A little late, but Happy Thanksgiving! My Dad, Katie, and Maura went to Katie's family for dinner and fun was had by all. Before Thanksgiving Dennis Wiese came in town and everyone went out for dinner, below is what Dennis sent me on the visit. My Dad has been getting more speech therapy and the new therapist is a dream from what I've been told. It is amazing how one person can make a difference. Everyone has commented on the improvements. Thanks to Dennis for letting me know how the visit went!
Keri- For your blog. I stopped by to see Dave MondayNov 21. He was in great spirits. He took me on his rounds to see staff and his many friends. He preferred that I push him around, then used his good foot as a brake when he wanted to stop. He understood all I said, and was able to think out how he wanted to respond, but just can't find the words to do so. Katie somehow managed to keep his speech therapy going. OnWednesday, Katie, Dave, Maura, and I went to Outback. All three of them looked super. Katie has her 'take Dave out to dinner technique' down to a science, and needed no help getting him from car to wheel chair and back again. He ordered short ribs and I thought, "This is going to be interesting." Katie stripped the meat off the ribs and everything worked great. It looked like Dave had lost some weight and Katie has said he is very tired of the Martha T Berry food, which all adds up.
these pics aren't from Tgiving - they were from a few weeks earlier
Yesterday was my Dad's 72 birthday! If I can count right that is, he was born in 1939. He had a birthday dinner date with Katie and Maura with cake afterwards. I'm sure they had a good time. I've been meaning to post about my visit in early August but somehow didn't get around to it for 3 months - bad! In fairness I've been traveling a LOT! Including two trips to Europe - one for vacation (Paris) and one for work (Amsterdam, Germany). Now it's tough to remember all that I wanted to share. For some reason I woke up at 5am today (Saturday) so I guess it is as good a time as any to get caught up.
Maura and I busted Dad out one day for lunch and a drive through Mt. Clemens. He definitely knows exactly where he wants to go and how to get there. Honestly, if he wasn't my co-pilot I'm not sure that I could have found my way from downtown Mt. Clemens back to Martha T. Berry. Maura is so good with Dad. He can't always find the words he wants to say and she makes it fun for him to keep trying.
I've heard from a few people that Dave is speaking better each day and I agree. Katie was able to get him back into speech therapy and she said he has a great new instructor that loves working with him, my Dad is a very good student. What I liked about this instructor is it feels like the first one to give suggestions on how Katie can work with him and suggested some outside resources as well. I can't wait for my next visit to see how he has progressed. Below is another picture from Maura's graduation - Dad and Kathy Wis. It was such a gorgeous day and he looked pretty handsome in his suit.
Well, I promise I will post right after my next visit while things are still fresh in my head. If you haven't been in for a visit in awhile, stop by and wish Dave a Happy Birthday! You know he'll be smiling when you walk in.
On Monday I went to breakfast with Barb and Gwen which was fun as usual. I told Barb the story about my Grandparent's china and was surprised that she remembered more than my Uncle Chuck did. Barb had grown up in Marine City where my Grandma Bell grew up so she knew of their family. It was nice to get another perspective. And I could seriously listen to Gwen talk All Day Long.
Afterwards I went back to Tanya's and packed up and then waited out a flash rainstorm (typical Michigan) before leaving for a late lunch with Katie and Maura. We talked all about Maura going to college in the Fall - Lake Superior State! Following in her big sister's footsteps and heading North to the U.P. Then we all went over to visit my Dad. I brought my laptop to show him pictures from Maura's graduation on Saturday. If you have a Mac you know that iphoto organizes your pictures with big thumbnails. As I would scroll through the thumbnails to show my Dad something I thought he would like he would see something that caught his interest...some things I didn't even realize were there but he didn't miss a beat. Some of his favorites:
the Crow's Nest, that's Maura a few years ago
where is the cottage on stilts? sadly, it's gone
the Harsen's Island ferries way in the background
ummm, Jillian Michaels, which Katie got a big kick out of
and then my Dad started denying that one caught his eye
hilarious, still a dude, and with good taste
and how it relates to the lake next to our house
I think he was throughly impressed that I managed to get a house near
one of the only lakes in Denver - always a Flats Rat
Bernie on a boat on Torch Lake
the Mecca - Batchelder Rd.
if you are within 50 miles, you MUST visit
Belaire, Michigan where my Dad's family had a farm
hence Batchelder Road
the Old Mission lighthouse
on the 45th parallel
He saw some things that he thought looked familiar, like Paris
but when I told them what they were, he was all, "no" with a movement of the hand
that said, move on to something that I know and care about
This was one of the best days I've had with my Dad since his stroke. Looking at old pictures with him and the girls was a good trip down memory lane. It felt almost like nothing had ever changed. He was so interested to look at all the pictures. It reminded me that he realizes more than I sometimes give him credit for, he picked out pictures from a small 1" square on the computer without his glasses that meant something to HIM. He knew the people and the places but not the names and he loved looking at the St. Clair Flats of course. I have been planning a photo book for him for awhile now, and this really showed me how much he would enjoy it. I got great shots of most of his friends and family this weekend and I can't wait to put his book together.
