Saturday, April 14, 2018


I"ve written about Dementia before so this is an update, nothing much has changed, I am still the only caregiver of my husband, but now I take a mild drug for anxiety. I hate having to take something, but if I am to take care of my husband with love and compassion rather resentment that my old life is gone, my doctor and I decided it is best.

My husband is still the healthiest 96 1/2 year old you'll ever meet, I take him to ProWellness with is part of ProTherapy, if you have attended the latter, you pay less than if you had never been to therapy there. There is a trainer who works with him on various parts of his body. If I tell the trainer that my husband had trouble getting onto the sidewalk, he will work on that problem. Outside of exercise three or four times a week, I have him walk around the pool at least once a day, hot weather permitting.

Lately his appetite has reduced significantly, it could be the dementia or it could be that he gained a lot of weight and he is trying to slim down. He is taking the drug "Namenda" for his dementia, in addition to that several vitamins like B12, VirtVite which it the generic for Foltex, a multi vitamin, coconut capsule, all recommended by the neurologist who left town, now all we have is a neurologist that comes from Las Vegas every Friday, but mostly he sees the physician assistant or nurse practitioner. It is not a satisfactory arrangement, but it is all we have. There is NO CURE for dementia, the Namenda is supposed to slow it down and from dementia group I understand that it is only supposed to last two years, I can't tell. He was diagnosed with "vascular dementia", the arteries in his head are hardening, he has had two small strokes, before that several TIA's.

A friend and I recently attended a two day workshop held by the Dementia Connection of Lake Havasu City. The speaker or I think of her as the teacher was TEEPA SNOW. It was a refresher for me but there was a lot of new information. You can see/hear Teepa Snow on YouTube, she is simply fabulous. I had a private conversation with her and her advice to me was "do something fun for you." I haven't done that yet and don't know if I'll get around to it. My husband gets confused around strangers so I make sure that he is only surrounded by people he knows.

His old friend from the Golden K Kiwanis days pick him up for poker every Wednesday and it is surprising how often he wins. He is still good with numbers which is surprising. I am thankful to them for their kindness.

Life is not easy, but we muddle through it and I am grateful every day that he is still with me.

I hope some people will ready this, I'd appreciate a note to let me know this helped or enlightened you. I will be glad to answer any questions. Thank You for reading this.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dementia cotinues

Nate and our friend Della who is just a few years younger, this was in 2014

That man you see there is the same he always was with the exception of memory loss, that has deteriorated somewhat as has comprehension. I lay out his clothes, tell him to brush his teeth, change this or that. The most important thing is that he is happy, if his situation worries him or if he comprehends fully what is going on he doesn't share that. He has always been a private man, a happy man who lived by the saying "he who anger you conquers you," and trust me I have tried to anger him in 36 1/2 years of marriage. I am his full time caregiver, no family member has called to ask "how are you doing mom, how are you handling it all?" No one has offered to come for a few days to give me a break from care taking. Am I angry? On days when I am on the ground with fatigue I damn them all. When I have some rest I tell myself to enjoy the days we have together, to laugh, to be sad and all in all we just take it one day at a time. I have never paid bills and now I have to and I absolutely hate it, I see money going out by the truck load and coming in seems never enough, but I handle it and do the best I can. I attend support group twice a month and if it were not for that I don't know what I would do, there at least we share our burden, laugh some time and others not. I am thankful for the support group and in general I am thankful that I still have my husband who will be 96 in June with me and hope to have him for years to come.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios 2016, you were a rotten year.

 December 30.2016

Never have I been so glad to turn my back on a current year. On Facebook I described the year as a "shitstorm" and indeed it was. It would be negative to he max to recount all the bad things that have happened so I will close out 2016 with the good news that the biopsy was negative, in other words no cancer,  hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dementia, the disease that steals your mind

March 15. 2016

You learn something new every day, for instance I learned that there are around 88 different types of dementia (Alzheimers), my husband was diagnosed about two years ago with vascular dementia, the arteries in his head are narrowing or do we call that calcifying? It is no surprise that something like hit him at the age of about 93, he will be 95 this summer.
It came on slowly and I didn't "get it", I would tell him something and he'd say "I don't understand what you mean." I would get impatient and say "everyone else gets what I am saying." English is my second language, I began learning it at the age of eleven when I went to high school in Germany, but I kept wondering if I express myself correctly. Time went on and I suggested new hearing aids, he came home telling me that they told him he had trouble with comprehension. I mentioned that perhaps we should see a Neurologist and he agreed. He got a simple test and failed and we were told that he has dementia. He was prescribed medication with instructions to come back in three months. He did better on the memory test but I asked the doctor how can we be sure it is not something else like a tumor on the brain? I told him I wanted an MRI, well at his ripe old age and the new Obama are and Medicare cutting costs wherever so that our politicians can get bigger raises, the doctor told me he would  have to manipulate things, I told him to go ahead and manipulate I wanted that MRI. It came back narrowing of the arteries in the brain.

