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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.

 

Ada.Girl.EnjoyingSolLight.March2013A.

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

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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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Surviving the Rain of Noah: Houston’s Latest Storm Imelda

The Rescue Ranch is in the greater Houston area and yes, we experienced Imelda or what felt like the rains that lifted Noah’s boat out of the water in biblical times! Thank God, we are all OK–emotionally, spiritually and physically–dogs, people and property. Many others were not so lucky though.

We knew there was a storm coming and while we keep sandbags and plastic sheeting handy to block the doorways outside, we didn’t have to use it.  We are in a little “island” of properties that seem to be protected–while the area around us gets high water in the streets mostly.  The buildings and homes have not flooded were we are.  We can’t get out of this small area though–the roads are blocked off to stop people from leaving and winding up under water!

The rain came down so hard and fast–and thick–that it blocked the air conditioning unit outside from working–and it was starting to whine and sound very stressed so it had to be turned off.  Anyone in the southeast knows that keeping the inside free of humidity and heat is very important to more than our comfort.  While we keep it between 75-76 degrees to keep the bills down, we cannot just open the windows for fresh air and cooling.  There is none to be had!  The air outside turns inside hinges to rust in the house, brings mold and can wilt anything in a day or two.  We were told by the builder, when we first moved in, to never open the windows and to decide on a a/c temperature we could live with and keep it on and steady–always. (We also run two dehumidifiers 24/7 as well.) I love sleeping with the windows open at night and so this was a real adjustment for me not being able to.

For storms and very hot days, I keep ice blocks and frozen ice bottles in the freezer and have battery-operated fans to keep the dogs cool in case the electricity goes out as it often does.  If it gets really really hot, I put a cold facecloth or towel (depending on the size of the fan) over it to blow the cool air at the dogs.  I also keep a bathtub filled with cool water and can add ice to it if need be to cool off our feet or the dogs!

The dogs have never heard rain like we just had in Imelda.  Even Harvey was a multi-day event and we had lots of notice that it was coming.  There was panic in the dogs’ voices and barks but with reassurance and calming chews, they all gnawed on a bone until they calmed down.  I stayed up to comfort the animals, just listen to the rain and the sirens (and pray for those in trouble) and just pray prayers of protection.  I never get upset with storms–they always remind me how powerful God is and I appreciate it and just am in awe more than am frightened by it all.

We lost the television signal and the phone and internet right off the bat.  I wondered how would we call out if there was an emergency!  We had no idea for a good day or so what had happened to the area.  Even my radio was not getting reception because of the thickness of the rain and quantity of lightening I think.

The lightening was and still is very dangerous right now.  We have ground lightening–which means when a lightening bolt comes down from the sky that one from the ground goes up to meet it in the middle.  We also have side to side lightening that is about five to six feet off the ground.  It is very dangerous and when an animal won’t come in when it starts, you have to go out to get it.  I had to go get Big Mandy, the St. Bernard, one year who was stuck on the side yard.  I had to run down low to make sure we didn’t get hit by the side-to-side lightening and hope that the ground lightening didn’t start just yet.  It was counting on faith and a “Grace of God” moment.

People were stranded on the highways going across the area and north and south. Just two days prior, we had been on those highways to the city, anticipating the rain that was to come, we ran a few errands early.  Thankfully.  Some people have lost their lives and it makes me sad.  A young nineteen-year-old man went out to resuce his horse but the lightening plus the high water caused his death. No one has mentioned what happened to the horse. Another man thought he could drive his van through the water until he hit a dip in the road that was eight feet under water and despite ten good Samaritans going in after him, he perished.  Others went to farms and one by one, carried goats and led cows and horses to shelter.  The water was going over the huge animals’ backs and still rising!  There are more stories like that but I will just ask that you pray for the people of the area who lost their homes–again–who lost their lives, who lost their workplaces, and more.

Thank you for asking if we are OK and for praying for the Houston area.  There is great power in prayer.

I think the powers that be in state government need to fix the flooding problems here.  They had no zoning in the past so every inch of property in the city was cemented with roads and parking lots and buildings–leaving a city built around bayous and rivers, on the Gulf of Mexico, with no where for water to drain off so it just builds up and goes into the buildings and homes.  Even the corrections that were made to fix the problems with Hurricane Harvey after August, 2017, had a negative impact on some communities that never flooded before!  It is an engineering nightmare that needs to be addressed.  It is just not fair for so many people to keep losing their homes and property year after year–they can’t even sell it to move on because it keeps flooding!

Sending lots of love and always Hugs from the Herd!

Jane

 

To help the Rescue Ranch rescue dogs…

*You can send an e-card or amazon credits (needed right now) to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

*Send a gift from the Rescue Ranch Amazon Wish List: http://a.co/5Gay7Cf

OR mail cards, generic Visa cards, prayer cards, Everything Dog to:

Mailing Address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX   77386

 

We have a dog with cancer, two dogs with congestive heart failure, one dog with serious skin issues along with lots of special needs dogs–all who need medicine, supplements and vet care never mind the basics of eating and bones for stimulation since some of them cannot even walk. We need your help in any way you can–prayers included. Thank you for caring, Especially for caring.

