"Do Good" Opportunities, Human Interest News, In the News, Uncategorized

His Last Valentines: 104 Year Old Vet Asks For Cards, Letters

Hi Angels–

Sorry I haven’t written lately.  I had a little accident that has taken me the better part of a month to recover from.  I will be just fine.

Blog.Major.Bill.White.USMC.Retired.2020.104 yrs old

I recently was made aware of a 104 year old retired Marine, whose wish is to receive Valentine’s Day cards from everyone–and everywhere.  This may very well be his last Valentine’s day.  He wants to add them to his memory collection of his life–right next to his Purple Heart medal, that he was awarded after leading Marines under heavy Japanese fire during the battle of Iwo Jima, in World War II.

Operation Valentine

ATTN: Hold for Major Bill White, USMC (Ret)

The Oaks at Inglewood

6725 Inglewood Ave.

Stockton, CA 95207

 

It may be nice to write your name and city, state inside the card–and if you can, just a little note of appreciation and/or encouragement.

Doing good is simple sometimes.  You can write on a piece of paper, have your kids make cards, buy a 97 cents card or a $8 card–it just matters that you do something.

I believe that when an opportunity to help someone crosses our path, it is our duty to act.  Some blessing opportunities are more difficult than others.  This one, however, is an easy one.

When I spoke to the assisted living facility today, an attendant told me that another resident had this idea to cheer up retired Major White.  I hope that you, too, will take part in this humane effort that qualifies as magnificent.

Thank you for listening and for caring.  Especially for caring.

Please share this post–let’s see if we can reach people all over the world.  Valentine’s Day has no boundaries of any sort.  God bless you.

Jane

firststop-laststop.com

Junie.sleeping.a.dec.2019

Little Junie, my love, keeps a protective paw on her bone while she naps on her Kuranda-like bed!  Yesterday, she found the toy box on her own while I was working on helping a soldier in trouble in Wisconsin (more to come on this).  She had about twenty toys out all over the place–it was like a “toy party.”  (I had to clean up the toy shreds off of her bone when she woke up–she loves to “kill” the toys and take out the squeakers! Thankfully, during the “toy party” she just played with most of them.

 

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"Do Good" Opportunities, In the News, Lewy Body Dementia, RR Dog Stories, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Thank you, Alex Trebek: Your Life Makes a Difference

While I’ve been “holed up” writing the tome of all tomes to get my Someone’s Medicare restored, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on a lot of deep subjects.  

I set aside two weeks to write a complex Reinstatement Medicare appeal and to gather all of the medical documentation from hospitals and ask doctors to write letters to explain what happens with his illness. Someone has a terminal neurodegenerative disease (brain) and used the wrong words to try to get something accomplished. Instead his intent was misunderstood and Social Security cancelled his health insurance (retroactively) for one year (on top of it all) instead of cancelling the excessive monthly surcharge retroactively for one year. (Someone was right about the surcharge being wrong, BTW).  The cascade of people who were paid–and now have been unpaid–is staggering and will take more months to straighten out…

In those two weeks set aside for my writing, two dogs became critical, and then became terminal–and my two weeks of isolation to work became a month now. I take whatever time is needed to help them transition. In those moments, nothing else matters but life and death.

First, my beloved baby Charlee passed in my arms. After he was buried, brave, sweet Pasha took a turn for the worst and headed to heaven. She was just buried.  She spent nearly a week laying on my bed and in the last days, she just wanted to lay on top of me, her head on my heart.  Life is just suspended for me in those days–those precious days–and in talking and singing to the animals soon to pass, I get to reflect on a lot of life and after life issues.

Heart.white.red.border

Never lost on me is how precious life is and our time together.  In literally the space of a breath, one passes on to the Great Beyond–and while I truly believe that there will be a joyous reunion some day, the time between now and then is at first sad because we miss our loved ones who have passed on. But then, realizing that the sick are well again, that the paralyzed can walk and run again, that the elderly are young again–that we are restored to our best whenever that was–and free of our broken bodies–makes missing them a little easier to bear and in fact, always makes me able to smile through my tears.

So today, when I heard that Alex Trebek, the long-time host of the television program, ‘Jeopardy!’, has been diagnosed with Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer, I winced. It is one of the worst diagnoses to hear–right up there with a Glioblastoma brain tumor or or or.  He will be in my prayers.  I pray that he has a strong faith or finds faith. Faith will carry you over and past all the fear and pain–if you can just keep “looking up.”

