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

God Grant Serenity…

GOD.quote

“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

 

Cubby.RR.Anniver.cake.2019.a.jpg - 1

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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Autobiography, Just Gotta Laugh, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

Goin’ to Carolina in My Mind

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine…
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Over the past few weeks, I find myself constantly just humming this song.  I think it soothes my soul and keeps me calm.  Calm is a hard place to find these days.
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Living with someone with Lewy Body Dementia is unpredictable at best.  Even trying to write a simple blog post yesterday becomes nearly impossible. Things just constantly happen or need attention that make planning anything a memory.  Concentration went out the window awhile ago.
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For instance, yesterday was spent outside in dirt, repairing damage to the sprinkler system. Thankfully, someone handy and very kind offered to help whenever, or if ever, we needed help.  His wife let me “borrow” him again, which is becoming a at-least-once-a-week event so it seems.
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A while back, Someone had tried to construct a barrier to keep the Rescue Ranch dogs from barking at a neighbor’s new dog–who barks a lot. (The new dog just needed some transition time in his new home.) Someone’s idea was to tie a bright orange plastic mesh netting onto six feet high metal posts used to stake trees (that were in the garage). He had to pound them deep into the ground for them to be sturdy.  For Chihuahuas, it may have worked.
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The fact that the netting or posts did not go all the way across the area to prevent going around it, plus that the “barrier” was plastic netting meant it was just a matter of minutes until it failed, but I have learned that you can’t stop everything Someone wants to do.  I can be a safety monitor and gently guide plans and actions but if I just prevented everything, Someone would just become a potted plant which is not at the direction I want to see for his life.  I let him put up the barrier.  At least he was thinking and trying to find a solution.
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Since the huge rain storms that passed through Houston this week missed us, the trees and bushes needed to be watered.  I have been trying to hold out to save on the water bill but the ground was cracking it was so dry so I had the sprinklers turned on not thinking a thing about it.
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Someone took a dog out to play catch when I heard, “Uh, oh.”  My stomach knots up in a big ball when I hear that now.
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Outside, just like when Jed Clampett struck oil on the TV show, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” the whole area around where one of the posts had been was bubbling and gurgling up. The sprinklers were turned off and our handy friend came over with a shovel.  One of the now-back-in-the-garage-posts for the dog barrier (the netting is now in thousands of tiny orange pieces all around the area that I am still picking up daily) was driven straight into the sprinkler system and it fractured several elbow joints and just missed doing really major damage.
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Harder to fix than anticipated but we still got it done, it was suppertime.  It was a Burger King night for sure.  Nuggets and Whopper patties–some mixed with kibble, others would only eat them alone, I thought we were all done for the night.  A shower, a little TV and bedtime–it starts all over again day after day so I need to rest when Someone rests to be ready for literally anything.  Despite knowing that, I sat down to write yet again.
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About two sentences in, around 3 AM, Someone went outside.  He has a hard time going to sleep before dawn or even later (it’s part of the disease called “Sundowning”) but at least I can get him to settle down most nights so I can breathe a little and let out a sigh of relief. (It is really hard to just relax.) When I went to see why I heard the back door handle strand of jingle bells jingle-jangling, I could not find Someone and went outside calling him, the door still open.  When I heard “crickets,” I figured out that he left the door open and was back inside already.  I heard a sink running.  With a sigh of relief, I thought that at least he was washing his hands.  But why?
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“Why were you outside at 3 AM,” I asked.  After over one half an hour of saying the same question over and over again, looking at Someone’s face just looking at me, I finally got an answer.  I have to have an answer in case there was something I needed to do/take care of/fix/etc. “You are not going to like the answer so I am not going to tell you.”  I can deal with pretty much any answer these days as long as everyone is safe and fed.  “I had to get a bag,” he said.
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I million things went through my mind of what could be going on.  “A bag of what?” I asked.  “Laundry,” Someone said.  Huh? What? Laundry??  I didn’t get it.  “Tell me why you are outside getting laundry, ” I asked.  The laundry room is all the way at the other end of the building–inside. After another half an hour, I got an answer. Someone thought that the laundry was piling up and so I would think there wasn’t so much to do, it was bagged up and hidden outside.  I was left simply speechless.  No wonder I couldn’t find any pillowcases!  (Some day I hope I can laugh about this stuff. I just cannot anticipate–or imagine–what is going to happen next!)
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The days are long. The nights are never-ending.  If I take the time to do anything other than the necessities, I either have to forego sleep or rest neither of which I get enough of dealing with this disease (a pic of a brain cell with the Lewy Body bubble in it is featured above).  I need all of my wits about me these days to keep me on my toes so to speak.  I am exploring the options that Someone’s doctors have put before me to think about and to research–and none of them are what I had expected just a few years ago but I can see that I will have to make some major decisions. I am pretty sure that next spring, it will be time.  Until then, please continue on this journey with me. I will promise to write as I can.  (Sign up for email notices in the Menu section so you don’t have to keep checking for updates.)
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Just know that I love you and that I appreciate any and all kindness, card, thought, prayer that you send.  In the middle of this mind-bending experience, getting a sweet card in the mail is so precious and so special to me.  I really mean it.
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Helping with the dogs in any way is gratefully accepted and always welcome.  Just because I am beside my own self, doesn’t mean that the Herd of RR dogs stopped needing chews and medicine and and and and…and!
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Grateful.  Always.
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Carolina In My Mind
To listen to this song on YouTube, Click Here
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In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine…
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind
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Karin, she’s a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shine
And watch her watch the morning come
A silver tear appearing now
I’m cryin’, ain’t I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind
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There ain’t no doubt in no ones mind
That love’s the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey babe, the sky’s on fire
I’m dying, ain’t I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind
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In my mind I’m gone to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
And, ain’t it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind
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Dark and silent, late last night,
I think I might have heard the highway call
And geese in flight and dogs that bite
The signs that might be omens say
I’m goin’, I’m goin’
I’m gone to Carolina in my mind
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With a holy host of others standin’ around me
Still I’m on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me, if I’m up and gone to
Carolina in my mind
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In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t is just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind
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Gone to Carolina in my mind
And I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind
Goin’ to Carolina in my mind
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Gone, I’m gone, I’m gone
Say nice things about me ’cause I’m gone south now
Got to carry on without me, I’m gone
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Songwriters: James Taylor / James V Taylor
Carolina In My Mind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

Meme.Hugs.teddy.bears

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Animal Health, Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

Just a Little Chuckle

I’ve been taking care of Someone with the flu which is an experience that has just left me speechless.  It is the opposite of fun. People with Lewy Body have a weakened immune system and can easily catch anything or everything.

