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.

23 December 2012

The Awakening

Ma with hollow eyes
October 17, 2012
Could it be? Is Ma getting better?  Have we found a solution to the "crazy gene?"

The last few months have been a wild emotional ride.  My mom was declining again, unable to speak and walking was becoming more difficult for her; mom needed to be held up, she tried to sit as we walked short distances.  I stopped trying to get her to walk because she seemed to be forgetting how to use her legs.

Ma's eyes were hollow, she had what I began to call the "death stare."  It was as though she was in another world.  I was left wondering if she was living in the realm of the dead whenever she got the hollow eye look.  It was sad to witness but it was fascinating, where was she?  Was she with my dead relatives?  I was ready for the call from the nursing home nurse, telling me that my mom had passed.

Then...

I got an email from our Naturopath Doctor, Dr. Barton.  He told me that he may have found a solution to my mom's dementia.  

"What?!"  He caught my attention.

It's a long story, Kismet.

Short story... Brad Pittman cured his mom's dementia with Lysine.  He wrote a book about his mom's rise out of her mental fog; his book, "Ma Is Back" gave me a sense of hope.  

I began to ask myself questions.  Could it be?  Could my mom get well?  Will this simple solution work for my mom's dementia too?  

My mom started taking Lysine, the amino acid on November 1, 2012.  Immediately, she had improved cognition.  She began communicating with the nurses.  She tried to start conversations with other residents.  Mom, she began to feed herself again.

Today, mom knows who I am again.  No longer am I her "mother."  When asked who I am she will look at me, smile and then answer, "Oh, that's my daughter Sue." 

It is a miracle.  My mom, she is coming back too.  

I have so much more to say about Lysine, but I will save it for another post.  All I can say with confidence is my mom is getting better.  She smiles.  She laughs.  She is beginning to say phrases like, "Oh, I was meaning to tell you..."  Clear as a bell, words that my mom often said to me.  

Friday, I told her about some old Uncle Al videos that I had transferred to DVD.  My mom lifted her head and said, "Is he still alive?"   I lied.  I told her that he is living with Maryann in New Hampshire.  Uncle Al, Ma's brother, passed almost 2 years ago; she never knew.  I couldn't tell her when it happened.  I didn't think she would be able to handle the news in her demented state of mind.

Mom, she is waking up.  She knows she is getting better.  Dr. Barton told us it could be 6 - 12 months before she is dementia free, time will only tell.

All I know is visiting my mom is fun.  I never know what she will say or do.  It is like watching an 83 year old baby grow and relearn skills that were once taken for granted.  Soon, she will begin physical therapy to help her walk with a walker. 

My Mom feeding herself, smiling, laughing and talking to me
November 7, 2012

12 October 2012

The Strength of the Human Spirit

Mom, cruising the halls with her baby
If there's one thing that my mom is continuing to do for me, even while in her demented state of being, is teach me about life.

Mom's health was declining over the last year and in February of this year I believed her end was coming soon.  I had to be ready.

Alone on a cloudy day, I went and made arrangements with an undertaker and picked out an urn.  The urn is a double one, usually meant for a husband and wife, but I thought my mom would like to have her son Ed next to her six feet under with my dad.  Mom's final request before she totally lost her ability to reason and speak was to have Ed's name on her headstone so that people would know that he existed.

I called Mass General and talked to the folks who take body donations.  My mom is all set to help advance science.  The undertaker will take my mom to Boston after her death, where the doctors will remove her brain and whatever else they want to remove.  It takes about 6 hours for the procedure at Mass General.  The undertaker will go back and pick up the rest of her remains and then perform the cremation.  Once everything is said and done, I will get a detailed report a few months after her passing and we will know for certain if she has Lewy Bodies Dementia or something else.

The service will be small and held at the cemetery chapel with family and friends who wish to come.  This has been one big long good bye; I sure was ready for her end.  Care giving for my mom and carrying the burden alone nearly killed me.  I got sick, very sick.

Glad I survived to write about the experiences.

Juicing fresh organic vegetables improved my health dramatically.  Driven to help give my mom more good days than not so good ones, I began to bring my mom some of the juice I was making with beets.  I thought it just might help her have better days.  My mom, she came alive.  Her health improved and she began to have good days every day.

August 15, 2012, my mom was discharged from hospice services.  She is doing very well as of the writing of this blog post.  My mom's got a strong spirit.  Obviously she isn't ready to die or she would have died by now.

Who would have guessed that I would enjoy visiting my mom at the nursing home?  Every day that I get to see her alert, happy, talking and walking is heart warming; I am doing exactly what I set out to do; give her good days until her end.

I don't worry about my mom.  Her care team (I am part of it) is amazing, we all work together with my mom's well being in mind.  It takes a lot of work to raise a parent, but the joy I feel when mom recognizes me for who I am is the greatest gift of all.

I captured one of our exchanges in this video.



Every nice day I took mom outside this past summer.  We would listen to music and chat.  Talking to my mom is like doing a puzzle that has tiny pieces.

26 July 2012

It's All About Her

Ma on her 83rd birthday, holding her baby and enjoying a gluten free cupcake
My mom is doing very well, much better than expected considering her fight with dementia.  Homeopathic Medicines, food and excellent skilled nursing care, keep her calm, comfortable and happy.

"You are so cute!"  I witnessed mom saying to her baby the other day when I visited her.  She kissed the doll and gently stroking its head like I often saw her do to her grandchildren decades ago.  Adorable in so many ways; tears came to my eyes.  I thought to myself, what a precious moment; I sure will miss her when she dies.

One day I visited mom and she was agitated.  I asked what was wrong, "the man, he makes me panic." Mom wasn't sleeping at night because she was scared.  We needed a solution, I needed to convince my demented mom that all the problems have all been resolved and she is safe.

"Ma, do you want me to call Dream Master?  You know he always fixes the troubles with all the people who tend to bother you."  I offered.

"Oh, could you?"  She replied.

I picked up the black phone prop in the activities room and began to dial.  I pretended to talk to Dream Master and did my best to be believable to anyone listening, especially my mom.  Eyes fixated on me, mom listened to my "phone conversation."

"Hello?  Dream Master?  This is Sue. Yes, I know, it's been a long time.   Well, there's a man at night that is making my mom panic.  She is worried and it is causing her to lose sleep.  Can you help?  You can?!  Oh, that is terrific.   Ohhhhhhh!  Awesome!  You mean everyone is protected, that you have the shield of protection around the whole house?    Super!  I will tell her.    Thank you Dream Master."

I hung up the phone.

Mom was relieved.  "I didn't think he remembered me."  My mom said.

"Sure he remembers you!  You are his helper.  He appreciates you finding the lost souls and helping him to bring them back home."  I reassured her that everything was just like it always has been, she is safe and secure.

Dream Master often helped me to ease my mom's anxiety, a fictitious character that I had learned about on the internet a few years ago.  It worked for all of her night terrors when she was living here with me.  I was relieved that Dream Master continues to have a calming effect on mom.

My call to Dream Master happened about a month ago.  Mom has been sleeping through the night every night; every day is a good day.  Rest is contributing to my mom having more good days; a challenge for anyone with Lewy Bodies Dementia.

