Friday, September 19, 2014

Today Is World Alzheimer's Day

Well, today is world Alzheimer's day. World Alzheimer's Day is, September 21st each year. It's a day when Alzheimer's organizations around the globe concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's.

Mom was up at the crack of dawn today. Not really, but she was up at 7:00, all on her own. She had coffee and breakfast then made a trip to the bathroom. When she came back from the bathroom I think she had forgotten that she had already eaten and wanted breakfast. Instead of trying to explain it to her and getting in an argument, I just went a head and made her more, but she went back to bed after only eating one bite. Figures. 

I put her first cup of coffee in one of her red cups, but some how she found the other cup that's a deeper red and changed cups. She won't drink coffee from a cup that isn't red. Oh well, it keeps her happy and it only takes a second to wash out a cup. 

I'm sure that since she was up so early, she will be up again in a bit, so I had better go. 

Have a great day! 

Oh, by the way, today is a better day. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

As I Walk Through The Valley

Today was a good day for Mom. The garbage truck woke her at 6:30, she thought someone was knocking on her door. She was hungry but went back to sleep and didn't get up until 10:00. I made her coffee and a good breakfast, which again she ate it all today. After breakfast she stayed up another hour reading the paper.

Mom slept through the afternoon until almost 5:00. She got up just as Paula was getting home and needed help carrying things in. It was a bit of a train wreck, but we managed and got dinner ready for her. She again ate everything on her plate and read the paper for about an hour before heading back to bed.

Like I said it was a pretty good day for Mom. Actually it's been a pretty good week for her.

The problem today wasn't Mom, it was me. Even though I've had a very productive week, the isolation of this job hit me hard. I haven't left the house during the day all week and it just got to me today.

I pushed through it and posted four other blog posts throughout the day and worked on a plan for next week. That means the day wasn't a total loss. My other blogs are doing great, I'm over 6000 monthly page views on CheapAshCigar.com so that means I'm on track to break 10,000 by years end. That's a good thing and I should be pretty happy right now, but I'm still feeling the effects of the isolation.

Well tomorrow is another day and Paula is working from home so it will be a better day for me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Things We Do, What's Behind Door Number One

Broken Coffee Cup
Days like today all I can do is shake my head and laugh.

Mom was up all on her own before 8:00 again today. That's two days in a row which is great.

She's hungry so I make her a two egg omelet with one and a half strips of bacon (chopped up finely) and a slice of cheese inside, some watermelon plus a slice of toast. Oh, and we can't forget the coffee. That's the most important part of the story (but you see the picture so you think you know where this is going, don't you?).

To step back a bit, Mom ate three solid meals yesterday. When she finished her breakfast today I asked her just like I do every day if she was still hungry. Today she said "yes." That about knocked me over. So I grabbed the sausage out of the fridge and cooked her up pretty good sized patty and added more watermelon to her plate. After that, I headed outside for a smoke.

When I came back in Mom was standing at the sink messing with something. When she saw me she scurried back to the table and picked up the paper. I asked her if she wanted more coffee and she said she did.

Now the real story starts. OK, Mom wanted more coffee but her cup wasn't on the table.

By the way, I haven't mentioned this before, but she will only drink coffee from a red cup. If you give her coffee in another cup as soon as you turn your back she is looking for her red cup and will pour it from one cup to the other.

Since her cup wasn't on the table the hunt was on. I checked the kitchen, bathroom, living room, our bedroom and then her room for the second time. No red cup. I knew something was up, but I grabbed another red cup (we have three), from the cupboard and poured her coffee.

She had her coffee and was happy so I continued the hunt for "red cup-tober". As I walked into the living room, I noticed something under the coffee table. When I got closer I could see it was a broken cup handle. Well half the mystery was solved. She broke the cup, but where did she put it? I went back into the kitchen and checked the garbage, then the recycle bin. No cup. Then I noticed the plastic storage lid on the counter (the one in the picture). I went over to pick it up and put it back in the bin, but it was full of water. Since I threw that lid in the bin last night, I knew she had dug it out. OK, that must be where the cup is and it was. It wasn't on top like you would think, but it was buried almost to the bottom. I guess she wanted to hide the fact that she's broken a cup so she didn't get in trouble.

