Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coconut Oil New Year's Recipes

There is a Southern tradition to have greens and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. During the war between the northern and southern states well over a hundred years ago, the Union officers would raid homes and take the food they wanted, so the story goes, and leave "worthless" food such black-eyed peas and collard greens. Since then a New Year's meal with black-eyed peas represents coins and the greens represent dollars--prosperity wished for the new year, and remembrance of that war.

So to all who read this blog, happy 2010 and here are my adapted recipes for January 1, 2011. I put coconut oil in the recipes.

Hoppin' Black-Eyes Peas

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup chopped smoked ham
1 medium onion, chopped
24 oz. (2 containers) of Marjon Quick Cook Blackeye Peas
one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
one 15 oz. can whole corn kernels, undrained
one tablespoon of sugar
Saute ham and onion in coconut oil. Add other ingredients and cover, reducing heat. Cook at least 15 minutes, stirring occastionally. Serve over Garlic Baked Grits.

Garlic Baked Grits, adapted from JM
1 cup uncooked grits
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
6 oz. pasturized process cheese food with garlic, cubed
1 tablespoon Emeril's'Original Essence or dash of garlic salt
Cook grits in water according to package diections. Stir small amount of hot grits into eggs; add egg mixture to remainder of grits. Stir in butter, coconut oil, cheese and seasonng. Spoon mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Hot Wilted Greens adapted from
3 pieces of bacon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence or one large clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chicken broth or stock
2 tablespoons balsamic winegar
16 oz. washed mustard greens*
1/4 cup toasted almonds or pecans

Cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add coconut oil, seasoning and onions to bacon drippings and heat until onions are softened. Stir in chicken stock and vinegar. Add greens and mix, stir-frying until the leaves are coated. Cover and cook until the leaves are wilted. Top with crumbled bacon and chopped nuts.

*Note: you can use collards, arugula or endive instead of mustard greens. My husband doesn't like collards and I'm not quite used to them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fading Memories

  • Names of family my husband will see this Christmas are hard for him to recall.
  • A young lady in our church delivered her first born several weeks ago. That infant was being held nearby. My husband asked when the baby was due.
  • He keeps accusing me of moving the laundry basket from the laundry room back to the bedroom before I have laundered the clothes. The real truth is that laundry basket fills up again.
  • The first Christmas party we hosted when it came time for him to pray he mentioned "Thanksgiving". I wondered what the guests thought.
  • He does try to compensate. For our neighborhood Christmas party I made him an index card with names of neighbors. He likes those index cards that keep him informed.
  • Can he find the car when he goes on an errand by himself? When I asked him this, he said that he forgets to think about it when he parks the car and sometimes has to look around. Fortunately his SUV sticks out. About six months before he retired he had trouble finding his car after work and I was summoned by cell phone to help him.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Husband Gets the Global Navigational System

Friday--GNS is programmed for hubby. When he leaves the house, he says "Okay, where am I going again?" He calls on the way and asks what is he doing?

"Practice run, sweetheart," I say.

He comes back to the house and we try it again. It works this time! He makes it to downtown Plant City and home again quite proud of himself. He loves this device. We call the lady who speaks on the GNS "Miss Garmin".
Monday, three days later. I will be gone all day and not able to media mail a book at the post office. I arrange for him to do this. He had forgotten when I called at noon. He is able to make it to the post office and back home. This time he only has to call my cell once.
Tuesday. The lawn repair shop calls while I am gone. It is complicated to get there and back. My sweetheart hitches up the trailer and uses "Miss Garmin" to go get it and return home. I call him during the day and he doesn't mention that he has retrieved the riding lawn mower. When I return home the front lawn has been mowed!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Coconut Oil Stew

(Oatmeal is standard fair for breakfast and I put coconut oil in it. My big container of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil is pictured. )

Cut up pumpkin and fill crock pot as pictured. Add:

  • Water
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 T. allspice
  • 3/4 cup onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
Cook on high in crock pot for four hours. It passed the husband test.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Soul and Spirit in Another Land

My husband still has humor. I was disturbed that he and my pastor threw things at each other while he pastor was teaching an afternoon class yesterday. Then I became grateful that my husband can still show humor and interact with others. Furthermore my pastor took the lead in the chinanagans with my husband. I want to concentrate on what he can do--play pool with him, go on outings. Laugh.

Linda Fisher writes a blog noted here under links. Mrs. Fisher has been there as her husband Jim has passed away after his battle with Alzheimer's. She mentions a book by Bell and Toxel, The Best Friend's Approach Alzheimer's Care. Linda writes:

It is important to minister to the soul and spirit as well as the physical needs when a person faces the challenges of dementia. Bell and Troxel liken Alzheimer’s disease to a long trip in a foreign land where we can’t speak the language, know the customs, or understand how to use the phone. When caring for a person with dementia we must concentrate on what they can do rather than what they cannot do. Can they still enjoy a walk? A drive? A cup of coffee where they can watch birds gather at a feeder?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interest in Games

My dear husband participated in a game this afternoon at church for our Reformation Party.

When we got home we played three games of pool. I am not as skilled as he is, but I finally won a game at the end. He was very pleased with me and I am very pleased he likes to play games now. We will try to play some other games--excellent for his reasoning I am thinking.

When he retired, he wasn't interested. Now with four months of coconut oil he is interested in a lot. Every day he works in the yard also.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Struggles of Someone With Dementia

I told my sweetheart twice that I would be home between 8 and 9 PM on Wednesday. I was home as expected by what I had told him, but I had not written the time on the calendar. Then I forgot to turn my cell phone back on and when I finally did there were frantic messages there left on that cell phone every two minutes! Apparently even the dog was waiting by the living room window for me. I must remember to write things on the calendar.

I make sense of life for my husband. When I don't make sense to him it is frustrating for both of us.

Lately my husband has been going to his computer. Maybe this is a good sign as he exhibited little interest in his computer in previous months. When he is interested in going to a movie, he goes to that link; then he is often disappointed when we go to the movie he selected. The movie doesn't make sense in the end to him. He prefers old movies on TV I believe.

Who is our plumber? he wanted to know as he looked on his computer. He used to handle all that information and now I do--the woman not trained for such situations. I made no sense to him about plumbers--I couldn't give him one name of a plumber. He was extremely frustrated that I didn't know. I did know the carpenter, the electrician and the vacuum cleaner repairman as I have dealt with them in the last two years. But plumber? There are a half a dozen plumbers in the Outlook on his computer! He scolded me that I was supposed to know. Life is confusing for him, just when I think he has stabilized or made a little progress because of coconut oil.

