The Gift that Made Alzheimer’s Easier

This Post Contains Affiliate LinksAlzheimer’s is a terrible disease. My grandma was in a very bad car accident back in 1999 and has had memory problems ever since. When you already have a bad memory it is hard to figure out when exactly Alzheimer’s starts. I would say she had the beginning stages about ten to twelve years ago. About six years ago her disease progressed and while she lived alone, we checked on her a lot. Often we would be at her house three or four times a week because she couldn’t turn the TV on or she lost her purse. About three years ago it became apparent that she needed someone with her at all times. She is now at the point where she doesn’t know any of us. Part of the time she doesn’t know her own name and she thinks she is between 5 and 18 years old.

She requires constant care. We cook for her, clean for her, do her laundry, shop, pay bills, change her diapers, and really do just about everything for her. The hard part is that sometimes she doesn’t realize that she needs help. She thinks she can do things by herself, but forgets what she is doing before she is done.

After figuring out the correct medications for her, her temper has gotten better for he most part. She still hits, kicks, and bites if she doesn’t get her way, but it is more controlled. In a way it is like dealing with a toddler who is a lot bigger. She constantly wants her mother and daddy and feels alone. Her puppy has made a big difference. She holds the puppy, loves on her, and talks to her. Even though the puppy had helped her mood, we needed something else to help keep her occupied. We tried to get her interested in puzzles and books, but she didn’t want anything to do with them. We also tried to have her keep her hands busy by folding washcloths. She didn’t like that either. Finally we found something that worked.

How a Doll Made Dealing With Alzheimer's Easier

We got her a doll.

She loved the baby doll. She holds it and kisses it. When it is cold she makes sure it has a blanket. The doll gave her something to do. She wasn’t constantly thinking about her parents and worrying, because she had a doll. That one doll has turned into four over the last two years. She also has a teddy bear and a stuffed lamb. We find her playing with them in her room. Sometimes she will make the bed and organize them all neatly. Other times she will take them all to bed with her.

The funny thing is that she knows they are hers. She asks for her little girl and the brother. It is amazing that something as simple as a doll could bring so much joy to an 87 year old woman. Grandma doesn’t remember much so our goal is to keep her as happy and healthy as possible. That $10 doll has made a big difference and I wish that we would have tried it sooner.

If you have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s a doll might help. Do you have any tips?

Dear Workers Comp, You Are Not God!

As I write this blog post I am in pain, pain that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. A great deal of my pain is your fault. I am sure that there are hundreds of people who fake work related injures on a daily basis. I know that there are those who think a work related injury means a lot of money and time off work. Unfortunately, we both know that going through a work related injury is hell. You make it that way to stop those with fake injuries and to save as much money as possible, but have you ever thought about the people who you hurt? The people who have real injuries. The people who really want to get better and get back to work. Those are the people you hurt the most.

workers-comp

The truth is I wish I wasn’t hurt at work. I wish I was hurt at home where my regular doctor could have seen me. At least then I wouldn’t have to wait months for approvals and go without important medication for weeks at a time. I would have been seen by decent doctors in the first place and my injury would have never gotten as bad as it is now. I wouldn’t live every waking moment in pain, I wouldn’t be depressed, and I wouldn’t have lost everything. You cause physical, emotional, and financial pain and hurt good people in the process.

Payments from workers comp only last about two years. After those payment stop the next step is temporary state disability. Again, those payments are limited. Filing for permanent disability isn’t even an option until the the doctors state you are permanent and stationary and that you won’t get any better. So after about three years, if you are unable to work, there is no income. If I didn’t live with my parents I would have been on the streets. I know there are many people who don’t have family to fall back on. What happens to them? They are in a place where they have no way to make a living and they can’t pay their bills. Does this seem fair to you?

I was hurt almost seven years ago. The incident was caught on camera, and another employee was fired for causing the accident. Since that day my life has changed. I have seen dozens of doctors and went to hundreds of appointments. As of right now I have had six surgeries on my foot and I still can’t walk correctly. Why am I still in pain? Because you like to drag things out! I had to wait six months for my first surgery to be approved. As I waited, I got worse. When I woke up from surgery, the bone in my foot was worn down because I had been walking on it incorrectly. The doctor said there was no way a person could fake that. That was at the end of 2011, and I thought that I would be great after that surgery. I wasn’t.