This entire story shows just how child-like the Alzheimer's mind can be. At least Mom didn't cut herself picking it up.

The plastic lid. How does this come into play? Well it was sitting on the counter full of water. I'm pretty sure she got side tracked trying to stash the broken cup and saw a plastic lid that just couldn't get thrown away.  My guess is she was trying to soak the label off so she could save it. When Kel cleaned out Mom's house she had plastic food containers stashed every where. Not good storage containers either. Most were used microwave food trays she saved. She had saved them by the truck load.

Well have a great day! I will!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Up With The Sun or Yeah Here Come The Rooster

Up With The Sun or Yeah Here Come The Rooster
Today was a good day. Mom was up and running at 7:30 AM, all on her own. Well, she wasn't really running, it was more of a slow shuffle, but you get the drift.

I made her coffee and breakfast, which she ate well--I did have to remind her once to eat since she was engrossed in the daily paper. But never the less she ate and ate well. She was up about ninety minutes before heading back to bed.

At noon, she was up and hungry. Again it was all on her own. She ate well, and read the paper again for another hour. On the way back to bed she stopped by an old desk in the hall. Today she recognized that it was hers. It's a small thing, but it's the first time in several weeks she's said anything about her stuff.

Then to top off the day, as we were cooking dinner, Mom was up again. All on her own. She ate with the family and she ate well again. We had a dinner conversation with the kids about how the internet really works and Mom didn't understand anything we were talking about but she handled it well.

It was a good day for Mom and that makes me happy!



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Like A Pack Of Wild Hyena

I've been out of the house quite a bit the last two attending a cigar convention so Paula has been taking care of Mom. It was a much needed break from the day-to-day stress.

Anyway, I woke Mom up for breakfast today and it surprised me how fast she was up. Some days it takes her forty-five minutes to reach the table because she forgets what she's doing and needs a couple reminders. Once she started eating it also surprised me how fast she ate. Instead of picking for an hour and leaving haif uneaten, she ate it all in record time. I tried getting her to eat more but she wouldn't.

Tonight at dinner she was the same way. Quick to rise and then ate dinner quickly--she nearly finished before I did--and once again she cleaned her plate.

I'm glad to see her appetite is getting better again. Seeing her eat well really cuts down on the daily worries.

Plus the best part of today was I didn't need to find her teeth! That's always a good day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me?

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me?
Happy. The word today is happy! Yesterday started out well but by dinner time Mom wasn't doing very well.

The day nearly ended with a trip to the hospital, but finally she finished 75% of her dinner and she was a bit more coherent. I still worried about her most of the night.

But today, it's a new day. Mom was up at 8:00 AM, she looked bright, there was more color to her face and she could carry on a conversation--in her own way.

She finished her breakfast, including a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I had to threaten her with a trip to the hospital if she didn't drink the water and it worked.

Only time will tell how the day turns out, but I have a feeling it will be a good day.

It still surprises me just how fast Mom can change. She can be fine at breakfast, in outer space at lunch and back to her evil self for dinner. It's not the just the moods, it's the physical states throughout the day that really stump me. Perhaps it has to do with how rested she is at any given moment. I just don't know!

Well, I keep you posted if things change. Have a great day!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Like A Kite Floating On The Breeze

If you're reading this daily, you know yesterday started out kind of rough. Well once Mom finished her meager breakfast, she headed straight back to bed.

Since she was having a bad day, I just let her sleep. She woke up hungry a bit before 5:00 last night. This time she looked better and acted like a totally different person. She wolfed down a good dinner and sat up reading the paper for a while.

I'm guessing that instead of slipping another gear yesterday, Mom was just tired. That makes me happy.

The day really did end like a kite floating peacefully in the wind...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dizzy, I'm So Dizzy My Head Is Spinning

Dizzy, I'm So Dizzy My Head Is Spinning
Today is one of those bad days for Mom.

Yesterday she was up on her own several times and pretty clear headed. Today, I woke her at 10:00. Her voice was rickety, her arm was shaking and she had no teeth. I guess the teeth issue is a pretty good indicator on how she's going to do on any given day.

No teeth, foggy mind. Perhaps it's how deep she is sleeping, perhaps it's another clog slipping. I'll only figure it out as the day goes on. She's having trouble eating today, but so far she's had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. I can only wonder how much longer she will be able to feed herself.

