Never Goodbye

Navigating the Journey through Dementia

Our neighbor Brenda called and asked if she could borrow our leaf blower.  There sat the leaf blower ever–ready, outside on the steps where my Dad had left it. It dawned on me that it was out of fuel. I found the leaf-blower manual and was checking for fuel proportions, when Brenda drove up. I announced Brenda’s arrival to my dad so he could come out and say “Hey” as they do here in Alabama.

Brenda said a wasp stung her while driving over in the car. The last time she got stung it took a week  for the swelling to go down. To avoid further aggravation from the sting, she decided to postpone leaf blowing for a few days. I offered to have her take the blower with her and gave her the manual. She would just take the manual and leave the blower at our house. In the meantime, her husband Jim could figure out fuel proportions and get the gas and oil ready for when she used the blower.

At this point, my dad picked up the container of anti-freeze sitting on the steps and offered it to Brenda to take with her. She asked what was in the container and my Dad replied that he didn’t’ know, but it might be something she could use. I told Brenda it was anti-freeze. She said their cars had closed engines and probably wouldn’t need it. Yes, I thought, that was one good reason not to need it, and the 70-degree April weather was also another. Rest assured fuel lines wouldn’t be freezing up anytime soon.

Brenda drove off. As I looked at the blower, I thought about filling it  with gasoline and oil to save Brenda and Jim the trouble. I turned the blower on its side, unscrewed the gas cap, and lo and behold, a thick green goo filled the opening to the brim. It appeared my Dad had, after all, figured out the use of antifreeze.

Though a far cry from a mechanical genius, even I figured antifreeze was not good for a leaf blower. But beyond that, I was clueless about what to do. So I called my son Brad. He couldn’t come over right away because he was leaving for work to begin his 2-10 p.m. night shift. Dad had two leaf blowers anyway. Brad said he would bring back the other one he borrowed, in case this one was ruined.

How did we end up with two blowers? Whenever Dad could not find something–which occurred frequently–he would go out and buy a new one. That is how he ended up with zillions of socks. He said it would probably take him a year to wear every pair, but that was assuming he could find them.

With the leaf-blower problem under control, I delved back into my new freelance business. However,  Dad had other ideas. My little office with computer was located to the side of the kitchen on a desk area, extending out from the kitchen counter. The banging began as my Dad started opening and shutting kitchen cupboards searching for something. I asked him what he was looking for and he told me a wrench. Well, amazingly enough…we don’t keep wrenches in the kitchen cupboards. I suggested he look on the shelves in the entryway where numerous other tools were located. I asked him why he needed a wrench and he answered vaguely, saying he was working on something. There comes a time when you just do not want to know. I had other things to do, and there would be no grilling him about what he was going to do with that wrench. The wrench remained an unsolved a mystery.