Mom is content.  She is funny with one liners that tickle anyone within earshot.  Mom still has her sense of humor, her dementia has not stolen her funny bone.  She has always loved to make people laugh.

"Hey, how come everyone else has nice shoes but me?"  Mom exclaimed out of the blue.  Mom loves shoes and noticed when I arrive in a new pair.

I have observed that the positive changes in my mom began with me.  Looking in the mirror one day several months ago, I asked myself, "Sue, what can you do to change YOU so that you can create the life of your dreams?"  Knowing that I can only control myself, I focused my attention on becoming stronger and happier.  Only I have the power to make myself happy, so that is exactly what I set out to do.

I began to take care of myself, really take care of myself.  I stopped worrying about what anyone thought of me and chose to be happy with who I have become as a person.  I believe in myself with strong conviction.  I smile more.  I am spontaneously singing again.  I lost weight and continue to lose weight.  I relaxed and stopped complaining.  I thought of potential solutions to all the things that were not right around me, took action and immediately my life was lighter. 

Once I made the decision to change how I approached my mom being in a facility, something amazing happened.  My mom became happier, she now smiles more.    My behaviors and mood affected my mom's quality of life.  I am happy, my mom sees me happy and now she is happy.  Beautiful.


Extending outside of myself, I began to watch other families and how they reacted toward their loved one in a dementia unit.  A common theme:  when families are upset, the emotion can not be hidden from the person with dementia.  Upset and negative energy will always cause the resident to become uneasy.

I have noticed that after a whirlwind of emotions has come through mom's dementia unit, all the residents became more agitated; my mom included.  The staff seemed to have a more difficult time keeping folks calm.  Residents are helpless to do anything to solve the problem that is being heard.  


How frustrating it must be for a parent to hear their child upset, crying and angry with everything; the parent is now mentally impaired, unable to communicate and offer comfort.  I regret being a lunatic in front of my mom.  Live and learn.

The most difficult hurdle to overcome as my mom's Care Giver was dropping my ego and understanding that everything between my mom and me stopped being about me the day she got sick... it's now all about her when I visit.

My focus is on my mom, happy talk and keeping my emotions in check. Putting my ego away when I visit her allows us to have a great visit.  I get to hear some of her one liners that make me laugh or watch her adore her baby.  I am fortunate.

12 July 2012

A Dream Come True

It's been an incredible few months for me since my gall bladder attack.

I've been sticking to my new way of eating and feel better than I have felt in decades.  I am losing weight effortlessly.  I am eating food that is both delicious and nutritious.  I have lost 30 pounds and still dropping weight.

Looking at my reflection, I find myself looking behind me for someone else; can it really be me?

It is.  I look younger.

My garden is the best garden that I have had in a very long time.  I spend hours in the garden and it is beginning to bear fruit.  Nothing better than picking fresh herbs and vegetables to use in my favorite recipes.

For the first time in five years, I am happy.  Life is coming together for my husband and me; my mom is still alive!

My mom is happy.  She hallucinates still, but the hallucinations bring her comfort and joy.  

Visiting my mom is fun.  I look forward to seeing her and anticipate what funny things she will say.  She loves seeing me too.

My life is a dream come true.




22 May 2012

Sue's Barley Breakfast

Steamed Barley with Raisins, Pine Nuts, Flaxseed and Coconut Oil

Ingredients


1 Cup Pearl Barley
2 Cups filtered water
½ Cup Organic Raisins
2 Tbsp Pine Nuts (toasted lightly)
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed
2 Tbsp Organic Coconut Oil

Instructions


Cook the Pearl Barley in a steamer (it is easier and comes out perfect every time.)  Rinse the barley in a fine sieve.  Put the rinsed Barley in the steamer bowl and add 2 cups of filtered water.  Steam for one hour or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the barley. 

When the barley is cooked, add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Top with a dollop of Crème Fraiche or almond milk.

How to Make Homemade Crème Fraiche





18 April 2012

Where Have I Been?

It's been awhile since I sat down to write a blog post.  Not that I am at a loss for something to write about, it's quite the opposite; lots to say with little time to write.

My health has taken the front seat.  I have realized without health, we have nothing.

It's time I begin to care for myself.  I am.  I am feeling better.  I am learning about food; it is powerful medicine.

I still have my gallbladder with 2 big gall stones.  I've been managing the painful symptoms using food.  I am on a mission to keep my gallbladder, avoiding surgery and opting to heal myself.  My mom taught me that the body can heal.  I believe that my body can be whole and healthy again.

I have changed my diet, experimenting with different whole foods and fenugreek (it could potentially dissolve gallstones.)  I've lost 17 lbs., weight I gained over the last year since my mom was placed in a home.  My cloths fit again.  I have energy to exercise and stage my home for living.

Acupuncture, massage, meditation, whole foods and fenugreek are in my treatment plan.  Everyday I am getting stronger both physically and mentally.

My mom is doing OK.  She has a UTI that will never go away, it has colonized.  Mom's infection is resistant to all antibiotics except one, penicillin.  Mom's allergic to penicillin.

Natural medicine, including whole foods are being used to manage mom's symptoms and keep her comfortable.  Everyday mom drinks beet, carrot and celery juice; it puts her in a good mood.  She is able to communicate and walk when she drinks the juice.

I am grateful for mom's nursing home care providers.  All of them are giving me peace of mind so that I can take care of myself.  Thank you.

Within the next week, I will resume posting regularly to this blog.  Please excuse my absence and thank you for taking the time to read my posts.




27 March 2012

Surgery Cure for Diabetes.... Seriously?

Who knew that diabetes can be "cured" by lap band surgery?  When I saw a news report today, where a medical doctor was touting that diabetes can be cured by surgery, I nearly fell off my chair in disbelief.  Surgery to cure diabetes... seriously?

In my opinion, the doctor was less than truthful.   He never answered questions about a change of diet to naturally cure diabetes.  He didn't seem like he wanted anyone to know that whole foods will cure diabetes. His whole reason for being on the "so called news" this morning was to SELL his procedure.

The new lap band procedure for diabetes makes no sense at all to me except that someone is making money on the backs of obese individuals with diabetes.  I wonder how many new yachts these surgeries will be funding?

I have personally witnessed and helped my mother who was 125 lbs. overweight and an insulin dependent diabetic taking 62 units of insulin everyday.  My mom was obese.  She failed on her own at attempts to lose weight, she had no energy.  She ate processed foods and very little whole foods.

Life happened. 

I began my blog, Back Door Logic where I documented my experiences as my mom's care giver.  I wrote about how my mom got off insulin and her Lewy Bodies Dementia condtion.  I discovered that food matters and if you eat processed foods, you will more than likely become diabetic.  

If you want to keep eating stuff in a box or GMO foods that have been genetically engineered or sprayed with pesticides, you can expect a life dependency on pharmaceutical drugs.  The lap band procedure is  dangerous and risky surgery; it's elective surgery.   Surgery is a crazy solution because it isn't going to change how someone thinks about food.  People can continue to eat the processed foods that got them in their obese state in the first place.  

The only way to stop diabetes is to change your diet, period, end of story.  You don't need surgery to change your diet.  I am convinced that 10 years down the road we will be hearing how folks who had the surgery are insulin dependent again and the surgery was a waste of everything.

