My last blog mentioned how I’d lost my voice and had an annoying dry cough. Well, it turned into the flu. I slept in the spare room as I didn’t want to disturb Steve at night, and I also didn’t want him to catch it. My aunt came over (at my request) on the Monday to take Steve grocery shopping, as I couldn’t muster the strength to go myself. The day after, she came back over and took me back to her place for about six days until I was better. She arranged that Pamsie would stay with Steve at night for the duration. I ended up getting badly infected ears, and was quite deaf for a while, which was really annoying, and painful. The cough worsened but then cleared. Eventually I was starting to mend, and by the Sunday I was home again, and feeling so much better. It was lovely to have a little break from my caring duties – in fact the role was reversed; I was the one being cared for. However, even now – six weeks after my “sick leave”, I have only just recently returned to “normal”!
A week or so after I returned home, mum arrived from the UK for a six week visit. It was wonderful to have her here again as another support. We have been spending quite a bit of time together. I took her and Steve up to Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens to see the magnolia trees in flower, which were looking rather beautiful. It was a lovely sunny day, and we had a good couple of hours wandering around the magnolias, and then another part of the Gardens where some of the rhododendrons were beginning to flower. We saw a small patch of forget-me-nots in flower as well, shaded under some trees – just gorgeous. But today, she returned back to the UK and the cold weather, having just had a lovely burst of warm weather here in Adelaide.
Steve has been to Seasiders, a “Day Care” or respite centre, a couple of times recently. The first two times he went, he couldn’t stop talking about it. He had a brochure on the types of activities they do there and I am amazed that he didn’t wear it out as he looked at it almost every minute of the day. It was great to see him so animated about something. Gavin (his Tuesday morning carer) took him, in the hope that it might interest him enough to start going regularly. I never imagined how positive Steve would become about it. I arranged to go and look at the place with him. We turned up about 10.30am, had morning tea, met the friendly staff and people who go there (all of whom have dementia), and one of the staff took Steve off to help with some crafty things that were being done in another room. I sat and chatted to the Team Leader (Angela) for a while, before joining Steve. We were shown around the place a bit more – outside in the garden which they want to develop a bit more, the art area, the Tai Chi area, the craft area; it looks great. We decided not to stay for lunch so left just as it was being served up. I eventually talked to Steve about it and asked him if he would like to attend regularly. I know that he doesn’t really like spending time with Gavin – he has told me frequently – so I gave him a bit of a compromise: “how about if you would like to go to Seasiders, why not go on a Tuesday (to start with) and then you wouldn’t have to be with Gavin?”. He agreed quite quickly. They would be able to collect him, if I am unable to drop him off at the Centre, and drop him home again. The hours would be approximately 10am to 3.30pm, which would give me a bit of “me” time. In time, I hope that he might want to go on a Thursday as well, but I will not be pushing it. I’ll see how he gets on first. Monday’s to Wednesday’s is a mixed group of males and females, and Thursday’s and Friday’s are men only, which he may prefer. We will trial it and see how it goes. His first “session” was yesterday and he came home thoroughly enthused by it having had a great day. I’m so pleased – he seems quite happy and jovial about it 🙂 .
Our car club (Ford Owner’s Car Club) has had a couple of events in the last couple of months which we have been on and enjoyed. The first one, at the end of August, involved a drive to Mallala (north of Adelaide) where we looked around the local Museum. It was very interesting with a lot of war memorabilia, old farming equipment, furniture, clothing, – all sorts of interesting items. We spent almost two hours there before departing for Port Wakefield where we had lunch at one of pubs. Barry and Mary had offered to take us, which was great. There were about 30 club members in attendance.