Here's another issue that's coming out. For the past couple of weeks Mom leaves the water running in the bathroom sink almost every time she goes in there. Today, and I caught it by chance, she left he water running full blast and the sink basin was nearly full and running out the overflow hole. Luckily that was keeping up or it would have been a real mess. It's just one more thing to worry about and keep me up at night. She's still making one to two bathroom trips nightly, so now I have to check each time.

Fun, fun, fun, but sad at the same time. Seeing my Mom slip away, sometimes on a daily basis, is tough at times.

Well, that's enough for now. Have a great day!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like A Hawk Poised To Attack...

...Mom was waiting for me at dinner.

Last night Paula and I were headed to the Spokane Interstate Fair for a night out of the house. So when Mom got up around 4:30 in the afternoon I made her dinner.

Dinner was grilled chicken, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, skinned and cut up, apple sliced and watermelon. I thought it was a fair dinner.

Before Paula and I left, I wanted to make sure Mom was doing OK. I went into the dining room and asked her, "how's your dinner?"

 What I received as a reply wasn't exactly what I was expecting. In a snotty, angry tone of voice Mom  harshly said, "I suppose it's OK".

I merely replied, "OK, that's good", walked away and we headed out leaving her for the girls to deal with.

It probably wasn't the food she disliked. Most days when she gets up in the afternoon she thinks it's morning again and she wants breakfast. There are many times at dinner when we are all sitting around the table she will comment that it's not very good breakfast.

Perhaps today I'll try giving her breakfast for lunch too and see how that goes.

By the way, the fair was pretty fun last night. Ate some good food, ate some OK food and Paula even talked me into going on a ride. That's no small task. I don't do rides!

Until we meet again, have a great day!


Monday, September 8, 2014

One For The Money, Two For The Show, Three To Get Read And Four... Huh, Who's In My House?

I'm baffled nearly every day. Why? Let me tell you.

One of Mom's friends from Colville called today, actually it was the friend that had been helping with things before Mom moved here.

I talked to her for a bit first, and she still doesn't understand what's happening with Mom. Every time Mom talk's to a friend it's the same thing. Who's in my house? Do I have any money? Where does my money come from? I don't think I have a car any more. Why did they--not Dan--sell my car? Of course no one and I mean no one, other than us will tell her that she has Alzhemier's and can't drive. That's my job, it's always my job. This friend sent her a puzzle last week, that I didn't give to Mom and then asks today if she received it. I didn't give it to her, she can't do a puzzle, she reads the newspaper upside down some days, she can't do a puzzle. Well maybe a child's puzzle would work. But things like that create a nightmarish round of questions for me. Ugh!

No one seems to understand the age regression of the mind that comes with Alzheimer's.

OK, enough of that. On the dinner front, Mom still can't figure out who Kel is and glares at her most of the way through dinner. I told Paula the other day that I bet Mom doesn't even remember her own name. I haven't tested that theory, but I will.

I know this hasn't been a productive post, I just needed to vent.

As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to comment, and please share this.

Oh, one final thing. I pointed a domain name at this blog today. Now you can visit using http://alz.dangumm.com


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Alzheimer's In The News.

Here are two recent articles on Alzheimer's and age. They are both worth taking a look at.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/with-women-perhaps-facing-higher-risk-of-alzheimers-female-scientists-unite/2014/09/03/2aa0506c-28ab-11e4-8593-da634b334390_story.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/living-to-90-and-beyond/

One Is The Loneliest Number

The Road Traveled Alone.

I was going to write this last night, but just didn't get around to it. One is the loneliest number, and there's a reason I say that.

It's after 7:00 pm on a Saturday night and here I sit, alone. Alone with my thoughts, my smoke and my coffee. Everyone else in the family is out having fun and here I am standing watch, again.

It really is the solitude that gets to me and it's every day.

Something else notable happened last night, I received this tweet from @dadmesa: "@DanGumm I am with you dan my wife at 61 has Alzheimer's and in a memory care home . She is part of the 200,000 with early on set".

I read this and tweeted back, "thanks." before the message really sank in. Once I realized what the message really said, I tweeted: "that's really to bad. I feel for you"! I really do feel bad about this, I can't imagine what life would be like if that happened.

