Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Like Children

The other day as I was transporting my daughter and granddaughters somewhere, we noticed little three-year-old Mae singing in the back seat. She was repeating her song over and over. My daughter commented that she was like her grandpa. (Dean, as I've indicated earlier, is a master song-repeater, of the "broken record" variety, getting stuck on the same song for days and weeks.)

I corrected her in saying that she wasn't copying Grandpa, but Grandpa was the one who was copying his granddaughter, and we both got a chuckle. Yes, repetitious singing is normal for a three-year-old, but it wasn't normal...well, you know the rest. There's nothing "normal" about dementia, as those who've lived with it can attest. Keeping your sense of humor is one of the ways you can help keep your sanity though.

I have found it humorous that one of Dean's latest songs he's been humming and singing is "Rock-a-bye Baby". Usually his songs are ones he's heard lately, so I couldn't understand how this one got into his brain. It was so different from the hymns he usually gets attached to.

After talking about Grandpa copying Julia though, it dawned on me that he may have heard the girls singing "Rock-a-bye Baby" to their dolls, or maybe he started singing it with them as they were trying to rock their doll-babies to sleep. So, this would confirm the copying-his-granddaughter theory.

Jesus told us to be as little children, loving and trusting. Dean is reminding us of that every day.

Dean holding one of his granddaughters a few years back.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Cover

A friend and I were chatting about someone we both knew, and one of us mentioned that she now has dementia. Due to our mutual experience with this, we both said we recognized it awhile back. Repeating yourself is often the first sign that gets noticed by friends and loved ones.

Then as I was leaving the house yesterday to run some errands, I asked Dean's home health nurse, who happened to be there, to remind Dean where I was going, when he got through with his shower. I laughingly told her that between repeating myself for his poor hearing and for his memory deficits, I was doubly cursed with repeating things.

It dawned on me as I got into the car that I was certainly repeating things more than most people. And with a chuckle to myself, I wondered how my family will know that I might be starting to have dementia. That's alright though; it will be nice to have a "cover" for my old age forgetfulness. I can blame it on being a caregiver!

There's another cover that I'm using a lot too. It's the cover found in Psalm 91:4. "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." Yes, God is my refuge, my fortress, and my cover. I guess I can blame that on being a Christian.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Plan

I'm getting excited thinking about getting a bathroom makeover. Thanks to Dean's Medicaid waiver we qualify for more accessible facilities. Our current bathtub requires a 20-inch leg lift from the floor just to step into it. The shower chair and grab bars just aren't enough these days for safe bathing.

Plus they are going to give us a wider door and entryway for the bathroom that will accommodate a wheelchair should one be necessary at some point in the future. This may sound like an expensive project, but it really beats the cost of a nursing home; so I'm sure it will save in the long run, even if it only means one of us can stay home one or two months longer than we would without it.

Taking care of our needs both now and in the future reminds me of how God takes care of us. He looks out for us in the here and now, which is where we stay focused most of the time. But He also has our care mapped out for us in the future. I'm trying very hard to trust in His time schedule, because I know there's no way I could improve on it. God's clockwork is impeccable. The longer I live, the clearer it is to me that God is as powerful and omniscient as we've been told.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The past few days I've had the pleasure of having our oldest granddaughter stay with us. She and Grandpa get along somewhat better than the youngest one, who's three, right now. They don't butt heads quite as much, and I'll let you come to your own conclusions on that one.

Nevertheless, having a five-year-old around this week brought out my old schoolteacher vibes, and I was anxious to test her reading powers. Their weekly library visits seem to be making them quite the literary types already. But I was curious about whether the oldest was ready for any sight words.

My sister, a substitute teacher, told me about an idea for sight words that seemed quite effective. A teacher put their sight words on the doorpost of the classroom and each student had to say them as they came in the room.

So we tried that method here at home and had some surprising results. The words we chose were put on the bathroom and kitchen doors, and all family members had to remember to say them before entering these rooms. Lorraine and I both thought Grandpa would need to be reminded the most to say the "passwords" because he's so forgetful; but we were amazed that he almost always remembered to say them. And not only that, he reminded us to say them more than we had to remind him!

This activity reminded me of a similar one that the children of Israel were instructed to perform during the Passover. They were told to put blood on the doorposts of their homes, as a reminder of the blood that was sacrificed for them to be freed from the bonds of slavery. The "password" for them was special indeed, and we are still told to be mindful of Christ's blood that was shed for us, which frees us from sin.

What a teaching tool that must have been for the Israelites, and still is for every follower of God today. It should be on the mind of every Christian as they participate in the Communion Service, instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper.

We all need a reminder now and then.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Toddler Behavior

This morning Dean was a bit of a "behavior problem child" (my new term for it, after observing the actions of my just-turned-three granddaughter). He flared up, just like a toddler would, when at one point he didn't get his way about something, and then resorted to pushing my buttons repeatedly in childish retaliation.

In my earlier days of parenthood, I probably wouldn't have been so patient. But I guess I'm just more mature now and have had LOTS of patience practice, so I was able to just ignore his silly antics. (Just in case you're wondering, he kept rolling his window all the way down while we were on the interstate, hoping I'd complain about all the hot air blowing on us.)

He apologized for it later in the day, for which I am fortunate. Not all caregivers are blessed with someone still capable of heartfelt remorse. It's nice to have his spoken requests for forgiveness, along with his often-expressed words of love. It makes caregiving so much more bearable.

I can understand God's patience a little better through this. He keeps His merciful forgiveness available to all who simply ask for it. And besides, He's had eons of patience practice under His belt. It pleasures Him to receive our repentance, but I'm sure it also pains Him immensely when we fail to reciprocate His love by neglecting to express our love and praise to Him for all He's done.

I still made him a special Fourth of July meal. Feeding him is my number one way to keep him happy and well-behaved!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Waiting for Answers

It seems impossible that there is nothing much going on with Dean right now to report, but the truth is things are floating along pretty well, with just a few bumps in the road, but no major detours...

Until his chore provider found out she will need doctor's approval to continue his exercise regimen. He's been responding so well to her program, increasing and adding sets right and left, and getting stronger and healthier from it, I'm sure. He just is not capable of exercising without close supervision. He needs a personal trainer, and that's just the role she's been for him. But we have had to halt the exercise until this little piece of red tape gets tied up. Hopefully, not cut.

I'm also wondering about the need for reducing one of his medications again, due to some side effects. This possibility always has me on edge. Will he need something else to replace it? Or will he be able to function alright without it? Will we be able to exist with him without it or something else? Our home will seem like a pharmaceutical laboratory for awhile until these questions are answered.

This state of mental turmoil must be similar to what the angels feel concerning the outcome of our sinful planet. Will enough of us humans ever get our acts together and start responding to the salvation remedy, provided by our Creator God? Will we be able to function, living our lives solely for our Lord and Master? And will we and the angels learn to co-exist in the Kingdom being prepared for us all to enjoy?

Thankfully, God took the initiative in seeing that these questions will have answers. We'll just have to wait and see what the outcome looks like in that glorious Day of our Lord.