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Hard Landing Leads to Two, Maybe Three (Impossible?) Surgeries

I’d like to tell you that the past couple of months–during which I was not writing–have been a piece of cake.  Au contraire! They have been a constellation of events–almost beyond my comprehension–certainly a test of my faith!  (You are always in my thoughts and prayers but time seems to run out every night/day.)

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Home from the hospital for just an hour, Someone sat on the ground to love just some of the dogs who have been missing him!  (Big) Bunny Bun Buns (who turns 12 the end of March, 2020), Jed the white Poodle Doodle, Bitty Bits (center) and Sissy (who turns 10 the same time Bunny has her birthday!)  Since we don’t know Bits and Jeddy’s birthday, we are going to have one cake and celebrate their birthdays all together at the end of the month. They each have an amazing survival story!  (More dog birthdays  (and ours) this summer and then more in the fall.) 

 

First, Someone’s Benefits Were Wrongfully Terminated

Someone, has a terminal neurologic illness, Lewy Body Dementia. There are about seven stages of this disease in total that lasts from 5-7 to 20 years, depending on each individual’s health and complications.

This part of the latest odyssey began in January.  Someone’s disability benefit is key to paying the mortgage, utilities and insurance and not anything more.  That said, the last check deposited was in December, 2019! This is a man who is terminal and granted permanent disability.

When January’s check wasn’t auto-deposited,  I waited until early February to see if there was a banking glitch–and to see if that check and the past one would show up. Nope. Nada. Turns out that someone was put on a list of terminal people whose claims had just been “terminated” without so much as a phone call–but he is still very much alive and should not have been on that list!

I was assured that some paperwork and a brief questionnaire substantiating that Someone was still alive and a physician confirmation would suffice and he would receive back payments.  (I am still kicking myself that he didn’t sign up for supplemental disability insurance.)  As of this writing, however, it has not been rectified yet–going on three months of no income.  **(Scroll to the end for today’s update.)

His Fall

To begin to make matters worse, right after Valentine’s Day–after we had a few wonderful days to enjoy good food, cupcakes and doggie toys and cards and bones that some of you sent (thank you!!!!), Someone had a very bad fall. Living with extremity tremors that come and go, mostly that ‘come’ these days, along with an altered sense of balance, falls and slips are common. This fall was different. Someone put his arm out straight to break his fall with his hand.  The damage done, however, was, to quote the head of orthopedics at the hospital, “massive.”

When I took Someone to the hospital and saw the head orthopedic surgeon, he ordered an MRI to be done right away. (We could see his arm was “wrong” without the MRI!)  As it was explained to us, we have two bicep muscles in each arm.  One of Someone’s in his right (primary) arm has been disconnected/everything shredded from the shoulder down and the bicep is down near the bend of his arm.  It could be pulled up and sewed back in place with anchors drilled and embedded in his bone if surgery were sooner than later…that time now has passed (see below).

In addition, the rotator cuff (four big muscles that hold our shoulder together) has a “massive tear” (and there is other damage) but the bigger issue is that the labrum (that surrounds the socket) and the bone around the head of the arm bone and the rotator cuff are all retracted (cannot be pulled up into place without a two to three hour intense surgery–and it still may not be able to be totally repaired.) Someone had an anxiety attack just listening to what had happened to his arm–and I am pretty sure he didn’t even understand it all.  I have had to do hours upon hours of research to do so.

The surgeon wanted to operate two weeks ago–less than a week from the injury would be a safe window to reattach the bicep at the same time as one or two other surgeries.  The surgeon discussed his plan that involved drilling holes in the bones to place/insert (two year) biodegradable “anchors” to have something to hold the sutures and sutured tendons and muscles back on to the bone.  The surgeon was then going to add a large biologic Regeneten patch of processed (cadaver?) tissue over the shoulder that strengthens the torn areas and speeds up healing.

Every step of the way, he and his staff kept stressing how extremely painful shoulder surgery is and that it would take 4-6 months to have just a moving arm and with rehab, up to a year to be mostly functional.  (One time, when he thought Someone wasn’t in the room, the surgeon actually said to me, “If he only has three years left, don’t bother. Recovery alone will be a full year and require intense rehab.” Unfortunately, Someone was just around the corner and heard him. This was not something he should have heard.)

Since I disclosed that Someone has LBD, the doctor required pre-surgery clearances and tests and even pre-surgery rehab to reinforce post-surgery restrictions, how to get dressed, how to put on the surgery brace (it’s all complicated for him), etc. The clearances were to be from Someone’s heart doc (blood tests and an EEG); his main neurologist; and since he was in the middle of trying to have dental work done (four dentists all had very bad and complicated prognoses), a dental clearance.

Unexpected Jawbone Replacement

His heart doc clearance was done that day.  A-OK. A blood test and EKG.  The neurologist, however, wrote a letter that said in a nutshell, surgery is OK physically but I/Someone needed to be told that Someone may not come out of General Anesthesia–either at all; as “himself”; could be fully dementiated (my word because someone would cringe if I wrote demented) and needing to be in an institution for months or forever.  It was also, in my opinion, meant to be a “liability” warning letter to the surgeon.  Finally, the dentist would not grant surgical clearance. Oh, brother.

A CT scan was done of Someone’s mouth/head after no surgical clearance from the dentist would be granted (the dentist wanted to start/finish his proposed work BEFORE surgery)–but in waiting,  the surgeon would lose the ability to reattach the bicep muscle and possibly more damage would be caused in the rotator cuff area.  Which was the more important issue to be fixed had to be established.  The CT scan showed that Someone needs to have at least his lower right mandible replaced–not just some dental work!  It is dangerously close to breaking, the bone rim is so thin.  This disease and complications just destroy their bodies!

