Monday, April 23, 2018

Paralysis

Hope is about all that is left. And there’s not a lot of that left, either. We know that on some day, the roller coaster ride we are on is not going to go back up the next hill, but just crash at the bottom.

When I got to the room today she was in bed, with the oxygen concentrator set on four. She was not moving at all, and her breathing was fast and shallow. She could not talk, or make a sound, so I went out to talk to the aide on duty.

They told me that she could not eat at breakfast, couldn’t even swallow water, so they changed her and put her to bed. Because her oxygen saturation was a little low, they put her on the concentrator, but it wasn’t doing much good because her mouth was hanging open, slack jawed. So they put the cannula in her mouth, not her nose, and the oxygen level came up immediately.

She did not awaken until after eleven thirty in the morning, and then all she could move was her eyes. I put her in the wheelchair, took her to the bathroom and changed her, and then brought her into her room again and tried to feed her. She was unable to swallow water.

The Guardian Hospice aides came to give her a bath, but once again had to forego that, as she was unable to move. Two weeks ago, I thought she might be walking by now, but she can’t even begin to stand today. The head nurse from Guardian Hospice came and ordered some new antibiotic for her sore throat, and some other medication with Lidocaine in it to sooth her throat.

Maybe it will work, or maybe not. I have slim hope that will fix much except keep the pain level down, which is good. With arms, legs, mouth and throat all looking paralyzed, I tend to think it’s neurological. Part of the ghastly reality of Alzheimer’s symptoms. It’s not just memory.

Just before dark, after Darlene came to stay with her through the night so I could get some rest, she tried to talk a little bit. Hoping that might signal an ability to swallow, I spoon fed her some strawberry Ensure from a cup, and she was able to swallow two or three ounces before she started choking again.

I know that back before they invented machines to keep you alive with tubes for eating, breathing, etc. not eating before you died was a common way to go. We are not using any machines - we all know what the end of this awful disease is, and we see no reason to prolong the ordeal. We don’t know when this will end, but we know it will.

We hope she can make it to October. We have the wonderful news that our granddaughter Melissa is going to have a baby boy about then. They’ve already named him Cameron. We have always thought it was great to be grandparents, but now we will be actual great grandparents.

The circle of life. A leaf grows from a bud, matures to a big green leaf living a useful life making food for the tree and oxygen for us animals. Then it gets old and shrivels up and eventually falls to the ground, to make soil to grow another tree. In many ways this is comparable to human life.

But it still hurts. Especially those near and dear to her who love her and are loath to let her go. We work to prepare ourselves, but no preparation is possible. The pain is continuous and inescapable now. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be without pain until I join her in the ground. 


Love hurts. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Alzheimer's education

This week has been another session of continuing education. It seems the more you learn, the more you realize how much more you need to learn.

Because of friends on Facebook, I have learned a lot about adult continence underwear. I got a link to a different brand, which is wider, has “wings” to unfold for better absorption on the sides, and has tapes on the sides so they can be removed and replaced.

Also, I found out that there is a technique for “prepping” the underwear to address the problems I have been having. I was directed to a video on YouTube on the steps to be taken before putting the diaper on the person.

When they come in the package, they are folded in a way that puts a deep crease across the bottom between the legs, right where you don’t want a crease. So the first thing when you remove them from the package is to stretch them front to back to remove that crosswise crease. Then, with the diaper held from front to back, fold it lengthwise and crease it that way to make a trough down the middle. Then when you put it on, it is less likely to leak out of one leg or the other.

Earlier in the week Carolyn had a bruise on her left cheek that had us baffled for a while. She also had a small abrasion on her left elbow and the old wound, which had almost healed on her left knee, was scuffed open again. I was sure her eye was going to look black soon, but it didn’t happen. 

After considering several possible scenarios, we settled on falling out of bed at night, and brushing against the steel angle iron frame of the bed. No major damage occurred because the bed was very low to the floor, and the floor was padded with tumbling mats.