My sweetheart was barbecuing outside the other night. The Webber grill fell down and the steak fell on the ground. Today it is on its legs again, but he couldn't explain why or what happened.

I want to learn to use the riding lawn mower in case one day he can't use it. However, I don't want to take his capabilities away from him. He is very proud of using it to mow our front lawn and two back yard lawns. Each day he does something in the garden and it is starting to show.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Doctor Visit--Coconut Oil Look Promising

When my husband went to his doctor this week, she was very pleased. His blood pressure was the lowest she has seen. He took the memory test and scored a whole point better than he did last December. His dementia is not making him go downhill at all! I think the difference is the coconut oil.

I have seen he has more initiative lately. He has completed two carpentry projects and gets out in the yard to work.

Thank the Lord!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Research on Dementia and Alzheimer's

I get this e-mail newsletter from where I buy the MCT coconut oil. Here is what research found:
  • Smokers are 70% more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers.
  • Those with high blood pressure are 60% more likely.
  • Those with diabetes are twice as likely. (Even moderate weigh loss helps prevent type 2 diabetes.)
I also read Dr. David Snowdon's classic Alzheimer's study Aging With Grace. In this book he studies nuns over many years and has access to their early records. He also emphasizes cardiovascula health and avoiding smoking. He finds that a positive attitude early in life was a characteristic of those who did not get dementia.

One of my favorite quotes from Snowdon's book is from Sister Laura. She says, "Do you know what my worst fear was? That I was going to forget Jesus. I finally realized that I may not remember Him, but He will remember me." (p. 120)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MCT Coconut Cream Pie

Why not put coconut oil in coconut cream pie, I thought and it worked! I adapted a Coconut Cream Pie recipe making it more diet conscious except for the MCT oil. Instead of the liquid for the milk (3 cups), I used 2 cups milk and 1 cup of the liquid MCT. My husband likes this pie.

Two 9 inch pie crusts
Two small boxes of sugar free vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 cup MCT
14 ounce package of shredded or flaked coconut
16 ounces of Light Cool Whip or whipped cream
Directions: In a large bowl, beat the pudding, milk, and MCT with an electric mixer until the pudding mixture thickens. Fold in 2 cups of coconut flakes and 1 cup of Cool Whip. Pour into prepared pie crusts. Spread the remaining Cool Whip on top. Sprinkle with the remainder of the coconut flakes. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

I think the coconut oil my husband is getting is helping him be more cheerful and ambitious.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Get MCT and Coconut Oil

Bloggers want to know about MCT, a coconut oil extract that has been purified. I have gotten Smart Basics MCT Oil 16 oz. for $7.94 plus shipping and handling from, 130 Lexington Parkway, Lexington, North Carolina 27295. You can get it sent to you on a regular schedule, or you can order only one or two bottles. Carefully read the directions or talk with customer Service number at 700-793-2691. Recently I baked brownies with it. As I shared in posts below, I put it in oatmeal and pancakes and anything else I can think of including salad dressing.

I also get a huge tub from Tropical Traditions, Inc., P.O. Box 333, Springville, CA 93265, 1-866-311-coco--

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We couldn't remember if we had given thanks for breakfast. We laughed and Sweetheart prayed for the first or second time.

We laughed at this joke this morning when I found it on my computer. My husband reminded me that I had shared it with him before!

A couple is having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.

Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. "Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?" he asks.

"Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"


"Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?" she asks.

"No, I can remember it."

"Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so's not to forget it?"

He says, "I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."

"I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?" she asks.

Irritated, he says, "I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!" Then he toddles into the kitchen.

After about 20 minutes, The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stares at the plate for a moment. "Where's my toast ?"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuna Noodle Coconut Oil Casserole

My husband doesn't like salmon. At times I can sneak in a tuna casserole. So I developed this recipe with MCT.

1 Betty Crocker Creamy Parmesan Tuna Helper (includes sauce mix, noodles, but I don’t use butter and milk as they suggest); or, 2 cups dry noodles and your own seasoning
1 3/4 cups boiling water
½ cup MCT
1 cup non-flavored fat free yogurt or sour cream
2 ( or 3) 6 oz. cans tuna
Note: add mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, peas drained or whatever is free.

Heat oven to 425 degrees . Use ungreased 2 quart casserole and stir together everything above. Cover and bake 25 minute.
Five minutes before finished, stir to mix the MCT. Add grated parmesan cheese, crumbled crackers or bread crumbs on top and bake uncovered the last five minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recipe: Coconut Oil Carrot Soup

6 T coconut oil or MCT or more if you drain meat
1 lb. lean hamburger
1 small red onion, chopped
2 lb. shredded carrots
12 oz can pineapple/orange juice concentrate, thawed (don’t add water to it)
6 lb. (two large cans) chicken broth
1 T ginger or to taste
2 T. cinnamon or to taste
1 cup raisins
Saute onion and lean hamburger in coconut oil or MCT. If you drain meat, be sure to add coconut oil or MCT back to soup to get the benefit. Add all ingredients to large pot or crockpot and cook slowly. Makes hearty servings that can we warmed up.

Delicious with the coconut taste and carrots and raisins.

Friday, June 26, 2009

One Week of Cooking With Coconut Oil

Cooking Simply

Last Friday my husband started on coconut oil. It was put in breakfast oatmeal all week. The coconut taste is so pleasant. Several nights I had to be gone and I put a little cup of that coconut oatmeal left over from breakfast with his dinner that he heated up.

I spread it on his sandwiches--especially delicious with BLT sandwiches. However, he did not usually get much oil at lunch and we ate out several lunches.

For dinner I put it in hamburger stroganoff and we had that two nights. He and I like salads with chicken or beef. Several nights I sauteed meat in coconut oil to serve in the salad. Then I dumped the coconut oil in his salad.

I had ordered the liquid MCT from Vitacost in NC (800-793-2601) last Friday and it came in the mail yesterday. So this morning I made a batch of pancakes with it, using 1/4 of it for the liquid instead of the milk. It was great and I have left-overs in the freezer for other breakfast pancakes that I can easily toast.