Once this was all discovered and reviewed, the surgery that was scheduled for March. 3, 2020 was cancelled.  The head ortho surgeon classified Someone as “high risk” for any surgery–put it all in his records including the clearance/no clearance letters and I was told emphatically by the head neurologist that Someone has to avoid GA (general anesthesia)–period.

All surgeries, the one or two to repair his arm–the massive rotator cuff repair and a capsular repair to hold his arm ball and socket together/it is loose (there is a more technical name but I am too tired to remember it right now) as well as the lower jaw mandible replacement–in which a bone graft from Someone’s hip has to be taken out, molded on the table, while his mouth in surgically opened up while the old lower right (or whole??) jaw bone is replaced/grafted–all require long GA surgeries-and the mandible surgery, maybe the shoulder surgeries as well, require hospitalization.

With these delays, it is now too late to have Someone’s bicep muscle repaired and reattached to his shoulder.  (The one good news in this is that the muscle will “scar in place” and the pain will stop at least in the bicep and it will work even in this odd place.)

More Opinions

I was not going to take “No” for an answer.  I lined up two more ortho surgeons to get their opinions.  Surgeon Number 2 was willing to help but only with GA.  He did at least say that he will be actively researching if there is anyway to help Someone get help/surgery without general anesthesia but it is nearly impossible to do. Surgeon Number 3, I had to reschedule for early this coming week due to Someone’s limitations and pain level–and now with the virus, I am going to have to re-re-schedule because Number 3’s office is inside the hospital.  A quarantine hospital.

I called the Lewy Body Dementia Association for additional medical referrals/resources.  After making sure that I knew that over 65% of LBD caregivers pass on/God calls them before their “patient’–and making ng sure that I grasped that I must take care of myself, too, with all of this going on–the facilitator asked me to think about this: If I can’t get any surgical help for Someone, that it may be time to call in hospice. Hospice.  That was a shock for me to hear or to even have to consider. I pray to God that this does not become the only option.  I don’t like making any of these decisions about Someone else’s life, but at least with the amount of research I do about any one of them, when I have to make any decision, I will be at peace.  Right now, I am still in the “I can fix it” mode.

Can’t Carry the Burden

I was told during a near death experience, after a duodenal ulcer perforated in 2018, to leave your/our burdens at the foot of the cross. Let God handle them! And so I do or I’d be a wreck!

I have also learned to say, “Jesus, I Trust in You,” whenever I get anxious or to get me to the point of remembering to go leave the burden.  We must walk blindly in unfaltering faith–just surrendering it all to Him. No amount of worry or anxiety will help even in the slightest way.  Year after year, my understanding of how faith works–and acting on it–has carried me through some of the hardest, most painful times.  You can do it, too!

I learned how important that is to say that (and to stand in faith after you say it) after reading the diary of Sister (now Saint) Faustina, whose experiences gave us the Divine Mercy chaplet (in song–my favorite!) and a Holy Day, Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter). (Jesus told Sister Faustina that you can say that phrase as many times a day as you need to!)

Thanks for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.

I will have another update soon. I have some other posts that I’d like to write if I have the time, too, especially about this virus and what you should be doing to prepare for home isolation just in case.

What you may not be thinking about, is that even if we have to go into isolation perhaps two to four weeks regionally or as a country–or not at all–the supply chain is being disrupted.  I need you to hear this–items that come in and stock our shelves AND pharmacies are going to be months behind coming in to restock our store shelves after the virus or virus hysteria has passed.  IF you can, buy extra things to anticipate a post-virus gap in many things–pet foods, too!  (more on this below…)

(Please sign up to get my posts in your Inbox–look for the three lines at the top of this page.) In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would keep Someone in your prayers.  Prayers accomplish great things!

Sending much love and always Hugs from the Herd!!

Jane

PS  If anyone would like to help with the RR dogs or would like to write to Someone, the address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Suite 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

Much needed:  (Imagine trying to prepare for a 2-4 week isolation with Someone in this condition and a Herd full of special needs dogs–feeling overwhelmed is an understatement! My back feels like it is broken!  I don’t even know if we have shipping time these days before things stop being open/available but whatever you choose to help with, I will be grateful, including prayers–always!)

  1. HEB, Walmart, generic Visa/MC gift cards or e-cards.

2.  Amazon.com e-credits to a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Tubs–10 oz. and 3.5 oz–of wet dog food (HEB, Amazon, Target)

Walmart and HEB:  Big bones/chews, chicken jerky/dried chicken;

…as well as McDonald’s, Burger King, HEB.com and Kroger.com gift cards are needed. (Generic Visa cards can be used anywhere, on any site, in any store.) Prayers are always welcome and are not the “only” thing you can do…but is a magnificent thing you can do!  We all pray for you every single day!

The Virus

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 virus is in our counties and countries.   Please take all precautions.  I have been studying this and talking to some experts for a few weeks and need to share some of what I have learned.

There is a lipid layer (fatty) around the outside of the virus which is destroyed by using soap–especially blue Dawn dish soap–and then, to be extra vigilant, spray your hands, feet, area with alcohol or another disinfectant.  

Staying 6 feet or more away from people, you must also stay out of the path of their sneezes and coughs, which can propel molecules as far as 20 feet–and linger in the air after they have left the area! The more you can stay in, work from home, don’t go to public places, especially at peak times, the more you can limit your exposure.  Drink plenty of water, build your immune system ahead of time (now) and pray.  Our lives are ultimately in God’s hands.  Remember–Don’t give into fear.  You may choose to self-quarantine sooner than later, too.

Do be smart and get food, water and other things you may need if you were to be told/choose to self-isolate for two weeks to a month. (Some people are guesstimating that there may be a three month isolation if things are very bad.) You want to do the same for you/your family and your animals.

