Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Trip to Florida

My father, Daniel Storer Fogg, has Parkinson's Disease. Along with all the other trials he has in his life, he now has dementia and is facing increased occurrance of choking. Calling the EMTs every time you choke can be very nerve wracking, but call he must. I wanted to visit Mom and Dad in Florida to see how they are doing with this very challenging part of their lives together. Dad is a handsome cuss, and looks so dapper in his pith helmet. He is able to get around with a walker, but it is a very difficult task for him, and his slowness is trying for my mother.Mom bravely stands by him, and gives her all to accomodate his needs. In fact, it is clear that without her steadfast help, Dad would have to be in an institution.Their new dog, Pheobe Lee, was named Phoebe, after Dad's mom, and Lee after the great Confederate leader. "We are southerners now," explains Mom. Sonia, Sherwood and I are convinced it is not a dog. It is the result of a secret government experiment gone awry. We call it a "Llamaselle", because surely it is a cross between a llama and a gazelle.Mom needs downtime every now and then. We went to Tarpon Springs together, and she took the opportunity to be quiet and go slow. Peaceful moments are very precious to her right now. The caregiver's health is often more important than the health of the one who is being cared for, because they BOTH depend upon the caregiver's health and mental balance to get them through the vissisitudes of daily life. It is very important for her to have free time, but she doesn't always take it because she feels guilty about leaving Dad alone. It's a difficult situation, and one that millions of people face each day. Sonia has been a boon to Mom and Dad this winter. She stayed with them while working on her Florida Massage License. She has been there for them, to counsel, listen, clean, entertain and help out in general. With her sweet good nature, she is able to diffuse negative energy.When Sherwood joined us, he treated us all to a birthday dinner in honor of Dad at a seafood restaurant in Hudson Beach. Afterwards we walked the beach and then sat for awhile in a pleasant stupor. The sun felt great.This is me with my hand in a shark's mouth. This is not a very good idea. Kids, do not try this at home!This is the camel who chewed off his caretaker's face last fall. The man has had extensive surgery and by all accounts, he looks very good now. Nevertheless, I cannot help thinking that this is a spiteful camel. The caretaker/owner of the camel has a few acres of land on which he keeps animals like emu, water buffalo, donkeys, sheep, etc. This is his lone camel. He stoutly defends the camel. "It's my fault for getting my face in his way."One of the wonderful perks of visiting my parents in their gated community is the pool and hot tub. We usually go at night, when the stars are overhead and the smell of jasmine is strongest. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! I called Art and he said it was 41 degrees. We were weltering at 92.When we had Dad's birthday party we dispensed with a cake because it is just too hot to cook. Instead we bought a watermelon, which we nicknamed "Wilson" after the soccer ball in Cast Away. I think it will catch on and become a family tradition.The flat travelers went to Florida with me. Here they are posing at Homosassa Springs. They also went to the pool, and they went to Tarpon Springs. They will be flying to Austin, Texas next. It will be interesting to see what they do there.At Homosassa Springs they saw an American Bald Eagle....Flamingos....Alligators.....and of course, manatees.

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