I have a new Swedish cookbook, a gift from family. I plan to put it in soup recipes from that book. There are great salmon recipes in that cookbook, but he doesn't like salmon. (Maybe, I can try it anyway sometime.)

Happy Husband

Tuesday was the last day my husband worked before retiring. He wasn't sure he would like retirement. Thought he would want to get a job in August. But he loves it so far! Of course it is great for me because I am semi-retired. I have felt like I am on vacation with him. Tuesday we went to a senior karaoke to celebrate his retirement. This week we have gone to the gym. He walked 2/3 of a mile on the treatmill. We went to two malls. We have seen two movies. He was interested in reviewing what all we did on Wednesday, his first day of retirement. Could it be that some short-term memory is improving? This morning his blood presure was 120/76. His agitated state is quite a bit toned down. He is patient when he tells me to turn off lights when I leave a room.

Thank you, Lord! You are blessing us!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I am self-conscious in my own home now. I realize that when I don't follow these procedures, Sweetheart gets confused or frustrated. Then I get tense. As I wrote earlier on this blog, I am in training as a caregiver.

From experience with my Sweetheart's demenia I have learned to write things down. Pictured is the visor on his car. It is a small white board. I can write on this. He also is very dependent on the calendar and crosses out the days.

A nurse who works with Alzheimer's patients also told me:

  • Give him one idea at a time.

  • Use short sentences.

  • Continue routines.

  • Learn habits now such as GPS for the car. Maybe I should buy this birthday gift for him early so he can practice using it to get home.

The nurse said that patients light up when the loved one who sees them often comes to visit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coconut Oil and MTC

I got a clue. Coconut Oil. It and MCT oil help dementia. Have it in oatmeal or salad dressing, Dr. Mary Newport says. Her husband has been using it for a year now and he has improved dramatically. Side effects might be diarrhea, so you need to start slowly.

So I e-mailed her and she wrote back:

My husband is doing very well with the oil. Thank you for asking! I have a website now with a lot of information on it that may help you out with this - . There is a research group on Cortez about a mile east of the Suncoast, called Meridien Research - 597-8839. They have several studies going now for Alzheimer's and may be able to evaluate him further. Also, the Johnny Byrd Institute in Tampa at USF could do a complete evaluation - 813-974-4355. There are several causes of dementia, such as hypothyroidism that are treatable, so you may want to have him checked out thoroughly. Please let me know how it goes! Take care-
Dr. Mary Newport

Friday Morning

I explained to Sweetheart why we would be having oatmeal with coconut oil for breakfast. He loves it with non-fat milk, walnuts and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend. He leaves his badge at home and I bring it to him; counting today he works only three more days before retirement. On the trip I listen to Dr. Newport's interview on my iPod. Check it out. "Dr. Mary Newport On Coconut Oil As An Alzheimer's Cure", 3/30/09, on "The Livin La Vida Low-Carb Show" from iTunes. Inspiring! Coconut oil and MCT are supposed to help MD and weight loss and other conditions.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gentle Intervention

Friday Night

I couldn't have told him and gotten the same response. We went to dinner with our pastor and his wife. Gentle marriage counseling over pizza. Pastor skillfully told my husband that he has a handicap and that maybe no one will hire him at his age in this economy with his handicap of dementia. He would be a liablity to any company. The intervention was not ugly, and my husband seemed to accept what Pastor said to him in the midst of other stories and jokes. Yes, he will need to find things to do with his time--what scares my hubby. He might hang out at our church one day during the week, for example.

The Pastor's wife also said privately to me to not push him. Aha! This is how it works. Let him come up with ideas of what to do with his time, she said.

Sweetheart could take this reality better from our Pastor who married us, than from my suggestions. Of course we will need to trust God for our needs, but He has never let us down in the past.

But will he remember what our pastor said to him?

Monday at the Doctor's
Basically his doctor said he was doing well, all his lab results were good. No medcation was changed. He took an EKG while there and he will have a carotid artery test later this month. Come back in three months. His doctor said he would be a good greeter at Wal-Mart or a supermarket bagger if he choose to work. She had thought he should have retired some time ago with his handicap. Sweetheart seems more able to accept retirement now, but still it will be an adjustment.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sent to My E-mail This Morning

My grandfather worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone.

When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen in one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $50 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this."

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago.The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.

"But most of all," the missionary said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my co-workers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top." The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued, "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that."

The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter, my grandfather, realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking Him! Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often, "Thank you, God for not allowing my car to start this morning." He may have been saving your life from a car accident.

May God bless your day today. Look for the perfect mistakes. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans8:28)

--Unknown Author/Known God

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Husband Resigns

He said that he told Vince he was giving two weeks notice. He calls me all day to talk about this and I become this memory. His resignation paper is in his pocket when he comes home. I ask him if his work made a copy of this. He can't remember. I say I will type up another notice.

He wants another job. I am not sure he can get another job. Not in this economy and with dementia. I wonder if he will accept retiring. I wonder how the Lord will supply our needs.

Please pray, folks.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clothes and Errands

So I notice that Sweetheart wears brown pants and a maroon sports jacket to church several
Sundays in a row. I mention that we need to prepare Saturday night for what we wear on Sunday. Good idea for me also.

We have two errands this morning--take his car to Firestone and then go in my car to his doctor for routine blood work in preparation for his doctor's appointment next week. So Sweetheart dresses up in his brown slacks and a grey jacket. Now this is warm Flordia. He has asked several times where we are going. I am dressed very casually.

Without me he would he would have difficulty getting from Firestone to his doctor--maybe four miles in downtown Plant City. I hope to get him a global navigational system for his car--saw one at Sam's the other day. My friend 's husband has similar issues and uses this system in his car so he can find his way around. I remind myself to save for this for his birthday in December. Then he will need training in using this system. I have notes for him on the remote control usage.

We go to breakfast at one of our favorite places, Buddy Freddy's. We talk about getting ready for church on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning at the last minute. He asks again what I am doing today.

"Remember, Sweetheart, I am going to my writer's group at 10 AM. " He asks me several times what is happening today. We get home and he notices that the front lawn needs to be mowed. Good for him!

We might have a date later today to a movie, which we will enjoy, but he won't remember the plot. He is watching a taped movie now, loves it, but won't remember later what it is about.

My sweetheart is happy. That is cool. But I seriously wonder how long he can work and I work only part-time to manage everything. The Lord has promised to supply our needs.