Fast forward to two years ago. By that time I had developed RSD, or complex regional pain syndrome, in my leg. This made life difficult. Not only was I in pain, but most doctors refused to even touch me because my leg and foot were too far gone.

I finally found an amazing doctor who thought she could fix my leg and foot. But before she did surgery she wanted me to see a pain management doctor. After waiting over a year I still didn’t have approval to see a pain management doctor. You would approve an appointment and then decide that the doctor I was going to see was no longer on your MPN list. Eventually the doctor decided to do the surgery before I saw the pain management doctor. It was a bad decision on your part, because I ended up staying in the hospital for six days while doctors tried to get my pain under control. Imagine how much money you could have saved if you would have just let me see a pain management doctor.

Back in August I was finally able to see a pain management doctor. He upped my medication and changed some of it so that I could start walking on my leg again. You see I haven’t been able to walk at all since October 2015. But I need to walk. If I don’t walk, the bone can’t heal properly. And if it doesn’t heal, my lower leg will have to be amputated. Amputated, all of this from an injury that if treated correctly, would have never gotten this far!

The idea was great. I was finally able to see a pain management doctor, he could get me the medication I needed, and I could start walking. But again, you like to take your time. You like to wait to the last minute to approve my medication and you like to play games.

The doctor was smart though. Instead of waiting for the pharmacy to get an approval from you on my medication, he put the request straight through to the Workers Compensation Utilization Review Board. The board agreed that I needed the medication and approved it. But you still wouldn’t give it to me. The Walmart pharmacy says you won’t approve the medication and you say they don’t call. Regardless of who is at fault, I am the one who gets hurt. It has happened quite a few times, but this time it has gone too far.

Back on November 9, 2016 the Workers Compensation Utilization Review Board finally approved my medication. The medication I am on is expensive, but it is the only thing that seems to work. I made phone calls daily trying to get my medication, but had no luck.

It is pretty bad when a lawyer says that there is nothing more he can do. He has called and talked to you and you say that the pharmacy has been called and has been told to fill the medication, yet the pharmacy states they haven’t received a call. You play games while I am sick. I am going through opiate withdrawals because I don’t have my medication. I can’t sleep, am throwing up from the intense pain, and am wishing I was dead. I have the chills, diarrhea, and can’t concentrate on anything.

While others are getting ready for Thanksgiving, I am sitting here unable to function. Why? Because you play games. You make life and death decisions and try to play God. The medications I take say not to stop them suddenly, yet you make me stop them suddenly by not approving them in a timely manner. I know you can do better than this!

Why is it okay for you to play with people’s lives? I am not asking for much. I want the medication I need, the medication that was prescribed by a doctor that you approved. I want to be able to get the medication I need in a decent amount of time so that I don’t go days to weeks at a time without it. I want a chance to keep my leg. A chance I won’t have if I can’t get the medication I need so that I can walk. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to pay for the medication now instead of an amputation down the road? Even if it isn’t, should I have to go through all of this pain and torture just to save a few dollars?

As it is my life has changed. I will never be able to get a regular job, and if I am able to walk, it won’t be easy. I have already lost the last six and a half years to pain and suffering. Are you going to make me wait in pain longer?

Put yourself in my shoes. Think what would happen if suddenly you had no income and were in pain all of the time. Imagine going without your medication just because a worker won’t pick up a phone and say that a medication is approved. There are plenty of people who are hurt at work and just want to get better, but you make the process difficult.

I pray that you never get hurt at work, but if you do I hope that you have better results than me. No one deserves to go through this.

Signed,

Katie Sheasby, an injured worker who is fed up with the system.

Gratitude Attitude

It seems like this time of year everyone is in a thankful mood. For a brief period of time, we all take the time to be thankful for how truly blessed we are. For the simple things and for the big things.

The entire month of November is full of blog posts and Facebook updates about things people are thankful for, leading up to Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the gratitude attitude doesn’t last very long. The very day after Thanksgiving, and sometimes even on the day, we are out shopping, pushing, shoving, and exhibiting a “give me” attitude.

The time of year when we are trying to instill thankfulness and gratitude in our children, our kids are bombarded with commercials for things that they now NEED even though a week before they had never heard of them.

