Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some Days It's Tough To Get A Grip or "The Order of Things"

....... such as washing clothes.

1. Water
2. Bleach/Detergent
3. Let mix
4. Clothes

NOT Clothes, bleach and water.

I know this!

After being divorced for over 20 years and having to wash my own things I had done it correctly numerous times. But last Friday I didn't and ruined a pair of Dondra's favorite capri jeans and top.

She was good about it, but I was devastated, so I did an online search on those jeans and that size and we found them at Kohl's. That made me feel much better, but it's still another something I'm doing wrong and it's going on the list.

It's why I also have a list in my bathroom which has the correct order of daily cleaning my nasty body.

It's why D has a list for me on how to use the (gas) stove/oven while she's at work and I want to warm up some food. I also have trouble with the microwave (again a "which order is it in" thing), and I love when I have to eat burned popcorn because I forget it's in there!

Lord, I'm a mess! :-)

In her excellent book Living Your Best with early-stage Alzheimer's, Lisa Snyder, MSW, LCSW quotes patient Lou Howe as saying, "I know I would be better off by just letting other people do the things that I don't do well any more, but something in me says, 'Hang in there and keep on working with what I have left'", and I've decided this is very good advice.

I highly recommend her book if you're a caregiver or a patient. It is full of very good advice and tools for day to day living with EOAD.

Just as a quick update, Today Has Been A "Benchmark" Day For Me. Here is how it's going so far:

1. Fumbling for words (D has learned to recognize when I make a circular motion with my right hand, I'm asking for help, so she does) more often that usual.

2. Forgetting my phone number. I tried to report an apparent drunk driver today and couldn't think of the correct phone exchange. Dondra helped again. This time rolling her eyes at me. I notice this, but try not to say anything.

3. Misjudging distance. I'm used to a small ramp in moving the grocery cart toward the car. This time I stepped off a raised "sidewalk" and nearly twisted my ankle.

4. Forgetting the groceries in the car. 15 minutes after we went in the house, D, wanting to put them away asked where they were.

5. Left the outside door open. In this heat.

Okay enough whining. I'm dealin' with it, even though this is the worst day for this crap I have had in recent memory.

Sometimes I like to share with y'all some music, which, although it may or may not be appropriate to the title of the blog, it is unique in its musicianship, so here's a couple. The first is the late Roy Buchanan, one of my favorite quitarists with an old Tyrone Davis tune. Sorry there's no video of him playing it, but I hope you enjoy it just the same:

Before I saw her on tv a few nights ago, I had never heard of Adele and this song (not her first hit) just floored me. What a voice and what lyrics!

And I'm also enclosing a song by my new favorite German group "Three Bottles of Wine". This isn't a video, but a beautiful tune just the same. They are my new project (I have to have something to do all the time, or I'll go even further batshit than I already am!) and I am hoping to bring them to Atlanta in the near future. Your comments are appreciated.

As always, please remember the furbabies and click to feed and care for them and remember to do it daily. here's the link:

The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks, y'all


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dreams Of My Youth

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the last entry, I was unable to link you to Lisa's great article on Alzheimer's Caregivers. It is here.

ALSO: The link to Three Bottles of Wine's web page now works as well. Please give them a listen and comment down below, thanks!


This whole past week has been a strange one as far as my dreaming is concerned. I have dreamt every night of my younger days - sometimes the dreams were a continuation, like a daytime tv serial (though not as torrid!). Sometimes I'd wake up, and then couldn't wait to get back to sleep so I could "see" what was next.

I have written about my dreams before, but I'm curious as to why now I'm dreaming of my teens, my first girlfriend in high school, the bands I played in, all the shenanigans and trouble I got myself into, such as being grounded from using the car and taking the riding lawnmower instead to see my girfriend who lived about 14 miles away. I made it a mile and a half before I got "pulled over" by the cops who laughed themselves silly......

A google search reveals surprisingly little about the "elderly" and dreams about their younger days, (Am I "elderly" now? I'm only 61, dammit, but in order to do that search I had to put that word in!), but I did find at least one interview which you may also find interesting. (Hey! I remembered how to do a hyperlink! How great is that?)

The first portion of that interview is the most interesting to me. Paraphrasing Dr. L R Müller, MD here: "......the elderly dream mostly about their youth and their young adulthood. Meaning that when you are old yourself and cannot do as you want to. So in your dreams, the youth revives. However, this was not confirmed in our dream study of older people, in fact it shows that most people dream about themselves as they are in the awake state......"

Well, okay. I get it. I must be some kind of exception to the rule, eh?

However, my dreams also concern themselves with repressed memories, such as the time when we left my native Germany to emigrate to the US. That was a very traumatic time for me, and I did not want to go. I caused my poor parents so much heartache with my running away and crying, that I was finally forced onto the bus that carried us to the airport. So hell, I don't particluarly want to dream about that, do I?