The second event was a Progressive Dinner which was a couple of weeks ago. I offered to my services as driver this time, but because the weather had been rather wet earlier in the week, Barry wondered if my car would be able to manage one of the locations, which was in the Adelaide Hills and had a gravel road and then a steep rough track to the first stop. He offered to drive his small four wheel drive instead, so once again we were chauffeured. We all met at Regency Park at 1pm, and were provided with detailed instructions which included a quiz (with prizes!). We tried to stay in convoy, and for the most part, we managed it, only occasionally getting split up due to traffic lights. It took us just over an hour to get to the first location at Kersbrook – the directions took us a long way round, with quite a few questions to answer along the way. I haven’t referred to the location as a house, as there is no longer a house on the property. Sadly it was completely destroyed in the January bushfires which wreaked havoc in the Hills. Irene and Lee, who own the property, lost almost everything. They are now trying to get council approval to build their new house. Regardless of a lack of house, we all trooped to their property – I’ll admit I was pleased not to have driven; I would have been worried about my car and driving it in such steep and risky terrain. We had a “Special High Tea” on the concrete slab, which is the only remaining thing of their original house that’s left! They had put up some marquee type covers which protected us from the sun (thankfully the rain had cleared earlier in the week as quickly as it had arrived!) and we had some delicious sandwiches, cup cakes, other sweet treats, and cups of tea or coffee. We had a round of pass the parcel, which ended up being a box of choccys. Then it was back to the main road and onto the next location at Mylor – also in the Adelaide Hills. Again, more questions needed to be answered along the way. We drove through some lovely areas of the Hills, which are looking decidedly pretty at this time of the year, with the leaves and flowers all exploding into glorious colour. At Mylor, Paul and Gloria greeted us at the local Oval Hall with a selection of home made soups. After spending about an hour here, it was time to move on again to the last place. We had directions but no quiz this time due to the angle of the sun and the windy roads – too dangerous to be watching out for things and trying to focus on the road at the same time, with the sun low in the sky. The final house was at Glenunga, in the south eastern suburbs of Adelaide. Here, Kevin and Eileen provided a barbecue and salads, along with desserts. The 35 or so members all gathered around with their chairs and drinks, and proceeded to relax and enjoy themselves, us included. The quiz results were read out – can’t remember who won, but we came second (we are known as the “Suzuki Team” because that’s what Barry drives!). We won a bottle of red wine (per couple) which was great. By 9pm we were back on the road to home this time. We had had a wonderful afternoon and evening, but I could see that Steve was really beginning to wilt after such a full day!
The following day we had an equally busy one! We had two birthday parties to attend – the first one started at 2pm and was a 70th birthday, and the second one started at 6pm and was an 80th! We didn’t know anyone except the hosts at the first party, who are friends of mum’s (so she was invited too), so we didn’t stay until the end. At the second party, we knew most people, as they were all from dancing. Mum was invited too as she had met them all before at various things. There was a bit of dancing throughout the evening, which Steve struggled with a bit, along with quite a lot of yummy food (we each took a plate to share). We had a good evening. It finished about 10pm and we were home just after 10.30pm. Again, Steve was pretty exhausted, but he did enjoy himself.
I am trying to keep him occupied with useful fun things to do. On Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, he spent most of the day with a friend of ours (Len) and I spent time with Heather (Len’s wife). Each of us had a great time. Len showed Steve how to paint a picture, as he is a great self-taught artist, now that he is retired from teaching. Len had asked me to select a photo from our collection of a seascape or landscape, so I quickly chose a few to take to his place. The one he thought would be best is of Shelley Beach at Nambucca Heads on the New South Wales northern coast. It was a beautiful spot which we spent time at in 2003 in our campervan. So while Heather and I were out “doing lunch” and catching up (they have recently returned from a three month trip), Len helped Steve to create the painting. Even though it is not yet finished, it is absolutely brilliant. Len will help Steve to finish it off next time they see each other in a couple of weeks. If Steve persists, he may end up becoming as good an artist as Len, and then he will have something else to do with his time. He might even do some painting at Seasiders!
It’s funny – quite some time ago, both Andrew and Pamsie mentioned about coming here one weekend to help their dad clean up his shed. Even though the weather has been pretty cold and, at times, wet, it hasn’t been bad every single weekend. They’ve also mentioned about putting up some gates at the top end of the driveway and down the side of our house, for when Pamsie can bring her dog over to spend time with Steve. Strange, but I haven’t heard anything lately about all this being done ……
Andrew took take his dad out fishing on Saturday 3rd October. Little did I know, as I was kept in the dark, that Pamsie was to join them later in the morning. They all had a great day but didn’t end up catching anything very much, certainly nothing to bring home. Hopefully it will happen again sometime, when the weather becomes even more stable.
I went to see the stage show “Dirty Dancing”, with my mum, aunt, cousin and cousin’s wife on that day. What a great show it was. Afterwards we went to have drinks at 2KW (a bar on the 8th floor of a building overlooking the northern parklands) and then we went out for dinner at Jolleys Boathouse. I had organised that Pamsie would spend the evening time with Steve, which appeared to go well.
Things have been running pretty smoothly in the last few weeks which has been great.
Until next time ….