Friday, July 31, 2009

Health Care Reform Bill & The Alzheimer's Association

We haven't talked about this in any detail, but I wondered how our organization (click on the title above to take you to the Alzheimer's site) sees this bill, so I put in a call to my counsellor Suzette, who put me in touch with Kathy Simpson, the Advocacy Manager for our organization (meaning she tells us advocates to contact our congress persons and stay on their butts about AD!)

Because I am dog-tired from trips back and forth to the hospital to be with my SIL, Kathy has graciously allowed me to copy and paste the following. Please read, and tell me what you think, okay?

==================================================================================

Our message to Congress remains clear: Congress must pass health care reform that includes long-term care services and supports this year.



Current Proposals include our asking Congress to:

1. Provide Medicare care coordination services for people with cognitive impairments and their caregivers

2. Pass health care reform this year that includes long-term services and supports for the 5.3 million people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

a. Health care reform must include improved long-term services and supports, such as those found in the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) (S. 697/H.R. 1721).

i. The CLASS Act outlines a new nationwide voluntary insurance program that provides support, services and cash payouts for long-term care and provides help for people with Alzheimer’s disease to remain at home.

ii. At any one time, 70% of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are living at home.

b. The Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2009 (S. 1492/H.R. 3286) calls for Congress to significantly increase funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to $2 billion.

i. In addition, it provides much needed support for caregivers and calls for a National Summit on Alzheimer’s.

ii. Co-sponsorship sends signal to the Nation that Congress is determined to overcome the quickly growing Alzheimer’s crisis.

Thank you,

Kathy Simpson
================================================================================

Update on Betty: She's back on the ventilator, but not necessarily because her condition has worsened. She's going to be getting Mannitol (a drug used to reduce intracranial pressure in the brain caused by the stroke), and she's going to need the support of the vent to take the load off her lungs and heart.

Her doctor told us that this drug only "works" for 3-4 days, and after that it's useless. (He's a bit of a d*ck with the bedside manner, but knows his stuff, so we're okay with him).

So the next few days are going to be crucial, and the family wants me to tell y'all they appreciate the thoughts and prayers, and please continue to think and pray for her, thanks.

===================================================================================

I can't end this entry without thanking everyone for the 88 "hits" on the blog Thursday! [channelling Sally Field] You like me, you really like me! [/channelling Sally Field].

This one's for Betty: (I can't embed because it's been prohibited by request, sorry)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7dlSuqs7P8

Please remember our 4-legged ones!

The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks as always, and good night!

Bill

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In A Rush

Back to the hospital in Atlanta. Betty's not doing well, and we need to be by her side. I will try to sign on again from the laptop this evening, but let me leave you with this very funny snippet my friend Helga from Australia sent me.

I'm afraid this happens to me all day long, though in different ways:

====================================================================================


This is a story by David McClure from the Dallas News Community Opinion page.

$5.37. That's what the kid behind the counter at Taco Bueno said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint and two dimes and something that used to be a Jolly Rancher. Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the kid with the Emo hairdo said the harshest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, "It's OK. I'll just give you the senior citizen discount."

I turned to see who he was talking to and then heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. "Only $4.68" he said cheerfully. I stood there stupefied. I am 48, not even 50 yet - a mere child! Senior citizen?

I took my burrito and walked out to the truck wondering what was wrong with Emo. Was he blind? As I sat in the truck, my blood began to boil. Old? Me?

I'll show him, I thought. I opened the door and headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was waiting with a smile.

Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, like I could be that easily distracted! What am I now? A toddler?

"Dude! Can't get too far without your car keys, eh?" I stared with utter disdain at the keys. I began to rationalize in my mind. "Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly! It could happen to anyone!"

I turned and headed back to the truck. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn't turn. What now? I checked my keys and tried another. Still nothing. That's when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rearview mirror. I had no purple beads hanging from my rearview mirror.

Then, a few other objects came into focus. The car seat in the back seat. Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard. A partially eaten doughnut on the dashboard.

