“Give me one!”- There is a resident that has officially taken over my nickname “DeManda.” All during mealtimes, tv time, anytime, this particular gemstone of an 80+ year old demands things of me in the loudest, most monotone voice I’ve ever heard! (Similar to this.) She loves to yell “Give me one!” or “I want one” and will keep yelling until I decipher what particular thing she wants and have safely delivered it to her clutches. Typically her demands are in reference to a new bowl of cereal, a spoon, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Most humorously, DeManda often yells, “I want a lollipop!” I have no idea what her affinity for lollipops is all about but, I can honestly say that she is single-handedly keeping the Dum Dum lollipop business recession-proof! On this particular day, one of the volunteers, Bill, came in with his puppy, Daisy. The residents love when the little dogs come to the nursing home and especially when Bill puts the dogs in their laps to get a great arthritic pet-job. Often times, Bill will give the residents treats to give to the dogs. DeManda naturally demanded a dog treat to give to Daisy and after Bill gave it to her, he turned to chat with me about one thing or another. When we turned around, we caught denture-less DeManda vigorously chomping away at the imitation bacon bonanza! I should have known better. When asked how it was, Demanda reported,”it was delicious” in her scary yell-talk voice.
Black M.F.- One of the residents on my caseload has had multiple strokes (5+). He is also in the late stages of dementia (GDS = 7 for you Global Deterioration Scale users) and is predominantly nonverbal. He requires total nursing care, meaning he is bed-bound with very limited mobility. Despite his limited mobility and seemingly nonverbal characteristics, he sure gets his point across by yelling a bunch of nonsense syllables towards me when I come in to feed him his feast of a pureed diet with pudding thick liquid. After I position him as upright as possible to make him safe for eating, things really heat up and he yells sweet-nothings at me consisting of calling me an S.O.B. Sometimes if I’m really lucky, he’ll call me an M.F.S.O.B. (Who’s jealous of my serene work environment?) I’m pretty much unphased by it. I’m actually impressed that the guy can get anything out, given the number of strokes he’s had! Recently he has started calling me a black M.F. which is confusing for everyone! Well, one day he was really going to town swearing at me, so I remembered what my boss said about some study that reports patients with dementia really enjoying music, most notably songs such as, “Take me out to the Ballgame” and “You are my Sunshine.” I want everyone to know right now that if I get dementia I want everyone singing “Roll Out the Barrel” at my bedside in true Milwaukee-form! Tapping into my inner Glee fan, I started singing “You are my sunshine” to him and to my surprise he starting singing with me! He has a really cute voice when he isn’t swearing at me! I loved it!
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Putting together our bucket list over the past year has been a lot fun. Visualizing our dreams is rewarding in itself and can be an absolute blast but the real benefit is in the doing. We want to keep you updated as we work on accomplishing everything on that list so that you know we’re actively pursuing our dreams. It’s also a nice way for you to help us stay accountable.
Cinque Terre, Italy: beauty that inspires!
Extensive travel through Italy is high up on the to-do list for us both. Sipping wine in Tuscany sounds amazing but loses some of it’s appeal when you’re limited to placing an order by pointing or trying to converse in English. So, we’ve started studying Italian. We’re making use of some listen & speak lessons, resources on the web, and a cool Italian workbook that we picked up from Amazon. We try to get a little bit of practice with each other at the end of the day which is both beneficial and hilarious. We haven’t yet learned how to say ‘bad’ which is great because we’re always ‘molto bene’ (very well) when asked how are you doing?’
There’s something magical about the early steps of learning a new language. Perhaps it’s because it evokes memories from the beginning of an education. Those times when everything was new and wonderful and there was an entire world of new knowledge to be had. You get the feeling that you’re starting an incredible journey. It’s intensely rewarding. You’re learning a large amount quickly and it provides a very real feeling of empowerment. You’re convinced you’ll be fluent soon after learning to say ‘hello,’ ‘thank you’, and ‘how are you?’ Reality starts to set in after awhile: learning a language isn’t a cakewalk and the further you go the harder it gets. However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that makes it all worth it: earning the capability to travel to a new place and converse with people in their language. I’m not sure many things embody the human spirit more than this.
Have you wanted to learn a new language for awhile but have been putting it off? Maybe now is the time to start. If Italian is your thing you’re guaranteed to have at least two friends to practice with!
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Posted in SoBo, tagged housing, SoBo on May 5, 2010 |
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We finally got around to taking and posting some pictures of our home in SoBo. It is glorious, bow before its beauty! All the photos that we take on this journey are going to have a home our new Flickr account and you can also find each individual album through a link on our photos page. You can check out the SoBo house album by clicking the picture to the left.
Also, I shot a video tour of the entire place which you can check out on YouTube right here. The video was pretty large so I cut it in half for easier loading. The second part should automatically load after the first one finishes. If you have motion sickness problems you might want to avoid this video.
Now that you’ve gotten a view of our palatial estate, who’s first in line to come visit?
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Posted in SoBo on May 3, 2010 |
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Because times are seemingly tough, and places like South Boston, Virginia don’t have a ton of disposable income, the first thing to go are often family pets. Unfortunately, we see a lot of dogs left by the railroad tracks or the highways to fend for themselves. A couple of weeks ago, my coworkers and I found arguably the cutest little lab-mutt puppies outside the nursing home playing on the highway. They were too cute to leave there, so we swooped them up, brought them inside, fed them, and played with them in our tiny office. The dogs were covered in ticks and fleas and their little distended bellies confirmed that they had worms making me love them even more. Because Matt and I have been talking about getting a dog (Raise your hand if you’ve heard Matt or I talk endlessly about our dreams for our imaginary German Shepard scholar, Baron von Root) and because I have a bleeding heart, I put the puppies in the car and took them to the vet. I got “the boys” their puppy booster shots and de-ticked, and brought them home to woo Matt. The adorable little guys scampered all around our house and brought us a ton of laughs for a couple of hours until we had to have “the talk” and decide what to do with them.
After tears galore (from Amanda, not Matt), we decided that it would be unfair to schlep the puppies around the US with us for the next indefinite number of weeks, while leaving them every other weekend to jet to DC and beyond. Additionally, me and Matt’s pact of Operation: 20 countries in 2 years doesn’t bode kindly to family pets. We researched a no-kill shelter 20 miles away and decided that that was our best option. When we got there, Matt had to bring them inside- I can’t take that crap- I can’t even watch Homeward Bound for Pete’s sake! I just hid behind my sunglasses sobbing, trying to fill out the paperwork while Matt wished The Boys well.
All in all, we know we did the right thing for The Boys, but it was pretty heart breaking. We trust that someone will love and care for these cuties even more than us! I learned a hard lesson on this one and have decided to not pick up puppies from the side of the road until we’re ready for them.
This just in: The neighbors just got a really cute rescue puppy named Shadow that I can go gawk at whenever I need to get my puppy fix (fist pump!).
Below are pictures of The Boys. Enjoy!
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