"Do Good" Opportunities, Human Interest News, Lewy Body Dementia, Spiritual, Uncategorized

God Grant Serenity…

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“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have had a very difficult time sitting down to write.  Not because I don’t have so many things to write about or to say but because I have too many things to write about and to say!  Where do I begin…??

Several angels have written to me asking how I am doing and why they haven’t heard from me lately so I thought that I would post to this blog to let you know that I am still standing and that being overwhelmed is the understatement of the century.

As you know, I am not only trying to help Someone with a bizarre, progressive and terminal neurologic disease, Lewy Body Dementia, all while having been sick for more than a year with a hole in my small intestine–most likely caused by the acid released from holding in lots and lots–did I say lots–of stress!  (Yes, I am now acutely aware that stress can kill you so exercise and relax as often as you can so it doesn’t get to this level!)

In addition, while not the stressful part, I have lots of special needs dogs who call the Rescue Ranch their home–and require lots of resources and time and attention.  The stressful part is trying every month to figure out how their needs are going to be met since Someone can’t work anymore and is on disability, we are now living on 30% of what our income was when we started the RR–and angel help has dropped dramatically due to lack of exposure, I think.  I just can’t do it all, including writing regularly, and as a very responsible person, it bothers me that I can’t juggle all of these things right now.

I was supposed to have the first surgery this past Wednesday, endoscopic–(the docs are trying to do it by going down my throat into my intestines first trying to avoid open surgery from the outside/in which is a big deal) to repair the damage with lots of tools where my stomach and small intestine link up but after the stunning unexpected loss of a significantly close family member on Monday morning (not Someone), my guts were too swollen inside from crying for them to operate so it has been rescheduled to this coming week.  In the meantime, I am limited to a liquid diet of Boost Breeze (a nutritional drink with protein that is thin like juice), applesauce and ice cream.  After more than a year of being sick, I am still hopeful that getting better is just around the corner!  (I keep putting off the surgeon who wants to operate on my abdominal mass until after I can at least eat again!)

Meanwhile, Someone is getting worse.  Staying up all night, he has full-on feasts at 4 AM (the docs are finding me locks for the frig and cabinets) and then he wants to go wander the neighborhood for exercise afterward–and have me go with him–and then takes the dogs out for playtime before dawn…well it all has me exhausted.  No matter what, my alarm goes off at 6:50 AM every day,  which is hours before Someone is even ready to settle down so I can start my day.

Now, by noon, he is able to lay down but in his wake, he leaves the kitchen as if there were a New Year’s Eve party (minus the alcohol), hoards every bit of cardboard possible and candy and sweet things (they are hidden in the den, in the office, in the laundry room, etc.) and he fights to keep it all from being recycled or thrown out, all while calling professionals and writing checks/getting them in the mail on those 4-5 AM outings or while I am napping–which are being returned NSF–gulp–and causing just plain havoc that I have to spend hours daily trying to straighten things out just about every other day.  He sounds credible on the phone but he doesn’t understand what he is doing. I feel like all I am doing is fixing problems and cleaning up after Someone.  The messes and screw-ups, though, are getting bigger.  It is time to lock up the phones and the computer.

The problem is that every major incident causes that acid to run through my body (yes, when it is this bad, you can actually feel a stress hormone being released, triggering the acid and eating through your guts) making me more and more sick. (In fact, for over a year, I kept two ice packs on the spot that blew open last year, trying to quell the pain and postpone whatever was happening. I didn’t have time to get it fixed, whatever it was–and now look what has happened!)

The doctors (his and mine) have been encouraging me to consider permanent placement of Someone or at least temporary placement for a few months while I get better. No stress=no acid release=my guts being able to heal. But, it is not covered by insurance and so unless we have the assets to do that (we don’t), or I surrender the RR and his disability which would leave me and the dogs virtually homeless, I have to either take care of Someone or find a relative who can/will (there are no volunteers to help in any way despite his extended family.  Since he’s gotten sick, other than one visit from his half-sister, I just hear “crickets” when I even ask for a show of caring like an email or a card).

Realizing that I am no longer the super human that I tried to be, I have to nap when he rests and force myself to get up to do both dog, house and property maintainance and I have a list a foot long of my own Honey Do’s.  I am not a plumber nor a lot of things so they are going to require professionals although I sure am doing my best to try to learn.

