Reflections Of Me: Me and Alzheimer’s Disease

Hard to take in this diagnosis, even the second time around. The difference is I’m not looking for the next thing to happen.

Instead I focus on each day, making loving memories, savoring my love notes every morning and all the kisses I get every day. It’s getting to be too many to count. I love them.

We’ve made peace with Alzheimer’s Disease. We have made our decisions, and our wishes known to the family and hope it’s a long time in the future for any further actions.

Alzheimer’s Disease is something that makes me sad for Howard. He is smart enough to know when he is losing it.

Last time, twenty years ago, he said his mind was like a sieve, pieces just fell through the openings. Sometimes just a blank page.

Thank goodness we have a great support group, they are very protective of us. Thank you all.

How many of you know someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease two times??? I wonder, as I think the percentage is higher than I thought.

Meditation and journal writing for me is a tremendous help, as are all my friends and family and writing buddies.

Remember to Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that keeps on giving, and costs nothing.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

My World, Your World

Is my world so different that your world on this Thursday, August 22, 2013?

So, if you read my other post you know that my husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease for the second time in twenty years. Are there any other people you know who have gone through this? What do they have to say about it? I don’t even know what I should say about it, except that the diagnosis, or course, was wrong the first time.

The numbness is wearing off, and the feeling is returning to my mind and my body. I am meditating for my mind, but boy does my body hurt, as Fibromyalgia is alive and well. Momentum is building up; what’s next?

I’m very blessed and very lucky that I have a great support system all around me. My family lives close and remains close to us, and have already started to feel very protective towards us.

My writing group here at our senior center is going well. Although there only about 210 apartments, we have a core group of 7 who come every week. We keep it interesting and fun at the same time.

Everyone is asking me if I’m going to start another book about Howard and Alzheimer’s Disease. I might, although it’s a little early to have too much to write at this time. Although the Neurologist has already started talking about doing a study. I, for one, have so many questions about that. Have any of us gone through a study, and how did you feel about it at the beginning, and then at the end? Would love to hear from you about it.

Remember to Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that lasts forever, and costs nothing.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

 

An Old Post That Is Still Meaningful

 

Today is August 20, and this appeared on my blog several years ago.

The most important things in my life are my family and friends; my passion for writing, reading and knitting; and my self respect.

My book, Behind the Mask, shows the complete range of emotions a new caregiver goes through each day.

Alzheimer’s disease is not contagious, yet the caregivers are usually left alone without the support of friends and neighbors, even family. This disease can last for many years, leaving the caregiver worn out and alone.

Adopt A Caregiver is my unique way of giving back. All you have to do is check your neighborhood, your social clubs, church, synagogue, your doctor’s office, the Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s message boards, and the Mayo Clinic message boards.

Just send an email or phone the person who needs a friend, listen and come back often to let him/her know you care and are thinking of them. Just being there to listen is a huge help.

Adopt a Caregiver. Give something back: Contribute to the well being of people who are so busy caring for others.

The above was on my blog a few years ago.

Now I’m faced with my husband’s new diagnosis, early stage of Alzheimer’s Disease,

We are taking it one day at a time, making memories each day and being grateful of the time we have together and with our family. They are our greatest supporters.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

8-18-30 Hubby’s Birthday

We all wished Howard a happy 83rd. Birthday today, and will do it again tonight at dinner. Love that now he is a year older than I am.

Little different today, am going to share one of my Flash Fiction Stories and some First Lines Prompts

 

I AM A BOOK

 

     I am a novel sitting in a crowded bookshelf filled with books of every color, size and description. I am never lonely, but I wish someone would pick me up and read me.

     The last time someone picked me up they wrote in my margins, and used a pencil to underline my words. Is what they read that important? And another time they folded the tops of my pages down and I felt so fat I was afraid I’d topple over.

     I can’t tell if all the other books are in the same shape I’m in. Maybe if someone pulled me down I could look around and see.

     But what if no one wants to read me? Will I be plucked off the shelf and thrown away like old garbage?

     I must be important though, after all someone wrote in my pages and folded down corners must mean I’ve said something important, something to remember.

     My cover is still shiny and my color is good. I must stay healthy so I can remain on this wonderful bookshelf with all my cousins, the mysteries, the biographies, the romances, the self help books, the computer books, the best sellers and the children’s books.

     I hope there is always room for me and for what I have to say.

     Come on somebody.

     Pick me up.

First Lines: Writing Prompts:

1. After the war, I came home  stuck in two different worlds.

2. The conference was over and I couldn’t wait to get out of the office.

3. The man in the elevator with her was wearing something that made her sneeze.

4. Her outfit no longer contained her twenty extra pounds.

5. The turmoil inside her was sharp and shattering.

6. She was swept away along with the explosive debris.

7. The squalid surroundings reminded her of her chilling childhood.

8. The child loved the funny gizmo.

9. She was hearing conflicted stories.

10. He swept the debris from the car careful not to destroy evidence.

That’s all for today.

Remember to keep love and kisses in your life.

