Serendopeity

The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

Tag Archives: Alzheimers

WOW!!!! Thank you everyone. (and an update).

Serendopeity has had more than 5000 hits since starting last year.  Thank you one and all who have been faithfully hanging with me.

I know that there are periods of time when I am very quiet – it gets tiring day after day making sure mom and dad are safe.  It is getting more difficult by the day if the truth be known.

Although physically healthy mom’s mind seems to be fading, however, not nearly as quickly as dads is.  For whatever reason he is beginning to hallucinate and refuses to sleep at night.  Instead he naps all day – I cannot for the life of me figure out how to reverse this process.  If we wake him during the day he gets all pissy with whoever it is that wakes him and when I try to explain to him at night that I cannot go to sleep until he does, he apologizes, tells me he is going to sleep and then proceeds to stay up.  It is few nights when I manage more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I do manage to catch up a little on weekends when Craig makes sure that I get to sleep in.

Alzheimer’s is a most horrible disease. It robs you not only of your memories but also your dignity.  I can only hope to hell that the gene if there is one, stops here and that neither of my brothers or myself are afflicted with it.  Having EC has nothing on Alzheimer’s that’s for damn sure.

In other news, I haven’t heard back yet from anyone in Afghanistan on whether the packages have arrived.  However, I did get an explanation on why it could be taking so long.  The packages I send are addressed to Camp Mirage.  For those who don’t know, Camp Mirage is a top-secret location of a Canadian Military Camp in Afghanistan.  So, the packages I send go from the base in Trenton, to Kandahar and then are forwarded to Mirage, wherever it may be…that could add quite a bit more delivery time to the original 3 weeks I was told.  So at least I feel a little better about knowing if the packages have arrived.  It would be nice to know that they at least got there.  I also heard through that “amazing” grapevine that some contraband got through (not in my packages).  That being the case, it is also possible that the packages are being held up longer so that they may be inspected – inspectors are going to be a little disappointed to find mainly junk food in the one I send.  I did manage to find a supply of silly string so at least that got send in the second round.

Bottomline, somethingfromhome is going slower than I would like – the corner of the dining room is piling up with items to send.  I have never had an overabundance of patience and sometimes, well, it shows LOL.

Spring is on its way and with it comes mud…I hate mud and refuse to wash the floor until it is all gone.  The dogs track it in so we have paw prints all over the floor LOL…it doesn’t make sense to wash it 10 times a day.  Not only that, I don’t have the energy for that kind of work.  Getting 4 loads of laundry done a day on top of everything else taxes me pretty much. 

The real estate guys were here last week.  It looks like the owner is putting the property up for sale.  Not that I blame him, but, I really don’t want to move again.  The price has been low-balled but even so I don’t know how long it will take to find a buyer.  The house needs loads of work, the store needs work and the duplex – well that In reality though who wants to spend all that money and then tear it down.  I wouldn’t – but maybe that’s just me.

Thats about it for now – again, thanks for sticking by me.  I do appreciate it.  5107 hits is not even close to some other blogs, but it is a milestone for me and one I am proud of.  I never thought that my blog would get 100 hits let alone over 5000.  Keep it up and one day, just maybe, Serendopeity will the fastest growing blog on WordPress.

Have a good one

Nancy

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OK so I am back!!!!!

It’s been a while and I do apologize for that.  Life has been busy to say the least but it always feels like the more I do the less I get done!!  LOL

I haven’t been around for what seems like forever.  I noticed that my last real post was in the fall and it is now almost half way through winter – if you can call the weather we are having winter. It certainly isn’t summer but it really isn’t winter either.  We have little to no snow – not that I mind that little perk but I have a feeling that sooner or later we will pay dearly for that.  I can see it now – snow in June or July LOLOLOL.   I would imagine that it wouldn’t be the first time nor the last.  And who or what is to blame – global warming, the Russians playing with satellites???  Who knows??  Not me, that’s for damn sure!!!

Mom and dad are getting progressively worse as times goes on.  I think I was spoiled by the fact that mom did so well for the last couple of years even though she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001.  Dad was diagnosed in 2007 and seems to be catching up to mom’s level of progression at a phenomenal rate.  Although he is on the same meds as she was at this point in her path, they don’t seem to be working as well for him as her.  That could also be due to his physical ailments contrasted by mom’s awesome physical health.