If you are in the neighborhood, or even if you aren't, please stop buy and say hi to Dave. This time of year is a great time to take a stroll out to the gardens to soak up some sun. 15-30 minutes, we all have that to spare. If everyone visited for just 15 minutes once a month, he would be sick of us in no time.
Maura'a High School graduation was today, can you believe it? I'm not sure how she got all the way through school and I only got a couple of years older, math is funny like that. We might have started out 18 years apart, but I'd like to think that gap has closed to about 9 years. I'm going to hold strong at 27 as long as possible. Maura could actually end up the older sister one of these days.
I'm here in Michigan visiting with my Dad. With all my travel for work it has been far too long since my last visit. One of my favorite things to do when it is nice out is go sit in the beautiful garden's in the first floor courtyard which we did on Saturday. After so much winter and rain it felt so nice to sit out in the sun and soak up some rays. We will be getting dressed up today and going out for Maura's high school graduation.
You might remember my Dad was an avid photographer. He was checking out my camera and I told him to take a picture of me which is hard to do with one hand. He held the camera and I pushed the button. Pretty good composition don't you agree?
Some people say they don't know what to talk about when they visit and my dad still has a hard time communicating. But take a stroll out in the garden and talk about the beautiful plants and veggies and how your day went. He's always happy to listen.
I feel so bad I never posted this after my visit in December. I wrote it on the way home but was waiting for some pictures from when we went out to dinner because everyone looked so nice and happy (ahem, M, I'm still waiting...) and then I just forgot...I figured I better get this out before my next visit.
I just made an impromptu visit three weeks ago but I already had this trip planned. I flew in Friday afternoon and then had the not so bright idea to go from the airport to Mt. Clemens to visit my dad before doubling back to Ann Arbor for Bernie's Aunt's birthday dinner. I didn't find out until that morning that she would be in town on Friday and everyone was going out to dinner which of course I wanted to be there too. But I was only in town for 4 days and I didn't think driving extra miles was a good excuse for not visiting my dad first. 160 miles is not too heavy a price for seeing everyone, right? Right. Plus, there were cupcakes involved. It was totally worth it!
Bernie's cousins Karen & Jen & Auntie Ann
me, Uncle John & B's nephew & niece Zak & Arden
My dad was in very good spirits during my visits. He's getting a better grasp on time and an improved memory so he knew I was coming. Our visits were rather short this weekend. Friday I had a long drive ahead of me so he walked me out after about 30 minutes or so. When I told him I was going from Detroit to Mt. Clemens to Ann Arbor to Algonac he just said, "whoa" and gave me a look like, baaaadddd idea kid.
On Saturday Tanya and I went to visit my dad before heading out for some Christmas shopping. We chatted for awhile and Tanya got a few winks and then Dad wanted to go for a walk before lunch. As I've mentioned before he likes to check out all the common areas and when nothing was going on except people getting ready for lunch he basically took us downstairs and showed us the door. Heaven forbid we mess around with lunch time! Dad said, "ok, now you go." I said no, we have time, we'll go back up to your room. Nope, "you go." Yes sir boss! Timing is critical - if we had went back to his room he wouldn't be able to walk us out without missing lunch and that wasn't about to happen :)
On Sunday when I was waiting for the elevator the doors opened and guess who was coming down to check things out...Dave. I brought some presents for Maura and Katie (from Dad) to show him what he got the girls for Christmas and then we wrapped them and I had him sign a couple of cards. He has a definite memory of how to sign David. But "Dad" seems to be out of his reach for now. He really didn't want to try too much. The strangest thing is, his handwriting is still the same! We went to Outback for dinner with Katie and Maura and due to the terrible weather they weren't that busy so we could actually hear each other talk. Dad looked pretty snazzy and Katie with her new pixie cut so we took a few pictures. I brought Katie a belated birthday card which the waiter saw and brought us a free desert - score! Who cares if her birthday was three weeks ago right? We hung out in Dad's room afterwards and had a great time. It is fun to see his personality shine though, he rolled his eyes at Katie and I found it pretty funny.
On Monday the roads were horrendous! It was so bitter cold. Coming out of Algonac I remember thinking, I should just turn around right now. The roads were solid ice. But I made it to see Dad and sat with him while he had lunch. I saw in the guest book that Dennis Wiese had been in for a visit and Barb and Gwen decorated his room with some lights and a little tree and a giant Rudolph, very cute. Katie looks like she is doing very well after her surgery, her spirits are very good. Maura is thinking about college already, September will be here before she knows it! Like always, Dad wanted to walk me out. It took a little extra time to get to the airport but I made it in plenty of time….not sure when my next visit will be, I need to get planning.
...okay, remember I wrote all that in mid-December so it is old news. More to come next time and I will remember my camera :) Let me know if you have any stories you want to share.
Hello everyone! I have created this site so we can keep friends and family updated on how my Dad is doing. Katie will print out any comments you post and read them to my Dad. If you wan to send him a card or well wishes please send to his home at:
8781 Marine City Highway Fair Haven, MI 48023
Visit David at:
Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility
Visiting Hours are 11am-8pm every day