The RR angel fund has one regular gift of $15 each month. Then…one angel sends a box of Rattle Ball treats monthly; another sends big cans of food and peanut butter bones; another sends gift cards for Someone (and special surprises for him) and the RR Herd as she is able; another collects things with her mother and drops off different size food tubs that I’ve been freezing for treats in the 110 degree plus heat, blankets, toys, and odds ‘n ends that we need as she can monthly-ish; one gives amazon credits when she can; one sends the much needed little dog food tubs and includes special treats for Someone (all who do this just touches my heart), and occasionally, a gift card or prayer card or special religious very special something or an extra surprise for the dogs finds its way to me.  I am so grateful for all of this help, I truly am.

That said, it costs $800 month to feed the dogs and $600 for their medicines and medical supplies and $300 for bones (I try to make them myself as I can) and and and.  I refuse to give up on these animals when they have less than a year to five years left most likely (special needs animals have shorter live spans) but having more–and more regular– angel help, sure would take some of this stress away. The overall debt is crushing and the constant hoping that help will come is a source of unconscious stress. Hopefully by next May–give or take a month or two–I can make some permanent changes or get well enough to figure out a way to pick up a work-from-home income or be strong enough to move.  I know that right now, I can concentrate for five or ten minutes at a time–imagining eight hours of concentration time seems like a dream from way back when and now impossible!

I had to laugh last night when I took a good look at what I personally own.  I have been trying to organize to be ready to pack and get the RR ready in case I need to put it on the market next spring.  I have been making bags of donated personal stuff to give to a shelter and a section of stuff (like furniture and some wedding presents, etc.) that I may have to sell on consignment or give away to angels and realized that I haven’t bought any shoes for myself in over 15 years and that aside from some pajamas, I haven’t bought anything new to wear either in all that time!  I have always made the needs of the dogs and now those of Someone a priority and myself last.  I don’t feel bad about it, I just thought it was kind of interesting!  I don’t even have any vices that I waste money on!  Sustaining and preserving life has always been more important to me my entire life than money or possessions and when I really took inventory last night, it was clear that I am living/have lived what I believe.

Well, enough for now.  We are alive and as fine as can be.  All prayers are welcome and very much appreciated. In turn, every time I am at the hospital, we light candles for you–and that is a very special place in which, I am sure, God hears prayers.  I try to look above the immediate circumstances and just firmly believe that God has brought us here and so He will bring us through it!  He can move the heart of one, some or many to help or to pray or to find ways to make a difference in any of our lives.  Remember, every act of caring and compassion counts, no matter the size.  It is all about intention.  He can also send a miracle, a benefactor, heal us, any one of a thousand things to change a situation.  It is my/our job to remain optimistic and faithful.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Labor Day!  If you happen to be in Florida, please be safe and if you find yourself in trouble, please let me know if there is any way that we can help.  Keep your pets with you and be emphatic (and unwavering) about your pet’s safety.  They depend on you to safeguard their lives which is an awesome responsibility and one that you morally must honor and if you can’t, you must find someone who can.

Sending lots of love and always Hugs from the Herd!

J

 

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Cubby when it was his turn to eat some of the RR 2019 (12 year!) Anniversary Cake…

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Sweet Cubby AFTER having his turn at the cake!  He was happy–and even had to have a run with his favorite toy before sitting down for this pic!

Cubby and his brothers were abandoned by a rescue group at the RR–and we were never able to get them adopted so they found their forever home.

All (any) e-credits or cards please send to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Mailing address:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

 

Immediate needs:

Stuffed Twist Peanut Butter bones  (as many as possible)

Wish List Wet Foods (three sizes needed: 10 oz, 3.5 oz and 2.5 oz)

Visa/MC Gift Cards (can use for medicine, food, etc.)

Amazon gc’s or e-cards

Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s gift cards or e-cards

Any gift cards to HEB, Kroger’s, etc.

…and IF you are not using a gift card of any sort, please let us put it to good use!

 

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Animal Health, Autobiography, Human Interest News, In the News, RR Dog Herd Stories

Animals Are Best Kept Inside During Extreme Weather

Wheather the temps are below freezing–or when they are scorching–all animals must be given shelter, a way to keep warm or cool, plenty of food and a way to access water that isn’t frozen or too hot to drink. I think a bone to chew on or something to do like having access to a cat climber should be included in the list of “must haves.”

