Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

28 February 2010

A Glimpse Into a Challenging Night of a Care Giver

I would say the hardest part of being a Care Giver is sleep deprivation and chasing hallucinations.  If you're a new mom or dad to an infant or a new mom to a demented old person, you know what sleep deprivation can do to ones reasoning abilities.

My sleep issues aren't all related to my mom waking up at all hours of the night, although the last 2 nights my sleep was disrupted by my mom squeaking the floor above my bed, just as my body seemed to cool down and  sleep was taking over.

I'm stressed out, extra hot flashes and my Chillow Pillow has failed me.  It ran out of cold the last 2 nights.  My body sucked every bit of delightful coolness out of it so it wasn't helping like it did the first night that I had used it.

Here it is. a foggy Sunday morning, a perfect morning to sleep in and I'm awake.  I'm over tired with a brain that is working overtime.  My biggest issue to solve is how to make sure that my mom sleeps all night.

Past experience dictates that she stick to a totally natural diet.  Only real food.  Nothing processed, nothing baked, not even gluten free products.  Grains and Dairy too.  All need to be avoided to keep the hallucinations and the paranoid behavior at bay.

It seems to take 24 to 48 hours for the ill effects of gluten or gluten free products to leave her body.  She will stop hallucinating when her system has been cleared.  I need to hold it together, I know that tomorrow will be better.  I just need to get through today.

Over the last few days, my dead brother Ed has been visiting.  My mom's dead brother Auggie, he visits too.  They never talk to her.  These are pleasant visits, but now she's got visitors, imaginary strangers who are "stealing her money." 

Last night my mom began waking up at 11pm, 12:15am, 3am, 4am 4:45am and finally at 5:15am.  I am exhausted.  I hope my sister takes her today so that I can sleep.

Every time my mom woke up she was looking for her money... her purse.  She kept telling me that "they" are stealing her money.   "Susie, the money, it's gone.  They stole it!"  She exclaimed with fright in her eyes.

"Ma, no one is taking your money.  It's here in this room somewhere, you must have moved it and forgot where you put it."  I attempted to reason with her, half asleep, not even thinking that my words would go in one ear and out the other, my mom stared at me blankly and said, "No.  No.  They stole it!"

It's really hard to remember that arguing with a crazy person and expecting to "win"  is futile; even when I "find" her purse, she still thinks someone is stealing her money. 

27 February 2010

Three Powerful Tools for Non-Toxic Cleaning - Guest Post by Kim Steele

Keeping your house clean should have have a positive effect upon you and your family's health. But if you reach for a bottle of questionable chemicals every time there is a spill or fill the air with strange scents to cover bad odors, you are probably polluting your home more than you are cleaning it. And if you have more then 10 products in your cleaning cupboard, it is time to take a serious look at some alternatives.

Steam Cleaners

A steam cleaner can do miracles when it comes to cleaning up grime. Fill the reservoir with water, plug the machine in, and fifteen minutes later you are armed for some serious cleaning. Larger models can quickly clean a variety of floor surfaces, walls, and upholstery. There is absolutely no need to use a cleaning product when you are armed with steam.
A smaller model steam cleaner may be all that you need. Most come with a narrow nozzle attachment, that can be used to blast grime out of all the nooks and crannies that traditional cleaning just can't get to. You will be shocked to see what comes out of the joints of your toilet, the groove of your shower door, the narrow places on your stove top. You will come to understand that your home was not clean before you had a steam cleaner.


Your home will sparkle and you will not have added one iota of toxicity to your environment.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

If you are still using your old t-shirts or terry cloth towels to clean with, you are living in the last century. Microfiber has revolutionized the cleaning cloth. Completely free of lint, and with incredible wicking properties, a microfiber cloth can clean surfaces without cleaners. That means sparkling windows with no funny blue spray, the whole kitchen wiped down with just hot water, surfaces that shine with little effort.

Buy one, you will be hooked. Once you are convinced, buy an arsenal. They're not that expensive. Color code them - blue for the bathroom, yellow for the floors, pink for the windows, orange for the kitchen - you get the idea. That way you keep your bathroom cleaning separate from your floor cleaning, etc. Be sure to follow the laundry instructions for your cloths. Wash them without fabric softener (oh gosh, you don't use that do you?) and hang dry. If you take care of them, they will last for years. They will be your good friends.

Microfiber gives you the power to truly clean and you won't have to breath or touch or absorb anything toxic along the way.


Vinegar

If there is only one cleaning product in your cupboard, it should be white distilled vinegar. This is truly a miracle liquid and it is completely non-toxic. You could even dress your salad with it.

What does vinegar do? Just about anything! Fill a clean spray bottle with 1 cup of vinegar, complete with water and your are ready for action. This homemade cleaner can be used all over the kitchen and bathroom. It will cut grease and remove lime scale just as well as any chemical laden commercial product. It is even a disinfectant, so you can use it to clean the toilet.

Ever notice that your clothes smell like your laundry detergent? Here's why - they're not clean! They have toxic residues all over them. Add vinegar to the rinse cycle of your laundry and all traces of detergent and dirt will be rinsed away. You will then have clean clothes, perhaps for the first time in your life.

Worried about the smell? Yes vinegar is pungent. However, the odor quickly dissipates and it takes bad odors away with it. Try adding sweet orange or grapefruit essential oils to your homemade vinegar cleaner for scented cleaning power.

Once you start cleaning with vinegar, you will begin to understand its power. Soon you will be able to toss most of your commercial cleaners away. That is a huge release of toxicity from your home and life.

Clean at Last

One added advantage of arming yourself for non-toxic cleaning is that you can throw away almost everything in your cleaning closet. So not only will your home be cleaner, it will be a little less cluttered as well.

Steam cleaners, microfiber cleaning cloths, and vinegar can give you the all the power your need to clean your home without adding anything dangerous to your environment. And ridding yourself of toxicity is the only way to have a truly clean home.

Kim Steele is one of the coolest people that I've met through blogging.   She has 2 sites that are totally worth visiting.  First, her "House Cleaning How too's" site is loaded with cleaning tips and solutions to using store bought chemicals.  You can visit her cleaning sites through one of these links:


You can read about Kim and how she came to live in France.  She's a fine French Gourmet Chef with a site dedicated to taking the fear out of French cooking.  It's not very difficult.  I love having a new place to learn about new flavors to experiment when I cook. 

Visit Kim's sites, if you are anything like me, you will totally enjoy what you learn from her.

25 February 2010

Gluten Free Doesn't Mean Hallucination Free

We all enjoyed 6 wonderful days of my mom being free of paranoia.  The hypnosis recording works and it works well.  However, there's a lesson that I've learned,  hypnosis by itself isn't the magic bullet. 

The combination of a nutritious diet, free from gluten (gluten free - extremely limited) dairy, daily exercise and meditation is the proverbial "Magic Bullet."  For now anyway, this is my magic bullet to bringing my mom back, my real mom.  I love seeing my mom, my Ma and she loves being seen.

Yesterday my mom was bored, she found some organic blue corn chips in the cabinet... she ate a few chips.  Within minutes she was paranoid, worried that "the people" were stealing her safe and her money in her purse.

Paranoid Ma is a bit jolting.  It always feels like she's accusing me or someone else in my house (a living person) of stealing her things.  Mostly her money or her purse.  My sister was thoughtful and bought her a portable safe. I have a new job added to my already busy day, I get to chase around after the safe.  Now, my mom is paranoid not only about her purse but the f'ing safe too!

Yesterday, I was finally making progress with my job.  My mom came downstairs all worried about her safe.  She told me that it's gone, someone stole it, as she clutched her purse in both hands. 

I went upstairs to her room and opened her closet door.  There was a blanket on the floor.  I lifted the corner of the blanket and there was the safe.  I said, "Ma, your safe is right here, right where you put it when you were sleep walking." 

"Nope.  I didn't do it.  I didn't put the safe there.  It wasn't me..." My mom insisted. 

"Really?  Who do you think put it there?  No one comes in your room.  You are safe and secure here.  The only people in the house are you, Brian, Rachel and me, we don't need your money or your safe, we have our own."  I attempted to reason with her.  I don't know why I do, maybe I am hoping that a miracle will occur before my eyes and she'll regain her ability to reason.

