54 thoughts on “Rants! and Raves! 4-14-18

  1. My sister came down yesterday afternoon on her way
    from Maryland, to Monckโ€™s Corner, SC. She only stayed there for only a few minutes because it was getting late and we had to leave for dinner so I could get home before sundown.
    She stayed here last night.

    Since we have been here, in Greenaboro, I took Elvera to a support group every Wednesday and Friday. Then, I would come to get her to take her home. And at SS, I would get her and take her home.
    In her mind now, โ€œCharlie is going to get me and take me home.โ€ That is part of the problem. I have to connive some way to leave because every time, she thinks she is supposed to leave with me.

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  2. How did the week go, Chas? Is she doing well? Are they keeping her from walking or is she supposed to get up? I am glad your sister could stop by.

    My brother stopped by a couple of days ago. I was surprised. Haven’t seen him in months. He was on the way to other brother in Boise who is preparing to sell his home so he and his wife can move to a place without stairs. I sent them some leads to places in Nezperce but never heard back. Guess I better follow that up.

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  3. Leaving is one of the hardest things I do.
    But I’m not certain that she realizes I’m gone or have been there after I leave.
    She is perfectly lucid in conversation, but doesn’t recall anything.
    Sometimes she remembers things from long ago.

    My sister, Velma, and Kurt are on their way.
    Velma lost her husband to cancer years ago.
    Kurt was their boss at the company where both of them worked.
    Later, Kurt’s wife died of cancer. Velma promised her that she would take care of Kurt.
    So? They are living together in Kurt’s house. Velma doesn’t remarry because her husband was retired Navy. And she still has all the benefits (commissary, etc).
    But At their age, sex has no part in it.
    Two people who need each other. That describes it.
    Sister does all the driving.

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  4. Long-term memory is the last to go. My MIL couldn’t remember what happened five minutes ago, but she could sit and talk about stories from her childhood. I would hear the same stories day after day, until she got used to living here and realized she wasn’t just visiting.

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  5. Let’s face it, as horrible as dementia can be, there are some funny moments. We still talk about “Nana” hiding food in strange places (because she didn’t want to eat) – a hot dog under the bathroom sink, part of a hamburger up her sleeve, broccoli tucked between two couch cushions, various treats from her adult daycare in her purse.

    One of the things that makes me chuckle when I remember it is from when she had rearranged her teddy bears (she had a collection of them), which were usually on her couch, on her bed one Saturday. Then she was picked up for Catholic church by a nice lady who would take her for the 4:00 Saturday mass. When she came home, she looked at the teddy bears on her bed and said, grumpily, “Which jack___ did that?” ๐Ÿ˜€

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  6. My heart goes out to you as well, Chas, and my prayers.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a wonderful weekend and week with children and grandchildren. It is always hectic, but a joy. We managed a picture of all the grandchildren, but the one in college who could not come. I am not sure when we will have them all together again. The last group photo was before our last two blessings arrived.

    ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Funeral today for a friend who made a valiant effort against cancer for a couple of years. He and his wife never complained and accepted it as filtered through the Lord. The memorial service will be full of the hope of heaven, but still a time to ‘weep with those who weep’. He will be sadly missed by family, friends and the church and community where he gave so much of his time and energy.

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  7. My mom’s mom and my dad’s dad lived together after they were both widowed and living alone was becoming an increasingly riskier option. They were at my grandpa’s house, next door to my parents, where Mom and Dad could be nearby to assist.

    When Grandpa died in 1990, Grandma continued living there until she needed nursing home care for her deepening dementia. She didn’t know anybody at the time of her death.

    Hard to watch that happen.

    Praying for you, Chas. Both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. On the other hand, I have watched several people in the nursing home where I worked and where I visited, the people with dementia were able to talk just fine with their spouses, talking about things from the past, enjoying each other. Yes, short term recent memories were gone, but the love was still there.

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  9. Thinking of my own stepmom. She and my dad are very much there for each other. My dad sits with her for hours and hours, making sure she has everything she needs. And she laughs and smiles and talks about this and that. They discuss world affairs and how the children are doing and everything in between. And then they discuss it all again.

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  10. Just wrote a letter to the owner of the Etsy store where I bought the bonnet for Ava Grace last week. It was a reminder to me how when the Holy Spirit prompts, we need to move right then.