I had a minute to take a shower yesterday and as I was getting my clothes together to take into the bathroom, I grabbed a shirt that was inside-out.  As I was fixing the shirt, the seams reminded me of a day back when…

About nine years ago, I was in the thick of getting the Canine Distemper Virus treatment protocol together with Dr. Alson Sears and Ed Bond.  I was being constantly exposed to dogs with the virus and I could not afford to bring it home nor to spread from dog to dog at the vet clinic we were working at.  (It is very contagious and was deadly.)

One of the ways the Canine Distemper Virus is spread is through tiny droplets floating through the air from a dog’s sneeze.  Owners were bringing in their dogs with bronchitis, not sure if it was Distemper, and while a dog can have both at the same time, Distemper and bronchitis, you want to avoid that!

I was constantly showering with a mild bleach solution and changing my clothes all the time.  I could not risk the sneezes being on my clothes, in my hair or on my skin, especially when I was going to help with a litter of puppies or a dog who didn’t have Distemper. It was a precaution all rescuers should take but many don’t.  It is just too much effort to do what I did but it was the right thing to do.

One day, I was standing in line at Walgreen’s to pick up a dog’s prescription*.  It was really busy and I had not yet gone into the clinic.  I had just taken a shower at home.  All was well, I thought.

I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I looked around.  A woman in another aisle wanted to speak to me. “Honey,” she said in a very hushed, gentle voice, “I just wanted you to know that your shirt is inside out…”

I thanked her for caring enough to let me know and then explained to her that my skin was just super sensitive and that I had intentionally put it on inside-out so the seams wouldn’t bother my skin. (I chuckled to myself. I must be a sight for sore eyes!)

I didn’t tell her the part of seeing hundreds of hundreds of sick and dying dogs, working on the treatment to help them and having to take so many showers–and with a solution that would kill the virus since soap and a shower would not–since I knew her eyes would probably start spinning.  It was too much for me and I was living it intentionally until we could save dogs, now available world-wide.

So, as I was turning my shirt seams back inside yesterday, I was transported back to Walgreen’s and while I can’t remember the woman’s face, I do remember how sweet she was and how sore my skin was!  I shook my head and laughed a little remembering back to the things I had to do back then. No one really knows the struggles we went through to get the Distemper serum and protocol perfected to save their dog.

In fact, I was in a vet clinic recently and watched from about five feet away as a woman come in to get three serum injections for her dog with distemper and some antibiotics. The vet handed them to her and she hugged him and thanked him for saving her dog.  I stood there and watched.  All of the work and sacrifice from our small volunteer team and special angels that helped us along the way to keep the dream of finding a way to stop this deadly disease was still at work saving lives.  I felt like a proud parent–with a little worse-for-the-wear but now healed skin.

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If you have a dog who you suspect or know has Distemper, please go to Kind Hearts in Action to find the nearest vet to help you.

 

If you have a family member who has Lewy Body or is having difficulties that seems like a very unpleasant form of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s combined, you may want to do some research and/or find a doctor to help you: Lewy Body Dementia Association

 

If you want to help me with my work saving and helping animals with special needs, please send an amazon e-credit to a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com OR you can leave a gift on my Go Fund Me which helps the special needs dogs that I care for as well as Someone: Just click here: Help Jane Help Others.

 

If you would rather mail a gift card–all are much appreciated–generic Visa, fast food like Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s or any others, please send them to: Rescue Ranch, 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386

 

Thank you for caring.  Especially for caring.

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Photo: Bunny on her new Kuranda bed with ‘her’ Bunny.  She was so happy, she was laughing!  Bunny’s birthday is coming up–she is going to be eleven and is a natural survivor of distemper which is very rare.  Unfortunately, she lost the ability to stand on her front legs and needs human help to walk with a mobility aid (or as we call it a belly band) or a donated doggie wheelchair.  I really love the GingerLead mobility harness. You can order it in different widths/sizes.  It’s been the only brand I’ve used for years now–after trying many.

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Shop Amazon through my link and help Rescued Animals!  Just by using the link below for your shopping, amazon processes everything, you don’t get charged any extra and amazon gives a tiny percentage back to my dog rescue, the Rescue Ranch, to help with expenses.

Bookmark/Save this Link please–and use it over and over again:

https://www.amazon.com/?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=rescranc-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=d1c5b8cf4f461c68dcbe83a34957a399&camp=1789&creative=9325

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*Did you know that there is GoodRX pet card and other prescription discount cards can be used on your pet’s medicines?  Instead of buying the medicines at your vet, you can ask that they give you a prescription or you can place an order online and have it faxed to your vet to sign.

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Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

Submitted Under a Pink Moonbow

The last of the doctors’ letters came in on Friday.  After incorporating his comments and input into Someone’s Medicare Retroactive Reinstatement Request, I finished writing and organizing and copying (one sheet at a time) onto three-hole paper at 9 PM on St. Patrick’s Day.  Since I believe in the luck of the Irish, I thought that that was a good sign.

Fed Ex overnight was too expensive so it went out Fed Ex Ground.  God willing it gets there today and it reaches someone with compassion.  The more I wrote and the more documentation that I had to acquire and add in, the more it made sense to approve this request.  It was a constellation of errors as well as Someone’s cognitive impairment that complicated everything and really, what happened was invalid–but it happened and nothing gets undone unless someone points out the problem!

I took some time after it went out to walk and play with each of the dogs at the Rescue Ranch.  They have been so good and understanding.  I also wanted to just clear my mind and get some fresh air.  Over a month working on a computer screen really took its toll on my eyes.

I looked up at the night sky.  I just wanted to say, “Thank you,” to God for just allowing me to get through this past month or even a little more.  Beloved Charlee and beautiful Pasha passed on while I was beginning to write what would be ultimately occupy a two inch binder.  I felt like they were angels helping me continue on in a way.  They were here, they knew what was going on, they passed on because God called but animals are very smart and very aware.

