Driving & Dementia

For the first time in many, many years, Cookie and I are going to be a one car family.  We are getting ready to sell Cookie’s red Toyota Camry.  Since we’re both retired now, we have one car too many, and with my dementia, I won’t need a car anyway.  Still, it’s a shock to one’s system to have make that decision.  Having grown up in Detroit, “The Motor City” as they say, I wanted to grab a car as fast as I could.  Needless to say, I wasn’t at all picky.  Gas, as I recall it back when I turned sixteen in 1967, was a sweet 20 cents a gallon, and they pumped it for you.  Eat your heart out, teenagers of today!

When my Grandfather passed, my parents inherited his gray Ford Fairlane, since my Grandma had never learned how to drive.  My older brothers drove it for a while, and then it passed to me, being next in line.  It was a great car while it lasted; not the most beautiful car to come off the assembly line, but I was glad to have it.  Unfortunately it died of old age, spewing a dense cloud of white-gray smoke behind it as I drove it home from work one day.

I suspect we all have old car stories to tell, being such a mobile society.  I confess, I’m kind of old school, and I’ve come to dislike all the technical doodads that today’s cars all seem to come with.  Wouldn’t you know it, we decided to sell the Toyota because my Buick Regal has heated seats that Cookie has fallen in love with.

Cookie grumbles about the way I drive, frequently telling me, “You drive like a cop”.  Having driven police cars for so many years in Wisconsin, in all kinds of weather, makes it’s hard for me to do otherwise.  But I know the time is coming when I’ll have to give up my keys, and let her do all the driving.  I feel some sadness about that, but on the other hand, I’ve also seen what drivers with dementia can do.  If you know someone in that situation, please, please take control of their keys.

So, Cookie and I have paid off the Toyota and have a clear title.  It’s a 2015 with less than 20,000 miles.  It was driven back and forth to church by a lovely, wonderful woman, albeit on the cautious side   We hope it will find a very good home, here in the great State of Texas.

There’s that old Joni Mitchell song that goes, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  Carpus Diem everyone.  Carpus Diem…





Windows & Dementia

I am happy to report that our bedroom window has finally been replaced!  It was broken out by the massive hail storm last summer, along with a number of other windows in our complex.  This morning, we finally have a wonderful, panoramic view of our commons area, instead of plywood!  And, I’m noting all of this, of course, using Windows 10.


The events in our nation this past week have opened many windows.  Windows into the vulnerability of our schools, our teachers and especially our children; the disparate positions concerning the regulation of gun ownership; and the failure of our government to keep guns out of our many school buildings.  But perhaps the worst window it has opened is the lack of planning that has allowed the shootings to continue in the school buildings of our nation.  For this, I lay the blame squarely on our government.

For many years, our schools have been neglected.  Teachers underpaid, lean budgets, a lack of money for security enhancements, and especially for professional counselors for the many troubled kids in schools across the nation.  None of this is new; my parents were both teachers in the Detroit area, and I clearly remember the gutted budgets and my Dad occasionally having to wrestle some kids to the office.

I don’t blame the teachers.  Nor do I blame the kids.  I blame the people who control the school funding.  The education of our kids reflects who we are, or who we should be as a nation.  To have our President suggest that we arm our teachers is the result of a lack of education.

I hope the windows being opened now will show just where the problems are.  As St. Paul said so eloquently in the Scriptures, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult I put an end to childish ways.”  May we move beyond the rhetoric and end our childish ways.


Fr Dave










Guns & Dementia


I have Dementia.  I truly believe I could walk into any gun shop and buy a weapon.  Think about that.  I suppose some of you might think, “how is that possible?  Do I really want a guy with dementia walking around with a gun?  A guy with memory lapses, who sometimes forgets where he leaves things?  Yet, that what its come to in this country.  Think about that, as we all await the next shooting to take place.  You know it won’t be long.

The medication I take for Dementia is powerful stuff.  Believe me when I say that.  But it’s nothing compared to the meds that other folks out there use on a regular basis.  And yet, they continue to be able to both buy, and own weapons.  We’ve made it a convenience in this country.  Like going to the Supermarket.  The right to bear arms sounds so wonderful, until the next bloodbath, and we go through the same cycle again.  My father was a teacher in the City of Detroit for many, many years and he never had to encounter a  weapon.  The times certainly have changed, and not for the better.