    FYI. Read it and weep–or don’t.

    Stacy–

    I wrote you a note of thanks on Monday, telling you how much I appreciated your quick response to my purchase of a baby bonnet through your Etsy store.

    As it turned out, my sudden decision to buy the bonnet from you coupled with your speed must have been inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    I received the bonnet on Saturday afternoon and gave it to my daughter-in-law Monday afternoon.

    She was surprised, and thanked me. I also included the phone number of a mutual photographer friend who would come to take photos if needed.

    A and Jhad not made any sort of plans, had not even thought about what they would want if/when the baby was stillborn.

    Ava Grace died that night at 28 weeks in utero.

    Because of the prompt to purchase from you, your quick turnaround and the postal service delivering in a timely manner, J and A had the bonnet with them when they hurried to the hospital Monday night.

    The concept of taking photos had at least been broached and so when the hospital offered the opportunity–and they had the bonnet–they had the photos taken.

    We are all so terribly sad–including Ava Grace’s older sisters, 4 and 6–but you enabled us to honor her with a gift the only time her parents were able to hold her.

    Their parenting of this little girl was a long slog of doctor appointments that ended in grief. But your bonnet brought a touch of beauty to that grief.

    Thank you.

    It’s time to cry some more.

    Michelle

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  11. On another note, life does go on and children are part of what drags us forward.

    Conversation I started in the car on the way to choir the other day–because I had run out of answers to “what are roof shingles and how do they work?”

    Me: “So your second cousins K and C are coming.”

    S: “How old are they?”

    Me: “K just turned four and C will be two on May 9.”

    L: “Is she older than me? I’m four and a half.”

    Me: “No. K’s birthday was on Easter. She just turned four on April 1.”

    L: “When will she be four and a half? I’m four and a half.”

    M (hurriedly doing math): “On October 1.”

    L: “I’ll be five in September.”

    M “I know.”

    Li: “I’ll be five and a half on St. Patrick’s day next year.”

    S: “In 2019.”

    M “I know. You’re older than K.”

    L: “When is her half birthday?”

    M: “After yours. You’ll always be older than her. But she’s probably taller than you.”

    Shrug from the back seat.

    S: “When is C’s birthday?”

    M: “May 9. Aunt Carol said we’ll have a party for them after they get here THIS WEEKEND!”

    S: “Wait. They’re going to live here?”

    M: “No, a couple hours away in Elk Grove, near your other grandparents.”

    S: “We can see them at our other grandparent’s house?”

    M: “They live near Sacramento, not at your other grandparent’s house.”

    L: “When will K be four and a half?”

    And so on . . .

    LOL

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  12. My last living uncle took care of his wife in their home for four long years of Alzheimer’s. At the very end (last few months) they moved in with family, and for a couple of years before that their son came over every morning and evening to get his mother up and put her to bed. She died tax day 2011–the day after my husband and I met in person (and the day we were originally “supposed to” meet in person, except that I surprised him by showing up for supper the night before at the house where he was staying, with the knowledge of those hosting him).

    Well, their daughter was attending church with them (attending the same church they did and meeting them there). Her mother would recognize her as a “friend” without remembering the relationship, and she also thought of her own husband as a kind friend. So each Lord’s day morning she would see her daughter approach and brightly say something like, “I have a friend to introduce you to” to each of them. One day the daughter (my cousin) had heard that one time too many from her mom trying to introduce her to her father, and she couldn’t hold back the tears. And her father put his hand on her arm and said, “Honey, she isn’t the woman I married, but she’s still the girl I love.” She found that tremendously comforting.

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  13. Discussing what shingles are while driving down the highway was becoming too distracting. I would point at a building with one style of shingles, then would have to point out one on the other side of the street for the other girl and yikes!

    The questions!

    Their cousins seemed like a tame subject until we got into the fixation of the youngest Adorable suddenly having to make sure that other arriving cousins really WERE younger than she is!

    The joy! LOL

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  14. Michelle, your L sounds like my Third nephew, who will ask repeatedly about each of his relative’s ages in turn, and then, if we are talking of a past event, ask in turn if each of his said relatives was born then. I see it as him figuring out how time works using the context of the people he knows.

