Tag Archives: tears

Feelings

This is another entry about the feelings my husband who is weighed down with dementia feels. He’s not alone, for this is a two-person journey from beginning to end. What I’ve seen in Bill is the sadness of losing each skill, each thought, each piece of him to oblivion. I’m not morose, or a negative person, but this is a sad condition of the mind. Dementia is a condition of the mind that two people have to deal with. Each must adjust and help one another cope with the stages that must take place.

My mother had Alzheimer’s and I watched her go downhill for 16 years. I took care of her every need for those years. She did not have to be alone going through the process of memory loss alone either. When she was sick and dying, Bill was diagnosed with Dementia. Sometimes I forget what really is happening to the person within. When you are with a person with such a condition, perhaps every day, you don’t see the gradual change. Others do see the larger picture and see the downhill slide.

To those who take care of these ones, it seems as if all of a sudden that ugly monster has shown its’ face and this decline appears so sudden that it takes your breath away. To me it feels as if it has been sudden that his thoughts and speech have trouble coming together, if at all. I remember the thoughts of his heart wanting to come out, but they were stuck. The thoughts were there, the memories are there, but the words are not.  

He struggles to get the thoughts out and it hurts me to the point of my heart breaking in two. As he tries to form the words or remember his thought, the look of desire in his eyes I know that he has something important to say to me. The unwillingness of his mouth to form the words that have already gone into obscurity and as the thought itself entered the doors of extinction, we look at each other helplessly. I can only hug him, tell Bill that I love him, and it’s not his fault it’s the monster attacking again. Then nothingness fills the void of silence.

 Sometime in Jan or Feb of this year, his son called us. I do not remember what the objection was, but JR was mad at me and he told me that he was very angry with me. He thinks that his dad should be down there with him where he could care for him properly and he could see his grandchildren. I started to cry, and I told him that he has a right to be angry and it was OK to be angry with me. His dad found his voice, grabbed the phone and let him know a few things that his son was not aware of. Bill reminded him that I was his wife and JR had no business getting me upset.

That was only one small thing that we have to work with. Bill has to remember that his son has not had to deal with older people and never with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It is a shock for him to see his dad like this, and he doesn’t see it as bad as it really is at this time. 

Thankfully, there is no one else on bill’s side of the family that we have to hold their hand and deal with this too. When you look at this, it comes down to the importance of the relationship that Bill and I have built over the years that is getting us through this. My sister said it all when she said that when you get old, all you have is your family to take care of you.

That’s the truth isn’t it? As for us, we’re just plugging along like everyone else is and taking it one day at a time.

 

There also was a sparkle, and I loved it. That’s for another blog,

 

Remember

The word “Remember” can invoke many thoughts to each of us. You may even wonder where to begin. I’m sure that each of us could write a book on our own memories. I’m only thinking of the first thing that this precious word makes me want to write.

I remember the reason I fell in love with my husband. We lived in Colorado at the time and I remember the first conversation I heard him have with his mother. (His end of course.) The gentle tone in which he spoke to his mother reminded me how children are supposed to obey their parents. It made me remember that the reason we obey is because we love and respect them. He’d laugh each time she spoke of what “Muffin” (her dog and only companion) did that amused her that week. She talked about any visitors she had that week.

He spoke with deep concern about how she was doing and what needed to be done to her house. It was older and was in need of much attention. Bill’s two brothers helped as much as they could. They talked for about an hour and sometimes longer. This impressed me as them having a close relationship. This might spark a flavor of “mama’s boy” to some, but he was no “mama’s boy.”

One brother lived in Germany at this time. He was in the army. He and his wife lived on the base for a while, and then moved off base. They flew home at least couple of times each year. At those times, they visited each of their parents and took care of the needs that were a little more expensive.

The other brother lived about an hour and a half away from her and visited as much as he could. He also did what he could to visit and if she needed shopping done, he would do it for her. He visited her on a regular basis. He was a policeman in that town he lived. From Fairbury to Grand Island was the shortest distance of the three brothers to their mother’s.