People need to realize that the demented brain does not use logic or reason like a normal brain, it uses reverse logic.  My sister, I love her... she thought she was helping by getting my mom a safe so that she can lock up her money.  Any logical person would be able to handle a safe, but the demented person... no way.  Now, my mom worries about the safe, her purse and her money; giving her 2 places to lose her money.  The safe is giving her something to worry about at 3am waking her and me to find the safe and money.  I'm ready to throw the safe in the trash.

It has been stormy and rainy for a few days and we have a few more days of stormy weather ahead.  The lack of sunshine seems to have a negative affect on my mom.  Her blood pressure is always higher during stormy stretches. 

I wonder if it's because she isn't getting the extra natural Vitamin D from the sun?  Every day I have her hang out in our sunroom because it seems to help her distinguish between night and day.  The sunshine always gives her a better mood.  She takes 2,000 IU's of Vitamin D3 every day, today I gave her 3,000 IU's.

I also learned the hardway that gluten free doesn't mean hallucination free.  My mom has been hallucinating since yesterday afternoon when she ate the Blue Corn Chips, gluen free corn chips. 

I'm learning first hand that all ingredients matter with my mom.  My mom has become a great healthy food indicator; of course reading labels is good but my crazy mom is even better, her body finds ingredients that are hidden; hallucinations tell me which "health food" she shouldn't eat.  Everything processed, even most store bought gluten free products make her hallucinate. 

Just because something is gluten free doesn't mean it's hallucination free.

24 February 2010

It's Only Too Late When We Are Dead

We are now on our 6th day of my mom's hypnosis sessions.  The 15 minute recording that I had made her is working, PERFECTLY. 

She loves listening to the recording and will put the headphones on herself and sit quietly, listening.  My mom, she gets into it.  She closes her eyes and does the breathing exercises that I had taught her, breathing exercises that are designed to relax and release tension.

My mom, she walks around the house with a smile, happiness has replaced her dreary outlook on her life.  Yesterday she was humming, walking around the house... happy!  She's happy today too.

You see, my mom wasn't able to operate the TV Remote control.  For nearly 2 years I have had to change the TV channel for her; the remote controls were too daunting for her.  My mom lacked confidence, which I believe was a big part of her trouble.  She believed that she couldn't do it ... so she couldn't.

Yesterday I was preparing dinner when my mom comes into the kitchen and says, "Oh Susie, you are so cute.  Look  at you, cleaning and cooking.  You are a good girl."

I turned and it was my MOM, she was standing in the doorway.  Not my crazy mom, but the mom I knew and loved before she lost her mind.  Inside, my heart skipped a beat and did a jump for joy.  The hypnosis is helping her to have better days.

Overcome with joy, I said to my mom. "Ma, that was really nice to say.  Thank you.  But, you know, I learned how to do all of this from you.  You were a very good role model.  Thanks Ma... I love you.  Now, get out from under my feet!" I said with a laugh. 

My entire young years, I was always underfoot in the kitchen, I needed to see what my mom was doing.  Now, the rolls are really reversed, she does exactly what I had done 45 years ago.  My mom chuckled and hummed her hypnosis song walking back to her room, just like a teenager.

I'm able to work durning the day.  My mom isn't looking for me every 10 minutes.  She is able to entertain herself and every day in every way she's definitely getting better and better! 

In my opinion, hypnosis is the missing link.  Using the recording helps my mom to feel more independent.  So much so she thinks that she's OK to drive a car again, of course she won't, not yet anyway.  My mom, she wants to exercise.  She's happy.  She's eating her dark greens.  She is sleeping through the night, every night and she appears to be getting younger.  I look at my mom and I see my mom from 40 years ago. 

My mom, she's beautiful... she's a beautiful old lady.  She's taught me a valuable health lesson, it's only too late when we're dead...

23 February 2010

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts.  (Organic if you can find it. - Trader Joe's has it.)

4 gloves of garlic - minced

4 - 6 cups of fresh spinach

1 cup Fontina cheese shredded

1 cup Low sodium chicken broth

Fresh Sea Salt - ground

Fresh black pepper ground

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Instructions:

Get all ingredients prepared and ready before you begin.  It makes cooking more fun.

Rinse the spinach very well and take off the hard stems.  Put the spinach, wet with the rinse water into a large pot with a lid.  Medium heat - 2 minutes to steam the spinach.  It will wilt.  Remove from the pan and let it cool on a flat surface.  When it's cool.  Wring it out with your hands and chop coarse.  Set aside

Pound the chicken breasts in a big zip loc bag (it's tougher than plastic wrap and can take a good pounding.)  Pound the chicken to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Salt and pepper both sides of the pound chicken breasts.

Put 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on each piece of chicken - spread it.  Place 1/4 of the minced garlic over the shredded cheese.  Place 1/4 cup of the coarsley chopped spinace over the cheese and garlic.  Roll the chicken breasts into a roll (like a jelly roll cake.)  Place 2 tooth picks to hold the rolls together.

Heat the 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large skillet.  I like to use a large cast iron pan.  When the oil is shimmering, gently place each chicken roll into the pan. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brown the chicken on medium high heat for about 12 - 15 minutes.  When the chicken is brown on all sides, remove the chicken from the pan and place them into a glass baking dish.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, put the 1 cup of chicken broth into the cast iron pan and scrap up the bits.  Cook the broth down until it's reduced by 1/2. 

When the chicken is done, plate and put a little of the sauce over each piece of chicken.

I served this with steamed asparagus.

Cook Books that I Can't Live Without

Preparing food for my mom was a challenge, especially when I had just discovered which foods seemed to cause her disturbances.  Hallucinations and sleep walking as my gauge, I was forced to take a new approach with food.

One of my former colleagues and very good friends reads my blog.  She had seen the trouble I was having preparing food that my mom could eat with out causing her to have issues.  I have always taken pride in knowing that I can navigate a kitchen.  But, my mom's restrictions were all the foods I cooked... the only food that I knew how to prepare.  I learned to cook from my mom; not a healthy way to eat.  I believe my mom's lifetime of poor nutrition caused the problems that she has today.

My friend Jo, she mailed me a copy of Dr. Phillip Tirman's "The Wine and Food Lover's Diet" for my birthday.  It was a huge suprise.  The book, it came at the absolute perfect time.   Every recipe that I make from this cookbook is phenomenal.  He teaches how to cook with healthy foods.  It's simple.  The pictures are beautiful and the ingredients are all gluten free.  My favorite recipe is the Meditereanean Spiced Chicken.  It's made with a little wine, corriander, cumin ... fabulous. 

Dr. Tirman's deserts... holy God, HEAVEN.  I highly recommend this cookbook.  He teaches how to use spices and herbs.

The next Cookbook that I can not live without is Dr. John La Puma, ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy


Dr. La Puma found my blog and left a comment with regard to food being medicine.  Something that I have always believed but never lived.  My mom's illness, her Alzheimer's, Diabetes and Heart Disease have all been a huge wake up call for me.  I have 30 years before I'm my mom's age... there's time to fix the damage.
 
Dr. La Puma outlines a weight loss program that does not feel like a diet.  I made Dr. La Puma's Mahi Mahi the other night and it was awesome. You can find Dr. John's recipe here with an instruction video - Miso Glazed Double Sesame Mahi Mahi
 
Note:  If you have never cooked with Miso paste, be cautious, it's not a hard paste.  I thought it was more of a "hard paste" so I squeezed the bottle a little too hard and had Miso all over the place... a mess.  Miso paste, it's supposed to be a little watery.   
 
Dr. La Puma's website is fabulous.  He shows the kitchen chef how to prepare food.  He has a TV Show on Sunday mornings on Lifetime at 9:30 am. 
 
My first cookbook that taught me how to eat Vegetarian is by Marilyn Diamond.  A master of Vegetarian Cuisine.  Marilyn taught me first hand how to prepare food for a healthy life.  For years she was after me to clean up my eating.  She has met my mother and for the last 10 years was worried that if I didn't change my personal ways of eating, I'd be in the same boat as my mother.
 
Of course I listened to my friend Marilyn but I didn't take any action... not until one day I saw my mom hallucinating after she had eaten gluten.  It was in the wee hours of the morning that I had heard an echo from the paste, my friend Marilyn's warning.
 
I was scared straight.  Dementia sucks.  Live with someone who has it for just one day and you too will start to eat more healthfully.
 