Being thankful should not be limited to a month or season, but we seem to put a big emphasis on it this time of year. No matter how hard things seem, there is always something to be thankful for. Some days the only thing you think you can be thankful for might be waking up – but it is something.

Our family has had a very hard year, and lately I have noticed that AJ isn’t thankful for the many blessings that we do have. She seems to only focus on the things that she can’t have and the things she can’t do. We have been talking a lot about needs and wants…..something she knows but doesn’t always think about. We have also taken time each week to learn about how people in other parts of the world – and even in our own country – live. My hope is that the more she learns about how a lot of kids have to go to bed hungry, or go without jackets in the cold, that maybe she will learn to be thankful for the many blessings we have.

Free Thankful Notebooking Page

This year we will be focusing on having a gratitude attitude and being thankful for the small things in life. Throughout the month of November, I plan to have my little girl fill out this thankfulness notebooking page that I made in an effort to get her back in a thankful mood.

You can download your free copy by clicking on this link.

Cleaning is a Part of Life

One of our jobs as parents is to teach our children how to be responsible adults. That includes teaching them how to cook decent meals, do laundry without turning everything pink, showing them how to take care of their vehicles, teaching them about money, how to keep a clean home, and so much more.

Children are watching us all of the time and teaching them to clean up after themselves should just be part of our everyday life.

Cleaning is just a part of life!

 

I didn’t get an allowance growing up because our family couldn’t afford it. We were expected to pitch in, clean up, and be part of a family. We couldn’t have a messy room. Everything had a place and was expected to be kept in its place. If something wasn’t put away, it might end up thrown away; and if you dared to stuff something in a drawer where it didn’t belong, you might come home from school with all of your dresser drawers dumped out in the middle of your floor. In fact, on Christmas morning after opening our presents the first thing we did was find a place for all of our new toys.

As long as my room was clean and all of my stuff was put away, I didn’t have to do a lot of housework at home because my mom made sure everything was done. She was a housewife, mom, and daycare provider and took the way her home looked very seriously. She was very particular about the way that things were, and often re-cleaned the things that we cleaned. I didn’t even wash dishes until I was in highschool, and that was because I wanted to. My mom use to tell me that she didn’t want help with the dishes because doing them relaxed her. I never understood that, until now. There is something about washing dishes with no one bothering me that really is, in an odd way, relaxing.

While I didn’t have a lot of housework to do at home, I did a lot for others. My mom used to clean my great grandpa’s house a few times a month and helped others as needed. I was expected to help. I learned so much from cleaning with my mom. Not only did I learn the correct way to clean, but I learned a good work ethic and family values. I learned to have a positive attitude and to do my best, and those are things I am passing on to my little girl. We stay with my grandma and take care of her because she has Alzheimer’s. Part of taking care of her is cleaning her home. Unfortunately, because of my injury, I can’t do a lot of things that I used to, so AJ is learning how to do so many things. We are still working on her positive attitude, but I hope when she grows up she will be thankful that she was made to clean. She will be thankful that she already knows how to do laundry, and that she knows how to keep a house clean.

cleaning-1

There are so many different programs and ideas available to help parents get their kids to clean up after themselves. Some people say to do reward charts, others say to take things away. Some people give their kids allowance and base it on chores, some give an allowance and don’t base it on chores, and some don’t believe kids should get an allowance. There are so many systems for getting kids to do their chores that it can be overwhelming. No matter what you decide, do your child a favor and make sure they are learning the basic skills to become a successful adult.

Puppy Love

A new puppy is the perfect companion to a person suffering with Alzheimer's.

They say that dogs are man’s best friend, and I find that to be true. They are loyal, kind, and give unconditional love. Beyond that they are great for therapy and can be life changing.

My grandma is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and it is a HORIBLE disease. It causes her to forget who we are, and even who she is, sometimes. She can still do a few things on her own; but, for the most part, she needs constant care. We cook for her, bathe her, dress her, and try and help her to remember things as much as we can. Each day with her is different – some days she wakes up thinking she is ten years old, other days she thinks she is 13, 18, or 42. When we tell her that she is really 83 years old, she usually gets upset and thinks we are lying to her.