As a life-long animal rescuer (since I was in junior high), unfortunately I’ve seen it all.  I have been called to help animals who have been left outside, chained to trees or to houses or to their dog houses, with rocks in their food buckets and solid ice in their water dishes.  Some, left out in the yard while their guardians are at work, have no shelter or are expected to use the concrete porches as their escape from frozen ground or blazing sun.  That is no solution! I gauge the situation with this premise. If I can’t walk across the concrete, or sleep on it, in the freezing weather or in the heat of the summer–in my bare feet–the animals can’t either. That’s my outside barameter.

Right now, all of the animals that I care for are inside, tucked into warm beds. Those beds are on top of pads to create a barrier between the bed and the floor, covered with quilts and soft blankets.  If they accidently roll over and uncover themselves, I get up and tuck them in again, sometimes getting up twenty times every few hours.  The barameter I use inside is that if my feet are cold or if I need to put on a sweater or a bathrobe, the dogs all need a way to keep warm, too, so I give out extra blankets and put myself on “tuck-in duty.”

The health risks and damage that can be done by not being conscious of the weather conditions and protecting your animals from it can either cost them a body part, cause an extended illness or worse, even compromise their little lives no matter how big or small or young or old that they are.  It can cost you a small fortune to go to the vet as well as a lot of time and heartache that could have been easily avoided if you just apply some common sense.

I have seen the damage that ice does to animals’ feet and mouths.  The ice or icicles can puncture or slice open delicate skin on their tongues or gums while the pads on their feet–that they absolutely depend on 100%–can be torn, burned, split open or worse and it is very painful.  Hot surfaces like asphalt and concrete can do the same damage. If you are not around to help them, they could bleed to death.  Even if you find them injured–as I have been called many a time to rescue these animals–the scene and injury can be horrific and it takes much TLC and nursing care to help them recover.

I had a neighbor who left his dog in a igloo dog house out in the middle of a full sun/full cold spot in his yard, penned in by a portable chain link dog kennel.  The dog had no shade, no protection from the cold of the ground, and cried all of the time–and the man worked very long hours.  He thought that because the igloo house was insulated that the dog was OK.  She was not.

During the summer, I would make ice balls and pitch them into the kennel area so the dog could cool down (they sweat through their mouths and foot pads since they don’t have sweat glands).  During the winter, I would make warm food balls and pitch those into the fenced area. (My throwing arm is pretty accurate now!) Eventually, I decided to go over and talk to my neighbor and wound up volunteering to babysit his sweet dog during the days and weekends so she wouldn’t be alone and in a compromised situation. (He didn’t want to leave her inside the house while he was at work, lest she went potty on the carpet, due to his long hours away.)

Lady went to the dog park with us, to the store, and really was loved like one of my dogs except she went “home” at night. I regret that I didn’t offer to just adopt her but people and how they care for and love their pets is a very delicate subject to broach.  I didn’t want the aid that I could offer her to be shut off.  I did as much as I could until we eventually moved far away.

Please treat your animals like your children.  They need you to be their caretaker, their guardian, to watch out for their well-being both physical and emotional.  If you cannot do this, please find a new home for your animals.  (Please note. Shelters are not considered a responsible way to rehome your animals.  Many shelters kill owner-surrendered animals within an hour of being brought in.  They are not a “pet hotel” in any form of the imagination.) Network with friends, coworkers, relatives to find a safe, happy place for your animals to live or to stay while you are away.

Thank you for caring about your animals–really about all animals–and try to live your life without leaving any regrets behind.

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About this blog

Created at the end of January, 2019, by a published writer and author for almost 20 years, this blog is both an outlet for Jane to share her knowledge about animals and dog and people health and products, but also to chronicle her journey as her husband approaches the middle and end of a journey afflicated with Lewy Body Dementia.

Unable to go to work because of the need to be on call/duty 24/7, expenses are extreme with a ranch of special needs dogs and a husband with a terminal illness. Every month a link will be in the menu above to offer help when you can.  It is impossible to provide for everyone’s needs without help.  To help, the link for Feb, 2019 is: https://www.gofundme.com/gofundmecomicantbreatheblogfeb2019

Please sign up for email notifications of new blog posts under the “Contact” button and click on “Like” after posts when you feel so motivated.  It is hard to be a caregiver of so many so having some virtual support and encouragement, prayers and all gifts would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

 

 

 

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Autobiography, Human Interest News, In the News, People Health

Caregiver Relationships Are Sacred: In Defense of B. Smith’s Husband

A caregiver seeking out a new relationship while their ill significant other is still alive is not about the sex.  It is about validating that they are a human being.

