Well, it's about over so I guess I can talk about it now. Sunday was as it always is; tiring at first and then restful. Got up at 4 AM. Had some coffee, shaved brushed my teeth, showered and dressed and then started the process all over again with Dad. That's an experience. I got out his clean underwear, a fresh pair of compression socks and his Sunday sweat suit (blue sweatshirt, gray pants) and white sneakers.
I peeled off his current compression socks and got him out of his Saturday sweat suit that he slept in and herded him to the shower. The shower is a challenge for him because no setting on the shower head or shower knob is good enough. It's either too hot, too cold or too much water pressure or too little. Such are the concerns of the elderly in the 21st century. Once he was scrubbed and dried and in his clean underwear, he combed his hair, shaved and brushed his teeth. Then he moves to his chair.
We were now ready for reapplication of the compression socks. This is always a chore. His lower legs and feet get greased with this lotion for dry skin. We also applied Blue Emu to his sore knee. Next I trim any toenails that are out of control. He has typical old man toenails. It's like trimming a horse hoof, but I digress. Next the socks go on. I get them on his feet and get the tops in reach of his hands so he can pull them up. They are tight. They are supposed to be tight. They are supposed to squeeze the water out of his lower extremities to make it easier for his heart to pump it out of them. He has a-fibrillation in his heart and so he needs the assist of the compression socks. This actually works fairly well.
Once the socks are on, I get his clean sweat pants started - both legs in the right openings with the string in front. He then stands up from his chair and pulls them to his waist. While he is still standing, we put on his blue sweatshirt. Then he sits down again for application of the white sneakers. He is pretty good at putting these on himself and only occasionally needs my help. As long as he does not get the orthotic inserts in the wrong shoes we are usually good to go. Only the shoe horn is needed. After this, he goes to comb his hair again and I get his coffee ready.
I then go back to the shower to police the devastation. I pick up all the towels and his dirty underwear and put every thing in the washer. The underwear get a special application of Spray and Wash. He's been wearing them for three days. I return from the laundry room to see him in his chair enjoying his coffee and a thyroid tablet. I then sit down at the dining room table to review the lesson and jokes I will share in Sunday school at 0800.
By now it's 0545 and Dad is debating out loud if it's too early to go to church. I explain there is no one there yet and he goes on about how he helps the lady that opens the church. I managed to get him to leave at 0630 today. Normally he goes at 0600 and waits for her.
After I review the lesson and get the jokes together, I iron a shirt, get my lesson bag and leave. I go to the Caribou drive thru in Pleasant Hill and get a large Cappucino with an extra shot of espresso (total of 5 shots). I then drive over to church and sit in the parking lot, finish my cries of help to the Lord and listen to Rich Mullins remind me why I am doing all this...it's love dontcha know!
About 0730 I am ready to go in. Iris and Ruth greet me. Dad is sitting in the foyer snoozing and waiting for his friends Pete and Norm to arrive. I go to my classroom and read all the pertinent scripture again for the lesson. It is quiet for awhile. I love it. People start arriving around 0750. Steve brings some coffee in a large carafe and serves as people come in. I start the jokes while we wait for the stragglers and then I start the lesson. If key members are present, normally the discussion is good, but if they are missing, class can be short. Regardless, the fellowship is usually good and that is the more important part I think.
At about 0855, I wrap it up and we all go downstairs for church. By this time I am ready for a nap, but the other worshipers are just getting wound up.
Sometimes I am into the song service and sometimes I am not. The choice or worship tunes effects my attitude. That's probably not an optimal approach to worship, but it is what it is. Dad has trouble comprehending what is going on, but he is trying. I wonder what a song service is like when you have Alzheimer's. I wonder what it's like to try to follow a lesson or sermon when both your understanding and hearing is impaired. I wonder what it's like when everyday is a struggle to manage simple tasks and you have all the input of the modern world to process in your debilitated brain. I cannot imagine it.
It's at this point that I realize why I do this. Suddenly I am worshipful, grateful and humbled because I know that Jesus has done much more for me. This is the emotional part of my faith that is normally stiff, intellectual and logical. But now I feel. It's usually an incredible mix of love, compassion and fear and awe. The right song can just crack me like a nut and the tears will roll. I think that Jesus just absorbs it all. I am vulnerable. If you wanted to hug me, this would be the time...just kidding...really you probably shouldn't. :^)
I regain my composure for the sermon - the last half of Romans 8. Dave did a good job with it. It's all up hill from here man. It just gets better and better.
It was a productive morning. Two transfers and a baptism. If you've never seen Steve baptize someone, it's a treat. He tries to drown them. I saw it. He held the poor guy under water. I guess he wanted him to know he was dying to sin. That's one way to get the message across. It was fun.
Dad went home after church. Instead of taking in another Sunday school class (I have been skipping) I go do my favorite thing right now. I find a grocery store parking lot and I sit and think. I crave down time and alone time. I have to take it while I can get it. After about an hour, I go home and fix lunch, eat, fill the dish washer, read and then take a nap.
After my nap I did something impulsive. It was about 6:30 pm and I got dressed and went fishing for a couple of hours. I caught three bass. The biggest one I hooked got away with my lure - the line broke. He was jumping and shaking his head trying to get it out of his mouth. I don't know if he ever did. I will have to go back and try to catch him again. Since he got away, I will say he weighed 4 lb. There is nothing wrong with exaggeration for illustration purposes.
On my return home Dad wanted to know where I went. I had left somewhat abruptly. I told him I went fishing and then I fixed myself an ice cream. About ten minutes later Dad asked me how work went today and if we were very busy. I said it was Sunday night, that we had both gone to church, had lunch and a nap.
It was all news to him.
Time to go to bed now. A new week awaits. A new set of challenges or the same ones in a different wrapper.