The last thing you want to do is have to expose yourself to lots of potential virus carriers or sick people in order to stand in a government food line because you didn’t prepare–or to have to greet the National Guard every day to get your emergency food box or meal and a soda, as I was told, that would be left at your door–and then how then do you deal with the garbage that will not be picked up? Yes, we’d be grateful for their mercy/help but if you have special diets, food cravings, need more calories, have pets, etc. you won’t have the option like ‘room service’ of ordering what you want!

IF you never need what you buy/bought, just use the emergency items like a pantry and rotate out things as you use them, replacing them with newer expiration dates.  You will always be ready for a storm, another emergency, etc. and I hear that this is just the first wave of the virus.  In six months another may come.

Sign up to this blog to get my next posts about what to do if you haven’t started already.

God bless everyone and all of your animals.

PLEASE…IF there is absolutely anything that I can do to help you, please email me with “URGENT” or “HELP” in the subject box: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com  (–even if you just need emotional support or have a question on how to deal with some unexpected issues.)

 

**Divine Intervention?  As I was writing this post, particularly about faith and the power of surrendering your burdens, I received an official call that Someone and his disability will be restored in the next few weeks. He has been “un-terminated” or “restored.” Funny, I just had spaghetti with Someone earlier tonight so I’m glad he is still officially alive!   Thank you, God. Thank you all.

Grateful always.

 

My apologies for any errors.  I will fix them when I reread this with wide-open eyes!

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Bunny’s new ride is a special wheelbarrow with lots of softie toys from her angel!  She is very much less able these days and so is my back to lift her up to go potty.  This is a perfect solution for her to just get in and out easily.

 

 

 

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Four Day Dementia “Bender” Started With A Shower Head

My next story will be a RR dog story!

There are funny things that happen along the way but it seems like they are happening less and less frequently.  Like what happened to this weekend’s chicken bar-b-que pizza (aka a piece of rock-hard cardboard–see pic above or click the link at the bottom of your email post) that I decided to make instead of ordering in!

I always set the cook timer so the oven would shut off after the designated baking time because I never know what is to come but with everything going on, it took me another forty minutes to actually take the pizza out of the oven!  Dinner ruined, it’s soup and crackers–again! Oops! It was too late to call for pizza delivery.

I never thought I’d be writing about dementia–never mind living through what is simply a mind-bending experience–especially at my age (not retirement age).

I always thought that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the rest were “elderly” diseases which came on gently and progressed until the afflicted passed on at a much advanced age.  I never knew that there were “early-onset” versions of these diseases which progress faster–and come on and continue fast and furious–until the afflicted person passes on at a much younger age (in their forties, fifty or sixties).

In my Someone’s situation, he was in his 50’s when it hit. It didn’t help that I had never heard of something called Lewy Body Dementia which is a combination of the symptoms of about seven of these illnesses combined–not for the faint of heart or mind to deal with.  (It took nearly ten months and almost fifteen doctors and five different brain scans to get a diagnosis.) I am really strong but this is testing even my resolve.

I woke up this Friday morning–after about an hour and a half nap–to find a shiny metal shower head on the bed–it looked just like the one on the shower I use! My first thoughts were was the house being flooded and where was the water shut-off valve to the house!  I sprang into action.  (There is just never rest for the weary in these situations–every time I fall asleep, I wake up gasping, with my heart racing, wondering what I am going to find next–even if nothing is going on.)

Turned out that overnight Someone had “flipped” into what would become a four day active dementia “bender.”  (He doesn’t drink alcohol but I am at a loss for what to call these episodes. I need to ask his LBD specialist.)

He remembered that I had mentioned that I was having trouble with the water pressure in the shower and decided that he was going to surprise me and fix it–or at least investigate it’s cause. Thankfully, he fell asleep before he took out the main water valve in the shower thus avoiding the water catastrophe that I immediately jumped to in my mind when I saw the shower head on the bed.

For four days, I’ve had to be an almost 24/7 safety monitor, nanny, diplomat and stern mother to a very much grown-up man.  Thankfully as I write, he has snapped out of it and is now “himself” again which I pray will last for a few days–at least long enough for me to recover and regroup.  During those active dementia days, I can do nothing more than focus on what is before me second by second.  It feels like a million issues coming at you in fast motion that you have to evaluate, respond, prevent, intercede in and even deal with consequences or “oops-es.”

When in active dementia, which is particularly unpleasant in Lewy Body, everything has to be said over and over again–rarely are particular directives heard or understood until the intensity and volume increases as does the emphasis.  (In other words, talking softly, which is my nature, and calmly explaining things doesn’t work–between their brains not processing words/sounds and they are not wanting to be told “No.” You just have to “insist” sometimes!)  You have to take things away like from you would from a toddler who doesn’t know better, you have to prevent things from happening–always trying to anticipate one step ahead but sometimes never being able to do so.

Yes, there are institutions for people with this illness. Unfortunately, insurance nor Medicare covers them.  They are all private pay–at $8-12,000 per month depending on geography–the little bit of equity we still have in our house won’t go very far at all. A diagnosis of LBD means being held in a locked memory care facility (the most expensive level of care not by choice)–one that requires leg bands that track the patients like prisoners and prevents them from wandering away plus it requires a high staff to patient ratio.  Most people in these units however are of advanced age. The early-onset LBD people are few and far between.  The activities in these locked units involve looking out of the window, playing checkers and wheelchair gymnastics. My Someone is still able to walk and function when he has continued periods of sustained consciousness so it would be absolutely devastating to “snap to” and find out that your day consisted of bird watching–with a group of 80-90 year olds (no offense meant)–some in a continued state of “awake unconsciousness.”

Some caregivers and doctors have said that I could just “quit”–just leave Someone at his doctor’s office and say that he no longer has home care or just “resign.”  (How do you “resign” from caring from someone you love?) He would then become a ward of the state which would be worse than the private pay institutions.  I have been inside a state-run facility, many years ago as a volunteer Christmas caroler, and quite frankly, it was horrifying.  Everyone was naked, they had no blankets or anything that they could hurt themselves with in any way, the unit was locked down with heavy doors and gates and people were heavily sedated to keep the staff-to-patient ratio low. Even to my own detriment, I will not allow this to happen to Someone.  There has to be another solution.

