C loved animals especially cats and I came across these pictures of a cat we had called Ralph. Ralph was a beautiful cat we picked out at the Humane Society. We had this cat less than a month when we changed its name to Rotten Ralph because it had a mind of its’ own he was plain rotten. He would climb on things he shouldn’t and into things to sleep such as hide in the closet.
One of C’s men that worked under him liked to do wood stuff from wooden crates that were thrown out from beverage companies and he would collect them and make wooden mangers. We had a large floor model television and I asked for one to fit on the top. Rotten Ralph would climb up the Christmas tree and jump from the tree to the manger and lay down in it knocking the figures down. These are a couple of pictures of Rotten Ralph in the manger.
The next picture is C holding a cat my DIL had at her house that loved to be on your lap curled up to be petted and C would provide. It seems the cats would migrate to him and he would oblige even though he would suffer with allergies. I loved cats too and I didn’t have allergies but they didn’t like my lap.
When we lived in Muncie and C was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and it lasted for ten years. His doctor had a good rapport with C and that was a big help to me. I had many crying visits to the doctor because he was my doctor too. It is so frustrating to have your loved one deteriorate in front of your eyes and there is nothing you can do about it.
C’s whole life he knew just vanished. Night time was the worse time he use to tell me people were looking in our the windows, and one day he was convinced the sheriff moved this young couple in this rental across the street from us just to spy on him and no matter what I did or say could not convinced him otherwise. He couldn’t remember anything but the present ten minutes or so.
In the early years of this disease we moved south and attended an information meeting about Alzheimer and C was interested in attending because of his knowledge of pharmaceuticals. The doctor was excellent and I learned then what faced me in the future because the disease starts at the base of the brain on the right side and works its way up until it destroys the brain. He had a plastic model of the brain and was taking pieces out as he spoke. C was fidgety and couldn’t sit for very long and just stood up in the back. In the early stages the patient seems normal but argumentative and this was C to the tee.
One of the hardest things for me to do was to ask the doctor to tell him he shouldn’t drive anymore. He said he would notify the proper authorities and he would have to take a test to make sure he shouldn’t drive. C has an excellent drivers record never having had an accident all the years he was driving.
Now I have to tell you all of our married life I was content to sit back and let C drive all the time. We always had a large van and I did not particularly like to drive it. Oh I could if I had to but preferred not to. I always had my car C bought for me to go to work when I worked. He had purchased my daughters Volvo for me while we were car sitting it for them when they were in Germany on another tour of duty. It was a great car and I felt safe in it because I was able to see out all the windows easily. The van had a lot of blind spots for me because I was too short and the van didn’t have many windows.
When C didn’t pass his test, he had to go to court for the judge to explain why his drivers license was revoked. The judge asked him if he understood and he said yes and they took his license and gave him a identification card. When we got him home he ranted and raved that they plotted against him and blamed our DIL that it was her fault.
When he came home he took his keys and put them in his nightstand where they didn’t belong and then couldn’t find them. Talk about the good Lord watching over me because I knew he was going to blame me. Before they took his license we always took an hour to find his keys, wallet and glasses before we were able to go anywhere.
Because I was going to be the driver from now on I traded the 12 year old Volvo on a year old Chevy Malibu. I took C with me to pick it up and I made arrangements ahead of time with the company that I wanted him on the title with me so he wouldn’t feel left out. I had to constantly remind him he couldn’t drive because he didn’t have a license and he would argue and show me his identification card as his license. He got so bad whenever we had to go town he would ride in the back seat and tell me it was safer there. So it was like driving Mr. Daisy whenever we went anywhere
We had a large dog what was part Australian Shepherd and part Collie that he wanted he named him Sport. We still had our smooth hair fox terrier called Perky that would follow him around when he was outside cutting the grass. We had a riding mower that w as not too powerful but he kept stripping the gears because he tried to shift the gears without the clutch. If you have never been around anyone with Alzheimer’s believe me its heart wrenching. I felt I just couldn’t take away those things he thought he could do.
C wore hearing aids and he was always loosing then because he would take them out and couldn’t remember where he put them. One day when I sat him at the table for supper I gave him water to drink while I was fixing his plate. I looked over at him and he was looking in his water glass where he had dropped his hearing aids in because he thought they were ice cubes. I couldn’t just put food down in side dishes like I use to because it overwhelmed him and would tell me “I can’t eat all that” he had forgotten how to serve himself.
Thank you for listening to this sad part of C ‘s life. He had such a rough beginning and a very hard ending. But now we know it is hereditary because his mother died from the same thing. But I am convinced that the Lord brought us together and blessed us making his life in between great and I was an instrument he used. C was a good man and until next time I am Immigrant Daughter.