dr. Liu told him it was for rehab. And he is receiving physical and occupational therapy several times a week.

The kitchen opens up into the "great room" and people sit around the bar that surrounds it as if at a counter at a diner. The dining area has lovely tables and looks like a nice restaurant; the food looks and smells delicious. It is all beautifully furnished and tastefully decorated...puts my house to shame. There are 15 apartments with microwaves and small refrigerators (a state requirement, but the guests are hardly aware of them). We put a queen size bed, a chest of drawers, a desk, and two of the chairs from home in Laddie's apartment, distributed family pictures all around, brought lost of his magazines (Ducks Unlimited, travel magazines, the Smithsonian, etc.) for him to browse through when he feels like it.

On Sunday, when I was visiting, he said, "Why don't you spend the night?" I said that I'd love to but that I couldn't right then...maybe soon. He must think he's on vacation and maybe he is. Lots of socialization, although they frequently introduce themselves anew each day. What thrills me is that I don't feel sad when I'm there - I'm amused and interested and happier - and confident that he is cared for and safe. The other guests (Mrs. D., Mr. W., Miss D., Mrs. A., Mrs. V, Mrs. J.; these are the most active and sociable) are friendly and sweet and remind me of the 4 year olds at Mila's birthday party!

I know this is a long post, but so much has gone on since I posted about ten days ago. Fee worked on my computer last night and things are better, but still not quite right. He had to go back to Texas again today, but made sure I could play on the computer before he left.


  1. It's so nice to have you back, and to hear that all is well and Laddie is doing so well. We are going through the same thing with having just moved my mother-in-law to an Alzheimer's facility. We appreciate so much how nice the facility is, the quality of her care, and all the caring people involved. And your observations of the residents were fun--and described the folks in my mother-in-law's place, too. Have a nice week, now that you're home.

  2. Glad to hear Laddie is doing well! And it's great to see you back.

  3. Robin- I can so empathize with what you are going through. Such a difficult and painful situation, watching those you love decline mentally, but having a good support system is so important. I'm glad you've found a good facility for your mother-in-law.

    Thanks for a good welcome back to the blog world!

    Dewey - Thanks! Glad to be back. Laddie is doing fine, and I'm so grateful.

  4. Nice to have you back! I've missed your posts! I'm very glad the surgery went well.

  5. I also missed you and was worried. So glad Laddie is well situated and you had a chance to enjoy Mila's special day. Yes ... blogging is an addiction!

  6. That's great news, Jenclair. I'm happy that all went well for you and Laddie and that your computer is on the mend now.

    Your description of the care facility put a smile on my face. We had much the same experience a few years ago with my wife's grandmother who really enjoyed the center in which she lived for a while. She was surrounded by friendly residents and staff who genuinely seemed to be happy with each other's company...and the stories they told about the old days were a living history lesson to me and my wife. I'll always remember her story about the first automobile that she ever saw (it belonged to the county preacher) and how it ran off the little bridge when she was being given a short ride home from church...her first auto and her first accident within minutes of each other. :-)

    Welcome back.

  7. Yay you are back! So happy to hear the surgery went well.

  8. So glad to hear from you again! Missed you and your posts :) I'm glad to hear things are going well.

  9. I was growing concerned. I am so relieved that all are doing well and hopefully your computer is on the mend also. I am so glad that Laddie is doing well and enjoying his "spa vacation". Wishing you joy and a quiet week. Cheers

  10. I'm so glad to hear everything is well!

  11. What a lovely, lovely post. I'm glad Laddie is doing well. The care facility sounds fabulous! What a blessing to have found something so comfortable and welcoming.

  12. I think everyone was a little worried about you--glad you're back! "The Cottage at the Glen" sounds like a very nice and cheerful place. I'm glad Laddie is doing better. Welcome back!

  13. Stephanie- Thanks! Things are going well. :)

    ACey - It was hard being without a computer, and thanks, ACey, for caring.

    Sam - Having a good care facility is a marvelous thing. Yesterday the Cottage had a watermelon party...that must have brought back a lot of memories. I do wish we had asked more about Laddie's childhood before he had lost so much memory, but we treasure the stories we have.

    Chris - Thanks! I've missed being here and checking up on everyone!

    Jeannie - Funny isn't it, how we can worry when a blog is silent? It truly is a caring community. Thanks, Jeannie!

    Dorothy - Thanks, thinks are much better now.

    Les - Yesterday, Laddie introduced me to his friend (as if he'd known her all his life...and he probably thinks he has). He and Miz Virginia were having monologues together, but occasionally, in the sweetest way, checking to see if one would like ice water or part of the paper.

    Gentle Reader - The pacemaker is doing its job, and Laddie has much more energy. The Cottage is a wonderful place; we're lucky (and grateful) to have such a nice place for him.

  14. I'm so glad you feel so comfortable about the place where Laddie has gone to live. I went through this with my mother three years ago and after all the horror stories you hear about 'care' facilities I was absolutely thrilled with the home she found a place in. It was especially for people who were either blind or partially sighted and so her life suddenly became very much easier. it was such a relief. I hope things continue to go well.

  15. It's nice to hear that Laddie is in place that he likes. So often it seems traumatic for people--and I can't blame them for not liking being in that situation. It does sound like a nice place, though! Hope he continues to do well. Glad you're back, too!

  16. Jenclair, sending all love and hugs. My own father had a stroke on Monday morning, and I'm still waiting to hear the results of tests he had yesterday afternoon. I'm glad to hear things are going well with your father, and wish him a speedy recovery from his surgery.

  17. Very happy to have you back Jenclair and to know all is going well with you and yours, especially Laddie.

    I recently saw a movie that you might enjoy seeing, it's called "Away With Her". It is based on an Alice Munro short story called "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" and is directed by Sarah Polley.

  18. Glad you're back. Good to hear the surgery went well. The cottage sounds like a wonderful place.

  19. So glad you're back and that everything, except for the computer, is well. You've been missed. Look forward to more regular posting from you once again.

  20. I wrote responses to most of these and lost it the other day, so I'm trying again.

    Danielle - So far, so good. It is the perfect setting for him right now, and I'm enjoying my visits much more than when he was at home with caretakers. Much relief!

    Lisa - Thanks, and I'm hoping that your father is recovering. My thoughts are with you.

    Lotus - Thanks for the movie rec - it is now on my Netflix list!

    Stefanie - Thanks, I'm glad to be back. Laddie is still doing well!

    Carl - Cranky Computer is being obliging this morning. Thanks, Carl!