Recently dad suffered a gall bladder attack.  This was the second one since the summer which saw us rushing to emerg in an ambulance and him spending a couple of nights in the hospital.  The biggest problem this time was that the unit they put him in was in lock down due to the Norwalk Virus.  It was tough not being able to go and see him, and he had a difficult time comprehending why I wasn’t allowed into the hospital.  Lucky enough the on call Dr. realized that he really didn’t need to be in the hospital and sent him home after only 2 days, not like the last time where the Dr was never there to talk to and dad was kept in the hospital for almost a week.

He has to go for an ultrasound next week and then the following week we see his family Dr. about what to do about his gall bladder.  It is a catch-22.  Any type of anesthetic could hasten the progress of his dementia while leaving the gall bladder and stones in place can cause major agony at any given point in time.  We will have to wait and see what the Dr. has to say after seeing the ultrasound.

Mom’s mental health continues to deteriorate at a more rapid rate than before.  She is finding it difficult to find words when she wants to speak so many things become a “doodad”.  We try to ask her what she is trying to say, but for the most part, the right words just won’t come out.  It is truly sad to see – she was doing so incredibly well for so long.  She still has a great appetite, as usual though – not much gets by her at the dinner table thats for sure LOL.

Sue is my life saver and constant companion. She is here Tuesday – Friday helping me with both mom and dad.  I really couldn’t do this without her.   I rely on her to help keep me sane – well as sane as I can be. LOL.

We took mom and dad to Lake George for a 4 day weekend back in October.  The trees were all out in colour and we had a pretty good time considering.  We went on the same Boat Cruise that I take with Sue and Rick during Bike Week and we also took a Train ride up the Hudson River.  We didn’t do as much with mom and dad that we usually do in Lake George – even the shopping was toned down quite a bit.  The good thing was that Wal-Mart in the US has wheel chairs available for use in the store – we’d let mom push dad around while we shopped. It worked out pretty well – the trunk was full coming home so I guess we got what we both wanted and did not need LOL.

The Christmas season came and went pretty quickly.  We had 2 Christmas’s this year; the first with Craig’s daughter Desiree a couple fo days prior to the 25th and then the regular one on the 25th.  After opening presents here at home we headed out to Sue and Rick’s for dinner.  A great time was had by all and by the 26th I was glad it was over. It is very tiring LOL.

I was going to have a surprise party for Sue’s birthday Dec 27 but we she wasn’t feeling the best and I woke up that monring not feeling great so we cancelled it.  I learned a lesson – never plan a party for the day after or the day after the day after at Christmas.  By the 27th it is time to sit and relax not entertain LOL.

I received the last of my Christmas gifts last weekend.  Aside from my life saving surgery 5 years ago this years gift was the best I have ever received.

Craig managed to get tickets to Jann Arden at Massey Hall in Toronto and send Sue and I off for the night.  We stayed downtown, caught the show and got to sleep in the next morning before heading home.  The show was amazing.  Jann Arden is truly someone to watch on stage.  Singer, story teller, funny – she has it all.  She had been in Kingston the week before and I told Craig when we got home that if she had been in Kingston after the Toronto show that I would have gone again and again.  I hadn’t been to a concert in ages but I am glad that I went to this one. It was really nice to take a night off and not have to worry about mom and dad at home.  I think I might start taking a weekend off once in a while – it does seem to help.

That’s enough for now – I am tired and 7 am comes early.  Wednesdays are Day Program days for mom and dad so I get some time to do the household stuff that gets put on hold for the rest of the week.

It’s nice to be back – thanks for sticking it out with me.

Enjoy the pics!!

Nancy

Wasting away again in Margaritaville…

I wish I actually had time to waste away doing nothing.  It seems the more I try to streamline my life the busier it gets.

I spent all after noon “polishing up” my resume and writing a dynamite cover letter for a position I am applying for with the Alzheimer Society.  The cover letter is a killer, if I do say so my self but it had to be – I lack the specific post-secondary education they are asking for.  Somehow Police Sciences is not the same as Media Sciences.  The only thing they have in common is the “Sciences” part although I did have to take a course on Media Relations when I took Police Sciences.

The position I am applying for is one of a Fund Raiser.  As someone who cares for two Alzheimer patients on a 24/7 basis I am well aware of the need for funding that this agency and others like it require to offer the services that it does to the people who need it the most.

