Monday, December 21, 2015

People in Hot Water

Yesterday was Sunday. Our day to visit with Uncle Bill. Our Sunday morning routine. Get there about 11 AM. See what groceries and personal items he needs for the week and George leaves to go get them. I busy myself with setting up his medications for the week so the aide can give them to him. Sometimes he is sleeping at this time. Yesterday he was awake. On the days he is awake he always starts off the same way.

UB: (stares at me) Well! You're here!
Me: Yes I am, UB.
90 seconds of silence ensue as he decides on the designated topic of the day. Today the topic will be Hot Water, and people who are in it.

UB: Well last night I was trying to sleep. A bunch of girls were in my bathroom. They were talking and laughing. My aide was in there too. They were using the hot water. You know, the hot water feels kind of good in the shower but you have to make sure you don't get it too hot. You can get burned.
Me: I know.
UB: Those guys in prison, they have to go to Joliet prison. Let me tell you, you do not want to go there. It is no time share. They don't like it in lock-up.
Me: Have you been in a jail with the prisoners?
UB: Oh no. Not me. I wouldn't like it. They give you way too hot showers. But there are a lot of innocent people in jail. For years, innocent people are stuck in lock-up.
Me: That would be a hard life.
UB: Up north, prison cells are underground. It is really bad to live underground. In Alcatraz, it was really bad but some of the prisoners escaped. They didn't want any more hot showers.
Me: Remember when we went on the tour at Alcatraz?
UB: Huh? Then they get on a boat and go to South America but they get stuck there. English prisoners also get stuck in South America. They cannot ever get out. 

(I am having guilt feelings. In one week we will be moving him to a Memory Care Unit where he lives. I know it is the right thing, but he will be giving up his large apartment and familiar way of life. It is going to be stressful for him at first. But he needs supervision at night.)

Then George gets back from the grocery store. As a surprise, he has stopped off at McDonald's and gotten UB his favorite thing, a plain cheeseburger and fries. Uncle Bill's face lights up and his day is complete. He is in Hamburger Heaven until it is time for us to go. 
Uncle Bill In Hamburger Heaven

As we leave, we say good-bye to his healthcare aide who has just arrived. I give UB a hug and notice that he was so excited about the hamburger that he forgot to go to the bathroom. Now he needs to change his clothes.

UB looks at his aide. 
UB: You know, they use way too hot water there in the prisons.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Uncle Bill in Better Days
It is hard to stay caught up with Uncle Bill. He just turned 88 a couple weeks ago but still has a few tricks up his sleeve(s). 

UB is very OCD. He has been hiding his mail so I cannot find it. Bills, checks, everything have disappeared for the last two weeks. I think he is trying to take control back of his life. He cannot handle the bills and checks so normally I do it.

I got a brilliant idea. I put a shoe box way back on the top of the fridge where he would not be likely to see it and I asked the health care aides to let him see his mail, then to quietly collect it and put it in the shoe box for me. 

On Sunday I went to get his mail. The aide said lots of mail had come during the week and she had put it in the box. But nothing was there, not even the shoe box. On a hunch, I went to the closet where the shoe box had been kept and there it was, in its usual place.

Me: Uncle Bill, what did you do with the mail in the box?
UB: Mail? I don't know. Maybe someone took it.
Me: Why did you take the shoe box down? (Stupid question, we all know shoe boxes do not belong on the top of the fridge)
UB: I don't know where the mail went. Maybe someone robbed it.
As I went about getting his medications together for the week, I found that one needed refilling. I called Walgreen's. The pharmacy tech told me it had already been delivered to the house. It appears that SOMEONE has hidden the medicine. I cannot find it anywhere.

Meanwhile, as I continue spinning my wheels looking for his non-existent mail and the medication that was delivered (meds to help his memory!) I cannot help but wonder if there is not some little joyful part of UB that is relishing seeing me zig-zagging on this unwanted scavenger hunt. My mind is all rabbitty wondering, "Did I look here? and "Could it be in the cabinet under the sink?" UB is not worried. He is talking about his self-chosen Theme of the Day, which today is getting up too early.

UB: I woke up and it was still dark. About 3:00. I walked down to the dining room and there was no one there. The police wanted to know why I was not sleeping. When I came back to my apartment, the mailman followed me into my room and wanted to know why I was up. Then I got a long distance call (he never answers the phone because he cannot hear it and he cannot work the phone.) They were calling for a bar on the beach. Someone sounded kind of drunk. I told them that they were calling too early in the morning. They should have some breakfast and then call back.

Of course, none of this happened. Maybe this is the place to be, in the world of Uncle Bill, instead of the real world where bad things happen more often than not.  Love my uncle!