Dear Lord, the future is in Your hands. Give us your peace. Amen.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Six years ago Sargent Shriver at the age of 87 was diagnosed with Alzheminer's. His daughter Journalist Maria Shriver has produced a four part series on HBO called "The Alzheimer's Project" that is airing this month. You can watch it at

Shriver's children told her, "Just talk to Grandpa. Just go with whatever he is saying. Don't try to correct him, don't get mad. It's not him. Just laugh with him or just accept him, or be patient with him."

Says Maria, "What I've learned from my own children . . . . is to accept the person for who they are, not for who you want them to be or who you remember them to be."

So much of life involves acceptance. I love this quote shared in a workshop I once attended (author unknown):

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation--some fact of my life--unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in this world by mistake. . . . Unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Lord, as with the Serenity Prayer, help me to accept the things I cannot change. Thank you for the wonderful love of my husband and help him to always trust and feel my love. Amen.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


When my sweetheart drives, he often gets angry at other drivers. Demenia has made him especially impatient and I have had to adjust to his impatience. Sometimes he is impatient when he can't get the TV channel he wants or when I don't finish a sentence quickly or make sense to him. I have to think carefully when I talk with him. Sometimes he is insulted that I remind him of something. We are adjusting.

At some point he will need to stop driving. Here is a check list from the link below and I can answer yes to two on the list.
  1. Needing more help with directions. Yes he does. I can remember near panic a year ago before he was officially diagnoised with dementia. Thanks to the cell phone I could help him.
  2. Forgetting destinations or where the car was parked. Not long ago I had to meet him at work so we could find his car in the huge garage.
  3. Having trouble making turns or being confused by traffic signals. Not so far.
  4. Receiving citations for moving violations. I still feel save when he drives us both.
  5. Putting dents in the car that can't be explained. Not so far.
He remembers to get gas, but that is about all. I have taken over normal maintenance of his car--the oil checks need to be every week because the car is old and that oil does go down. We have done a lot of preventative maintenance for his car including a new battery recentlly.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lost and Found

Lost. A little history. Sweetheart needed to mow the front yard and wasn't getting to it.

"Should I take up the riding mower?" I asked him.

"No," he kept insisting. He would get to mowing that lawn.

I get a message on my cell phone from Sweetheart that something is missing--I couldn't tell quite what he said. I call him at home and ask if the lawn mover is missing. We hadn't put the lock back on the shed since it was painted along with the house, and it could have been that someone got that expensive riding lawn mower out of the shed. He walks back to the shed. The lawn mower is still there. He can't remember what was missing.

About the time he is ready for bed (about five hours after the call on my cell), his wallet turns up missing--what the message on my cell was all about. We look for his cell and can't find it. I go to our online banking and find out he used the debit card that day to buy gas and so I start out for that gas station to see if he left his wallet there. On the way there, he calls me on my cell. He has found the wallet. For about five hours he has forgotten he lost his wallet! At least it turns up! At least he remembers to call me when he finds it and I don't get all the way to the gas station!

Found. Sunday we went to Golden Coral Restaurant after church. We were seated in a room not in view of the buffet. He went to get food and then couldn't find me! He was looking for me in the area where we usually sit. I had to go find him!

With all the reminders about mowing the front lawn, with the loss of the wallet for hours and his not remembering what he lost, and with new places in a restaurant we go to periodically, I realize that it is my sweetheart's good habits that keep him functioning and still going to work.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Line from a "senior" e-mail:

My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

That line doesn't seem funny to me as it once would have. I live with that each day. My husband regularly asks the same question. I just don't get upset when he asks again.

When his son calls, he is asked repeatedly, "So how is everyone?"

We always call each other when we get to a location safely--usually work. He calls me twice sometimes to tell me he is at work. I act like it is the first time he has called. I wonder if I should call him twice when I get somewhere.

The digital recorder device my husband carries around is so useful. He asked about the lawn mower battery, a note on his digital recorder and I told him it had been taken care of. (Over a week ago, but I didn't say that.)

When we talk about it, he doesn't think he has a memory problem. "But," I say, "your doctor told you that you have dementia." He is in denial and doesn't remember what he is denying or has a memory problem.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Our Forgetfulness

  1. I forgot to put my husband's doctor appointment on the calendar for March 9th and so he missed getting his blood work done. A month later I call to reschedule!
  2. I do a favor and drive someone into town. I tell my husband I am doing this before I leave. Twice on the trip he calls me to ask where I am.
  3. The shower faucet breaks. I have someone fix it, but he doesn't remember that it was broken, even though in the morning he was upset that he couldn't take a shower. (He doesn't like baths.)
  4. I ask him to go to the tax accountant to pay for and pick up the prepared taxes. I am so proud that he gets himself there--he has been there many years, but this is more of a challenge at this time. The only problem was that he had prepared the check ahead of time to "Money Matters" instead of to the tax firm. I am sure he was very embarrassed when he presented the wrong check. He commented that it was a waste of his time and gas to go there.
  5. There was a time when my husband installed mini-blinds and did other handiman projects including fence building. We were proud of his skills. No more does he do such things--he does vacuum, clean the carpet and mow the lawn, however, for which I am very grateful, but wondering how long until I need to do those chores. We get new energy efficient windows in the house. Our carpenter/painter takes down the mini-blinds for us, but it is three nights before the mini-blinds get installed. I try to arrange sheets over the bedroom windows. One night in the middle of the night he wakes up and rants and raves about no mini-blinds with the light on and hubby in his underwear and me in my pjs and the sheet not covering the window. Anyone driving by could have seen into our bedroom!
  6. With a drought here recently, we haven't had to mow the lawn. We needed the lawn mowed for Easter for the granddaughter's egg hunt. However, the riding lawn mower didn't work--probably due to the fact that the gas hadn't been drained from it--a practice one needs to employ when it will not be driven for some time. Nonetheless, there were more places to hide eggs!
  7. I tried to describe how my husband could get the lawn mower to the repair place. He was able to get it on the trailer, but was not able to find the repair place. I realize that he can go to work and back, to church and back, to the doctor and back and that is about all he can remember now. Verbal instructions don't work well for him.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Memory Test

For my husband we have things as orderly as possible. I don't change his things. His routine works for him--very well to this point.