The job is part time only, 22 hours a week.  In addition to me being perfect for the job, the job is perfect for me.  Recently we were approved for 24 hours of respite care a week. This means that I can hire someone for up to 24 hours a week at $10/hour to look after mom and dad while I am at work and it will be paid for.  Anything above that will be our own responsibility but that is ok.  I can’t see us needing anymore than 5 or 6 hours on top of the 24.

I am really excited about this job.  I know I can do this.  I am no stranger to fund raising – hey, I used to sell the most Girl Guide cookies in my group. Fund raising for cash is the same just a little different.  The principles are the same the outcome the same just different.  (If you understand what I just said,  you too can be a fund raiser…)

Anyhow, wish me luck.  I am dropping off the resume on Tuesday, tomorrow is a holiday here and they will not be open.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

Nancy

Conversations with my Mother.

Me:  Good Morning Mom. How are you today?

Mom:  Just peachy.  What’s for breakfast?

Me:  What would you like?  Toast, crumpets, cereal.  Name it, we probably have it.

Mom:  Oh yes, that sounds good.

~~~~~~~

 

Me:  Hey mom, where’s your glasses?

Mom:  Right where I left them, where I always leave them. I’ll go get them.

(5 minutes later)

Me:  Did you find your glasses?

Mom:  No.  I don’t believe this place. 

Me:  Those darn dogs have been at it again have they?  I will have to talk to them.  They are always putting your stuff away where we can’t find it.

Mom:  Don’t be stupid.  The dogs can’t reach the dresser drawer, even I know that.  Someone must have took them in the night.

Me:  Oh ya, that’s it.  Someone came into the house last night while we were all asleep and out of all the stuff in here, some of it worth a lot of money, the only thing that was taken was your glasses.

Mom: What’s for breakfast this morning?  I am famished.

~~~~~~

Mom:  Is there any coffee left? 

Me:  Yep, its in the coffee machine in the kitchen.

Mom:  Finish your breakfast, I’ll get some.

Me:  Do you remember how to use the coffee machine?  (note – The coffee machine we have has no pot.  It’s a Brew Station whereby you press the mug against the bar and the coffee comes out.)

Mom:  Do you think I am stupid?  Of course I know how to use the coffee machine.  I wasn’t born yesterday.

(Mom goes into kitchen – returns emptyhanded).

Me: Would you like me to get you a cup of coffee?

Mom:   No, I couldn’t eat or drink another thing, I’m full.  I think I will have one of those things.

Me:  What things mom?  Can I get you something?

Mom:  I said I would have one of those.

Me: One of what?

Mom: You know, one of those doodad things.

Me:  Let me get you a coffee Mom.

Mom: Thank you, that would be great.  I never pass up a cup of coffee.

~~~~~

Mom:  The dogs are on the bed.

Me:  And…

Mom:  I am just telling you.  I just made the bed and they jumped up. That little guy sure can jump high.  The big brown one must be getting old.  How long have you had him?

Me: 6 years  in September.

Mom: I thought he was older than that.

Me:  He is 7, I got him when he was a year and a half old.

Mom: I remember when he was just a pup and would jump up on my lap.

Me: (laughing) He was a little bit bigger than a pup when I got him mom.  He already weighed 75 pounds.

Mom:  Well you should stop feeding him.  He is getting too big and I don’t think a puppy should be that big.  What does the doctor say?

Me:  The vet says that you shouldn’t give him part of your breakfast every morning.

Mom:  I don’t.

Me:  Well mom, yes you do.

Mom:  Well someone has to feed him.  He is always hungry.  You should give him more of his food and then I wouldn’t have to give him mine.

Me:  Ya mom, you are right.  I will get on that right away.

~~~~~

Mom:  So whats on the agenda for today?

Me:  You have your ladies group at 1:00 and while you are there dad and I are going to go to Sue’s for a coffee.

Mom:  Have I ever been there before?

Me:  Sue’s house or your group?

Mom: Both.

Me:  Yes you have. You have been to both on several ocassions.  We used to go to Sue’s every Thursday after lunch to play BINGO.

Mom:  I play BINGO?  I don’t think so.  I haven’t played BINGO in ages.  Are you sure it was me that was there?

Me:  Actually mom, you are right. It wasn’t you.  It was your evil twin sister.