    I hesitate to tell my eyewitness experiences of dementia. They are not nice. Not every dementia patient remembers their spouse. Not every spouse of a dementia patient is faithful to their spouse. Not every elderly couple who have been married for decades have had a good marriage. Not every elderly person is nice and sweet. Vices that were ‘acceptable’ in youth become grotesque in old age. As dementia crumbles the self control centres of the brain, even those who were of good character may become erratic, inappropriate, and even dangerous. I say this because the best foundation for loving and valuing a person with dementia does not lie in the good stories about dementia. The person who faces dementia in a loved one may never experience those kind of good stories.
    A wholly painful or ugly experience can cause such a person to question whether their relative dementia was always that way underneath – if the person with dementia is a Christian, yet loses all resemblance of their former Christian behaviour under dementia, I have known their salvation to be questioned by perplexed onlookers who are so wedded to the idea of personal responsibility that they cannot conceive of the concept of a person not being responsible for their actions. The person whose relative has dementia may also be tempted to wish for their loved one’s death, that the silence of the grave would be better than this living death. There are many painful and debilitating diseases that a human can suffer, but none is feared more than dementia, for it steals the person themselves away while leaving their body intact. Courage and endurance is needed to care for those with dementia. But it is a courage and endurance fueled by love, a love for humans that is based on the intrinsic value that each human holds, not because of who they are or what they have done, but because they are human. Respect for human life means valuing human life even when it looks ugly, very ugly.

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  15. Chas is entering into this, I was hoping, like the pregnancy issue, that people would have some positive input rather than just their horror stories. Obviously there are many bad relationships and poor experiences, but there are also positive I am thinking Chas and Elvera will be the positive.

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  16. As I enter into prayer for you Chas I am often reminded of my precious in laws. Dad had Alzheimerโ€™s…he never forgot Mom…she was his anchor. Yes there were difficult days, but the deep abiding love of the Father sustained them. They had an amazing love for each other….respectful, honoring, playful and endearing. Everyone tells me that the relationship Paul and I have reminds them so much of my in laws….what a precious thing to say in estimation…
    You and Elvera are lifted up daily by us all…you bless and inspire us by your wisdom, insights and testimony…. โค๏ธ

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  17. My wonderful auntie had Alzheimer’s but she was always sweet to my and my sister – not to her sister however, who always did everything wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I was taking her back to her room and she started singing hymns on the way. It was so lovely to hear, but, what I found odd was that she was singing in English. Her first language and the language she would have learned those hymns in was German. She also attended German church services for many, many years after arriving in Canada. I’ve always wondered about her singing in English. (It was nice, because I could sing along with her) Ah, memories.

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  18. Chas, sounds like a good strategy to have others there at the time of your departure, as far as that can be ‘arranged’ (understanding that it’s probably hard sometimes with different schedules). But others can distract her attention so when you quietly slip out she’s not alone and so aware of your absence (and the fact that she’s still there and not going home – yet).

    Prayers as you both go through the temporary separation of sorts. One more week — praying for a good and full recovery from the leg injury.

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  19. I remember a lady in Good Sam when I worked there. She would roll around in her chair, singing hymns everywhere with the biggest smile you can imagine. God was with her in her forgetfulness. She would come into the laundry room periodically and I would chat with her a bit, listen to her sing, and direct her back out into the hall. Such a pleasant woman and a blessing to so many.

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  20. Speaking of conversations with children. Sixteen year old was delighted to tell me:

    D: I learned a new word today!
    M: That is good, what is the new word?
    D: Ignorant
    M: And what does ignorant mean?
    D: Lack of knowledge. So, next time somebody tells me I am ignorant, I should thank them.
    M: That is nice. Do you know what ‘lack of knowledge’ means?
    D: Nope.
    M: What is knowledge?
    D: Thinking like with your brain and knowing things.
    M: Okay, do you know what ‘lack’ means?
    D: Hmmm, no. Wait! It means not having any. Wait. That means they are saying I don’t know anything. That is not nice. I should tell them it is rude.
    M: Nobody knows everything. Everybody has lack of knowledge in different areas. So you might tell them you do have a lack of knowledge in that area but that you do know other things.

    All day, every day.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. Mumsee, I will simply say being positive is not always helpful when a person is struggling (Proverbs 25:20). If they are not experiencing the same kind of good experiences as in the positive anecdotes, they may wonder if they are doing something wrong. If they struggle with fatigue or anger or resentment due to the situation and are told of others who were wonderful in the same situation, they may blame themselves for what are natural emotions that can be worked through.