It has become apparent to me that processed foods create a need for synthetic drugs.  Observing my mom's progress using food as medicine, I had discovered that the American diet doesn't provide the  body with enough nutrition to heal itself let alone keep us drug free.  Processed foods are not nutritious; read the labels and see for yourself.  

Do you ever wonder why so many people are so fat these days?  I am asking myself more and more, is this so called phenomenon of a diabetes epidemic intentionally created in order to sell more drugs or procedures like lap band surgery?  What other great ideas will the "scientists" come up with in order to keep everyone a slave to medicines?

In my opinion, healing people isn't profitable for the pharmaceutical industry or even some in the medical community.   Are new illnesses manufactured in order to promote profitable drugs and procedures?  Seems like a big scam to me and everyone is at risk.

Doctors wonder why people don't trust them like our parents did 50 years ago.  It's easy for doctors to be enticed with wealth and recognition.  It sort of reminds me of animals who eat their young, no compassion, only concern for self preservation.

In a nutshell, save yourself the pain and dangers of surgery; eat better, it works.  You can naturally drop weight once you begin to give your body the nutrition it is craving.  It isn't difficult.

Eat REAL food.

Whole foods are the only real foods because they help the body heal itself; real food can not be patented, it is not profitable for anyone except organic farmers and the consumer (you and me.)   Food is your best medicine for good health and a happier life.  

It is possible to kick the processed food habit.  I did it.  My 82 year old mom did it... she even beat diabetes, you can too.

Posts that I have written about food and curing diabetes:

What is Fenugreek
Fenugreek - Diabetes Miracle CureWho Needs Pharmaceuticals


23 March 2012

Beet Juice and Lewy Bodies Dementia

Ma on March 21, 2012
Alert and enjoying music entertainment;
One week after daily beet, carrot and celery juice

"Hi!  I've been waiting for you."  My mom greeted me on Wednesday when I visited her.

My mom was alive, she was alert and she could walk.

Mom, March 7,2012
Before she began drinking
fresh vegetable juice everyday.
One week earlier, my mom slept all the time and had trouble walking even a short distance.  It pained my heart to see her so weak, even though I know her end is coming.  I felt myself missing my mother and silently reminisced, thinking of all the time I did have with her.

It's never easy to lose a parent.

Since I have been home from the hospital, I have begun to juice.  We bought an inexpensive juicer that has power (Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro) and it's easy to clean.  Every day, I make vegetable juice to drink; my medicine is whole food.  It's working.  I have not felt as good as I am feeling in years.  My varicose veins are going away!

I started to bring my mom vegetable juice made with beets, carrots and celery.  Something wild happened, my mom seemed to wake up.  Her cognition has improved.  She is able to walk long distances again.  Today, I am going to see if she can handle going out for a ride in the car.  I never thought she would be able to go out in the car again, now I have a glimmer of hope.

Amazed with the positive changes in my mom, I searched the internet for information that would validate my assumption.  I wanted to know if there is scientific data to back up what I was witnessing with beet juice and dementia.  I found it.  Beet juice does help dementia folks, especially my mom with Lewy Bodies Dementia.

Here's one of the articles that I had found:  Beet Juice Boosts Brain Health In Older Adults

More and more I am learning and experiencing first hand the power of whole food as being the best medicine.

Can real food cure all that ails us?  Is whole food the best treatment for Lewy Bodies Dementia?  If I had my care giving with my mom to do over again, I would have started juicing vegetables a long time ago.  I wonder if juicing would have given her way better days when she was living at home with me?

I may never know the answers to my questions, but I do know that whole foods; beets, carrots and celery combined are powerful medicine with NO nasty side effects.  It's easy to test for yourself, try it and see how it works for you.

My conclusion:  Whole food is the best medicine to all that ails us.




14 March 2012

Lessons Learned As A Care Giver

Care giving for my mom contributed to my poor health.  I don't know how it happened, how I fell out of the habit of eating well and exercising.

I cooked every day for my mom when she was living at home with me; making food that would help give her more good days, using food as medicine.  It worked.

Everyone in my house felt better when I was cooking every day.  It was stressful for me, trying to make food that everyone would eat.  Often I found myself preparing 2 or 3 different dinners in order to satisfy everyone's palate.  The preparing of vegetables, the cooking and the cleaning, consumed a good part of my day.  Some days, I didn't feel like cooking.  I forced myself.

I compromised my own health to try and make everyone happy.

You know what happened?

No one was happy, not even me!

The holidays brought "Wooo Hooo Time!"  We drank and ate the American diet.  It was the big last hurrah before I became physically ill.

The stress from care giving is real.  It is a silent killer.  Care Givers, we are in automatic pilot when we are in the midst of the "doing."  We are constantly in reactive mode.  Ready to jump at any time, day or night.  Rarely do we sleep; one ear is always open.   The stress I experienced was so intense that I could feel my inner self shaking; it became a "normal" feeling.

From my experience, we care givers forget about ourselves.  Folks tell us, "take care of yourself."  But no one tells us how or comes forward to carry some of the burden so we CAN take care of ourselves.

I don't know how I could have cared better for myself with my circumstances.  I feel many care givers who are in the thick of caring for a loved one have high stress too and are lost.  I don't have a solution to offer.  Unfortunately, based on my personal experiences, no one cares about the care giver, not family, not doctors ... no one.  It is lonely and difficult to cope with the burden of being a care giver for someone who is terminally ill.

Nursing home wait lists do not exist.  You may be told that you are on a wait list but when you call to see if there's a bed available, the same answer is parroted,  "No, sorry, no bed available."

All nursing homes are alike.

Just because we place our loved one in a facility doesn't mean our care giving duties are over.  It's important to stay involved with the care being provided.  Creating a happy environment for our loved ones takes work, it requires everyone to communicate.

I spent 7 months at the nursing home; every day I visited.  At the beginning of my mom's stay, I was at the nursing home both day and night.  My mission was to educate folks on Lewy Bodies Dementia and show them techniques on how to communicate with my mom to ease her agitation.  It was a struggle. I did not give up.

Fortunately, I was heard.  I wrote a lot of letters.  Changes occurred.  The nurses who are part of my mom's care team are phenomenal.   We communicate.

I am grateful for Mom's nursing home.  Unable to visit Mom for 10 days, the staff at the facility stepped up their game.  Mom was okay, she was not agitated; thanks to the homeopathic remedies she is given every day.  She lost about 7 pounds while I was sick. I couldn't make and bring her sandwiches.  The facility gave it a good effort, they made her sandwiches that she didn't like.

Mom has declined since I got sick.  She always seems to fall asleep when I visit these days.  She can't walk as far as she once was able to walk, her legs are sore.  She doesn't really recognize me; it makes me sad.  She does recognize my voice when I call out to her when I see her, "Hi Ma!"  I exclaim in a happy voice.  "Where are you?"  She replies with eyes closed as I am standing in front of her.

As for me, I am going to live.  I finally decided to see an MD to get myself checked since being in the hospital.  Not sure where to turn, I visited the only medical doctor on this planet that I trust... my mom's doctor.  I saw him yesterday and he told me that I am on the right track.

I've been using food as medicine on myself.  I feel better.  I am choosing to keep my gall bladder and doing everything that I can to solve my digestion issues.  Acupuncture, Reiki and Massage Therapy are helping me to heal and release the stress that I had built up over so many years as my mom's care giver.

