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Archive for August, 2012

Mom’s obsession with the casino continues as dad’s hatred for it grows.  She now begins around noon asking dad to take her, sometimes sitting in the car and refusing to get out until he relents.   Daily she tells me that they will be leaving for Gulfport that evening, a city several  hours away that she loves to visit because of the many casinos in close vicinity.  Dad generally gets angry and I smooth things over by telling her that they’ve been twice this month.  She gets a confused look on her face, but doesn’t really remember if it’s true or not so she doesn’t argue.  The past several days have been simple, “You can’t go now, mom, there’s a hurricane heading right for Gulfport.”  I wonder if that will continue to work even after Hurricane Isaac is long gone.

I approached dad several days ago with an idea that I thought might help.  After two attempts to get him to comply I took it upon myself to pursue it.  First I asked mom how many days a week should would like to go to the casino.

“Everyday!” she enthusiastically replied.

“Well, you can’t afford to go everyday so what do you think would be a reasonable number?” I replied.

“Three.”

“Okay, dad, how many days a week are you willing to take mom?”

“Two,” was dad’s response

“Alright, mom, let’s start with two.”  I got them to agree on Tuesdays and Thursday and then wrote on their calendar in big black letters on every Tuesday and Thursday through the end of the year the word “CASINO”.

“Now, mom, whenever you want to go to the casino you can just look at the calendar and see if it is one of the days that you are scheduled to go.  Does that sound alright with you?” I asked her.  Mom nodded her approval.  A couple of hours later I get the call from dad.

“Your plan didn’t work.  Your mom got mad because I wouldn’t take her even though it’s not on the calendar.  She sat in the car for about an hour.  She finally got out, but now she refuses to take her bath and just went to bed.”  It was about 7:30 in the evening.

“I’m sorry dad.  I guess it was worth a try.  Just let her get mad, that’s all you can do.”

I’d like to tell her that all of the casinos have shut down or burned down or were blown up, but she won’t fall for that.  I’m at a loss as to how to help dad.  He’s at his wit’s end.  And I feel so helpless.

Certainly someone else has dealt with a loved one with dementia who has an obsession with gambling and casinos, but no matter how hard I try, no matter how much research I do, I cannot find a solution to this problem.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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My son and his fiancee just bought a lovely home two hours away from where my husband and I live.  The house was built in the 1930’s, is in great condition, has lots of character and is in a good area within the city they will be living.  The only thing it really needs is a paint job of the entire interior of the home, which is rather large.  My husband and I offered our help and made plans to spend the weekend with them painting.  My husband had to work on that Saturday morning so wouldn’t be able to leave until 10:00 or 11:00, which usually means 1:00 or 2:00 in “hubby time”.  Since my parents were anxious to see the new house they decided to drive over early that morning and I hitched a ride with them.  And what a ride it was!

Dad initially told me they were planning to leave around 9:30 a.m., but at 8:30 called asking if I was ready and letting me know they would pick me up in 15 minutes.  Yikes!  I was packing and overnight bag for hubby and me and thought I had another hour.  At the appointed hour they picked me up and away we went, dad driving, mom in the front passenger seat and me and my I-pad in the back.  I know my dad at one time was a very good driver.  He still drives his huge motor home, pulling a car behind it and before retirement his job included driving a very large bucket truck.  His driving record, I believe, is good so I’m not quite sure what happened, but HOLY COW!

The two-hour drive consists of travel on interstate highways.  Once we were on the interstate it began – the tailgating, the swerving in and out of traffic, the yelling at cars to get out of his way and the cursing.  He has become a terribly impatient driver.    And as dad drove like a mad man down the interstate, mom happily sat there reading off road signs which is probably the most she’s read in the last two years. 

Then there was the mandatory stop at the beignet shop.  Mom and dad cannot drive through this particular city without stopping for beignets.  Mom and I grabbed a table and dad went to order the coffee and beignets.  When I looked up dad was headed our way with a huge pile of beignet fingers on the plate.  I was in awe.  It was enough to feed a small country!  For those of you non-Southerners, a beignet is a fried piece of sweet dough covered in confectioners sugar.   Even though I’m as Southern as you can get, I don’t eat them. 

“Geez dad, what are you going to do with all of those beignets?”  I asked.  

“We’re gonna eat them.  You can’t bring them home, they get gummy and aren’t any good,”  he responded.   About half way through the pile dad reached for the container of confectioners sugar.

“I thought you told me that you always ordered those without the sugar added because mom’s diabetic,” I said.  

“They only put a little on the top ones,”  dad responded as he shook more sugar on the ones below.  And they did indeed eat every bite.

This little stop took us 45 minutes then we were back in the car, dad again driving and cursing and mom reading road signs.  It was like being in some crazy Woody Allen movie.  I sat in the back seat attempting to read a book, trying desperately to ignore what was going on in the front seat as my head was thrown to and fro.  Suddenly I heard the screaming of brakes and felt the car skidding to a stop a mere inches from the auto in front of it.  I’m not sure what was louder, the brakes or dad yelling at the “crazy drivers.”

Yes, we made it to my son’s house in one piece.  And yes, despite our 45 minute stop we did beat my husband there.  Mom and dad checked out my son’s new home and dad helped around the house for about an hour then off they went, headed back home.  About an hour and a half into their trip home I received a call from dad, “I just remembered that we left with your luggage in my trunk.  Sorry about that.” 

Sometimes you just have to look back and laugh!

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