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  22. I am cautioning against what we agreed was not a good thing to do to pregnant people, overwhelm with the ugly. Yes, we all know people who were not pleasant in their dementia, but don’t most of us know of some other stories, where it was okay? Yes, babies die, and labors can be long, but that does not mean we should not mention the babies who live and the labors that are short. It is not to make the person feel bad, but to allow for positive as well as negative. We should not go to somebody who has a relative who is not doing well with dementia and tell them they are doing it wrong because we know a case that turned out differently, but for somebody entering in, it is not wrong to offer hope.

    Chas, it is not my intention to make you feel bad about the season in which you find yourself. I hope you see the encouragement I was trying to offer.

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  23. Seven years ago I flew from Nashville to Indiana for the trip in which I would meet my husband’s parents and our girls. (His sister and brother-in-law had already met me due to a business trip for a conference in Nashville.) I knew we would also get officially engaged during my time here, after the girls had had a few days to meet me and get to know me a little.

    On the plane both directions, flying up to get engaged and flying home with a new diamond ring, my seatmates were people who had lost spouses with dementia. I wasn’t a 21-year-old who could tell myself that any such eventuality was so far into the future as to be almost irrelevant. I had already seen my mom outlive two husbands and then die herself, and I had already seen my brother lose a wife. I was marrying for “in sickness and in health,” but two such conversations bookending my engagement were sobering nonetheless. I had lost aunts and an adopted grandmother who had Alzheimer’s, and my sister had seen in-laws (grandparents) experience it, so the concept has always been quite sobering. Now our younger daughter works in memory care at a nursing home (the wing her co-workers don’t want to work in, but she does well there), and I’m guessing she could tell some of her own stories if it weren’t for privacy concerns. My father-in-law ended his life with Alzheimer’s last year, and he had done some things that weren’t in tune with who he had been–though he continued to know his wife and mercifully he died of kidney disease and not the dementia. Even the best-case scenario with dementia is difficult, though, and spouses who go through it face a tough burden.

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  24. Michelle, as simple as it was, I’m glad you got that bonnet and that they were able to get some photos. Such a hard loss, but having some closure will help a bit.

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  25. Mumsee, I had no intention, when I wrote what I did at first, at causing a debate. I was just reflecting on what dementia teaches us about humanity. Childbirth is a healthy process. Dementia is not. As Cheryl says, even those who love and care for their relative with dementia face a great ordeal. I have recently been communicating with the cousin who is the primary caregiver for my great uncle who has dementia. This cousin had messaged the entire family about my uncle’s disintegrating condition. We all responded with sympathy and expressions of concern. I spoke as I have on here about dementia, with both sympathy and realism. I have since received several private messages from that cousin, who expressed that I had shown the most interest. This cousin expressed bluntly that they did not find comfort in platitudes or reassurance. The situation was too stark, too painful, too difficult for positive words to provide any comfort.

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  26. Agreed. As we all know, I have no social skills, which is why I am a hermit. I will try to be more realistic in the future.

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  27. I just told Elvera that I needed to get home before dark and left.
    She recognizes people she knows and can carry on a conversation. But she won’t remember them.
    She retains the TSWITW personality, though I have heard her curse.
    She had never said, “heck”, “darn” or “shucks” in her life before.

    As for the future? I don’t know. I don’t want her to die but I ho[e I outlive her because I don’t want t her to experience not having someone who loves her be her caregiver.
    It’s little things that I know about her.
    Like, she was watching Lawrence Welk when I left.

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  28. On a lighter note:
    I have had a dumb Hank Williams song in my head all day.
    Problem is, it’s the grammatically correct version I’ve never heard. Like.

    “If you have the money, I have the time.”
    Then, I thought of the stupidity of the premise.
    I have never encountered a woman who would date a guy who expected her to provide all the resources.

    ๐Ÿ˜†

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  29. Our agreement is that husband must outlive me because he takes care of me. I might have to shop if he died first. On the other hand, I am not allowed to die before the youngest is grown and gone.

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  30. Chas, my husband was the daddy raising kids (two girls), and you’d be amazed how well he understands them. The first two or three years we were married, one of them would go to her room and my husband would comment that she looked upset, and I would tell him I didn’t see anything. He’d give her a few minutes to be alone, and then go and knock on her door, and she would let him in and they would talk and she would cry.