I spent twenty years as a police officer.  When I retired, I got rid of my guns.  I trusted, and I continue to trust the officers who work on our streets.  I know they’ve been back-grounded and they’ve had extensive training on both using and storing their weapons.  I just can’t say that about the guy down the street.  Look no further than the shootings in Florida.

You may call me demented, but I don’t much care anymore about the right to bear arms.  The blood of the dead children and teachers, have long since washed that away.  We’re  not living in a John Wayne movie, and hopefully, we’re way past playing Cowboys and Indians.  Our country is changing and not for the better.  As much as I’d like to just pray the problem away, I really believe the Lord wants to see me/us in action.  The clock is ticking; what are y’all willing to do?


Father Dave



Exercise (or lack of) & Dementia


No matter what malady I’ve had over the years, (and I’ve had plenty), every doctor always mentions four words: “You need to exercise.”   I’ve come to believe that the most muscle-toned model of personal fitness could walk into any doctor’s office and hear those exact words; “You need more exercise.”  Even when my exercising contributed to the malady in question, I was told, “You need more exercise-but don’t overdo it!”

Now, I do like to exercise, don’t get me wrong.  I use to run, but my knees protest too much when I do.  I’ve turned to taking long walks each day and lifting some weights.  I am in a long and costly battle to maintain my waistline and the causalities have been many.  My doctors keep after me to exercise, but they’re all younger than me.  They haven’t learned yet what gravity can do to a person!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the coming of summer.  During the fall, and into the winter, I’ve been walking during the afternoon hours.  But it won’t be long and we’ll be into the heat of the summer, here in Texas.  There’s no way I’ll be able to walk in that heat.  They’d find me on the sidewalk, a withered and desiccated old man.  Or perhaps the blessed sand of the Permian Basin would just cover me over!

The problem is that I like to move slowly when I get up in the morning.  I have my routine; coffee, TV news, Cookie, dogs, meds, breakfast, and all of a sudden it’s noon or later!  Walking in the morning before it gets hot will put a sizable crimp in my schedule. Of course there are a couple of other options.  I could just give up the exercise, but my Doctor would catch on pretty fast.  After all, when I arrive at the office, the first thing they do is weigh me!  And speaking of that, why does their scale always make me heavier than the one I use at home?  What’s up with that?

I could also join a health club, and walk in the air conditioned comfort such places provide.  But then I have to pay for my exercise.  Somehow that seems incredibly wrong.  Call me cheap, but I’m not paying for exercise, nor am I paying for pain.  That’s something I can do to myself.


What a conundrum.  It appears the best option is get up before dawn and to hope for the best.  Or, I suppose I could become a professional mall-walker, but that would aggravate my aversion to shopping.  How in the world did my life get so complicated?  I haven’t made a decision yet, and I’m already worn out.  What would Jesus do?  I suppose he’d probably call on his disciple, the physician Luke.  I doubt Luke ever weighed the Son of God, but he did join him on his walks.  Hmmmm.

Traveling & Dementia


Sometimes you feel like a nut…sometimes you don’t

This past Tuesday I put on my clerical garb for the first time since I retired from St. Nicholas Episcopal Church back in July of 2017.  It’s hard to believe the time has passed so quickly.  In doing so, I discovered that my pants were a lot tighter on me than they were when I’d retired.  I had to kind of scrunch myself into them, by taking a deep breath or two; It was at that moment that the diet light started flashing on and off in my brain.

In my last blog I mentioned that Cookie and I were traveling to Abilene to attend my friend and former student Karen’s ordination as a Deacon.  As I thought about what to take with me, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to wear, robe-wise, to the event.  This was rather disconcerting, as I had been to a number of ordinations in the past.  Rather than leave things to chance, I texted my friend Father Jim up in Lubbock, and he graciously provided me with the list of appropriate attire.

It was a beautiful service, and I am so glad we were able to attend.  Cookie was the designated driver, considering the distance we had to travel.  It wasn’t really a long way in Texas miles, but it was long enough for me to need a chauffeur.  My world is starting to shrink a bit, as a result of the dementia.  No matter, we had a lovely time, and got to catch up with lots of folks.  I was one of the presenters, which was a great honor.  There is nothing like an Episcopal ordination!

We stayed overnight at one of the local Marriott’s in Abilene, a very nice place.  We were in the car getting ready to head out on Wednesday, when I realized I had left my Kindle Reader in the hotel room.  I headed back to the front desk with a sigh, and was graciously given a new room key; I then successfully retrieved said Kindle.  Never a dull moment with dementia, everyday’s an adventure.