We lived in Denver, about a six hour drive, but Bill made that drive when he could, and did physical work on the house and the yard. When I began to go with him I would make meals for her. I’d put them in containers, and then in the freezer so she could just take out one for her, and heat it in the microwave. I also did housework for her that she was unable to do for herself. Their mom had arthritis, and was pretty well crippled with the disease.

For a year I listened to him call her every week without fail. He spoke to her in that same mild and caring tone each and every week. How could you not fall in love with a man such as this? He treated me with the same caring tone and respectful manner. The sincerity in his voice and mannerisms spoke volumes as to what kind of man Bill was.

As the year went along, I heard conversations with his two boys in California also. This was the same manner as he spoke with his mom. Those conversations didn’t last quite as long, but the attitude, love, and respect was shown to them as well.

What can I say? After a year, he asked me to marry him. We got married and here it is 28 years later. He still takes care of me in the way only a husband can take care of a wife; loving, caring, and sometimes even crying together. I still care for him as only a wife can; listening, laughing together, sharing a sunset, or even a simple meal are still pleasurable to us. We tolerate his dementia, and we tolerate my physical and emotional problems. We try to keep them in their place and go on enjoying the love and respect we have always had for each other.

Lurch

Ever played dodgeball? Well, we played it a lot at lunchtime break in elementary school. That was grades one through six for you youngsters. Now mind you, I was a shy child and always got picked last for any team but I did play and I was good at most sports. Still, my school years were not my best years.

It was me that was usually chosen first in dodgeball. Believe me; it was worse than being picked last on team sports. Chosen first in this game meant being the first one everybody threw the ball at. Oh come on, this meant low man on the totem pole and the boys threw hard enough, but the girls matched and sometimes beat the velocity of the ball.

Here I am in my hand me down dress that I hadn’t grown into yet, and bubble gum still stuck in my hair from the night before. I closed my eyes and just knew that this was going to hurt. The first throw made me lurch forward and I fell in the dirt. The second throw hit me before I got up and somehow landed under my dress. Of course, that made my dress fly up and show my panties which made everyone laugh. Therefore, with a heart full of indignity I took my rightful place in the circle.

I got to throw the ball first and I missed. Even though I was able to regain my dignity, I caught the ball again. When I did anything, I really put all my energy into it and play my best. I guess that can be expected growing up in a family of tomboys, and being raised in a neighborhood of all boys. I had to play tough. The trouble was that while I was a tomboy and could climb trees with the best of them, I still threw like a girl. My turn to throw again landed smack dab in the middle of a girl’s stomach. Noticing that she didn’t even move when I threw the ball, I knew that I was being set up.

Back in the circle again, I lurched to one side and then the other trying not to get hit. The next thing I knew, I was eating dirt again. Of course, that is when the bell rang and playtime was over. I stood up, brushed the dirt off me and once again tried to regain my composure. Once inside I breathed a sigh of relief. Another day of indignity put behind me. I shuddered to think of what tomorrow might bring.

Of course, I wasn’t raised in a good environment growing up. The five of us would have been removed by social services if raised in today’s society. I was picked on a lot by the boys in the neighborhood and always felt as if my heart lurched backward every time I would get a cruel comment. I’d head home each time but stopped crying as I neared house. Unfortunately, I would end up crying before bedtime got there, and even more when I went to bed.

Occasionally I remember those school days. I don’t look at them as being too terrible. I survived into adulthood. When I got into my 30’s, I got five years of therapy. Believe me, once I understood that when a person becomes an adult, they do so by letting go of the past and taking responsibility for the adult you want to be. If we don’t do that, then our childhood continues to rule our lives and we never mature.

 

 

Underestimate

Why would you want to do that?

I underestimated myself all the time until I took a good look at the word and then a good look at myself. Using the thesaurus, I found the first word listed was “under value”

I didn’t know myself at all. Here I was plugging along and just going through the motions of life. I never stopped to think that I had any value at all. Until I got off  “my little pity pot” and took an honest look at myself.

