22 December 2023

"The Long Goodbye"

My "Cousin-in-law" wrote me three days ago-
"Ron went to be with our Lord last night".
Ron was my first cousin; three months my elder and the only older cousin on the Paternal side of my family. In many ways we were like brothers.

Dementia runs in our family. My Paternal Grandfather spent the last couple years of his life sharing his life with an imaginary person in the room. The stories he told that person may as well have been on an endless loop tape-
He told exactly the same story in exactly the same way over and over and over.
His daughter... Ron's Mother, similarly died of Alzheimer's a few years ago. Ron's Mother's brother, our Uncle Bob, died of the same disease six or so years ago.
Me and all my cousins in that branch of the family are acutely aware that we might have memory problems in the future, so cousin Ron's problem was no surprise.
My sister and I are fortified that my Father and Mother made it into their 80's with their mental faculties intact. But that fact comes with no promises.

So when Sara Jean's sister came down with symptoms indicating some form of dementia we knew what the progression of the disease would look like:
Her sister became combative and paranoid- accused her husband of having an affair with anything with a skirt. She slept with a butcher knife 'neath her pillow. Her husband eventually locked her in her bedroom for his (and her) protection.

Now we're pretty sure Sara Jean is in early-stage Lewy Body Dementia. She still functions ALMOST normally, spoiling Big Bubba and me as if we are Kings.
But we are noticing some slight changes-
She is MUCH more forgetful of simple things.
She imagines she has told us things that neither of us remember talking about.
When we deny she has told us these things she is instantly VERY angry and the anger is, quite frankly, a little scary.
She sleeps A LOT... several hours during the day. Then she doesn't understand why she awakens at 0300 hours and cannot get back to sleep.

At this point the situation has not required much change in my personal life. I do wonder if her sleep habits are going to begin to require a change in my sleeping too. (And of course I worry that eventually she'll bring a butcher knife to the bedroom. And then there's that little Ruger automatic within reach just beneath her side of the bed that I am beginning to be a little concerned about).

Cousin Ron's wife and I have been in contact as his disease progressed. There was a point where she wrote, "He no longer recognizes me".
Therefore... "The Long Goodbye".

We are being realistic, but praying for a miracle.

08 December 2023

Tribute Bands

This was one of the bands playing during our cruise aboard "The Norwegian Bliss".
Excellent entertainment!
Their performance set me to thinking-
A couple months ago we drove three hours to see a "Chicago" tribute band called "Leonid and Friends".
Over the last couple years we've seen tribute bands doing the music of the "Beach Boys" and "Earth, Wind, and Fire".
A friend has tickets in hand to see an "Eagles" tribute soon. (We cannot go due to a previous commitment.)
"Baby Boomer" music is SO popular... seen in movies and on TV.
How long will it continue to be, seemingly, the most popular music of the land?