There was a beautiful, soft pink ring around the moon that was out a bit and around the “glow” of the moon.  It was stunning and beautiful.  I had never seen one in my entire life.  By the time I “ran” in to get the camera, it was gone.  Someone saw it, too.  “Oh, wow!” he said. Eight hours later, as I was finishing up walking the dogs (with breaks in-between, I was very much limping by then, the pink ring appeared again–so after admiring it, I went online and looked up the meaning of it on the computer.  (The pics on the internet do not show the true beauty of this phenomenon.) It is a sign of very good luck and it is very rare.  Some consider it a “moonbow” like a “rainbow,” but more rare.  That made me smile inside and outside as I tossed yet another squeaking football on a cord.  I was really thankful that I got to see one once, never mind twice!

I am convinced that God hears our prayers.  Maybe the answers are not what we want, maybe they are; maybe they happen immediately, maybe they are delayed.  Whatever the case, the binder is now in His “hands.”  If it is meant to be approved, it will be.  If not, it is at least assembled into a complete history and format that an advocate can understand and take it one step further.  Sorting through hundreds upon hundreds of documents in a box would take too much time–this way, it is easy to follow the chronology and the things that went wrong and definitely calls for relief, hopefully sooner than later.  Someone is having complications from hernia mesh surgery #1 and #2 so this is very important to get fixed so he has insurance plus $108,000 in claims were un-paid and there are lots of unhappy providers calling.  How do you explain this life?

Thank you to those of you who have been patient with me and in understanding that I had to be single-focused during this time.  Of course, there was unlimited time and care and love put into helping Charlee and Pasha but I could not write letters or focus on email or reading or doing anything else.  Even taking a simple shower, an idea would come to me or in my sleep–so I kept paper and a Sharpie next to my “bed.”  I had to be completely absorbed but not consumed by the subject at hand or I couldn’t do it.

Give me a day or so to clean up the piles of paper and drafts and tabs and paper clips and and and so I can see my desk again and then I will start to come back to life.  Until then, angels know that I love you and pray for you and that you are never far from my thoughts and heart.  There are few of you active these days but I honor you all with all that I am.

To God goes the glory–

Sending Love and always Hugs from the Herd

Jane

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IF you can help, our amazon account is now at zero.  Please send any e-credits to a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com  This is a critical resource for us right now for everything dog!

Note:

Angels,

We need kibble VIP and in bags less than fifteen pound bags (my limit right now*)-and flavored (not plain) rawhide chews or non-rawhide bones like Dreambones (see our Amazon wish list and wet dog food that is like a pate’ not in chunks/stew (which seems yummier to me but is harder for them to eat and requires hand-feeding each one):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/357TZN5MD849U/ref=cm_sw_su_w

to get some ideas.  (I will update the list this week so check back on the weekend.  One angel dropped off Walmart’s new kibble, Vibrant Life–which was a big hit–mixed with some chicken nuggets or like tonight, some Whopper patty pieces! Thank you!!!)

Amazon E-credits allow me to order what we need in the moment and to have it delivered to our mailing address in two days!  Special needs dogs don’t just “wolf” down (no pun intended) bowls of kibble.  They need chicken broth or…beef broth, meat, veggies, soft food, etc. etc. etc. mixed into it–then a time-delay so it can soften.  Feeding special needs dogs is a whole ‘nother animal (pun intended).

*The end of last year, I hurt my knees (badly) on a wipe-out running to help Someone–nothing broken or torn other than a piece of bone floating around in one and lots of soft tissue damage. I was on crutches, now in prescription hinged, knee braces.  My knees are still healing. I can pour out kibble (dry or wet) or give out Burger King, McD’s or Wendy’s burgers–plain–or mix the two together when time allows.  (ALL gift cards always needed and welcome!)

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring.

 

IF you want to help generally, I have a Go Fund Me open which helps the dogs and Someone.  Gifts are deposited directly onto my debit card to be used right away:

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/gofundmecomicantbreatheblogfeb2019#

 

Grateful. Always.

shamrock03

Two versions of an Irish folk saying…

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“You’ve got to love like you’ll never get hurt, You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching, You’ve got to come from the heart if you want it to work. “

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“Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt; sing like no one is listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

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Mailing Address: Rescue Ranch 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386

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"Do Good" Opportunities, Autobiography, Just Gotta Laugh, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

Still Belly Laughing Years Later

Note: Always click on the link in your email to read my stories.    You may even get more details than in the story in your Inbox. After I publish, for some reason, I can proof-read better.  

I need to scan the pics that were sent to us after the fact by Someone’s half-brother, G, about this incident but I am going to skip that for now. They would interfere with my telling of the story–the whole story–if my readers just skipped to the “end.”

(For readers just joining, “Someone” is my significant other, who would prefer to remain nameless because he is kinda embarrassed that he has an early-onset brain disease.)*

Years ago, when those little bags full of tiny greeting card glitter inserts came out, in the shape of hearts or snowmen, pumpkins or shamrocks, G’s wife was obsessed with them. Every greeting card, letter, holiday card, even presents that she sent to anyone had a generous handful of them enclosed.

At first, it was a pretty, occassional inclusion, we thought. But as time went on and they became more problematic than pretty. When we’d open a letter, a package, a set of printed photos, they would fall out all over the floor, into the dogs’ fur, our clothes, get into the carpet, in the tile cracks and more.  We’d have to clean them up and instead of enjoying her letter, we’d spend each time cleaning up “her” mess.  The more this happened, the more frustrated we became.

I couldn’t imagine how much this was costing G’s wife!  Each package was about $5 in the card section of the store and she was doing this often. I wrote to her and asked her to please keep those lovely surprises for other people, but she would not listen.  We continued to be bombarded by more and more designer glitter.

One Thanksgiving, before Someone was sick, about twenty of us were all at a relative’s home and after dinner, the men were sitting around talking in the den.  Grandma (Gma) nearing 90 and I just happened to be there, too, babysitting some of the younger cousins while others were clearing the table for dessert.

“Are you getting that glitter (c**p) in your cards and letters from G’s wife?” Someone asked the table.  “Ugh.” said one.  “OMG,”said another.  “It is the worst, ” said Gma. “We’ve asked her to stop it but she thinks it’s funny,” said one of the other wives walking by.  The wheels began turning in Someone’s brain that very night.  It had to stop.

We drove home and Someone began planning and brainstorming about how to get the message across to G and his wife that the entire family despised her glitter “surprises.” It was no longer pretty or cute but kind of naughty-not-nice, especially after people asked repeatedly for the behaviour to stop.)