Faster than you can say ginkgo biloba, I flew out of the alien vehicle. Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot, relieved to finally be leaving this nightmarish stop in my life. That is when I felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach: hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached to grab my burrito, only it was nowhere to be found.

I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and strode back into the restaurant one final time. There Emo stood, draped in youth and black nail polish. All I could think was, "What is the world coming to?" All I could say was, "Did I leave my food and drink in here?" At this point I was ready to ask a Boy Scout to help me back to my vehicle, and then go straight home and apply for Social Security benefits.

Emo had no clue. I walked back out to the truck, and suddenly a young lad came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding up a drink and a bag. His mother explained, "I think you left this in my truck by mistake." I took the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologized.

She offered these kind words: "It's OK. My grandfather does stuff like this all the time."

All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 40. Yes, I was racing some punk kid in a Toyota Prius. And no, I told the officer, I'm not too old to be driving this fast.

As I walked in the front door, my wife met me halfway down the hall. I handed her a bag of cold food and a $300 speeding ticket. I promptly sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blanky.

The good news was I had successfully found my way home.

The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks,

Bill

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A MALE "Nurse Ratched"????

Continuing with updates on my sister in law Betty, we encountered a very poor excuse for a nurse a couple of days ago.

Here's what happened (as a former medical professional, I despise this kind of behavior in my peers):

1. Betty has rheumatoid arthritis and there's a BIG sign over her bed informing the staff of this and that she cannot raise her arms above her head and to be gentle.

Well this guy Mark walks in and proceeds to roughly move her up in the bed, causing her visible pain.

2. He then informs my two nieces that they need to "stay real" and realize their mother is "paralyzed" and may not recover. This was said in her Neuro-ICU room.

3. Then to compound this idiocy, he's overheard commenting on her prognosis with the statement: "We're not doing anything for her. She's just taking up a bed."

At this point the family decides to complain to the nurse in charge, who tells this jackass he needs to apologize.

So said jackass comes to the door of the room, stands there and accuses the girls of "eavesdropping" on his conversation, with no apology given!

Okay. First of all signs are there for a reason and they better be adhered to, or there might be real danger to the patient.

Case in point: If a patient has a shunt in his her/arm, then no blood pressures or blood drawing are allowed on that arm.

What should he have done? Asked for help in pulling her up in the bed.

READ THE DAMN SIGN!

Secondly, one never ever speaks of a patient's condition or prognosis while in the room with the patient. Y'all know this, right - I mean that's just common sense? Never assume a patient cannot hear because she has had a stroke.

The third error was discussing his patient not only where he was (at the desk - which is like an "aquarium" - we're always "on-stage" there and a family member could walk up at any time!).

What should he have done? Stated his opinion in "report" or with the nurse in charge away from the desk. Even then, it was a cruel thing to say: The family is very optimistic and very thankful for all that is being done for Betty. We all have a great rapport with her physician (we tape his conversations with us, so we don't miss anything when we report to the rest of the family), and all of the nurses except for this guy.

So? He screwed up and had that one chance to make it right, and he blew that as well!

The only consolation we have is that this guy will never "care" for her again, and that when his Director of Nursing gets back from vacation, she's going to get an ear-full, and the family will get an apology.

I have suggested going to the patient advocate and filing a formal complaint and that will be done.

So, our Betty is still in Neuro-ICU, now has pneumonia, a breakdown of skin which necessitated a special bed to help with that and her lungs as well.

We're not a large family my in-laws), and many of us are senior citizens, but we do the best we can getting back and forth to Atlanta as much as possible.

Shooooo! After all that I need me some Green Day! There are many versions of this old Bobby Fuller tune, but I like this one the best, because being a drummer myself, I like the quadruplets Tre' Cool plays.

Remember to click to feed, please!
The Animal Rescue Site





Thanks!

Bill

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Shelter Challenge Ends

Results from this morning show that we didn't budge from 11th place, but I know for sure it wasn't because we all didn't give it our best shot.

I forgot to click to see how many Georgia shelters participated, and now I can't get to that page, but I think it was more than 300 (please correct me if I am wrong), so 11th place is a great effort.