Mom:  My sister?  I don’t think so.  I don’t have a sister so it must have been someone else who went with you.

Me:  Ya mom, it must have been.

Mom:  I like it when we play BINGO.  I always manage to win at least one game.

~~~~~

Good news…

Now that Craig has returned to work full time I am back to being a caregiver for the most part.  My job in itself does not bother me, it’s just that I am so damn tired all the time that bothers me.  But there is good news on the horizon.

We (mom and dad and I) have been approved for 24 hours a week of respite for me and essentially them too.  What this means is that I can have someone come in to our home for up to 24 hours a week.  This is great news because I am hopeful that I will be able to return to work part-time and finally feel like a productive member of society.  Not that looking after mom and dad is not productive.  Au contraire – the longer I can keep them at home the better off they are. (Although there are some that think that them not living here but rather somewhere  else (read institution) would be a better quality of life for them than I offer here. But I am sure that has nothing to do with Ron and Carol’s well being but rather someone’s financial future).  OOOOps did I say that out loud, my bad!!!!!  However, until the time comes when I am unable to care for them any longer and it would not be in their best interests to stay home, they are here for the long haul.   Don’t misunderstand, I totally know that there will come a day when I can no longer care for either of them here and I do not look forward to that day at all.  But for the time being, even when we have our bad days, we are fine.

We try to keep busy – day programs, seniors groups, BINGO, bowling and tomorrow we are off to the beach with my Aunt and her 4 grandaughters for a day of picnicing and fun.  I am not sure how cold the water will be – but that matters not anyway.  The girls went in the water at the lake the other day, much to the “adults” chagrin.  Don’t they get it LOL.  The water could have ice on it and the “kids” would still go in!  That’s just how it is.  We will also be joined by Craigs’s daughter Desire.  She is a lovely young lady – in addition to be highly intelligent she is also very cute – so it might be tough keeping the boys away at the beach.  Between the 5 girls – oh my LOLOLOL.

That’s ok, dad will be there to protect them.

Somewhere in all of this I was trying to make a point. Oh yea, so insomuch as we all suffer from some affliction – Alzheimer’s, side effects from cancer, arthritis and a host of other age related stuff, we are still able to go out for a day and enjoy ourselves. 

This is what living is all about.  Having fun, spending time with people we love.  How can that be bad? 

Have a great day

Nancy

I am not ignoring you!!!

I know, I know, I have been pretty lax in posting the last couple of days but I really do have a good excuse.

My plane was delayed two hours on Sunday coming home from Minneapolis.  We didn’t get back here to Brighton until almost midnight and by that time I was just a little tired!  Pretty well went straight to bed and then had to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 to get Craig to his new job for 7:00.

Mom, dad and I then stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast.  On the way home Dad all of a sudden got an excruiating pain in his stomach.  We got back to the house ans it hadn’t subsided so I called 911.  The pain was now radiating up into his chest.  The Fire Dept showed up pretty quick, the Paramedics not far behind.  They hooked dad up to an ECG machine – everything was normal, all vitals were good but recommended that we go to the hospital anyway.  They took him in the ambulance, mom and I followed a little bit later.

At the ER dad was tended to by Dr. John Bonn.  I love Dr. Bonn, he was the first Dr. I saw when I got sick back in 2004.  It was because of him that I was referred to Dr. McIlreath – the rest of the story is history!  I really wish that Dr. Bonn would go into private practise – I would be the first person in line to become a patient.  Dr. Bonn reported to Mom and I that it was not Dad’s heart – that was the good news.  Unfortunately there was some abnormal acitivity with his liver and pancreas.  This would require dad being admitted to the hospital and as Dr. Bonn explained dad would need a CAT scan. He also warned that the abnormal activity that was showing was usually caused by some kind of malignancy…

I handled this a lot better than I thought I would, at least on the outside.   I remained calm and optimitic to the outside world.  However on the inside I was panicking.  Pancreatic cancer is the most deadliest form of cancer there is, followed by Esophageal Cancer.  So what are the odds of two people in the same immediate family having both types of cancer?  I don’t know the answer to that question and hopefully I will never have to find out.

