Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ten Useful Elder Care Links

         1. Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker
    Since Boo's second stroke, it's often difficult for him to accurately indicate where his discomfort is. Often I start at his head and move to his toes. Does your head hurt? Can you bend your neck? Is that uncomfortable? This can be a long and involved process. Having a resource in which I can list the symptoms I've coerced out of Boo and then getting suggestions of related health issues and additional possible symptoms is a time saver. I have some pertinent questions I can use to further pinpoint Boo's malady. This is NOT a substitute for medical care! It does make it easier to communicate with his doctor who is often rushed and simply can't take an hour to an hour and a half to ease information out of Boo.
    This site has numerous check lists and forms. I love it when someone else does the basic outline for me. These lists do just that. Topics range from An Assessment Checklist for Family Caregivers, Legal and Financial Paperwork and Driving Skills to A Home Safety Checklist for Family Caregivers and A Nursing Home Evaluation Checklist.
    This site offers lots of useful links, including some on Medicare that we've found helpful. They also have a caregiver's handbook to view online or to download. Although it seems to be geared more toward hired or volunteer caregivers who aren't related, it still has plenty of good information.
    This site has a section with care giving information and another section with encouragement for caregivers. I haven't really gotten involved with this organization, but I have friends who are and strongly recommend it.
    There are two articles and a prayer for an unprovided death that Boo has liked. He has asked to have the article on Mother Teresa read and reread to him. This site I included not because of the wealth of information it offers, but because of how much the resources have meant to Boo.
    Stroke related resources are plentiful here. I've found them to be more current than what Boo's family doctor suggested. Several months ago I emailed a question to this site and received a prompt response.
    This site is geared toward children, but it still contains detailed information which can be helpful to those recovering from a stroke. For Boo, after two of his strokes, he had oral sensitivities. He didn't like certain textures in his mouth or mixtures of different textures. This site offered realistic ideas on how to help him desensitize his mouth and enjoy food once again. It also offers information on developing fine motor skills that we found useful.
    A multitude of interesting eye exercises can be found here. Boo cannot use them everyday; but on those days when he does see well enough, we use them. One caveat: many of the pictures I have to save to the computer and enlarge for Boo to see them. I understand that after a stroke many people can benefit from eye exercises.
    I really appreciate the free ebook of simple exercises for the elderly available here. There is quite a selection so that it's easy to add variety to Boo's exercise routine. Keep in mind that all exercise routines must be approved by one's doctor.
    There are so many software programs available to record blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This page has numerous links to those programs. Some are free; most are not. The program we use is supplied by Boo's doctor. I don't particularly care for it, but I can upload Boo's vital signs seamlessly to his doctor's office. So, I guess it's worth it.
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Home in Ten Words


BOO'S LIST

  1. Loving
    Boo frequently comments on how loving our home is. Maybe it's just in the air?
  2. Bright
    Definitely bright. Typically I use the brightest wattage bulbs I can find and allow for lots of natural light. As far as Boo's concerned, the brighter, the better.
  3. Happy
    Boo is almost always happy. I think Boudreaux has something to do with that.
  4. Expressive
    Boo is a talker. Well, that used to be true of him all the time. Now, it's a little more difficult. Still, communication is a biggie for him.
  5. Nurturing
    We love each other. So, I guess it's only natural that we strive to have a nurturing home.
  6. Satisfying
    Boo is always most satisfied at home. He's become a real home body.
  7. Humorous
    Laughter is sprinkled throughout our day. Our philosophy is to laugh at our struggles and goofs. A little levity makes it all go easier.
  8. Beautiful
    OK, this is where you know he has a visual impairment. I want our home to be beautiful. The reality is that it is too cluttered for my tastes and not as decorated as I'd like. Maybe he's referring to the spirit of our home...
  9. Quiet
    Most of the time our home is quiet. Although when Boudreaux was “talking” to the fish early this morning, it was far from quiet. I thought someone was in the yard and Boudreaux was being a guard cat. Oh well, I don't think we need guarding from fish---especially at 5:45am.
  10. Alluring
    I have no explanation for this one at all.