But, I've been leaving things lately or can't remember where I put something. We have construction and painting here and hopefully when it is done, before Easter, the house can be put back to order. Then, where did I put things? Starting to get concerned, I took the informal test below and passed. By the way. It is not the test the doctor gave my husband when he was diagnosed with dementia.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm Still Here

I am convinced that caregivers need care. When my husband gets frustrated or angry in ways that he previously didn't, it is a huge adjustment on my part. Plus I miss sharing my feelings with him. I am prone to depression and I did attempt to share my feelings with him--he may not remember, but he is very loving to me and it did help to dare to talk with him.

I read from Psalm 69 today: Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. . . .I have become a stranger to my brethren [husband]. . . .But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of thy steadfast love answer me. With thy faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire.

Two answers to prayer today were family pledging to pray for my husband and myself. This knowledge lifted my spirits. Also, in other blogs I found the pictured book and ordered it. Will write about it when it comes and it promises to give clues for my dealing with my husband.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?

"Why isn't Ziggy at the window?" my husband asked as we came home tonight from having dinner at Buddy Freddy's Restaurant.

"Think about it," I said gently.

"Don't play games with me," he retorted.

Yes, Ziggy is usually at the window when we come home. He gets up on the table after jumping up on a chair, waiting for his masters to come home.

"Because Ziggy is in a cage," I answered not demanding he figure out the riddle with his short-term memory.

Earlier Ziggy had been a bad dog. My husband said he would be locked up for three days to teach this puppy a lesson. Simply he hadn't remembered the punishment and that he had given Ziggy.
How had Ziggy been bad? When I came home today from teaching a class for DUI offenders, I brought groceries. Currently I am not parking in the garage because the painter has supplies in the garage. I opened the garage door with my garage door opener and my husband thoughtfully helped me bring in groceries. Well, this was too much for puppy. He runs out the door my husband had opened and out the garage. I nearly slip trying to catch Ziggy who darts across the street to see the girl puppies next door to the horses. My husband runs across the street to get the wayward child and is furious that Ziggy would do such a thing.

"To teach Ziggy a lesson the dog will have to be locked up for three days," he proclaims. He will put him in the craft/guest bedroom.

"Sweetheart, there is too much in there for a year and a half puppy to get into. How about the guest bathroom?"

The bathroom it is until Ziggy starts scratching on the door.

"How about his cage?" Ziggy was put in the cage while we went to dinner.

And so hubby didn't remember why doggy wasn't at the window two hours later.

No, Ziggy didn't stay locked up for three days, but my husband felt like having him locked up three days and I certainly want to reinforce "come" when we say "come, Ziggy."


Dog Ziggy was in a canine St. Patrick's Day contest last Saturday. I made his costume with a machine embroidery rainbow spilling into an appliqued brown pot. Then I superglued pennies for the gold at the end of the rainbow. He didn't win, but thoroughly enjoyed all the attention and other dogs. He got out of his hat at the last minute when it was his time to parade across the stage and the hat hung around his neck. Next year he may have the luck of the Irish with more practice for him and for me working on a better hat.


Meanwhile, it is I who needs the training in working with the hubby and the dog.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Project Lifesaver

So far my husband gets to work and back, to church, to the doctor, and other places he is used to without problems. However, I do recall touble he has trouble with new directions. If it were not for my cell phone and my helping him, he would have gotten lost, mind you, in an area he has lived for most of his life. One time he lost his car at work, I told him to calm down, and I came to his work helped him find it.

This morning on the news I heard of a woman with the early stages of Alzheimer's who came up missing and unfortunately dead. The newscast mentioned a device from Project Lifesaver that can help. If the person wears this bracelet, he or she can be traced.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Springing Surprises / Not Remembering

Strawberry Festival. I asked my husband could we go and then I mentioned often about our tickets for this local event and that we were going to see a concert--Christian commedian/singer Mark Lowry at that festival. The day arrived and my husband came home from work at 2:30. He didn't remember about the festival, and wanted to stay home. When I mentioned I had already bought the tickets, he agreed to leave the safe haven of the couch and TV, and we went and had a delightful time. He didn't walk around the festival as much as in past years, but let me go off to see the booths and then check back in with him.

House Painting. Our house needs painting. My husband had always said he would paint the house, but he doesn't have the energy now and quite frankly it would be confusing to him and stressful for me to have him on any big project. But we do have a great painter/carpenter we have worked with before. Several days ago I chose new house paint colors and asked my husband about them. When we went to Home Depot, he hadn't remembered about the new colors--isn't the house going to be the same black and white? I needed again to sell him on these colors. We ordered several small items needed in the project. On the way home we drove by two houses with those colors. He liked them. Visualizing is so important. I will return to buy those colors within the week when the painter is ready.

(One day one of us may have to sell this home and it needs to be in good condition in this financial market so it can be sold. I have been a widow once, and always think of the future now.)

Memory. The other morning my husband mentioned that he didn't think he had a memory problem. I guess I am glad he is happy and doesn't think so. However, I am constantly thinking about his memory now, how I can run things by him, how he can have a say, and I won't spring things on him. So far he is trusting my judgment on most things. Lots of new thoughts for me now. How can I apply biblical respect for my husband in our situation? How can I maintain his trust?

From Proverbs 31. "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Lord, help me to do him good all my days, help him trust me, and guide me in this new phase of our life together. Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Scenes from the Country

At one time our home used to be a farm house for a larger tract of land. A rodeo was once operated
in back of our current property by a previous
owner of our home. We just have one Maltese dog, Ziggy, who is entertained by all the other critters nearby.

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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Creativity, Productivity, and Leisure

from Creativity, Productivity, and Leisure

"The nerve-jangling pressure of lengthy daily "to do" lists can leach away energy. The thought of adding more items to the list may fill you with more dismay than delight, even if the addition is relaxation, creativity, or time with a loved one. Yet when you refresh yourself in ways that are meaningful to you, you add to your stock of energy and joy. What does "creativity" mean to you? . . . Taking this time for yourself helps ward off exhaustion and burnout, allowing you to focus more attentively and less resentfully on the tasks of your day. Consider it a gift to yourself that also pays dividends to others."
  • I love to sew, read and write. I have a new sewing machine, but have to find help in using it. It is stressful to me now, but I will conquer that stress.
  • I have adopted my husband's hobbies. We go to the shooting range and last year I took up playing pool when we moved a pool table into our den.
  • Seeing movies with my husband.

