Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shot of Joy

Thanks so much for you who pray!

Yesterday I booked no sub jobs so I could be with my husband. I also got important work done at home and then in the afternoon we went out on errands. We went into Brandon to go to Macy’s so I could buy a wedding gift for my friend Barb in Minnesota. Then we went to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. This time my husband didn’t major on the “where’s the beef” rant at Sweet Tomatoes and enjoyed the chicken from the chunky chicken noodle soup. I could stick to my Weight Watcher’s diet also.

As we were walking hand in hand to the car to go home, I noticed something dripping under the Ford Expedition, our only car since the crash of the newer Saturn with a DUI driver in December of 2010 written up earlier on this blog.  When we turned on the air conditioner, there was a horrible smell. We kept the air off and drove home safely without smoke or needles on the dashboard going bonkers.

Now my husband can obsess about something in the middle of the night and this can disturb my sleep. Fortunately when he did so Monday night, I was still able to function on Tuesday when I substituted. However, last night it was me who was not sleeping, and needing to work today. At one point I found that he was awake and I asked him a question, as if wanting back my old husband without Alzheimer's who could make decisions about car repair.

“Should I cancel substitute teaching so I can bring our one car in?”

“What’s wrong with the car?” I tell him about the water leaking when we left dinner last night.

“Yes, go ahead.”

I get up and get on the computer and cancel the job due to car trouble. I turn off the alarm, return to bed, and to try to sleep.

“What is the problem with the water?” he asks, interrupting my sleep. “Don’t we have enough?”

“Sweetheart, it is not the well water pump or the water to the house this time. It is the car that was leaking last night.”

We were able to sleep in to 8:00 am but I got up worried about getting the car repaired. I worry while doing all my familiar morning routines of feeding the dog, letting him outside and getting breakfast and lunch ready for both of us. While I am doing all of this, my husband keeps asking what the plan is for the day. It’s on the clipboard, but I remind him as if he is asking for the first time, not the fourth or fifth time.

My first car trouble. There was a time in college when I used a family car to get to my student teaching assignment; I froze the engine on our "senior sneak" with girls friends in the car and I remember this experience to this day. Other guy students had to pick us up and the car had to be towed to town. I remember my naiveté about cars and the generosity of my parents who in 1965 paid $300 to fix that car.

Surely I could destroy the whole engine again today on my way to getting it fixed as I had in college. And it wouldn't be that cheap to get it fixed!

DH prayed for me before I left and he said, “Lord, give Carol a shot of joy.” Knowing that our great God can answer prayers even of someone with dementia I left the house. I passed a field off workers picking green peppers. Soon I saw a yard sale with so many items I wondered if the family had emptied out their whole house. I drove the five plus miles to our Plant City Ford dealer and didn’t have to call AAA. Thank you, LORD!

A sign at the Ford dealer said “free inspection”. I explained more than they needed to know about me and Alzheimer’s and why our one car needed to work so that I could pick up extra jobs. I was cordially seated at a desk where I could work. I plugged in my Nook so I could power it up to read my morning devotions  from the reading version of the Daily Audio Bible. I plugged in my notebook computer so I could write this blog. THE SHOT OF JOY WAS COMING!

With my Nook recharged I read the Prayer for April 26 from the NIV Passages Bible
Lord, I ask you to renew my mind. Holy Spirit, please guide me so that I can find wisdom. I pray for the wisdom that can come only from your counsel and through a deep, abiding love for you. Guide my steps so that the kingdom may advance through me. I want to be a person of your Word through prayer and action. Amen.
Then I continued reading from Judges 6:1-40. The Lord has sent the Israelites a prophet to remind them that they have not been following Him. Nonetheless the Lord tells complaining Gideon to go in the strength you have (vs. 14) and I will be with you (vs.16). Gideon starts obeying even taking down the altars of Baal. Nonetheless he needs a fleece; it is wet one night and dry the next night while the ground around is the opposite both nights. Sometimes I need that reassurance of a fleece as well.

Next came my reading from Luke 22:54-23:12. Peter denies the LORD and Jesus is brought before Pilate and then Herod. Interesting verse (23:12) I hadn’t noticed: That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. Even though I have read/listened to the Bible every year for several years now, I had not noticed that interesting verse before.

Meanwhile Service Consultant Kent comes and tells me the problem is that a water pump needs replacing. They are ordering that part which will come in tomorrow morning and will work on the Expedition tomorrow and give me a ride home today.  Kent says something that makes me believe he is a Christian and I hear that he became one in his 30’s, his grandmother having prayed for him for years, never knowing on earth the fruit of her prayers. I lead him in prayer for his mom who is depressed now and write down that I will pray for her once a week. Another shot of joy!

Next I read from Psalm 95 and 96 and Proverbs 14:5,6 in my Nook.

  • Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock off our salvation (Ps. 95:1)
  • Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth (Ps. 96:1).
  • Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy (Ps. 96:12).
A shot of joy for me--what my husband prayed for!  I get a ride home from James at the dealer. Of course I say home James. When I got home DH has forgotten about the car and where I have been but he is happy to see me. I thank him for his prayers this morning.  I can't substitute tomorrow because the car will be in the shop, but somehow I believe that the LORD will provide for our needs iincluding this car repair.

Added the next day (4/27). A day home with hubby and no car. It was so confusing to hubby especially in the afternoon. Lots of questions. What had happened to that car that he loves and now I drive when we go out? I call it the gas guzzler, but he loves being chauffeured around in it--says it is his favorite car ever.  His questions include how did we get home. Hubby even suggested that he should have handled this repair although I realized that his thinking was confused and it would be hard for him to handle.

The dealer called and said that it is the radiator rather than the water pump and they were working to get our car back that very day. They found the part in a warehouse so that it wouldn't be next week. The repair was much less expensive than anticipated and James picked us up about 4:30 and drove us back to Ford to pay for and get the car. All in all it was wonderful working with Kent and his crew. Thank you, LORD, for this shot of joy experience.

After we picked up the car we went to a movie, "Lucky One". This movie was one that my husband could comprehend, we both enjoyed and it had dogs in it! I reflected how simple our life is now, and how confusing for DH if one element, such as a car, is missing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Heart Is Heavy With Prayer Concerns

  • Please pray for Dolores and her husband. He may be entering hospice.
  • Pray for Sue and LaTane who are a widows now due to Alzheimer's taking their husbands.
  • Please pray for Dana and her husband.
  • Please pray for Sally and her husband.
  • Pray for Laurie and her husband.
  • Pray for Kathy Lowrey and her husband.
  • Pray for Joe and Lynn.
  • Pray for Living on Less and her family.
  • Pray for Ruby and her family.
  • Pray for Ann and her husband who is developing Alzheimer's-like symptoms.
  • Of course pray for my husband also and his current obsession, my coping skills and my casting my burdens over to the LORD. He has promised to sustain all of us.
Middle of the night, folks. We are all called to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Give Us This Day Our Daily Fats

Husband Gets Coconut Oil With His Chocolate, Applesauce and Breakfast to Go
Not to paraphrase The LORD's Prayer, with Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, but we do need fats along with bread (wheat if possible). When I joined Weight Watchers in the 1970s, you were not allowed fats. Today in Weight Watchers with their "healthy food guidelines" you must have 2 tsp. of fats per day. I often put in on my thin bagel for breakfast. There is even a book called Eat Fat Lose Fat. I have that book, but don't tell because I have enough books loaned out.

But what kind of fats? Lisa, in her post "The Complete Guide to Fats and Oils--What to Cook With (or not), What to Avoid and Why" here at the Read Food Digest spells it all out. Of course coconut oil takes the prize so to speak. Lydia, in her post "The Benefits of Taking Coconut Oil" here at Why I Have a Coconut Oil Fetish lists these benefits from The Coconut Oil Miracle a book I have loaned out now. The book by Dr. Newport Altzheimer's Disease: What If There Were a Cure? where she explained how coconut oil helps dementia is also loaned out. People in my life can't get enough of oil literature.

The easiest way to get coconut oil (about 2 TBSP. per day) in my husband’s diet is for him to have it melted with chocolate chips--dark chocolate when I can get it. I have written about that elsewhere on this blog and he gets two coconut fudge for breakfast as pictured above and two for lunch.

What is the skinny (or the fat) on coconut oil? Here are some ideas from Lydia again on her coconut oil fetish quoting her post:

• "The body can use coconut oil for energy more rapidly and efficiently than any other fat source. Special fats in coconut (called medium-chain fatty acids, MCFA's) are not normally stored in your body as fat. Instead, they're quickly converted to energy."
• "Small amounts of the MCFA's in coconut oil are used in the complex processes that enable cells to communicate with each other."
• "People in countries where coconut is an important part of the diet has lower rates of heart disease and cancer than Americans."
• "The fats in coconut help fight infections of all kinds."

Lydia also notes from The Coconut Oil Miracle that:

• "Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids."
• "Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
• "Helps protect against osteoporosis."
• "Supports tissue healing and repair."
• "Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay."
• "Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
• "Has no harmful or discomforting side effects." You do have to build up to taking it, however, or you will get diarrhea. Plus it is expensive, so you want to treat it like gold.
• "Is completely non-toxic to humans."

Lydia also adds in her fetish post a list of ideas for getting it. I realized from her list that I can put the tsp. that I measure it with in my coffee to help rinse it. She doesn't deal with Alzheimer's as Dr. Newport does, however. I do remember that Dr. Newport in her inspiring book tells of a day when Steve Newport, her husband with Early Onset Diabetes, was agitated, a common problem for dementia patients. She game him coconut oil and he calmed down. My husband doesn't take any drugs to calm him down.

So, folks, this is why Plant City Lady and Friends also has a coconut oil fetish. Will I use other fats? Yes, we use real butter and olive oil all the time. Sometimes I combine coconut oil, butter and olive oil to sauté foods. Great! You can refer to Lisa's post above for good fats and oils and the ones to avoid.