Someone began assembling parts for his masterpiece of masterpieces.  Whenever he did something, he always did it to succeed and to be the best that he could.  (To this day, when ever we want to laugh or even bring up glitter, we laugh for a very long time.)

The wheels were turning.  He bought several of those beginner magic cans of peanuts with the coiled snake in it (he wanted the “snakes”;  five POUNDS of fine, multi-color glitter;  a bunch of other parts that would assemble into the prettiest Christmas present that G and his wife could not resist opening and mailed it mixed in with their regular presents. I can’t remember exactly how it was assembled but it was complex and ingenious and totally harmless.

On Christmas morning, we got up early and just sat at home drinking hot cocoa and playing with the dogs and waited for the phone to ring.  We weren’t sure if it was going to work or if sending it through the mail would upset the glitter launcher. The suspense was a nail-biter.  Then about 11 AM, the call came.  G and his wife weren’t mad but they were certainly shocked. It was so unexpected that they were belly laughing with us, too–but I could tell that G’s wife wasn’t totally thrilled especially about the aftermath.

They told us what happened.  The pics they sent were of the rug and the cats and their hair, sofa…  I remember hearing that it was even inside their socks!.

Sitting on their shag carpeting, G opened that Christmas present–with his two long-haired cats right by his side–and his wife on the chair right next to him (with very long, curly hair). When G pulled open the top of the box, pounds and pounds of fine glitter went up in the air and came down ALL over the room!  It was in their hair, in the cats’ fur (not in their eyes and they did not inhale it–it was clear that they had ducked and the glitter was just down their backs–then they happily rolled in it so it was then all over their tummies), deeply embedded (for a long time) in the shag carpeting, in their clothes, furniture, more.  It was one of THE best brother-to-brother gags I have ever seen and Someone was the mastermind behind it all.

Needless to say, we never once got another card with the little glitter snowflakes or hearts or whatever in them again.  Neither did anyone else in the entire family!  (They all thanked Someone once the story and pics got around the family.)  I think the message was received more than loud and clear with no harm done.

We still continued to vacation all together and visit and talk regularly–until Someone got sick.  Gma, Someone’s biggest fan, passed away at 95, just before Someone’s official diagnosis.

As for the rest of the family, all but our first “Someone is sick” call, all calls now go unanswered; my email requests for them to just send a card to keep in touch–to spend time with each other before there are regrets–now fall on deaf ears (not uncommon in these situations).

There will never be another gag like that.  Someone ended on a high note–which will keep us still belly laughing for years to come!

Make lots of good memories while you can.  They will carry you far!

Sending love and hugs from the Herd and their people!

Jane

 

 

Poppy.veterans.day

IF you want to help me continue my “mission” caring for special needs animals, and there are lots of them at the Rescue Ranch, please help in any way you can.  Thank you!

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How to Help

Send 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, like McD’s, Burger King, Taco Bell (yes some dogs will only eat cheese and or chicken something or other from there), 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 I am posting there again–probably mid-March.)
Grateful.
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*For more information on Lewy Body Dementia (or Disorder as Someone prefers that I refer to it in public, especially if I have to explain his behavior or deficits in a store), please go to lbda.org
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To Adopt, Rescue, Foster, Volunteer to help any type of animal imaginable (practically), please start at petfinder.com and type in your zip come and animal you would like to help.
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Ada.April25.2013.DingoQueen.A
Big Ady Ada collected all of the big dog Dingo bones–
we always had to redistribute them when she wasn’t looking!
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“If you become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God also laughing, you will hear the whole existence laughing — trees and stones and stars with you.” — Osho
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PS  The delay in sending out the insurance Retroactive Reinstatement tome last week, is working to our advantage.  The other two doctors’ letters will be in, I thought of something I missed, and some more articles that I could include to further explain what happened.  Hopefully mid-week, it will be in Fed Ex.  I am still trying to be laser-focused until I have the Fed Ex receipt in my hand!
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DON’T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR EMAIL NOTIFICATION OF NEW STORIES/BLOG POSTS! Just go to the top of this page and click on the black section with the white lines–a menu will open!
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Send an amazon e-card to use to help the special needs rescue dogs at the Rescue Ranch! Just click on this link and use the email: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com for the To/Delivery address.  Thank you for caring.  Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0145WHYKC/gcrnsts/?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=rescranc-20&linkId=I2QOVRMWZNQYBADR
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…and
PLEASE Do Your Amazon Shopping Through MY DOG RESCUE LINK ON AMAZON…everything stays private to you and is processed by amazon, just a small percentage (usually 2-4) goes to my animal rescue organization, the Rescue Ranch.  Thank you!  Link to start shopping: https://tinyurl.com/AmazonforRescueRanch    (Please bookmark it or keep it handy to use all the time!)
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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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Please sign up to get my latest posts in your Inbox.  Just click on the Black box/white lines at the very top of this blog to open the Menu and you will see the sign up box.  It is easy!
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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.
*
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)
*
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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"Do Good" Opportunities, Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

The Age of Why

I am trying, with everything that I am, to be disciplined enough with laser focus, to complete and submit Someone’s Medicare (health insurance for the disabled) Reinstatement Request–that he accidentally cancelled repeating the wrong words (about an issue that he was correct in questioning)–a symptom of his progressing Lewy Body Dementia or as he likes to say, “Disorder.”  It is early-onset–which means Someone is not elderly but which also means that it is faster to progress and fiercer as it does.

Because Medicare was retroactively cancelled, all $108,000 from 2018, of Someone’s medical bills, are outstanding–and he is not covered yet for 2019.  If that were not causing me to feel the pressure of it all, his very large inguinal hernia mesh surgery #2 is having major complications and he may need hernia surgery #3, so I have to get this tome done sooner than later.  Over 450 pages and adding doctor letters, articles, medical records, an exhibit list and a narrative that is a challenge to compile even for the brightest and well-rested. (In this process, learning that general anesthesia is a complicating factor for this disease has been worrisome.)

Frayed and exhausted, I am a week past my self-imposed deadline. While legally there is no deadline, the consequences of not getting this done are great so every hour of every day that goes by pains me. During the time that I set aside to do this difficult task–no doctors, no appointments, no shopping, nothing was going to interfere–when two beloved dogs went from critically ill to nearing the end of time.  I put everything aside and care for them as tenderly as possible, turning them, washing them, syringing liquids into them, changing their linens…more.  One very ill dog is difficult, two at a time means give it all to God because it is not possible to manage everything without supernatural help and support. (Nothing is impossible with Him, I keep reminding myself as I say often, every day, “God. Help.”)

