Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks For Fifteen Again

  1. Hubby is walking again around the house. He willing uses a walker when we go out. When we seniors fall, it can mean broken bones and I am grateful he accepts that walker. 
  2. Chiropractors that helped hubby walk.
  3. Kenny who has come into our lives last spring. Kenny is a remarkable volunteer caregiver who enables me to continue to work. At the beginning of November, despite his own surgery, Kenny has continued to be there for us, and has even brought his mom into the picture. We are so grateful for these neighbors.
  4. Wayne and now Pharis who have taken up the challenge of our 7/10 of an acre. Hubby doesn't think a wife should mow the lawn, and the front and back yards were the place where in my blogging through the book The House That Cleans Itself  I have been hung up. 
  5. Professionals such as Carole Larkin and Dr. Mary Newport. 
  6. Support from The Alzheimer's Association.
  7. Our friends Sally and Jake (not their real names).
  8. The Plant City Senior Center where Jake and hubby go one day a week. 
  9. Bloggers who regularly comment on this blog and who provide fun and inspiration for me when I read their blogs. I would name you all, but I might forget someone. 
  10. Students I substitute for who provide such hope for the future and who have encouraging my becoming MC AC The Rap Lady. 
  11. My niece and nephew who started my YouTube rapping channel.
  12. Progress on my seminary counseling dissertation on caregiving even as I battle caregiving issues myself and people who provide feedback for that dissertation. 
  13. Having out-of-town guests for Thanksgiving.
  14. Having a great dog, Ziggy, that is a wonderful companion for my husband and me.
  15. My faith that sustains. For example, I am so grateful for the LORD's sustaining us through hospital trips for me in 2012 and for hubby in 2013.

Last year I posted 15 I am thankful for HERE  and I continue to be grateful for items on that list.

Also last year I posted 15 things a caregiver can do 
to be joyful HERE 
and it has received over 750 views. 
That's a lot on JOY this lowly blog 
has spread around!

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Demented Humor

Bob: Why do you have an enema in your ear?
Other senior: Oh that's where my hearing aid went! 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Me on November 11 as hubby goes to the bathroom: So glad you are not using your urinal now so I don't have to empty it. [I have been emptying his urinal which he also calls his "pee jar" since August 27 when it has been hard for him to walk.]

DH: Oh, I haven't been using one since two years ago.

Is that right! I say to myself. Two years! No sense of time here! 

Now I have my aging issues also--mainly my hearing. Also as a senior I need to often use the restroom in the middle of the night to pee and this is one reason I am glad we no longer camp in a popup camper which didn't have a bathroom. I hated those middle of the night trips to the camp bathroom. When I sleep really soundly, I often pee on my way to the bathroom when I finally get up in the middle of the night. When I am wise instead of sleepy, I get up right away and no problem. 

But not always. Hubby laughed at me in the middle of the night when I told him about why I needed to change my PJs. Getting old ain't fun, I said and he laughed.  I think my self-depreciation makes him feel comfortable with his limitations. 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Get two guys with Alzheimer's together and there might at long last be an argument after three years of knowing each other. It was bound to happen. Both men are capable of asking the same question over and over again and Sally and I just act like it was the first time it was asked. 

One day Sally was going to pick up Jake at our home. Jake wanted to know when his wife was coming and kept repeatedly asking every minute or so. Hubby got mad. 

DH: Stop your [expletive deleted] asking the same question over and over. 

Jake: Stop you swearing or I will beat you up and never step inside your house again! He was very angry at his buddy of three years. 

Jake went out to the front yard. I went out there to see that in his anger at my husband he didn't walk away and wander. I took the hose and started watering the beautiful plants that Pharis had planted. Soon Sally came to get her angry husband. 

Both husbands forgot about the incident the next day. AD patients do not hold grudges! 

Alzheimer's and other dementias are not funny, but you just have to laugh sometimes. 

