Sunday, May 25, 2014

His Yoke Is Easy

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. 
Matthew 11:28-30
Christ's words are over my kitchen sink. I look at them often.


Many of the posts on this blog have been downright silly and humorous, but it is time for the rubber to meet the road with the serious days of dementia and caregiving and Hospice in our home ahead of me.

Okay, maybe a little humor--just maybe--as with the Hospice nurse below.

Hallucinations. Our Hospice nurse visits once a week--twice so far. I think her outfit is overkill, and she probably scared my husband who later talked about people in the house. I am not sure if people in the house represents his hallucination or not or if it is our nurse, but she could go Trick-or- Treating on Halloween in this outfit. She looked adorable in it.


Kenny and I had a conversation with DH Friday afternoon after I came home from substituting on March 23 and Kenny had been watching him.  Kenny and I assured my husband that the only people in the house were his wife Carol, buddy Kenny and our dog Ziggy. He seemed relieved that those "others" were gone.

Getting hubby to bed. Thursday, March 22, I could not get hubby in bed from that Geri Chair and it was 10:30 pm, w a a a a a a y past our ritual goal of an 8 pm bedtime. I finally got up the nerve to ask two neighbors to lift hubby to bed. Kevin and Angel were glad to do that.

The next day, March 23, the plan to get hubby to bed was that hubby would be in his wheel chair which seemed more manageable. The Hospice Home Health Care Aide had put hubby in the Geri Chair that morning and Kenny got him in the wheel chair. Even so it took time to get hubby to bed. I thought of the verse and how this disease is teaching me to slow down. We both as a couple did it with hubby getting off of the wheel chair, sitting on the bed and managing the scooting over on the Hospice bed. Then I put my left arm around in back of his shouders and with my right arm scooped up his skinny legs and lifted them in the bed as I had seen the Home Health Aide do it.

NO to food.  Alzheimer's patients eventually say NO because it's the simplest thing for them to say I have read. NO to food, if you can imagine it. No to pills. But if you leave things out for them to eat, it helps. Our nurse said that if you force-feed them the food can go into their lungs. Of course I don't want that to happen. I had an idea. I had Pretzel Chips and dark chocolate chips and I put them in a small oval plate for his lap.

Oval Snack Plate
He had a choice of what to eat. He ate the chocolate chips!

Pill problem. Now pills crushed in applesauce and pills crushed in yogurt aren't working. Lately I just have given him essential pills to swallow with water. Friday morning he did it for Kenny. Friday night I put the pills in his hands and it took a while, but he did swallow the essential pills I gave him.

Tears. Hubby started to cry Friday night. I asked what was the problem and he said he couldn't see. I didn't know how to respond, but was just empathetic.

Wetting the bed. I asked him how he was yesterday morning and he said wet. Five days Hospice takes care of this. Saturday and Sunday I do. Unlike the last post it is too hard to get him to the bathroom now --I am resigned to have him just wet or poop wherever. HIS BURDEN AND YOKE IS LIGHT. I have used that verse to do these tasks cheerfully.

A wet hubby sleeping in with dog Ziggy
Gone again.  Saturday I was contracted to teach a class for first-time drivers. A man from our church came over to be with hubby who had no trouble recognizing him. Hubby enjoyed his Geri Chair.  This time the pretzels, dark chocolate chips and Boost on the Geri tray didn't work well, but hubby did drink other liquids. When I came home I gave him ice cream and froze the Boost for another time. He was coached into getting into the wheel chair and and later I was able to get him into bed well before 10:30 pm as the previous night.

A new kind of Sunday.  I was not able to go to church today, because really someone needs to be home with my hubby. Since our church meets in the afternoon at 2 pm. I might be able to enlist volunteers to come on Sundays. When Kenny is back in town, he also goes to our church so he cannot be the person to watch hubby then. For several days Kenny will be housesitting for a couple who were married yesterday.

Cognitive skills. Because hubby has Vascular Dementia, the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute said,  he will always remember me and most others. Hubby said this morning that women should not have keys. So I gave him his keys, which might give him a symbolic sense of control. I had him put it in his pocket. We actually have simple conversations centered around the procedures for doing things, the layout of the house, our dog and that we love each other. He has even expressed that people pay no attention to the old folks such as himself. The other day Kenny asked him who the President was and what day it was and hubby indicated that he didn't care to know.

I am exhausted, even when I do get sleep.  But I remember that verse of our LORD and often look at that verse over my kitchen sink.

Thanks so much for your thoughts 
and prayers, folks. 

Carol

15 comments:

  1. It is comforting to know that the type of dementia your husband has will not cause him to forget who you are, Carol. I'm just sorry you guys are walking this path. I am sure it is exhausting, almost like taking care of a young infant except you, yourself, are older than a new mom might be. Will continue to keep you all in my prayers.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Betty. Just found out that someone with stay with my husband on June 1st so I can go to church. HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT if I can just take the lot or the load that He gives me now.

      Delete
  2. Hospice aides can teach you how to change someone in bed, or You tube has CNA training videos. I got a back brace at Home Depot which I sometimes use, when on my own. Also Hospice got me a Hoyer Lift which I use about once a month. Strategize when the help will be there, and try to get him on a regular schedule with toileting, if you can. Transferring is definitely the hardest thing. If you can get that down to a routine time, and then get someone to help you regularly, that would be great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie, so appreciate the advice from someone who has been there. Who would have thought that Home Depot has the back brace.

      Delete
  3. Aunt Carol. Hospice also provides diapers and pads to go underneath them. They call the pads chucks. I dunno why, but it is what it is. And gloves, ask them for gloves. Also my aide has never dressed like that. Kinda crazy. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So that is what chucks are! Hospice is wonderful. Yep--crazy dress. She may want me to take this picture out of the blog post.

      Delete
  4. Oh, and a baby monitor. Getcha one. We have one. It's nice

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such trying times. How well I remember. I think of you often and pray for your burden to be lighter. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Latane. It helps to know you check back with me from time to time.

      Did you like the rap I linked for you on a Facebook comment! Such projects we get ourselves into!

      Happy Memorial Day, so maybe not so happy because of your late husband. Thanks again for letting me interview you about your caregiver journey on this blog.

      Hugs,
      Carol

      Delete
  6. Your husband is blessed with a wife that will do him good all the days of his life. I'm so thankful you are finding people to help you. I can't imagine having to go this road alone. I hope you'll be able to find someone to sit with Herb while you go to church but if not then I know our kind Lord will provide for your spiritual needs at home. I'm so encouraged by your example to rely on God's Word to encourage you, guide you and to give you strength. I love you Carol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Georgene,
      Thank you for your encouragement over the miles from California to Florida! You are also an example to me with your reliance on God's Word. You have emailed me "Carol, what Scripture is speaking to you today?" Awesome social media friend whom I hope to meet one day.
      Love also,
      Carol

      Delete
  7. Please pray for Kenny's mother who has eight hours of chemo tomorrow. Then a family friend of his just died and they are not telling the mother until after her chemo.

    Hubby is getting more difficult to manage and today he was difficult for the Hospice Home Care Aide that gives him a shave and shower. Last night it took me 1 and a half hours to get hubby to bed.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How wrong is it that I am dying laughing over that space suit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snicker. It's wonderful that you are laughing. Maybe I can borrow it and mail it to you for a halloween costume!

      Delete