Since my husband’s devastating diagnosis of early onset (mid 50’s) Lewy Body Dementia (huh?) just before Christmas, 2015, I, too, would have judged Mr. B. Smith/Dan Gasby for having a new girlfriend–and bringing her into the family home to live–while his wife is dying from early-onset Alzheimer’s.  Not any more.

First of all, early onset means that not only is the person 20-40 years younger than those normally affected but it also can mean that it is fast-progressing and manifesting in unimaginable ways.  I know in the case of my husband, who will be called “Someone” hereafter in this blog, I struggle daily, sometimes hourly, to retain my own sanity, my own dignity, my own grasp of reality when dealing with the episodes when this disease rears its bizarre and ugly “head.” (Lewy Body is not a steady decline like some of the other dementias–it is erratic and bizarre and the person that was actually comes “back” for a few hours a day here and there–until the end.)

I am sure Mr. Gasby struggled to take care of things for a long time by himself.  He and Ms. Smith could have even had private conversations about his being able to move on when she either passes or gets to the point where her normal consciousness has left.  We don’t know what their personal arrangement is nor can we judge.  These situations are all different and all so very, very difficult on the caregiver especially, who is usually the spouse or significant other.

The decision to take on a partner is not about the sex.  Believe me, it is the last or next to last thing on your mind.  I am sure, being in the thick of it now, that it is about having someone to come home to, or to be at home with, who asks how your day is going, or to admire the beautiful day with or the stars or the yummy dinner you just made.  It is almost impossible to be a whole human being without anyone to give you a hug, a kiss, even just a simple “hello” or a smile.

My Someone doesn’t even remember my name anymore and decided a few months ago that there is no sense in responding to my talking.  Sure, he can hear me but he made decision to not respond. “Why bother?” he told his doctor. When I ask things like “Honey, would you like butter on your potato?” or “Sweetie, would you like to come and watch a movie with me and I’ll make some warm popcorn,” there is “crickets” for a response as he shuffles around the house, going from task to task to task, each never started and never finished but the messes are all left strewn behind.

The Someone’s who are afflicted with these neurologic illnesses become gradually like blank slates.  The person we loved and knew is being erased or is fading into oblivion.  With thirty or forty years left of my own life, I know there will be a future (after a few years to just recover from this experience). I don’t want to complicate things now by bringing in another love.  Quite frankly, I don’t even have a minute to go find one!

That said, someone else’s way to survive this maybe be the way B. Smith’s husband is choosing.  The primary benefits–and it is not sex!–is that he gets companionship from the new person, which can make him a better, refreshed, vibrant caretaker of his wife instead of what eventually becomes a depleted, exhausted, frustrated shell of a caretaker–and B. Smith gets another caring person to take care of her, her home and her precious husband.

Before you judge, please walk a mile in someone’s shoes.  I have walked half way around the world, or so it feels, and know what this feels like, what the needs are, and have learned not to judge any caregiver’s way of both dealing with the situation emotionally nor how they get through their days–as long as the afflicted person is taken care of in love and in honor.

Afterthought…You know what I miss alot?  Someone saying, “God bless you,” when I sneeze.  It kind of feels like you just don’t matter any more when that is no longer said but rationally, I know it is just a byproduct of LBD.

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I hope you come back regularly.  Between dealing with Lewy Body Dementia (a post for another time–but in a nutshell it is dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Bipolar, Depression and a bunch of others all rolled into one) and a small ranch of special needs dogs, some in wheelchairs, some with other disabilities (I will share their stories here, too), please click on the menu above this blog and give regularly when you can.

If you don’t have time to do all of that, please go to this link and leave a gift: https://www.gofundme.com/gofundmecomicantbreatheblogfeb2019  It will help me keep this ship afloat. I choose to spend this precious time with my special Someone–and I can’t leave to go to work nevermind relax or sometimes even sleep.    God knows, I don’t wish any of this on anyone so please understand that we, caregivers, all need to do what we need to do to just keep breathing sometimes.  It is that hard.

Thank you.

 

 

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