On Sunday night, April 12th, my husband had another night of getting dressed and wandering through the house. Over that weekend the neurologist was trying yet another medication, off-label, which ideally has a side effect of drowsiness. There is no reasoning with my husband when he does this, hence I was awakened at 1:30am and 4:30am. Finally, trying to get a few more hours of sleep myself, I was just entering that relaxed, dreamy state before oblivion when our youngest son knocked on my door, asking if there were any antacids in the house. I groggily told him to take four extra strength Tums, then fell asleep, but dreamt he was trapped somewhere and I couldn't find him.

Next thing I knew it was 8:00am and my husband, who had eaten breakfast at either 1:30 or 4:30am, woke me to take him "to work." A flashback of the dream regarding our son was as clear as a film scene; he was seated, hunched over in a dank basement, chained to a metal railing. Creepy. I dressed quickly and before taking my husband to the Day Center, checked on our son. He was awake and in considerable pain. I went into crisis mode, drove my husband to the Day Center, then came home and assessed the situation: my 25-year-old who rarely takes even Tylenol, let alone vitamins and had been fine watching Game of Thrones the night before, was in serious trouble.

After two calls to his internist's office, who said they could squeeze him in at the end of the day, I made it clear he couldn't tolerate the level of pain plus he had been vomiting. So, off to the ER, where they determined he had acute appendicitis. Filled out a million forms, answered a million questions then contacted my backup helpers for my husband. There are a million other details, mistakes, bizarre happenings, far too many coincidences, but in the end, by 10:00pm he was sans appendix, on pain meds and eating the equivilent of four catering size platters, plus cartons of milk and juice in a private room. I was giddy with fatigue; when a tired aide handed me three bags of IV fluids and meds so my son could use the bathroom, I couldn't stop laughing at the absurdity. And no, I didn't go in the bathroom with him, poor guy.

He was kept overnight and sent home on Percocet, which in hindsight, was not the right drug for him. We've had a different kind of roller coaster since then, and as all young people of that age, he expected to be back to work immediately. Post-op visit was today and surgeon was surprised my son wasn't back to normal functioning. To my own selfish satisfaction, he repeated much of what my son didn't want to hear...that basically when you have an organ removed, everyone's body reacts differently and heals slower than they initially tell you.

The surgeon ended by telling us a funny story about his residency, in which he removed Meryl Streep's then-sixteen-year-old daughter's appendix. He said that despite her fame, she was down on her knees, putting socks on her daughter's bare feet. I laughed because my son had three nurses putting socks on him. At that point, he was on IV Dilaudid, very interested in all of the machines and charming everyone in sight, while talking about computer programming. Apparently, just before anesthesia and as soon as he awoke, he was telling anyone who was within earshot about his software company.

The whole experience was sobering in many ways and my husband is still confused about which son had "something go wrong" and he vaguely remembers his own appendectomy, which was far more serious since it had ruptured and occurred right after our son was conceived and I hadn't yet told anyone. He had to stay in the hospital ten days, then was at home almost six weeks. 25 years ago. And one thing I remember is he wanted to leave the hospital to get back to work. At the very least, both of our sons inherited a strong work ethic!

Note: While this is not directly related to our Alzheimer's journey, we've reached the stage where EVERYTHING is tinged by it, much as I would like our life to be different.

Yesterday I felt very productive. I made the calls I needed to right away, cleaned the rooms I had on my list and did some extra cleaning and decluttering in the kitchen. A while back I was on a toweling kick and bought a bunch of bar mop towels that I thought would be handy around the house. They ended up not being what I expected so I was going to donate them to our church when I discovered a new way to use them that I hadn't considered before. We have regular dish towels, striped ones, and dish towels that my family uses to dry hands, but others use to dry dishes when they're over. I like having different towels for different uses, but when I went through my drawer yesterday, I found that the towels and dish cloths don't fit in the space I have for them.

A book I have said if you find that you have too much of a thing, you should make a quantity or space decision meaning that I should determine whether I want to keep a certain number of towels, or the quantity that will fit in the drawer. Yesterday I cleaned out the bank of drawers between my stove and dishwasher. I pulled everything out, wiped them down, and decided to eliminate my second silverware drawer. Mostly it's a collection of odd things like serving forks and spoons that I rarely use, but that's also where I keep plastic silverware that the girls use for their lunches when they remember to pack it or I see that they've forgotten and toss it in for them. My youngest doesn't care for it, but I like it, and my oldest does too.

My oldest thinks that I should reinstate the second silverware drawer, but I'm going to see if we can get by without it. I've repurposed the drawer to hold hot pads and I'm thinking about dividing up the dish cloths and having one set that we use regularly and a second set that we start using when those start getting old and gross. So far my favorite dish cloths are a set from Crate and Barrel. My mom didn't care for them so I inherited them and I really need to replace or get rid of the torn one, but those dish cloths are the best ones and I can't justify spending more money on a new set when we have so many others that are perfectly capable of washing our dishes. I almost never dry dishes, but my husband doesn't care for dishes in the rack so I make the girls dry and put away dishes before he gets home when I think of it. 