I don't want to. I have to. I have to because so much of my adult life is predicated on that one incident of not wanting to leave my home country. I was bitter and resentful to my parents for many years. I kept up pen-pal relationships with my German friends and school-mates telling them how unhappy I was. I was ostracized by the American kids. I became, at 11, a virtual recluse. Finally I gave up, acquired the southern American "y'all" drawl, got into some rock groups and finally got "assimilated".

Assimilated yes, but that bitterness never went completely away, and that doesn't "sit well" with my "America, love it or leave it" acquaintances. Nothing I can do about that. They'll just have to deal with it the way I have.

So, I'm sorry there's so little research done on the dreams of the "elderly", and perhaps (if it isn't already) that should be included as a specific question when a history is taken.

It is important to note that I wrote "the elderly" and not "the elderly with dementia". I mean, how is one going to correctly evaluate the results when there are so many dementias and degrees of severity?

So let's reword my suggestion to asking the question of those of us with Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia and see where that takes us.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time.....

And this one is a little "out there" as far as the video, but still appeals to me. See what you think.

It's hot here and there's hardly any mention of rain, so give a thought to our four-legged friends and click below to feed them. Also, if you have room in your home and heart, go to your local shelter and adopt a pet, keeping in mind that even the "elderly" can make loving companions.



The Animal Rescue Site

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What About The Caregivers?

Dear Followers,

First, thanks for all the comments, both about the blog and the article in WoW Insider. Blogger (my blog server) isn't letting me answer you in the comments section and I've sent them an e-mail asking them to fix that, so sorry for the problem.

Unless you've been to Mars, you know about the scaremongering that Obama is doing by saying things like "I can't guarantee Social Security Checks or Military Retirement Pay unless we come to some kind of agreement on the budget."

Hogwash. First of all, he shouldn't have said it, and secondly, there's plenty of waste programs which can be eliminated to cover those of us who depend on that monthly check. I don't think he really wants 55 million of us pissed off enough to march on his House, do you? And that's what it would come to if he pulls those checks! Gray Power to the people!

Okay, to the subject of the caregivers.

I want to link you to a very well-written article by Lisa Poisso regarding that very subject. http://www.northtexaschild.com/showarticle.asp?artid=552 Sorry, but you'll have to cut and paste, blogger also won't let me do a link.

Lisa uses a term called "sandwich caregiver". That doesn't mean serving sandwiches to those of us with a dementia, but someone who is a caregiver and caught between 2 generations. Perhaps there are children in the house with the dementia patient. That is "sandwich caregiving" and it stresses.

My wife is an SC. She takes care of me, a "Baby Boomer" and also her elderly 75 year old brother and 80 year old sister (in their homes). There's also the fact due to her medical training as an RN and respiratory therapist, the entire family calls her for medical advice!

And that is exactly why I try my damndest to be as little trouble to her as I can be. Hell, I don't even want her to cook for me! Before we re-married I was content with microwave meals. And so, I try to take as much of the burden of running our house as I can.

On August 13th, Dondra and I will be at a NAPA (National Alzheimer's Project Act) town hall meeting in Dunwoody Georgia. "The 2010 National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) is a major legislative victory for Alzheimer's. Because of NAPA, the federal government is now undertaking a historic effort to create a comprehensive plan to overcome the Alzheimer's disease crisis.". This will be an opportunity for advocates like myself to make suggestions and give input as to how we can go from "Act to Action". We need a plan, now that the bill has been signed and that's the reason for this meeting.

Also, in your community (or nearby) the Alzheimer's Walk will be happening soon. So contact your local chapter and form a team or walk yourself in support of your loved one with the disease:

A couple of weeks ago I was watching German television streaming on my computer and I saw a program which featured a musical group of young people who call themselves "Three Bottles of Wine". The blending of their voices and the instrumentation (guitar and keyboard) really caught my attention and I asked Florian, Julia and Marco if I could feature the song "Never Forget" on the blog and they agreed:

Their homepage is at http://www.3bottlesofwine.de/. Again, please copy and paste while I try to get blogger off their butts to fix this. The site is in German, but google does a translation of sorts, and there are some other tunes on the site under "Musik" that you can click on to hear. I hope to be able to get them a gig in Atlanta, maybe at Eddie's Attic.

That's it for this time, but I have a special message for "popor on eu. lightbringer": I have your suggestion and will carry it out as soon as I can, and thanks very much for taking the trouble to write it all out.

Please remember to click to feed the animals and do it every day.

The Animal Rescue Site



Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Weekly Counselling Sessions With Suzette

As I mentioned in a previous entry, my counsellor Suzette now comes to visit us on a weekly basis, which I think is totally wonderful!