ETA: In all 400 shelters participated in the Challenge, of which 44 were not ranked, (probably because they had no votes?) so reacing #11 was pretty damn good!

Thanks and Enjoy! My friend Becks sent me this video, and I think it fits what we were all trying to do, for what cause:



And remember to continue to click and feed! I don't always remember to add the link-button (CRS), so you may have to remind yourselves or have the site send you a reminder in your e-mail daily.

A special thanks to Johnny L A on The Straight Dope & The Dome for starting and helping to keep things going!

The Animal Rescue Site


ETA: Quick update on my SIL: She's still unresponsive for the most part, but some family members have said that they thought she could recognize them by nodding.

As you may know it's always difficult to tell with a stroke if you're getting through, but other than squeezing our hands, anything more specific, she hasn't been able to show us.

We do know that she has always hated hospitals, and this could be a cause of her agitation, because she is agitated.

Plans were to move her into a private room today, but so far, she's still in Neuro-ICU.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers!

Bill

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It Ain't About Me Today.....

It's about my SIL who is fighting for her life.

Her husband and three daughters have been constantly at her side, and me and D are goin' back and forth and trying to be there as much as we can.

We talk to her one at a time, so we don't confuse her, and we remind her of all the things she loved and loved to do.

Right now her respirations are in the high 20's (still to be expected after coming off the vent)but they really need to slow to 12-16 pretty soon, and as I said before, the bloodwork needs to stay normal.

The last time I saw her was at Cracker Barrel, where we all gather for everyone's birthday, and she and I had a small disagreement about Hank Williams Sr., her favorite singer.

She said she thought a song about "changing locks" was one of his "cutest" songs, and I told her it was Move It On Over, but she disagreed
with me, so I did a search and found only this one:



I'm looking forward to playing it for her when she recovers enough, but in the meantime, we'll all keep her in our thoughts, and for the next few blogs, don't be surprised if you see some Hank Williams YouTubes, okay?

One more day to click and vote, Kids.

My friend on The Straight Dope, John says we ought to at least move Paulding Humane Society into the "Top Ten", and I agree, so please:click your little hearts out, and get others to do so, as well!

The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks!

Bill

Friday, July 24, 2009

C'monnnnnnn Y'ALL!

Only two days left to go! Please help!

The Animal Rescue Site


ETA: Just a quick update on my Sister-In-Law (Man! That word just hit me! Where'd we get that from, anyway? Sounds like we're both lawyers, don't it?):

She's off the ventilator and breathing on her own, but the next 24-36 hours are critical. She's got to maintain her breathing, cough and deep-breathe a lot, and her blood-work has got to stay within normal range....

The family's all pulling for her, praying and thinking positive thoughts, and if you're reading this, would you also send some very good "vibes" her way, please?

We've all got "High Hopes"!



Thanks

Bill

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bad News/Good News

First the bad: My sister-in-law has had a stroke, and she's in the hospital on a ventilator. It was kind of a blow to the family, because she's always been one of those "take-charge", stalwart women and much loved by the entire family.

Now the good news: It looks like she's going to recover, but she'll need a lot of rehab, which starts next Monday after she's weaned off the ventilator. (This is done by decreasing the amount of oxygen and the amount of machine-initiated breaths, until she's completely - or nearly - breathing on her own. Right now she's on 30% of O2. You and I breathe 21% oxygen in room air.)

More good news is that I'm going to become involved in her at-home care with pulmonary rehab. I won't be able to administer any medications or do any invasive procedures (such as draw arterial blood or re-intubate her, God forbid), but I can help her with breathing exercises and helping with her physical and mental well-being.

And further good news is that I'll be feeling "productive" again, helping her and myself in the process. She'll have her very own pulmonary rehab guy, and I will be taking care of a patient again and helping her to feel better!

Cool, huh?

So, a mixed-emotions kinda thing: I am sorry she had the stroke, but I'm glad she'll recover and I will be happy to be useful again.