Dad was admitted to the hospital and on Tuesday morning had a CAT scan.  We had not talked to the Dr. in charge of his case – so at that point we knew nothing!  Wednesday was  holiday here – Canada Day – and I was assured by the nurses that the Dr. would indeed be into the hospital to see patients.  So I was at the hospital bright and early – 8:00 am to talk to him.  At 2:00 pm I left, I had still not talked to the Dr.  After waiting all that time I told the nurses that I knew the minute I left he would show up and guess what ?? He did LOL.  One of the nurses tried to catch me in the parking lot but I had already left.

The nurses in the Outpatient Unit where dad was  were great.  One Tuesday while mom and I were there I went to talk to them to try and find out what was going on.  Dad was no longer on any IV, he had his CAT scan and unless there was something horribly wrong with him then I couldn’t understand why they were keeping him. He wanted to go home – he hates being alone and was in a room all by himself and I couldn’t see why he wouldn’t have been sent home already.  The nurses that I spoke with agreed and said that if I was willing to take him home, they saw no reason why he was being kept in either.  The unit that dad was in is also the unit where patients who are waiting to be taken to nursing homes or hospice facilities are placed until they can be sent to a different facility.  Dad did not fall into this category but it was the only unit where there was an available bed.  The nurses were actually quite thrilled that I wanted to take him home.  They said they would put a note on his file so the Dr. would see it in the morning.

To make a long story short – I got home from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon and there was a message the Dr. had ordered dad discharged – so off I went and brought him home.  In the meantime, while talking to one of the nurses, she pulled the report from Dad’s CAT scan up on the screen and read it.  I asked her point blank what it said.  She replied that she wasn’t supposed to tell me (I knew that) but…dad had gallstones. The cancer scare was gone – at least for the time being.  I am all too aware of how things can change in an instant.  But for now we can breathe a sigh of relief .

We went to see the Canada Day fireworks that night in Trenton  and they were awesome.  I love fireworks.  I can remember as a child the displays that my dad and grandfather set off every year for May 24th and Labour Day.  Dad had been talking about the fireworks and going to see them since we saw them last year. I was so glad to be able to get him home and then to see the fireworks on Wednesday night.  He seemed fine, no worse for wear, and had been eating normally with no problem.  That was until tonight.

I fell asleep in the chair after dinner and was awakened by Craig in a panic mode.  Dad was in pain once again, this time convinced he was going to die.  He was clamy and sweaty,  felt like he was going to be sick and in incredible pain.  Craig and I got him to the car and I took off for the hospital again surprising myself at how calm I was but knowing that it is gallstones that are causing the problem makes it a little easier than thinking dad has cancer.

We got to the ER and saw the Triage Nurse.  I explained that he had been discharged Wednesday afternoon and that I knew that the CAT scan showed gallstones.  Trenton Memorial Hospital is a very small hospital.  The ER this Friday night was swamped.  There were patients there that had been waiting for 8 hours to see a Dr.  We waited 3 1/2 and still had not been in to see a Dr. so I talked to the triage nurse and decided to bring dad home.  If he has another attack I am to return him to the hospital. The nurse told me that in all likelihood the only thing that would be done for dad was a presciption for a painkiller/relaxant that I could administer at home.  That’s all well and good except there would not have been a pharmacy to get the script filled at anyway so it was kind of redundant to stay.  If it happens again tomorrow I will take him back to the ER and hope that it is not as busy as it was tonight. I am hoping that we do not have to make another trip to the ER and can wait until Thursday when we go to see Dad’s family doctor and can get a script then and hopefully some direction on what happens next. 

The worst part of all of this is that with Alzheimer’s lurking in the background Dad gets very confused and very scared.  Rightly so, I get scared too and I am not the one in pain.  I can see it on his face when the attacks happen.  I know that kind of pain and I am fully cognizant and aware of everything going on around me.  I cannot even begin to imagine how frightening it would be to be 77 years old, in that kind of pain and not understand what is going on.  I just hope we can get over this hump and on to the next one LOL – and there will be an next one, I am sure of that!

So, that’s my story and I am sticking to it!  I have not been ignoring my blog, nor you, my most awesome reader’s.  Honest!  And I am hopeful that I can get back to some sense of normalacy and tell you all about my trip to Minneapolis in the next couple of days. It was truly a weekend to remember!

If you are an American friend – I wish you a very Happy July 4th weekend.  Be safe – enjoy your holiday.

Nancy

Sidebar – Too funny to skip!