  1. Yes, I had faults, so does every one
  2. I just had no energy and I didn’t care if I made a difference in anybody else’s life
  3. I’ve never felt I was worth anything at all. OK I told myself.. 

It’s time to get off the pity pot and get some positive juices going. The reasons above are now things of the past. First of all, I am a person who is a giving person, I love people and it makes me happy to give to others. I know that I make them happy because they always tell me how glad they are when I stopped in and visit them, or bring them something to eat when they’re sick.

Then there are all those years that I contributed to society by working, paying taxes Then there is the fact that I have talent in some things. I love photography, and I have a knack for writing. It doesn’t matter, stories, diaries, resumes, etc. I found that when I looked at life through the eyes of an objective person, I have a lot of worth.

So, let’s all get off of our “little pity pots” and take a good look at ourselves. I will never underestimate myself again and I bet you won’t either.

A letter to my stepson

 

 

My dear Stepson,

From the first day you came to live with us when you were eight years old, and the cutest little boy I had ever seen. You looked like your father, walked like him, talked like him. You followed after him all the time. Your brother had come to live with us at the same time. I’ll have to admit, we had some issues settling in and thinking of us as a family. I’m not sure that either you or your brother ever did.

I know you remember the house we lived in when your dad and I were married. Remembering one instance still brings tears to my eyes, and that is when your brother got up on the roof to help your father repair some shingles. I was standing there when you asked if you could help too. Your father said “No you can’t, just your brother can.” I saw the tears welling up in your eyes as you looked at me with disappointment on your face. Do you remember what I said? I do.

I said, “That’s okay, I need you to help me shop, you are so good at finding coupons for me. I just can’t shop without you. You’re my little shopping  buddy.” So off we went. You were, content while we were shopping. You helped me a lot. You and I cooked together, you helped me with dishes, and sometimes you helped with cleaning. You helped me almost all the time.

That was just one instance and it may not even mean much to you. You do not have to be someone’s mother to see your stepson is hurting and try to sooth that big scrape. You do not have to be someone’s mother to feel your step child’s pain, see hurt in their eyes, and be there when he needs you.

I was the one who was there when you were in trouble, and it was me that talked to your teacher when he cursed. You don’t have to be a mother to watch your plays, and go on field trips with your class. Do you remember who cooked for the family, changed the sheets, cleaned the house, tucked you in and kissed you good night? Son, did you hate me back then?

I’ve stuck with your dad through each stage of dementia. With each skill he lost I’ve been here to cry for him. When a thought was lost because he couldn’t get the words out. I cried for him.  Every time he would get mad at himself who was there to calm him? I’ve been here all along. You haven’t seen him slip at all. You just come here and think he is fine because he is having a good day. You have not been here for anything he has been through.

Do you realize that if I had not called, you would not even know you father has dementia? I say that because you never call him. I’ve called you. Why? Because I think you should know about your dad even if you don’t think of him often. Yes, you visited us three or four times, but you wouldn’t spend time alone with your father. It was you who was telling me to get him involved to keep his mind active. I didn’t see you trying to do a thing for him.

When I told you he was coming in and out of Alzheimer’s now. You immediately wanted to move us to Phoenix. You must have thought that he was able to be moved without falling further into Alzheimer’s. Your father is 72 he needs to be in a nursing home, but I am still caring for him. I take care of his every need. I dress him, I bathe him, I comb his hair, I shave him, I brush his teeth; and I help him eat when he can’t. He doesn’t like it when he can’t see me, in fact, he panics. This goes on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year.

Then just the other day I had to call you again because you don’t call your father. You would not even know that your dad was slipping in and out of Alzheimer’s. When I explained that your father and I talked about moving to Phoenix and neither one of us thought this was a good idea. He was worried about starting over again too.

