Friday, December 26, 2008

December 28, 2002

Picture this, in a bedroom with an adjoining bath: music blasting, loud talking and five women in their underwear, ironing clothes, fixing each other's hair, gossiping, joking, laughing, putting on makeup and not letting any men in the room.

I suddenly realized how much I missed my family--the mess, the noise, the yelling, the hugging, the helping. What a way to start Christmas Eve.

Before I moved here in August, all my kids lived with me except my kids lived with me except my oldest daughter Kristina. Then my second daughter, Jennifer, and her daughter Adias, moved to Oklahoma. My son, Erik, stayed in Decatur to be with his girlfriend. My forth child, Jessica, moved to Virginia for college and my daughter, Regina (still in high school), moved with us. So the "empty nest" feeling was hard upon me. Having them all home for Christmas made me miss them even and realize how precious they all are.

This was the slowest and most wonderful week of the year 2002. We spent Christmas Day at home alone, if you call ten people in a house "alone." We went to the movies and saw Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. The next day we went tot he Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Of course Dad was with us and we all had a great time. I bathed him on the night before so he didn't have to take a bath that morning. It was hustle and bustle in the house with so many people and only two bathrooms!

I told Dad we were going for a ride and he was good with that. He went willingly into the car and seemed happy. At the museum we had a little wait before we were able to rent a wheelchair; Dad became impatient due to all the noise and crowds. But the kids were having a great time and once we got started, they took turns pushing his wheelchair. Each one would take time to talk to Dad, pointing things out for him or just saying, "I love you," He smiled each time they offered a little extra attention.

The museum had an area lined with Christmas trees from all over the world. We walked down the aisle and Dad kept telling us to , "Hurry now." But when we got to the section with the old-fashioned cars and fire engines, he seemed to calm down and enjoy himself. Before we left, we stopped at the old ice cream parlor for a treat. Thee was a long line, and Dad lost patience while we waited, but brightened up once he got his ice cream.

On the 27th of December we had an Open House. I thought this might be a good opportunity for Dad to see his family land some of his old friends. I'd discovered that many people were uncomfortable around Dad now, and they found many reasons not to stop by. I decided that an Open House, with Dad surrounded by his family, would make their visit a little less uncomfortable. These people all remembered Dad before he was sick and didn't want to see him in his current state. In any case, we all had a wonderful time. Dad even danced for everyone.

The next day the kids began to leave but that evening we went to a family reunion on my mother=in-law's side of the family. We had a great time.

My children are certainly getting an education on Alzheimer's. They have seen their Grandfather show the ugly side when he gets upset and acts like a child, fighting , kicking and swearing. but they also can see his nice side, when Dad tells them he loves them or asks them how they are doing. They are learning to be caregivers, not letting him get up without his walker or fetching him drinks when he asks. They have learned to be patient when he asked the same thing over and over again.

They can't believe how he doesn't sleep at night, as they hear me get up repeatedly and put him back to bed. They also had time to enjoy him. We did karaoke and , while Dad didn't sing he did get up and dance.. They made him a part of the family, just as if he always was like this from the beginning.

Remember, life is a gift from God, so please obey His will and enjoy His gift. Live each five minutes like it is your last.

Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint of James A. Rock & Co., Pub.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas,
I have to apologize because I have not been on here for about ten days. My computer caught a virus and it has taken this long to get it fixed. My son in law Arin, who works for Dell has been slaving over this machine the last 4 days and finally has it up and running.

Hope you remember the meaning of Christmas. It is when God let his Son Jesus come to earth and be born to the virgin Mary so that he could save our sins.

I have to say that I am enjoying this holiday with family. All my grandchildren will be here tomorrow and Christmas is for kids. I can't wait till they see the stockings under the tree and than watch there little faces as they open up their gifts.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.
Love and God Bless You All,
Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock @ Co., Pub.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 15, 2002

Just got back from running 3 miles. I had no idea how stiff my legs got from living in the hospital last week. Even though I was working and kickboxing, I sat around more than usual. I woke up with aches on the right side of my body including my shoulder, arm, and leg. Now I think it must be from using the belt I put around Dad's waist to help him walk. I didn't know I used so much muscle to do this.

Now we have a monitor in Dad's room so we can hear him get up or move around. I heard him get up and ran into his room. I put on his pants and shoes for him, while he cried, because he insists that he can do this himself.

I was told that Dad is not to lean down until his hip heals. Now he's telling me that there is a cut on the side of his hip and points it our. He keeps taking off the dressing and I keep putting it back on. I make him repeat after me, "My hip has to heal. My hip had to heal."

He has no clue that he was in the hospital last week, so I haven't taken off his white bracelets yet. This way I can prove to him that he was in the hospital and that is why his hip has to heal.

Now he wants to get up and I tell him he has to use his walker. Like a stubborn child, he puts his hands on his hips, and asks why. I repeat every thing about his new hip and the doctor's orders. Then, surprisingly, he gets up, picks up the walker and walks pretty steadily down the hall. He is picking up the walker instead of rolling it and we pass the belt that I've been using to help him walk. He asks me, "What is this?"