Since I had to be awake most of the past four days–with an occassional nap–I needed to stay busy so I decided to clean out the refrigerator and Someone’s snack corner in the kitchen. (Someone’s snacks were overtaking the majority of kitchen so I had to designate an area with a confined bin and space which translates to limited snacks. He’s always loved to try different things–in sequence–but now, he wants to try them all at once!)

Dementia affects each person differently so I can only speak to Someone’s dementia-based quirks, one of which is saving one bite of anything “for another time.”  That means when I took apart the kitchen’s snack corner and bin and the refrigerator, there was zip-lock bag after zip-lock bag, stuffed in the back of the ‘frig and in Someone’s snack area, full of quart and gallon bags–each with just one single bite of everything he liked but had almost finished.  (I keep up with this task regularly so this wasn’t a surprise. It is just getting worse.)

Normally, I would have just thrown these bags out but with this stage of LBD, Someone can’t lose control over his “things” suddenly lest it trigger a tantrum.  Not wanting to deal with that at all, I had to ditch most of them quietly (Someone has no conception or memory of the inventory of what was there just that there were “bags of bites” there) so I left those that were recent/edible and then gave Someone a twenty four hour time limit to finish them. Without setting boundaries, no matter what they are or how arbitrary they are to me, Someone would just be lost. Setting and maintaining boundaries is no easy feat–they can be modified, and most times are many times over, but they have to exist.

I am extremely grateful to have Someone in my life still, in spite of this beast called Lewy Body Dementia.  I am having a difficult time imagining life otherwise.  I think the knowledge that this is not an illness that will get better but in fact, one that will end in ‘The End,’ is more than a little bit terrifying.  Those days that we can go for a ride in the car and enjoy the sun and the wind–and stop at Dairy Queen and hold hands and enjoy an ice cream–or sit and watch a movie together and have dip and chips or a pizza–or popcorn if we are lucky enough to actually be on time for a movie after four, five or even seven tries–are precious.  I used to take them for granted–like they just always would ‘be.’ Now, I know that they are going to be memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

My intention is not to depress or sadden you by writing about Someone’s illness and the situation around it.  I want you to just appreciate your life and your blessings and to encourage you to live in the present moment.  It is too easy to push through everything just to get through the day but the littlest, sweetest moments get lost.

For instance, I know that when Someone walks by me and tugs lightly on my big toe (if I am laying down resting, always with two ears “open”), that means that he loves me.  He doesn’t let a day go by that I don’t find my big toe being lightly tugged at least once.  While it may wake me up from a much needed nap, I have to appreciate the significance of what is happening.  Those tiny little moments get lost if you don’t slow down to notice them–and stop and thank God for them, too.  (Even a little dog’s lick of my finger after holding her water bowl up to her mouth is the same thing–it is a “thank you” or an “I love you” for taking special care of her.  Slow down, notice them and tuck those things away in your heart.)

Promise my next story will be a dog story–after all, my life is dogs–and dogs are my life!

Thank you for caring.  Especially for caring.

Jane

 

Want to Help?

If you would like to help with the many special needs dogs that I care for, please send a credit for amazon to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

OR

If you would prefer to mail a card to Someone or something like a gift card (generic Visa to your favorite fast food restaurant or grocery store–all and any will be appreciated) to help the Rescue Ranch dogs, please mail to:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

 

Grateful. Always. Grateful.

 

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Archives: Girl, the Texas Pearl, and Brave Ada–both now our precious angels–enjoy the Sol Light (a light-therapy light) that was sent to the RR to try.  Little Bitty Bits is the one who adopted it as his own–and everyone else had to share!

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Bitty Bits LOVES the Sol Box by Pawsitive Lighting.  I think light therapy is good for people and pets–especially if you or your animals don’t get much time outside for your bodies to make Vitamin D (D3 especially!)-which is critical for all of our immune systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The World Turned Upside Down: Life with Dementia

I was trying to dig out cold butter from the tub with my white plastic spoon today.  I was just trying to put some on spaghetti–I can finally start eating soft foods after almost a year and a half after a dudodenal ulcer blew open.  The situation was just so silly that I thought that maybe I should share a little snippet of what life is really like these days–living and caring with Someone with Lewy Body Dementia. Unless you have lived through it, you just cannot imagine the different stages that come and go, some more traumatic than others.

Not only do I want to share, so in case this crosses your own life, you can be braced for what’s to come but for those of you who are lucky enough to not have this in their lives, please take a breath many times a day and appreciate the simplest things–like you can use silverware to eat, and plates, that you can sit at a table and have a conversation that revolves around more than snippets from TV shows and that you can smile and laugh with each other, with your animals, even with yourself.  I really miss talking about geology, world events and working on finding the remedies and cures for different canine diseases and life in general.

Plastic spoons are the only utensils that we use now since a year after after Someone was diagnosed with LBD–just before Christmas, December, 2015–we were in shock for a month after that!

Imagine trying to eat spaghetti–even broken up into small pieces before boiling it, is a comedy to behold!  I even have to use a spoon to cut birthday cake!

Soon, I will need to order red plastic spoons and plates since as these patients’ vision decreases, they can only really see their food against red–and now, they have discovered against yellow, too.  (Helping them continue to be as independent as possible is the continuing goal.) There are red dishes, spoons, cups and some adult size toddler forks (smaller, wider tines) but with the hand tremors that come and go, forks are not as safe as spoons.  After the “red everything” stage, there are vibrating spoons that counteract the tremors so LBD people or even those with Parkinson’s can use to continue to try to feed themselves.  Just a single vibrating spoon is almost $200!  That phase is still a while away I hope-so is the wheelchair and the need for a home with no thresholds, wider doorways, non-slip floors and many more accommodations.