When I told you about us not wanting to move down there, I knew you thought that I talked him out of it. You don’t really know your dad at all. I could hear it in your voice. I’ve heard that tone before. However, that Sunday your father could hardly talk. His head was on the arm of the chair, and random words ran together with no formed thought. Suddenly he snapped out of it when he was saying bye to his granddaughter. He joked with her, changed in an instant. I rejoice when he snaps out of it. That means I’ll have him with me one more day.

Saying good-bye to your father only and not just once, but several times. You made your feelings very clear when you did that. You’re not very subtle, you are very plain to read. You believe that I have not taken care of your dad very well. Let’s look at that. From the time he was in the nursing home to the day I texted you that he was slipping in and out of Alzheimer’s, how often did you even call to see how he was? I can recall the exact number of times. It is 0. Now when he is slipping away from me so fast that I will soon lose him, you think you can just move us down there and take care of him yourself. No, neither one of us wants to start over. Your dad and I have been married 29 years come the 23rd of July, and I want to have  your father with me as long as I can.

I am your step mother and once you love a child you don’t just stop because he is a step child. I have no idea when you started to hate me, perhaps it was the day you screamed at me about the nursing home. Oh, it doesn’t matter. My feelings are; I was thrust into that position and I became a mother to you. Never will I ever claim to be your mother and I never did. I did mother you for 8 years. Think about these things, because lately you have burdened me with your hatred on top of the burden of caring for your father. It is what it is. I just have no more to say. I’m worn out.

Your loving stepmother

Retirement ends

End of retirement phase

 

Therefore, another phase of our lives ends after retirement. We had to sell our beautiful four-bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up leading us to bankruptcy which put an end to our good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 15 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed in my husband Bill’s life. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had slammed the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Necessity left me with five surgeries in the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. My mom needed me in these last of her days, even if she didn’t recognize me. I had to be sure that she still was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m not. My mom died a few years ago. My husband’s dementia is in the second stages, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one-bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for the Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth, (Rev 21:4) and tells of no more death or tears.

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Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s?

Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia? Does it even matter? Why should you care?

A few specialists say there are no distinctions and they utilize both Alzheimer’s and Dementia equally. Some specialist’s find there are a couple of contrasts yet say they all end up in the phase of Alzheimer’s so it doesn’t make a difference what it is called. In the two articles in Lifescript.com, and ALZ.org there are varying opinions.

Alzheimer’s sickness is the most widely recognized reason for extreme mental deterioration (dementia) in the elderly. It has been evaluated that 30% to half of individuals more than 85 years of age experience the ill effects of this condition.

Alzheimer’s starts with unobtrusive indications, for example, loss of memory, for names and late occasions. It advances from making the same inquiries again and again to trouble learning new facts. In this stage, they forget to pay the bills, and lose the worth of a dollar by being scammed. Further stages are a few eccentric behaviors some depression in varying degrees, they lose the concept of time; there is no recognition of that fact.  These steps are not always in this order and usually take years to just go through these stages mentioned. Through the span of the illness, the individual step by step loses the capacity to complete the exercises of regular daily existence. They have an inability to recognize their friends and even their seldom seen children are attributes of modestly extreme Alzheimer’s. In time, for all intents and purposes every single mental capacity comes up short.

See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/non-alzheimers_dementia . See more at: http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/a-z/elective treatments  http://www.lifescript.com/wellbeing/a-z/elective treatments. This data is from lifescript.com

Dementia-Symptoms: The very first thing Difficulty recollecting late discussions, names or occasions are regularly an early clinical indication; unresponsiveness and gloom are likewise frequently early manifestations. Later indications incorporate inhibited correspondence, misguided thinking, bewilderment, disarray, conduct changes and trouble talking, swallowing and walking.

Modified rules for diagnosing Alzheimer’s were distributed in 2011 prescribing that Alzheimer’s be viewed as a gradually dynamic cerebrum sickness that starts a long time before indications rise.

Mind changes: Hallmark variations from the norm are stores of the protein piece beta-amyloid (plaques) and bent strands of the protein tau (tangles) and additionally confirmation of nerve cell harm and passing in the cerebrum.