When I put her to bed that night, I slid her over, almost against the wall to make it harder to roll out of bed. She no longer sleeps only on her back. We regularly find her laying on her side now, so we don’t have to elevate her feet to avoid pressure sores. I also pulled the mattress over the side slightly to make sure she could not hit metal if she did roll out onto the mats.

Also, the next day Guardian Hospice presented us with a special mattress cover with foam blocks on both sides to inhibit rolling over the edge. They are not a restraint, I guess, because they do not restrain her, they just push back a little if she rolls over to them. So far so good, and her wounds are healing up nicely.

She is still adjusting to the new drug schedule, with some days still sleepy, and some days awake and wired. She spent all day Thursday awake and talking, restless and relentless. I almost wished we hadn’t changed her drugs. Almost, but not really! I like having her back, even if it does entail a lot more work for me. I must have “patrolled the perimeter” with her in the wheelchair at least a dozen times. She was not happy for long just “guarding the front gate.”

Today, Friday, she was asleep when I got to her room about 9:00 AM and the CNA told me they couldn’t get her awake for breakfast, even though they transferred her to her wheelchair and put her at the table. She was too asleep to feed herself, and too asleep to chew and swallow when they tried to feed her. So they put her back in bed.

I tried opening the shades to let the sunshine in, pulling the covers back to cool her off a bit, and I turned up the music on the radio. I forgot to say that when I got there, the Guardian hospice nurses were sitting on the couch discussing what to do. They were scheduled to give her a shower and change her clothes, but they could not get her awake, either.

They had already called their boss nurse, and she said she would come out and check for herself. I told them I would be staying with her and watching to see if she woke up. I promised that if she woke up and they were still on the premises, I’d give them a call. 

She was still sleeping when the boss arrived. She watched and listened to the breathing, took some vitals readings, and decided because of the mild apnea she was hearing that we would put a little oxygen to her through a cannula from a concentrator. Her saturation level was in the high nineties immediately.

Our daughter Darlene called to let me know she was coming to see her mother, so I told her she was still sleeping, but might wake up. 

At about 4:00 PM I noticed it was quiet over where Carolyn was, so I went  to see. She was looking at me through open eyes. I exclaimed, “You’re awake!” and she smiled at me. What a great feeling!

I got her up and into the wheelchair and took her to the bathroom to clean her up and change her. As I held her with one arm in front of the toilet, and lowered her trousers with the other hand, the diaper slid down too. Must have weighed about ten pounds - wettest one I’ve ever changed. But no leaks! That diaper prep actually works.

Darlene came in as I was finishing dressing Carolyn, and we took her out to the front lobby for just a few minutes, until time for dinner. Having missed both breakfast and lunch, she was hungry. She ate a large serving of egg salad, spooned up about half of the broccoli/cheese soup, and ate all of the fruit cup for dessert.

After dinner we returned to the front lobby, where people gather after dinner to talk and socialize. She began to make repetitious sounds over and over, making no sense at all, with one arm shaking with tremors. After a few minutes the tremors stopped and she started talking using real words in broken phrases that made no sense, either. It was obvious that she was talking to people that we could not see. All I could do was hold her hands and tell her we were with her and it was going to be all right.

Loss of memory is only a small part of the neurological devastation of Alzheimer’s. 

At one point she broke into fearful sobs, and all I could do was hug her close and tell her it’s OK. The tears running down my cheeks belie my words, but I no longer worry too much about absolute truth. I am more concerned with consoling her and trying to make this awful disease as easy as possible.


I kept thinking about the graffiti found on the wall of a gas chamber at a Nazi death camp - “If I see God, he will have to ask my forgiveness.”

Thursday, April 12, 2018

She's Back Again

Two days ago, after long discussion, we reduced the medications that were keeping Carolyn sleeping most of every day. She could not get awake enough to feed herself, so either an aide or I had to spoon feed her, and she wasn’t eating much.