I have learned how important the liver and gall bladder are to good health.

I have given up coffee, alcohol, dairy and all gluten.  I am done eating processed foods, nor do I eat out in restaurants.

The pain in my right shoulder is gone.  I am sleeping at night again.  No more night sweats and hot flashes.  I have lost 26 pounds since I got out of the hospital.  I feel better.  My cloths fit again.  I am on the mend.

If I had this to do over again, I would not waste my time visiting nursing homes and getting on a wait list.  Wait lists do not exists; not when the home realizes the patient has Lewy Bodies Dementia.  I would visit homes that have beds available and pick one on the spot.  I have learned that all facilities are the same, what makes the difference is the patients advocate and family visiting their loved one once they are placed.

The false hope of a bed opening "soon" was torture.  I waited a long time.  The waiting was hard and made more difficult by family that didn't understand the burden I was carrying alone.  It was hard to forgive, but I have forgiven everyone. Not sure if I will be forgiven but at this point in my life, I don't care, the ball is out of my court.  I can't control how anyone in my family reacts to the tragedy of our mom's terminal illness or me.  All I can do is take care of me the best that I know how because this journey with my mom is not over yet. Mom still needs me.






08 March 2012

My Cure For White Coat Syndrome

I am feeling better; finally pain free!  I still have my gall bladder.

My blood pressure has returned to normal.  I stopped taking Cordyceps which I had been taking to keep my blood pressure low and my cholesterol good.  

Today, I woke up and prepared breakfast for myself.  I took my blood pressure and it was 143/84.  I had a little headache so I decided to eat a small stalk of celery.

Within 5 minutes, I took my blood pressure again and it was down to 117/74.  

Celery is amazing.

It is a natural nerve tonic.  It has chemicals in it that flush stress from the body and relaxes the blood vessels so blood can pump without extra work for the heart.

I have witnessed the power of celery first hand.

Take the celery test yourself.

Take your blood pressure.  Eat one stalk of celery.  Take your blood pressure again.

Celery, it lowers my blood pressure.  It keeps me calm.  I can assure you, the next time I visit a doctor, I will be seen munching on a celery stick in the waiting room.  Finally, a cure for "White Coat Syndrome!"


06 March 2012

The Celery Cure for High Blood Pressure

My blood pressure is gradually coming down.  It had gone up 10 points a day while I was in the hospital.  It is coming down by 10 points every day now that I am home.

One of the things that I had learned while caring for my mom is the power of celery.  It lowers blood pressure fast.  I have been eating a lot of celery lately.  If you feel your blood pressure rising, eat some celery.

In the hospital, my husband remembered the celery cure for high blood pressure.  We asked the dietitian for a stick of celery.  She looked at us like we were nuts and told us that they don't have celery.


I am grateful that I cared for my mom all those years.  It's because of my experiences with my mom that I am able to help myself today.  All the the time I sacrificed is allowing me to help me to save my life.

I love my mom; demented and still able to help me.

04 March 2012

I Am Alive! I Survived the Hospital.

The last seven days of my life have been like one out of a science fiction horror movie; the kind that made me lose sleep at night when I was a little girl.

I never had the Gall Bladder surgery, my blood pressure was crazy.  No matter how many pharmaceutical drugs I took, nothing worked.  My surgery was on again, off again.  The first time it was cancelled was because of my blood pressure.  The plan was that I would go home, get my blood pressure under control and then schedule the surgery.  

I had a fever like I have never had in my life Monday night into Tuesday; surgery... ON.

Everyday, I watched my blood pressure rise by 10 points.  Nothing was working.  

Everyday, the Pharma Goon Squad came into my room and lectured me on managing my blood pressure.  

"I DO!  I just don't do it with pharmaceuticals.  I see a Naturopath Doctor, he recommends alternatives that are working for me.  I couldn't take my supplements because I was vomiting bile."  I attempted to explain how I care for myself.  

It was as though I had no voice and no say about ME!  I was chained to a bed with an IV needle in my arm.  Pumping me full of fluids, continuously, Sodium Chloride.  My fingers were swelling like balloons.  I had to take off my wedding ring.

"Hey, do you think pumping all this Sodium Chloride into me is causing my blood pressure to go up?  Too much Sodium Chloride is known to raise blood pressure."  I asked the nurse.

"Oh no, it's different.  It won't raise your pressure."  She answered like a trained monkey.  It made no sense to me, sodium, is sodium.

My surgery was cancelled at the last minute because my blood pressure wouldn't come down.  It was 200/100 and rising.  The surgeon feared that I would die on the table.  

"Ok.  Fair enough, when can I get out of this hell hole?"  I asked.

Let me tell the story of how we got to where I am today, it is all true... every word.

Sunday, the ER folks did a great job to keep me comfortable.  The ER Doctor was awesome.  He gave me confidence.  

Gall Bladder pain is the worst pain I have ever experienced.  It lasted about 13 hours.  The nurses who cared for me were amazing, they all made sure that I was pain free.  God love them for that... please.

Monday, I woke up and that's when the Blood Pressure lectures began.  Every one lectured me... no one would listen.

I have one lapse in judgement and everyone thinks I am "one of those junk food junkies" and needs to be on pharmaceuticals.   It is unheard of to have someone without at least one pharmaceutical that is taken for one thing or another.  It felt like the vultures where hovering over my bed when the students would come around every morning with the Hospitalists.

I asked the Hospitalists on Tuesday morning, "Doctor?  Am I going to live?"  I was serious.  He shrugged!  He SHRUGGED at me and walked away; no words of encouragement.   No wonder my blood pressure was elevating, I was being led to believe that I was going to die if I didn't do what they wanted me to do.

They wouldn't listen to me.

My blood was drawn and tested.  All tests were good, nothing weird.  My cholesterol, my blood sugar, everything was good.  Of course it was, I eat well and do my best to take care of myself.  I strayed one damn day and ate a fucking cheeseburger!  (excuse my language, it is the only word to express how angry I was with the hospital doctors not listening to me.)

The Cardiologist visited me on Tuesday afternoon and immediately pissed me off.  I didn't want to see him but they sent him anyway.  I felt as though I had no rights.

"I have 6 rules."  He starts out his conversation with me.

I was in pain; I had just been given a shot of dilaudid before he came into the room.  Thank God.

"Rule 1..." he continues as he stands at the foot of my bed and points his finger at me, "...YOU LISTEN!"  He commanded.

Are you kidding me?  I thought to myself.  I was in no mood for this right now.  I was not at my best, my thinking was now cloudy because of the pain med.  I laid there, he had me captive.

Laughing and joking, I only remember one other rule that made me feel so uncomfortable I didn't know what to say or do.

"Rule whatever... YOU will have sex three times a day!"  He said, making assumptions about my sex life.  My sex life was not what I was in the hospital for... it is my gall bladder dummy.

I was so mad at this point, I couldn't wait for him to get the hell away from me.  

My blood pressure went up.  

The nurses were freaking out, they all believed that I was going to stroke out or have a heart attack.  I saw the worry in their faces.  I wasn't sure if I was going to make it.  I started to believe that I was going to die.

I started to worry more.

My blood pressure went up.

