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The Chiang Mai boy...
Old 09-14-2011, 08:20 AM   #1
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The Chiang Mai boy...

...is back in the US of A

I got "the call" in late August- my 79 year old Mother has breast cancer and is so ill with her on going heart problems that it is doubtful that she could survive an operation. I sold the "Mini Beast" my faithful Honda Wave motorbike and cashed in some FF miles and returned on a one waay ticket. Bye bye Amazing Thailand

My Father has advanced Alzheimers and my sister and brother in law have had their hands full. As I type this Dad is sitting next to me reading -and rereading- the USA Today.

Most days I tak him to Hardees for biscuits and gravy, then we visit Mom in the nursing home and take a ride. Then its back home and we putter; he really likes to "fix" things. For some reason 2 pm is the witching hour; he starts sayig he wants t return to his home town, asks if his parents are OK (they're deceased) and generally is very confused. He has lost even more memory since my last visit in 2008.

Mom also suffers from dementia and is becomming increasingly stubborn, refusing to wear her oxygen mask, perform physical therapy and eat. Other than those minor setbacks, she is in great shape

Any way, the weather is delightful here in North Carolina, warm days and cool nights- great sleeping weather.

Off to Hardees
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Lancelot View Post
...is back in the US of A

I got "the call" in late August- my 79 year old Mother has breast cancer and is so ill with her on going heart problems that it is doubtful that she could survive an operation. I sold the "Mini Beast" my faithful Honda Wave motorbike and cashed in some FF miles and returned on a one waay ticket. Bye bye Amazing Thailand

My Father has advanced Alzheimers and my sister and brother in law have had their hands full. As I type this Dad is sitting next to me reading -and rereading- the USA Today.

Most days I tak him to Hardees for biscuits and gravy, then we visit Mom in the nursing home and take a ride. Then its back home and we putter; he really likes to "fix" things. For some reason 2 pm is the witching hour; he starts sayig he wants t return to his home town, asks if his parents are OK (they're deceased) and generally is very confused. He has lost even more memory since my last visit in 2008.

Mom also suffers from dementia and is becomming increasingly stubborn, refusing to wear her oxygen mask, perform physical therapy and eat. Other than those minor setbacks, she is in great shape

Any way, the weather is delightful here in North Carolina, warm days and cool nights- great sleeping weather.

Off to Hardees
Lance, you are a mensch. My best to you!

Ha
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:44 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about mom and pop.

It is good of you to come home and help out.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:56 AM   #4
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Awful sorry to hear about all these things, Lance. It will be a real trial for you.

I am thinking: As we are, they once were; as they are, we will be.

Best wishes.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:01 AM   #5
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Good on ya, Lance. While leaving Thailand is a bummer and you will have your hands full, thankfully you are free to drop everything and come.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:09 AM   #6
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Lance,
You are certainly dealing with some very tough issues. But you are doing the right things to support your family. I know from experience that I never regretted making sacrifices (if that is the right term) to do the right thing where family is concerned.
Hang in there. Bravo!
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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You are a fine boy, whether you are in Chaing Mai or in North Carolina.
Sorry to hear of the troubles, but so good of you to step in with them.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:06 PM   #8
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Thanks all for your kind words and encouragement

One of the great things of ER is that I have the time to do these things. My sister and BIL are still w*rking, so they were pretty stretched. Dad has a care giver that sits with him three days per week and we are all DELIGHTED to see her. She is so kind and has the patience of Job.

This moring Dad and I made our Hardees run, then stopped by the auto parts store for a headlight bulb for my sisters car. Dad really enjoys these outings and -until 2 pm- is great company. In the afternoon, he becomes restless and wants to go back to his home town. When we visit Mom in the rest home, he asks her repeatedly "Honey, are you feling OK?" After the third time, she begins to snap at him, :George, I've told you three times already. How are you feeling George? Are you OK?!?"

Interesting times
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:46 PM   #9
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I had a RN friend who did home health for a while and she talked about a "witching hour" or sundowners syndrome, which I didn't realize until today was an actual documented condition. I guess that is what makes your dad so restless in the afternoons. She would talk about trying to schedule any sort of interactions with her dementia patients for as early in the day as possible, when they were less agitated.