These 3 books are my base books for cooking.  They also inspire me to write new recipes.  All 3 of these chef's, Marilyn Diamond, Dr. John La Puma and Dr. Tirman are my personal food heros.  I could not have healed myself and my mom without their cookbooks that are full of food wisdom.  Food is medicine... it's the fuel we need to heal our sick bodies.  It's up to us to take charge and do it now.

22 February 2010

The Gift of YOU Has Power

Yesterday, Marty visited Ma.  She was having a great day.  She made sure that she got dressed up for Marty and had me do her hair. 

Ma could find her words, so she was happy.  She loved sitting around with Marty, Brian and me. 

We gave her a little piece of a gluten and fat free treat... within seconds she was hallucinating.  We won't give her those treats anymore, too much sugar.  What was I thinking?

Yesterday, my mom had a super day.  She had a visit from her baby and boy, did the visit make her smile from the inside out.  Just look at her face in this picture. 

Sweetness!

Thanks Marty... your visit meant more to Ma than you can imagine.  The gift of YOU has power.

20 February 2010

Chipotle Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Arugula Garlic and Pine Nuts

(Sorry... I had no idea how good this meal would be, I didn't take a picture.)

Chipotle Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Arugula Garlic and Pine Nuts




8 Chicken Tenders

¼ - ½ Cup of Gluten Free, Lactose Free Breadcrumbs

¼ Tsp Chipotle Seasoning

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Oven – 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Put 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold all the chicken pieces.

Salt and pepper the chicken tenders and sprinkle with Chipotle Seasoning on both sides of the chicken pieces.

Put the bread crumbs on a plate and cover both sides of each piece with breadcrumbs.

Place the chicken in the baking dish.

Cook for 15 minutes or when the chicken has browned. Turn and cook for another 15 minutes.



While you are waiting for the chicken to cook…..



Arugula, Garlic and Pine Nuts



6 cups of Arugula

3 cloves of garlic chopped

3 tablespoons of pine nuts



In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts. I use a cast iron pan, it does a great job with browning the nuts evenly.

In a large skillet that will hold 6 cups of arugula….

Heat the 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic and stir quickly to let out the aroma…. About 1 minute. Add the arugula and toss with two forks while it cooks. The Arugula will wilt and shrink. Add the toasted pine nuts and serve.

Sleep is AWESOME!

Sleep... it's awesome when we get to have some.  Last night, we all got our rest.... even me!

The hypnosis recording appears to be working great for my mom. 

Last night just before she listened to her recording she said to me, "Susie, I want to find my words. I want to be able to talk to everyone again."


I explained to my mom how I studied Clinical Hypnotherapy and I believe that we can re-wire her brain so that it bypasses the areas that are causing her trouble. Explaining the process to her, she sat attentitively and listened. She was interested in what I had to say!

She asked again, "Susie, please help me find my words, it's what I want very badly."

"Great!" I replied.

Continuing, I said to her, "Ma, one of the messages that I had put on the recording states just that... "I easily find my words!" Using my best hypnosis voice, I began to say the phrase with enthusiasm and lots of happy emotion, my mom began to repeat the phrase with me.

"I easily find my words!" My mom exclaimed.

"Excellent, Ma. Now let's put the headphones on and listen to the recording so that your subconscious hears it. Let's begin the rewiring!"


"See you in the morning, Ma.  I love you!"  I said to my mom after tucking her in.

"Oakey Doakey, Dear, I love you too." She sang.

YES!  She was happy and smiling.  The frown was turned upside down.  Wooo hooo!

My mom woke up after me this morning.  She is happy.  She isn't trying to avoid walking on the dark areas of the carpeting, as though she's going to fall into a hole.  Her speach is clear, free of stuttering.  She is finding her words, the most important thing to my mom these days.

Now as for me, the reason I slept is because of my Valentine's Day gift from my dear sweet husband.  I am at the age where I have night sweats at night with hot flashes.  Nothing worse than being woken up from being too hot and sweating, even when the room temperature is set to 50 degrees F!  My husband, he toughs it out going to sleep in heavy sweats and extra blankets. 

Last week he was getting ready for work and Rachel Ray came on TV.  He saw a clip about remedies for hot flashes, my biggest issue.  If it's not my mom keeping me awake at night, it's the hot flashes and night sweats. 

The women on the show were each given  a remedy to try, including the Chillow, a new pillow.  The women who used the Chillow were genuinely excited about it and talked how well it helped them to sleep.  There was a female doctor on the show who swore by the Chillow for helping women with hot flashes.

My husband... he got me one for Valentine's Day.  Last night, I used it for the first time.  I can NOT believe how awesome my new pillow is.  I slept through the night.  When I felt myself getting hot, I moved my head to a different part of the pillow and I heard sizzling sounds.  The pillow began to get cold and my hotflashes WENT AWAY!  No night sweating either. 

I highly recommend the Chillow if you are having hot flashes keep you awake at night.  I love my Chillow.  I have included a link to Amazon so that you can buy one for yourself and get a good night sleep too.

19 February 2010

Persistence Wins the Race Every Time

Yesterday was not a very good day for me personally.  I saw more "Blue Screens of Death" in one day than I've seen my entire career as a computer programmer.  WTF!?  Needless to say, I spent hours futszing with my machine, getting a little further in the process and then "BOINK" ... Blue Screen of Death.  Thank you Microsoft.  I worked on this problem until about 7pm before I threw in the towel and decided to take a new approach.  Today, I will rebuild my mom's laptop to have only work stuff on it, maybe this will help me to get real work done... my team mates are depending on me.

My mom, she was OK yesterday but she didn't sleep well the night before; her day was not as good as it could have been if she had gotten enough rest.  She couldn't find her words at all.  My mom was in a place where she thoguht she was better than she really was.  A really tough place for her to be in, especially for me the Care Giver.

What went wrong?  Is the question that I was asking myself, over and over again.  Then it hit me... I MADE THE RECORDING WRONG!  It's been a few years since I made one... I forgot the most important component, the binural beat track that would help my mom's brain to be receptive to the suggestions.

Simply, as described in Wikepedia,

Binural Beats are auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove.



The brain produces a phenomenon resulting in low-frequency pulsations in the loudness and sound localization of a perceived sound when two tones at slightly different frequencies are presented separately, one to each of a subject's ears, using stereo headphones. A beating tone will be perceived, as if the two tones mixed naturally, out of the brain. The frequency of the tones must be below about 1,000 to 1,500 hertz for the beating to be heard. The difference between the two frequencies must be small (below about 30 Hz) for the effect to occur; otherwise, the two tones will be heard separately and no beat will be perceived.


Binaural beats are of interest to neurophysiologists investigating the sense of hearing. Second, binaural beats reportedly influence the brain in more subtle ways through the entrainment of brainwaves[1][2] and can be used to reduce anxiety[3] and provide other health benefits such as control over pain.[4]
I remixed the recording and had my mom sit in her chair and listen.  It took me a few times to get her to stay still and listen to it all the way through, it is only 15 minutes long.  The 3rd time she sat to listen, she listened.  She loved the music mix.  I put a new music track on the recording, one with ocean wave sounds and piano, my mom's favorite music instrument.

My mom appeared happier after she sat and meditated with the recording playing in her ears.  She was out like a light within 30 seconds when her head hit the pillow.  Perfect.  The recording worked.  I suggested that she would sleep through the night, getting a restful sleep. 

3am she did wake up to use the bathroom, she walked by her bathroom in her room.  I found her in the kitchen, "Susie, where's the bathroom?" 

I led her back to her bathroom and tucked her back into bed.  She woke up at 7 am, wide awake, alert and able to find her words.  No stuttering this morning.

Sometimes we need to try something else... trial and error.  As long as we don't quit, success will eventually come... that's how I feel with my mom and my computer troubles.  Persistence wins the race, everytime.

17 February 2010

Hypnosis Shown To Reduce Symptoms Of Dementia

Hypnosis Shown To Reduce Symptoms Of Dementia

Experiment: Hypnosis and Dementia ... Rewiring the Brain

The brain has always interested me... always.  I can remember being a little kid of about 8 years old and borrowing a book from the library, "How the Brain Works."  It was an adult book, a book that was way too difficult for me to read, but I tried.  I remember sitting out in my back yard on a hot summer day, sitting in the shade and reading that book.  I couldn't understand the book but it still interested me because it was about the brain.

I have believed for a long time in the power of the mind.  Personally I have proven to myself over and over again that the brain... the human mind can accomplish everything that it sets out to achieve.  Even the impossible is made possible through the abilities of the human mind.  If we can think it, we can become it.