Mr. Trebek has a wife and grown children who will help him now but he will have to pass on alone–but not in fear.  Never fear.

What I have seen, having been with so many passing animals as a rescuer and caretaker of special needs animals–and some people who were my friends and family or even neighbors–is that we are alone for less than a millisecond, for when we leave our bodies, all of our loved ones are within ten feet or less of our bodies. (Yes) We can see them before we pass, just waiting to welcome us and show us what our life after life will be–and it is all Love and all about Love–as our spirits separate from the body.  If you have lived a good life, good in the meaning of trying not to do bad, no one should be scared to pass on.**

Alex Trebek and ‘Jeopardy!’ have a special place in our lives.  Someone used to watch the show with his family growing up–both at his grandparents’ home and at his parents’. Now, slowly slipping into a terminal case of early-onset Lewy Body dementia, the one daily and very conscious thing that he still wants to do consistently is to watch ‘Jeopardy!’  He wants me to sit with him and we answer the questions out loud–whether we are right or wrong, it doesn’t matter–and we laugh at some of the answers we both can blurt out!

What matters is that we are doing something together, that we are playing a game that requires Someone to use his brain (and memory), and I know that six times a week, that the memory of sitting and “playing” Jeopardy on those days with Someone will eventually become a precious memory for me. They will give me something to smile about through my tears, long after Someone either is no longer able to consciously engage with me or on his own journey to the Great Beyond.

Thank you, Mr. Trebek, for making a difference in our lives.  It may seem like you are just hosting a TV show, but to us, you are helping us through a difficult time in many ways.  I will always be grateful.  You will always be a “smile” in our lives.  You have made a difference with yours and that’s what really counts in the end.

And for those of you going through a life after life journey, too, there is a simple but profound song that I play on my laptop sometimes when I am writing.  It makes me cry but it also makes me think. We all should be living like we are dying every day–for tomorrow–even the next hour or minute–is not guaranteed.  I can testify to that many times over from what I have seen in my own life. Life can be over in the next second. Don’t let that be lost on you, please.

Sent with much love and prayers–

Gratefully,

Jane

Live Like You Were Dying   (song)
To Listen to the song on Youtube:
He said
“I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime

I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”

I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”
He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”
He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again

And then
I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”

And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying

Like tomorrow was a gift
And you’ve got eternity
To think about
What you’d do with it
What could you do with it
What did I do with it?
What would I do with it?
Skydiving
I went Rocky mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I watched an eagle as it was flying”

And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying”
Songwriters: Craig Michael Wiseman / James Timothy Nichols / Tim Nichols
Live Like You Were Dying lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management
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For anyone who would like to help my efforts caring for many special needs dogs who have no where else to go, the Rescue Ranch Herd as they are called, please help any way you can:
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Prayers are always welcome and much appreciated.
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E-anything–from email to much needed amazon credits and gift cards–from generic Visa to fast-food restaurants, please use: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com (or the mail)
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Mailing address: Rescue Ranch, 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386
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Rescue Ranch website: http://www.firststop-laststop.com  (I will update the site/blog after I am done with this project. I will let you know when Charlee and Pasha’s stories are there.)
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PS  Does anyone have a selfie stick they are not using for an Android?  Someone has a new fascination of taking selfies of himself and of sleeping/cuddling dogs.  He is struggling to extend his now-starting to-tremor-hands far enough away from his face.
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Note: I am on the last couple of days before I can submit this Medicare document, so please forgive my complete “withdrawal”–from living practically!  Next week, I will be able to respond to emails, send Thank You’s, etc.  Just know that while I may be using all of my energy to finish this document–it is so intense that I can’t distract myself.  I need to be laser-focused.  Know that you are never far from my thoughts, prayers and always in my heart.  Truly.
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**For those of you who are wondering what to do if you haven’t lived a “good” life, I believe that it is never too late to turn your life around.  It is all about Intention–even if you have done things that you are not proud of or that hurt someone no matter how long ago, doing things now that are “good” or kind or compassionate–and really do them with loving intent to do good–will turn things around, and cancel out in a sense, what was done in the past.
Of course, making amends with the person you actually hurt or did wrong against, would be the best but planting seeds of good–small, medium or big–will make a difference and turn things around. And if you fall down again, get up again and keep doing good! In the very end, you will be asked to judge yourself–I believe, in front of God–and the peace of knowing that you have nothing to fear at that time, is priceless.
For more on Lewy Body Dementia (early-onset means you get sick before you are elderly), please go to: lbda.org the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
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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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