Saturday, April 27, 2013

It Takes a Village: Part Two

Strategies booklet I made for student
 I didn't experience bullies when I grew up, but my husband had one in the junior high school stage he told me today. He finally let the kid have it with his fist. The teacher came over and thanked him while the bully went away crying, or so my husband says. Now mind you, some of his tales may not be true because of his dementia. The alligator in our backyard and flying in a plane with Jake are not true. They tell you to never argue with someone who has Alzheimer's and so I don't and these legends continue .

Today teachers will write up both parties in a fight. Both students will get suspended. Because of human nature people and kids get picked on. Bullying even happens in neighborhoods where adults spread gossip. I hate this! Talk to me face to face! I wonder what the neighborhood gossip is about the sheriff coming to our house last week. People do talk, you know.

I decided this week to do something about a victim in a middle school  where I substitute often and often hear about his bullies. I wrote a strategy for him and he signed it, a friend of his signed it and I signed it. He said his parents will sign it.  I gave him seven stragegies:
  1. Ignore the bully and hold your temper.
  2. If you can't do #1, talk to someone about the bully -- a teacher, school counselor or parent who may have ideas for dealing with the situation.
  3. Forgive them. They have weaknesses as my rap says: Bullies find excuses to mess with our weaknesses as if  THEY have none. Think to yourself but don't say what's your problem, bully?
  4. Keep a journal on how you handle bullies.
  5. Pretend you are not a victim and act that way. Use your mind, not your emotions. Have interesting things to do yourself rather than concentrating on the bully.
  6. Report crimes to 1-800-873-TIPS. (This is on a poster at school pictured above.)
  7. Have parents file a police report from your journal documents.
The young man and his friend seemed quite happy to have this strategy and I explained that it is a way to use your mind and not your emotion (name of one of my raps),

What I write on the white board

They say there is an African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child and as a substitute teacher I am in that village. I hope my simple raps and bully booklet will help kids cope.

* Added:  See announcement of YouTube raps in the tab above (MCAC The Rap Lady).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"It Takes a Village"

Rare traffic jam in our small village
It really takes a village to be a caregiver.

I am substitute teaching one morning this week and the plan is that neighbor/caregiver Kenny will not monitor hubby. Instead, Sally will pick up hubby about 10 am, see if he has had his morning pills and drive our two husbands to the senior center for their lunch and activities until 3 pm when she will pick them up and drive my husband home. I will be home by 5 pm after substituting.

Wrong. Hubby does not answer the door which puts Sally and Jake into a rescue mode. I happen to check my cell phone and see messages from Sally and a text from Kenny. I am team teaching third period with another teacher and have fourth period off for the teacher's conference time. Leaving the other teacher I check out of school saying I have an emergency at home and I will be back at 1:15 for fifth period and the rest of the teaching day or I will call them.

As I am driving home I call Sally with my iPhone and use the speaker phone. Having tried to reach me, and not succeeding, she has called 911. Kenny has meanwhile come by and Kenny has a key to the backdoor. Kenny goes in and checks on hubby who had diarrhea and is sitting on you know where in a mess (undoubtedly from the antibiotics he had been taking). Why would he want to answer the door! Now hubby doesn't have memory of sitting on this throne since then. He says he didn't answer the door because he was in our backyard. I tell Sally to see if she can cancel the 911 call.

Meanwhile neighbors have come by and tried to find open windows. Water and cookies are provided for Sally and Jake. Sally has missed her dental appointment and both husbands will not be at the senior center as planned.

I stop at the senior center on my way home and explain why our hubbies will not be there that day. I have decided this day to keep my cell phone on in the classroom for just such emergencies, and tell the senior center to always call my cell if there is a problem.

I get home at about 11:45 and the small circular driveway is full of cars. In addition to Sally and Jake's car, Pest Control has come to service our property. Our volunteer lawn mower Wayne is there to mow the 7/10 of an acre property. The sheriff has been there and checked hubby's vitals and he is resting inside and is fine. My pastor's wife calls me to talk about senior care while everyone is there and I try to keep the conversation as brief as two women ever can. The village is there or has been there it seems.

Sally and Jake leave--their day went caput! I spring into action and clean up the bathroom and start a load of laundry from the mess. I make lunch for hubby (he was going to get lunch at the senior center). I pay the pest control people, thank Wayne and arrange for us to take him to dinner that night. I make it back to finish substituting for the remainder of the day.