* First Demented Humor post was HERE. Pictures from Facebook I think, but can't remember!!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Normal in Caregiving Is Hard

This link Seven Stages from The Alzheimer's Reading Room describes the "new normal" stage that my husband is slinking into--perhaps stage five of seven. Every care receiver is different. My husband is no exception. He is different from other sufferers, but like them is trying to feel normal even as he:
  • Struggles to express himself with the correct words. I have to
    stop my busy pace and concentrate on what he may be trying to say. 
  • Wants to say "no" instead of "yes". I am so glad for the good routines established that keep things as "normal" as they can be. Taking morning pills with Kenny is a routine that works. Taking evening pills with me at 8 pm is a routine that works. Waking hubby up at 4 am for a pain pill works, in that I put it in his mouth and he slightly raises his head to swallow water and then goes back to sleep. 
  • Has diminished taste buds and interest in food. Consequently I try to find what food will work for him. Fortunately I can give him coconut oil with that dark chocolate. 
  • Has less knowledge of time.
  • Lights up when I come home.
In contrast I, the caregiver/lovegiver for my husband:
  • Struggle to say the right words to my husband without appearing to nag, without giving too much information in what I say. It is quite a discipline to say one thought at a time. 
  • Have to say "yes" to more responsibility and yet am simplifying and saying "no" to perfectionism and expectations.
  • Have more knowledge of time, trying to multitask, and yet fearing caregiver burnout.
  • Light up when I see him, yet do not feel "at home" at our home. Frankly, when I am teaching I feel more normal--I work for respite perhaps and also income. 
My new normal includes writing a dissertation in my "spare" time which often is while substitute teaching in good classes or early in the morning while hubby is sleeping. Currently I am writing the chapter on stress and depression and fighting both stress and depression personally. Time to book an appointment with the counselor. Time for prayer and meditating on God's Word. 

Graphics from Pinterest. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Hallucinations of an Alzheimer's Patient

DH: I am living among idiots.
Me: Am I an idiot?
DH: No.
Me: Who are the idiots?
DH: Oh, they pop up. 
Me: Sweetheart, you have two disabilities now. You have Alzheimer's and you have trouble walking. 

The walking is getting better, but the hallucinations--those idiots--are popping up. 

I am trying to not be one of those idiots. I am trying to act calm like The 36-Hour Caregiver suggests.

DH: You are acting screwy.
Me: What am I doing? 
Hubby has no specifics on those idiots and what I am doing. 

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind 
don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  Dr. Seuss

BUT HE DOES MATTER, Dr. Seuss! Meanwhile, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be myself at home. I am so fortunate that I can get away. 

So, are the above hallucinations, delusions or delirium?

According to The 36-Hour Day, hallucinations are hearing, seeing, feeling and smelling things that aren’t there. Drugs can cause hallucinations and so can dementia. I wonder if the new pain pill causes it. The caregiver just has to act calmly about a hallucination. 

“Delusions are untrue ideas unshakably held by one person.” (p. 161 of The 36-Hour Day) The delusion that my husband and Jake have is that they flew in an airplane together and went on a canoe ride together. These delusions make them happy I guess--male bonding. Sally and I do not argue with our husbands about their delusions. 

Delirium, on the other hand, is dangerous and needs immediate medical treatment I read in that book. 
One important distinguishing feature between dementia and delirium is that delirium usually begins suddenly while dementia develops gradually over months or years. Other symptoms of delirium may include misinterpretation of reality, false ideas, or hallucinations; incoherent speech; sleepiness in the daytime or wakefulness at night; and increased or decreased physical (motor) activity. Symptoms of delirium tend to vary through the day. (p. 289 of The 36-Hour Day)
Bob DeMarco reported HERE what Dr. Malaz Boustani said: 
Having delirium prolongs the length of a hospital stay, increases the risk of post-hospitalization transfer to a nursing home, doubles the risk of death, and may lead to permanent brain damage. 

Delirium can accompany a UTI infection, so it is so important to get treatment for the UTI immediately as we have done.  I bought extra UTI strips from Walgreens so I can check. 

Meanwhile, just stay calm about the hallucinations and delusions, unless it is delirium

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Added Nov. 11. I found from THIS NEWSLETTER written by Marie Boltz that these are common causes of delirium:
Reaction to Medication(s)- Fecal impaction- Urinary retention-Infection (urine, lungs, skin)-Hypoxia (not enough oxygen getting to tissues as in congestive heart failure)- Dehydration-Low blood sugar/high blood sugar-Pain-Immobility or hearing and vision loss.

Joe and Brandon enjoyed my raps
My husband has gotten constipated recently (“fecal impaction”) above and so I went to GNC and got their Ulta 50 Probiotic Complex for my husband so he won’t get the dreaded delirium. Brandon and Joe enjoyed my raps as it was a slow day for them today, Veterans’ Day. 

Hey, guys, check out my raps on YouTube and click on the label "Carol's raps" at the right of this blog. 

Kudos for Outstanding Help

Kenny and nurse
Thursday night hubby and I 
visited Kenny in the hospital. 
DH used his walker and then 
inside the hospital the staff 
provided a wheel chair to 
Kenny's room and then back 
to our car. 