Tonight I was going to write about Day 4 and the girl in the fishnet stockings but I am going to delay that post for a day.  Something hilarious happened today and since we can all use a laugh once in a while I am going to tell the story.

I haven’t written about BINGO and Bowling lately  because there really hasn’t been anything earth shattering  funny to talk about but that changed today.

We went bowling today – The Senior Bowling Brigade, Sue, Craig and I.  We haven’t been for a while and it was time to get out and do something, and the bowling alley is air conditioned. A good place to spend an afternoon on a muggy, overcast, rainy day.

Everything was going great – we had 2 teams.  Ivy, Grace and Mom were one team.  Craig, Dad and I were the second team.  Sue didn’t feel like bowling so she was our  cheerleader today!

Our first game went by uneventfully.  However, in the second game on one of Ivy’s turns to bowl, she gets up, throws the ball and knocks over two pins.  We tell her she has another turn.  She turns around and starts walking toward the pins.  At that exact moment in time I was about to hurl the ball in my lane and I had to stop.  Ivy was on her way down the lane to knock over the pins LOL.  I started to laugh, turned around and looked at Sue who was also starting to laugh hysterically.  That got me going too – I could barely bowl.  She managed to get Ivy back and to pick up another ball but it was too late.  I was laughing, Craig was laughing and Sue had tears rolling down her face.

But that wasn’t the kicker…

When you walk into the bowling alley you have to take off your shoes.  There is a long carpet runner at the front door where everyone leaves their shoes.  We were not the only ones in the alley today – there was a group of 5 other women who had come in just after us.  We were leavingathe bowling alley and mom was complaining that her shoes weren’t fitting properly.  I told her that I would fix them when we sat down for a coffee next door.  We get our coffees and are sitting at the table – mom cannot get her shoes on.  Well she has one on, but the right foot refuses to go into the show.  We are all telling her that it is because she has sweat socks on in the middle of summer and she should be wearing lighter socks.  Finally out of exasperation more than aanything I tell her to take the shoes off and put mine on.  I will wear hers home.  We switch shoes and I notice there are some pretty snazzy insoles in the shoes but as fast as I noticed it the thought was gone.

After coffee we went home, mom wearing my shoes and I hers.  As I am getting out of the car I look down and realize that these are not mom’s shoes. They do look similar to moms but they are not hers!!!  No wonder they didn’t fit her.  I put my own shoes on and went rushing back to the bowling alley.  As soon as I walked in the owner Gary says, Oh you got my message…Nope I hadn’t been home yet but I knew what he was calling about.   LOL.  Suffice to say that the remainder of my afternoon was spent tracking down the rightful owner of said shoes and delivering them to her door. 

Later tonight at dinner Craig told me that he was glad he had been with us today because if he had not been and I had told him the story about the afternoon it still would have been funny but not nearly as much as seeing it for himself.  The minute that we started talking about it both of us were in stitches.

Now, you may think we are cruel to be laughing at something that is clearly no fault of Ivy’s nor Mom’s.  However, I have to say that when you live with and are a caregiver to anyone with any form of dementia you tend to see things in a different light and in this case we are dealing with Alzhiemer’s Disease.  Mom, Dad and Ivy have all been diagnosed with the disease and sometimes you just have to laugh.  In my case if I didn’t I would spend too much time crying and to be honest – life is too short for that.  So, yes, we do tend to turn some “events” into more than they probably should be but, at the same time, it helps keep us sane in an otherwise insane situation.  We are not laughing at the person per se, we are laughing at the situation. 

My mother does some pretty strange things that I find to be very amusing.  For instance, although she has a closet full of beautiful clothes she prefers to wear my fathers clothing.  The t-shirts are not too bad however, when she is determined to wear his pants some funny things usually occur.  Like, them falling down in the grocery store!!!!  Yes, I know, not funny at the time but relating the story later to Sue had us both in tears. 

Sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine!!!

 I attend seminars conducted by the Alzhiemers Society on coping with and living with people who have dementia.  Through these seminars I have not only met some really awesome people but I have also  learned how to try and cope on a day to day basis with all the “quirks” of my loved ones.  And somedays it is not easy, but I have learned one very important thing.  If no one is getting hurt then it is not a big deal. And I try my damnedest to remember that.  I don’t always score an “A” on that front but I do try and that is the main thing.

