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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Didn't See This One Coming

Semper Gumby, our motto (Always Flexible).  It has been put to the test once again.

My 97 year old father has had some serious health issues that have changed his lifestyle, the last one was when he fell and broke his hip while visiting us last summer.  The hip is doing very well, but it came with a variety of new challenges, he needs a walker and wheelchair to get around and no longer can dress or bath himself, let alone drive a car or cook meals.  He's also having some mental decline with memory issues.  He can no longer live by himself.  The "joys" of getting older.

We had worked out a  good plan to take care of him with my brother and SIL, rotating Dad back and forth every couple of months between their home in NJ and our home in South Carolina.  Unfortunately that didn't work out, because my brother still works, so a lot of the care issues fell on my SIL.  After a couple of weeks they realized they could not handle Dad's care.

The solution?  Dad is back here with us in SC permanently.  It is a new challenge taking care of him, nothing we can't handle with both of us retired, but it requires one of us (usually me) to be with him at all times.  I handle the dressing and bathing and Marti ensures we provide Dad with his favorite meals and oversees all his meds and health care needs.

Basically, it has locked us down and we can't go anywhere and do things like we used to unless we bring Dad along with us.  Every time we do take him out to eat or shop it tires him out so mostly we stay home.  So the Journey sits in a nearby storage lot unused.  I do go there and check on it, run the generator and engine every couple of weeks and take it for a short spin.  I can't let it be neglected.  We do miss our travels in it and are not able to make any travel plans in it for the foreseeable future.

So it's a lot of sitting with Dad watching Hallmark movies along with a steady diet of Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy at night.  It's hard seeing Dad decline after being an amazing brilliant man, but Marti and I are happy to be able to love and care for him in these twilight years. Family first.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.   

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Just a Quick Update

This has been an unusual summer, for sure.  Sometimes you don't see the curveball coming your way, but when it hits, you have to deal with it.

After we returned from our cruise, I had looked forward to giving some love to the Journey and even going away for a weekend or two.  I have a maintenance project list to keep it in good shape.

All that changed in an instant.

My 96 year old Dad came down from NJ for a week long visit mid July.  Normally he has been living with my brother and SIL in NJ.  They had a planned vacation in Europe, so we welcomed my Dad to stay with us.

After the first two days with us, Dad got up and bent over to make his bed.  He lost his balance, fell and broke his hip.  On the way to the floor, somehow, he also sliced his ear open on a bedside table.  I ran into his room and found him on the floor in agony, with blood all over.  Amazing how an ear can bleed.

The usual then took place.  An ambulance ride to the ER, then a stitching up of his ear.  X-rays, CT scan and then surgery the next day for a partial hip replacement.

So I've been pretty much by his side 24/7 ever since.  Sleeping in the hospital next to him for a week, then in the rehab hospital for two more weeks.  After release from the rehab hospital, it was outpatient rehab three times a week.  We've completed that and he is getting around pretty well with his walker and occasional wheelchair use.

Since he has limits on how he can and can't bend, I have to help him dress, undress and shower.  If he should move in the wrong way, he could dislocate the hip and we'd have to start hospital and rehab all over again.  Nope, don't want to do that!

We've kept him active, taking him out at least somewhere every day, sometimes just to the store, but we've been to a couple of high school football games, band concerts, church, dinners and so on.  I've even taken him with me to the USO where I volunteer and also to the gun range to shoot a few holes in a paper target (he did amazingly well, the last time he fired a gun was in WWII).  He's been enjoying watching the Hallmark Channel on TV most nights, too.

Looks like next weekend, we'll be able to take him home to NJ, just in time to see the leaves turning.  He's looking forward to going back to my brother's.  We've decided since he can no longer live on his own, we'll rotate hin back and forth from NJ to here in SC every couple of months, giving him a change of pace and a break for us caretakers.  It's a lot of work, but you have to take care of your family.

One thing, though, we don't let him make the bed anymore!  :cD

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pirates of the Caribbean

Well, we certainly cruised in much more luxury than the pirates of old did.  We sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas.

Funny, back in 2007 when I was on an assignment in Finland, I visited a shipyard where the Oasis was being built.  I thought at that time it would be great to cruise on it someday.  Little did I know then that I really would.

We sailed with Marti's sister Gail and our daughter Heather and two grandsons Andrew and Own.

We booked two side by side balcony cabins and enjoyed the views both in island ports and at sea.

The  Oasis is the second largest cruise ship in the world.  It has all kinds of amazing things on it, like a tree lined park,

and a grand concourse.

There is even a beautiful classic automobile on the concourse.  No you can't drive it, but if you could there is plenty of room on the ship to do so.  Any guesses on what this car is?

The ship has some amazing activities on board, like a rock climbing wall.  The boys had a ball scaling the cliffs.

A zip line over the park.  No way was I going to do this, I left it to Andrew and Owen.

The Flow Rider on the stern of the ship is where brave passengers could try their hand at surfing.

We visited the Bahamas where the boys got a chance to try out their driving skills.

At a port call at St. Thomas we took a tour of the island on an open air bus.

The views around the island were amazing.

Another port call was to St. Martin/Sant Maateen, an island that is half Dutch and half French.  We booked a private tour and were saddened to see all the damage still unrepaired from last year's hurricanes that hit the island.  Wrecked buildings,

devastated marinas with scores of wrecked boats.

Even Captain Jack Sparrow was not spared, looks like he will be shopping for a new ship.

Fortunately, the island is starting to bounce back, with tourism helping to fuel the repairs.  Shops were open with loads of goodies and souvenirs

And local wildlife were doing their part to put dollars in the pockets of the islanders.

It was a great cruise, all seven days of it and the boys are still talking about how much they loved it.  Sounds like a good reason to book another cruise next year if you ask me.  😎

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.