I want to add camping and vacations to that list, but my husband really just wants to stay home. Oh well! Enjoy every day at home, I say.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Put It Off or Seize the Moment?

This came from an e-mail. I have no idea who started it.
I edited a few words out and added two lines at the end.
Too many people put off something that brings them joy
just because they haven't thought about it,
don't have it on their schedule,
didn't know it was coming
or are too rigid to depart from their routine.
I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic
who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night
in an effort to cut back.
From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.
How many women out there will eat at home
because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner
until after something had been thawed?
Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?
How often have your kids dropped in to talk
and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?
I cannot count the times I called my sister
and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?"
She would gas up and stammer,
"I can't. I have clothes on the line.
My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday.
I had a late breakfast. It looks like rain."
She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.
Because Americans cram so much into their lives,
we tend to schedule our headaches.
We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves
when all the conditions are perfect!
We'll go back and visit the grandparents
when we get little Jenna toilet-trained.
We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet.
We'll go on a second honeymoon
when we get two more kids out of college.
Life has a way of accelerating as we get older.
The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer.
One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of
"I'm going to,"
"I plan on,"
and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit."
When anyone calls my "seize the moment" friend,
she is open to adventure and available for trips.
She keeps an open mind on new ideas.
Her enthusiasm for life is contagious.
You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready
to trade your bad feet for a pair of roller blades
and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.
Now, go on and have a nice day.
Do something you WANT to,
not something on your SHOULD DO list.
If you were going to die soon
and had only one phone call you could make,
who would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?
Hear the music before the song is over.
Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we are here we might as well dance!
And I add that while our loved ones have this day,
this hour, this minute, let's appreciate them.
WE need to give to them,
even if they won't remember what we did.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I found helpful insights from The Alzheimer's Association. Many insights apply to me now, many will later and many for care givers who read this blog. I am thinking of a wife and two daughters who read this blog and are dealing with Alzheimer's for their loved ones.

Symptoms of Caregiver Stress include denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration and health problems.

  • Anger. I have come to not get angry about being asked something again and again. Originally I was angry about my husband not picking up on tasks around the home. Yesterday my sweet husband on his day off cleaned the living room carpet. I didn't ask him to do this, but he knows to contribute and often tells me how he appreciates all I do for him and our dog Ziggy.
  • Social Withdrawal. I need people and so this is not a symptom of my stress yet. However, I have noticed that my husband didn't want to go to the neighborhood Christmas party and doesn't want to take road trips out of town now. This can become a problem for me. Thank God for this blog. I do need you all to make comments and post.
  • Health Problems. Once again I need exercise and a slow diet to lose weight so I don't get major health problems myself.
Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress from Alzheimer's Association
  • Know what resources are available in your community.
  • Become educated about Alzheimer's disease and caregiving techniques.
  • Get help from family, friends, and community resources.
  • Manage your own level of stress. I say simplify, organize.
  • Accept changes as they occur. Last night my husband and I saw "On Golden Pond". We discussed how actors Fonda and Hepburn were handling old age. How poignant it was when Fonda says he went a certain distance from their rustic home and then didn't know how to get into town. Hepburn sweetly accepted this. My husband has trouble with directions now. We have also seen and discussed the movie "The Notebook". Now, granted, sometimes my husband doesn't remember the movies, but I believe honestly discussing movies help us as a couple to deal with his dementia. It helps me accept.
  • Engage in legal and financial planning.
  • Be realistic about what you can do.
  • Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished; don't feel guilty if you lose patience or can't do everything on your own.
Finally Alzheimer's Association writes to us caregivers: "You can live a meaningful and productive life by taking care of your physical and emotional health, by engaging in activities you enjoy and by spending time with family and friends."
Just a footnote from me: Dogs and husbands with memory issues live in the moment. They enjoy each moment and don't worry about the future or the past. Great lesson for us all. Thank you Lord for my daily blessings--for now--for this very moment!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Lord Upholds!

I just have to write about how the Lord went before us yesterday. The Almighty is adequate and provides richly for our needs! Just like the e-mail that Newblogger sent me yesterday: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:3 He absolutely upheld us! Sandy’s prayers and e-mail also showed the Lord’s provision for me yesterday. And Tom providentially helped also. Here is how the day went.

My car wouldn’t start yesterday morning and my husband was already at his work. My neighbor drove me to the school where I was substituting. A new battery was needed. When I called my mechanic, he said that he didn’t have a battery for a 2006 Saturn—we would need to purchase a battery at the Saturn dealership. I got the Saturn service department on the phone and said my husband would be in to purchase a 2006 Saturn battery.

A task that would be no problem in the past for my husband became a tortured explanation by cell phone to direct him to the Saturn dealer after his work. Two wrong turns. A swearing husband. Not a routine trip for my husband who functions fine going to work, at work and coming home. Now I had to stay on my cell phone while directing him. Mind you I’m teaching and hoping silent students don’t hear the curse words of my husband at the other end of the cell phone and that they keep working on their tests.

Mission finally accomplished with the purchase of a battery. It would be too difficult to describe to him how he would get to the school where I was teaching and then he would have a wait in the cold. So I told him to just go home and find Google map directions to the school where I was teaching out on the kitchen counter. Successfully he got himself home—enough clues in his memory to do that without me.

Time for him to come pick me up. Students can listen while I patiently explain to my husband how to come to the school—the written directions just wouldn’t do. He gets to the school and doesn’t see me, calling me in the classroom. I tell him to park and wait for school to be dismissed.

Every torturous step needs to be described simply to him. (I once sent him in to the supermarket to buy two items and he called me to ask me what was the other item.)

After the dismissal bell I find him and we go home. He has been thoroughly upset by the stress of stepping out of his comfort zone while trying to be the gentleman and rescue his wife. He tells me he would not accompany me to Toastmasters last night—he had had enough for the day.

We get home and he prepares to change the battery. I knew I would be in for more swear words as he doesn’t do mechanical stuff much anymore and I never did. (That’s why we have AAA.)

Here is where the Lord again went before us. Tom called. He asked if he come by with a plumbing part for the kitchen. “Yes, Tom,” I said, “and would you mind very much installing a battery!” It was his pleasure to do that, he said.