 

Alzheimer’s Disease AGAIN

Can you believe this one? My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 20 years ago. Obviously whatever was going on with him then never got much worse. But we had to keep it a secret because he was still working. As the years went by, and it was obvious it wasn’t A.D. the doctors would not take him off the A. D. medication. So from 1993 to 2000 he suffered from terrible stomach pain, that came and went for years.

Transfer to today, August 16th, 2013. We learned two days ago, by a second opinion, that this time he did have early, mild Alzheimer’s Disease. Even the Neurologist smiled and said, “Funky case, never saw anything like this one before.”

Anyone out there with this same experience?

The last time I kept everything inside, and published my journal from those years, Behind The Mask…..I thought it was so good to rip off that Mask.

Now that I can talk about it, I haven’t shed a tear, just feel overwhelmed. We even went out and bought cemetary plots……how’s that for jumping the gun?

It’s hard enough to hear this once, but to get slammed in the stomach twice..I think you get the picture.

Right now life is crazy. Making plans, doing things in fast motion, trying to slow down, but doing more than ever. At 82 I find myself doing an online writing course, which I am loving, but it takes up a lot of time.

Thank goodness for a close and loving family, almost all of whom live within a 30 minute car ride, some are very close, like a half mile and one mile… We are blessed and thankful for that. We do have a built in support group.

Every day I try to find things to be grateful for, and to find a little bit of beauty in my life. I meditate also, which helps and I read and read, and read. My escape from the reality of the world.

Next time I’ll talk about my writing, my writing group, and some books that I highly recommend.

Keep love and kisses in your life. And remember to Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that keeps on giving, without costing you anything.

 

My Writing Group

Either my life story, Reflections of Me, is  boring or too depressing, no one is reading it, so I will discontinue it for awhile.

In the meantime, I have started a writing group here in my new senior community. We have a great bunch of writers, all writing something different. They are anxious to learn and to share. And I am loving it. I give out a few too many handouts, but I told them to either save them for future reference, or they can throw them away.

Last week we had a guest speaker and talked about personality. Good for themselves and for their characters.

This week,( we meet on Mondays), I am going to ask them if they would like to start a fun project. I call it Bits and Pieces. Inside this incredible notebook we will include things like: lists, quotes, characters (and I do mean characters, did you ever meet someone who was a gossip, someone who talks funny, and I don’t mean accent, or a character that is colorful,  someone that Damon Runyon would have written about.  Also include, expressions, closets, homes, cars, snippets of conversation.

I like lists of words. I use them for vivid verbs, and for scenes. By that I mean that I write something like Ocean and I list all the words that describe ocean, or a doctor’s office, or mall, or bar, or any scene that will be upcoming in my blog, my story, or a future story. It’s great fun and gets your thinking cap on.

Also include pieces of journal entries or Memoir questions. Brainstorm parts of a scene,  or use a mind map. Highlight journal entries that you can use later for a short story, or just something you want to remember.

Clustering is also a great tool for words and scenes.

Use colored markers or pens, have fun with doing this. Use newspapers, exciting lines from books, magazine, anything that excites you and sparks your imagination.

This is fun, informative, useful and challenging to the writer. To us. I will see how my group feels about d0ing this on Monday. Come back and I will talk about it.

I’m in the process of doing and ebook called First Lines.

I’ll leave you with three new ones and use them to start your story. Never stare at a blank page again.

1. My parents told me that I no longer exist.

2. One last look at him and her blood pressure skyrocketed.

3. The phone rang, but no one was there.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Until next time Helene

Reflections of Me: High School

Visions of me in high school brings back such unhappy memories. My sister, who still smelled everything, got into all my things. I had started a diary, and wanted to write a story, but she was always pulling out my things, clothes, papers,  and  kept looking at them.. My writing career was over before it ever began. I was painfully shy, and didn’t want anyone to laugh at me or what I had written.

My mother, confident, beautiful, outgoing was everything I was not. I felt pathetically insecure, that nothing I did ever turned out right.

At this time the fighting between my parents  was at it’s worst. My sister, we now knew, was smelling everything because she couldn’t see! We were so close, we never realized how bad it was until she started school. Her glasses were like coke bottles.

But, for me, the real tragedy was that I retreated more and more into my shell. It became evident in school that I was daydreaming, not paying attention, and my grades were failing. I burst out crying in the classroom more than once, for no reason. No teacher, guidance counselor, friend tried to help. I kept it all bottled up inside until it came pouring out.

I did the best I could, but I knew in my heart I had to get away from my home situation. I admit I  took the coward’s way out.

I confronted my Mom one day and asked her, “Do you want me to have a nervous breakdown, or will you allow me to quit school.?”

Sadly, her eyes overflowing, she said, “Yes, I give you permission to quit school.”

I left the eleventh grade and got myself a full time job.

By this time, we both knew college was out for me. Something I had looked forward to all my life.

Keep love and kisses in your life and

Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing.