I can't believe how well he is using the walker. Then he gets into his favorite chair and puts his hand on his head. He gets a very sad look and asks, "Where is my hair?"

Now this is bad. We can't find it. Dad is balk and wears a wig. Now Jimmy and Gina and i are searching the house for it and finally find it with his necklace and rings. his eyes sparkled as he put on his wig, necklace and rings. I had to leave and cry some joyful tears to see him so happy.

Hope you are enjoying the little of my book. I want to thank Pam for letting me come to her Support Group at Glencroft Care Center. I enjoyed sharing my story and listening to theirs. I will be in Ahwatukee on January 3rd at the Mountain View Lutheran church, and with another of Pam's Support Groups, to share my story, and listen to yours. Please drive safe, because it is very dangerous with all this rain.

Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock @ Co., Pub.

Monday, December 15, 2008

December 14,2002

My husband, Jimmy, stayed with Dad yesterday and spent the night. I got off work at about 5 a.m. and went to the hospital. I was told that Dad was to be released by 9 a.m. and that the doctor wanted to talk to us. The doctor wants to put Dad in rehab. in a nursing home. I am fighting him about it because, although Dad can follow directions, he doesn't remember anything for more than five minutes ago. What good will a nursing home do but depress him and make him worse?

It is now 10 a.m. and the doctor is still not here and I am getting crabby. I just got off of a 13-hour, all-night shift and I want to go home and get some sleep. I went to the nurses' station and asked when the doctor is coming in but they could not tell me.

I explained that I was told he would be here at 9 o'clock. I had a lot to do, I worked all night and I was tired. They promised to page him. I gave them 15 minutes and went back to the desk. They said the doctor didn't answer the page.

Finally, I told them that I was taking Dad home now. I said I'd sign the papers saying I understood that this was against his doctors orders. The nurses got very upset and called the supervisor. I went back to the room to get Dad dressed and a few minutes later the phone rang. It was one of his doctors asking if I could wait about an hour for him to get there and release Dad. I told him I was leaving at 11:15, whether he showed up of not.

Finally, at 10:45, one of the doctors arrived and by 11:00 the other doctor showed up. Then the therapy people arrived and by the time we got all the paperwork done, it was noon before we were able to leave.

Dad was getting antsy and wanted out of there. We were not moving fast enough. When the P.T. people came in to help get him in his wheelchair, it seemed like it took him forever and all he did was argue. He wanted out and was very upset because we weren't moving fast enough.

I was told that Medicare was going to supply us with a walker and a raised commode. Someone from rehab will come by a couple of times a week and social services are supposed to come to see what we need. I am so glad that they are going to work with us.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year
Hope you have enjoyed reading some of my book.
Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock & Co., Pub.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December 10, 2002

Dad had surgery today, We took him to the hospital at 10 a.m. this Tuesday morning and by 1:15 he'd left for surgery. At 5:15 the doctor came out and said everything went well and we could see him in his room in about an hour. Can't wait.

We figure that his recovery will be hit and miss. Tonight he should be tired because of the narcotics. Tomorrow, when they start weaning him off, he'll be awake and the fight will begin. They want to keep him here for three or four days. They also want him to go to a nursing home for rehab. I don't think so---he can't even handle being in his own home for a day. how can he possibly handle a nursing home?

That is why we moved here---so that we could take care of him and he wouldn't be in a nursing home.

When Dad got our of recovery he was amazing. he began talking almost immediately. He's confused as always, telling the nurses that I'm his wife and my name is Joann. He also must have asked one million times, "Where was he?"

He wanted to get up and walk. We got him to eat what they called dinner, consisting of clear broth, tea, gelatin, and ice cream. I told the nurses I would stay to take care of Dad, but they told me to go home; that he was in good hands. I gave the nurses my phone number, just in case. I said I could be there in ten minutes.

Well, sure enough, I was not home two hours when the phone rang. Dad had ripped out his catheter, torn off his dressing s and tried to pull out the drain port. And, of course, he tried getting out of bed. So there I was, with my trusty blanket, as I knew I'd have a long night ahead of me.

He did not sleep. He talked and chanted prayers and begged me to take the restraints off. He yelled and swore at me. He told me he was going to bite me or knock me down. The best one was he said he'd tell the teamsters what was going on, because "It was not right."

Sometimes he was mean and ugly and sometimes he was sweet. I'd say, "Hush, Dad. You are waking up the house."

He would say he was sorry and be quiet for 15 minutes. Then it would start again.

Well, all in all, it was a good day. Dad is alive and feisty and I still have the privilege of taking care of him

Hope you enjoyed this little bit from my journal. Happy Holidays.
Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock & Co., Pub.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hope you have been looking on line at the Alzheimer's Web Sites. On the home page of Alzheimer's Weekly it says " You don't get to choose how you are going to die. Or When. You only can decide how you are going to live.NOW." From the Check out her advice column. This month it is on "Making your home a safe haven: Simple changes that protect independence." Alzheimer's Society, The latest News, "Alzheimer's Society Comment on ONS figure that almost a quarter of the UK's population will be over 65 by 2032." Just to name a few. Also I hope you are trying to find a support group. It is important to talk to other people going through what you are going through. And don't feel guilty about respite care. If you don't take care of yourself, how can you take care of your loved one.
Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock & Co., Pu.