Yesterday, the morning of the drug reduction, she was awake in the morning for the first time in weeks. She was trying to talk a little, and it was obvious she had a lot to talk about. I couldn’t understand much of it, but I stayed attentive, and smiled and nodded my head a lot.

Her legs strengthened a little, and she could stand with my help without her knees buckling. That makes it so much easier to transfer her from chair to couch to toilet, etc. 

I told her, “Welcome back! I missed you!” She smiled and held my hand.

This morning she was wide awake, and talking up a storm when I got to Featherstone. I tried walking her across the floor, but she can only shuffle tiny steps yet. She will be moving pretty good, I think, with a couple more days like these.

She ate lunch in the dining room today, and she can feed herself now. That’s nice. When she was ready to come back to the room, I detected a pretty strong smell, so I told her we were going to the bathroom with her.

Worst accident I’ve seen yet! Evidently her bowels are waking up, also, and diarrhea happened in a major way. I stripped her clothes off and sat her in the shower, where I wore myself out holding her with one hand and using the shower on a hose to clean her up. After a half an hour or so, I had her clean and dressed in clean underwear and clothes, sitting in the front room. 

Then I went back to the bathroom, where I cleaned the toilet seat, the shower seat, the floor, and hardest of all, her pants. I had to carefully turn the legs inside out so I could spray clean with the shower head. 

My engineering mind kept picturing a long rod with a hook on the end to invert the pant legs. As it was, I had to turn up the cuffs and carefully push them up to the top. Either that, or rubber gloves that go up to the armpit!

My engineering mind also found fault with the incontinent underwear (adult diapers?). The absorptive material is shaped like a mound or hill inside, which pushed excess “stuff” out the leg holes. The proper shape to function better would look more like a trough for better containment.

Anyway, I had just sat down to relax for a minute, and Guardian Hospice came to the room to give her a bath. I told her that would be a good idea, since I’m not sure I got everything. I had already realized I had missed cleaning the wheelchair seat, so I had Carolyn sitting on a “puppy pad” in her rocker.

They commented on the sweat I was still mopping off my face, so I explained the job I had just finished. As I finished wiping the wheelchair seat, I helped Carolyn to stand to transfer her to the wheelchair again so they could move her to the bathroom.

The pad in the rocking chair was seriously soiled. She was still having trouble with diarrhea. So we put another pad in the wheelchair, and the three aides took her in to wash her again. I don’t have words to express my relief and gratitude for Guardian Hospice people.

After they finished, I wheeled her out to the front, where they were serving root beer floats, and we sat back and enjoyed them. She was awake enough to handle the cup with ice cream and root beer, with a straw and a plastic spoon with out spilling any at all. I really have missed her!

As we finished our root beer floats, she was earnestly talking to me, and the words were becoming clearer. They still weren’t making a lot of sense, but I noticed with some trepidation a look in her eyes I haven’t seen in a long time. There was a hunger there, and I know her well enough to know she misses me, too! 

I know I’m on the hook, and I’ll have to do something about it soon. The thought scares me a little, because she sometimes forgets who I am when she gets excited, and that is not fun at all.

Some people may object to my frank descriptions of what caring for a wife with dementia is like, with all the gory details, but I write this to educate others in the same predicament, even though I can’t find anyone who quite fits my profile.

Good, clear, honest stories and discussion seem to be in short supply. 
If nobody else is writing about such things, I will fill the void.


An old song from the Twenties keeps going around in my head. “Ma, She’s Making Eyes at Me!”

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sleepy Time Gal

On one hand, Carolyn is getting better. Her knees have almost healed, and she is not crawling around on the floor at night. 

On the other hand, every day she sleeps later and deeper. So deep that now and then I have to walk over and stare at her to make sure she is still breathing. I got to her room at about 9:30 AM and she never moved until 5:30 PM. I opened the shades before noon and turned on the overhead light. I wet a washcloth in cold water and rubbed her face, arms and legs. She didn’t even flinch. At 2:00 PM an aide came to give her some pain medication, but was unable to wake her.