Someone gets upset when “his” dogs “time is up.”  He starts to act out behaviourally–agitation, argumentative and now, asking, “Why?” over every single thing that has to go on all day and all night.  I know that it is just a mixed up brain that instead of crying like I might do or being able to turn it over to God like he used to do in the past, knowing that (as we believe) that there is life after life and he will see them again, his brain is misfiring more than normal.  I have learned to handle the rough stuff but the asking “Why” here, there and everywhere is beyond me right now.

Today, I had to wash a red blanket that was dirty.  Someone wanted to put it in the wash and pour bleach all over it and turn the washer on.  “You can’t pour bleach on colors, “I said. “Why?”  “Well, it will ruin the color.  It will have a big bleach spot and then the red color will be a different color when it’s done.”  “Why?”  “Well,” I said as I kept trying to satisfy the ‘Why’s,’ “the material will be weaker and will probably get a hole in it if you just pour straight bleach on it anyway.  Besides, you are not allowed to handle bleach. Why are we even having this conversation?”

“Why can’t I handle bleach…” and round and round we went until a light dawned over my head.  This is a new phase of the always progressing Lewy Body that I am going to call the “Age of Why.”  It is like this with anything, anywhere, all the time.  I realized today that I am dealing with a two year old in a way–a 240 lb one albeit–who comes in and out of reality a few hours at a time each day, several times each day.

Some how, I need to stop giving in to the katrillion questions and find another solution.  I tried, “Because I said so,” but that didn’t work.  I tried, “Because it is a rule.” Sometimes that works.  Exasperated, occasionally I find myself not handling things as well as I’d like.

At 11 PM, I gave Someone 20 minutes to get into bed. (I feel like I am managing a child and not a 50-something man.) If he would just lay down, I could concentrate and work on his Medicare stuff.  I can tell it is going to be at least another two hours before he stops shuffling around and finding reasons to stay up all night like going through things that I threw out in the trash, lest I threw out a treasure (they each hoard particular things) or letting the dogs out in the middle of the night to play (and bark), giving them snacks and bones so they think it is “activation time” instead of sleepy time.

A year ago this May, I wound up with an ulcer in my small intestine that ate through to a blood vessel and I nearly died.  “Cut down on stress,” the docs all said.  I am feeling that pain again in my belly–just occasionally but it is distinctly there–the one that started a few months before I found myself in the ER.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit.  Maybe now I can get back to writing a very important six page narrative that goes on top of everything I have assembled.  I’d appreciate it greatly if you’d send up a prayer for the wings of angels to carry it to the people who can overturn what happened.  God willing, in a month or two, it will be reversed and I can call all of these angry physicians and surgical centers, etc. and have them resubmit their bills for payment. No one really understands what it is like to live with a disease like this until and unless you have–especially when it comes to money.  It is a daily mind-bender for me but that doesn’t matter.

In the meantime, the phones are under lock and key now–no calls are answered or made without me knowing to whom and for what reason. It is so difficult to start doing things like this to your adult significant other, who you have lived with for so long, but I have learned a lesson that I won’t soon forget. Someone sounds very credible and “normal” but really does not understand anything but the basics…

…like giving love and being kind to the dogs, helping the homeless and less fortunate (yes there is an amazing social awareness still in tact), worrying about homeless animals who may not have found a Rescue Ranch, and praying for our angels–by name–each night–which is extremely sweet and has a very innocent element about it. He knows who is helping, who sends prayer cards, who dropped off lots of doggy stuff at the mail, who sent Pasha a stuffed Bunny, “so she would never be without ‘her’ Bunny” and more.  He doesn’t know my name–or at least doesn’t use it anymore–but he does know yours–and he asks God to bless you daily.  (When I hear him praying, I stop whatever I am doing to lift my hand in agreement.)

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring.

Sending love and always, Hugs from Our Herd!

PS  All feedback/ideas on how to handle the “Why’s” is very much welcome!

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Angels, please know that your help and prayers are still needed even though I set aside this time to do the Medicare Reinstatement and to take care of Charlee and Pasha.  I will write next week–I just have got to get this document submitted and then let God take over!

Please don’t forget about us!

In the meantime, if anyone wants to send prayers, gift cards, fast food gift cards, a generic Visa, greeting cards (Someone LOVES them) I would be so very grateful.  I am beside myself, just walking in pure faith, that everyone’s needs will be met each week.

For instance, tonight, because of your kindnesses, I was able to just crumble Whopper patties and some real McBacon and add no-salt green beans and some Chinese-restaurant rice (they only charge me $1 per large container) and dinner was done! (Kibble added, too, for the bigger dogs who don’t have mouth-issues.) In addition to the stove and oven being locked down and silverware now consisting of plastic spoons (and one paring knife I have hidden away for cutting up veggies), it is a lack-of-time issue in addition to a safety issue when I plan to cook or why I can’t.

Mailing address:  Rescue Ranch, 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386

Anything e- goes to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com  (amazon credits, email, etc.)

Photo: Bunny (L) and Pasha in their doggie carts playing with sweetie pie, Junie.  (This was taken before Pasha developed cancer.)

Helpful Links:

Lewy Body Dementia Association: lbda.org

To Adopt, Foster, Rescue, Volunteer to help many types of animals: Petfinder.org

The Rescue Ranch website: firststop-laststop.com  (Next week, I will write more about Charlee and Pasha there).

 

“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there was only joy in the world.”  

Helen Keller

 

Please click on the Menu–the black box with white lines–at the top of the page and sign up for email blog posts.  If you would share this blog on social media, to reach those who may be interested in our lives or who may be in the same situation and needing a life-line and/or to know that someone out there cares, please pass on this blog URL: Icantbreathe.blog   Thank you much.

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Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

A Valentine’s Day Story

Memories play a huge part in being able to endure living with the steady decline of a loved one with any illness–Lewy Body Dementia, a terminal neurodegenerative disease, included.  The person you fell in love with, at least their physical body, stands before you weakened but familiar, but their personality degrades and their memories fade. Someone you loved doesn’t even know your name…and eventually the body fails.

Someone, my significant other, was always aware of important dates/holidays and was very card-conscious.  Every single holiday, for everyone he loved (mostly his grandparents, parents and some relatives), he would make sure he sent them a card–or made them one–even into his late 30’s!