Since this day, I now text Kenny and know what is happening with hubby and can make a phone call between classes if need be. Folks, do not call me while I sub--just text. I do not want to disturb the education of our fine youth by my answering the phone, but I do want to know what the village is doing elsewhere with my fine hubby!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some Answers
Carole Larkin of ThirdAge Services ( to the rescue! Carole has been reading my blog, wrote on it recently and realized the complexities of the questions I was asking here. She is a social media friend I met on the Alzheimer's Reading Room some time back. I "liked" her site on Facebook and had a chance to actually chat with her on Facebook yesterday just when I needed it.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Me: I put questions on Plant City Lady and Friends last post and I think that I need to change from Preferred Care at the end of the year.

Carole Larkin: I'm reading your blogspot now.

Me: My husband's primary care physician is not very good with dementia, I think. I am writing my seminary counseling dissertation on caregiving and he doesn't seem to realize as much as I am learning.

Carole Larkin:  You are right. The majority of primary care physicians are useless with dementia. That's why I keep harping on going to a geriatrician, neurologist or a geriatric psychiatrist. All would be good choices, Carol.

Me: I have to wait to change my plan in 2014.

Carole Larkin: Changing from Preferred Care is absolutely the right thing to do. You will get more and longer services on Straight Medicare D and a Supplemental Medicare policy. There are medical insurance specials (brokers handling a lot of different companies) that will find you the best deal for both of you at the cheapest price.  

Me: I do need help. It's not working here as I wrote on my last blog post yesterday.

Carole Larkin: A geriatric care manager could not only answer your questions for you, but also give you guidance on what to do in the future, and give you the specific names of resources you need to solve your problems. In addition to all that, they would find out what was at the bottom of the runaround you are getting from everyone (hospital, Dr., insurance).  The Geriatric care manager is a professional and knows what's going on, and they could really get in trouble if they've screwed up. Carol, I'm telling you, you'd save money, time and STRESS using one of them. I'd suggest either an RN or a Social Worker.

Me: And how to I find one? I mean I don't keep phone books anymore and the Internet has so many sites these days.

Carole Larkin: Just try the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers/GCM Specialist.

Me: Wonderful! Can I put this on my blog?

Carole Larkin: Of course you can. Do me this favor though. Put my business website (
on it because there I tell people that I do telephone and email consults just like I'm doing for you now.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I have spotted three Geriatric Care Managers in Lakeland and when I get our tax return I will go and hire one of them. Preferred Care with its Vision and Dental works well for me, but not for my husband at this stage of dementia.

It is now a week since hubby first started on antibiotics and Imodium for his UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). He is so much better. He finally showered and I helped him shave off his thick beard. My neighbor, Kenny, volunteer caregiver while I am out of the house, and I have noticed the difference each day. (An interview of Kenny will be coming on this blog.)

Hubby and I went to the movie "42" last night. DH got all choked up at the appropriate spots. He slowly ate a hotdog with mustard and relish. I relished having my husband back and going to church with him today. Giving him lots of Pediatric Electrolyte and cranberry juice to prevent dehydration and further UTI infections. Have to develop a cranberry bread with coconut oil as well, and I will share the recipe here.

Besides Carole Larkin, special thanks also to others who emailed me suggestions, texted my cell and of course all of you prayer warriors out there. It takes a village to be a caregiver/lovegiver for family with dementia.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Questions, But No Answers

I am up in the middle of the night with more questions than answers.

To recap hubby was in the hospital from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning and this doesn't quality as "three days". I suspect that his UTI included this time or started during this time. Then when he returned to the emergency room Saturday night officially UTI was diagnosed and he was sent home with an antibiotic prescription. Imodium was added because of diarrhea from the antibiotic.

What kind of at-home care does Medicare cover? Maybe none. Maybe Preferred Care doesn't do what I need it to do.
If a patient needs skilled nursing or rehabilitation care at home, either Medicare Part A (following a minimum three-day hospital stay) or Part B (no hospital-stay requirement) can cover it. A Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan similarly covers home care. The care can be provided in the patient's home or anywhere else he or she stays. If a patient meets the requirements to qualify for home care (see next page), Medicare covers skilled nursing or rehabilitation care and physical and speech therapy as needed while the patient recovers from an illness, condition, or injury. Medicare also covers needed medical supplies and equipment.
If a patient needs only nonmedical home care and assistance, such as help with eating, dressing, walking, meal preparation, and housekeeping, Medicare does not cover it. However, if a patient is getting Medicare coverage for skilled nursing or therapy at home, Medicare usually pays for limited visits by an aide from a home care agency to help with personal care. If Medicare covers skilled home care for the patient, it also covers the services of an occupational therapist to help him or her relearn how to accomplish daily personal care and household tasks safely.See this link.
The primary care physician faxed an application to a nursing home that doesn't cover Preferred Care and so hubby was not admitted there. That nursing home also called the hospital which said my husband wasn't admitted. However, as I wrote in the last blog, I did check that he was admitted. Are there two kinds of admission? I have already had an end-of-the-day phone cut off from Preferred Care after being on hold for 34 minutes. I may not get answers on the weekend.