About 4:00 PM our daughter Darlene walked over with her little dog Poppy, and still Carolyn slept. She didn’t awake until the puppy jumped up on her and started licking her face. Then she woke up enough to wave her arms and push the dog away.

We were glad to see her come around, and we were hoping that she might want to eat, so we had the kitchen hold out a tray of food and bring it to her room. After sipping a half can of Dr. Pepper, she slowly ate a whole grilled cheese sandwich, and then the small bowl of mandarin orange slices. She was still moving very slowly, almost catatonic, and having trouble focussing. 

She took the spoon with which I was feeding her the orange slices and put it in her mouth, but then she couldn’t move the spoon over to pick up another slice. So we ended up with me picking up a slice with the fork and putting it in her spoon, and then she would move the spoon to her mouth. 

I have contacted our favorite nurse from Guardian Hospice and we have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning to review her meds. I am thinking that this may be a case of overdosing medication as she gets older and thinner. What was a good dose a month ago seems too much now.

On a lighter note, our piano player couldn’t make it this afternoon. Being the Chaplain for Guardian Hospice, sometimes more important things impinge on his time. Rachel came over and asked if I would play instead, and I begged off, because I don’t know some of the songs, and my skills are not ready for prime time yet.

But after listening to the group try to sing a capella, I relented and sat down at the piano. I attempted to play whatever hymn they requested, and they were very appreciative. I hit some clinkers, and a couple of times my left hand got lost, but I just continued with the melody until I could get back on track, and they loved it. Several came over and just thanked me over and over again. It’s hard to say no to fans like these!

As I was paging back and forth searching for the song requests, I stumbled on a tune I hadn’t seen since I was learning piano back as a teenager. They play out of the Baptist Hymnal, and there on page 105 was the song “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” from the Passion Chorale by Hans L. Hassler, harmonized by J. S. Bach. 

After everyone had finished singing, and were getting up to leave, I told them I was going to play one more, but they couldn’t sing it. I just wanted to know if I could still play it. It was on page 130 in the old Adventist Hymnal.

My brain and fingers still knew this music after almost sixty years, and it sounded really good. Typical of anything harmonized by Bach, it is full of chord progressions, and especially bass lines that walk right through beautiful dischords that just clash wonderfully.

Someday I hope to have a chance to sit at a real cathedral pipe organ and try this song. With real bass pedals pumping out the low notes, this would sound very impressive and moving. I could die happy then!


In the meantime, I guess I’m the backup church pianist. It’s an old familiar feeling returned from my youth.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Wheelchair or crawl

Lots of things going on this past week. 

A week ago we had an Easter party a couple of days early. Peter Rabbit showed up with easter candy for the kids, and us older kids got cake and punch. We also got to enjoy watching a couple of the kids play with two large plastic balls. The boys were about two years old, and the size of the balls was right at the limits of what they could pick up, but they never stopped running and throwing those balls!

I keep wishing there was a way to share all that energy with some of the rest of us!

Over the weekend we had a church group come and play hymns for the residents, followed by a Bible study. The residents all love to sing, and they do a pretty good job. Most of them are on key, and I hear some singing harmony, too. 

On Monday afternoon a couple of men with full beards came and played a guitar and bass and led the residents in hymns again, and nobody seemed to get tired of singing. The two guys were from the Silo Baptist Church, and commented on the singing, wishing they could have us all come to their church and sing. 

On Tuesday afternoon Featherstone had the groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition on the back, which will be a dedicated memory care unit for sixteen people. It looks impressive, and it can’t come soon enough. 

I am having doubts that Carolyn will be around to see it. She has taken a turn for the worse in the last two weeks. She was getting stronger, and was able to walk with some support, as her broken pelvis seems completely healed. 

But a week ago she started having trouble standing. When I lifted her by her hands, instead of moving upright to a balanced position, she leaned backward and could not stand erect, even with support. In order to transfer her to a wheelchair or couch, I had to put one arm under her arm and hold her up. Looked very much like we were dancing, and when I used dance cues to get her to move left or right to line up with the chair, she could follow just fine. She just couldn’t walk.

