jmgoyder

wings and things

Anthony’s 79th birthday

on February 4, 2015

Today is Anthony’s 79th birthday and yesterday I promised him I would take him for a drive down south to Golden Valley, his childhood home in Balingup. He asks to go to Golden Valley much more than he asks to come home here and, as it’s been months since I have taken him for a drive anywhere, except around town, I decided to do it.

I was nervous about our little expedition because it is very hot here at the moment and Ants is really hard to manoeuvre when immobile (which is most of the time now). But at 11am he was able to walk, with his walker, the short distance up the hallway and to the outside front driveway where I bottom-shoved him into the car. This bottom-shoving method is very effective; I just get his right leg into the car while he is standing up clinging to the open car door, then I sort of swing my right hip against his left hip to plonk him into the seat. This is not a method I recommend to care staff, who are not allowed to assist once outside the building anyway, but I don’t have to adhere to the care staff rules when it comes to Anthony because I am not his carer, I am his wife. And he seems to get a bit of a kick out of my rough handling – ha!

An hour and a half later we arrived at his childhood home.

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We parked there for awhile and admired the scenery and I asked him questions that he had already answered years ago, like about the hedge that he planted and trimmed obsessively for years. “Looks like someone is doing the same thing,” I remarked but, by this time, Ants was finding it hard to articulate anything and his words were skewed.

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Then we drove the short distance to the tree park and he suddenly got a bit excited and mentioned the name of a woman he told me about years ago. She and her brother owned the farm adjacent to Anthony’s parents’ and, as a boy, he used to walk up to visit her. I am going to call her Eleanor for the sake of privacy despite the fact that she probably died years ago. So little-boy Anthony used to walk up the hill to visit in-her-30s Eleanor and she would feed him with home-made cake and sometimes play the piano.

At the tree park, I stopped the car and we admired the view and I said, “She was obviously a wonderful person, Ants” – then, right out of left field, he said “There was no sex.”

Right, okay ….

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After that, I asked Ants if he wanted to go to the old pub which has been refurbished and he nodded yes but I could see he was getting very tired. This pub is a place we’ve been to from time to time over the years, but this time I knew I would be unable to get Ants out of the car, let alone into the pub, so I parked the car in a shady spot and ran inside to check it out.

I ordered two light beers and asked if it would be okay for us to drink these in the car because my husband was too disabled to come in. Yes that was fine. Then I asked to see the menu and they had oysters – joy, bliss! So I hurried back to the car with the beers and told Ants about the oysters and went back to order half a dozen.

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I had to feed these to him because his hands don’t work very well anymore but he vacuumed them down as you can see! So then I raced back into the pub and ordered another half dozen and the chef delivered them right to the car – amazing!
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By this time I could see that Anthony was utterly exhausted and there was still 100 kms to travel back to the nursing home. So I drove with the radio on (Ants loves music) and, periodically, put my non-driving hand into his or around his shoulders. We got back nearly four hours after we’d left and the very thing I’d dreaded happened. Ants couldn’t get out of the car or stand up or speak, so I went inside and got a wheelchair but that was still very difficult. Nevertheless I eventually got him back to his room and asked the care staff if they could attend to him soon. Then I kissed him again and asked if his birthday had been okay.

“Not too bad,” he said.
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This photo shows what happens when I ask Ants to smile for the camera – mmmm.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, incorrigible, resilient, fantastic, sarcastic, wonderful husband!


80 responses to “Anthony’s 79th birthday

  1. Happy Birthday Ants! You did a very marvellous thing for him.

  2. susanpoozan says:

    What a day you gave him, you are so brave and kind. I do admire your guts and determination.

    • jmgoyder says:

      In retrospect I think it was too long but at least now I know to limit any future outings to 2 hours. I don’t think it’s really worth it any more, Susan, now that he and I have made the nursing home so homey. But I just wanted to try today, as a kind of experiment I guess.

  3. Wonderful. I read every word. Happy Birthday Anthony!! XXXX

  4. Barb says:

    What a wonderful outing. These memory trips are so important. I’m glad he was able to make it and you were able to handle it.

  5. mimijk says:

    Happy Happy Birthday to your wonderful husband!! I’m so glad you were able to give him this day – a memory for you both. You are a fantastic wife Jules – and a truly remarkable woman.

  6. Happy Birthday, Anthony! Julie, the love you two share takes my breath away…

  7. bulldog says:

    This post needs a love button….I’m sure he had a wonderful time and remembers everything… he is going to forget on purpose so you will repeat the trip…. what a wonderful birthday present for Ant…. Happy Birthday from South Africa Ant… may there be many many more and Sterkte Boet… (boet means brother)..

  8. sounds like you both enjoyed t trip despite the difficulties. well done.

  9. your love knows no bounds–you inspire me

  10. frangipani says:

    What a beautiful day!!!! Love those oysters. Well done!