Excuse me, I'm gonna go put on my "Tarzan" loin-cloth, and do a little chest-beatin'! *LOL*



Three more days till the end of the Shelter Challenge, kids. Please remember to click to feed and to vote for Paulding Humane, thanks!

The Animal Rescue Site


Bill

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So What Do YOU Think?

Do you think Howard Hughes might have had Alzheimer's????

There are no pictures of his late days (that I could find, anyway) but here is an artist's rendition of what he may have looked like during them:



He sure did some goofy shit during his life, didn't he?

And goofier shit toward the end of it, fer sure!

My two favorite things he invented were:

1. Jane Russells's bra:



Oh, Christ, didn't she cause "inflation" of a certain section of my pubic bones???? And I never missed the Sears & Roebuck catalog after I saw Jane!

Hamana-Hamana-HAMANA! Only guys know that sound and what it represents!

2. "The Spruce Goose":



That thing only flew for a few minutes (look it up), but he sure thought BIG, didn't he?

So that brings us to yours truly, and his "ailings".

I know some changes have already happened:

1. I forget shit

2. I no longer give a shit... and

3. I have taken a liking to foods whose names end in "A-Roni"!

I'll keep y'all posted. Just don't give me any shit, 'cause I don't take no shit, because, in the words of the late and great George Carlin, "If I gave a shit, that would mean I would have to pack shit, and I don't pack no shit, so I don't give a shit!"

And here's a little George for your edification:




Time's winding down, Chirrun. Only 5 more days.... If there's a miracle coming, let it happen soon and thanks for clicking!

The Animal Rescue Site


Bill

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life's "Little" Pleasures

Friends: Like you guys who follow the blog. I have always told you I would be honest with you about how I am feeling, and right now, my ass is draggin'. The mental one and the physical one. I very badly need some "motivation".

I'm not getting a whole lot of "fresh air", and that isn't the "Bill" from a year ago. I need to find him again.

Bert: Bert is my "Domestic Long Hair" orange and white cat.

This is him:



He also goes by the name "Mr. Ice Cream/Drooly Mouth", because he has an "orange sherbet" - like mark on his nose, and because.....well... he drools! He also likes to lay right on top of his daddy and drool and knead ("makin' biscuits") at the same time.

Bert is the sweetest kitty I have ever had. He's not a bit "stand-offish", like most cats, and he loves being picked up and held.

Dondra: I forgot how much she and I had in common as far as being on the same "level" intelligence-wise. She is a very talented artist and photographer, and has sold many of her paintings and photographs. She also is a great writer, having written for Creative Loafing (you Atlanta residents may know of this newspaper) and Country Music Magazine. Through her, I have met Waylon Jennings, Louise Mandrell, James Garner, the late Jerry Reed, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs, the late Dottie West, the group Alabama and many others.

She also appreciates my "out there" sense of humor, although she is in no way like that herself. She "levels" me out, in other words.

I am very happy that we maintained a relationship, even after the divorce 23 years ago, and that we are now married again.

She also is very understanding regarding my past relationships, as I have never been a "sport-effer" (no "one night stands" for the German Boy), and every woman I have been in a relationship since the divorce, I have loved with all my heart. Matter of fact, I coined a phrase about that: "If it doesn't happen here (touches heart), it doesn't happen there (points to crotch)"

I often think about dying (more now than before), and I wonder if I have been as "good" a man as I could be.

I think that is for others to judge, but I can say that at least I tried.

Thanks for following the blog, thanks for your good wishes, and may all your days be filled with "life's little pleasures".

Only 10 days now till the end of the "Shelter Challenge", so please continue to click to feed and vote for Paulding Humane!

The Animal Rescue Site


A special "thank you" to my friends Bill & Becky for the "Juke Box" links!

Here's a song from that list. My Mom and Dad used to dance to this one, before we left Germany.



Thank You!

Bill

Monday, July 13, 2009

And Sometimes, You Just Want To Leave It All Behind

Do y'all have days like those too?

