What do you mean this is the last day of the year? The year has only started, correct? It only seems like we just started 2015 and now we are on the verge of starting 2016. How quickly time passes and many of us are so busy that we barely notice the changes as they occur.
Looking back over the last year many significant events occurred. We, like most, started January off sleeping in late, not because we were out partying though we did stay up later than usual. After that quiet beginning everything was off to the races.
I had good intentions about getting onto my bike and start riding and getting back into shape. It did not go as I had planned, do they ever? I let myself be my own worst enemy, I did not want to get up, I had too many errands to run, I needed to help Kathy with whatever (she usually did not need my help). We did notice that when she walked Scamp, she was taking longer and the distance was getting shorter.
In March two significant events occurred, the first event was that we made arrangements to start visits with my 12-year-old grandniece, Diamond. She is in Foster Care and likes the visits she has with family. The second event involved Kathy taking a series of tests. The results were somewhat surprising but not overly so. In October 2014, after a couple of near accidents, we decided that Kathy should not drive for a while until she was more aware of her surroundings. The test indicated that we had been wise to in our decision. Shortly thereafter Kathy decided that because she was walking so slowly, because of the pain, and Scamp was not getting the walk he needed and was use too I would take over walking him.
Because of these and many other changes I decided that I should give up being the Building Manager for my lodge. I enjoyed the interaction with the many groups who share the building and the work to maintain the building, but spending more and more time taking Kathy to appointments, I was not devoting the time I thought needed to be spent at the lodge.
In late June Kathy had a visit with a Neurologist. He ordered a mass of tests and procedures and in August told her she had Secondary Parkinson’s Disease. This threw both of us for a loop, even now 6 months later we still have times when it does not seem real.
Towards the end of August was a difficult time for both of us. I had gotten up early and walked Scamp, met with a friend to play a round of golf, drove out to Forest Grove where I picked up Diamond, we took her shopping for school clothes and out to dinner, back out to Forest Grove and then returned home. I took Scamp for our usual walk before going to bed. During our walk Scamp was playing, running and having a good time. Near the end of our walk Scamp jumped over a curb, gave a yelp and fell over. I picked him up and was holding him when he decided he wanted down. When I put him down he fell and had a Grand Mal seizure. After the seizure he had a hard time standing and walking. Kathy and I took him to the Emergency Vet Clinic and after evaluation we decided to let Scamp go. I did not want to prolong his suffering.
October began with Kathy and me spending a few days at the Oregon Gardens near Silverton, Oregon to celebrate our anniversary. It was good to get Kathy away from home and even though she had started using a walker most of the time, I had borrowed a wheelchair which we used while in the gardens. Adjacent to the Gardens is the Gordon House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which was moved to its present location to save it from being demolished. It is an interesting place to visit, but it is not a place that I would like to live in.
A few weeks later Kathy was referred to the Parkinson’s Clinic for evaluation. Since it only meets once a month we had to wait until December for an appointment. Here she was evaluated by another Neurologist, a Social Worker, a Physical Therapist and a Speech Therapist. The diagnosis was changed from Secondary to Primary Parkinson’s.
Over the past year our lives have changed in ways we could have never imagined. Becoming a care giver has changed my life in so many ways. Sometimes I think that Kathy feels that she may be a burden on me. In all the years we have been together and all the events we have shared, nothing could be further from the truth. We have taken care of each other all these years and many times I have felt that she has taken care of me more than I have her. Caring for her is a privilege for me to give back all that she has done for me.
Happy New Year – 2016