I keep a small paring knife hidden in a plastic bag, tucked inside a drawer, just in case I need to cut up some fruit or vegetables.   I had to put all of the regular silverware away at least two years ago.  I just emptied out the drawers and put it away.  The utensils were being used for digging in the yard, getting lost down the disposal (something that is now also locked down–and unfortunately rusting into a mass), being put in the microwave with meals and more.  I do have a rubber mixing spoon and ladle out that I use for the dogs’ food.

The oven and cooktop are locked and are only used when I have the baby gates to the kitchen closed to keep Someone out and it is safe to use them. I am on high alert during these times–it is not relaxing at all to cook. The switches are taped down on the appliances if I can’t remove the knobs or lock, corners on counters and furniture are wrapped in bubble wrap and packing tape in case of a fall or Someone slips. The doctor is ordering a lock for the refrigerator and freezer.  Middle of the night food feasts happen more often than not, contributing to Someone’s growing waistline. (This is important to stop this because I have to be able to help Someone if he slips or falls or even needs a shower, etc. but at a certain weight, I will be unable. Even now, I would need a mechanical hoist if he could no longer walk.)

We use plastic or paper plates.  Too many of dishes were broken in the first few years and it just became a hazard.  I have lovely things to set a table with, but now, little by little I am donating most everything to a women’s shelter donation store or asking if anyone needs anything. (If you are in need or setting up a house, please contact me.) We drink out of plastic cups and the dogs all have metal dishes–no more ceramic or hard plastic–and water bottles so if something drops, there is no mess or hazard.

It takes at least three hours to get Someone up and showered and dressed to even go to a doctor appointment. Thankfully, he is still able to stand and take care of himself but I have to supervise everything–from taking an hour to just get him to get up out of bed to getting him to eat to changing into clean clothes. (Hygiene is constant issue –they see wearing clean clothes as “wasting” the clothes they wore previously–unless they are covered in mud or dog food or spaghetti sauce for instance.)  For some reason, a lot of dementia people have an aversion to baths and showers (maybe it is a water and/or noise phobia?). I have to wait until Someone is sleeping to gather up all of his clothes and towels and wash and dry them and put them back exactly where they were and how they were.  If Someone is awake and I try to do his wash, he will wrestle them away from me and put them all back where they were.

Often times, I have to reschedule appointments two, three or more times in a row before we can actually get somewhere.  Some doctors understand, some do not and then I have to find another one who will.  I think until you have lived with this disease, you cannot comprehend how devastating it is to “normal” life expectations. Maybe then they would be more tolerant.  Having patience is a grace that I continually pray for–sometimes second by second.

Lewy Body Dementia is a progressive, neurologic disease–and it is terminal, usually in about seven years give or take.  The hardest part to deal with, besides utter and complete exhaustion from having to be a babysitter/superviser 24/7 because they sundown or have episodes that can go for twenty four hours of straight activity, is that at any time,  they can “flip” back to normal or back to “active dementia.”  One minute you can be supervising someone who goes to get the mail at 3 AM in his BVD’s (everything has an alarm and bells on it now to thwart these episodes) to the man you knew before he became ill–just physically declining, suddenly “showing up.”

At that exact moment, when he flips back to consciousness, he is himself and cannot understand why everything is locked up, taped up, why I am hovering, exhausted, and repeating things over and over again since in the dementia state, you have to repeat the exact same instructions day after day and sometimes hour after hour. There is a sharply declining short-term memory.  I have even tried making signs like, “Turn off the TV,” or a schedule of eating and activities but they are simply ignored and in his “normal” state, he is offended by it all.  Hearing issues/mistakes happen often and while some are hilarious, others offend Someone when he misunderstands what was said and it is really uncomfortable.  Hearing and eyesight decline–almost every single light in the entire house is on all night long and TV’s and/or the stereo are on as loud as I can stand it.

Television is the be all and end all. It captures the LBD mind and he will stand in front of it like in a zombified state for hours if I don’t intervene. TV is on 24/7 on two sets.  On one TV, he sets the channels up for the dogs–we have one, Rocky Rocks, who actually can watch the shows with Someone and so Animal Planet and Vet shows, etc. are on all the time.  (I have to take a movie of Rocky watching TV.  It is too funny! He loves porcepines and horses–and of course, dogs! My beloved Poppy was the only other dog I have known who could watch TV like this.)

On the other TV, which is in the bedroom, Someone will try to watch all kinds of very noisy war movies or history shows but since I sleep on a futon couch perpendicular to my “Sigh,” “old” bed,  I intervene and put on some things that are more peaceful. My mind has got to rest a bit!  I get a little grump or two directed at me like, “Why don’t you just go to sleep…” which means, “Go to sleep so I can change the channel back and turn the lights on,” but my eyes, ears and mind just get too tired to have that noise drilling into my mind all the time. I finally decided to take an hour a day and go sit in the guest room and do my prayers and rest when Someone finally goes to sleep. I just enjoy the quiet and stillness. Once he falls asleep, I go into the bedroom and turn just the screen off on the TV. He will wake up if the sound is turned off–and I need a break–so I leave it on low!

They hoard things–everyone has different things but let me tell you that this is mind-warping to deal with.  One night, I saw a row of ants going across the wall into the office.  “What in the world…” I thought at 3 AM.  I found a cache of candy stuffed behind the door.  I began to look for more.  After finding two garbage bags of candy–all clearance candy he picked up and hid from whenever we went grocery shopping and there was nothing special imparticular–from lollypops to tootsie rolls to Sweethearts–anything for less than a dollar.  I let him pick a few things out and had to throw it all out. It has been accummulated from the clearance tables for years apparently. He only has $20 in his wallet for emergencies so he had to get it cheap and there is no discrimination of what it is as long as it is on clearnace.)