She often lives in the past and daily she asks, “Do you know where my mother is?” Daily we have to re-break the news to her that not only are her parents both gone but so is her brother and her husband of fifty years. Some days she just doesn’t believe us, but on the days that she does, it is heartbreaking. Her eyes fill up with tears and she quietly sobs and asks why everybody is gone. Loosing family is hard the first time, but to have to live that pain and sorrow day after day is just cruel. We tried to avoid the questions about her parents, but it just didn’t work; she thought that no one loved her since her family didn’t come to see her.  (This post was written a while ago. We no longer tell her that her family has died, instead we say they are on vacation or out of town. That small change has made a big difference.)

A new puppy is the perfect companion to a person suffering with Alzheimer's.

We wanted to do something to help her, so we looked into getting her a dog. After looking at a few different shelters, we just couldn’t find the right fit for grandma. Most of the dogs were too big, too wild, or too old (we couldn’t take a chance of her outliving the dog). Sadly, we had to put the idea off for a while. Then, when I was browsing Facebook, I came across this message on a friends time-line:

 “This puppy needs a home, she was found wandering around my work and there are no homes anywhere near. Help us find her a home!”

 The picture made my heart melt. She was a cute little puppy and her eyes just sparkled. After talking about it, we made the phone call and picked up the little puppy who was later  named Chloe. After a quick trip to PetCo for a few essentials, we brought Chloe home to grandma.

 

It was a perfect fit! Chloe jumped up on her lap and kissed her face while grandma just kept talking to her and petting her. The change in grandma was instant. Her eyes lit up and she had someone to love. Chloe is still a young puppy (only 4 months old), so she gets a little hyper with grandma and she loves to try and steal her milk, but she is learning.

Puppy3

A few amazing things have happened since Chloe’s arrival. She was trying to eat grandma’s cookie and grandma said, “You can’t have my cookie, go see Gayle (my mom) for a while.” That might not seem like much, but it has been months since my grandma has called anyone by name without help. She has been out of bed a little more, and she smiles every day. She has even been remembering that there is a puppy and what it looks like which is a major change.

I know Chloe can’t reverse or stop any of the horrible effects of Alzheimer’s, but if she can bring happiness, love, and joy even for a moment it is worth it.

My grandma has found a new happiness in life and a new reason to get out of bed. The poor little puppy that was abandoned in a field and my grandma who is lost in her own mind have made a connection and a friendship. It is most definitely a case of puppy love!

Chloe has been with Grandma for a little over two years now, and she is still the perfect companion. On bad days Chloe will sit on Grandma’s lap while Grandma pets her and loves her. She has become a constant in her life. Grandma asks for the spotted dog almost every day and gets so excited when she comes running to her. Chloe and Grandma make a great pair! I am so thankful we found her because Chloe really is the perfect companion to Grandma.

What is Love

Learning about Love in a Biblical sense

AJ and I have decided to start focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit. Each month we will be taking a character trait, defining it, and seeing how we can apply it to our life in a better way. We decided to start with Love and it really got me thinking.

What is love? Not the physical love, but the act of showing love to others. This time of year we seem to focus on physical love, but there is so much more to love.

We are talking about the act of love, so we looked up the verb definition of the word. According to www.merriam-webster.com love is:

  • To feel great affection for (someone)
  • To feel sexual or romantic love for (someone)
  • To like or desire (something)

According to http://dictionary.reference.com love is:

  • To have a great attachment to and affection for
  • To have a passionate desire, longing, and feeling for
  • To like or desire very much

Unfortunately, those definitions don’t really explain what love is to me, so we went to look for a Biblical definition. I went to the “love chapter” – 1 Corinthians 13. Here is the King James Version.

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

That is where we ran into another roadblock. I remember memorizing that chapter as a child; but, when I went back to it, I noticed that it didn’t actually mention the word love, but the word charity. AJ’s Bible, on the other hand, had the word love. Then we did a little more digging and looked up the meaning of charity. There are numerous definitions for charity but two of them from dictionary.com are:

  • Christian love; agape
  • love of ones fellow men

After a lot of searching and learning in the process, we decided to make a few lists of the ways that we can show love. There were numerous things on the lists, but for now I will focus on the love we can show my grandmother as we take care of her.