Kenny, his new volunteer caregiver and I, his wife and health care surrogate, are concerned. Others watch at a distance and are equally concerned and have suggested more help. My husband's daughter and my pastor advised that I get him physical therapy.

Again it is the weekend and there isn't much I can do. I stopped by his doctor today after returning to substitute teach (I have essentially been off two weeks) to request a "script" for home health care or outpatient therapy. At the end of the day I wasn't able to see his doctor, but just left a note.

So questions remain:

  • Why didn't the Senior Center call my cell phone on April 9th? I wasn't working that day because it was the day I set aside to attend that Alzheimer's Association support group every month. My cell phone was on.
  • Was he really admitted so our expenses will be paid?
  • Is there some kidney problem as was hinted in the first emergency room visit? He has a lot of gas now.
  • Why would my husband's doctor think my hubby was at the stage where he needed a nursing home permanently? He is still in the stage of Alzheimer's I described 7/8/12 as part one here. I have not had to write a part two yet. Perhaps it was just the circumstances of that day and the hospital visits.
  • What professional will give me definitive answers after actually examining my husband? My Alzheimer's Association support group is the second Tuesday of next month. I always go to that meeting unless something else comes up. May 14th is a long time away.
  • Was that the right hospital emergency room to take him to? Should I have driven farther? Years ago before his dementia hubby drove himself to the same emergency room after his legs were burned from setting fire to trash in the back yard. At that time he was sent home that very night from the emergency room, only to return to be admitted to the hospital the next day by a doctor. After a few days again they wanted to send him home again before he was ready. However,  they did get him outpatient therapy when he did finally return home. Why weren't we given outpatient therapy for his UTI?
Meanwhile my hubby is improving--so much better than last Sunday. Every day he is better and I can't see that he is in another stage of Alzheimer's. Yes hubby is doing well, but he could benefit from more help if he is having trouble bouncing back from the UTI. He does not have the wonderful sparkly personality I am used to.

When I left a note for his doctor Friday afternoon that he needs more care, I was talking with a patient (not a senior citizen) who can't get medicine she needs because of Obamacare. She has questions about Obamacare and I gave her this article here. We all have questions about Obamacare and what is down the road. Will we seniors receive adequate care if others are not now?

Subjective reporting here,


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our Thirteenth Anniversary Today

Menu Cover
Our anniversary didn't go the way I expected it to go today. Not at all. It wasn't that we don't love each other very much; it's just the effect of the disease.

A year ago I wrote about our twelfth anniversary here. Two years ago we were camping here and hubby and I wrote each other cards. I saw on that blog post that he wrote on mine:
Do other place I'd like to be than here.
No other person I'd rather be with than you.
I have to find those cards. Think they are part of stuff to still go through in the guest bedroom. What if that is the last romantic thing he writes to me before Alzheimer's takes him further down the road?

This morning started with my giving hubby three main pills: Metforman for Diabetes, Antibiotic for UTI and Imodium for Antibiotic. Later I would give him the rest, skipping pills such as the fish oil tablet which really makes him complain.

"Pill pusher," he said.

"No I am a lovegiver," I said. "I love you and always want the best for you."

Lovegiver is a word I started using almost a year ago when I read and reviewed Mark Shriver's book on his famous father. He used it and I think it is the best way to describe caregiving of your loved one. I must admit that I have been frustrated with the UTI and the disease of Alzheimer's in the last week. I canceled sub jobs to try to get a handle on helping hubby. Our "normal" is again changing.

"So you want to take your shower first or shall I?"

"You go ahead first," he said and he went back to bed. This grand gesture to let me shower first isn't necessarily the gentleman in hubby, but might be the disease. I have read about the lack of motivation with these patients. I was determined to not punish or be the sergeant today. It is our anniversary after all.

Georgene my blogging friend at Living on Less Money put a quote from Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story on Facebook on Sunday.

We all dream dreams and know very well that they don’t always work out. Life is particularly hard on high expectations. Things hardly ever fall together the way we would have scripted them. The fact is, if we put our hope in a certain set of circumstances working out in a certain way at certain times, we’re bound to be disappointed because nothing in this life is certain.