Then I noticed that both knees had abrasions like rug burns, and I wondered if she had fallen again. Both knees were red and hot to the touch, so I applied T-tree salve to the sore places. I didn’t have a big enough bandage to cover the knees, so I put her in bed at night with her pants on, hoping for some friction protection.

In the morning, after the nurses would come and bathe her, I would find her in bed with bare legs - no pants. 

I mentioned her knees to my favorite nurse from Guardian Hospice, and we tried to figure out how her knees got skinned like that. She brought me some big square band_aids that were perfect for covering the wound, and she brought some Beta-dine so we could apply disinfectant without a greasy covering under the band-aids.

I happened to mention her knee problems to one of the aides, and she said she had found her four times crawling around on the floor on her hands and knees, and helped her back to bed. Then a second aide also said she found her down on the floor crawling around the same way.

So the lowered bed and the tumbling mats on the floor are doing a good job of preventing major injury or broken bones, but she is still a lady on the move. After I told the nurse from Guardian Hospice, she said she will tell the nurses that give her the morning baths to put her pants on when they put her in bed. 

Since we started putting the band-aids on, the redness is disappearing, and her knees no longer feel hot to the touch.

But this week she can no longer stand at all. One arm under hers won’t work anymore - it takes two arms to pick her up and lift her from chair to sofa to toilet now. I have become quite proficient at holding her close with one arm and pulling up her underwear and trousers with the other arm. 

Sometimes her pants hang up in back, and I kid her by telling her, “Your butt’s too big. It’s in the way!”

She gives me a dirty look. So I quickly tell her, “It’s OK, though. I love your big butt!” 

She always laughs then. 

Once her pants are pulled up, it is easy to hold her up by the waistband and carry her over to the wheelchair. I got pretty good at buttoning the pants with one hand while holding her up with the other hand, until I wised up and decided to put her in the wheelchair first and then fasten the button and zip up the pants.

Her sense of humor is undiminished. Today I fell for one of her pranks again.

I had taken her to the toilet to change her underwear and put her on the pot before I put her in bed. I had the underwear pulled up to her knees, waiting for her to stop peeing. When she stopped, I pushed the button on the bidet for a warm water wash, and listened for the splashing in the toilet. 

After a few seconds, I pushed the off button, and the water noise stopped.

As soon as I stood up to lift her into the wheelchair, the water started again. I muttered something to myself and pushed the off button again. Again the water stopped and I stood up again. Again I heard the noise of water in the commode. As I reached for the remote one more time, I noticed that Carolyn had a grin on her face.

I dawned on me what she was doing. I looked her in the eyes and said, ”You are playing games with me, aren’t you?” She giggled, and then busted out in a big laugh. 


How could I not love a woman like her? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

It's been a Great Month

It’s been a great month! We celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary on the 15th, and it was by far the best in our lifetime so far. Our usual celebration was a nice meal at a good restaurant with some flowers and a card. The whole place turned out in the lobby for stories, with a short bio of our years together orated by Leon Veazey, the Chaplain for Guardian Hospice. 

We have become good friends because of our mutual interest in early Christian theology and history. We also share a love of music, with him playing the piano to lead the residents in hymns a couple of times a week. The ladies asked if I would play for their singing, and I had to beg off, because I need a bunch of practice before I try to play along with singers.

I have been trying to practice on the piano out in the lobby when everybody is at lunch. I have played organ for forty years, and the transition back to piano is taking some time. If it is a simple song I can barely play the four parts from the hymnal, but if it gets more complicated I have to revert to chording as I played it on the organ. That sounds awful unless I break the chords up in some fashion, which I am slowly learning to do. 

Today when no one was around I started practicing in the afternoon, and after I had finished one of the songs, I heard clapping. I looked up to see eight or ten ladies sitting on the couches appreciating my playing. I must be getting better, I guess. I like my fan base!