  • Love is giving up our own wants and desires to take care of Grandma.
  • Love is staying up all night because Grandma doesn’t want to sleep.
  • Love is turning the other cheek when we have obscenities yelled at us because Grandma doesn’t want to go to the doctor.
  • Love is changing adult diapers and pretending they are pads to preserve her dignity.
  • Love is patient, answering the same questions over and over.
  • Love is not making plans, because you don’t know when Grandma is going to have a bad day.
  • Love is being kind when we are embarrassed from watching an 85 year old flirt with a teenager because she thinks she is only 12.
  • Love is laughing, joking, and remembering old times.
  • Love is listening to stories that we know aren’t true and going along with them.
  • Love is watching her face light up when she sees something or someone she likes.
  • Love is sticking through the bad stuff and enjoying the good stuff.

We have things to work on, but I found making this list very helpful. While we do all of the things above, we don’t always do them with a happy heart and a joyful attitude. Learning about love was a wonderful experience.

What does love mean to you?

The Day My Child Disappeared

I looked everywhere, but she was nowhere to be found. I picked up the phone and diled 911

The day started off a little more stressful than usual, my mom had just returned from the hospital and we were waiting on a home health nurse to come and check on her.

I got on the computer to refill grandma’s prescriptions and had AJ(12) take out the trash. I told her to come right back because I wanted to get the kitchen cleaned up.

After about 10 minutes, she wasn’t back. I had finished on the computer and started the dishes. I assumed she had gotten side tracked, like always, and that she was probably playing with the dog.

I called her name a few more times, but she didn’t respond. At this point I was getting angry! She was told to come right back and she just ignored me. I yelled for her again, and then checked if she was outside.

She wasn’t in the back yard, or near the trash can. The gate was unlocked so I knew she had went out, but normally she locks it up when she comes back in. It was odd, but I wasn’t too alarmed.

I figured she was in helping mom or grandma, so I checked. She wasn’t with either of them, at that point I began to panic.

I hobbled to the pool, had she fallen in and I not heard her? My heart sank. She knows how to swim, but I know accidents can happen. I looked around the pool and then checked the bottom. She wasn’t there. I breathed a sigh of relief and then realized that I hadn’t seen her in about 20 minutes.

I checked each room, the garage, the front and back yard, the car, but couldn’t find her anywhere.

I screamed for her at the top of my lungs, but she was nowhere!

I looked outside. It was eerily quiet and empty. There were no cars and only 3 people. A teenager who was flying by on his skateboard, a teenage girl who we have never seen before, and an older woman who we see once in a while walking by the house.

As I screamed her name the skateboarder didn’t flinch, he went on his way. The girl looked at me and then ran off, and the older woman just stood there.

At that point I was terrified. Had she been kidnapped? I knew the only kids she ever played with lived in the cul-de-sac in front of our house, and they weren’t home. The two neighbors she sometimes visits weren’t home either. We don’t know anyone else, so where could she have gone?

I grabbed the phone and dialed 911. While I was waiting I kept calling her name. I was in tears thinking of the millions of possibilities. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children  states that the first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child, so I didn’t want to waste any more time.

As I was giving the police my information she came walking up from around the corner. The older lady waved at me said, “sorry” then disappeared.

I hung up from the police and collapsed. I was crying so hard that I could hardly catch my breath. I was finally able to ask where she was and what happened. Her answer floored me!

She was “helping” the older lady who could hear me screaming and who looked right at me. She had told AJ that she needed help finding her dogs that had run off.

AJ knows better, she has been told since she could walk to NEVER take candy from strangers and to NEVER go with someone who wanted help finding their dog. AJ has always been a people person and an overly trusting kid, so we frequently talk about strangers. The very day before this happened we were discussing that just because she has met a person a few times didn’t mean that she knew them.

I was relieved, happy, and thankful that she had come back, but I was angry that she didn’t use her best judgment. She is 12, that age where she thinks she knows everything and thinks she could have defended herself if someone tried anything. She thought she was just helping an older lady out and doing the right thing.

To be fair, there were two dogs that were running around, and maybe it was an innocent situation, but I have my doubts. There is a park at the end of the street. And that young girl who ran off when I called AJ, ran into the park. There was also a van parked there that drove off a few moments after AJ appeared. We haven’t seen the dogs since she came back either.

Was it a tactic to lure her away and kidnap her, or was it just an older woman who needed help? We will never know. But I do know that she won’t be taking the trash out by herself for a very long time.