So what’s the solution? To give up on dreams?

No, it is to realize that if we belong to God, there are even bigger dreams for our lives than our own. But in order to walk in those bigger dreams, we may face greater obstacles than we ever imagined and find ourselves compelled to rely on a much more powerful and magnificent God than we ever knew before.
I want my script to be that hubby will stay in one stage of the disease. We may be back to fairly normal after the UTI. This is my script for our 13th Anniversary.

Denny's waitress put
this in my carry out.
We were scripted to go to local restaurant Buddy Freddie's with our friends I blog often about--Sally and Jake. This script didn't work. We didn't go out. We brought in. Instead Sally and Jake came by because hubby was slow moving. Jake stayed with hubby and Sally suggested we go to Denny's and get breakfast for the four of us and bring it back to our home. Our wonderful waitress Chasity heard that she was providing an anniversary meal for one couple to share with another couple and she told me a wonderful story of a man who would come into a restaurant where she used to work with his wife who had Alzheimer's; they would clear the ladies room and he would go in with her so she wouldn't get confused. My husband is in no way that bad off as that wife--take note. He is very sharp. He compensates very well. But we know that dementia is different for everyone.

We brought the Denny's breakfast for the four of us back to our home and we ate at our dining room table about 11:00--all but hubby who refused his bacon waffle breakfast but enjoyed the company.

Below are anniversary cards on the mantel of the fireplace.

Cards with hubby's horse collection

 Hubby's Blue Mountain card at the right said:
Anniversaries are sweet, joyful confirmations. They are milestones in life, looking back on a memory-filled past. They are touchstones for the future, linking together plans and dreams. When two people share so much, their days, their hopes, and their journey, there is little that compares with the smiles that can shine in the hearts of a husband and a wife. Anniversaries are blessings the passing years bring. And they are beautiful reminders that nothing is better than being with the one you love all the days of your life.

My Hallmark card at the left said on the cover:
When I found you my heart knew it was home. Inside it read: There is a safe and quiet place in this noisy, busy, crazy world, and we have found it together.

And Sally and Jim's card had two dogs on the cover who were quoted: It's always fun to buddy up with you. On the inside Sally had written Your friendship means so much to both of us.

Next on the agenda was a 1 pm doctor appointment with husband's doctor. Before that appointment a suggestion came from a family member that hubby needed to be in rehab at a certain excellent center until he got stronger. We went by that facility on the way to the doctor's office. They did have a spot.

At the doctor's office hubby needed help and a wheel chair to get inside. He was that weak. I rushed into the office and invaded the back office, apologize and said I needed help to get my hubby inside for his appointment. Two nurses went out with a wheel chair.

My husband's doctor listened to the situation and said to me before my husband:

Yes he can go there and he may not return home!

That doctyor had also said to me in the hospital last week, Your know, Carol, he is not going to get any better. As we left I told Dr. Chevy that this is our thirteenth anniversary. The plan was that we would go home and that facility would come and interview us today or tomorrow and the doctor was already faxing the form to them. Not your usual happy anniversary to be split up.

Was this in God's providence for our anniversary? On the way home I kept telling hubby how much I love him and that I have his best interest in mind. Was this God's best? I did not know and still do not know. I drove to the front door on our circular drive and hubby got out with the help of a neighbor.

Then I get a call from the facility that they don't take Preferred Care. Hubby will not be going there and we have more time to decide and more time at home. So glad.

Lord, even as my hubby is sleeping now,
bring me sleep and help me to trust that
You are the one who is scripting our days. Amen. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do the Next Thing--Poem

Thanks to Georgene for the link to this poem here:

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, Do the next thing.

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence safe 'neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing.

Living On Less Money (Georgene) you are so thoughtful and I love sharing our lives on line and by email. You did what you could by finding this poem and blessing me with it. .  

I am awake and pondering the next thing. A tax refund is coming and I can trust our LORD that I do not have to substitute teach every day. There is so much to attend to at home.

Hubby did go with me to my pastor's home Sunday night. He sat. He occupied a bathroom for over an hour contemplating getting off the toilet seat. Finally I was able to get him up (he needs that chair I pictured below this week). Then he sat on a bar stool. I brought him water and food and he hardly touched it. He did want a can of diet soda. My pastor's wife gentle coached him to eat cottage cheese.