Almost two years have past and things have gotten worse, his short term memory is literally gone,he still takes care of his physical needs, showers, dresses is continent and takes the dog to the dog park daily. He plays poker once a week with old friends and last winter he was on his way at 6:45 pm, the place is about a mile and a half from home. He called me and told me he didn't know where he was and I told him to find an intersection and call me. I went out thinking I could find him and realized no wonder he got lost, we have no street lights and landmarks disappear in the night. He called me to tell me he was home. After that his friends pick him up and bring him homes. During the day he would drive himself to the doctor and after a while that faded from his mind as well, so now I drive him wherever he needs to go.

Yesterday I took him to the doctor and afterwards I was going to take him to see his 92 year old friend in the nursing home where she was for rehab, time ran out and I promised to take him today.

I have pneumonia and basically have been sick since just before the new year and needed soberest. I heard the bell that signals that someone has left home and I figured he'd take the dog to the backyard. I got up and no husband, he had decided to go visit his friend. He came home hours later and said "I didn't find it," and I mentioned I'd have to take the car keys away soon. It will be one of the saddest day of my life. Today I drove him to see her but she had been discharged.

A friend and I go to support group three times a month, it's good to hear that I am not alone, I feel my case is worse because all of our 35 years my husband has handled all financials, insurance, house etc. and all of a sudden it is on my shoulders and I know nothing and he remembers nothing. What is hardest is the fact that all of a sudden you are alone, friends don't call and say "let's go out to lunch," and you feel isolated. Right now I'm sick and I feel like I've been locked in the house forever and I worry that without social stimulation I will fall into dementia before I know it, but I am sure that I am not the only one with that fear.

This is a pot I made some years ago called "Hands across the world." It is in the home of a friend. I sold my pottery something that I regret but felt I had to do, I am not sure it didn't help me stay sane.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The New Year Has Begun

January 1. 2016

In younger years I would write deepest thoughts into my journal, my  hopes, wishes and dreams. In odd years I thought it was going to be a bad year and in years like 2016, I just knew it would be a terrific year. I guess one is allowed to dream especially when young when life has not tainted our view.

While I was still in Germany and my father was alive, we'd "giess Blei" we'd hold a spoon like device over a flame to liquify the led and empty it into cold water. We'd try to see what it was and a little booklet would tell the fortune, nobody believed anything but it was fun.

In our twenties we'd go out, drink and strangers would kiss you at midnight I hated that worse than anything and in later year avoided it like the plague, nothing worse than some drunk you didn't know trying to kiss you, yuck. We all drank in our twenties and even thirties, I am sure of it, in my forties I decided that I wanted to be fully aware of what foolish shit I did and never wanted to have to say "well you know I was drunk". If I did something stupid I would apologize or not depending how I felt.

Last night's wait until the New Year was the most boring yet, we have company from South America and the 10 year old got an X-box for Christmas and he's been glued to the TV ever since. When I mentioned I wanted to watch CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin the mood went sour and father and son retreated to the guest room supposedly to go to bed. I am an avid reader so I considered it my good fortune, went to bed and read my Kindle, to me it was an excellent start of a new year and promises for good days. I wish you all the best that the year can bring, may it heap blessings on all of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Oma's Candle

My early years were spent living closely with family, we were evacuated and lived in a small village in the Swabian Alb region (Schwäbische Alb), in 1951 we returned to Stuttgart and it was the first time I lived away from Oma. I often took the streetcar to the other side of town to spend a night with Oma, Tante and Ilka.

Whenever there was a thunder and lightening storm Oma would light a candle, she was a non-practicing catholic. For some reason I took it for more than it was, I think she just wanted to see her way if the lights went out. That  didn't dawn on me until a few years ago which doesn't make me look like the brightest bulb in the attic.

In any case my translation was that if there was trouble in the family or with friends or when my dear friend went to Desert Storm I would light the catholic candle you can buy in the grocery store for a buck and I knew that things would get better. It did not always work, my friend Jack who flew a Cobra Gunship accompanying a Medevac flight lost his life the day Desert Shield turned into Desert storm. 

A sister-in-law laughed at me but when her baby who was born with water on the brain had yet another surgery she called me and asked if I would light a candle, I did and when she called she said "it worked, he's alive." 

Today is the first time in a while that I have lit a candle, I lit it for a friend in Chicago who was found unresponsive from a drug overdose. I guess in a way it is my prayer when I light the candle and you can too, whether you are catholic, protestant, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, we all in our own way believe in something, so I ask you today to send thoughts to Kevin in Chicago that he may find his way back to himself, that he can believe in himself and that he can truly believe that he is too young to die.