My song books are old ones from when I first bought an organ back in 1968, and are taped together from years of use. The songs were old standards back then, so they are really old now. We’re talking songs like “Cocktails for Two”, “Buttons and Bows”, “Cool Water”, “Fascination”, and such. Today I attempted “Satin Doll” and it didn’t sound too bad. I am finding that because I no longer work as a mechanic, my fingers are more flexible, and I can do trills and glisses I couldn’t force my fingers to do before. 

On another subject, I am feeling a little ashamed after taking my Mazda3 in for its 90K mile service. It was a major bunch of work, and I requested new plugs and injector cleaning because the throttle was feeling “notchy” and not smoothly linear. When I drove out, the acceleration was instantaneous and smooth. It felt like a new car! 

But what really jumped out at me was how quick and tight the steering was again. I vaguely remember getting used to the quick steering on this car after trading in my old Saturn with 300K miles. When I got home I got the maintenance record out, and found one item on the list was tightening bolts under the car. 

The exact bolts weren’t named, but I knew with a chill they had to be bolts on the rack and pinion steering. They loosened gradually over time, so you don’t really notice the slight play and looseness in the steering, but I remember driving through a shallow culvert on a city street and feeling a little twitch as the car did a tiny S turn as I drove across - a little sashay - and I wondered if that was part of the active suspension that Mazda is so proud of. No, it wasn’t. I got it in for a fix just in time.

Sometimes lucky is better than good sense, I guess. If the rack and pinion mounts had come completely loose, I would have lost all steering and been along for the ride. I have got to go back and get the details on how close I came.

Darlene, our daughter, is settling into her new apartment by the university, and somedays walks the mile and a half over to Featherstone to visit us and help me take care of Carolyn. 

Carolyn is kind of on a plateau - her pelvis has completely healed, but she cannot stand alone. With my help she can stand and walk, but her balance is off and doesn’t seem to be coming back. She leans back instead of forward when she walks, and if I didn’t have a good hold she would just sit down on the floor. But she enjoys trying and we walk a few minutes every day.

Today after we got Carolyn put to bed, Darlene offered to buy some KFC, so we stopped in a got a bucket of chicken. I called Joe to make sure he wanted some, too. We all got together in the old dining room, dragged an old table over to the center, and scrounged up some old rickety chairs I think may have been passed down through the generations from the Tuckers or Burnetts. We will have to do this more often! It was fun sitting around telling old family tales and jokes. Our family has lots of them!

Also this evening Guardian Hospice presented me with a gorgeous photo
of Carolyn and I taken at the anniversary party, and a photo album of pictures taken at the party. I feel so honored and humbled and grateful!


It’s been a great month!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Successful Marriage

How to Have a Successful Marriage
or what worked for Don & Carolyn Rogers

Essay requested by a young lady who attended our 49th anniversary party at Featherstone Assisted Living Home.

Choosing a Partner
This seems obvious, but so many people think it just happens. Something happens, for sure, but it won’t last long if it’s just physical chemistry. Attraction is necessary, of course, but it must go deeper than just good looks.
You need to know yourself and what you want and need out of a marriage. If you want a fantastic sex life, you must know what works for you. My personal opinion is that virginity is vastly overrated, and marrying with out having any sexual experience is likely to be a startling revelation for both people. There is a lot more to it than what the farmer’s kid saw in the barnyard. As the old song says, “Shop around, and don’t pick the very first one.”
If you want financial security, you need to know what will be the bottom line for a partner. My first girlfriend insisted that I go get a college degree before she would marry me. When I ran out of money for college, another lovely woman wanted me without a degree. She became my wife, and we have lived well on a machinist’s wages. 
If you want adventure, how extreme are you willing to go? We both wanted to travel and experience life - not just sit at home and watch TV. But we both agreed that danger and fear was not what we were looking for. Sky diving, kayaking through rapids and water falls, and other risky behaviors were not for us. We agreed on other activities that were exciting, but safer, such as airplanes and motorcycles and mountain hiking. What you choose is not as important as both partners wanting the same things.   