When we got home last night, I put new sheets on the bed and he started to get ready for bed. He ended up sitting on the bed with his slacks half off. He sat there a long time rocking back and forth. I finally left the bedroom. When I came back, he had layed half across the bed on his back with his legs dangling off the bed. I asked him if he would like to get more comfortable. He said yes and we finally got him to sit up. I told him he had to have his antibiotic and diabetic medicine. I was skipping other meds, but considered it a triump to get those two medicines down him. I prayed once. Then I prayed again because I know this comforts him and he would have forgotten that I had already prayed. Good sleep came for both of us--me until my usual 4 am when I am wide awake.

What are some of the next things I must do?
  1. Have a plumber come out and install the hand held device for the shower and also a new kitchen faucet.This will enable my husband to sit down for a shower. He can grow a beard (has a great start), but he has to have showers. I have heard at our Alzheimer's Association support group that these loved ones are all afraid of the water in the shower.
  2. Make food I know he might eat.
  3. Get a doctor's appointment for him. Kenny has told me about a tube that can be inserted where pills, water and  soft blender food can be inserted. It might come to this, but it would be a huge adjustment for hubby (and me).
  4. Housekeeping or "House Blessing".
This is what my commitment "for better or worse" means. Thanks so much for your prayers, folks, and I am off to do the next thing before hubby gets up.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back to Hospital

Cranberries Are Good for UTIs

I have a different husband than I had last Sunday, but I have to remember that the prognosis is good.

Saturday hubby was napping in the morning, hardly ate lunch, napping in the afternoon, hardly ate dinner. Hubby was weak, his pulse fast, and he was going down hill.

At 8:30 pm Saturday night I contacted Kenny and asked him to help me get hubby in bed. Bur rather than just get him in bed Kenny gently urged that I take hubby back to emergency and helped me get hubby into the car so I could drive him there. Kenny has seen these problems before (I will interview him in another post). Hubby went through similar tests for the next hours until the culprit was discovered about 11:30 as a UTI or uninary tract infection.

For several years I have been following the Bob DeMarco's Alzheimer's Reading Room which often warns of a UTI, or a uninary tract infection. Many times older people get it. Carole Larkin herself has written here about it and has Bob when his mother would get it. They are treated with antibiotics such Bactrim, Septra, Larotid, Moxatag, Furadantin, Macrodantin, Ampicillin, Cipro, and Levaquin. Hubby was prescribed Macrobid 100 mg. oral capsule 100 mg twice a day. Another pill to get down him!

More women get it than men do but if a patient has diabetes it is common. My husband has diabetes and he is less ability to say how he feels.

I looked up information about it and discovered that this may be a continual problem. That National Kidney and Urologic Disease web site [] said:

Men are less likely than women to have a first UTI. But once a man has a UTI, he is likely to have another because bacteria can hide deep inside prostate tissue. Anyone who has diabetes or a problem that makes it hard to urinate may have repeat infections. . . .Most UTIs are not serious, but some infections can lead to serious problems, such as kidney infections. Chronic kidney infections—infections that recur or last a long time—can cause permanent damage, including kidney scars, poor kidney function, high blood pressure, and other problems. Some acute kidney infections—infections that develop suddenly—can be life threatening, especially if the bacteria enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia.

Something was mentioned in the emergency room Tuesday night about hubby's kidney, but I did not catch what they were saying. I am concerned and of course will follow up with a doctor visit. said:
There can be many complications of urinary tract infections, including dehydration, sepsis, kidney failure, and death. If treated early and adequately, the prognosis is good for most patients with a UTI.
Meanwhile today I am just plain tired and discouraged. Had wanted to go to church or just to Skype church, but I missed the call for Skype and went back to sleep. Hubby needs to shower and shave if we go anywhere and he is motivated for nothing.  He will get better. Going to take him to the doctor early in the week--if I can get him there--motivated to get in the car.

Me? I don't know what to do with me. Huge test of faith again. "Do the next thing," someone once said. I am trying to decide what that might be.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hubby in Hospital--Part Two

DH:  When can I get out?
Me: When the doctor says so.
DH: Where am I now?
Me: You are at our wonderful Plant City South Florida Baptist Hospital.
DH: I am going to leave in my hospital gown.
Me: No you are not. We both had to come here because we were bad. I swallowed your pills by accident in December. I was a bad girl and I had to come here. You did not take your pills on Tuesday or eat all day and you were a bad boy so you came here. [See post here when I took hubby's pills.] I needed to know if you had had a stroke also. 