More lectures were sprinkled throughout my stay... hmmm, wonder why my blood pressure wasn't going down?

It was time for an echo cardiogram.  The doctors were not finding any reason for my blood pressure going so high; off I went for the tests.

The technician was a big burly man.  He told me that he would make this test discreet and keep me covered while he pressed the ultrasound wand over and around my chest.  Great.

Then...

"OK.  Time to rip your cloths off!" He stated as he grabbed the top corner of my hospital gown and ripped open the snaps.  

I was shocked!

"You better not let my husband catch you!"  I snapped back.  

I didn't know what to do.  I didn't know how to handle this awkward situation.  Now, I had to lay on this table while this freaking weirdo rubs a thing that looks like a big dick all over my chest in my boobage area!  I wanted this to be over and fast.  I closed my eyes.

And the doctors wondered why my blood pressure wouldn't go down?

No one would listen to me.

About 4pm, I had another Gall Stone attack; one of my stones decided to pass.  Oh God!  I still had 30 minutes to wait for more pain med.  I broke out into a sweat.  I asked the nurse if she could cut me some slack.  

"Sorry Dear.  You have to wait."  She answered back.

I began to cry.  I didn't think I could make it.  I sucked it up.  I started to breath.  That's when I realized, I couldn't take deep breaths, I couldn't catch my breath!  I got more nervous.  The pain became more intense.  I thought I was going to pass out.

I prayed.  I began to miss my husband and feel regret for never having a honeymoon.  I cried.

The nurse came back.... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

My roommate was a 30 something young mom who had an appendicitis attack earlier in the day.  She had emergency surgery and was feeling better just when I was feeling my worst.  

"Do you mind if my family visits?"  The girl asks through the curtain.  I kept the curtain shut.  I didn't want to see anyone.

"No.  I don't mind."  I replied.

About 5 pm her family arrives.... her ENTIRE family.  Our room was small and very warm to begin with, add 10 or so people (including little kids); it quickly became like an oven.  

My head was pounding.  I felt like I was having a heart attack; gall bladder pain feels like a heart attack.

I had to pee. 

I couldn't get by the crowd.

I buzzed for the nurse and asked her to kick everyone out.  I couldn't handle it anymore.  It was like sitting in their family dinning room during one of their family visits.  It sucked.  Their conversation was annoying, especially the loud mouth with the big bellowing voice.  

Were these people for real?

I made my roommate cry.

I didn't care.

All the high blood pressure medicine that they gave me was the same medicine my mom was given.  I felt like I was my mother!  I was getting the same readings for my mom as they were getting on me.  I began to try and solve the problem.  "What's similar between Ma and me?"  I asked myself and thought about for hours while I laid in bed.

Could it be the gluten in the pills?  Maybe the medicine isn't being absorbed because I shook up my villi in my intestine by eating that big honking gluten filled roll with that big fat juicy cheeseburger?

I tried to talk to the doctors about my thought; no one would listen.  I was discredited and dismissed.

Wednesday, I was scheduled for surgery at 10:30 am.  I was given several injections of Heparin to prevent blood clotting; I have a DVT history.  Again, I was not allowed to drink water; I was thirsty.

4:30 am, the student doctor who visited me every morning; woke me up to lecture me about my blood pressure.  She would ask me a question and when I began to answer she put the stethoscope in her ears and took my blood pressure.  I was silenced.  

Her body language was crossed arms.  

"See your body language?  You are not listening to me.  I am the boss of my body.  You do understand that, right? "  I stated to the student doctor, waving my finger across her, showing her what I was seeing.

"Oh, it's early."  She answered.  

"What?  Please get out of here and do not ever come back.  You are part of the problem.  Get out!"  I screamed at the future doctor.

I did not want to see any of the Pharma Goon Squad that morning, I requested that they stay away.  

They did.

Surgery was cancelled.

I was discharged.

I am feeling much better.  

Fenugreek is making me feel better.  My first night home, I lost 12 lbs of water... I am now down 20 lbs since my hospital stay.  I had gained 13 lbs in 4 days while at the hospital.

Through out this experience, I thought of my mom.  I am grateful that I was there for her and acted as her voice.  We all need a strong voice to fight for us.  The majority of Doctors do not believe in natural medicine, period.  Doctors do not believe in including the patient as the head of the care team; it's my body, it's my life... why not?

My conclusion:  There's no profit in healthy people.  We have to speak up for ourselves.  We have the power of NO.  



28 February 2012

Pending Surgery

Sunday morning, I woke with excruciating pain that made me feel like jumping out of my skin. I thought it was gas pains. The pain intensified. My back was aching where my angel wings would sprout if I were an angel. 3 days later, I am still in the hospital. I had a wicked gall bladder attack. I have gall stones. Last night, I woke with a high fever and chills. Plans changed. Instead of going home today, taking antibiotics for two weeks and then scheduling surgery... It is happening either today or tomorrow. Wish me luck. My next post, I will share more of what I have learned about gall bladders and our diets. Tid bit... Did you know that if you have pain on the right upper back/ shoulder area with pain under your right rib cage... Could be your gallbladder.

25 February 2012

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies - Gluten Free


Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
I'm a big fan of food as medicine where organic and natural foods contribute to improved health and happiness.  My mission is to create food that is not only delicious but satisfying.
These cookie treats are delicious and nutritious.  Creamed Clover Honey (found it at Trader Joe's) adds a buttery flavor and acts as a natural antibiotic.  Shredded coconut keeps the cookies soft and chewy.  Coconut also has  numerous health benefits.  Fenugreek's maple flavor enhances the oatmeal while helps to naturally keep blood sugar from spiking while acting as a diuretic.

Here's a cookie recipe that everyone seems to enjoy, especially my mom.  

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Ingredients

1 cup Pasture Butter melted
1 cup Organic Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Creamed Clover Honey
1 tsp Fenugreek Extract (or Powdered Fenugreek)
1 tsp Organic Free Trade Vanilla Extract
1 egg beaten with 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Aluminum Free Baking Soda
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
4 Tbsp Lecithin Granules (Mom used it as an alternative to the Excelon Patch - good for overall health)
1 cup Shredded Organic Coconut 
2 cups Organic Oatmeal 

Instructions

Melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar and clover honey and mix well.  Add fenugreek and vanilla extracts,  mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix gluten free flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon and lecithin granules.

Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture; mix well.

Add the shredded coconut and oatmeal.

Mix well.

Take about 1 - 2 tablespoons of raw cookie dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands and gently flatten.  Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Tip... have several cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and place all of the cookie sheets in the oven at the same time.  Bake for 8-10 minutes - when the cookies are golden (not burnt) they are ready.  Allow to cool.

The Action Figure Mobile

Looking in the rear-view mirror.... ACTION FIGURE MOBILE!
Friday was a beautiful day; a good day to visit my mom at the nursing home.  Driving along 3A, music playing, singing and feeling good about my life; I noticed something odd in my rear-view mirror.

On top of the car someone had glued action figures.  Lots and lots of action figures.  Spiderman stood in Super Hero fashion, holding his fist to the air with his blue cape flapping in the wind.

I laughed out loud.

Hoping for traffic to back up so that I could look and snap a picture for posterity (and this blog post); the traffic light turned red.

I wondered how many motor vehicle accidents the Action Figure Mobile has caused?