Monday, December 8, 2008

December 9, 2002

This Monday morning began with Dad yelling at 3:00 a.m. frm his bedroom that he's, "O.K. and cleaning it up." I jumped out of bed to see what was wrong. It was obvious that he'd had an "accident." He propped a chair on his bedroom door to keep us out. Even ourside the door, I smelled the wonderful aroma of his bowel movement. I asked him if I could help.

He was adamant, however, and said he'd clean it up himself. It was 3 a.m. and I was too tired to fight, so I went back to bed. Then, at 5 a.m., Dad leaves the bedroom and starts down the hall. I make him go back to bed and tuck him in but at 6 a.m. my daughter up and vomiting in the bathroom.

Finally, at 8:00, Dad is up. He is upset with me because I am going to make him take a bath. "You know," he said, "I took one yesterday and I fought two wars and I am a grown up!" Finally, I got him in the bathroom with clean clothes. I am waiting, but I don't hear him splashing in the bath water I drew for him. I look inside and he is standing by the bathroom sink with his head and neck full of soap. Of course, I told him he must get into the bathtub and he says that he is leaving because I am bothering him. I did manage to get his nasty clothes and sheets and put them in the washing machine.

I am not venting, just telling how the week is starting.

But with a smile on my face, I love taking care of this man. I wish he wouldn't get so upset with me, but I know he doesn't mean it.

Hope you enjoyed this entry. It does bring back memories, of a man I love and will always cherish in my heart. I hate what this diesase did to him. But the memories of him the many years before is what gave me the strenght and love to care for him. Thank you God for giving me the chance to try and give him some of what he gave me all those years. I know that it is holiday time, and it is hard to keep Christmas alive while your loved one has Alzheimer's. Keep praying. Look for Respite care for a needed break. Also try to find a support group.

Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretaker's Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A. Rock & Co., Pub

Thursday, December 4, 2008

December 5, 2002

Today is Thursday and I am seeing another side of the disease now. Dad gets angry, now. He puts his fists up and tires to kick me. He's tried to get out of the car while I'm driving, and hits the dashboard, hard, with his fists. He grabs anything he can get his hands on (like my cell phone) and throws it while I am driving. His language is very bad.

I think the pain from his hip is causing some of this behavior. I was giving him Celebrex for the pain, but the doctors want it out of his system before his hip operation. I am just to give him Tylenol now.

I am trying to learn to make him more comfortable and remember that we are here to take care of each other. I remember the saying, "Be an angel, practice random acts of kindness

This is just going back in time when dad was still here. I do miss him so. I hope you enjoy the little inserts from my journal.

Hope you are having a good December. Remember that Christmas is to celebrate Jesus birth. Also don't forget to get some respite time to be with the rest of your family, and enjoy the holiday. Find a good support group to go to. And don't forget the sites on the Internet.
Alzheimer's Weekly, Alzheimer's Society, OurAlzheimer',, The Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referal Center to name a few.

Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A Rock & Co., Pub.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

DECEMBER 3, 2002

Today is the first time Dad showed physical violence. We got a call from the Daycare Center today because Dad was getting violent. They said he was arguing with everyone. Then, when he tried to stand up, an aide went to help him and Dad yelled, "Look! She's touching me! I need an attorney."

When I got there I asked him who I was but he could not tell me. I tried to put his coat on, but this made him angry and violent. He would not let me put his coat on and tried to get out of his chair, yelling, "No, you are not taking me back to Germany. You are all Nazi's. You are trying to kill me."

It took three of us to get him outside to the car (without his coat). At the car, Dad had his fists to me and a growl on his face. He threatened to kick me and started swearing. I hit his mouth and told him I was going to put soap in his mouth to clean it up. I asked, "Did he kiss his mother with that mouth?"

I told him how difficult he was being and finally we got him into the car. I lectured him, like a child, about his behavior. He fell asleep while driving home. I didn't talk to him much at home. I gave him his dinner and left. I tinted my hair and played on the computer-----just kept my distance for a while.

I am sharing a little of my journal with you from a Christmas Past. It is Christmas. You feel like you have chains on, and can't enjoy the holiday. Don't forget that you can get respite care so that you can do some shopping or just enjoy a night out during this holiday time. Always look for a support group. Merry Christmas.

Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard Press An Imprint Of James A Rock & Co., Pub.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I asked God to take away my habit
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow
God said, No.
You must grow on your own! But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that i might enjoy life,
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
God said. . . . AHHH, finally you have the idea.

Take care, and God Bless You! Merry Christmas!
Marie Fostino
Alzheimer's A Caretakers Journal
Seaboard, An Imprint of James A. Rock & Co., Pub.