Take in more about Alzheimer’s http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp  Alzheimer’s infection. Above is the utilization of the two utilized conversely? This data is taken from Alz.org

I watched my mother for 16 years go slowly downhill with Alzheimer’s. I took care of her, seeing to all of her needs. She did not live with us, but I watched her closely until the very end. Now, I watch my husband quickly slip from dementia into Alzheimer’s. So they both do end up in the same place but the ride is very different.

Alzheimer’s may seem dramatic at times to those who are the caretakers, it can be and I’ve dealt with that too. Each time there was a turn in my mom, it was a sad thing. She may have lost her friends names. It was embarrassing for her and she began to stay home more. I moved her from Denver to Carthage, MO and I placed her in a nice assisted living facility only a few miles from me so I could visit her daily and spend a few hours with her each day.

In dementia the distinctions are much more difficult, they are significantly heart wrenching. Dementia has a face that flies up repeatedly; it’s ugly, destructive and rears its head with more destruction than the last time. This malady may ransack your friends and family who are unfortunate victims of this vicious and destructive dementia. It steals their fundamental abilities one skill at a time. Understanding of words and communication disappear silently. Ability to follow instructions becomes impossible. They don’t recognize a common object even if they look at them and hold them in their hands there is no recognition. Dementia steals their lives and in the end, Alzheimer’s takes it.

The saddest day I had with my mother was the point at which she inquired as to whether she would forget me as well. I couldn’t remain there and mislead her. With tears in my eyes, I disclosed to her that she will, however I will feel it more than her since she won’t recollect me yet I’ll recall her.

The saddest typical day for a man with dementia, I can just figure. Each time Bill slips, it’s been more devastating than the last. From all out wood appearances it seems he struggles with all of life in general. He lives in a world that is upside down and this continues to be anything but comfortable; additionally this experience is something that he can’t control. Much the same as the specialists over, a few people accept there are no contrasts between the two conditions. If you would like to know the answer to that question, continue reading this series of “The face of dementia.” Whatever they lose, the caretaker will need to figure out how to manage it. Each time the appalling creature demonstrates its face; you have been innovative and figure out how to coexist with it.

So decide for yourself whether Dementia and Alzheimer’s words are interchangeable. Listen to my observations during my mother’s Alzheimer’s and my husband’s Dementia.

cm

 

 

 

Now the Final Phase

Phase

So another phase of my life ends. We had to sell our beautiful four bedroom home on five acres. One reason was the medical bills that stacked up and the good credit we had at the time. Alzheimer’s had resided with my mother for 12 years by now. Dementia had been diagnosed. No more trips, no more dropping everything and going somewhere. Yes, the carefree phase of our lives had shut the door quickly.

We had entered a new phase. It was one of high medical debt, and maxed out credit cards. There was no end in sight to this new phase either, especially after I fell and broke my shoulder. Five surgeries if the first year alone. My mother had to be moved to a nursing center and I still needed to be with my mom often. She still needed me. I had to be sure that she was taken care of properly. I had to take her laundry home and wash it because her clothes disappeared when they went to the laundry there. Dementia in the first stage was waiting at home for me.

It does sound like I’m whining, but I’m really not. My mom died a few years ago. The dementia is in the late fourth stage, but I don’t mind. Our bills are under control and we now live in a one bedroom apartment. I wouldn’t say that life is good, but for me it is. I still have my husband home with me. I rejoice each day that we are able to communicate and be understood by each other. That is a joy in my life.

In the early years of our marriage, he had to care for me. He did it so lovingly, and never complained. He was there for each medical emergency, and each surgery. Now it is my privilege to care for him. I hope that I can do that with the same love and gentleness that he has done for me all these years. So now begins the final phase of our lives and I will still thank our heavenly father for His Kingdom. The Kingdom we pray for, the Kingdom that will rule over the entire earth. (Rev 21:4) Tells of no more death or tears.