Just an idea of what your gifts help with:

$10 is one meal for all little dogs

$20 is one meal for the medium dogs

$20 is one meal for the big dogs

$60 is knuckle bones for all for one week

$325 is medicines for big dogs for a month

$225 is medicines for little dogs for two months

$15-25 is a Burger King Whopper-only dinner for all (or Wendy’s or McDonald’s)

$9 is bones for a day for the big dogs

$9 is bones for four days for the little dogs

$30 is a bottle of 500 ppm Silver Wings Colloidal Silver (for their water)

$35 is a bottle of Manuka Honey for those with immune system issues (caused, for instance, by being spayed too young while sick with distemper)

Medical supplies, vet bills, peanut butter for medicine balls, supplements like Manuka Honey and colloidal silver help keep the dogs with weak immune systems strong, are all extras, nevermine the chicken for those who can’t eat dog food (mouth injuries cause all kinds of problems), or fresh milk and whipped cream so the blind dogs can gauge the milk depth in the bowl, kibble, canned dog food, etc. etc. etc.

If you want to just give a gift, you can go to the top of this blog, click on the black spot and it will open to a way to get email post updates as well as a Go Fund Me link to help the dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Do Good" Opportunities, Uncategorized

RR Herd: Please Help Fill Our ‘Tank’

Hi Angels!

Preparing for a long, difficult summer, these are some specific things we really need at the Rescue Ranch.  Of course, “Everything Dog” is always welcome but these things are favorites or special requests or things that the dogs just can’t “live” without! (Dingo Ringos, too! from petmountain.com)

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Amazon, Chewy.com, petmountain.com have the best prices–highlighted boxes are best deals/prices on amazon. (Be careful on amazon when choosing an option–some of the vendors offer bundles that cost considerably more if you don’t do the math ahead of time.)  The prices below are the best options.

1. Treats (some beloved examples)

Healthy Hide Good ‘n’ Fun Triple Flavor Wings 

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Good ‘n’ Fun Triple Flavor Kabobs

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Smart Bones Stuffed Twistz (Pork/Beef and Peanut Butter)

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Peanut Butter filled Sticks

SmartBones.stuffed.peanutbutter.bones

Knot Bones

(Good ‘n’ Fun or flavored knot bones (Petco or Petsmart) or Rawhide large rolls (Sam’s Club) at least Four inches to 8 inches/12 “big dog” bones needed each time.)

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2.  Gift Cards/e-credits: Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, generic Visa (helps with medications and vet bills), amazon.com e-credits, HEB, Petsmart and Petco–and any gift cards that you are not using–we’ll find a way to use them to benefit the RR dogs! (Note: Even if you have used part of one, just write the balance on the back or tape a piece of paper on it with the remaining balance.)

There is also a GoFundMe associated with this page on which gifts can be used on medication or whatever the dogs need.

 

Please care and help as you can.  Your life will be better for it.

Blessing others is actually an opportunity to bless our own lives.

 

Not matter how hard life has become, we made a promise that the dogs at the RR will always have a home until God calls.  While we can’t take in any other dogs right now except for a temporary hold or if found to find their owners, we still have our hands full.

Maybe sometime in the future,  I’ll be able to take in mama dogs again needing to birth their pups (as long as the vet or rescue signs a contract to take them back when they are weaned!) or some animals that need hospice or help transitioning but I right now I need to take a break from taking in new dogs while I take care of Someone. I still help other dogs and their people by consulting on cases all over the country–gratis.  Helping animals to me is a profound honor.

Thanks for caring. Especially for caring.

Jane

 

1. Anything e-  including amazon credit and online gift card credits should go to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

 

2. Mail and packages go to:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Suite 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

Note: Chewy and other vendors do not include any notice of who sent the RR a surprise.  Please send a separate email–and don’t be embarrassed please–to let us know that you are the angel who is blessing the dogs.  Please email: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

 

Leo.Clifford.OFM.pic.https-:hnp.org:who-we-are:our-friars:deceased-friars:leo-clifford

For more on Father Leo Clifford OFM’s (1922-2012) series “Reflections,” you can see his ten minute very simple but profound spiritual insights on YouTube or you can buy one or more of his books or DVD’s on amazon.

“An Angel came to visit a petulant child of God. ‘When must I stop giving?’ he asked. The Angel said, ‘Living is Giving and Giving is Living. You must keep giving as long as God is giving to you.” *

Fr. Leo Clifford, OFM

(*Parapharased due to a slow transcriptionist–me!)

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Happy, beautiful, James, brother of Gracie, is showing off his beautiful reflective collar that his Angel sponsored.  Both he and Gracie are difficult to see at night and so both were graced with them–but in different colors!

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Half the size of Jamesie, Someone calls Miss Gracie a perpetual motion machine!  It is almost impossible to get a pic of her standing still and as dusk approaches, it is getting harder to even get even a clear-ish pic of her in motion!

This week, in an effect to put ointment on her ear (it looked like she may have a little cut), she rolled over and to my dismay, she has a large hard mammary swelling.  She is on antibiotics to see if it is an infection and if it doesn’t respond, it will need to be biopsied  Please put her on your prayer list.  I will write more about Gracie’s story separately once I have more information.

Grateful.

 

Angel Cloud Photo Credit: Danny Ferraro, Montgomery, TX

 

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Recent Stories (refresh the link if your links haven’t been activated yet)

The Two Uh-Ohs

RR Herd Talk: Quick, Frozen Dog Treats

Temporarily Traumatized: You Must Be Your Own Advocate

 

 

 

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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.

 

Brindy.celebratingMandyDay.Nov2014.a

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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"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!

****************

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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"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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