Between his weight issues and the disease destroying his teeth and gums and skin (he was a tooth health fanatic so this just breaks my heart for him), I could not have these outdated, children’s sweets squirreled away all over the house.  (Any sweets angels send, like special treats, hams, breads, cheeses and cakes, I keep in the refrigerator and share a little at a time. He can definitely have the fruitcakes and goodies that you send–he loves fruitcakes especially!)  I now have to supervise Someone in the store like a hawk which makes it very difficult to concentrate–or to relax at all. Walmart is the number one go-to requested stop–so we stay away from it! Candy is just one of the things that Someone likes to hoard.  Cardboard is another huge issue. (One day, the pictures I’ve taken will speak a million words.)

They also develop habits that are harmless but test your last raw nerve.  For instance, if I serve ice cream for a snack, he eats it and then scrapes the bowl at least 300 times if not more to make sure nothing is “wasted.”  When I stop and pick up salads, I get “ordered” to leave the kitchen because he now has taken over my precious spice collection and spends an hour creating his special salads.  I am glad that he is doing something with such enthusiasm especially more than sleeping or watching TV so I emotionally let go of my spices (I used to love to cook–and Someone loved whatever I made even when I goofed!) but it hurts a little to see the spices that I collected from all over and used to cook great meals with, no longer organized nor usuable for more than Someone’s salads.

Since everything is on lock down, only the basics happen now in the kitchen–a beautiful chef’s kitchen is now unrecognizable no matter how many times I re-organize it.  I look at the pictures of what it was and just want to cry, hence the need for gift cards to bring in meals for Someone and for the dogs.  There are days and nights that I can do no more than hand out burgers to all, take a shower and collapse because my body just hurts so much.  (I still have to stay awake though until Someone gets tired enough to lay down–then I wonder what quality of sleep I am really getting one hour or half an hour at a time.)

Someone loves getting cards in the mail.  It is the highlight of his week.  The few people, the very few, who send them, will be blessed for their compassion, I am sure. His family and friends ditched him when he got sick and so his world is me, the dogs and his mail, his doctors, the clerks at the grocery stores and occassionally, the handy man who his wife thankfully sends over to help me around the yard/house. To see the happiness that comes from opening a card–he cannot do email anymore–and now he asks me to read the cards to him–is a special moment.  I thank God for those who do this and who continue even though he can’t write back. It has been a few years and a few more to come.

When the weekly mail comes and there are no cards some weeks as time goes on especially, I notice his disappointment and am sad for him.  To see a man, who was so selfless and gave everything he made to help people and animals and to perfect the cure for canine distemper, be abandoned by almost everyone, is heartbreaking. Even his own mother wrote to him a few months ago telling him to just get his act together, come take care of her like most sons would do, and go back to work!  (He would give anything to go back to his beloved geology!) Even she, knowing the diagnosis and prognosis doesn’t get that just because he is walking (albeit slower and stiffer) and talking (albeit more confused), that he is dying slowly and painfully.  This is why it is called “the slow goodbye.”

There is levity at times when I have had some sleep and he is “himself,” we do belly-laugh at the things that have happened or that he has said or that he mistakenly hears instead of what was said. Someone says he is glad that I can “entertain” myself in this situation. The moments can last for an hour or a few hours but I always know that Lewy Body Dementia is going to return–the beast that I had no knowledge of before this and the beast that I am determined won’t get the best of us. I thank God that I believed in Him and in Jesus so strongly–in fact, my entire life–before this happened.  I talk to the Divine, pray a lot and ask for strength, for mercy, for stamina even as I run through my day and the long nights.  I don’t know how someone who didn’t have an established faith would do in this situation.

The dogs are a blessing even though some people, including his mother, have said to get rid of them or even euthanize them if I can’t find them homes. They are not adoptable or they would have been adopted a long time ago.  We took them in when no one else would. Yes, it is super difficult to juggle all of this but with some help, which is dwindling at the most needed time, it was easier.

The dogs play with Someone and give him a reason to get out of bed or away from the TV and they just adore him.  He talks to them with such love and adoration and they respond in kind. They play catch and tug and a couple of them sleep with him or nap with him. It is a beautiful thing to watch. He is a dog whisperer really. If we didn’t have the “Herd” to care for, I think the situation would be so overwhelming for me–there would be no distractions to a situation that is devastating.  At least this way, there is love, entertainment and play time for all of them and Someone–just the work of keeping it going all falls on my shoulders alone now–and I can’t go out to work to support the crushing expenses or even to go to the doctor by myself.

Yes, there are locked memory facilities that admit Lewy Body patients.  They cost about $12,000 a month–so it is not possible to do at this time plus I don’t want Someone to be locked up when he is still flipping into conscious awareness.  It would just destroy his spirit.  So as long as I can manage, I will continue what I am doing–learning to laugh at the bowl-scraping and the hoards and piles of things and the, and the, and the…Some day, I will be able to live a “normal” life again and in the meantime, I just have to flow with what is going on, making sure Someone is safe and that everyone is taken care of.  I pray for the strength to keep going and for the patience to do so as well–sometimes minute by minute.

Today, when you would rather stay home from work, be joyful that you can go to work.  When you are tired and have to cook dinner, be thankful that you have a kitchen to use and the ability to make whatever you want, when you want.  When you want to go to a movie, to a doctor, to have dinner with friends, be grateful that you can get out to do these things and also that all you have to do is grab your keys and wallet/purse and get in the car–without planning for hours on how to just get to the store for some milk!

…and when your dog/cat/horse needs to eat, share your table scraps–as long as they are foods they can eat.  No dog should “pass on” without having tasted pizza or ice cream or peas or lettace with ranch dressing or mashed potatoes with melted butter! Cats have their own special treats as do horses and hamsters and turtles!  Never walk past or over an animal without stopping to massage their shoulders or pet their heads or buy them a new toy or tell them that you love them. The same stands for the people in your life.  Never take anything or anyone for granted.