Can hypnosis help to rewire the brain of a demented individual?  I believe the answer is YES

Last night I made a valiant attempt to make my mom's hypnosis recording so that she could listen to it as she was falling asleep.  Unfortunately, I saved the file in the wrong format and it wouldn't play on my mom's mp3 player. 

Knowing that I needed to give my mom suggestions so that her day is better today, I decided to say the phrases from her custom made hypnosis script; the phrases that I had put on the recording which I saved in the wrong format.

Yesterday, my mom gradually got worse as the day went on.  She was reverting back to Uncle Al type behavior.  Walking on a dark spot on the floor or carpet, my mom began thinking that they were holes in the floor.  Gingerly she would step, feeling the dark spot as though she was dipping her toe into the water to check the temperature.  Her words... she couldn't find them.  She was frustrated because she could remember her words the day before but yesterday, she was losing them again.

I changed her bed sheets last night and sprayed them with Lavender mist which I make by putting a few drops of organic lavender oil into a small spray bottle filled with water.  I make sure that her pillows are scented.  Aromatherapy.... why not?  It seems to help.

Part of our new ritual, give mom lots of hugs.  I hug her all the time and tell her that she's safe and at home.  I hug her as I say, "Oh, my little Mommy... you are a good mom."  My mom, she loves it when I say that sentence to her, loves it.  She hugs me back and snuggles me like I did to her when I was a little girl.  Love has a lot of power.  People don't use the power of love enough, love heals.

8 PM, my mom's bed time arrived and I rushed up to tuck her in.  She took her 8 drops of Ashwagandha extract in her little blue shot glass of cold water, one 10 mg Lisinopril for her high blood pressure, 3mg of Melatonin, one 1000 mg of Vitamin D3 and two sprays in her mouth of Bach's Rescue Sleep Remedy made from the essence of flowers.

I helped my mom position herself on her pillows so that she doesn't snore.  She had a serious case of sleep apnea before she lost 90 pounds.  She couldn't wear the CPAP mask at night, she had trouble breathing with it because she has a deviated septum. Sleep deprivation was making her dementia symptoms worse.

My mom was in her sleep position as I begin to gently stroke her head, just as my mom did to me when I was small ... the same thing her mom did to her when she was a young girl.  I began feeding her suggestions, all the suggestions that I had just recorded but wasn't able to put on her mp3 player because I missed the last formatting step.

I began....

It is now ok to feel safe and secure



It is now OK to release fears


Every day in every way I am getting better and better


Everyday my mind is stronger and stronger
My mom began to laugh, she was laughing and laughing as I made the suggestions.  EXCELLENT!  Emotion helps suggestions penetrate the subconscious mind.  Even humor works... I didn't stop, I continued....

I am a worthwhile person

I attract joy into my life

I feel wonderful today
My mom, she settled down, closed her eyes and was out like a light within 30 seconds.

3 AM  - Squeak, Squeak

Mom was up.  I rushed upstairs to help her back to bed.  She greets me in the kitchen, "Where's the bathroom?  I need to find the bathroom!"

I lead her down the hall to her bathroom and then I tucked her back into bed. 

It is now almost 8 AM.  My mom is still sleeping.  I checked on her, she's breathing.  She's got a soft gentle restful sounding breath; she's getting rest. 

Today, it WILL BE A GREAT DAY!  That's my prediction.  It always is when my mom sleeps through the night.  Her recording is ready for her. We will begin the process of rewiring her brain using hypnosis.  From my observations, hypnosis works and works well.  The brain is magnificent with endless potentials and possibilities to give us all happy days right up to the moment we take our last breath.

Interesting Abstracts from the European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis - European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis

Hypnosis Reduces Dementia

16 February 2010

How to Heal Diabetes with Fenugreek and Food

Fenugreek is where we started the journey, my mom and me.  She had her wits but she was an insulin dependent diabetic with injections twice a day totalling 62 units.  If you are not familiar with insulin dosages, this is a lot.  The thought of injecting her with a needle made me shake.  My mom, she was tired of the needle, sick of it.  One day she said, "I'm done with this.  I'm not taking insulin anymore.  Help me."

We changed her diet. 

I began to pay attention to what we ate.  I was unemployed at the time so I did research on food.  I learned about low glycemic foods and what they are and where to find them.  I began experimenting using fenugreek powder in baked goods.  It worked.  I would put 2 teaspoons of powdered fenugreek into the treats that I made for my mom.  She was so happy to be able to eat oatmeal raisin cookies and not have her blood sugar spike. 

Fenugreek in an extract form is what really helped my mom heal and send her diabetes packing.  We were able to maintain blood sugar levels of about 125 - 130 in the morning with just a change in her diet.   She was still consuming wheat gluten, potatoes and rice in small amounts.   By adding the Fenugreek extract to her food or drinks, one drop lowering her blood glucose 15 points within 30 minutes, my mom's morning readings began to drop.  Her morning average had dropped to 100 - 120 as an average morning reading.

I noticed that initially, my mom needed a lot of fenugreek extract.  Over time (about 3 months) she needed less and less.  Now, she only has fenugreek if she has something like Sorbet or Ice Cream.  My mom's morning readings are now between 80 and 100, typically her blood glucose is 88. Her A1C is now 5.4 consistantly. 

Fenugreek helped my mom to heal.  We eliminated all processed foods and noticed that her blood sugar spiking was gone.  No more light headedness, no more dizzy spells because her blood sugar dropped below 60... a danger zone for anyone, especially a diabetic.   From my observations, fenugreek can only heal your pancreas when you cut out all processed foods and eat more dark greens.

Fenugreek will raise blood pressure, but if you exercise and cut out processed foods, bread and pasta included, you will noticed that your blood pressure will come down. 

Fenugreek is great as a diuretic.  Instead of taking Flurosimide, my mom uses Fenugreek when she retains fluid.  However, once she cut out gluten, all gluten from her diet, she doesn't have water retention problems anymore.  Fenugreek works awesome for getting rid of the extra water in your body.  Just a few drops in a cup of tea does the trick. 

My mom has been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's.  I noticed that when her blood sugar was above 125, she'd hallucinate.  This happened every time she ate something with gluten, her hallucinations were more prevalent.  The more gluten my mom consumed, the more I found myself chasing all sorts of spooks out of the house so that she would relax.  Imaginary spooks that only my mom could see.  

No Bread, No Pasta, No Preservatives

Our new mantra became, 'no bread, no pasta, no preservatives."  I prepared all of our food from scratch and as fresh as I could get the food.  It was the end of summer so I was able to pick fresh herbs from the garden.  I began to cook with fresh herbs, lots and lots of them. 

Meats and fish with vegetables.  This was our new diet.  We all began to lose weight, it melted off everyone in my family.  Everyone began to feel better and have more energy.  Our blood work... all of us are getting superb readings.

I observed my mom after she ate certain foods.  I soon discovered that eggplant caused my mom to hallucinate.  I cut out eggplant and she was fine.  Potatoes gave her trouble too, I think it is because it raises her blood sugar and I know from past experience with her that when her blood sugar is high, she hallucinates. 

Gluten, baked goods with aluminum added through the baking powder and soda used... these are things that make my mom hallucinate every single time with out question.  If I want to make myself nuts, I give my mom something baked... she takes both of us on a trip, one that I really don't like.  Easy solution, don't give her baked stuff.

Beef seems to help her when she eats it.  I wonder if it's the L-Carnitine in the meat that helps her.  I know this is one of the supplements that I was told can help reverse Alzheimer's.  She has beef about twice a week.

Food is medicine.  Do yourself a favor and buy the best food that you can get your hands on.  Don't cut corners where food is concerned, it will make you sick and then how will you have fun in life?

The secret to beating diabetes is to not eat processed foods.  Eat healthful foods, foods that are natural.  You can make food from scratch that is so tasty you will wonder why you never prepared food for yourself.  It's not difficult.  It's easy and fun. 

Based on my observations and experiences, pharmaceuticals are not designed to heal you, they are designed to work with the processed food manufacturers, to keep you on the drugs.  It's more profitable for the pharmaceutical companies to have everyone sick and need their drugs.  Processed food is the door that leads you to illnesses and the need for pharmaceutical drugs.  Natural food is our best defense to stay healthy.

