I haven’t posted much over the last year or so. Life’s been busy, there have been changes and health challenges for family members, my time and energy have been focused in other ways. And today I feel like writing.
One of my current challenges regards my father. He turned 90 in January, and his health is good in some ways and not so good in others. One of the not so goods is his cognitive function. He has memory issues. I first noticed them when he had a “small” stroke some years ago. He lost some sense of direction and the names of his grandkids, among other things. As time as gone on, his memory has worsened, and certain functions are disappearing. He doesn’t do much if anything online, for example, and somedays he can write a check just fine, and others it doesn’t happen. He’s a retired physics professor, so computer and number stuff was once a strength. Now, anything that requires him to hold and compare is a struggle. With time, and lots of rereading and patience, he can often figure things out. Not always, but sometimes.
Yesterday, March 14, was pi day. Pi is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number (meaning you can’t write it as a simple fraction), and it just keeps going. 3.14159265 and so on. So March 14, or 3.14 is pi day. And since there’s nothing many nerds like better than a pun, what better way to celebrate than with a pie. I’m not much of a pie eater or baker (I only like good pies, and I figured out a long time ago that mastering pie crust would not lead to improved health on my part). However, there have been a few recipes that we’ve seen on America’s Test Kitchen that have been tempting over the years.
Yesterday was the day. I made North Carolina Lemon Pie. As advertised, it was easy to make. BA and I both like lemon, and the crust made with saltines seemed promising, an interesting alternative. By early afternoon, the pie was made and ready to eat. BA and I each had a small piece after lunch and found it tasty.
Of course, the other big thing going on these days is Covid-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Colorado is getting hit just now, and lots of protective measures are going into effect. About a year ago, Dad and my stepmother moved into a local retirement community. They live independently in a very nice two-bedroom apartment. Their unit is on the ground floor, with a sliding door opening directly outside. Like many senior complexes, theirs has been proactive with measures designed to minimize exposure and spread in this high risk and vulnerable population. A few weeks ago, the soup and salad bars in their dining room went away. Soup has been a staple for them, often one night’s soup goes home with them for the next day’s lunch. I’ve tried to step up a bit by supplying them with some homemade soup for their fridge. Yesterday, their restrictions expanded to no visitors allowed (although there is an allowance for health care providers, and I do keep an eye on my dad that way).
So yesterday afternoon, BA and I went over with a few pieces of pie and some soup. Entering their apartment through the back door, we delivered the goods. (We didn’t go into any common spaces, and residents are allowed to come and go freely, so it was no more exposure to the community than if they had come to my house–and its easier for me to drive to their place). I wasn’t sure how Dad would do with the pi day concept. He has a hard time remembering why they have all these restrictions with the virus. But I’d written down a little about pi day, and he exclaimed oh pi, and rattled it off to about 10 digits. He remembers pi better than I do. That’s one of the confusing and challenging things about dementia, its unpredictability. How to warm his coffee in the microwave oven is overwhelming, and he knows pi to at least 10 places. Go figure.
I hope my family enjoyed the pie and the soup. I had fun making it, and the rest of the pie went to some neighbors who also enjoyed it. One slice each. Who knows what kind I’ll make next year?
And now I get to figure out this virus thing. We’re pretty settled and well supplied at our house. And I’m getting emails from the state health department saying that my services may be needed if the epidemic gets intense and the additional healthcare providers are needed. Would I like to come out of retirement? Hmmm. Maybe more on that later.