In other words, be kind, compassionate, sharing of yourself, caring and loving whenever you can, as often as you can to those you know and even to those who just cross your life’s path.  Live life with a grateful heart no matter what life brings your way.  In the end, it is all really just about love.

God bless you always in all ways.

Jane

Mike.Mebs.Pops.Grand.Canyon.2.2007.a.lighter

Yes, ours dogs–our babies really– (Mebs and Poppy) even went to visit the Grand Canyon with us!  Just after this photo, the Rescue Ranch opened and we took in our first dog–a little Cocker Spaniel, Kasey, in February, 2007.  

 

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Kasey was the dog of a soldier who was deployed to Iraq.  He had been left with the soldier’s mother in North Carolina but we found him in the Los Angeles area while we were on vacation!  We contacted the phone number on his tag and his family relinquished him to us.  God called Kasey’s name in April, 2016 and then Poppy was called just six weeks later. We adored this gentle little dog and always will.

 

Remember, please click on the link below in your email of this post to see the featured pics as well as the edited posts.  I always edit after I publish–it is easier to correct posts in that format.

 

IF you want to help the Rescue Ranch–or write to Someone–the mailing address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Suite 500-130

Spring, TX 77386

 

Anything e-  credits, cards, (amazon credits are needs as are generic gift cards, gift cards to McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and HEB (grocery stores) should go to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

 

Thank you for caring.  Especially for caring.

 

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PS  Sorry I have not been writing so much these days.  I used to get up every day at 5 AM and just write.  Now, I have to put it on a ‘To Do’ list or I have resorted to writing “Write!”  on the palm of my hand!  One day just blends into the next and there is never time–except for once in awhile–to sit for hours and just write.  Those were the days I thought would never end…cherish yours while you can.

 

 

 

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"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

 

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

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

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

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

Mailing address:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

 

Immediate needs:

Stuffed Twist Peanut Butter bones  (as many as possible)

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

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

Amazon gc’s or e-cards

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

Any gift cards to HEB, Kroger’s, etc.

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

 

Thank you for caring. Especially for caring!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

RR Herd Talk: Quick Frozen Dog Treats

Hi Angels-

Just a quick post…

Before Someone got sick (with Lewy Body) and I just run out of time and energy these days, I used to make fresh this, that and the other thing for us and for alllllll of our rescue dogs in our care.  But, realizing that something had to give, I thought about how I could make the dogs happy and keep them cool in this near 100 degree heat all summer.

I tried different things. Then one day, I was looking at a box of what we call “little dog food” that an devoted angel and her mother had assembled.  “Hmmm,” I wondered. “Could those freeze in their containers?”  The next thought I had was, “Would I have to take them out of the containers and put them in each dog’s bowl (a lot of work) or would the dogs eat the treat and leave the container?”

For the little to medium dogs, the 3.5 oz-5.5 oz side containers are per-fect.  (They must be in plastic–just no metal cans (the dogs want to chew on them–which is dangerous! and the lids don’t like freezing).  For the big dogs, I tried freezing the 8-10 oz tubs because the bigger dogs (especially one)–just one time–got the little iced food lose and swallowed the whole 3.5 oz frozen treat! No problems but I wouldn’t let that happen again.  FYI, the bigger tubs take two days instead of 12 hours to freeze.

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All brands froze nicely–the pate’ and the foods with gravies froze better than those without gravy (lower left).

One of our angels sent a package of four fruit doggie ices–which I tested.  I offered dogs food vs. the fruit.  Brindy eats everything and really enjoyed the fruit–but they are half the size of the small meat containers so I gave her one of those, too, afterward to keep her busy and happy.  (I wonder if individual serving applesauce containers could be frozen–and would the dogs eat them??)

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The Smoothies for Dogs are made of pureed apples, pureed bananas and water–the carrot cake flavor has pureed carrot and the pina colada has “flavoring.” I wish I knew what that was to be able to recreate it.

I have been thinking of other easy alternatives–of course, you can puree blueberries or float them whole in milk-water, broth, or just water–and lots of other things would work (click here to go to my link listing safe foods for dogs–not accounting for any allergies your loved doggie may have) and I thought of this…

Those butter containers, Chinese food gravy or plastic containers, etc. with a lid–can all be filled half way or full with dog food–or dog food mixed with water if you want to make it go farther–and then frozen.  Overnight, they will freeze. After taking them out of the freezer, briefly touch the bottom of the container to a bowl of warm/hot-ish water and they will release–allowing you to put the iced food into your dog’s bowl. This will take a little bit of effort–on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, it is probably a 2-3.  If we run out of the little containers or we don’t have amazon credits or our “Crayola Angel” flies away, I will probably need to do this.  The dogs love them and since the only way they can keep cool is through their mouths or paw pads (and tummies), even though they are all kept indoors especially during the heat (or cold) except for a potty/run break every few hours, they need something to do and a way to keep nice and cool.

…and if you cannot afford wet dog food, you can use plain water with just a touch of milk, soup, broth, whipped cream…something your dog loves–even peanut butter mixed into water!  Their noses are about 10,000 times more sensitive than humans so they will figure it out.  You can also make just a container of ice and freeze it half way, place a treat or piece of meat or something edible in the middle and cover it with water.  They will lick the ice try to get to the treat–and continue to lick the ice after they reach the treat because it will taste good!

I hope this helps someone.  I know it makes a difference at the/our Rescue Ranch–and we live and breathe everything dog–and lots of them–so I really know what I am talking about!

Sending Hugs from the Herd–

J

PS  To send e-credits or e-gift cards, please use: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

 

Mailing address (ALL gift cards you are not using we can use, too!):

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

 

Please help if you can.  Imagine trying to take care of a small “farm” of rescued, special needs (mostly) dogs on Someone’s now-disability income that only covers the mortgage and utilities!  Eek! Four years ago, things were much different but now, we depend on God to watch over us and to provide and to reach our/more angels’ hearts to help us to help the dogs regularly.