    One time I myself was feeling in a bad mood, and I realized I hadn’t slept well and that a nap would help me. I kissed my husband and told him I was going to lie down for a bit. No sooner had I closed the door and lain down than he was there beside the bed asking was I OK. I thought not one man in a hundred would have seen that there was something wrong–in fact, I doubt my female friends would have seen it. But this is a man “trained” by having a mother and a sister, a wife, and two daughters to understand something of reading women.

    His having been a single dad from the time they were just entering puberty had to be a hard time for all of them–but it brought them incredibly close and he did an excellent job with it.

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  31. Mumsee and Roscuro – From my perspective, you were both bringing something to the conversation that needed to be said. Roscuro is right that there is a dark aspect to dementia that must be acknowledged, a kind of forewarning of what may eventually happen, and Mumsee had a good point about not inundating Chas with horror stories about patients with dementia (which is why I have refrained from sharing some stories Nightingale has told me).

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  32. Chas – You mentioned the little things you know about her. That’s one of the things that I miss, that Hubby and I shared little understandings. So many times I think of something I want to tell him, something that just wouldn’t mean anything to Nightingale or anybody else, but Hubby would have found interesting or understood. It’s a lonely feeling.

    Even so, I am glad that he won’t have to experience that. He was very dependent on me as his “listening post”, as one man put it about his own wife, as well as being his loving life-companion. He did big things for me, but I did a bunch of little things for him, things that he would have sorely missed.

    My mom was shocked that my dad went before her. She had been a smoker, and was overweight and out of shape, while he was a non-smoker who was healthier and more robust than her. But cancer struck him down at age 70. (If it weren’t for the cancer, I can imagine him living well into his 90s, still healthy and peppy. It’s still hard to believe that he only lived to 70.)

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  33. Mumsee, I was not trying to make you stop telling the good stories. Just, as Kizzie says, bringing another perspective. Also, I didn’t tell any of the bad stories.

    Kare, the first day brought only ice pellets, making the roads very slippery (Second and family were to go to a birthday party for one of Tiny’s peers, but it was cancelled because the roads are so bad), but not coating the branches or power lines. That is a good thing, because the wind has picked up greatly. The concern is that tomorrow may bring the freezing rain that coats everything. I know, back in the city, church has already been cancelled, while the university is closed (meaning that all those with exams scheduled today have had them deferred).

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  34. Sweltering here.

    I bought some geraniums & potting soil today at Home Depot and hope to transfer them to cute containers maybe tomorrow. I like geraniums because they’re so hardy.

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  35. I love potted geraniums…red being my most favorite of all…something about that red flower contrasting an aged terra cotta pot just makes me go ahhh!!! I am looking forward to potting them this summer…cannot put them out on the porch or deck due to the squirrel snacking on them!!! Little buggers!!! ๐ŸŒบ

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  36. Karen, I understand that there can be a dark side to dementia.
    We haven’t encountered it.
    Yet. Maybe she won’t have one. Who knows.

    When I mentioned little things f or her, I mentioned Lawrence Welk’s program. They are attentive but no one would scan the channels for the NPR station that carries that program..

    On the plus side, I’m in no hurry to dress for church, since I don’t have to dress her.
    On the negative side, I’ll have to explain a dozen times why I don’t have her with me.

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  37. I don’t think I know a dozen people who would ask me that. Though last week at church when I arrived without any family, they did ask. Not a dozen though.

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  38. As for explaining why she wasn’t with me,
    Everyone already knew. I forgot that my son and grandson -in-law are deacons in that church. And DIL is off to St. Thomas vacationing with former pastor’s wife.
    She was on the prayer list this morning.
    We are blessed, and we (I) know it.

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  39. Thank you. I am glad you are praying people because sometimes I just get so tired and discombobulated listening to her that I forget what is most important. Thanks.

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  40. I just finished a long “discussion” with her about how nothing is going to satisfy her and she will just keep pursuing (I want to be a Catholic, I want to be a witch, I want to move to Milestones, I want to go to OUI, I want to have friends, I want to have a boyfriend, I want to watch movies) until she comes into a relationship with Christ as only He can satisfy. May God use that to draw her to Him and His peace and joy and love.

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