Sundowners syndrome, also known as sundowning, refers to a symptom often associated with the early stages of dementia, including Alzheimer's. It can also be considered a mood disorder or even a sleep disorder. Sufferers experience periods of extreme agitation and confusion during the late afternoon or early evening hours, leading to irritability towards caregivers or hospital staff. The exact cause of Sundowners remains a mystery. It was originally believed to be a result of missed day/night light cues — a malfunctioning internal biological clock — hence the sudden onset at sundown. More recent research has raised the possibility of more organic causes such as drug interactions or stress associated with lower cognitive function.

From: What Is Sundowners Syndrome?
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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Your routine of taking your Dad to Hardee's every day for biscuits and gravy, a visit to your mom, and a little ride in the car is about the sweetest thing I have ever read on these boards, Lancelot.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:00 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear about your folks failing health. However, the benefit of being FIREd means having the time to help out.

I'm sure you are finding life in NC very different from life in CM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 05:58 PM   #12
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I had a RN friend who did home health for a while and she talked about a "witching hour" or sundowners syndrome, which I didn't realize until today was an actual documented condition. I guess that is what makes your dad so restless in the afternoons. She would talk about trying to schedule any sort of interactions with her dementia patients for as early in the day as possible, when they were less agitated.

Sundowners syndrome, also known as sundowning, refers to a symptom often associated with the early stages of dementia, including Alzheimer's. It can also be considered a mood disorder or even a sleep disorder. Sufferers experience periods of extreme agitation and confusion during the late afternoon or early evening hours, leading to irritability towards caregivers or hospital staff. The exact cause of Sundowners remains a mystery. It was originally believed to be a result of missed day/night light cues — a malfunctioning internal biological clock — hence the sudden onset at sundown. More recent research has raised the possibility of more organic causes such as drug interactions or stress associated with lower cognitive function.

From: What Is Sundowners Syndrome?
Sarah, thanks for the Sundowners info. Dad sure gets ansy after 2 pm. Some days he is relatively mild and others more agitated. Some times he is better after he sits for a spell alone and has some quiet time. I am trying to educate myself about Alzheimers so that I can be a better companion.

One day at a time
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:02 PM   #13
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Your routine of taking your Dad to Hardee's every day for biscuits and gravy, a visit to your mom, and a little ride in the car is about the sweetest thing I have ever read on these boards, Lancelot.
Agree.

Lance seems like a sweet guy. Mom and Dad are lucky; they did good.

Ha
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:13 PM   #14
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Thank you for everything you do for your parents, Lancelot.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:49 PM   #15
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Being "there" for family can be a trying but rewarding experience. Your time spent with your parents is priceless; even with the trauma of dementia. Enjoy what time you have...I wish I had been able to have been there for my Dad when he was so bad. Trying to do better with Mom...so far so good.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:31 PM   #16
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I'm sorry to hear that you got dragged back here. I imagine you're thinking about an exit strategy (at least I would be, in your shoes). Planning to return to Thailand at some point?
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:36 AM   #17
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I'm sorry to hear that you got dragged back here. I imagine you're thinking about an exit strategy (at least I would be, in your shoes). Planning to return to Thailand at some point?
Hey Greg!

I'm happy to be back state side, although I wish it were under different circumstances. For the time being, I'll help out with caring for my parents, then I'm thinking about some Amtrak trips. There is a staion at Geensboro, NC with a train to New Orleans. I wouldn't mind a few days there, then on to Texas to establish my domicile.

I think nine years in Thailand was about enough; I feel the spicy cuisine of Mexico, Central and South America calling me

Keep 'em straight in Thailand
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:39 AM   #18
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Agree.

Lance seems like a sweet guy. Mom and Dad are lucky; they did good.

Ha
Ha, you are too kind.

Its 9 am and Dad and I are late for Hardees. I made him coffee so he is content and reading his USA Today. After breakfast, we'll drop by the nursing home and deliver Mom's Diet Coke.

Busy, busy, busy
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:26 AM   #19
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Interesting so you think your time in Thailand is done? I find the problem is so many places so little time to get to them all.

BTW what do you do for healthcare now you are back?
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:17 PM   #20
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Interesting so you think your time in Thailand is done? I find the problem is so many places so little time to get to them all.

BTW what do you do for healthcare now you are back?
Yeah, its a big world and Thailand is just one small speck

For now, I'll use the Vetrans Administration for health care.
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