Commitment is not Optional
Masters & Johnson and other researchers all agree that monogamy is most likely to lead to a long happy marriage. A few other arrangements have worked, but are much rarer. We were once invited to swap partners with a couple who had an open marriage, but we declined. They seemed to be committed to staying together (maybe for their two kids) but neither seemed to be satisfied with just the one other partner. It seemed a bit sad to me. I’m not judging - I hope they are still happy together - but it did not attract us, or make us think we were missing out on something. I rather felt that their marriage was missing the deep and total love that we had for each other.
In a certain way, this is related to choosing the right partner. If you choose a Bill Clinton or a Donald Trump, whose values don’t include faithfulness to just one partner, you can’t expect to have an exclusive relationship for long.  

Sharing the Fun - Togetherness
Any couple expecting to live their lives together need to have common interests. For me and my wife it was square dancing. It could be anything: gardening, fishing, camping, or music. Something that both people can share together in their spare time and vacations will keep them going in the same direction. If both have only separate interests, eventually their lives will grow apart in separate directions.  

Marriage First - Kids Second
   Too many parents make the mistake of favoring their children over their lover. Children are self centered, and will do things that tear their parents apart without even being aware of what they are doing. 
Rather than cater to the children, couples need to remember to be a loving couple first, and never let the kids get between you. You are modeling for the children how a loving marriage should work, and in the process, your children will see and understand that the parent’s love for each other is essential to a happy marriage. 
Children will also understand that if the parents are fighting each other and are not happy, the secure home they enjoy is at risk. 
Sex and Satisfaction
Some of this advice may be dated, since when my wife and I started our marriage together, there was no internet, online pornography. or easily obtainable information on sexual practices and skills. 
There is nothing wrong with studying to see the various ways to sexually satisfy your partner. That is more important than satisfying your own needs. Different people have different needs and speeds, and learning what works for your partner is essential for long term lovers. 
My wife and I read a lot of books, and we subscribed to Playboy magazine for about thirty years. It’s a joke, but there really were a lot of good educational articles with the pictures. My wife always renewed my subscription if I forgot.


Staying Young while Getting Old
As we got older, we slowed down some, and sex was no longer an everyday thing. The urgency and drive mellowed out, and that was not necessarily a bad thing. Loving became less frantic and more leisurely. 
As a friend of mine said at his retirement party years ago, when asked how his sex life was, “I used to go all night, and now it takes all night, but it’s just as much fun!”
I see ads for testosterone products to make you younger and more virile, and I see ads for little blue pills to make guys penis’ grow bigger, but at seventy four, I haven’t needed any of that stuff yet. I’m assuming that staying active and getting good nutrition has something to do with that.. 
Probably not having ever smoked helps, too. They call them “coffin nails” but I think they are even more “erection spikes.” Tobacco use directly shrinks blood vessels, not only causing heart problems, but erectile disfunction. Everyone I know who needs Viagra has been a life long smoker.

Honesty
Above all else, we agreed to never keep secrets from each other. Sometimes people make mistakes. Some times, in a moment of weakness they do things they regret. But trying to hide it will only make it bigger and worse in the end. 
Honesty can hurt, and hurt badly, but like any other wound, it is essential to open and clean the injury before it can start to heal. The truth will always out, and in the meantime, it is infecting the whole relationship. 
I confess to not knowing how to flirt, and not understanding why someone would want to intentionally want their lover to feel jealous. I want my partner to feel loved and valued above all others. I never did anything that would make my lover wonder where I was or what I was doing. 
For some guys, that would be sure evidence that I was “pussy whipped.” I might have to plead guilty, but I have yet to find a down side. I was always amused when I found I was the husband other husbands loved to hate. It’s OK, I didn’t want their love anyway. I only wanted the love of my wife.

Here’s hoping you find as much joy and love as we have.