That's why I think Alzheimer's is such a devastating disease.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Alzheimer's and ALS, What You Should Know

First, let me start by saying this; ALS is a terible disease and I know it needs more funding. The "Ice Bucket Chalange" has raised millions for ALS research and that's a great thing. However, it saddens me and it even angers me that so much attention has been given to ALS and not Alzheimer's.





Let me explain my point of view on this.

According to ALSA.ORG, about 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year, and currently there  may be 30,000 Americans living with the disease.

I think that statistic is terrible and something should be done to find a cure, but let's compare ALS to Alzheimer's.

According to ALZ.ORG, there are currently 5,000,000, yes five million, Americans living with Alzheimer's right now and Alzheimer's is the number six cause of death in the U.S.

Now, are those scary numbers or what?

Alzheimer's is personal to me and my family, my mother is dying from Alzheimer's. Not only that, she is the fifth person I have personally known to get this horrible disease. Mom's brother is three years her junior and he has Alzheimer's too. However, his part of the family is in denial and only think it's "old timers". But he's right where Mom was three years ago, perhaps even worse. There is a storm coming for them they are not prepared for.

Also according to ALZ.ORG, "In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion". I am one of these people, not only am I unpaid, I pay for this with my blood, sweet and tears on a daily basis.

I'm not trying to slam on ALS or the ice-bucket challenge, but it really bothers me that this type of attention has not been paid to a disease that affects ten times more people.

As a final note, our family will donate to ALS and Alzheimer's this year.

If you have any thoughts on this please feel free to share!




Friday, September 5, 2014

What is it like you might ask?

Me
I don't talk about this much, but today, I think it's time.

What's it like being a care-giver? Well it looks easy and for the most part labor-wise it is easy. Although, I have been told more than once I have it made.

Oh really, I have it made. Yes, I sit around all day taking care of Mom, smoking cigars, drinking coffee and pounding out review after review. On average I make two posts a day, every day. Well actually some days it's four or five, some days none.

My cigar and coffee blog, cheapashcigar.com is getting over 5000 page views per month now and that's a pretty good feeling.

But in reality, this is a pretty tough job.

Like I said, it's not the work or the decline in Mom's health--I know she is getting better care here than in a home, and she has lived a full life, I understand and can deal with that. It's the stress and the solitude. Stress? Yes there is stress and lots of it. Mom is 87, soon to be 88 and every day when I go to wake her up, I wonder what I will find.

Mom had a good day yesterday so I'm not to worried today, plus she was up at 6:00 AM for a bathroom trip. But there are those days when she wasn't feeling well the day before that it actually takes a conscious effort to check on her because I'm unsure of what Bob Barker (on Monty Hall or Drew Carey), has for me behind door number 1.

OK, well I got off track, it's easy for me to do, I have so much running through my head all the time.

The real problem is the daily solitude, the lack of human interaction. Most of the day it's just me, my coffee, my cigars and my laptop.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing and reviewing, but it gets tough sitting here alone every day. Yes Mom is here, but it been months since she's been able to carry on an actual conversation. I make all these blog posts and do my best to promote all these products yet no interaction comes back. No questions, no comments, and lately, no real thanks.

On a good week I might get away twice to escape, but normally it's only once. One trip to stop by Axel's Pawn shop to see the gang and one trip to Cigar Train. Pretty exciting right? The life to envy right? Well that's up to you to decide I guess.

I've even tried approaching a few companies about taking over their social media, companies that could really use the help, with no results so far. Even taking over one account would give me a bit more purpose.

Well, that's enough for today. Writing these last two posts have cost me well over 100 page views on my review site and keeping traffic up there is my main focus now days.

Until we meet again! Have a great day my friends!


Will The Real Mom Please Stand Up?

Although the day started off fairly calm, the it ended with a real bang.

Again, Mom got up on her own. I like those days. So like normal, I made her a cup of coffee and then breakfast while she read the daily paper. So far so good! When she had finished eating I took her plate and she headed off to her room. So I thought anyway. She actually made a loop around the living room and came back to the table thanking me for making her a great breakfast. Even though I had been calling her Mom all morning, I could tell by the expression on her face she had no idea who I was. She turned around, went to her rocking chair and picked up the paper again. I grabbed her more coffee and told Kel I had to run some errands then headed out.