Sorry if you were counting on reading about the girl with fishnets (LOL Steve) but I thought we all needed a break from my vacation!

This is the Bowling Brigade:

The bowling brigade:  Ivy, Grace, Ron(dad) and Carol(mom)

The bowling brigade: Ivy, Grace, Ron(dad) and Carol(mom)

Later,

N

Happy Birthday to you…

Today, May 22nd is my mom’s 75th birthday.  In a “Carol cute” moment this evening we were sitting around discussing her birthday party on Saturday afternoon and I asked her how old she was going to be.  This has become somewhat of a little family joke because mom has no idea how old she is.  For the longest time she has always put up a boatload of resistence to the fact that she was in her 70’s.  She was adamant that she was no more than 50 years old.  Logic and reason failed to make an impression LOL, so humouring her was easier than arguing so I told her that if she was only 50, then that made me 22 and I could live with that. 

One afternoon I picked her up after her “Ladies Group” and asked her if she had a good time.  She said it was all right but she hadn’t realized that all the women there were going to be “so old”.  When I asked her what “so old” meant she got rather indignant and said “Well, anyone older than me, that is old!”

Today we went to the Lake for a picnic with the “BINGO brigade”.  It was such a beautiful day out Sue asked if we would like to go out somewhere instead of playing BINGO this afternoon.  I agreed readily because it was too nice a day to pass up and spend sitting indoors.  I think the fresh air must have gotten to mom.  Her “Carol cute” moment  – when asked how old she was going to be she said she didn’t “rightly know”, so I told her to guess.  She took a couple of minutes to think, at which time I was tossing out random numbers and finally she decided that she had to be at least 80 or 90!! Sometimes she is just too cute.  When I told her that she will be 75 she just shook her head and said “I had no idea I was that old”.  Perhaps it was one of those you had to be there moments but I laughed so hard that my chest hurt. 

Come Saturday afternoon the house will once again be filled with laughter and frivolity, BBQ’d burgers with all the trimmings and of course Birthday Cake.  If the rate of her Alzheimer’s progresses as quickly as it has in the last 3 months or so, by this time next year she won’t be able to even guess at how old she is…

So, Happy 75th Birthday Mom.

I love you

Nancy

How many for dinner???

With this Sunday being Mother’s Day, I figured that I would hold my Mother’s Day dinner on Saturday night.  That way, if my brother and his family who live a far distance away wanted to come they could without having to worry about hurrying back after eating.  Additionally it is my sister-in-law’s birthday on Saturday, so we could celebrate everything at one time.   Well, apparently my brother and his family are not coming.  They have other plans.

My youngest brother and his family who live here in Brighton were also invited but I uninvited them late this week.  No, we didn’t have a fight or anything like that.  His daughter is coming home this weekend and surprising her mom.  She is also bringing dinner with her and since she has to leave on Sunday dinner will have to be cooked on Saturday night.

With all those unable to attend my table has been reduced to…see that’s the problem.  I cannot for the life of me remember who else I invited for dinner LOLOLOL.  I suppose that when you live with people with memory loss problems it is bound to wear off on me sooner rather than later.  Also, given my predisposition to having Alzheimer’s at some point in my life, it’s not a far stretch to think that perhaps it is starting mow.  No, I know it’s not.  I keep my mind far too active for it to rear it’s ugly head this soon in my life, but sometimes I have to wonder…

I do know some of who I have invited but I keep thinking I am missing someone.  I did thesame thing at Easter and it wasn’t until about an hour before dinner that I remembered that I had also invited 2 other people.  After a bit of scrambling to rearrange a seating arrangement we were good to go. 

The good thing is that we are having lasagna, garlic bread and ceasar salad so there will be enough no matter how many people show up. So I guess it really doesn’t matter how many I invited as long as everyone who does show up has food to eat and a place to sit.  I don’t know why I stress over these things. 

Now, what’s for dessert…I knew I forgot something.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Nancy

Attitude: Use it or Lose it!!!!!!!