I am not telling this story to embarrass her, but as a reminder that it only takes moments for a child to disappear. Please take a moment and remind your children about strangers.

 

Bed Wetting and Dignity

One major part of our daily life is dealing with the side effects of my grandma’s Alzheimer’s. Along with the memory loss there are many other side effects that she experiences. Some are from the medications, and others are just part of this horrible disease. One issue we deal with at least weekly is bedwetting. It happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes she doesn’t wake up, sometimes she is dizzy and can’t get to the bathroom fast enough, sometimes she doesn’t remember that she has to go, and a lot of the time she doesn’t know where she is or how to get to the bathroom.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Most of the time she acts like she doesn’t know why her bed is wet. Sometimes she will remake the bed in order to hide the fact that it is wet, and other times she will say she just spilled a glass of water. She has never admitted to wetting the bed, and I don’t know if that is because of her pride or because of the fact that she doesn’t know that she does it. I think it is a little bit of both.

Since bed wetting and midnight sheet changes are bound to happen, we have made some changes to make life a little easier in spite of the challenge. Here are six things that may make  bed wetting easier to deal with.

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Diapers – Grandma has been wearing adult diapers for over a year now. At first she refused to wear them, but now she usually will put them on without a fight. The problem is that they only hold so much and often they leak at night. We have found the Depends brand to be the most comfortable. They work wonders during the day, but unfortunately they leak a little too often at night. A major thing we have noticed is that calling them diapers will cause a problem. Not only does it make her feel badly about herself, but it makes her mad that she has to wear something that she doesn’t feel she needs. We call them pads. That way she can keep her dignity and we can ensure she wears what she needs.
  • Mattress Pad – When we first started staying with Grandma the accidents were few and far between. After the second time of having to shampoo her mattress we decided to get a plastic mattress protector. You really need the kind that go over the entire mattress and zip. The ones that go on like a fitted sheet can be easily removed…… I know from experience. The mattress protector can easily be wiped down with cleaner and makes shampooing a thing of the past. We wash down the mattress cover with a solution of cleaner and water and then spray it with Lysol.
  • 3 sets of sheets – Grandma may go 2 or 3 days with out an accident, and then wet through twice in one night. We have found that three sets of sheets works wonderfully. There is always at least one clean set, even if she wet through twice in the night.
  • White Sheets – Urine can have a very strong odor. We have found that sometimes the only way to get rid of the smell is with bleach. Having white sheets makes bleaching them simple. We had to throw away a few sets of colored sheets that became too stained.
  • Two Blankets – Two bed sized blankets really are essential. When the sheets get wet, the blanket may too. Often blankets can take a long time to dry, so having an extra available makes making the bed quickly possible.
  • Move the extras – Grandma likes her room to look neat, so a nice comforter is a must. The problem is that comforters are not made to be washed as often as sheets. The one that was on her bed for over 20 years finally had to be thrown away a few weeks ago from being washed so much in the last year. Now we take the comforter and extra pillows off of her side of the bed. They are within reach if she wants them, but having them get wet is a lot less likely.

Bed Wetting and Dignity - Maintaining Dignity when dealing with the side effects of Alzheimer's

Overall, patience, kindness, and understanding are the most important thing you can have when dealing with a bed wetter. There may be times when you have to wake up at two in the morning to change the bed. There will be times when you finally get to talk to someone on the phone, or the show you have been waiting for for months is finally on, and your loved one will need to be changed. Show them dignity. Show them grace, and show them love. Remember it is not something they can control. Just as you wouldn’t get mad at a baby for wetting through their diaper, don’t get mad at your loved one.

Caregiving is a difficult yet rewarding job, I hope what we have learned makes your experience a little easier.

Christmas 2014

I never did seem to get into the Christmas spirit, but we had a very nice Christmas. I did a lot of baking this year, so much that I don’t even want to see another cookie for a while! I ended up making 12 dozen chocolate drop cookies, 10 dozen sugar cookies, 7 pies, 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and 6 dozen butterscotch cookies. I am baked out!

Christmas 2014

For Christmas Eve we had a few family members come over. AJ was excited to see her brother and cousins. They played cards, talked, and just had fun together. We had a ham and turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, stuffing, Jello salad, and rolls.