Saute vegetables in good oil

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Marriage and Alzheimer's

So today we celebrate our twelfth anniversary--quietly. DH's sister sent us a lovely card and we both gave each other cards. In the last week we have seen two movies--3-D Titanic, a movie we watched early in our marriage on a video. We also saw "Mirror, Mirror" which wasn't my husband's favorite, but I thought it was cute. We went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants--not the best choice for my diet--but I did bring home leftovers. Then my husband forgot it was our anniversary several times in the last week including today.

A successful marriage involves for better, for worse, in sickness and in health. I hate the effects on Alzheimer's as we are going into what some call THE NEW NORMAL.

From wife to husband in "War Horses" movie:
I might hate you more. I'll never love you less.
I hate this disease, but I love my husband for his honesty in going through this disease. We are fighting it together.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” ― Minton McLaughlin

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Prayer has been described  as  "going home to God" and as "climbing up near to thee".

When my husband and I go to bed each night we pray, taking turns praying. He prays on odd days such as April 3, 5, 7 and I pray on even days  such as April 2, 4, 6.

I was so tired last night after a busy day. I had gotten up early to go to Weight Watchers by 6:45 (lost 1.4 pounds) and then to teach a Saturday class  to teenagers from 9 to 1. I stopped for groceries before returning home. When I got home, all I wanted to do was rest, but that $45 hair appointment half of an hour away awaited me and I would be charged if I didn't get there. Hubby went with me as he does whenever he can; he wants to protect me, and it also may be the Alzheimer's shadowing. The elegant salon served him a glass of wine while my hair was being cut and styled.

Wanting to make a date of it after the hair appointment we headed to the movie theatre. "Titanic" would be $30 for both of us and we decided to see this on our 12th Anniversary later in the month rather than last night when I told him I might just fall asleep. (This movie hubby owned when we were first married and it is part of his long-term memory and he will enjoy it in 3-D unlike the other new movies that don't impress him.) We headed instead to Macaroni Grill where I totally blew my careful diet. It is so easy to make dieting mistakes when you are tired.

I was tired and disgusted with myself for blowing the diet when we went to bed, but  I loved going home to God and climbing up to God with my husband's delightful prayer last night. Without the specifics because of his short term memory, my husband thanked God for the wonderful life, wonderful day, wonderful family and friends we have and asked Him to give us a good night sleep. I wish I could have recorded this prayer.

Refreshed this Easter morning, I reflect that Christ has gone home and is by the Father's right hand making intercession for us weak caregivers and Alzheimer's patients who want to climb up and be by Him in prayer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vascular Dementia Can Be Avoided

My husband was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's by a neurologist in September of 2010 as I wrote earlier. Recently I asked his primary care physician if it might only be Vascular Dementia and he said that we will only know with an autopsy.

Lifestyle can make a difference in whether someone gets Vascular Dementia or not. Last Friday I went to an Alzheimer's Association workshop in our area. One workshop presenter was a young nurse who when she was only 14 took care of her late Grandmother who had Vascular Dementia. This inspired this young lady to go into nursing and to reflect and research on Vascular Dementia.  She said that blood vessel damage to the brain is what causes this disease. One gets this disease by lifestyle choices that might be avoided. She has been losing weight she said.

Here are the lifestyle issues that she said predict who gets Vascular Dementia.
• History of heart attack, strokes or mini strokes

• Atherosclerosis

• High cholesterol HD and LDL under 100

• High blood pressure

• Type 2 Diabetes

• Smoking
I will have been married to my husband twelve years this month. In 2004 he had a heart attack, heart surgery, and contracted type 2 diabetes. He gave up smoking many years ago. He also has had carotid artery surgery shortly after the heart surgery. Hence he was a candidate for Vascular Dementia.

Many of the above conditions can be avoided with weight loss. I have never smoked, but I have had problems maintaining weight loss and regaining weight. After my husband started going downhill with dementia, he lost weight and I put on weight due to emotional eating. But this has changed recently with my rejoining Weight Watchers. I am determined to have the best possible health in my senior years and to not be one of those 60% of caregivers who die before their loved one with dementia dies. My doctor has been so pleased with my weight loss and the great blood pressure and HD and LDL readings that she wants to see me only twice a year instead of four times a year now.

My diet is certainly going well, but Weight Watchers does emphasize exercise. I am hoping to find time to exercise, but so far the main exercise I can fit into the schedule is yard work. Ugh! Do love to jog, but have been told to only walk now and hubby doesn't feel safe with my walking in our safe neighborhood. When we go to the gym, my husband just watches me. I guess I just have to accept that he will do little exercise there and fit this into my busy schedule of having to do everything, make a living, arrange for taxes, etc. Maybe I can start with a once a week gym visit and spend more time on weeding for exercise.

Some Alzheimer's and dementias will come until we find cures, but the one we do know about can be avoided early on. We certainly do not need to be the couple where both of us have Vascular Dementia.