Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Morning from Caregiver Linda

I will be reading the posts regularly to gather information and support. My mother and mother-in-law (who lives in my home) both suffer from worsening dementia. Even though they are in their nineties, it is hard to see them lose the ability to communicate etc. My husband and I recently returned from a wonderful time away in Mexico. Getting a care-giver was difficult, but in the end it worked out that a woman from our church came and stayed. She was wonderful with Granny. Somehow, though, we do have a nearly $500 water bill, so I"m wondering if she left something on. I must research that this morning.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Simplicity and Complexity

  • Today my husband is finishing up a week's prescription of Famciclovir 500 MG for his Shingles. Even with supplemental prescription insurance the cost for 21 pills was about $183.
  • Vitamin B complex I heard helps Shingles and so I give him extra of that. He also takes Extra Strength Tylenol for his pain.

  • In this short time Shingles have taken a lot out of his energy and spirit. He has had a heart attack, heart surgery, carotid artery surgery, and survived second degree burns on his lower legs--all with a good attitude and good humor. But, I must say that Shingles have thrown him for a loop. He is grumpy. I have heard that Shingles can last anywhere from a month to six months.

  • His cold in January and Shingles in February may be due to stress. I have come to see that dementia is stressful for him. (I had thought that it just was me his caregiver that had stress.) The stress causes him to simplify his life and want me with him. When I am later coming home than he expected, he gets anxious. Yesterday I was talking with someone and came home a half an hour later and this bothered him, even though I called him to say why I was delayed.

  • The simplicity of his life is in contrast to the complexity of my life with part-time jobs and many hobbies and projects. Does my life cause him more stress than joy? It is confusing for me to talk about my life to him--he doesn't follow all of what I am saying. I miss being able to tell him everything.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

News on Chickens and Strawberries

The chickens in our second backyard that do not belong to us have gone home to roost! They are no longer there bothering dog Ziggy! Those strawberries are being picked for Plant City's Strawberry Festival February 26-March 8th. Call813-754-1996 for more information or visit .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Sickness for both of us may mean signs of stress. Finally after my coaxing him all week, February 13th my husband went to the doctor. He has Shingles. This morning, Valentine's Day, I woke up with a runny cold.

This evening we were expecting to go to a church Valentine's party--I had been looking forward to this all week. Yet I knew that my husband might expose children to Chicken Pox if we were with others and we were both miserable--he with Shingles and me with my new cold. No one needs Chicken Pox and no one needs a cold.

Every morning I listen on my iPod to The Daily Audio Bible, going through the whole Bible for my second year. This morning Byron read from Psalm 34:17-19 , 22.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous;
but the LORD delivers him out of them all . . .
The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in Him with be condemned.

This Scripture has been with me all day.

Since I was too miserable with the cold I didn't run around doing things-- I just watched DVDs with my husband. Togetherness. We all need that. The DVD "Fireproof" came in the mail today. "Fireproof" made us both cry. What a great date movie!

His Valentine Card to me says:

I am truly a lucky man
to have your trust,
your friendship, and your love.
I know it takes some work
and compromise
to make a marriage last,
and yet I still feel incredibly lucky
to have found someone
who I can love more each day,
who I keep falling in love with
over and over
as our partnership deepens
through the years.
The world may change around us,
but that doesn't worry me,
because I married
the love of my life--
and that makes me
the luckiest man alive.
And how lucky I am! In "Fireproof" the wife doesn't trust her husband or even love him at the beginning. The husband wins her back with the LORD's love for her. I am so blessed to have the refuge of the Lord and the love of my husband.
He went to bed early now and I am waiting up to give him his Shingles pill at the appropriate hour. I just thought I would post and talk about this special day that turned out differently but perfectly.
I cherish these moments. Thank you, Lord!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Line from a Movie

We enjoyed this TV movie together.

Diana, a real person played by Mia Farrow in the TV movie "Forget Me Never", says:

"Whatever happens to my mind or body, who I am will not go away."

The ending credits mention that Diana formed an on line support group for her Early Onset Alzheimer's.

I am concentrating on who my husband is, making sure he enjoys each day. Who he is I have now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Insulin May Protect Against Alzheimer's

This article came to my attention this morning.
Insulin May Protect Against Alzheimer's from Health Day News 2/3/2009
Insulin may slow or prevent the memory loss caused by Alzheimer's disease, a new study says. Laboratory research led by a team from Northwestern University found that insulin acts as a shield that deflects the toxic proteins that attack the wiring in the brain responsible for forming memories.
"Therapeutics designed to increase insulin sensitivity in the brain could provide new avenues for treating Alzheimer's disease," William L. Klein, a researcher in Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center and senior author of the study, said in a news release issued by the school. "Sensitivity to insulin can decline with aging, which presents a novel risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Our results demonstrate that bolstering insulin signaling can protect neurons from harm."
The findings also add to recent evidence that has some researchers considering Alzheimer's a form of diabetes. The report was published online Feb. 2 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the study, insulin and rosiglitazone (Avandia)-- an insulin-sensitizing drug used to treat type 2 diabetes -- offered protection to neurons taken from the hippocampus, one of the brain's crucial memory centers. It protected the neurons from amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligands, or ADDLs, which are proteins that are known to attach to and block memory-forming synapses, leading to memory loss.
ADDLs have been found to have a role in Alzheimer's.

"The discovery that anti-diabetic drugs shield synapses against ADDLs offers new hope for fighting memory loss in Alzheimer's disease," lead author Fernanda G. De Felice, a former visiting scientist in Klein's lab and an associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said in the same news release. The researchers had recently found, in related work, that ADDL caused insulin resistance in the neurons it binds to by stripping the insulin receptors.
Who knew! My husband has type two diabetes since his heart attack and by=pass surgery and takes Actoplus Met tab 15/850 MG twice a day for his diabetes. That medicine controls his glucose fairly well and may do more!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Brain Exercises

Memory Device

Several months ago my husband asked for a voice recorder. A friend was going to give us one he wasn't using. We forgot about this until yesterday morning. He wanted one. Getting one was part of our Saturday date which we both were looking forward to.

We went to Radio Shack and purchased one before we went to see the excellent movie "Grand Torino". The Olympus Digital Voice Recorder VN-100 was about $30 and measures less than 4 by 1.5 by .75 inches--very small and easy for my husband to have in his shirt or pants pocket. He used it at Radio Shack without reading the directions and the sales clerk mentioned that police officers often buy this model.

By the end of the movie he had forgotten about his new digital recorder and made a comment about taking it back. Like the new TV service and remote control, I do believe he will get into using it. We will just have to work on it. (I have been his memory device--he calls my cell phone and tells me what he wants me to remember.)

After the movie we went to get gas for the car. Some lady at the pump was having a bad day and he couldn't follow what she was saying. He got in the car and started swearing about the lady while I was talking on my cell to my sister-in-law who I know doesn't like swearing. In fact, she and I were singing the praises of "Grand Torino" and she mentioned that she liked everything about that movie except the swearing. I told her I had to go and hoped she didn't hear his swearing. Swearing is how my husband reacts to stress. Lord, please change him/give me patience!

After the gas station, we went to dinner. I started a conversation about the movie. I remarked how the main characters in the movie had grown or evolved during the movie. My husband couldn't relate to my statement. He just said that he enjoyed the movie.

Thank you Lord for the lovely date and that I kept my patience.