Last night my husband broke his glasses so we had to make an emergency stop at the eye doctor. Fortunately they were open until 8:00 so I dropped him and the girls off while I took the trash and recycling to the dumpster. My youngest wanted to go to Target to get a present for her sister's birthday so I took my oldest back to the store where I returned her shoes and most of the pillows I had purchased yesterday. I felt foolish, but I found a bunch of pillows that work just as well at the thrift store which saved me about seventy-five dollars even though I couldn't return the pillows that I bought that we don't like, and aren't working for us. Goodwill takes returns, but St. Vincent's doesn't so I wasted a couple bucks and still came out way ahead.

I went to the library yesterday and got some books on estate planning. I also picked up a book on dry eye syndrome and the one I'm reading now which is Pillows and Throws. This foray into decorating has taught me a lot about what I don't know, but the cool thing about being alive in this modern world is just about anything I need or want to research is available online or in print. There were books on apps and parenting that I'm going to go back for, I put a reminder to take my library books in my phone and I'm going to go through and add that to my paper calendar which might be a waste of time, but for now I'm going to see if this helps me remember things like taking back the books I checked out. I put the date in a week ahead of time to give myself some flexibility, that helps me if I'm pressed for time on a certain day.

Another thing I've done that has been tremendously valuable is putting a basket in the trunk of my car and a small clear plastic bin in the front. I was going to take the basket back, realized I was using it frequently so I left it in there and that thing is so handy, I'm kind of amazed I lived without it for so long. It's nice for grocery bags which had a habit of flying around the trunk previously. I can put groceries, a backpack, blankets, groceries, boxes, clothes, really just about anything that will fit in there. It's not so large that I can't carry it when it's full and my husband bought it as a decorative item so it matches my car and looks cute which is more important to me at times than I would like to admit. I tried a similar system in his main vehicle, but it hasn't met with much success.

The clear bin is great for smaller items like library books, things I've borrowed and need to return, or as a catchall for trash and other items that seem drawn to my vehicle. This past weekend we used it for snacks, and if anyone is ever carsick in my car, I have a container for them to use. I can't take credit for buying this wonderful item. It's a one and a half quart Hefty bin with a lid that my step-daughter left when she moved out. I was going to put it in my rummage sale pile, found a set of chisels we needed to return, stuck them in with AR books that needed to go back to school and have used this many times since. People are free to sit in the front seat of my car, but the bin must be replaced when they vacate their seat since I have trouble functioning without it.

For a while I was really disciplined about receipt management. I have two bins for receipts since we save medical receipts and everything else, or at least I do. These bins have become untidy and I'm still trying to figure out a better way to manage incoming receipts and those that need to accompany a return or gift. Yesterday I went through a stack of papers, today I have another stack to tackle and I'm having some nostalgia issues that I need to work through. I would love it if someone would come over and help me work through these things. When I was at St. Vinny's I was talking to a cashier that has been nice to me in the past. The customer ahead of me had some issue that she was taking out on him so I felt bad about that.

He apologized for being out of larger bags, but I told him I would just pile the pillows back in my cart and this time I was more organized about the arrangement. He gave me a coupon so I didn't have to use the one I had. I'm chatty so we got to talking about organization, and finally I asked why he didn't do that instead of or in addition to the job he has now. When he said that he didn't think that there was a market for it I asked if he wanted a suggestion. He said sure so I asked if he read any books on the subject. He said he hadn't so I told him that would be a place to start. It lends credibility as well as teaching you things you didn't know and gives you ways to think about things you may not have previously.

I also told him that he should start with the people he knows and see if anyone needs anything organized so he can get some practice and build up a customer base. One of my favorite things is discovering what people are good at and trying to show them that they can go after what they want if they break it down into smaller steps. I find this funny since I often have trouble doing this in my own life, but for some reason, it's much clearer when I'm talking to others. I gave him my number since I have projects for him and I think that I would be a good mentor in so far as I've recently done a ton of cleaning, decluttering, and organizing. I have a large network of family and friends and I know that there's a need out there, it's just a matter of pricing the supply accordingly and getting the word out.

My new calendar is still better than the one I had used last year. I would prefer a smaller one, but I guess I'm happy that this has worked out better than I had anticipated. Today my youngest is home sick. My husband is not feeling well and I think she picked up whatever bug gave him a sore throat and stuffy nose. She went to the Brewers game yesterday and I've found that both of my girls usually need a day to recover from larger trips where they are gone all day. After requesting tea she crawled into my bed and went to sleep. I was going to strip the beds and change the sheets, but that will have to wait. Yesterday I found a gorgeous striped pillow that had a small stain on it. I dabbed at it with mild soap and cool water and I can't see it today so that was a nice surprise. Today I'm going to drop it off to have it dry cleaned so the rest of it is clean as well.

I've been procrastinating about the rummage sale and finally I decided that I can't be responsible for the weather, my family isn't coming over to inspect my garage, and they can drop off any items they'd like to sell or get rid of if they would like to be a part of this thing. I don't want to get rid of things too hastily like I've done in the past so I'm giving us a chance to see if we want to reclaim anything I've put out in the garage. It will be nice to park in there again, and hopefully this will be the last one I have. I'm pretty good at getting rid of things, but I need to stop buying and accumulating the type of things that end up in a rummage sale although I think some degree of that is unavoidable. I woke up early and got a lot done already so I have some extra time to do some of the things I want to which is always a good feeling. 

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