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Margaret Thatcher had stroke this past week. Hubby had been able to stick out his tongue, but he was very confused Tuesday afternoon. I couldn't chance it and as I wrote in Post One, I drove him to the emergency room where he was also checked for a urinary infection. 

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE.
R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

That was Tuesday night and Wednesday the more food we got down hubby the better he walked, went to the bathroom, etc. But still he did not have his "walking papers". His socks were red, rather than green--the hospital code for walkers and non-walkers.

DH: Carol, you live in never-never land. I can leave now. [Techically this is true, but not wise for him.]
Me: They have to release you from the hospital.  
DH: I can walk out of here.  
Me: Right! Walk out in your hospital gown and they take you right to the funny farm!  

I watched carefully the nurse as she assisted him walk to the room bathroom and instructed him how to get back into bed. I quizzed the nurse on taking pills with the apple sauce. You don't have to open the capsules or crush the meds. You just put them in the apple sauce and they soften that way for several minutes and then he eats the apple sauce with knowledge that he is also being a good boy taking his pills.

From the Alzheimer's support group one gentleman sent me this email I read from my notebook computer on Wednesday:
So sorry to read about your Hubby. I didn't look around when you left to see who came. That must have been horrible for him sitting there all day. Strange someone did not pick up on what was happening. I sure hope things work out for him to the good. I will read the blog to stay up-dated. You take care of yourself too, Carol.
I also wondered why the Senior Center had not called me Tuesday.

Yesterday in the hospital I was in touch with family and friends on my iPhone and notebook computer. I read email on my iPhone. I read blogs on my small computer. I played Words With Friends and updated those people on my husband with the Words With Friends chat box. I texted family and friends. Hubby kept wanting to know when he could go home and kept talking about our dog. He had no idea about all my technology that kept me occupied when we weren't talking and I was answering the same questions over and over again.

Finally near 6 pm Wednesday night the neurologist came. This specialist asked my husband questions such as what was the year, what was the season and where he was. I am on planet earth, he said.  He flunked all answers. The neurologist said he would review the chart and see when he could be released.

They have had my body long enough, hubby said, but he would not be released Wednesday night and I headed home.

When I got home I put the port-a-potty thing below we had in the attic from hubby's heart attack in 2004 on his bathroom toilet, now making our home even more Alzheimer's ready.

Handles for getting up and down.
He might as well get used to this.  
During the day Wednesday I was so pleased to see that a family friend had put in a gate to connect our property and our back yard neighbor's property for new help for my husband. This gentleman also fixed another gate I had bent backing up our gas guzzler some time ago. Such a blessing and he will also mow our 7/10 acre so I don't have to nag my husband about the lawn or have him accept a woman (me) mowing a lawn.

This morning. Our dog objected to my getting ready to leaving him again, but I told the bright dog I am going to see "Daddy" and he stopped barking and I head again for the hospital. I had seen that Dallas, TX Geriatric Care Manager Carole Larkin had posted a comment below on Part One of Hubby in Hospital on this blog.  I took Carole Larkin's professional advice and checked on my husband's admission to the hospital when I got there this morning. He had been admitted.I got to see his primary care physician briefly. He would go home.

When I got to his hospital room he was eating his food without coaching! Perhaps he had learned his lesson which I would repeat again and again now also explaining why he would have a volunteer caregiver Kenny visiting my husband when I was working. Hospital staff wheeled hubby to our car and we left the hospital.

Kenny came over to our house this afternoon and we went over procedures. Kenny will use that new gate on days I leave the house to see that my husband gets up, has his pills in his apple sauce, has breakfast and has lunch and has enough water and other liquids.

While Kenny was here our friends Sally and Jake came over and brought us dinner and Kenny was able to meet Jake who may stop by sometimes while Sally runs an errand! Jake was here last Saturday when I taught all day.

Multiple blessings. I have had help for fences, for lawn mowing, for advice from the nurse and from Carole Larkin and now have an magnanimous volunteer such as neighbor Kenny. Thanks for dinner, Sally and Jake also--delicious salad from Bob Evans.

I just think this whole experience has shown
wonderful answers to prayer
and thank all of you who have been
praying and helping.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hubby in Hospital--Part One

Yesterday morning I picked up Jake and drove Jake and hubby to the Senior Center where they spend Tuesdays. Jake finished his breakfast in the car but hubby still had his breakfast and had not swallowed his pills in the car. With the air of a staff sergeant I brought hubby's breakfast and morning pills into the Senior Center. Later in the day I would attend the 2 pm monthly Alzheimer's Association Support Group at First Baptist and either Sally or I would pick up the husbands.