I stopped just before I took the right turn on 2A, camera ready, I waited for the car to pull up beside me.  The driver stopped too.  She didn't seem to want her Action Figure Mobile photographed.

I got a picture anyway.

Action Figure Mobile

08 February 2012

Warm Kale and Strawberry Salad

Warm Kale and Strawberry Salad

Today, I decided to look through the fridge and create something healthy for lunch.

I had a bunch of Kale that needed to be cooked.

Yesterday, I bought strawberries.


  1. Wash and cut the Kale crosswise, starting at the top and working my way to the bottom coarse end.  I discarded the bottom stems.
  2. Add a little Sea Salt to the cut Kale and tossed it in a big bowl.
  3. Wash the strawberries (about 3-4 strawberries per dish) and cut them in half lengthwise.
  4. Chop fine 3 cloves of garlic.
  5. Put 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil in the bottom of a big sauce pan and heat the oil on medium heat.  
  6. Add the garlic when the oil is hot, stir it around quickly and then add the chopped Kale.  
  7. Mix it around, cooking the kale so that the leaves are soft; about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and put the Kale into a salad bowl.  Top with a little Sea Salt and Strawberries.


Mmmmmm.

A blast of feta cheese or goat cheese would really spice this up.  Next time, I will try it with cheese.


07 February 2012

The Hardest Part About Visiting the Nursing Home

Mom and Bob, August 2011
I've spent countless hours at the nursing home, doing my best to help ease my mom's transition from living with me to living in a facility.  I have made friends with many of the residents.  I believed most would live longer than my mother; shocked to find that death took them sooner and without warning.

We never know when death will come, but it is a certainty of life; just like taxes.  

Ruthie, Harvey and soon to add to the list of those who went "home", Bob.  

Of all the friends that I have made, it's difficult seeing Bob enter into the dying phase of his illness.  He's hot, appears to have difficulty breathing and is hallucinating a lot more than he had been.

"Ellen! Ellen!  Ellen!"  Bob screamed when he heard my voice yesterday afternoon.  Bob believes that I am Ellen, his Caregiver from home before he was placed in a facility.

"Bob.  Are you OK?  Can I help you?"  I asked as I entered his room.

"No.  I need you. Come here."  Bob answered as he mumbled something while pointing to the ceiling across the room. 

"Do you see it?"  Bob yelled at me.  I tried all the techniques I knew.

"Hmmm, I am not sure.  Can you give me some advice?"  I asked in a calm tone.  

"Do you see it?!"  He repeated with more expression.

"Come on.  .... Ice cream.... " He tried to add in order for me to understand.

"Do you want some ice cream?"  I asked.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Aww, come on!  You can't be that stupid, can you?!"  Bob was frustrated.  

No words I said could calm him.  Instead of talking, I sat next to his bed, held his hand and prayed to Mother Mary to ease my friends pain.

Bob is dying.  I can see it in his eyes.  I remember seeing this look on my father's face when he laid in a hospital bed dying of cancer over 30 years ago.  Like my dad, Bob doesn't like to be alone; who would when they are dying?  

All we can do at this point is hold Bob's hand, let him know that he's not alone and keep him comfortable while he waits for "Heaven's Bus" to come and pick him up.

I will miss Bob.  I will miss seeing him smile when he holds one of Mom's babies.  I will miss answering his hallucinations; weaving a story to ease his agitation.  

I will NOT miss seeing Bob suffer.  

The hardest part about visiting the nursing home is learning that one of my friends has died or is standing on death's door.


27 January 2012

Letters To My Family



I've been sorting and organizing all of my mom's papers; files that date back as far as 1958 when my parents bought their home.

Today, I found an envelope in my mom's hand writing dated February 25, 2003.  Inside were letters that my mom wrote to me, my siblings, my Aunt Jay, her brother and sister (now deceased) and my two oldest nephews.

Hands shaking, I opened the envelope.

Feb 25, 2003  - 3AM

To Susan,

I just had a dream Eddie came to me.  He looked angry and was pointing to me.  It woke me up.  I think he meant for me to take better care of myself.

Just in case, I want you to find who my beneficiary is on my SBLI and change it to you.  Also, my bank book at BCU.  And change name on my car to yours.

I don't want to be a burden to you.  I know you can make it on your own.

Love Always,

Ma

++++++++

To Donna,  2/25/3

Help Susan as much as you can.  I know your the strongest.  Pray for me.

Take care of Amy and Scott.  I love them both and they will make you proud.

Make sure Brad takes better care of himself.

Love you all,

Ma

+++++++

To Marty, 2/25/3

Take care of Eileen and Mother.  Don't forget yourself also.  Health is very important.  I hope you will always be happy.  I think of you often and pray for you.

Help Susan if she needs you.

Love and kisses,

Your Mom.

+++++++

To Ann and Steve,

Wish I could of seen you both.  I'm not well and I don't want you to worry.

See if you can get to see John Edward and I'll be able to send you a message from the other side.

Love you both and I know I can count on you to help Susan through this ordeal.

Love forever,

Ma

++++++

To Jay,

Thank you for all your prayers through the years.  Sorry I won;t be able to take you out.  I know you will be OK.  You've always been their for me and I want you to know how I appreciate you.  God will listen to you so ask him and He will help you.

You have made it possible for me to come this far by your prayers.

Love
Your Sister in Law,
Friend,
Chum,
Bingo Partner

++++++

To Joe and Andy, 2/25/3

Haven't got to see you much lately and I want you both to know how proud I am of the both of you.

Time is precious so don't waste it.  Take care of your health, it is most important.  Get to see your mother as often as you can.

Joe take care of Melinda, she is a wonderful girl.

Andy I will be watching your progress from above.

Love you all,

Gram

++++++

To Flo and Al,   2/25/3

Sorry I was unable to see you.  If I get past this feeling, I'll come to see you both.  I wish I was able to see you more often.  I will pray for you.  Don't be sad.  I will be with my family who has crossed over already.

Take care of yourself and keep in better shape than I did.

Love you both,

Your sister Jo.

(**  Flo passed in 2006, Al passed in 2011 - neither got to see this note.)

++++++

2/25/3

To Whom it may concern,

If I forgot to say bye to someone I'm sorry.  My memory is slowly dying.

I give Susan all my assets if I have any left, and don't forget my Walmart Stock.

I give Susan the right to turn off any life support system if I have any.

Thank you

(signed her name)

+++++++++++

Today, mom is still alive in a nursing home.  She has declined a lot since 2003 when she wrote these notes to all of us.

Finding these letters were bitter sweet.

Seeing my mom's handwriting, so pretty and neat made me miss the days when we could carry a meaningful conversation.  I miss my mom's advice.  I miss her telling me that everything is going to be OK.

My mom, she has always loved her family and we will always love her!

22 January 2012

Why The New England Patriots Won Tonight

Mary in the garden, 2011

My mom, she love the New England Patriots; they won a lot, she loves winning.  She would be giddy while watching them play when she was of sound mind.

Today, she isn't mentally capable to enjoy her favorite sport, American Football.

I'm not a big football fan.  I can take it or leave it.  I don't hate it.  If I had the choice to watch an episode of "Chopped" or football, I'd choose "Chopped."