Fenugreek, it's a great aid.  Here is a link to all the posts that I had written about Fenugreek if you would like to learn more.

What is Fenugreek
Miracle Cure Fenugreek
Fenugreek - Diabetes Miracle Cure
Who Needs Pharmaceuticals

And this is how to heal diabetes with fenugreek and food.... Bon Apetite!

Hypnosis and the Demented Mind

I've been doing a bit of an experiment with my mom.  I want to see how long the hypnosis suggestions last from the session that I had given to my mom on Friday. 

Last night she woke up at 2 and again at 4:30.  She was just awake.  No hallucinations, nothing was bothering her, she had slept enough. 

The effects of the last hypnosis session lasted 3 days.  It will be interesting to see how well my mom does today after having interupted sleep this morning.

Today my mom will start meditating, using the recording that I'd made for her.  My mom appears more suggestible than most folks that I've used hypnosis.  I wonder if it has something to do with the state her brain is in from the Alzheimer's with Lewy Bodies?

I've observed that when my mom sleeps through the night, her days are outstanding and she's very clear in her thinking, she is present in our world.  She finds words much more easily when she has her rest. 

Hypnosis appears to help her sleep so that all the supplements and vitamins that she takes can do their job while her body is resting.  Sleep rejuvenates our bodies and minds. 

I've heard from a former care giver that some of the supplements that my mom is taking have been known to reverse Alzheimer's... could it be happening to my mom? 

Could we be reversing her Alzheimer's with natural remedies and treatments like hypnosis and Reiki?

Is it because we are working to heal my mom's WHOLE being, Mind, Body and Spirit? 

All I can do is report on the experiences that I'm seeing with my mother.  Today she is clear, talking, finding her words and telling me about dreams that she had with my brother Ed and her brother Auggie.  She knows that they were dreams and not real visits by her son and brother who are both dead.  Today, my mom is able to distinguish between her dreams and reality.  To me, this is a huge break through. 

It's hard to take one day at a time, but I know that I must and enjoy every minute with my mom. 

Yesterday, she began to make a quilt with little circles of fabric.  We'll work on the quilt together so that one day when my mom has left her Earthly body, I will have the quilt to wrap around me when I need a hug from my mom.

15 February 2010

Hey God... We're ready for a miracle over here!

"Susie, I feel like I woke up.  It's so strange.  I can think.  I can say my words.  If only I could stop the stuttering, I'd be normal."  My mom said as we drove up the highway yesterday morning on our way to my sister's house. 

My mom appears to be better, even today.  She's clear.  She's speaking but with a little stuttering; she's getting her thoughts out, she's finding her words. 

Could it be?  Could she be getting better, improving or is this just a fluke?

She's different than she was just a week ago.  A week ago she was like Uncle Al, delusional and lost in her mind.  She was scared and looking for a way to get home, a home that I had no idea how to find for her.  As a Care Giver, it's frustrating when we are not able to bring our wards what they want, all we want to do as care givers is to bring them happiness and peace.

One day at a time.

I don't want to get my hopes up, that my mom is cured and she'll be the mom that we always knew, except healthier.  I do have butterflies of excitment when I think about this as an outcome.  I do have hope and I also believe in miracles. 

One day at a time, is my new approach.  I'll enjoy every one of these phenomenal days with my mom.  Each day is another opportunity for me to show my mom how much I love her while she acknowledges where the love is coming from... Oh joy!  She knows who I am!  She remembers.  She's finding words so that she can communicate. 

Could it be?  Could we be on to a work around for Alzheimer's?  Can hypnosis reprogram the brain of Alzheimer's patients?  I don't have the answer to these questions, not yet.  I believe in miracles... I'm ready for a miracle.  Hey God... We're ready for a miracle over here!

14 February 2010

Ma... She Found Her Mind!

Hypnosis appears to be working for my mom, it seems to be the missing link.  She knows that she's home, she knows who I am and the biggest news, yesterday for the first time she was able to understand the instructions I was giving her for the TV Remote.

Yes!  She was able to call up the guide and move through it to find something to watch on TV. 

I know this doesn't sound like much but for the last 2 years, I've lived my life in 30 to 60 minute intervals, all around the TV, my mom's only entertainment. 

My mom has been diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer's.  If you read past posts, even from just last week, you'll read about the insanity associated with Alzheimer's and the craziness that has become common place in our home.

Today my mom is doing fabulous.  I heard a noise coming from her room a short time ago.  I thought something was wrong... it wasn't, my mom was singing.  She was singing along to a commercial.  When I asked her why, she said, "Oh, I love that song."

Hypnosis... it worked.  I didn't even make the recording yet.  All I did was the pre-talk, I explained to my mom what I was doing and the phrases that I came  up for her.  I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to cause her any internal conflict.  I didn't.  It helped my mom to appear "normal", like she was before she lost her mind.

Ma ... she found her mind!

13 February 2010

Wait a Minute

We had a bit of a rough day yesterday, mostly because I was exhausted and when I'm tired, I think I suck at Care Giving; blind to reasoning that is no better than my mom who is demented.

Every time I go through a rough patch with my mom, as I'm living through it, I often get the feeling that things will stay this way forever.  It's not logical to think this way because I know in my logical mind that everything changes, nothing stays the same, just like the seasons change, so do events that occur in our lives.

So why do I fall into the pitty pit?

I'm not really sure, I suspect it's because I'm human and not a spirit or saint.  I do know that when I'm tired, when I have not had enough rest, I free fall into the pitty pit... sometimes head first.  Yesterday, was a day like this for me.  I was expecting to pay for my emotions with another night of unrest. 

My mom got mad at me yesterday.  She wanted to go out but I was working and couldn't take her out.  Putting her hat and coat on, she told me that she was going out.  I asked her where she was going and she told me that she needed to go to a store. 

Instead of stopping her like I usually do I said, "Ok.  Good luck with that.  Do you know our address so that when the cops pick you up because you are lost you can tell them where you live?"  I walked back to my office.

Later in the afternoon I was bringing a bag of trash out and I noticed  her footsteps on the front walk.  It made me laugh out loud.  She went out, took about 10 steps and turned back and went inside.  I gave my mom her freedom to leave and she decided not to go.

Could it be that I gave her the permission to leave that allowed her to sleep through the night last night?  One of her issues from last week came about because my mom felt like a prisoner.  I wouldn't let her go out roaming, I was afraid she'd get lost.  Yesterday, I said screw it... she didn't leave, the afternoon was much better and she had a good sleep.

I was up at 6am this morning and the house was silent.  This morning I was able to wake up and jump out of bed saying my favorite phrase... "Today is a GREAT Day!"  I love starting my day with a positive mantra; today we will have a very good day because it's what I decree.

I didn't make the subliminal recording for my mom yesterday.  My voice was too tense and I didn't want the tension to come through in the recording for fear that it would have a negative affect.  I waited, like my dad taught me. Today I will make the recording.  If I can have my mom record the phrases in her own voice, that will be ideal.  If not, we have a similar sounding voice and mine could work.

My new mantra on days that appear bad... "Wait a minute Susie... things will change."

12 February 2010

Sleep... Who Needs It?

Care giving for someone with Lewy Bodies Dementia is the hardest job on the planet, well that's my opinion.  No rhyme or reason - EVER; abandonment as a small child, losing her mom to a mental institution and her dad passing from pneumonia, are all issues I'm being forced to address now.

I know I'm not alone.  I know there are other adult children just like me facing the challenges that come with caring for a parent who's lost their ability to reason.  The Care Giver is often left holding things together on their own, siblings rarely step in and help. 

I'm speaking from my personal experience. I have read and heard from so many other Care Givers with similar frustrations because brothers and or sisters do not help much, if at all.  Caring for someone who's dying, who every day wakes up and can do less is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I can't blame my siblings for turning away, it's scary to see a parent dying slowly, first the mind and the body following in step.  In a sense it's easier for me because I'm with my mom every day, I observe her gradual decline daily.  I have the chance to adjust and work through my emotions, it's a gradual acceptance of my mom's condition.  My siblings, they only see her every so often and the decline from one visit to the next is dramatic.  It shakes a person to their core, no wonder they are running away, hiding.  I would probably have the same reaction.

It was easier when my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 49 and died 7 months later.  Yes, we watched our dad go from a healthy strong man to a sick and tired individual.  It was hard to see my dad die so fast when I was only 18, but my family was strong, we got through it all together.  Now it's different, it's even harder watching my mom slowly decline alone with out her family around her.  Instead of months, we have years to go through before mom's inevitable death. 