It was a really nice evening. The kids opened presents, I read The Night Before Christmas, and we visited.

Christmas morning AJ woke me up at 4:30! She has never done that. Normally she sleeps until at least seven or eight even on Christmas. I hadn’t gone to bed until close to three that morning so I was a mean mom and told her I wasn’t getting up until 8:00am. She was so excited that Santa had brought her a desk and a tablet that she couldn’t go back to sleep. She sat and waited until finally I got up and she was able to open her stocking.

This year Santa didn’t put very much candy in her stocking. She received a few beanies, some gloves, lip gloss, face wash, deodorant, and a few other things.

After the stockings, she practically pulled me into the living room  to show me what Santa had left for her. She didn’t really ask for much this year. She wanted new pajamas, socks, (she loves socks) science stuff, and a desk. She has wanted a desk for a while – but not just any desk, one like kids in “regular” school have.

To both of our surprise Santa brought her a desk, a MobyMax tablet (that was won from a giveaway on homeschool encouragement) and a wonderful book from Bethany Hamilton – Body and Soul. She was ecstatic!

Then it was time for presents. Normally there are so many presidents under the tree for everyone, but not this year. AJ and Grandma were the only ones with presents and there were no where near the usual amount. I was so thankful that I had earned some gift certificates from Family Christian and I was able to get her a few things.

She opened a few different magic sets from the dollar store, two pairs of pajamas, some new socks, and the rest of the What’s in the Bible? series. She also got a doll and a few science kits. She was very happy and overall it was a good Christmas.

Later that day we spent Christmas with  my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. Grandma was in a fairly good mood and was even joking around a little bit. Chloe (Grandma’s puppy) came with us and had a ball playing with her puppy cousin. It was a really nice day.

All in all it was a nice Christmas and I am looking forward to the new year. How was your Christmas?

Health Update – Mom, Grandma, and Me

I have had a lot of reviews on my blog lately, and unfortunately I haven’t had time to do too much other blogging, because as usual our life has been hectic. In my last real post I shared how my mom had been diagnosed with Kidney disease and had to have two different surgeries.

The surgeries were a lot harder on her than we were expecting. She woke up in so much pain that they decided to keep her in the hospital an extra night. When she came home she was still hurting. A few weeks later they took the two stints out of her kidneys and she started feeling better. Not good, but better. So far the test results show that her kidney function has improved a little, now we just have to play the waiting game.

This week she went in for another surgery to fix her hernia. To say she was nervous would be the understatement of the year. After all of the pain she felt from the kidney surgeries, she was really afraid of how bad she would hurt after this surgery.

When she woke up she was relieved. The pain was nowhere near as bad as the other surgery. But as the days have gone by it is very difficult for her to get up and down. Right now we are taking it day by day. With her back hurting from the kidney surgery and her front hurting from the hernia surgery, she is uncomfortable all of the time. Thankfully my aunt was able to stay with us a few days to keep an eye on Grandma and help out. I am not much help right now because my leg and back are getting worse by the day. I did finally get an appointment with another new doctor next week so I am hopeful that she will have some answers.

Daily Life caregiving

How is Grandma doing? She has her good days and bad days. Lately she has been is a better mood, our problem is her sleeping. She tends to be up for 48 hours straight at times and that can be difficult. I am the first to admit that when I am in pain (always) and don’t get enough sleep I am not the nicest person. Some days you will find us sleeping in until noon because Grandma didn’t go to bed until 5 or 6 in the morning. This of course messes up our school schedule, but we are about where I had wanted to be curriculum wise. Grandma has joined in on school a few times recently and even enjoyed writing on the chalkboard. Her favorite subject is our read aloud time.

Merry Christmas

Memory wise Grandma is a little worse. She seems to know us better and even calls us by name at times, but her sense of time is completely off. She tends to think she is about 10 years old. She is happy most of the time though especially this time of year when the house is decorated for Christmas. We have stopped telling her that her parents and husband have died unless she asks directly. We avoid answering as much as possible by using phrases like…. I haven’t seen her today, They won’t be picking you up tonight, and Yeah, your mother knows where you are. Since we made this little change she cries way less. She still has a mouth on her and wants things her way but life is a little easier. Health wise she is good and we are praying she stays that way!