Sally took care of a sick grandchild yesterday and did not go to the support group. She picked up our husbands about 3 pm. She came to the support group with the grandchild leaving the two husbands in her car and said that my hubby was not himself. He had not taken his pills, not eaten his breakfast nor eaten the Senior Center lunch. He had sat at the center all day. Jake was very concerned as Sally was.

I left the meeting and Sally drove hubby to where our car was parked. It took some coaching to get hubby into our car. When we got home I decided to take him to the front of the house rather than through the garage where with all the junk there and the step up to the family room. I figured easy access to the front door and no step up was the best route to his easy spot by the big screen TV.

However, hubby was not getting out of the car. I feared the worse--a stroke, although he could stick out his tongue. I called his primary care physician's office and proceeded to the emergency room at the hospital where I had gone myself last December in an ambulance.  I could get him there quickly myself without waiting for an ambulance and having to pay some of the ambulance cost that insurance doesn't cover.

After the four plus hours, the emergency room staff ruled out a urinary tract infection or a stroke. I requested  food for him and finally some came about 8:30 PM. He ate only a little--the only food all day. He had some apple sauce and a little bit of turkey, and a taste of jello.

The decision was made to admit him for further observation. I drove home last night so ready to cry. With melatonin from the health food store I was able to get maybe six hours of sleep and I came back to the hospital with this notebook computer where I am typing now and with my iPhone and its charger for contact with people outside the hospital. So glad you can use those devices in the hospital now.

The nurse came in this morning to give hubby his medicine.

Nurse: Give me your name and your date of birth.

Hubby had some trouble with these two instructions. I explained to the nurse that she asked him two questions and he only responds to one idea at a time.

"By law you have to give the date of birth when I give you your medicine," my husband's nurse said.

He was able to give his name and date of birth finally with one question at a time. 

Me to the nurse: What if they have dementia and can't give you their date of birth?

Nurse: I keep going until they can answer something-- maybe they can give the year.

Me: He can't give you that. (He will just cover himself by saying that he doesn't bother with those details because he can check a calendar for the year.)

She proceeded to give him his medicine in apple sauce! I have to try that!

The answer for the Pill Pusher me!

In order to be released, my husband needs to see the neurologist. Also, he is really shakey on his feet.

pottery dog, apple sauce

Perhaps hubby is going into a further stage of Alzheimer's. Out of ignorance or bliss I considered my husband in the first stage of Alzheimer's. Stages are different for everyone. Last year a nurse and reporter had contacted me to use hubby as proof of coconut oil. The reporter said I wasn't giving him enough, however, but whatever I have given him I feel has kept him fairly functional for a long time (since December of 2008).

Hubby kept asking: When was the last time we were home? When can I leave this jail? He told the nurse, I have seen you for two weeks. (He has no concept of time now.) I bring a ceramic dog to the hospital and he has this nicknack on his chest, reminding him of our dog.

I am sleepy here at the hospital. Going in search of coffee or caffeine. Thanks for your prayers, folks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Margaret Thatcher Had Dementia

  The news yesterday stated she died of a stroke. I signed a sympathy e-card at

But dementia over the twelve years weakened Mrs. Thatcher. Melissa Healy in the LA Time article here observed:

While former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was reported to have died of stroke on Monday, few experts doubt that dementia, the disease she lived with for at least the final 12 years of her life, contributed powerfully to her demise. . . . But the added risk of death that comes with dementia is well documented: among 70-year-olds who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, 61% are expected to die within a decade; among 70-year-olds without Alzheimer's disease, only 30% will die within a decade.

Mrs. Thatcher is noted here for saying:
  • If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.
  • It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.
  • To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
  • We want a society where people are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. This is what we mean by a moral society; not a society where the state is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the state.
Albert Mohler, who met the Baroness, wrote today here:
Baroness Thatcher once described her understanding of how the Christian faith should influence political philosophy and public policy. Speaking to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May of 1988, Mrs. Thatcher argued that Christians “must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits for a better standard of behaviour; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ.”
In explaining how the Christian faith should impact politics, she suggested that the Bible does not tell us “exactly what kind of political and social institutions we should have.” As she explained, “On this point, Christians will very often genuinely disagree; though it is a mark of Christian manners that they will do so with courtesy and mutual respect. What is certain, however, is that any set of social and economic arrangements which is not founded on the acceptance of individual responsibility will do nothing but harm.”
What a principled lady she was! Our world has been blessed by people such as her and Ronald Reagan, and unfortunately dementia/Alzheimer's took both leaders.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dissertation on Caregiving

Since 2006 I have been taking seminary counseling classes at my church. They are held sporadically after worship service. One class I had the privilege of teaching--counseling children. Incidentally, there are so many ways that Alzheimer's loved ones are becoming like children and Montessori techniques are great for children and our loved ones.