The increase in the frequency of these “senior moments” prompted my doc to up my daily dose of Memantine, adding a “patch” to go with the pills I take each day.  Hopefully, this will slow down the recent increase in the senior moments I’ve been experiencing.  It’s hard to believe, but there was a time in my life when I didn’t take medication.  Ah, for those good old days!

In the Biblical book of Sirach (Apocrypha), these words are written; “Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.”  I am so grateful to all of you who are traveling with me on this journey.


Fr Dave



Senior Moments & Dementia

pexels-photo-172738 (1)Cookie and I have been pretty much home bound the last couple weeks, as luck would have it.  We’ve been waiting for said Cookie to recover from a sinus infection and all the joys that go with it.  Cookie’s pattern when getting a bug is to pretty much ignore it for a week to ten days.  By then she’s sick as a dog, and has to pretty much crawl to our Physician Assistant, Maurice, and get an antibiotic.  The antibiotic eventually kills the bug, but the nasty cough takes its time leaving her system.  I have learned over many married years, that resistance to her behavior is futile.

Since I rarely drive anymore, Cookie being sick means no traveling until the bug runs its course.  Thankfully, she’s finally healed up so we’re driving to Abilene tomorrow for my former student and friend Karen’s ordination as a Deacon!

I’ve been biding my time the last couple weeks by working on our 2017 tax return.  Having worked for a number of years for H & R Block, back in the day, I kind of look forward each year to doing my own.  There’s a few complications this year, retiring and selling a house and a lot of medical expenses, but nothing to write home about.  A routine return back in the day, with one major difference; I’m having plenty of senior moments.

Now most people I know have occasional senior moments.  You know how they go:  You’re looking at something and can’t remember it’s name; or even more embarrassing, you run into someone you know pretty well and can’t remember his or her name.  We all have senior moments as we age; the problem with Alzheimer’s and Dementia is the frequency of how often we have them.

For example, I can be talking with a family member on the phone and can’t remember their name.  I can see them clearly in my mind’s eye, but I can’t remember their name.  Its the weirdest thing, like having something on the tip of my tongue, but not being able to retrieve it.  When it happens at home, its not such a big deal, since there’s time to get a handle on it.  Unfortunately, I’ve had it happen in visits to the Dr. and over the phone, and the details get all mushed together.


I’ve been training myself to always stay in the moment.  Distractions seem to cause more distractions, and more senior moments.  I have found my prayer time to be more relaxing, as I’ve gotten accustomed to this particular technique.

Still life is a challenge.  I spent some time on the phone with a nice man from the Marriott, trying to update my member card.  In the midst of updating my email address from a former e-mail address (from the stone age), it took me five times to correctly communicate my current email address.  Five times!  I’m sure the guy was doing his very best to control his laughter, or perhaps rolling his eyes as he waited so patiently!


Fr Dave


Dementia & Romanticism

Perhaps you’ve seen the ads for the fold-out greeting cards on Facebook, or on some other venue.  The ad I saw from “LovePoP” featured a “3-D” card with a tree, that when fully expanded, featured many cut-paper green leaves.  The tree got my attention, as my wife Cookie loves pictures of trees.  The card also featured a pop up bridge with a couple holding hands.  I thought it was kind of romantic, in a guy sort of way, so I ordered one on-line and waited for the card to arrive. 20180115_163726

A few days ago I was working at my desk, when Cookie walked in all smiles.  She was holding the said card, and said, “I was looking at a picture of these cards and I was trying to figure out where to order one.  I think they might have sent me one as a trial offer.”  I responded with just a few words; was your name on the envelope?  She then went and checked the torn envelope and said, “It’s addressed to you.”  I replied, “Yep, it was supposed to be a surprise!”  And then I said my usual reply when such things happen:  “Cooookieeee!”

All was well though.  She loved the card, as I knew she would, even without my name.  And, if it had come to me, I would have written something on it, most likely in a sloppy way.  That has been one of my surprises with dementia, that it interferes with my handwriting; somehow the communication between my brain and my hand has been disrupted by the disease.  The number of checks I’ve had to void the past few months is pretty amazing.

But, I’ve still got the romantic touch.  I think the tree card was the present she enjoyed the most this Christmas.  Not a mention from her of the card coming late, and not being under our Christmas tree.  I think I’m golden for the time being, and guys, I can live with that.


Father Dave