At Toastmasters I am the Grammarian and choose the word for the day. I choose “uphold” from the verse that Newblogger sent to my e-mail.

Thank you, Lord, for again upholding us!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Memory Medications and Strategies

from the Alzheimer's Disease Center

Four medications, tacrine (Cognex), donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine tartrate (Exelon) and galantamine (Reminyl), may slow the intellectual decline in some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. These drugs (called cholinesterase inhibitors) increase the brain's levels of acetylcholine, which helps to restore communication between brain cells. Another medication, memantine (Namenda), has been shown to stabilize memory in people with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. It is the first in a new class of medications called NMDA receptor antagonists.
Note that my husband takes the expensive Exelon and Namenda. They help!
Other strategies used to help people with Alzheimer's include psychotherapy techniques (reality orientation and memory retraining) and medications to relieve depression and calm agitated behavior. As much as possible, you should follow a regular exercise routine, maintain normal social contacts with family and friends and continue intellectual activities. In addition to regularly scheduled doctor visits, patients and their families should take advantage of community resources and support groups. Discuss any safety concerns, especially driving, with the doctor. Although several nonprescription products claim to improve mental function, the scientific evidence to support this claim is weak. Check with your doctor before taking any nonprescription medication, especially if you are taking a prescription medication for heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure or mental illness or if you have problems with your heart or liver.
My husband has taken Vitamin B12 and Flaxseed Oil with his doctor's approval for over a year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Communication That's Not Communication

I learned this before: put it on the calendar. What I didn't know that is so obvious, is that spontaneous trips to the store can be a problem, especially if you don't pay attention to a weak ringing cell phone.

Here is what happened. We needed carpet shampoo, but my husband forgot he sent me out to get it. My husband kept calling my cell phone frantic to know where I was and I didn't pick up on the missed calls.When I came home from the store, he was mad because he didn't remember where I had gone--I should have told him—and I didn’t answer the cell phone. He was mad and I was hurt. Later he forgot that he had been angry, but I didn't.

However, I am over it now, and hopefully wiser.I need to constantly think about calling him to remind him where I am without sounding patronizing. Always use calendars and cell phones to back up verbal communication with someone who has short-term memory. And, a loud ring on a cell phone!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Medicine. There is a huge expenditure for the two memory medicines for my husband--roughly $300 a month (or $3600 a year). Fortunately my doctor has given me phone numbers where seniors can get the medicine for less and I am calling tomorrow about this possibility.

Emotional Stress. I succumbed to emotional eating and put weight back on this fall due to the stress of my husband's dementia. Now I am dieting again.

Time. We go over and over how to use the DVD player and how to record programs. I just keep explaining this to my husband. We write it down and I put labels on remote controls and equipment. Again I am in training for dealing with making tasks simple for him.

Gratitude. I am thankful that I have a thoughtful husband who asks maybe four times how my day was. Then four times I have the privilege of telling him how it was. I am grateful that he appreciates me and often says so. I am thankful that he has a job to go to that is people-centered and he loves it. These are good days. Thank you, Lord. Help me to rejoice always.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Training Is Going Well

By my not nagging (I think) we are making progress. Husband is recognizing projects around the house and I do think that the two memory medications (Exelon Patch and Namenda) he is taking are kicking in. He has added the patch to his excellent routines, reminding me this morning to put today's patch on him.

He did ask me three times at breakfast what was today's date and several times what was my plan for the day. I am patient.

Working is so good for him and being semi-retired is so wonderful for me.

You just don't need to comment to these posts--hope contributors can post their own concerns. Remember be anonymous with names because this is the mighty Internet. Go in your dashboard to post to do that--you can start a new post. Love U all! Keep praying!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I took our dog to dog obedience school and found that Ziggy was already willing to be trained and quite eager to please me. On the other hand I had to be trained to train him.

My training in dealing with my husband has taken turns. First I thought he was not doing his part. I was tempted to resort to nagging. I was very frustrated that he wasn't the husband he had been, doing "honey-dos" etc. , and sharing more in our home life.

When it finally hit me that I am in training, not him, it seems the Lord began to give me patience for dealing with him.

This is always as it should be in life. The Lord is in charge of changing that other person--not us.

Lord grant us patience. Amen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Friend Who Stands By

The poem, "The Friend Who Stands By", was circulated to my e-mail about eleven years ago. Is is written by B. Y. Williams.

When troubles come your soul to try
You love the friend who just stands by.
Perhaps there's nothing she can do
The thing is strictly up to you.
For there are troubles all your own
And paths the soul must tread alone.
Times when love can't smooth the road
Nor friendship lift the heavy load.
But just to feel you have a friend
Who will stand by until the end.
Whose sympathy through all endures
Whose warm handclasp is always yours.
It helps somehow to pull you through
Although there's nothing she can do.
And so with fervent heart we cry
God bless the friend who just stands by.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Depression for us older people

Again came to my e-mail this morning--"Depression: Not a Normal Part of Aging". I learned:

  • Depression comes to us seniors (I am 64 and my husband is 71), but it is not necessary.
  • Prepare for changes. (This blog is helping me and I hope others too.)
  • Work to maintain friendships. Thank you Glenn and Sandy for joining this blog as well as for your friendship of long standing.
  • Develop hobbies. Lord knows I have them. Just look around my house. I am making a birthday gift for a friend, am writing a book, have a to do list. Much has been accomplished and the hobbies give me great joy. I made six gifts for Christmas; granted they were late, but they are finished.
  • Stay in touch with family. How great it is that regularly family and friends have e-mailed me that they are praying.
  • Break jobs into small tasks.
  • Exercise. My husband didn't want to go to the gym yesterday. I was calm about this and do want exercise in my life--my habits may rub off on him.
Water. This morning I suggested my husband drink more water at his job. I send it with his lunch, but it comes back and he only drinks the diet green tea. Tea, beer and coffee dehydrate us--we need the real stuff--water. I read that you have less signs of thirst when you are older, but still need that water. If you are dehydrated you will become more tired. If you are tired, you won't want to exercise. But if you exercise you will have more energy and will fight off depression! Water. Drink to it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Depression from time to time

Thanks for your prayers. Yesterday Newblogger encouraged me as did a cousin as I was depressed. Newblogger and I will also talk on the phone later today.

My husband didn't want me to go to a Toastmaster Holiday Party last night (yes it was late for the season), but consented that I go. So I was feeling half guilty for going without him--he wouldn't go as he had last year.