In the last class we practiced counseling techniques before everyone and we had a very talented couple amazingly act out the problem. I made a mistake of teasing the husband about yogurt, and he reminded me that was "privileged information". I gave him a quick (maybe not sincere) apology. I think I will buy him some yogurt for more of  repentance! But he even brought a cup of yogurt to this practice session!

One of the lovely newlyweds at our church acting for me
For this biblical counseling degree I read lots of books and outlined or summarized them. I studied for essay tests.  During these seven years one project was my book, Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill. Hubby read all the early papers and gave helpful comments with the early papers and the book.

In 2008 it became evident that my husband had dementia, later diagnosed as Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's, My papers changed to reflect caregiving, but I didn't have him read them and also he became less interested in my academic pursuits. Papers included:
  • The authority of an Alzheimer's husband
  • Dealing with anger of an Alzheimer's loved one
  • Praying well
  • Dying well
  • The self-discipline of a caregiver
This has been a wonderful opportunity for this old gal (I am 68). Let me know what you think should be in my dissertation. I will include some of the above topics.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Joy and Stress in Caregiving
Ginger is a mom of many (natural and adolpted) that I interviewed several years ago for the class I taught on counseling children. I had emailed her asking for the link to "Are You a Good Person?" that she has on her blog, Clark Chatter hereFrom Ginger's busy life she thoughtfully wrote back today:
I'm praying that you will continue to find joy not only in loving your husband, but in serving the Lord through your service to the man you love.
Thanks, Ginger! I count on those prayers.  I didn't get the fancy widget, and I tried, but I did put it in the links below.

This reminded me of my husband's prayer here that the LORD would give me a shot of joy.

It also reminded me of the post I put together on 15 things a caregiver can do to be joyful here. That post has had nearly 500 views to date. People need joy.

Yet it is no small thing to have joy in caregiving. After all it is indeed stressful especially when it is your loved one. You become like a parent raising a very difficult child, with one difference: this adult child will never grow up, but will deteriorate and the demands will increase. Hence stress.
My cousin Nanci Alcorn and her husband prolific author Randy Alcorn have just released the 2013 edition of Women Under Stress and they send me a copy. You can order it here  from Randy Alcorn's blog. I read their 1986 edition at a time in my life that indeed had been very stressful. I know Nanci has been a caregiver for her parents, my dear aunt and uncle, as well as for her mother-in-law early in her marriage to Randy. Nanci's own daughter went through a huge medical crisis last year. The Alcorns do indeed know about dealing with stress.

I began to read the new edition yesterday while I was substitute teaching. I had been trying to up my production here going through The House That Cleans Itself and often feeling inadequate and wondering if you all in the blogosphere are wondering when I will get the next area finished. Then in Women Under Stress I took the test. Folks, I am not Type A person, but am between Type A and Type B. This is encouraging to me. I do not have to be that driven woman and maybe am not slated for that heart attack any time soon. The Alcorns write:
Type B's are mellower, low-key, less driven, unhurried, more patient with others, and generally have less to prove than type A's. Not only can they take a vacation, they can have a great time on it. Type B's enjoy life more, and have more time for people. B's tend to be people-oriented, while A's focus on the products. (p. 28)
Today I stayed home and gardened and made pizza. My hubby smiled when I told him my joy with being his wife the homemaker gardening and making pizza.

I reflect that at first when my husband was diagnosed with dementia, I was depressed and didn't talk with him about it. We tended to not have the best connection then and probably the world didn't make sense to him. I remember when six months after the diagnosis he was very confused about retiring from his work and I was beside myself trying to wonder how the finances would work out. I guess you might say I was angry with God. But that has changed now as this stress is being transformed by my faith.
Time does not heal all wounds. Time alone will only allow the cancer of bitterness to grow. When we refuse to cater to our emotions and refuse to indulge our fatal tendency toward bitterness, only then will time bring healing. . . . There is no sin Christ didn't die for, no sin He cannot forgive, and therefore no sin that we, in His strength, cannot forgive. (p. 80)
Yes, as Randy points out, depression can come, but our LORD can transform it. Hope and heaven are around the corner. Joy is every day.

Stress, you do not own me. Joy does.  
I want to talk about the plants I repotted
and the pizza I made
and JOY.