Thursday, August 4, 2016

Family Visit in Kansas

My Aunt Pat called the first week of July and said that my Grandpa was doing ok, but not great.  We decided to just go ahead and visit that weekend instead of a month later like we had planned.  We headed to Kansas at 5pm on Friday night and got in about 12am.  It was an ok drive, the girls were a bit whiney but did ok.  We ate in the car and played a bit and then they watched a movie.  They didn't sleep very well because it was so light out until 9pm.  But Cody and I chatted and just enjoyed the drive.  When we got to Aunt Pat's, we all stayed in the same room so it would just be simple.  Sadly, Paige figured out we were in there and stood in her crib and cried until 2am.  And of course, when the sun rose, the girls woke up.  6:30 came quick that morning!  We went downstairs and got to visit with Pat and Don.  They have a lot of toys from my childhood era and the girls love them.  Original little people, bristle blocks, and seasame street.  Pat made pancakes for the girls and we all got dressed for the day.  Pat, Harper and I headed to Grandpa's first while Cody let Paige nap in the car.  He was moved to a new nursing home in May so she showed us his room and how to get around.  He is always in his wheelchair now but it is easier for him to get around than his prosthetic leg.  He has a small room with a bed and dresser and tv and shares a bathroom with a roommate.  He seems to really like it, all his nurses are so nice and take good care of him.  We wheeled him to the coffee shop and sat there for a little while and talked.  Sadly, he had lost his hearing aids the night before and he couldn't hear anything.  It made our first visit very hard!  I also realized quickly that his dementia was farther than I expected because he didn't recognize me.  He kept talking about his mom, whom I hadn't met.  When the girls came in, he was so happy to see them.  He loved playing with them and just watching them be kids.  After an hour or so, we started talking about the family.  We talked about Gary and Kristi coming later that day.  We tried to facetime Eric and Kristen but since he couldn't hear, he couldn't really talk to them.  It was kind of sad at first.  Towards the end of the visit though, we talked about his favorite Harper memory.  When she was about 1 1/2 and she used to take all his magazines out of his holder and then he would put them back, and then she would take them all out again.  They did this for hours everytime we visited my grandparents when she was little.  He loved it!  After we talked about this memory, he asked how her (Harper) mom was (me).  I looked at him and pointed at myself and said "It's me!"  He was so tickled when he finally realized who I was.  It made my whole day!  We left at lunchtime so he could get a good rest before my dad got there that afternoon.  We met Pat at Freddy's for lunch and then went back and put Paige down for a nap.  Harper played in the basement with Pat for rest time and made crafts and notes for everyone.  It was so cute!  And so nice for us to get to rest because we were tired!  After naptime, we headed back up to the nursing home.  Gary and Kristi had driven to Kansas Saturday morning and were visiting with him.  It was a full family affair because Larry, Mary, Pat, and Don all came by for a little while later that afternoon.  It was a great afternoon.  We were in his room for a little while until it got crowded and then moved to the coffee shop.  Larry gave Grandpa his old hearing aids so he was able to hear better.  He seemed be in great spirits and was doing well knowing what was going on.  The girls ran around the nursing home with Gary and Kristi and we all switched chatting with Grandpa.  We all left around dinner time so he could go eat.  We had dinner with Pat and Don, did baths, and the girls went to bed early.  We watched some tv and talked for awhile about everything and then headed to bed as well.  It was a long day!  

The next morning, Pat and Don went to church and we slept in just a little.  We were tired!  We had breakfast and headed back to visit Grandpa.  We got to hang out and play with the girls.  He was in a good mood and it was fun.  Gary and Kristi came about an hour later and we left so they could visit with him before they went home.  Before we left, my dad got a video of Grandpa with the girls which melted my heart.  Love that they got to meet their great grandparents and spend time with them.  We went to Aunt Barb's after that to swim and visit.  The girls got to have fun and enjoy the water while we talked for about an hour or two.  It was nice!  Lunch and naps after that and then we headed back to Grandpa's for one last visit.  When I got there, he was just waking up and he was a bit confused.  He wasn't feeling well so he stayed in bed and we talked for just a little bit.  I asked him to tell me about his new book that is a memoir about Zig Zag Pass, where he was in the Philippines.  When the girls came in he was happy to see them, as always!  We visited and left in time for dinner.  We packed up and took sandwiches from Pat's with us.  We left at 6pm and got in at 1am, which was about as late as we could make it.  The girls did better this time.  They watched a movie and both fell asleep at a decent time.  It was a fast trip but so worth it!  

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