It's different when the person is old, few come to visit or call to say, "Hi!  How are you?"  My mom, she remembers, she just can't find her words to communicate the way she once could.  Mom misses her family a lot.  She misses my sister the most.  She forgot that this sister chose to not talk to us anymore and is waiting for the call that it's over for our mom.  She could be waiting a very long time.

My mom tells me every day that when the weather is good she's renting a car and driving up to see her.  I go along with her dream, hoping that she'll forget once Spring arrives or better, my sister calls so that we can be a family again.  Only time will tell.

Lying to my mother about where everyone is sucks.  Care givers are forced to lie because if the parent knew the truth,  the Care Giver pays the price of the hurt and anger.  I know from experience that this is true because I've lost precious hours of sleep.  Sleep deprivation is the reward for all that we do as Care Givers.

Sleep... Who Needs It?

Today, I am suffering from sleep deprivation.  It's hard for me to control my emotions when my sleep has been disturbed like it was last night.  My mom, she was up at 3, 4, 5 and again at 6 this morning.  She never had a reason, there were no imaginary people or animals in her room, she was just awake.  No sooner would I fall back to sleep then she was up again. 

It's torturous.  I'm tired.  I need to work today.  Mom needs to stay awake during the day.  She cries if I tell her she's going somewhere during the day, it feeds her abandonment issues.  The problem gets worse and she looks for me constantly, thinking that I had left her.  She has no reason, she can't see that it's not logical for me to go out at 3am.  I'm not a call girl!

How do I handle this?  What can I do to get through to her demented mind? 

It all comes down to creating the subliminal hypnosis recording and having her listen to it.  I've believed for months that this is something that would help her and me to get the rest that we need. Today is the day, I must make the recording, STAT!

Yesterday, I was looking for something in my office and found the microphone and the notes that I had written several years ago which will help me make my mom's recording.  I have written the messages which I'll record and dub with music, soothing music that will tap her brain.  I have a strong hope that hypnosis will help my mom have better days and more restful nights.

Sleep deprivation makes the Care Giver job 100 times harder because we are not on our game, we are tired and need rest.  Unfortunately, we will never rest until the day our parent is resting in peace.  All we can do is make the best of our situation and do something for ourselves every day.  Sleep... Who Needs It?  I DO!!!!

11 February 2010

A Reason to Love My Mother-in-law

Today my Mother-in-law did something that should surely give her a "frontsies backsies cut" to the front of the line once she gets to the Pearly Gates of Heaven. 

MIL noticed that my mom was aching to go outside so she asked her in a sweet voice, "Jo, would you like me to go for a little walk outside with you?"

My mother's reply, "I don't know if the boss will let me go." 

I then pipped up and said, 'Sure you can go, what a great idea.  Rachel can make sure that you find your way back home."

The mom's both put on their coats, hoods and gloves and headed out for a little walk down the street and around the corner.  It was just a 5 minute walk but to me it seemed much longer.  Probably because I found myself worrying about the two of them like a mother hen does over her chicks.

They returned, both of them happy and ready to do it again tomorrow.  I really do hope this becomes a regular habit, it will be good for both moms to get out alone together.

10 February 2010

Tea Time at Bedtime

Sometimes we find the answer to our problems in the most unusual places.  Yesterday morning I was reading one of my prevention magazines and in it was an article about the "weird" food remedies that work to prevent and heal illness. 

The article mentioned dementia patients, even those who were well on their way to death's door, can benefit from drinking Lemon Balm tea.  I never knew this about Lemon Balm.  I had this herb growing invasively at my last house.  In summer I like to pick the fresh leaves and put them into a salad.  The lemon flavor of the leaves adds a refreshing taste to a typical tired salad.

Being a tea lover, I knew I must have lemon balm tea in the cupboard.  I didn't!  I did have a Yogi Tea, a calming tea with lemon grass as one of the many herbs listed.  Mid-morning yesterday, I gave my mom a cup of this tea and it seemed to calm her mind. 

She was willing to attempt to sew after drinking the tea.  She was very alert.  I had forgotten to give her the Cognifactor that I usually give her with lunch to help her mentally navigate the events of the afternoon, it doesn't appear to have mattered because she drank the tea. 

Could the answer be in the Tea, just like the Prevention Magazine article stated?

Excited to see how well my mom did yesterday afternoon, it was easy to draw a conclusion that the tea helped her. 

My mom stayed awake all day yesterday, which is important for her to keep her days and nights in order.  When my mom has a good day, she eats all of her dinner.  On a bad day, she moves it all over the plate like a little kid to make it look like she ate.  I especially love it when she covers the dish with a tissue to cover up what she didn't eat.  However, yesterday was different, she had a good day and ate her supper. 

Her favorite night gown was clean and she was smiling, my mom appeared happy... she knew my name, she knew who I was last night.  It's great when she remembers who I am.  I saw my real mother last night, even if it was for a short time, it was a welcomed visit.

Yesterday while I worked, I thought about my mom and any subtle changes that I had made with her from the time we moved her until now.  Like a shot it came to me...

Bedtime TEA!

When my mom and I lived in my house that we sold, I often made her a cup of tea at bedtime.  I would give it to her in the fancy tea cup that I bought at TJ Maxx about 20 years ago on the clearance table for $5 dollars.  It's our favorite cup to drink tea.

Last night, I pulled out the bed table that I always put in front of her so the Tea Cup and Saucer could have a place to rest between sips.  I made her a cup of tea, just like I always had, only once she moved upstairs in this house, I stopped making her tea.  No wonder she keeps thinking she's got to go home.  Home is where she has tea!

Placing the table in front of her, I could see her brow soften and a Mona Lisa smile began to form on her face.  I set the tea cup and saucer in front of her, the beautiful fancy cup.
Today is a great day!

My mom, she slept through the night, waking at 5am for her one supplement that she needs to take on an empty stomach before taking anything else.  I set her up in her room with the local news and asked her to pay attention to the weather report and the snow storm that is about to blow through our area.

Mom, she is happy this morning.  She slept.  She didn't wake up asking me about her hallucinations like she usually does in the morning.  Today is different. 

Last night was different. 


Tea time at bedtime helped. 

Relaxed, my mom's subconscious mind was able to hear the positive suggestions that I was making; planting seeds so that today we have another great day.

09 February 2010

A Stitch In Time

Last night was an OK night.  I slept through the night but my mom, she got dressed and sat in her room in the dark until I woke around 6am.  I think I heard her around 4:30 or 5 this morning, but she didn't squeak the floor.  I assumed she had gone back to sleep.

Our Internet went out last night around 9p, right after I posted my last post to my blog. 

I began missing the internet immediately, asking myself questions...  How did I ever work from home in the past with just a dial-up line?  How did I get along with out instant information at my finger tips or have the ability to communicate with anyone in the world, from the comfort of my chair?

This morning, anxious to get back to work, I began to try and solve my bad router issue.  I pulled out an old router and began to turn into the Geek I have been for so many years before becoming my mom's Care Giver.  It didn't work.  Oh well, I was ready to wait until tomorrow for the new router to arrive.

I began to work, analyzing code that I'm working on.  The computer was grinding and churning, doing it's work. I decided to dig out all of my old notes and files that I had from the days when I was a Systems Engineer. 

Upstairs, my mom greeted me in the kitchen.  She was becoming bored and agitated from having nothing to do.  My goal for months has been to get her interested in some activity that she can do by herself. 

Knitting?

Knitting was the first activity that I attempted to get her interested in.  She always loved to knit and would make us slipper boots from yarn when we were kids.  I loved those boot things, they made it so easy to slide across the living room floor.  No luck getting her to knit.  Her eyesight isn't very good and she can't maneuver the yarn like she once could.  Knitting frustrated her amd made things worse; she got to see what she couldn't do.

Painting?

Painting was next on the list.  My sister had her paint a few weekends ago.  She painted one painting and then that was the end of painting.  She wasn't interested in it.  Bummer.  The painting will be one we can treasure someday when she's gone.

This morning, while looking for reference materials that I can use for my new job, I noticed a pile of quilting fabric quarters and my sewing machine.  I love quilting during my "spare" time.  Of course I don't have any spare time. I haven't been using the fabric that I have to make all the quilts that I want to make.  That's when I thought, "Yes!  I'll get Ma to make the quilts!" 