I visited my mom today.  I restocked all her favorite treats and drinks.  We went for a walk.  She talked to her baby and it made my heart smile.

My visit with mom was pleasant.  When I was leaving, I told her I was off to work at the phone company.

"Ok, Dear.  What time will you be home?"  She asked.  A question she always asked me back when I did work as an Operator.  Mom remembers me working all night as an Operator.

"I'll be home on Tuesday at 10:30 in the morning."  I answered.

"Ok.  That's good.  But why so long?"  She replied

"Ma!  You saw the snow.  There are lots of emergencies."  I answered as though it was 1983 when I did work as a telephone operator for the phone company.

"Ok.  Bring me cookies.  I like those cookies you make."  She said with a sweet tone in her voice.

I love it when my mother shows herself.

My drive home was uneventful.

I arrived home.

My husband was watching the game.  The Patriots were fighting for a chance for a spot in the Super Bowl 2012.  The Ravens were fighting for the win.  I believed they were going to take it.  We needed a Hail Mary.

It was the end of the 3rd quarter when I sat down with a glass of wine.

The Pats were winning.

The Pats were losing.

Fumbles.

Turnovers.

Interceptions.

"OH SHIT!"

I started to feel my heart racing.

The Pats MUST WIN!

Tonight, I am the reason the Pats won.

I used a Hail Mary.

You are welcome, New England Patriots.  I saw the look of aww on your faces.

The Baltimore Ravens were giving the Pats a run for their money.

I prayed out loud.  I didn't care that my husband was sitting next to me, looking at me like I was a loon.  I apologized to Mary for using her for such a frivolous request, but this needed to be an exception.

I prayed with my heart and soul.

"Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the lord is with you.  Blessed art though, among women, and blessed is the fruit  of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary Mother of God, Pray for our sins, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen."

"Mary, I am sorry I am pray for a miracle to win this football game, but please make him miss that field goal!"

Voila!

The rookie  for the Ravens seemed to magically choke.  He missed the field goal!  I saw the faces on the team that believed that they had already won.   A punt that should not have been missed... did Mary goose him?  Hmmmm.  Yay, Mary!

It was over.

The Patriots won!

Thank you Mary.

And that is why the New England Patriots won tonight.




20 January 2012

Homeopathics: Agitation, Insomnia and LBD

Homeopathic Medicine helps give my mom more good days than not so good ones
The nurses who care for my mom have been asking me to write a post about homeopathic medicine; they see how well the remedies work on my mom when she's agitated or having a bout of insomnia.

Homeopathics have been around for 200 years; it's a "whole medical system" approach unlike the traditional allotropic medicines.

 "Like treats like."   


Homeopathy was discovered by a German doctor who recognized the principle of similar, where "like treats like."  The principle states that a disease can be treated by a similar substance that causes the symptoms in healthy people.

For example:  To treat daytime agitation, my mom takes the homeopathic remedy, Hyoscyamus Niger; Henbane.

If a healthy person ate some of the raw henbane plant, they would become agitated and hallucinate scary scenes that seem real.  My mom has these behaviors without eating the raw plant.  Giving her a small dose of homeopathic medicine, her symptoms go away.

Our Naturopath Doctor recommended Hyoscyamus for my mom because of her natural disposition; she has a sense of humor.  Hyoscyamus Niger 12 C does the trick to ease mom's agitation and fidgeting.

There are over 2000 homeopathic remedies to choose from; it's the reason why I recommend finding a Naturopath Doctor who can help navigate which to use.  If the remedy doesn't work, it isn't the right remedy for the patient.  Remedies are selected using the whole person; mind, body and spirit.

You can find your own remedies here using an online remedy finder.

Homeopathy is FDA approved, it has been for over 100 years.  It is safe, effective and has no contraindications with anything.

Mom suffers from insomnia, a symptom of her illness, Lewy Bodies Dementia.  Stramonium, also a member of the deadly night shade family of plants, solves my mom's problem with insomnia.  Our ND selected this remedy because my mom would jump out of bed worrying about children.  She would lunge forward in her chair and become super agitated.

Stramonium calms my mom and helps her to sleep.

When my mom sleeps at night, the following day is a good day where she's calm and happy.

If my mom eats the wrong food, like wheat gluten or white potatoes, she will become super agitated and begin trying to jump out of her chair or grab for things in the air.  A little dose of Stramonium calms her and seems to counter the effect of the wrong food that she ingested.

Homeopathy, it works.  It triggers a response in the body so that ones system can take over and heal itself.

Remedies are diluted forms of the plant.  The higher the number, which is symbolized in Roman Numerals (C, X, M), the weaker the dose and the stronger the medicine.

There are remedies for everything that ails the human body; medicines which can be tailored specifically to an individual while taking into consideration the whole person... mind, body and spirit.

More information about homeopathy can be found here:

Good explanation of homeopathy:  http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/
My favorite homeopathy site:  http://www.abchomeopathy.com/








19 January 2012

Everyday Is A Good Day

Mom, her "car" and her babies
January 14, 2012

"Okay, Dear."  Mom sang to me in her happy voice yesterday when I was leaving the home.  She was holding her babies; we had just gone for a long walk which always tires her out.

Mom's doing awesome.  I expect that she'll be discharged from Hospice soon.  Everyday is a good day for her; she feels safe and secure.  She has her babies, a car and her life is complete.  My dream for her has come true.

The scoot chair that mom sits in when she's not resting in bed, has become a car in mom's mind.  She "drives" it up and down the halls, self propelling herself as she patrols and makes sure everyone is safe.   I am grateful that the facility set mom up in the scoot chair, the Hospice chair was not as comfortable and seemed to trigger agitation.

I visited the home yesterday.  I had not been to the facility since Saturday.  Mom didn't miss me.  She barely stayed with me, she was on patrol.  I hung her cloths, cleaned up her closet and dresser drawers and talked to other residents who were happy to visit with me.

"Oh... it's you... Come here!"  One of my resident friends said as she smiled and waved to me.  "I need to use the bathroom!"  I rushed her down the hall to her Care Aide.  I ask my mom this question so much that all the residents associate me with the toilet.   Great.

At one point during my visit, I was chasing my mom down the hall.

"Jo!  Come here, I have a cup of coffee for you."  I called to her.  I had just made her a cup of coffee using her Keurig one cup coffee maker.  Mom ignored me and drove herself into the dinning room.

"Forget about Jo!  I want you to stay with me.  I need you over here!"  Mom's roommate answered back.

Difficult not to laugh out loud, I answered Mom's roommate.  "But you look so good!"  I attempted to change the subject,  It didn't work.

"I know it.... but that still doesn't do me any good."  Another answer that made me want to buckle over in a fit of laughter; I didn't.

I'm enjoying time with my mom and the folks at the home where she lives.  The nurses who care for my mom have become my friends.  I trust a few more than others; they've earned my trust.

I can't help but think about the day when mom dies.  My routine will change again.  Daily morning calls to West 2 will stop, only to be replaced by another family member calling them to check on the next new resident.

Over the last 8 months since mom's been living in a nursing home, I have made friends with some of the staff.  We've been through a lot, many of them even survived the "Wrath of Sue"; some of it documented in the pages of this blog while other stories remain locked up in my private writing for publishing at a much later date, long after my mom is dead.