It was amazing how he would remember so many and get them mailed on time and write a little note about how he loved them, including in my own cards.  I usually got a small box of candy and a pretty bouquet of flowers–nothing expensive though has always been my rule.

On the second Valentine’s Day after being diagnosed with LBD, I received the sweetest card…

Valentine’s Day 2017

Mike.ValsDay.2017.card.inside.right.jpg

I began to notice, however, that his card-consciousness began to decline as did his hand-writing after he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.  Fewer and fewer people and holidays were remembered.

Delivered in a plastic grocery bag (not an envelope),  I was brought to tears as I deciphered what the 2017 Valentine’s Day card said:

 

Mike.ValsDay.2017.card.inside.left

Top

“I know my memory is fading (a little), I know I haven’t forgotten how much I love you. (Three hearts)

Bottom

“You may think I am a little crazy lately but I am still crazy in Love with you.

Love “Someone” (four hearts) XO XO XO

 

Valentine’s Day 2018

Someone didn’t forget the day.  In fact, he had a card ready for me when I woke up.

The card came with an envelope.  It was blank.  The card inside was completely blank. I am not certain that the card was in the envelop.

I was touched that he remembered the day–it means a lot especially because I can see a decline that is as scary as it is sad.  I gave him a kiss and a hug and thanked him for remembering. He was happy that he made me happy.

I went in the bathroom and bit my bottom lip, trying not to sob too loud because it was more and more obvious that the disease is taking another part of Someone away.

About an hour or two later, I took the card back to him, “Would you mind just dating this card for me, ” I asked.  He took the card and wrote, “Val’s Day, 2018” and at the bottom signed, “Love, “Someone.”  I know that in the not so distance future that these mementos and memories are going to carry me through a very painful journey–alone.

 

Valentine’s Day 2019

I know Someone hasn’t forgotten Valentine’s Day because he spent a good hour (at least) in the card section of the grocery store.  I just walked and walked around trying to keep busy until he was done.  He said that he had three special cards to get.  Whoever they are for, just know that they are going to be late. (I would guess that one is for his mother, turning 80 next week.)

When we got home, he asked me if I like Ferrero Rocher’s hazelnut chocolates.  In fact, my mother used to send a big box of them to us every Christmas for years and years so the memory must be stuck in his brain somewhere.  “Oh, yes, I love them!” I said. “Do you remember how my mother used to send them to us every Christmas?”  He didn’t remember–but in a way, he did.

I don’t know if there will be a card or even if there will be chocolates but it doesn’t matter any more.  The most precious Valentine gift you could ever give–or get–is the gift of time–of being with someone, of sharing a part of your life, of sharing some of your love. Those gifts are priceless and so very precious.

Please remember this today and forever:

Love is absolutely everything and it is forever.

 

“I love you neither with my heart, nor with my mind. My heart might stop, my mind can forget. I love you with my soul because my soul never stops or forgets.”   Rumi 
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To get my blog posts in your email, please go to the top of this page and click on the three white lines on a black background.  There will be four action items–one of which is to auto-subscribe to get my posts in your email.  You may have to confirm your email once your subscribe…
PS  I Love YOU!
PPS  YES!  Being with your fur babies (or friends), remember that they are all precious and fantastic Valentine’s Day company.  Aren’t they all just made or full of love? Just because you may not have a beloved, particular human being to sit across from doesn’t mean that you are alone.
And if you don’t have an animal to share love with, I’ll share some of the love I have here at the Rescue Ranch. I have lived surrounded by so many furry loves for twelve years now!

 

 

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Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Like Nails on a Chalkboard

To those of you who haven’t heard from me, just know that all is OK.

Someone has major complications from his second hernia mesh operation and has to have an ultrasound and CT scan.  He now has a testicle the size of an ostrich egg and a very large band of rock hard colon? or tissue on running on the outside of his abdomen from his waistline to his privates. Now he has mesh just under the skin (an external repair was tried first) and now inside of him but is not eligible for the mesh lawsuits because it didn’t “let go” per se.  But…

If you remember, his medical insurance was wrongfully cancelled retroactively…or really, the cancellation is invalid and I am hoping to prove it through my documentation and research.

(To read how it was cancelled, see my previous post: https://icantbreathe.blog/2019/02/04/superbowl-sunday-together-time-turns-into-nappy-time/ )

…so I am writing a thesis of sorts of 400 plus pages to get it reversed retroactively. God willing.  Otherwise, we will incur another $108,000 in debt and he will have no medical insurance until July.  With this hernia complication, that’s a long time to wait.

In order to do this, I had to get four doctors’ records, statements and opinions, collect a lot of previous medical information about Someone’s Lewy Body Dementia AND the hernia mesh surgeries and do a whole lot of research.  It feels like a piece of your soul basically goes into something like this.  I have read more about Medicare law than I ever wanted to.

If that wasn’t enough, two dogs are critical–on the edge of God calling.  Charlee Barlee, is very close to being an angel we know in heaven, whose beloved white Poodle Doodle, Jed, is keeping him company and making sure that I hear his barks whenever his Charlee needs a drink or needs to get up to go potty, etc.  It is amazing to watch what an animal bonded pair relationship looks like. (I have seen them before and they are very special.) They should never ever be separated (if fostering or rescuing) and already my heart is breaking for Jed.

Charlee is wanting to keep me within sight all the time.  His heart is failing (Congestive Heart Failure) and his belly is swollen and big from ascites (as-site-eez) or water in the tissues that his heart isn’t clearing.  Charlee and I have been having talks about what comes after life–and who will probably come to greet him (here) and how he can come visit us anytime.  I also reinforce that we will see each other again and it is that hope, that helps me to smile through my tears eventually.

Pasha Dasha has a cancerous tumor the size of a swollen plum that developed almost over night.  It is on a stalk or at the end of a band of tissue extending it away from her body (her rear flank). I’ve been trying to find a surgeon who can remove it without putting her under general anesthesia.  She will be 15 this year and just as a quality of life issue, removing it would make her more comfortable.  In the meanwhile, external cancerous tumors create a large amount of exudate (wet, grey, shedding of muck) and so she needs to be cleaned up and the tumor treated and wrapped often.

Between reading, working on the computer, no sleep and crying, my eyes are taking the worst of it.  I have to take an hour “eye break” every three hours or so.

