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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Much Needed Day Outside

Since my dad came to live with us, most of my time is spent looking after his needs. If he wants to go out for a ride, we go, but then he usually doesn't want to get out of the car. We just drive around. Sometimes with a destination in  mind, sometimes not. Most times though, if we have a destination, it is someplace that I run into real quick, like the store. About the only time we ever really stop anywhere is at Olive Garden to eat lunch. I never thought I would say this, but I'm kind of tired of Olive Garden.

Once we tried going up to Coralville Lake. At that time the water was really high so most places were blocked off. We never got out of the car then either.

Today, Dad was out and about with my brother for the day. Bazinga and I had the day to ourselves. I grabbed my camera, we got in the car, and away we went.
I didn't know where I was going to go, I just went. I was out of the house, and I could go where ever I wanted. I pointed the car southwest and drove. I had a sense of freedom I hadn't had in two months. I love my dad dearly, and I am so grateful to have this time with him, but it is hard sometimes.

Dad's dementia is getting worse. Not quickly, thank God, but it is progressing. He asks me the same questions over and over again. Every single time Bazinga barks at something dad laughs and says, "what is he barking at now?" He thinks it is funny that he's barking. Me, not so much.

There are times when he goes thru his mail and asks me the same questions over and over. He will put one piece of mail down, after asking me questions about it, then pick it up again in a few minutes and ask the same questions again, and again a few more minutes later. I keep having to tell myself that he's not doing it on purpose. His short term memory doesn't transfer to long term memory. He truly doesn't remember asking the questions. It can be very frustrating, more for me than him, as he doesn't remember already asking.

That's why today was so needed. I needed a day to just clear my mind.  A day to just chase dragonflies and watch ducks. A day when I didn't have to answer ANY questions, much less the same one over and over. I sometimes feel like a mother of a toddler again. I know that sounds awful, but it is quite like that. Only this toddler is 160 pounds, and has every legal right to say no.

The saddest part is knowing that Dad is going to get worse, not better. A toddler grows and develops. He learns and becomes a little person. Dad is going to decline. He is going to lose what makes him, him. Knowing this makes me want to spend as much time with him as I can, but I do still need a break now and again. Honestly, I think he enjoys the break from me, too.

 Bazinga needed time out and about as well. We both enjoyed the day. We spent a long time at a little county park we found by Montezuma. There was a lake, and ducks and bullfrogs and dragon flies. We sat and watched. Just watched. And watched some more.

We got sunshine, we got fresh air, we got cleared minds. Well, Bazinga got fresh air and sunshine, there isn't much of a mind there to clear. He was happy none the less. He did all of the dog things. He sniffed, he peed, he sniffed, he peed. When he was done with that, he sniffed and peed some more. Whoever decided that someone who has a hard life has a "dog's life" didn't know my dog.

My favorite part of the day, just taking pictures. I fell on my butt at one point trying to get a photo of a dragonfly, but I didn't care. (I just hoped no one saw me. If they did, well, who cares. Odds are I will never see them again.) I picked myself up, brushed myself off and kept snapping away. Luckily, I didn't land on Bazinga. He was very happy about that.
Quiet surrounded me. It was wonderful. It was exactly what I needed. It fueled my energy. It helped me  gain strength for the days to come.
 Bazinga enjoyed the long ride home. His head out the window. His nose sniffing happily away.

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