Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steve & Dana's Excellent Adventures

2:30 p.m. Today's project was to finish Steve's Christmas present: a computer scrapbook of our many travels around the country in the last decade. I just finished it, relieved to say, without contracting a migraine like I got last summer making one up for Nick and Heather's first anniversary! I'll put in the order tomorrow in conjunction with my payday. The physical scrapbook will arrive mid-December. We pensioners need to be crafty about money going out--everything has to be on a strict schedule.
With Steve's short-term memory, problem solving skills and comprehension fading, I try to utilize a variety of methods to engage different learning modalities--sight, hearing, hands-on --to enhance his ability to relate to others and to stay involved in the daily scene. He does surprise me at times, like last night, when we were discussing the crack in one huge supporting leg of our oak dining table. It's not going to make another year without collapsing--wouldn't that be a fine Thanksgiving memory? Some solution needed to be arrived at!
As we pondered how to fix it or get help, Steve said, "What about , uh, John?" I said, "Oh yeah! [son-in-law] Nick's dad! He does wood work!" So John Love will be coming over on Monday to take a look-see and suggest repairs! that was a real breakthrough for Steve, and we were both delighted.
I've needed to resort to giving logical, step-by-step instructions to help Steve formulate actions for daily activities, and admittedly, it gets annoying! (And tiresome for me). But imagine working on household projects and pastimes with a loved one who has lost much of their logical ability. You can't lightly mention an idea and leave your conversational partner to fill in the gap, or supply the missing piece of information as you would in normal conversation. In other words, "A" doesn't automatically lead to "B." And one habit that's hard for me to break is taking things for granted, like his knowing every time where his sandwich bread is kept, or remembering that it rained yesterday, so we probably didn't need to water the garden. To ease the moment, I suggested that he check and see if the soil seems dry...patient tactfulness 24/7! (And only God is that patient and tactful, amen?)
Jesus said in Luke 21:19, "In your patience possess ye your souls." I like the way Chuck Smith comments on this verse. " 'Possess your soul' " is the idea that you should keep your soul under control. Self-control takes patience when things don't seem to be going well. Hang in there."
And that's just what I do, seeking strength and love--His love--every moment I will to seek it! When I choose to "be myself," hurt and pain result. Every Christian has been there, tired of the effort, though it is a very little effort, because God the Holy Spirit does 99.9%! We have a kind and gracious friend in Jesus, don't we? We need Him because we all can say with the Apostle Paul, "In me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells."
So I am hoping that the travel album will give Steve many hours of enjoyment and spur spontaneous conversation as our years go along. We have truly been blessed with many opportunities to see our great land. We will try to plan some more adventures, and who knows? a second album may need to be created!

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