She explained that our chapter of the Alzheimer's Association was recently given a grant (A grant! We were given MONEY! Now give us some MORE, please! Just call me "Oliver".) to visit each of her patients in their homes.

This began 3 weeks ago and Dondra and I look forward to each visit, as we share with her any new symptoms, or worsening of the present ones I am having.

I have had counselling before, but it was for depression and possible borderline (which has since been ruled out), and those sessions really weren't all that productive.

Now that dementia has been added to the "mix", I can at least work on what's left of my cognitive processes as well as the depression accompanying this disease.

Without boring you too much, during her hour with us, Suzette spends time listening and providing tools we can both use to deal with what's going on with me.

As to the format, I suggested she speak to us separately so that neither I nor Dondra might be reluctant to mention something for fear of hurting the other's feelings, and that's what we 're doing. I have no idea what's being told Suzette and neither does Dondra. (Is that sentence understandable?)

No idea how long we'll be able to do the weekly sessions, but I can already tell they're helping and I feel like some doors are being opened that heretofore have been closed.

One of the things we'll be working on is my worsening ability to "follow through" with plans and/or ideas.

For instance, I may have the idea of playing my guitar for a little while, so I stand up and head to the music room, but on the way there I will have already changed my mind. And that isn't just with the guitar, it's with most everything in my daily life!

Maybe I'll decide to go and give my wife a hug and tell her I love her, but the very next moment, I will already have decided to wait.

This, coupled with my memory loss is extremely frustrating to me, so it will be one of the things we'll prioritize.

I want to also reiterate that I will still be seeing my neuro-psychiatrist every month, so that both he and Suzette can be in the loop regarding my care.

Up to now, we've been worrying about medicine cost and the cost of doctor visits, but Medicare begins for me in September, so unless President Obama mucks it up, as he's trying to do with Social Security, my care should be a lot less expensive.

Due to the interview I just did with WoW Insider, we have two more followers of the blog. One of them called it a "rollercoaster", and I have no cause to argue. My life really has been that way. The interview has also gained me some World of Warcraft in-game friends, so it will be much more fun to play. The game is and has been great therapy for me in that it helps with my cognitive skills, and I appreciate Blizzard's (the company which runs WoW)interest in me.

So that's it for this time. Thanks as always for reading and please remember the animals. Support your local shelter, adopt if you can and spay/neuter if you haven't already. Also, don't forget to click the button below to feed a dog or cat, thanks!

The Animal Rescue Site

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Heh! Shock y'all just a tad, there?

I just meant that she married me twice, not that she's, you know...;-). I am very, very lucky and that old saying is 100% correct: It is sweeter the second time around. (See? I can do "romantic" when I have to! :-))

Dondra is a special lady and everyone who meets her for the first time is charmed by her easy manner and personality. That she's very beautiful is icing on the cake!

Her birthday is Monday and if y'all have time, I know she'd appreciate having a card or a short e-mail from you, and thanks!

In other "me" news: I am about to be featured in a magazine called WoW Insider. "WoW" stands for World of Warcraft and is an online game (mmorpg) that I play and which I use to keep my short-term memory intact as much as possible. I play a character called "Wolkenlaufre" ("Cloudwalker") who is a level 85 warrior and who does various quests for gold and reputation. Here he is in his latest armor:

The blue writing indicates my name and the name of my guild: "Knights Who Say Ja". (sharp readers may notice the reference to a famous Monty Python flick).

This interview was suggested by my very good friend Megan from the Straight Dope where I post on a regular basis. She and many others in the "WoW Thread" have been very helpful to me with the game and I give them all the credit for getting me to level 85! Thanks, y'all and thanks, Megan!

Many of you know of my love for the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, and since I mentioned him in a previous entry, I want to now tell you that I have read pretty much all I could find biographical about him and would like to write a speculative article exploring the fact he might have had Alzheimer's.

It has been tough going for me, because much of what was written was sensational and mostly untrue, including the book written by Anton Schindler who was Beethoven's companion and secretary during his latter days. I have had to sift through the material itself as well as do searches on the internet to discover what little I could, but from reading his letters, I notice that he was most lucid even at the end, with the written word, and he wrote a lot of letters! When one realizes that because of his deafness he kept himself very much in seclusion, it is easy to see why he wrote and sketched (his symphonies) so much. His deafness was his bane. After all what a terrible thing for a gifted composer to lose his hearing, right?

That's all I want to say at the moment other than to tell you I am keeping busy with my own music, writing and my "daily chores" here at home. There is now also a "Handicapped" tag on Dondra's new HHR, and that is something both of us find a little tough getting used to.

Thanks and happy birthday to my sweetie!


I tried to learn this for you, honey, but it occurred to me too late. So sorry, Mac will have to fill in for me.

Please remember to click to feed the 4-footers!

The Animal Rescue Site