Well, instead of a bar named Cheers I go to my own world, called "Azeroth", and you have read of this before on this blog.

It is part of a "Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game" or......

MMPORPG

What this allows me to do is explore the "inner" me: The Bill who has a kind and chivalric heart and who, in real life, would be a little "tough" to accept that way.

I have tried to show it in real life with my compassion for my patients and my love for animals and their welfare, but in the former, people are likely to say (and have), "Well, that's what you were getting paid for, wasn't it?", and in the latter (Because I am so deeply involved), people tend to think of that as a kind of fanaticism. *sigh*

So, I go to Azeroth (World of Warcraft) and, as "Wolkenlaufre" ("Cloud-Walker" in German), my character, I am assigned various "quests" I have to complete, and in return I am "rewarded" with experience points and payments as a "warrior".

One also gains stature by "levelling" and can purchase stronger and better weapons, and recently, in my case, my own horse. She is a Chestnut Mare and I have named her "Silka" (Click on the picture to enlarge it to see "Wolkie" and "Silka" a bit better. That sword on my/his back? Dude that's a cleaver fer sure!)



So that's where I am when I'm not asleep, or doing other stuff.

The Animal Rescue Site


13 more days. Last time I checked, Paulding was in 11th place. I'm like that frog about to be swallowed by the heron: I never, ever give up, so please don't you either! Click to feed and vote for Paulding Humane in the Shelter Challenge. Thanks!

Meanwhile, over on The Straight Dope, here's a story about a dog and a family that's done just about all they can for this poor guy.



Thanks

Bill

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sometimes.. What Your Friends Say.....

..... is a whole hell of a lot more important than what you say.

Sometimes, what your friends say, may be about you, even though you may not realize it at the time.

"I went sky-divin'...."

What that means, is that sometimes other people have more insight into who you are ,and blah, blah, blah......

Thanks, Becks, for another wonderful, meaningful clip!



Y'all have a great weekend, and don't forget the 4-legged ones, okay?

The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks,

Bill

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Here's To New Friends

Nothing major to write about today. It's been one of those blah-ambivalent days.

You know - one of those "auto-pilot days" - during which you just sorta go through the motions and do just the bare essentials?

I can have one of those, right?

Yet there are a few things I want to tell you about me that you might not know from what you have read heretofore (I love that word! Kinda archaic and "snooty", but I like to get the chance to work it into a conversation when I can):

I like finding out about different cultures and different ways of life, and am very proud of the fact that I have a lot of international friends: Germany (of course!), England, Australia, New Zealand and now, Scotland (my new musician friend Bill Dalziel whose music you heard a couple of entries back).

That is not to say that I don't also treasure my American friends, who occupy almost every state in the Union thanks to the International message board called The Straight Dope (on which I also first met the aforementioned friends from other countries and cultures).

I think I relate to those friends because I identify with them to some degree, being that if they were to move to the US, it would become such an "adventure" for them, much as it was with me when we emigrated here from Germany.

I am very curious and like to learn about new cultures, beliefs and traditions.

For example, I always have eaten "continental" style with a fork in one hand and a knife in the oher, and some folks notice that about me, but don't mention it - probably because it's not such a "big deal" anymore.

There is, however, something they do notice and it never fails to amuse me.

See, I clean my plate when I eat.

By that I mean I don't just eat everything on it - I actually scrape every last morsel or crumb and shovel it from the plate into my mouth!

This has led to comments such as, "Bill, Hon, there's plenty for everybody! Please help yourself!" (This usually precedes sidelong glances from diner to diner and much clearing of throats).

I then proceed to clean my dining space, by "combing" all the crumbs into my napkin, folding it, and placing it in the center of the plate followed by placing each utensil pointing north (never crossed), on both sides of aformentioned napkin.

Pretty anal, huh?

Well no. It's a tradition in my home country to eat everything on the plate, lest one offend the cook (indicated also by crossing the knife and fork on top of each other). And finally, the scraping of the plate doesn't only indicate that the meal was delicious, but also to show that "the more I put into me, the less you must scrape into the bio-bag." Germany is big into recycling (as we should be) and different color bags contain different kinds of waste.