Until next time: My First Job

 

Reflections Of Me: End Of Childhood

Oh my gosh, I had a tiny baby sister. Two pounds, born in the sixth month, how could I know that my parents were agonizing over whether or not she would live.

My mother dreamed her grandmother came to her and said if she would name the baby after her, the baby would live. Mom wasn’t superstitious, but she named the baby after her grandmother.

I found out I could visit Tiny at the hospital. My only recollection of that time was  my Dad saying  she was so tiny she could fit inside a cigar box.When I saw her, I couldn’t believe she had all her fingernails and toenails, but I couldn’t see her nose. I promptly threw up.

For three months my Mom had to wait to get her baby home. Some man came every week for money, and told my mother that if she didn’t pay the hospital wouldn’t release my sister. They threatened just that.Could they just steal my Mother’s baby? It was a scary time.

Finally, after three months she was coming home. I was so excited. Anticipation bubbled through our house like rays of sunshine shimmering through the windows. I was too excited to sleep.

Saturday morning I ran down the steps, a wide smile on my face. I ran across the room. It was  finally happening.

But Mom looked at me funny. Her smile faded as she put her fist up to her mouth. She burst into tears, “You’ve got the measles, and Tiny can’t come home today.”

When she put her fist up to her mouth, I really thought she was going to hit me. It’s my fault I thought, can’t I do anything right? I ran back up to my bedroom and cried. Mom and I didn’t have much to say to each other for the next couple of weeks. Days went by with both of us thinking Tiny would have been home if not for me.

This was the beginning of the end of my childhood.

Tune in for next installment: Be careful what you wish for.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Have a grateful day.

Reflections of Me: Grandma’s Instructions

One Friday afternoon as Grandma and I started dinner, we heard a flurry of activity. Isaac, the man from the downstairs butcher store came flying up the stairs, “Your mother called me on the phone, said she needs to go to the hospital right now.”

Just like that? Hospital? My heart thumped inside my chest louder and louder as the fear crept in landing next to my loneliness. Mom was only in her sixth month of pregnancy, and even I knew at eleven and one half that it took nine months to have a baby. Was Mom going to die?

I bit my nails to the quick, and now stuffed both my hands into my mouth.

Grandma grabbed her coat. “I want you to pluck all these feathers off this chicken for the matzo ball soup. Be sure to save the fat for the chicken fat. She turned to me. “Every feather off.”

She waved goodbye, and I ran to the door to check the locks. I desperately wanted to please Grandma. I washed my hands and sat down looking at this little chicken. How hard could it be to pull off all the feathers. One by one I yanked at the feathers, but nothing happened. Was there a trick I didn’t know about? I ran for my mother’s tweezers and I plucked and pulled and I tweezed until my hands were red and sore, all the while wondering what was happening at the hospital.

Alone in the apartment, the clock ticking loudly in my ears, getting louder as it became darker. I was so scared. Where was my Daddy? Why didn’t anyone call me?  I worked harder, faster, pulling and plucking. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare, but I knew I couldn’t.

Hours went by, and thoughts raced through my mind like a freight train. I was still working on that chicken, and finally, I was getting it done.

Much later I heard footsteps on the stairs. Grandma came into the kitchen with her arms outstretched, and I ran right into them. I buried my face into her warmth until she held me at arms length. “You have a tiny sister. She  weighs only two pounds.”

I looked at the chicken on the table with it’s long wobbly feet, and wondered, is this what my sister looked like?

Next: End of Childhood.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Reflections of Me: Baltimore, MD 1942

No matter how much we cried, it didn’t change anything. We still were living far away from family. My new life and my new school treated me with intolerance, indifference, and I felt more alone than ever before.

The kids at school laughed at me. I wore long cotton stockings, and they wore anklets. I couldn’t understand their accent, and they made fun of mine. The Principal of the school saw me walking down the hall one day, and under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear, she said, “New York Jew.” I’ll never forget the look of disgust on her face. My mother always told me, “Fight your own battles,” and the other thing she always said was, “Silence is golden, don’t come complaining to me.”

A few months later, I thought a miracle happened. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and my mother said, “How would you like to have a brother or sister?”

I almost fell off my chair I was so excited. I really literally fell off the chair onto the floor.

Two months later, my mother fell up the stairs on her stomach. She lost part of the afterbirth, but I had no idea what that meant. The doctor said she had to stay in bed until she gave birth. I was allowed to see her for ten minutes a day. The only person I had to talk to was the doctor who came every day, and was nice enough to ask me, “How are you today Helene? How was school?”  My father still worked nights and I was alone and invisible.

My grandmother came from New York to help after the first of the year. I got my period that January; I was eleven and a half. I thought I was dying because I bled for twenty-one days. I was prepared, I knew what to do, but after almost three weeks, alone with my thoughts, I wondered what was going to happen to me.

On February second, the man from the downstairs butcher store came upstairs and said, “I’m taking your mother and grandmother to the hospital. It’ time for the baby to come.”

Grandma left me strict and explicit instructions.

Tune in next time to find out what I had to do and what happened.

Keep love and kisses in your life.