Saturday, July 14, 2012

Enough Wallowing

Lately I have found myself sort of wallowing.  There have been some things happening that have made me unhappy:

My grandparents were evaluated for home health care and we learned they are in much worse shape than any of us realized.  They think it’s 2010.  They also think it’s late September.  The fact that it’s 100 degrees and they’ve been watching tryouts for the 2012 Summer Olympics just doesn’t compute with them.   There are others things, too, but mostly along the same lines.

We are being told by their healthcare providers not to correct them because it can scare, upset, or somehow agitate them.  Home health care has been started, and my aunt is coming in from out of town.  Hard decisions are going to be made in the next few weeks.

I realize there is nothing I can do to change my grandparents’ dementia.   I don’t have a magic wand.  We can’t turn back time and we’re told it’s not going to get any better at this point.  I am resigned to the fact that there will likely come a time when they don’t know who I am. 

That being said, I am in a position to help the Alzheimer’s Association.  The semi-local Walk to End Alzheimer’s is being held on October 20 this year.  It’s between where I live and where my parents live.  I talked to my mom about it yesterday, and we are going to walk.  I also asked my friend Lorie about joining us and she said yes.  I was feeling optimistic and ambitious, so I created a friends/family team for us.  Right now we’re a team of three and they suggest at least ten for a team, but my mom and I are both planning to ask other friends to join us.

I chose Making Memories as our team name.  I think we’ll have a good time and make some lasting memories during the walk, and I’m hopeful that it will contribute toward making memories last for people who benefit from the Alzheimer’s Association’s work.  I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m nervous and excited at the same time. 

It hit me (again) recently how devastating cancer is.  This has come from a few different directions.  There are some people on my husband’s job battling cancer and there have been some fund-raising efforts to assist them with the expenses insurance doesn’t cover.  We’re not especially close to any of these people, but it’s terrible to hear about, and it has brought back some bad memories. 

One of my husband’s co-workers, a man he very much respected and admired died of cancer a few years ago.  I think the fact that other people on his job are now dealing with cancer has brought that loss back to their minds.

My best friend’s mom also died of cancer almost six years ago.  She was young, only 47.  I think about the things she has missed and will miss in Crystal and her brothers’ lives, and it seems so unfair.  I also realized recently that it seems to have made Crystal very afraid of losing other family members.  One of her brothers is in the military and he’s currently on a base on the other side of the country.  Crystal worries so much about him that it makes me really sad for her.   I think it’s compounded by the fact that after her mom, this brother is the closest family member to her.

Once again, I don’t have a cure.  I can’t make cancer and its devastating effect on people’s lives go away.  I can, however, do what I can to support the American Cancer Society, and I can give blood.  Many of the donor stories on theRed Cross website involve donating blood because the donor has a family member who is alive due to donated blood, or was given extra time because a family member was able to be treated with donated blood.  The stories are very touching. 

I’m O Positive, so I’m told I should give blood as often as I’m able.  I’m sorry to say it has been a while since I’ve given blood.  There’s apparently a real shortage right now, so I’ve made an appointment.  There’s a blood drive right across the street from my office building on Monday, so I have an appointment to give blood during lunch.  My hemoglobin isn’t always high enough to donate, so I’m trying to eat iron rich foods now so I won’t get deferred on Monday.  There’s also a local blood drive on Wednesday, so that’s my back-up plan if my hemoglobin isn’t high enough on Monday.

It seems that animal rescue efforts have been failing lately.  Lennox was euthanized and there have been some dogs and cats networked lately that weren’t able to be saved.  There have also been some that were in really bad shape and just didn’t make it.  It felt like we’ve failed them.

But then there was an email from Gino’s foster mom.  He has been re-named Journey, which seems very appropriate.  He is doing very well; the sores on his body have healed, he’s no longer covered in fleas and ticks, and he gets along extremely well with children and other dogs.  She said he’s very affectionate, and extremely well-behaved.  She also says there are multiple qualified adopters applying to adopt him, so he will be in his forever home soon. 

As transport drivers we very rarely hear much about the dogs we drive after the transport ends.  We just make sure to work with reputable rescues and coordinators.  And the efforts are very quickly moved on to the next one, so it was doubly wonderful to hear how Journey’s journey is going.

I also received a belated birthday check for the local no-kill shelter from a friend.  I had asked for donations for them for my 30th birthday.  This friend wasn’t able to attend the cookout we had, but still wanted to donate to the shelter.  That donation brought the total to over $300.00. 

So, while not all of the adoptable animals are being saved, many are.  I can’t save them all, but I can keep transporting, donating, and anything else that may come along that I’m able to do. 

As I said, enough wallowing.  


  1. So sorry to read of all the sad things on your mind lately. Life can be so difficult at times. God bless your grandparents. My folks are 89 an 92 and are getting worse in the dementia dept. too. If we live long enough, we all experience it. The brain declines just like the rest of us. I would urge to you enjoy the good times, and try to laugh. That has been helpful for us. this post of mine might encourage you:

    I write about my folks often. It is a difficult phase of life to watch, but we will all get there some day. You are sweet to do the Alzheimer's walk, everything helps. It's wonderful to read that you are concerned for your grandparents, I'm sure you are a blessing to them. :-)

  2. I'm sorry about your grandparents, but I'm glad they are getting evaluated and perhaps getting the help that they need to remain safe; so many elderly sometimes slip through the cracks and don't get that help until its too late, like after they fall, break a hip and then are in the hospital where people realize there are memory problems, etc. I have to agree about not correcting where they memory might be; hubby's mom had dementia and her husband was always correcting her when she said something about where she was, etc., that was a bit confusing. The few times I saw her, I just was wherever she was at. If she was where they used to live in Kentucky, I was there too listening to her stories, etc. I do hope I pass before I lose my memory, yet I have typed reports of people in their 90s still sharp as a tack.....

    good for you for being proactive and doing the Alzheimer's walk; I like the name of your team too!

    Gosh, so understand about your feelings about cancer too. A dear lady from church died this past January from ovarian cancer; she was so vibrant, so full of life, so young (mid 40s). It was so sad to see the devastating effects of it over the months she tried to fight it. Its just awful, especially when it hits little ones.

    Doing what we can to help others and our furry friends is the best we can do to combat a lot of the sad, hard things our world has to offer, so I commend you for doing your part in what you do with animal transporting, etc.


  3. Oh honey. When it rains, it pours, huh. It's so hard when we feel responsible or out of control on these issues. One thing I thought I would mention. Have you heard of the benefits of coconut oil with dementia and Alzheimer's? I saw a special on it, and while coconut oil is proving to be great for darn near everything, they were able to link it directly to helping with Alzheimer's. It's worth a try if you're interested.

    It's so nice that you have a heart for helping others and that you do all you can for everyone - from furry to friends! For his birthday a couple years ago, Big was not doing well behaviorally, so we took donations for the SPCA for his birthday instead of gifts, and brought them there and took pics of him donating the stuff. I tell you, that made him more proud and happy than any gift. It's hard to convince them to do it each year, but I still try. I give people the option of bringing whatever the SPCA needs most at the time (or anything) or a gift for the kids. Then we go together to give the donations so they can see how good it feels.

    It seems you had some of this in your life growing up and it worked to keep you a giving spirit! I'm sure your kindnesses will not go unnoticed!


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