When I finally got back, Kel said she had stayed up another half hour or so after I left. That's a good thing. It seems now that the days are getting shorter, Mom is up more. That's a good thing, but I don't understand why it's happening.

The day progressed in a normal uneventful way, that is until dinner. At dinner the Mom of old decided to show up. Don't get me wrong, she was still dazed and confused, but the mean streak I had grown up with came poring out.

We  had Mom's plate all ready for her, but we were all eating before she finally made the thirty minute trek from her room, to the bathroom, to the table. She sat down, looked at her food then gazed around the table with angry look on her face.

I'm not sure if it was Paula or me that asked her what was wrong, but instead of replying directly, she pointed her crooked and gnarly witch-like index finger at Kel and said with an angry, shaky voice, "Your name"?

Paula was quicker than I was with a reply and said, "That's Kelsey, your granddaughter".

Well that earned Paula the "you are to stupid to be alive look"', from Mom that's normally reserved for me and I had to hold back a laugh.

Mom didn't really reply, she just kept glaring at Kel, muttering "Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey". After a few seconds she said "don't I have a Kelsey at home"?

Well I had to do it. This time I told Mom there is only one Kelsey, her granddaughter. OK, that got me the normal, you are to stupid to be alive look from Mom that I love so much. After a few more minutes of banter back and forth, I think she finally figured it out, or forgot what we had been discussing because the conversation ended. That is, for now.

After Paula, Kenna and Kel had all finished eating and left the table, Mom asked me, "who was the woman sitting across from me"?

I replied, "that's Makenna, Paula's daughter".

With another glazed over look, Mom said, "Paula"?

I explained who Paula was the best I could and then left the table shaking my head and chuckling under my breath.

Even though the day started out well, the Mom of old showed up in the end. Mom's behavior doesn't bother me anymore, but I'm sure it gets to Paula a little, and even though they don't show it, I know it gets to all the kids.

Like always, please feel free to comment and share this post! If you, the readers, have any questions, please ask. I will do my best to supply an answer.








Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Like A Whirlwind Time Slips Away

Time Slips Away
Even with the best intentions, like a whirlwind, time slips away.

Every night before bed I tell myself, "tomorrow I will write a post for every blog". But in all honesty, no matter how hard I try, it rarely happens because life just gets in the way.

Yesterday, run errands, three hours gone. Poof! Today, fix the car broken down fifteen miles from home, five hours gone. Poof! What will happen tomorrow? Perhaps a relapse of the cold and flu I'm finally getting over? Five days gone. Poof!

Oh well, I'll just keep pushing through it and try getting more published on this blog. Put on your seat belt, it should be a good ride!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

Yesterday,

...oh wait, that word, yesterday. Every time I see or hear that word now, Metallica playing a hard rock cover of the old Beatles tune comes to mind. I can actually picture James Hetflield belting out the lyrics.  "YESTERDAY. . . . ALL MY TROUBLES SEEMED SO FAR AWAY. . . . .

My crazy, crazy, mind.

OK, back to our story...

Yesterday, Mom had a pretty good day. She woke up on her own, not only for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner too. She even sat in her rocking chair for an hour or so reading the paper after dinner.

That makes up for the day before and another one-hour search for the missing teeth. She'd lost (hidden) her bottom plate again. We tore her room apart looking for them with no luck, but an hour later she had them so I know they were hidden.

And then today. When I got home from repairing the car, I woke her up and asked if she were hungry. She said she was. Forty minutes go by and she finally gets to the table. Fully dressed today too I must add. I asked her if that was enough for breakfast and she looked at me like I was to stupid to live and said, "BREAKFAST, but it's 11;30!"

"Well Mom, it's the first time you've been out of bed today".

And with the same snarly attitude she says, "No, that can't be true".

I just give up and walk away now without giving her the satisfaction of an argument.

In a nutshell that's the past few days in my life.

Writing this blog post didn't kill any trees, but it probably did cost me around 100 page views on my cigar and coffee blog, http://cheapashcigar.com. So do me a favor, comment on this post, share this post, print it out and mail it to everyone you know! Just kidding on the last one, don't mail this to everyone you know, but please comment and share.

See you all next time! Have a great day!