Sewing?

I asked my mom, "Would you like to sew?  I have so many quilts to make, maybe you can help me?"

Oh, she loved the idea.  I let her pick out the fabric and began by giving her one simple repeatable task.  First, put all the pins in the pin cushion.  Next, pin the fabric together ... like this.... 

Happily my mom sat in the sunroom with the TV on as she pinned the fabric together.  I would check her work and help her to make it right.  She told me she was having fun, it helps to pass the time.  I'm hoping that she can operate the sewing machine.  It's a simple machine so I don't expect her to have trouble. 

My mom loved to sew.  So many times throughout my life she talked about the coat that she made my sister Ann when she was a toddler.  She had made it from scratch.  She made the pattern with a brown paper bag.  It was her favorite thing that she had ever made.  There's a picture somewhere with Ann wearing that coat.  I do need to find it and add it to this post someday.

Today, it appears that my mom is happy.  She feels that she's got a purpose, even if it is just sewing fabric together for lap quilts.  One day, those quilts will be beautiful reminders of the day my mom made her stitch in time.

08 February 2010

The Hawk Messengers

In American Indian lore, hawks have the ability to travel between both worlds, the now and the hereafter; bringing with him messages for the observer.

Red Tailed Hawks have made their way back into my life, flying over my back yard, with a message for me to receive today. 

Just last week, on Wednesday, one  flew low and glided by my office window.  The sight of this massive bird, took my breath away, I knew it was bringing me a message.  The day I saw the hawk fly low was the day my mom freaked out and cried, she believed that I was admitting her to a nursing home. 

Through the power of love, I was able to overcome this huge upset with my mom.  I got her to believe me, that this is her home and we love her.  It lasted about 5 days. 

Why the setback?

Writing today, I looked out my window and up toward the sky as I often do,  pondering my next thought ... I spot the hawk, flying in circles as it glided on an air current.

What message could the Hawk be bringing to me today, what is it that I need to know or do? 

Looking more closely, I observe a pair of Hawks flying in the sky above my back yard.  Annoyingly, crows attempted to chase the hawks, but the raptors flew unadulterated by the crow's nagging. 

Today, unlike any other day, the hawks flew strong, they flew together in unison, ignoring the 3 black crows who appeared to be on a mission to exterminate the great hawks from my view.

How does one determine the message from the Great Hawk Spirit that visits? 

My mom, she's a little uneasy today, thinking she's got to go somewhere.  She was up at 3:30am and at 5am this morning, she was up and fully dressed, waiting to go somewhere... when asked where she was going, she had no idea.  She told me that "the girl" was coming for her. 
Today I started my new job. Could my job be causing her confusion?  It is a change in our routine. But, something still wasn't right this morning, even after I seemed to talk her off the ledge that she put herself on.  I waited awhile and checked on her again. Upon entering her room, she had her coat ready to put on and a plastic bag filled with random things. 

Her purse.  A clean pair of socks.  A clean pair of jeans.  Two pairs of gloves. 

What hidden meaning is in the bag? 

Hidden clues, inside the bag, silent messages with no apparent rhyme or reason.   Something is making her feel that she needs to go to her "other house"... there is no other house, so what is the underlying cause for her searching for home?

Wherever she thought she was going, was only for the day, she told me that she'd be back tonight.  Uncle Al visited a lot today, he's still alive in a nursing home. My mom is worried that he's coming to live here, she does not want him in living here. I assured her that this is our home and Uncle Al will still live at the nursing home. I'm not sure I got through to her.

My mom was cold today, she told me that she was shivering to the bone.  The thermostat in her room was reading 78 degrees farenheit.  It was hot... I broke out in hot flashes.  My mom was cold and I had to do something.  I knew I needed to help make her feel at home.

The hawks message was for me to pay attention to my mom.  To listen and watch for the clues that could be causing her to be uneasy.  I did.

I heated the heating pad while she put on her pajamas.  I spoke to her in a soft and upbeat voice.  I hugged her a lot. 

We'll see what happens tonight, if she sleeps through to the morning.

Stay tuned.  I feel like I figured it out and that tonight everyone will sleep through the night.

07 February 2010

The House of Cards

Living with the demented is like living in a house of cards; fragile and defenseless against any wind, even the slightest breeze can bring the house down. 

It's easy for a Care Giver to feel as though we are walking on a ceiling of glass, waiting for it to break with the weight of our load.  Care giving is difficult because no one really seems to appreciate what you do.  The main reason that it becomes imperative to have an ego box at your door.  Our duties becomes expected because we've always done it.  No glamore, no pay and no life... this appears to be the life of a care giver. 

Why the hell do we do it then?

I can only speak for myself.  It's because of love.  Love for my mom and love for myself.  I feel honor in helping my mom, not all the time though, I'm no saint.  I do strive toward being "saintly", why not?  It's good Karma and it's just as easy to be nice as it is to be an ass hole.


Navigating through a demented world, it's our responsibility to keep life together for ourselves.  The challenges of balancing our lives while watching a parent move closer toward infancy, closing their circle of life before they take their final curtain call, can often suffocate the care giver.  I know.  I've been there more than once.

Each time it happens, I am forced to reexamine my beliefs, things that I believed to be true... things that were clearly evident as being false, if only I had allowed myself to see with my eyes and not with my heart.  But, life happens and each blip on my journey with my mom makes me ask questions of myself.  I look for answers and solutions, looking outside of the box and looking deep within my soul for a road to peace and happiness. 

Communicating with the demented mind is the most difficult aspect of care giving for those with mental imparement.  It's not only a challenge for the care giver to understand what the loved one needs; the patient has a challenge with self-expression. 

I would imagine it's the frustration that a baby might feel, not being able to tell their parents what they want, it appears similar for my mom with dementia.  Some days she tries like hell to tell me what she wants but can't find the right words.  She will call her grandson her nephew, her brother her son... no rhyme nor reason, just a problem with words. 

Finding words to express the self is a problem that seems to scare folks when communicating with the demented.  Our minds expect a certain word or phrase but it's not delivered, causing our brains to twist and stop.  To me, communicating with my mom is akin to ones brakes locking up and sending ones car spinning out of control.

The more that my mom can't find her words, the fewer visitors she receives.  No one calls her on the phone anymore.  It makes my mom cry, she's waiting for her family... they never come.  She misses the kids she never sees or talks to.  It's tough when she's crying, asking me to find them because she believes that they need us, that they are in trouble.  It's these little exchanges that are toughest on the care giver. 

Like a parent, we want to stop our loved one's emotional pain.  We want to make it all better, just like they used to do for us, but in this instance, we can't.  We can only control our actions.  We can't make anyone do anything, regardless how much you believe that if the siblings got involved our parent would be happy. 

The lesson that I learned is ignore your brothers and sisters who don't want to be involved.  Trying to change their minds or get them involved is a futile effort and a waste of energy.  I know.  I cried way too many hours over the absence of my family before I realized it's stupid to cry because they are afraid to face death through the eyes of our mom.

From experience, communicating with my mom can be done.  It takes a little patience and a lot of listening.  When visiting my mom, folks need to listen to what she's saying, not the words, but the feeling in her voice.  Her tone, the inflection in her voice, all helps provide clues with how to communicate effectively with the demented mind.

Communicating is best done through the heart.  It's emotions that my mom feels.  These emotions transcend time and space, it knows no boundaries.  If someone is upset or aggitated around my mom, she will be more likely to use the wrong word to express herself.  If she's nervous or scared, all bets are off, she becomes a babbling idiot and people around her are frightened, especially her family.

Love is the universal language, especially for the demented mind.  Love is the glue that holds the house of cards together, giving it strength to weather even the toughest storm.

05 February 2010

The Power of Hugs

Our house is finally calm, something that I wasn't sure we'd ever experience until our mom's were both gone.  But, we did it, we have peace in our home.

My mom, she was at a place mentally that sent her spiralling downward; all caused by two words, NURSING HOME.  Those two words together made my mom sob and shake uncontrollably in fear, she does not want to go to a home, not now, not ever. 

Getting through this last bump on my trip down the highway of dementia was no easy feat.  I cried.  I was on the verge of giving up and just saying fuck it, you're going!  But... when I had that thought, the thought of dumping my mother, getting rid of her, it made my stomach sick.  My blood pressure elevated to unhealthy levels.  My stress was so intense that I felt physical pain in my body.  I cried a lot before I realized that crying wasn't going to solve anything, only action on my part; I needed to figure something out.