  11. niasunset says:

    Happy Birthday to Him. You are so nice, what a beautiful day you arranged. Love, nia

  12. Just beautiful, Julie. Happy Birthday, Ants; he is so lucky to have you. xo

  13. What a sweetheart you are, Jules! Happy Birthday Ants. ❀

  14. What a poignantly beautiful and touching post Jules. Happy Birthday Ants.

    You have a beautiful heart my friend.

  15. Happy Birthday Anthony! πŸ˜€
    Diana xo

  16. Tiny says:

    Happy Birthday to your Ants! “Not too bad” looked wonderful to me!

  17. Trisha says:

    How wonderful that you were able to get him back to his childhood home for his birthday. In that last picture, I can see the boy that went to visit the lady at the neighboring farm! Happy birthday to Anthony! O

  18. What a nice outing for him. Happy birthday to Ants.

  19. I know that when you look at Ants you see him as he was when he was well … not the physical features but his very ‘being’ … his inner soul… because you love him so…. That is so evident. You gave him a lovely birthday!…. Diane

  20. Rhonda says:

    There was no sex! Ha…he’s a hoot. Frankly, the adjectives, beautiful, incorrigible, resilient, fantastic, sarcastic, wonderful…make for the perfect man imho and certainly, the perfect man for you…the also beautiful, incorrigible, resilient, fantastic, sarcastic, wonderful Jules. Love you…xoxo

  21. ksbeth says:

    amazing happy birthday ants. and you made it happen, jules. you are a miracle worker –

  22. That sounds like a perfect day out. Happy Birthday to Ants!

  23. KDKH says:

    Oysters! I’ll bet he doesn’t get that at the care center! It sounds like a pretty good day. Good job for making it special!

  24. Terry says:

    I am so happy that you were able to do this for Ant’s birthday. It is a memory you will always treasure. The photos and facts are very interesting. Tell Ants Happy Birthday for me! Love and hugs, Terry

  25. angelasommers says:

    What a wonderful lady you are and what a great relationship you have! And also your hubby and I share the same Birthday!!! Happy Birthday all around!

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh! Happy birthday Angela!

      • angelasommers says:

        Thank you! And please give a belated Birthday hug to your Anthony – I have been following your blog for a couple of years and have loved your story from the start! Big hug from across the big pond! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  26. janeslog says:

    Sounds like you both had a super day out. Ants would have really enjoyed it and he will remember it for a long time.

  27. Happy Birthday Anthony! What a beautiful gift Julie! And what a lovely home!!! (and Anthony’s comment seemed quite Anthony-esque! for a laugh!)

  28. tootlepedal says:

    Well done, well done, well done.

  29. Judy says:

    I am certain you will look back with thankfulness that you were able to do this. The beautiful pictures tell such a sweet story, but I understand what is behind it all. I remember when I’d take my mom out somewhere – just dealing with her physically had me fraught with exhaustion and worry. Then the dementia would sadden me and it was hard to appreciate the time together as much. But her slight smile and occasional words were bright moments that lit up the sky with fireworks for me. You might not remember the ache behind the challenging moments – but you will always have those pictures to remind you of a blessed day. You created memories that really count for something.

  30. At least you were able to take him out for the day and he had a nice time, even if it did take a lot out of him

  31. cecilia says:

    Actually I think he looks a bit smiley! LOVE a pub that lets you drink your beers in the car.. Bet he slept well!.. c

  32. Vicki says:

    A very Happy Birthday to Anthony and what a wonderful outing to celebrate.

    Gosh, you’re a Gem (thinking of the most special outing that would be meaningful and give him pleasure).

    Life can be a bit of a ‘bummer’ when health matters intervene, but the important thing is to give thanks for the joy in these everyday moments that you’re able to share together.

    Anthony may not be able to articulate his happiness, but I’m sure he feels it, just being with the one he loves. Once never knows what those with PD or Dementia are feeling, but I like to think that it’s always positive when the giver gives with love and joy in their own heart.

    • jmgoyder says:

      I had a bit of a heartbreaking shift tonight in the dementia house because one of the women just cries and cries and, now that I am there until 7pm, I see how bad this is and how distressing for other residents and staff. I did my best but she was still crying when I left. If Anthony were like this I would be at my wit’s end! Thanks Vicki xxx You understand it all so well.

  33. What a great time you gave Anthony for his birthday. Memories are made of this, Julie. πŸ™‚

  34. Happy Birthday to Anthony! What a lovely gift you gave him — a very personal and special day shared and enjoyed! It shows the depth of your love for him!

  35. Judith Post says:

    This sounds like a perfect birthday celebration–time alone together in a nostalgic, beautiful spot!

  36. My Heartsong says:

    What a great day and a great celebration! Cheers!

  37. juie i have to make a confession….. i hope that we can remain friends,,,,,, i am in love with your adorable, incorigible, sarcastic husband!:) of course i love you too and send big hugs!!

  38. I am catching up on my reading! I love your recounting of Anthony’s birthday and especially love the photo of Ants smiling. It brings back lots of memories for me…trips that were both rewarding and exhausting but it is the happiness of trying that lingers. Hugs, Hallie

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