PPS Did you know??  There is a Go Fund Me  associated with this blog if you would rather just give on it–those funds go toward the dogs medicines, vet, anything that is needed that is not on amazon–the needs are endless!  Click Here.

 

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Like the cereal commercial that says, “Give it to Mikey. He will eat anything!”–Someone says the same about Brindy!  She was a distemper survivor with Project Hope serum, (immense thanks to Dr. Alson Sears, DVM, retired) had a life-threatening case of mange, is allergic to Ivermectin but has heartworms, more (she was spayed way too young by the shelter at eight weeks–with active distemper (so it was like a double-whammy), so she has little or no immune system)–and yet she is always sweet and sun-shiny, making me so very thankful daily that angels (especially one guardian angel) blessed her with the help that she needed to keep living.

Every animal deserves life.  There are no breeds or sizes or animals that are cuter or better than another.  Their spirit shines through once you get to know them and see beyond their injury or disability or depression/mourning even.  They are just pure love and just want to be loved.

Please adopt/foster/volunteer/rescue/help the animals.  You can go to petfinder.com to find an organization in your area or an animal who needs you–now!  They only have days to live if they are left at a shelter or have been ‘captured’–so don’t waste time.

Grateful. Always.

To God goes the Glory!

I wonder if other animals would eat frozen treats like this!  Yoghurt is a good thing to mix with water–add a little honey! Frozen tuna for cats? Frozen peppermints for horses?  Just thinking out loud!

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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
_
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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"Do Good" Opportunities, Autobiography, Just Gotta Laugh, Uncategorized

It’s Always Something

Thankfully, this past week, I had listened to a Deepak Chopra show on PBS about the spiritual laws of the universe.  (I keep the screen off on the TV and listen to the sound while I work.  While I don’t agree with everything he says, I love to consider all different points of view.) I remember him saying that everything happens as it is supposed to and that we are to only live in the present–not carrying anything from the past or expecting anything from the future.  “Food for thought, ” I thought as I mulled it over.  His three or four hour lecture was fresh in my mind.

I have been working all week on a project that was over 400 pages and needed to be Fed Ex’d PDQ.  I kept reading it and reworking it–about eight times–to cut out any repetitive sentences, thoughts, or even paragraphs and got it down to 265 pages.  That would cut down on the copying charges, the weight of the Fed Ex and the time that someone else’s tired eyes is going to have to read it!

With three hours to spare, it was time to leave to copy it and send it out.  Four of six doctors had responded with letters that I needed and records to support what I was writing about. The others I asked couldn’t do them until next week but I really needed to get this in today–or so I thought.  (I told Someone to get dressed and to get in the car at least a few hours in advance.  I took five to actually get him sitting in a seat.)  “Oh,” I said, “I need a credit card.”  The machines are now automated.  You can’t just pay cash at the counter after making copies.  “I’ll get it,” Someone said.  “Great.  Then, let’s go,” I said.

We drove there and I got everything set across the counter, Exhibit by Exhibit, to copy. Someone kept putting the card in the “reader” and it kept coming back.  “I don’t know why it keeps rejecting the card.”  “Let me see it, ” I said.  It was the correct bank card. Then Someone said, “It is a 2018 card.  The new one doesn’t come until the summer so it should work.” Oh.

My Someone has Lewy Body Dementia.  It is not a disease with a steady decline so you kind of know what to expect day to day.  LBD changes hour by hour, day to day.  While physically weaker, some times, Someone is “himself.”  Other times, there are clear signs that something is wrong–some things I will not talk about until he is no longer with us.  I don’t want him to lose his dignity but know that no one could ever prepare for this disease.  It is a mind-bender.

Well, we took the document and the card and headed home.  There is nothing you can say in this situation other than, “Well, I’ll get the right card and we’ll come back tomorrow.”  Now, I know I need to watch for another level of impairment.  I know I would have destroyed the old card and double-checked it before I left to go out.  How he found an old card I will never know.

On the way home, headed for McDonald’s for doggie burgers, Deepak Chopra’s voice was telling me that everything is as it is supposed to be.  Let nothing upset you.  Expect nothing.  Thankfully, I don’t get upset easily so other than a little extra stomach acid rumbling around,  it doesn’t matter.

“Tomorrow is another day,” my mother used to always remind me.  Maybe there is something I forgot to include.  Maybe one of the doctor’s who didn’t get included will send their letter earlier than next week.  Maybe maybe maybe.

It will take a couple of hours now to feed the dogs who won’t eat dog food or can’t eat dog food but not having the burgers, would mean I’d be up all night into the morning. Taking care of special needs dogs is so outside the normal “pet,” or even fostering, experience. They feel like eating–or drinking–one day and then not the next.  I have to have all types of things available for them to eat–sometimes, they only want my cheese sandwich or my cheese pizza–then I have a juice box for dinner!

When you get frustrated, just remember to stay in the moment.  Things are going the way they are supposed to. Let go and just go with what is happening. (I sure pray lots of prayers, most that I learned way back when and read prayer cards for reinforcement and at the same time, too, as I’ve been told, to praise–say, “Thank You,” for all things, even those that haven’t happened yet instead of begging for things yet to come–or not. Even the hard things, the things you wish weren’t, the things you are glad about.  All things.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

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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!

You can:

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, 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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“Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.” ― Deepak Chopra

 

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“If you could really see that tree over there,” Merlin said, “you would be so astounded that you’d fall over.”
“Really? But why?” asked Arthur. “It’s just a tree.”
“No,” Merlin said, “It’s just a tree in your mind. To another mind it is an expression of infinite spirit and beauty. In God’s mind it is a dear child, sweeter than anything you can imagine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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