Before God called my mother, she had sent me a basket of things, recipes and notes from her (that is almost empty) I might need some day–to go into when I think of her.  It is as emotional as it is sweet and the things I find are funny, useful, and thoughtful.  I took out the cucumber eye pads one time and put them in the ‘frig in case I ever needed them.  They are a godsend right about now. I wish she were here…She loved Someone like her own son and so I know that she is here with us “in spirit” and in love. (It brings me to my knees when one of her notes drops out, in her handwriting, and starts with, “Hi, You Two…I love you so much…”)

So, please forgive me for not responding to email or texts or mail right now.  I must use every ounce of energy I can muster to get this Medicare Reinstatement Thesis in–it is taking energy from deep inside me to do this but if I start diverting my attention, I will not be able to do it.  Hoping to get it out this week, and then getting our Senator involved after that, I can take a break and will be back in touch with y’all.

In the meantime, please know that I am so deeply grateful to those of you who have cared and still cared about us.  This is a very lonely, scary, uncharted place to be in.  I don’t know what people do if they don’t believe in God and have their faith to stand on because it seems like at least hourly, I check in with Him just to keep going right now.  (If I didn’t have to do this report, I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed but it is a “must do” and there is no one else to do it.)

I love you all very, very much and open your cards slowly and thoughtfully and read them and treat them as precious gifts and hugs.  I take your gift cards and put them in my wallet to use when I need a break (like now) from cooking and managing 6 different sets of eating demands (special needs/end of life dogs are very picky!)  I tuck away your other gifts for emergencies or those times when there just isn’t funds to cover whatever is needed–whether you designate them for the dogs, for what is needed or for Someone.

Please say a prayer that I have the strength of spirit and soundness of mind and argument to get this reinstatement request done and heard.  I will continue to say prayers of thanks for all of those helping us.  Also, please keep Someone, Charlee and Pasha in your prayers.  I just hope that they hold on while I get this submitted.  I don’t think I would have the energy of spirit to grieve and get it done so I am pushing myself to get it out.  My eyes will be so swollen from crying that typing will be out of the question so the urgency is definitely being felt so Someone can get help.  Then, I will turn it over to God, knowing that I did everything I could do and it is in His hands.

Please continue to write and email and help if you can.  Next week, I will catch up on all of my “thank you’s” and responses.  Please except this, “THANK YOU” for now and a big hug!

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring.

PS  For those of you who have been following my own stuff, the full-body PET scan was finally approved mid-Jan!  I think the insurance company delayed it for three months to carry it over to a new deductible year since last year, with me having been emergency hospitalized, spent a week in the ICU, had transfusions and surgery and Someone had surgery, too, in 2018, there was no deductible left and the PET would have been free.  Now, its a new year and everything reset and we would have to pay 100% of it to go towards our high deductible plan. My next project is to get the deductible waived.  What happened seems kinda fishy and like some insurance law was broken or at least some moral ones were.  Research, more research to do while the docs are biting at my heels to get the test done for my own sake.

Mailing address:

Rescue Ranch, 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386

Email for e-anything: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

 

I Love You.

We Love You.

The Herd Loves You!

 

“The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.” —Anonymous

 

Note: To sign up to receive my new posts in your email, just go to the top of this page and click on the three lines in the black box.  It is a menu box.  One of the four options is to sign up for the posts.  I hope you do so.  If you could send this URL  Icantbreathe.blog to others as well or post on other social media sites, that would help build my blog.  I am trying to educate people as well as share our life and stories.   Thank you much!

 

 

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"Do Good" Opportunities, Autobiography, Lewy Body Dementia, Uncategorized

The Garage Door Incident

I have decided that God must have a sense of humor–at least I hope so because life with Lewy Body Dementia in it has some twists and turns that just cannot be anticipated or even understood.  This week’s/or better said, is this particular challenge was not a mind-bender, and the injury not life-threatening thankfully, but the compilation of so many things that a caregiver has to deal with in this situation is simply overwhelming. Not even the strongest of us make it out of this experience without serious battle scars (emotional, mental, more) if we have the resources to even hang on.

BOINGGGGGGG

It was supposed to be the simple running of an errand.  I got Someone in the car, backed out of the garage and pressed the button on the garage remote to close it.  Ready to get the mail, happy to get some fresh air and to get something to bring home for dinner for Someone and the dogs (many), my “alert button” was on low until I heard a very loud noise from INSIDE the garage. We hadn’t even left the driveway.

My first thought was that some industrial shelving that line the inside walls of the garage must have fallen over but how I wondered.  Other than that, I would think of nothing that heavy or that could even fall from anywhere in the garage that would be loud enough to make my heart skip a beat–outside–and to make the dogs act like there was a burglar inside (I could hear them all in a panic, ready to protect the Rescue Ranch.)

I left Someone in the car (it was off), taking the keys to get inside, and went right into the garage. Everything was in order much to my surprise. Silence. Not a thing had been moved or had fallen.  I ran through the possible sources of the noise that I heard. I heard it outside and it definitely came from the garage, but nothing qualified.  The water heater, which had just been replaced last year thanks to an angel, sat proud and shiny in its corner.  The shelving was all standing and not a thing was on the floor.  “Well, I’ll be…” I thought to myself still trying to figure it out.  I couldn’t leave until I figured out what was wrong.

Someone Was Outside Alone

Talking to me through the garage door, Someone was out of the car (my anything-can-happen radar was now activated) and banging on the other side of the door, asking me what the noise had been.  “I can’t figure it out.  Everything seems OK,” I yelled.  “Look all around.  Something broke,” he hollered through the insulated door.  On an off-chance, I looked up.  The giant two foot long screw that turns the double-garage door opener had snapped in two.  A light bulb moment.

“Hang on,” I said.  “It looks like the screw that opens the door has snapped. Let me see if there is an emergency release that I can open the door with.”  Someone with LBD doesn’t like to be alone or out of sight of his caregiver.  Seconds is too long…

“Uh-Oh”–That Famous Word

He panicked, I think, over the minute that it might take me to try to open the door and began trying to lift the door from the outside–using the little handle that just turns the deadbolt lock.  “Uh-oh…” I heard outside. “Nuts,” I thought.

Well, any caregiver who hears those words, especially when dealing with the dementias, I am certain has their gut clench up and their adrenaline ramp up in less than five seconds flat.  You never know if you are dealing with something simple that just needs to be fixed or something major.  It is constant and ongoing.