Incredibly when Kenny got out of the hospital Friday morning, Kenny came over to fix hubby's lunch. Today, Saturday, Kenny remembered that the First Baptist volunteer group, "Second Saturday", were coming this morning to install five grab bars for our two bathrooms. You may remember earlier HERE that Lowes and Home Depot would not send anyone out and we were trying Safe-er Grip, Balance Assist and, frankly, that wasn't working since hubby kept having problems walking and grips with suction cups would come off the tile. 

Where was I this morning? I was teaching a class for first-time drivers and I could not get out of teaching it. So dependable Kenny, in pain after his gall bladder surgery, came over this morning to help the volunteers know where to install the Moen Home Care Grab Bars
The previous seat HERE hubby rejected--he wasn't used to the Moen Home Care Locking Elevated Toilet Seat With Support Handles. Now there are two small grab bars in one bathroom above and three in the bath where hubby showers and shaves.

A grab bar at the right ushers DH into the bathroom. A slanted one helps him get up from the toilet and into the shower. A grab bar on the wall in the shower has his wash cloths. 

Could I get him to shower today? No. He is exhibiting strange behavior now. Perhaps Kenny will be well enough to help him shower and shave tomorrow before church. Kenny you may recall has him sit on the toilet seat while he is shaved and then skillfully moves him into the shower.

Meanwhile I am writing a post on hallucinations, delusions and delirium and watching hubby go downhill, sadly. I am also working on my dissertation on being dementia caregiver. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cures for Dementia?

Picture from Find Home Remedy link noted
Are you kidding? 

Find Home Remedy - The World's Largest Home Health Remedy Blog keeps spitting out cures.  Several a day. Dementia cures are written by Reubenna--do not know who this person is, but click on her name and she has written other cures as well for this site. With all the ads on this site Reubenna might be an ad writer. Who are you, Reubenna? 

Expert Reubenna writes: Although proper medication along with therapy is the way to cure this, there are certain natural ways with the help of which dementia can be tackled. 

Reubenna, what would that proper medication be? What would that therapy be?

Reubenna lists these eleven home remedies:
  1. Give them warmth
  2. Familiar environment
  3. Healthy diet
  4. Antioxidants
  5. Vitamin E
  6. Omega 3
  7. Ginkgo
  8. Salvia
  9. Aromatherapy
  10. Pet therapy
  11. Message 
I can say that coconut oil and turmeric does help. My husband gets both, but he is still going downhill maybe because of his Vascular Dementia which could have been avoided. He also has Alzheimer's which I do not think has a cure once one has it. But coconut oil helps his brain fog and turmeric reduces brain swelling. The Byrd Institute in Tampa, where my husband was diagnosed with mixed dementia, is currently conducting research on coconut oil. 

Can we predict dementia early? Peanut butter can help. Google that. Also check out this infographic HERE for what might predict Alzheimer's. It says at the top of thin infographic that it is in partnership with the Alzheimer's Association. 

I pinned the Reubenna's dementia cure post on my scam board on Pinterest and am going to try to put this post as a comment for Reubenna to read. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blogging and Prayers

  1. (In)Courage blog put out prayer requests. I prayed for someone and typed the prayer, and then added my own prayer request. Below you see my prayer request and how leanney prayed for me. 
  2. Also, please pray for my journey as a caregiver for my husband who has dementia and walking difficulties. The walking is improving, but he is going into a hallucination stage now and I need wisdom for how to handle this. Will be blogging about this. Also pray for my counseling dissertation on being a caregiver–a situation I am living out. Pray that I accept the road ahead, bear the burden than He has given me with His strength.
  3. 28
    Dear Heavenly Father,
    I pray that you will bring daily courage to Carol. Losing a loved one to dementia is a heartbreaking experience. I pray that you fill her heart with love and peace and she so unselfishly loves and provides for her husband.
  4. So, how can I pray for you? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Rain

There is a beautiful song on Alzheimer's at and it is also on YouTube at

Hubby was stubborn this morning. Kenny came for pill, shaving and showering and hubby would have none of it. However, as Kenny reminded me, it is raining outside. By midday, Kenny came back and the pills, shave and shower were accomplished. Kenny added a grocery bag with a hole at the bottom attached with a rubber band so that the shower water could warm up while hubby was sitting in the shower. Then when the water was a warm temperature, the bag was removed.

From a Pinterest board
We do know that Alzheimer's patients are afraid of water.  I am reminded that with the change of time and seasons, sundowning behaviors happen.