A lot of people ask me how I survived Esophageal Cancer and I am not sure exactly what to tell them.  I had surgery, followed by chemoradiation therapy and am happily here to tell the tale.  The surgery was easy – I was asleep for it and after I spent 6 days stoned on hospital grade morphine so I really do not remember much of that.  The chemoradiation wasn’t so easy – in fact the chemo almost killed me.  My blood component levels were so low at one time that I could have had a heart attack and been dead before I hit the floor.  (Luckily I didn’t know it at the time or it probably would have happened from sheer panic).   However I managed to fight back and in doing so have become a survivor.  At the same time there is always that little voice in the back of my head telling me that I know that EC has one of the highest recurance rates and if it does return my only real option is once again chemo.  The little voice isn’t as loud as it used to be and doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as much as before but it is always there.  I have learned to ignore it more than anything.  I have also learned to get mad at it.  How dare it invade my thoughts – I have too many other things to worry about.  Cancer be damned.  I said from the beginning that I was going to kick this before it kicked me and if that was not to be then I would not go quietly into the next realm but rather kicking and screaming all the way.  And I think that attitude got to were I am today.  Well at least part way. I would be naive to think that my team of Doctor’s, Nurses and other medical professionals didn’t have a hand it my recovery, as well as my family and friends.  But deep down I had this overwhelming urge not to die.  In fact, dying was never an option I really ever considered.  It did not fit into my plans so there was no way I was going to let a little thing like EC stop me in my tracks.

And I did fight.  There were days when I had enough and was done.  I didn’t think I could fight any more.  I was sick, I was tired, I couldn’t eat, sleep or  anything else.  My life consisted of lying on the couch praying that it would be over before I had to make yet another bathroom run.  They were killing me literally.  It took a good 10 minutes to get to the room and then another 10 to get back to the couch and there was only about 20 feet between them.  I would get so worn out just getting off the couch that I really didn’t think I could make it across the floor – but I did. 

I truly believe that attitude is a major component to getting well from anything.  Not just cancer – there are many worse diseases than cancer out there.  But being positive does have its drawbacks.  If your attitude doesn’t get you the reports you are seeking from your Doctor then it has a nasty habit of disappearing.  And then it takes lots of energy to get it back.  I know – been there done that.  I used to get angry with myself – I didn’t have all that much energy to spare and I needed it for the simple things like breathing and losing my positivity just meant that I would have to find more energy to get it back. 

Even if you do manage to get it back, it doesn’t guarantee that you will survive.  I have seen too this first hand…and it saddens me.  I have lost too many friends to EC who’s attitudes were nothing short of mine and yet…

I have a friend Steve, who is currently in the chemo/rad stage of EC.  He is having his chemoradiation before his surgery and his attitude is awesome.  It is what it is, he says and each day faces a drive to the hospital, the set up and beaming of radiation and every couple of weeks a chemo protocol.  If attitude is the cure for his EC then he is well on his way.

My attitude towards life in general has changed since I was diagnosed with EC.  I no longer sweat the little things – if I don’t have to call 911 then I consider it a little thing.  I have survived cancer, being labeled “Disabled” thanks to cancer, the breakup of a relationship that I thought would last a lifetime, the deaths of two very close friends in as many weeks and I am surviving the daily ins and outs of caring for two aging Alzhiemer’s aflicted parents.  If I didn’t have an attitude I wouldn’t be able to do it.  It’s as simple as that.

Why am I writing about attitude today?  Because over the last couple of weeks I have let mine slide.  I know that I suffer from a form of depression and I take medication for it but lately I find myself not really caring about anything.  I get up in the morning, make breakfast for mom and dad and then would happily crawl back into bed if I didn’t have so much to do.  And maybe that is the problem.  I need my attitude to kick back in so that I can function.  So that I can take care of them and get on with life.  Sometimes though it really does seem like a lot of  bother and for what?  This is life, no one gets out alive so why fight it?  See what I mean – attitude slide, needs adjustment.

So don’t let your attitude sit back and take a break.  If you do, the day you need it the most it will fail you and then what?????  Having an attitude doesn’t mean you have to be basty or mean – it just means that you need to stand up for yourself, look whatever it is in the face and tell it – I am not going away, I am going to fight you with everything I have and then some, and when I win you will be gone. 

Today is the day I get mine back.  I am sick and tired of moping and feeling sorry for myself.  The pity party is over.  It is time to kick this mood in it’s butt and get on with it.  And that’s what I am going to do.

Have a great day.  And don’t forget to “spring” your clock ahead an hour tonight or you might be late for whatever you have to do Sunday morning.

Nancy