I read an article somewhere on the web that told me to hug my mom because the behaviors she had been displaying were signs that she was scared.  Wanting to go home, that just meant she was frightened and was looking for a safe place.   Her hallucinations are more prevalent when she's scared, this made my job of turning things around much more difficult.

I had to turn this around!

Initially, she wouldn't hug me back.  She stood still like a board, not offering any emotion in return except for anger.  My mom was angry with me.  She believed that she was going to be put in a shitty nursing home, like the one her brother currently lives. 

Checking my ego at the door, keeping it locked up, is what helped me to get through this last round of upset.  I laughed when my mom got mad.  I couldn't help it.  I was looking at the whole scene like I was inside a movie.  It helped to laugh.  The sound of laughter seemed to shift my mom's thinking from anger to "hey, what's so funny, share the joke with me!" 

Slowly my mom came around.  I gave her positive suggestions using hypnosis techniques, the mind is still suggestible even with dementia.  I also gave her a homeopathic remedy for thyroid, it lifted her melancholy and increased her appetite.  She doesn't eat when she's in a demented spinout.

Life is peaceful in our home once more.  My mom knows that she lives here, today anyway.  I now have her sit in our sitting room next to the kitchen during the day so that she sees the sun.  The TV is easy for her to operate in there, just local channels with a simple remote control.  The sun shines in that room.  It's reminesce of her bedroom that she had in the house that I had bought for us to live, a place that she loved, a home where she felt safe.

Today, I understand the power of hugs so much more.  I love hugging people... I love getting hugs.  Hugs are universal, they do not require any language to be spoken.  To me, a hug is like being wrapped in angel wings of comfort and love by a human angel.

We all need angels, especially human angels that come to our rescue during our darkest hours, filling our hearts with light through a hug.

I've learned the power of hugs and now I'll give them out more freely.  If you need a hug, call me... If I need a hug, I'll call you!  Deal?

04 February 2010

Thumbs Down Good

Yesterday I spent the day doing things that would help my mom feel that she's wanted here in our home.  The talk of nursing homes, the memory of the bus trip and the call from the nursing home looking for her, freaked her out.  It shook my mom to her core, she cried, which shook me to my core.

The memory of my mom sobbing didn't make me feel too good yesterday.  I was up the night before last, wide awake, crying all night.  My heart was heavy.  I didn't know if I could keep going on as a care giver, mostly because I'm tired and need a break from it. 

Explosive shits, nothing like cleaning one up to create thoughts of hopping in my truck and driving away as fast as I can.  As fun as it was to fantasize about getting the hell away as fast as possible, I chose to stare this trouble down, pull myself up and create a positive attitude.  It seemed to be the only solution to a potential nightmare with my demented mother.

A positive attitude rescued me from going to the dark side of life, the place without joy, Hell on Earth.  I don't know about you but Hell sucks.  Especially when you are trapped with a demented person who has the ability to amplify all your emotions.  The secret of escaping this awful place is to leave all negative thoughts in the box by the door.  It's difficult because we the Care Giver need to remember that our ego is the biggest troublemaker and all issues with our wards usually stems from our egos.

Yesterday, my mom was still angry with me.  She sat with a tight face, her angry look.  I always hated her angry look and yesterday, after a night of no sleep, seeing my mom sob and cleaning up shit, it took all I had to see past the angry face and understand why she was frightened.

It all comes down to the thought of being admitted to a nursing home, my mom's greatest fear.  Somehow I was able to convince her that she is staying her with us, that this is her home.  I hugged my mom a lot yesterday, all through the day, I would hug her and tell her how much we love her.  I fed my mom a steady stream of love yesterday, love from my heart and she felt it.  She responded like a wilting flower that perked up and stood tall with just a little attention.

At bed time, I asked my mom, "So, how are you doing?  Do you feel better than you did last night?  My mom replied with a big smile on her face, "Yup, thumbs down!" 

She didnt' mean to use those words, she was trying to tell me that she felt really great.  She continued on as I looked puzzled, attempting to understand what she was trying to say, "I trust you.  I believe you.  I am home."  My mom said to me with a smile.  Her face was soft, the tightness from her fright had lifted, we were all in for a very good night of solid sleep.

Last night, we all got to sleep with God... Amen!

02 February 2010

I'm the Last One...

My mom had a fairly good day.  She was clear and able to change the simple TV remote control that we have set up with regular over the air TV broadcasts.  It works out great for her, giving her the sense that she's improving.

I did my mom's hair this morning, using new rollers that I picked up on Sunday.  Her hair came out really great.  The new rollers made her hair much curlier; she loved the curls and her new hairdo.

After lunch, I promised her that I'd take her out, I needed a few things at the market for dinner.  We had a nice trip around Whole Foods.  My mom pushed the cart all over the store, she was exhausted when we were done.

We got home and I decided to do some laundry before making dinner.  The phone rang.  I didn't hear it until I heard a voice, it was Blaire House talking to my mother!  My mom picked up the phone and then I picked up an extension.  I began talking, my mom was listening. 

I went upstairs with the phone and my mom had placed the extension phone on the table next to the chair.  She began to walk around me, not taking her eyes off me, keeping her distance.   She was scared... OF ME!

Blaire House wanted to know why my mom hasn't been there.  I told them that she's been sick.  I also told them that the bus ride scared the shit out of her and she doesn't want to go. 

My mom, from whatever she heard, she believed that I was calling "the nut house" to have her admitted.  She went from cool and calm to a total nut case. 

Today I needed patience.  It took a lot to be calm and talk her off the ledge she put herself on with wild thoughts.  It is my fault, I opened up the proverbial Pandora's Box, my mom's greatest fear is going to a nursing home; this week I brought those words up several times.  She thinks that she's going tomorrow.

My heart is heavy and it aches.  Tonight, for the first time in my life, I saw my mom cry because she was scared.  It was like no sight I have ever seen.  Her lip quivering, eyes welling with tears as she blubbered out, "I'm the last one, it's my turn to go to the nut house.  My mother, my sister, my brother and ... NOW ME!!!!!!!!!!  Booo Hooo tears that I have never seen, poured out of my mom's eyes.

My eyes filled and I climbed in bed and laid next to her.  I hugged my little mom, who laid crying in bed, shaking from the fear of the thought of going to a nursing home. 

"Susie, do you know what they do to people in those places?"  she cried.  I cried.  I sobbed along side my mom.  I felt her give up on living.  She started to tell me to leave.  I wouldn't.  I stayed.  I reassured her that when she sees me she's home.  I told her that she's staying home tomorrow.  I gave her Reiki and prayed.  I said the Hail Mary, I prayed to Mary with all of my heart.  I prayed for my mom to have peace.

My mom wouldn't stop crying.  I started to sob, sitting up in the middle of the bed, crying.  I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to calm my mom.  Nothing was working because I wasn't calm... I was stuck in a bad place, I needed a miracle.

Crying got through to my mom, she heard her daughter crying, she embraced me and told me to stop, that everything is OK.  We stopped crying.

Tonight during the craziness of bedtime, my mom told me that she was sad because she wasn't going to see anyone anymore.  I asked her what she meant.  She couldn't tell me.  She cried.  Her face was white as a ghost.  She believes that tomorrow she's going to a nursing home to live.

My mom, she's horrified to go to a nursing home.  She's seen them all her years, with her mother, sister and brother all in a convalescent home; she's scared.  She's afraid of abuse.  She's afraid of all the scary things associated with a home.

She's not going to a home, not tomorrow. 

Tonight, I went upstairs for water and saw my mom awake.  She saw me and ran around the corner to hide.  I went to see if she was OK.  Well, I gagged.  The clean sheats and mattress pad that I JUST took out of the drier and put on her bed, soiled.  Oh well. 

My mom, she was scared when she made a little mess, for years I told her that when she can't control her bowels, it will be time for a home.  God... what awful timing for her bowels to let go, tonight of all nights.

Of course I was gentle with my mom.  Not making a fuss and getting clean sheets on her bed.  I sprayed them with lavender scented water and dabbed lavender oil on the pulse points of her wrist and behind her ears and one at the base of her throat.  She drifted back to sleep as I smoothed her hair behind her ear and told her that everything will be OK.