I also have to find last year's tax forms and can't. Last January my husband took care of this and now I am.

As it turned out, the party was good for me; several people there have parents struggling with the last stages of Alzheimer's and we talked. Yes, a challenge awaits me. But today is good.

Life is responsibility and isolation for all of us.

P.S. We are trying to not use our real names because of Internet security.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Exercise Helps Memory

An article from, "Rising Blood Sugar May Harm the Aging Brain", says

"Researchers reporting in the December issue of Annals of Neurology showed that rising blood sugar levels, a normal part of aging, affect a part of the hippocampus, a part of the brain critical to learning and memory.

"This would suggest that anything to improve regulation of blood glucose would potentially be a way to ameliorate age-related memory decline," said senior study author Dr. Scott Small, an associate professor of neurology at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. The findings may also help explain why people who exercise don't have as many cognitive problems as they age: Exercise helps stabilize blood glucose levels.

"We had previously shown that physical exercise strengthens a part of the brain involved with aging but, at the time, we didn't know why physical exercise would have this selective benefit," Small said. "Now we have a proposed mechanism. We think it's because subjects who exercised had better glucose handling."

I mentioned to my husband that exercise is good for us. I have been slowly jogging 9 miles a week (3miles 3 days) and I asked him if he wanted to join me. He said let's go to the gym. We put this on the calendar for Tuesday and Thursday this week. He is dependent upon the calendar, and I would love these dates at the gym. He also likes doing things with me and is very appreciative of me. I am going to enjoy every day with him.

As for memory today, we had taped a movie. I knew he had seen the end of it, but he wanted to watch again saying he didn't know how it end.ed Aha! This is why he watches his favorites again and again! I'm kind of like that with some movies.

I don't know how my husband's dementia will end. Stay tuned.

I put off going to the store to get my husband Effervent and when it was dark he didn't want me to go. When going to bed he told me again he needed Effervent. I suggested he just put mouth wash in the bowl with his false uppers. He was satisfied with this. He is my easy-going loving prince. Again I am going to enjoy every day with him.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Loss in Perspective

Having a husband with dementia means not always telling him things because he will forget them or get confused about what I am saying to him. What a loss of intimacy with my best friend!

Today we had our monthly women's book study in "Memorable Women of the Puritan Times". I read a letter referring to Lady Vere's husband, "Likewise the Lord supplieth [Lady Vere's husband's] absence by his own gracious presence. [The Lord] is your best husband, and always with you, ready to hear, and able to help, and to fill your soul with all heavenly comforts."

Thank you, Lord, for my intimacy with you.

Friday, January 2, 2009 article

Three things today.

First. I can now talk to be heard on my old cell so my husband can call me. Sprint will provide a new phone shortly.

Second, there is new interest in this blog and someone whose husband has altzheimer's may also join. Pray for her husband too because he has eye surgery tomorrow.

Third, an important-to-me article came to my e-mail today. It is called "Communicating Effectively When Alzheimer's Is an Issue" from and you can check it out if interested. O my goodness! Maybe Alzheimer's does apply to Herb because I read, "Alzheimer's affects each person differently. Some common communication obstacles, however, include difficulty finding the right word or words, repeating words, losing a train of throught, difficulty with logic, . . . and an increased use of curse words. If these occur, it's important to remember that these changes are due to the illness, that they're beyond the person's control, and that they are not aimed at you personally. . . .Because people with Alzheimer's have difficulty in following conversations, opt for short, clear communication. Fewer words are better than more, short sentences are better than long."

Yes he does revert to his old habits of swearing when frustrated. He did swear profusely when we had a guest recently! She went out to the deck and I also went out to explain to her that this must be due to his memory. I married an attentive, Godly husband--my requirement as a widow for a second marriage. He still is attentive, wanting to cuddle, telling me he loves me. God is in charge of his's holiness and I have to forgive his pre-sanctification habit of swearing. Maybe I can say "I see you are frustrated, Sweetheart."

The article also gave a phone number from the Alzheimer's Association--1-800-272-3900 and I am putting that phone number in the cell phone and keeping this working cell phone away from Ziggy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Visuals, Not Audios

My cell phone only texts currently due to a dog named Ziggy. Before leaving home to bring DVDs and a DVD player to my husband's work because it is so slow on a holiday,I called him from the home phone to say that when I got to the garage I would call on the cell and no one would speak. That way he would know I was at the bank.

I called from the bank garage and heard him say, hello, hello. I walked up to the door and he saw me and buzzed me in. I asked about the phone call where no one spoke. He did not remember it, but he did visually recognize me.

This is why visuals such as calendars are so important to my dear husband. This is why movies are important to him and he is bored with listening to my iPod in the car.

Lord help me to be faithful to write things down.

Two Women Who Have Been There

Recently I had contact with two women whose husband's are deceased. One is 71 and one lady is 79. Both husband's had dementia--not alzheimer's, but dementia related to strokes. One widow is bitter and discontent. The other widow is alive and joyful even though her husband passed away recently; she wrote me that she will be there for me.

Lord, help me to be joyful in the journey you have chosen for me. Thank you that you will be there for me also.

New Year's Day

We didn't stay up to see in the new year. When my dear husband and I woke up at 3:50 am, we wished each other Happy New Year, discussed that it was 2009, etc.

He is working today, but he failed to think about the fact not many people would be at the bank today where he is a security guard at the main desk checking in people. Usually on Saturdays or holidays his work is so slow and he brings his portable DVD player, but he forgot today. I think I will bring it to him so he can have something to do today. Or, should I bring it? Teach him a lesson?

Often I forget things also, and that teaches me a lesson. For example, yesterday somehow I did not have my cell phone in my purse or plugged in. I found it under the pool table where dog Ziggy hangs out with his toys. Ziggy found my cell phone (I don't know where) and chewed it so that his small teeth marks are in the metal and slobbered on it. Consequently you can call me on that cell phone, but the speaker doesn't work. I can't answer or call out. I can just text message until I get a new cell phone from Sprint or call on the home phone or my husband's cell.

We enjoyed the movie "Marley and Me" and have since remembered it. Ziggy's stealing of my cell phone is like Marley and we laugh about that.

Like the incapacitated cell phone, so much of my husband's dementia we can cope with. We just work around it and take one day at a time.