Right now... life is good.  Mom's happy, so I'm happy.  I worry less, especially on days when my "A Team" are working.  This weekend, the "A Team" is on duty both day and night.  I have the weekend off.  No need for me to rush to the facility to keep an eye out for mom and enlighten staff who don't understand how to communicate with her.

Thank you Georgia, Stephen, Kathy and Cheryl, because of you, everyday is a good day!



09 January 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Mom, happy with her baby
January 6, 2012
Mom's doing awesome since I signed the waiver to give mom homeopathic's. The nurses give Mom the homeopathic medicine on a schedule, something that has stopped her agitation and insomnia.

Visiting my mom has become fun. I look forward to our visits. A dream come true, one that I never imagined would manifest for us. Mom smiles and laughs. She talks in complete sentences on her good days about what's going on in her world.

Seeing Mom at peace in her mind, makes all the hardship and pain that I suffered for her worthwhile. All I ever wanted for my mom was to give her a happy end of life.

I am grateful.

The facility where mom lives brought in a new Executive Director and Director of Nursing; leaders who listen. Leaders who believe that our folks worked all of their lives and deserve to be cared for with love, dignity and respect. Their compassion is contagious... outstanding role models.

Alleluia!

The energy in the nursing home is brighter; no longer do I walk through the door and see dark energy around the residents. Folks seem happier through out the building, both patients and staff.

Because of all the positive changes going on where Mom lives, I feel that my life is becoming my life again. Thank you, everyone who has helped us.

I can breath.

I can relax a little bit more; my soul has longed for peace.

 Thank you. I feel peace.

Mom, she's always loved the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Often she'd sing the song as we drove along, while looking out the window as though she was looking for the rainbow.

Mom's doing great; she's happy, she seems to have made it over the rainbow, where skies are blue.

08 January 2012

A Day Out

Ma sitting on the shopping cart bench at Whole Foods
August 2011

"Hi, Ma!"  I greeted mom as I walked into the dinning room where she was sitting.

"Oh.   Hi!!!!!"  She replied back.  "Come on.  Let's go."  She added before I could speak another word.

"Would you like to go out for a ride?"  I asked.

"Yes.  I haven't been out in a long time.  Come on!"  Mom answered back as she began to try and get up out of her chair.

Mom was having a very good day.  The weather has been unseasonably warm; a good day to go out.   Who knows if it would be her last day out in the regular world before she leaves this life?

Mom walked well yesterday.  She was standing upright and walking strong.  She wasn't leaning to the right like she had been over the last several weeks.  Walking with her when she is leaning heavy toward one side is physically challenging for me.  I've learned, going out is not an option when she is leaning.  Mom was sharp.  She needed a day out.

Off Mom and I went, she remembered how to get into the car.  She recognized my husband's car and remembered his license plate number.

"189.  Yup, that's right!"  She said as we approached the car.

"Do you have enough gas?"  She asked as soon as I buckled her in for safety.

"Yup, plenty of gas."  I answered with a cheery tone.

In the car, I opened the sunroof.  The sun shone on Mom's face.  Her eyes were closed as she put her face toward the sun.  Smiling softly, creases in her cheeks, mom reminded me of a happy dog sticking its head out the window of a moving car.

"I hope you don't mind.  I used your car."  Mom said in a matter of fact way.

"You did?!  Where did you go?"  I asked.

"Oh, I went here and there.  I drove all over the place.  Eddie!  I saw Eddie.  Are you sure you have enough gas?  I drove a lot.  Hey, where's Marty?"  My mom was a chatter box.

"Marty's working."  I answered.

"Oh, that's right.  I want to see him."  Mom added.

It was fun to hear her talk in complete sentences, even if it was about the reality of her hallucinations.

We went to Whole Foods, of course.  Mom always feels at home in the market.  She sat on the bench that is attached to the shopping cart.  I forgot her bingo seat cushion.  She didn't complain.  She got on the bench without any trouble and didn't need any coaching.

"I need bananas."  Mom said as I pushed her through the door.  She remembered that bananas are around the corner!

Pushing the cart close enough to the bananas, Mom picked up a bunch as she said, "Oh, these are nice.  That's good.  Come on, let's go."  Handing me the bananas to place in the shopping cart.

We tried the cheese and olive samples.  Mom loved them.  We tried raw coconut water; mom hated it.  I bought two bottles for my husband and me.  I liked it!  Coconut is very good for cognition.

Mom had a great day out.  We had so much fun, I forgot to take pictures!  The picture on this post is from August of last year when I had remembered to take a few pictures; it was the day we discovered the bench attached to the cart.

Here are a couple more from that same day in August.







06 January 2012

A Good Visit With Ma and Baby

Mom and Baby
January 6, 2012
"I have five, you know."  My mom said to me as she held her baby.

"...they're all around here somewhere."  She continued as she looked around for her children.  My mom's world revolved around her children and caring for all of us.

Mom is content.

She's happy.

The homeopathic remedies are working.

Mom was having a great day. She has been sleeping through the night; all of her days have been great.

She bounced back from her UTI.

She recovered from a cold.

I had one more day to see her happy and laughing!

The nurses and aides are taking good care of my mom; stress free visits are the best.  My mom has excellent nurses, compassionate carers who help put my mind at ease.  

Mom was feisty during our visit, she stuck out her tongue at her baby twice and then at me.

"Watch this!"  She exclaimed to me and then she stuck out her tongue at her baby.

Mom was amused with everything going on around her.  She was mocking residents crying out in pain.  Mom was super happy and laughing.

Mom and I, we went for a walk.  She did very well; she was able to walk the long distance around the unit.  She greeted other residents as we walked by.  "Hello."  Nodding her head and smiling at them, not missing a step as we walked the hall.

One more day I had the opportunity to enjoy my mom; I feel fortunate.

I gave Mom a favorite treat.  She looked like a little girl, holding her baby while she ate her ice cream bar; a precious moment.

An unexpected surprise to see Mom alert and walking upright;  I was there... I didn't miss it.

A good visit with Ma and baby; I feel like I won the lottery.


video




03 January 2012

Don't Worry... Everything Is Gonna Be Alright


Mom and her baby
December 2011

Happy New Year!

I began this blog post on the morning of New Year's Day.

I woke up, put my iPad down on the table and immediately the Pandora Radio app opened.  Bob Marley was singing, "Don't Worry.... Everything is gonna to be alright..."

The first words that I had heard at the onset of 2012.

So far, 2012 has been terrific.

Mom's doing well.  She bounced back a bit.  Death doesn't seem to be knocking on her door as I had originally thought; we have more time.

Mom loves her baby; it has taken her back to her child rearing days.  Mom is happy.

Mom with her baby
New Year's Day 2012
I signed a waiver; the nurses can give mom homeopathic remedies for agitation and insomnia.  Remedies that have worked to calm her LBD symptoms successfully over the last several years.

I am grateful.

Mom is having more good days.  My visits with her are finally fun.  We play with "the baby", we walk and we talk about my dead relatives as though it's 1968 again.

Mom is weaker.  She also has a cold.

I gave her Oscillococcinum yesterday when I visited.  A homeopathic remedy that always seems to ease symptoms of a cold or flu.

Ma, loving her baby
January 2012
"Don't worry.... everything is gonna be alright...."