One also never visits for dinner without a nice bouquet for the "lady of the manor". (I know it's "house", okay, so gimme a break. Call it poetic license!)

So things like that interest me, and I gravitate towards them and always give them my full attention - to the point of (like a 5 year-old) asking "why?".

In short, I like to know about people and why they are they way they are.

I wasn't this way as little as a year ago, friends. A year ago I was so stuck on myself you wouldn't have liked me.

I believe this disease (or any fatal disease) has a way of bringing one to one's knees and making one savor every minute and every person occupying whatever time is left.

My friend Becky sent me this (Thanks Fräulein). It's a new "take" on a beautiful old song. Enjoy it and don't forget to click to feed and vote.

The Animal Rescue Site



Thanks

Bill



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Wish I Were A Mousie

Y'all have read where I've hammered on this before: "Studies show....", "Research Indicates...." "Consuming mass amounts of ______ is strongly linked to a cure for........", and on and on ad nauseam.

I even spoofed it in a previous blog entry: here (be sure to click the video for a laugh)

Now it's coffee, 5-6 cups a day according to a couple of links my friend Helga of Australia sent me this morning

And here

As Helga wrote, "Wouldn't it be great if it was the be all to end all?"

Oh, yeah! If all I had to do was drink 5-6 cups of coffee a day, you'd better believe I'd have me one of those cappucino machines in a "New York Minute!"

Thanks, Helga, and we hope to see both of you next year here in the US!

Now, I know I have to take all this with a grain of salt, and at least they're out there trying, right? It's all part of research, and I hope to God it leads us somewhere positive, because right now, once we're diagnosed, there's an 8-year window before we start to really, well.....die!

So I guess what I'm saying is "Keep it up, keep it going, never stop trying to find a cure, but just find some kind of a way to present your data, so that we don't all start fruitlessly consuming mass quantities of "x" in hopes of reversing this thing.

Jesus, what if they suddenly were to come out with "Studies have shown that fornicating 10 times a day can reverse Alzheimer's"? (Or did they already?)

"Oh, Honnneeey? It's time again!

Yup, I wish I were a "MOUSIE"

Enjoy this one!



The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks

Bill

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Apathy

Been thinking about that a lot lately, and although it's not related to AD, apathy is still apathy, right?

Besides, I've got this John Denver "thing" going on with me right now, and it seemed like a good segue into one of the most beautiful songs ever written. *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*



Thanks to Face Intentionally Left Blank over on The Straight Dope for the link!

The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks!

Bill

Friday, July 3, 2009

Brain Games

My AD counsellor, Suzette (U rock, GF!) sent me this list of "brain games" you too can play even if you're not sick in da head! I play the raindrops game on lumosity, and it's fun.

www.lumosity.com

www.ashbymemorymethod.com

www.kappapuzzles.com

www.photographic-memory.org

www.positscience.com

www.brain.com

www.snoezeleninfo.com

Some guy has found a way to get rich off Alzheimer's and he sells this interactive computer with a touch-screen that connects to the internet and one can play cognitive memory games on it.

IF one can afford it, that is.

The price for the console with screen is $2300.00 and then there's a $19.95 monthly subscription fee.

In his clever internet pitch, he states that he decided to form his company after watching his father suffer with AD for 13 years.

Obekaybe, but most of us just cannot afford your set-up, Mr. Michel, so I guess we're SOL, huh?

Here's the website, if you'd like to take a look: http://www.dakim.com/.

If you see something I'm missing, please let me know, but for right now, Bill's "jury" says "HUCKSTER!".

Remember to click to vote and feed, please, and remember, your cookies will have stored "Paulding Humane, Inc.", so all you'll need to do is click to vote and then confirm on the next screen. Only 23 more days and Paulding is in 12th place in the State. Please help and pass it along.

The Animal Rescue Site


Happy Fourth of July, America! Choose! I like Jimi's version, but that's just because I'm a tradionalist (old)!





Thanks

Bill