“Ummm, there is blood dripping all over my pants and on the concrete,” Someone said. “I think the door handle is in lots of pieces, too.”  My heart, oh my heart.  “OK, hang on, I am on my way out.  I can’t figure out how to open the door so I will come out of the house door.”

I ran to get a clean towel on my way out.  I had no idea what I was going to find but I was prepared to go to the ER.  I am always prepared it seems.  When I got outside, the blood was all over the place.  It had gone under the door, on the driveway, it was all over Someone’s clothes.  It was dark out so I told him to hold still while I wrapped his hand up to put pressure on whatever had happened and grabbed his elbow and “ran” him into my bathroom which has become first-aid central.

Fingers Injured

I flipped the light on and carefully unwrapped the towel.  “I don’t feel any pain,” he said. “You will later,” I said.  I have noticed that LBD causes either a lack of sensitivity to pain or an exaggeration of pain.  An injury like this would have had me crying–while a muscle spasm in his arm will have Someone needing to have all types of first aid and attention for hours.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me anymore.  I just accept that.

When the garage door handle snapped into three pieces, one piece sliced a nasty diagonal across the inside of Someone’s hand.  “I guess I shouldn’t have used all of my weight to try to pull the door up with that handle,” he said. (Yep.)

After washing away the blood and getting the bleeding to stop, I said, “I don’t think you need stitches.  I think I have everything we need to fix this.”  He asked me to individually lift up each of the (many) skin flaps in the slashes to examine them to see if pieces of the garage door got under them.  Dementia-thinking but if it was needed, I would have. “I rinsed it out really well and when I put the sterilizer and ointment on with the bandages, it will get the stuff into each nook and cranny. OK?” I said.  (If I used proper names of the things I was using, I would have had to explain each thing and argue why each thing was necessary.)

He patiently stood there as I did what I had to do.  He started to object to how I was placing bandages that were “restricting” (yep) the way his fingers moved but in those moments, you have to just take complete control and be emphatic.  There is no wiggle-room for dementia stuff (he has an odd case of OCD) when the situation is serious.

Knowing that the bandages would be wet with any one of a dozen substances within five minutes, I decided to put a nitrile glove over them. That has kept them dry until each changing time.  His wounds are looking pretty good but I have to constantly watch that a glove is still on.  If not, it will require an immediate first aid station visit.

Thank God

I went outside with a gallon of water to rinse off the blood.  Seeing what was there and evaluating what had happened was upsetting but I would learn that we averted an even bigger emergency thankfully.  When I called the garage door company to come fix the door, they told me that we were lucky that we couldn’t figure out how to open it–because it would have/could have fallen off the track–and onto us! (Whew.)  Thank God.  I say that a lot these days.

Thanks for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.

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Just a Thought

If you have anyone in your life/who crosses your path even, who is struggling to take care of someone with a serious illness or is suffering from a serious illness themselves, please try to support them in any way you can for as long as they need it.  Please don’t forget about them in a month–it may take a few years.  Be grateful that you are well and able and blessed and stick it out with them for the duration.

Ways you can help caregivers or the seriously ill:

*Send them prayers, prayer cards, anything to build their faith and to hold them steady (calls and emails aren’t always possible to respond to but mail can be opened any time of the night or day).

*Drop off meals or supplies (leave on their door-step) and text that they are there (doorbells disturb the sick or wake them up so try not to use it).

*Send gift cards to local or national restaurants or send generic visa or gift cards that they can use as needed.  Maybe include a brochure or two from local delivery services (a lot are free now) and menus from the restaurants.

*Send a gift card or e-credit to amazon or a local (to their zip code) grocery store.  Let them order online what they know that they really need instead of trying to guess.

*Volunteer–or hire someone–to cut their lawn, trim the trees, shovel the snow–or just do it.  You’d be surprised how much is neglected outside just because they are trying to take care of what is going on–inside!  If you feel like you need permission, text them and say that you’d like to gift them a blessing.  No one will refuse a blessing.

*Offer to relieve them of errands or caregiving–maybe during nap time–or text that you are going to the store, do they need anything–and text when you leave it at the front door.  One of the biggest resources caregivers lack (beside funds) is time.  They don’t have time to stand and talk for an hour–their loved one probably needs a bath or meds or dinner.

*Bring over flowers (leave at the door and text that they are there), send small surprises, little things that let the caregiver know that they are still important and still a person.  They don’t “need” validation but when you are caring for someone who is terminally ill, you don’t have someone to tell you that you matter or even to say, “yum” for the warm dinner or get any positive feedback whatsoever.  They forget what life before the illness was like. Every resource they have is going into the care and well-being of the ill person and they neglect themselves and their needs.  Find a way to remind them who they are.

*Please don’t abandon them, most of all.  Many caregivers find that their “friends” and family “turn and run” when illness strikes.  It is hard to watch a loved one decline, I guess.

In our lives, we had some wonderful “couples” friends, who had common interests like animal rescue and faith-based activities and volunteering but when Someone began repeating sentences six times in a row during a normal conversation (we didn’t know what was wrong)–and sometimes in frustration, his agitation came through in his voice. They pretty much all disappeared socially, although I do know in an absolute emergency that I could call on them.  My girlfriends, however, and some Rescue Ranch angels, have stuck it out and are keeping us alive–and keeping me sane!

…and, know that whoever you are helping are thanking you in their prayers and with their tears and as they use or eat or look at whatever you sent.  Don’t help for the praise or the thanks–that is unspoken but not forgotten.  Do it because it is the right thing to do and you will get the blessings in your life somewhere, some how–it is a spiritual law.  If you get a thank you, know that it is really special because time is so precious and they have little left to give but of themselves.

 

Helping This Blog/Our Herd of Special Needs Dogs and Someone

IF you would like to help me continue this blog, you can give on my online fundraiser or mail something or send prayers.  All are gratefully accepted and appreciated.

Online: https://www.gofundme.com/gofundmecomicantbreatheblogfeb2019

To Send an E-Card/E-Anything: icantbreatheblog@gmail.com

To Mail:  Rescue Ranch, 4057 Riley Fuzzel Road, Ste. 500-130, Spring, TX  77386

Prayers as simple as a good thought, a wish, a blessing, a rosary…all work, I believe.  It is the intention that counts.

Grateful. Always grateful.

 

Have You Read About When Lewy Body Dementia Entered Our Lives?

https://icantbreathe.blog/2019/01/31/rr-story-1-lewy-body-dementia-and-the-case-of-the-missing-dog/

 

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