KARI'S LIST

  1. Welcoming
    I really want our home to be welcoming. This past week a visitor mentioned that she found our home very welcoming. So, maybe it is.
  2. Peaceful
    Definitely important to me. Life is too short to spend it arguing and in general disharmony.
  3. Lively
    OK, this probably does need explanation. Neither Boo nor I are hyper people. We do like lively conversations about life, great ideas, religion and politics. Do we agree? Usually not, otherwise one of us would be unnecessary.
  4. Busy
    At least in spurts. Too much busy-ness is detrimental to the peacefulness of our home.
  5. Caring
    For sure and certain we care about each other, our family and friends.
  6. Cuddly
    Well, maybe the house itself isn't cuddly. Our cat and Judy's cat are cuddly. Great for those unsettled times or just for pleasure.
  7. Optimistic
    Absolutely have to be. Being positive enables us to more easily find solutions to difficulties.
  8. Literary
    We're both readers. So, what else would you expect?
  9. Electronic
    This one concerns me sometimes. We have TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, e readers, laptop computers, desk top computers, food processors, blenders, bread makers, ice cream makers, cell phones, etc., etc. How much is enough? Do I really want to give up many of these gadgets? Probably not.
  10. Work in Progress
    Very definitely descriptive! We keep working on our home. It'll never be perfect, but it is ours and we love it.
Monday Listicles

Musing Mondays, 28 May 2011




Today's question: If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?



Boo: As often as I could, yes. Mr. Dictionary and I had a very close relationship. Boo was given a dictionary for Christmas, maybe seven or eight years ago. That was one well used dictionary! He often sat and read it and just enjoyed playing with new words. Although he can no longer read it, once a week (sometimes more often), I'll find a couple of new words for us. Boo really has an incredible vocabulary!


Kari: Since I began reading with a Nook, I usually do look words up immediately. The dictionary function is something that I appreciate! As a child I remember reading an old dictionary my parents had. The definitions were far more interesting than the simple ones in “school” dictionaries. One summer I began learning Latin root words, prefixes and suffixes from that dictionary---just for fun. (OK, we spent that summer in a very small town with no library and few children. I was bored. You know, boredom can be a good thing!)

Monday Musings

Memorial Day Daybook


FOR TODAY...



Outside my window...

it's still dark. The birds are only just beginning to sing...and a new day is beginning.



I am thinking...

of the courage of so many of my friends, ordinary men and women living ordinary lives who would never consider themselves courageous. Everyone has something in their lives they are working to overcome. Life is a continuous struggle---a joyous, messy, painful, wonderful struggle.



I am thankful...

for all the freedoms we have because of those who have fought for our country and who have protected those rights. I am also thankful for those who daily protect the rights of those within our own country whose freedom is limited whether because of the color of their skin, physical or emotional abuse, physical or mental disabilities or addictions.



In the kitchen...

there is a table top ice cream maker waiting for me to conjure up an icy treat for today. And in the house is a husband who will gladly remind me to “work that machine!”



I am wearing...

black and white capris, a red tee shirt (with a white top underneath for modesty because the neckline is WAY too low) and my favorite black Crocs.



I am creating...

some digital paintings. This has been so much fun! All those years of art lessons are paying off! I am also in the beginning stages of creating a family memory game for Boo.



I am going...

to insist that Boo (and probably Boudreaux) take a walk today. A Memorial Day walk is required!



I am wondering...

about making a memory book for Boo and what form it should take. Decisions,I decisions...



I am reading...

The Help. In general, I don't like popular books. This one is an exception and it's hard to put down. Later today I should be finished.



I am hoping...

that the good doctor I see this week about my torn rotor cuff will have a solution other than surgery. I'm told that's not likely, but I do have better range of motion in my right arm. So maybe...



I am looking forward...

to talking to several friends this week. Reconnecting with old friends is like remembering a part of myself that I'd forgotten, dreaming dreams that I'd put away. Sometimes I need to remember who I was to fully be who I am now.



I am learning...

that while patience is a virtue, it is not procrastination. Action is imperative.



Around the house...

I can hear the quiet goings on of a household waking up and beginning their day. Pleasant sounds, at least so far.



I am pondering...

deep things: freedom and the price paid for it, patience and action, forgiveness and hurt, and most of all, friendship in all its facets.



A favorite quote for today...

“Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you're doing the impossible.” St. Francis of Assisi



One of my favorite things...

and one of my guilty habits is list making. I can make dozens of lists to plan things. I really enjoy it. I don't know why. Now, if I just accomplished all that I planned...



A few plans for the rest of the week...

create a few more digital paintings, pay bills, encourage Boo to walk outside daily, maybe get Boo out for coffee.



A peek into my day...

Boo, after his Butter Pecan "Ice Cream"






Friday, May 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday


1.

We've discovered an easy way to make really delicious homemade fruit frozen yogurt. Boo has had frozen treats several nights this week. He considers it ice cream and loves it.

Boo's Fruit “Ice Cream”

1 small package of sugar free jello dissolved in ½ cup boiling water and COOLED
2 pints of plain yogurt
1 cup of Splenda
1 cup of diced frozen fruit
Optional: ½ cup of toasted wheat germ or
½ cup of chopped nuts or
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into prepared tabletop
ice cream maker and 25 minutes later---”ice cream.”



2.

The poem that seemed to capture Boo's thoughts this week is written by MayaAngelou and is entitled, A Brave and Startling Truth.

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.

Love costs all we are and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free.
A Brave and Startling Truth.

It is possible and imperative that we discover
A brave and startling truth.

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
And without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it. 

3.

Yesterday Boo watched/listened to several episodes of Father Knows Best and then watched To Kill a Mockingbird. He tried to discuss them in the middle of the night. The two were mixed together in his mind and led to some interesting discussions. That is, until I really woke up and figured out what was going on in his mind. Middle of the night discussions seldom work well for me.



4.

Today I must wash, dry, fold or hang and put away clothes. This mundane task is suddenly a major issue with a torn rotor cuff. It's painful! Boo can help with hanging clothes, but folding? Let's just say he's folding impaired. Are all men like that?




5.

I found some firm thera clay for Boo this week at a medical supply store. It really helps develop his fine motor skills and is a great “fidget” for those times when he needs something to do with his hands. At 38 dollars for four ounces, I'll be looking for a recipe to make at home or a different source. There were no ingredients listed on the package. Just what would possibly make thera clay so expensive?



6.

I must scan photos today. I've sorted photos into groups and all that's left is to actually scan. Another mundane task, but this one I can easily accomplish. With scanned photos, I can enlarge them on the TV screen and Boo can tell me stories about them to record. We've done this with some of his photos. He really enjoys reliving events from the past. As a bonus, when he's having an unsettled day I can remind him of some of these things. Usually he can recall a past memory and calm down enough to reorient himself in public without having to resort to medication.



7.

Boo has looked at prom photos of one of his granddaughters this week. They provoked a lot of tears. She shouldn't be old enough to date yet and definitely not old enough to go to a prom. What exactly are her parents thinking?  (They're probably wishing they could have their little girl back sometimes too.)  He's told lots of stories about her as a baby and young child. Wonderful memories to stash away for those times when he really needs to focus on good times.

7 Quick Takes Friday

Thankful Thursday: We're Thankful for Boudreaux!


After one of Boo's strokes, my sister's cat had a litter of kittens.. Boo chose to adopt the only male, an adorable orange tiger cat---and then, the man who'd never really been a “cat person” fell in love. The two became inseparable.




The first day we had him, Boo decided that Boudreaux needed a bottle. So, I bought one and Boo happily fed Boudreaux daily until the kitten finally chewed a hole in the nipple about three weeks after he came to live with us.






Even as a tiny kitten Boudreaux seemed to understand that Boo was his special responsibility. On Boo's unsettled days, Boudreaux stayed close to him. On several occasions when Boo tried to wander away from the house, Boudreaux raised a ruckus until I brought Boo back inside. A few times, Boudreaux has awakened me at night when Boo's blood pressure was rising. Quite often I've found the two of them napping together.




After one of Boo's hospitalizations, he was reluctant to talk. His home health nurse and occupational therapist found that if they directed their comments to the cat, Boo would respond. He would discuss the kitten's antics willingly.




This past week when Boo was uneasy about walking in the yard, Boudreaux saved the day. We put his “guide cat” harness on and let him ride on the seat of Boo's rolling walker and mosey around the yard on a leash. Boo was content to be outside as long as his trusty companion was with him.




Thank goodness for Boudreaux! He's Boo's loyal companion, his “security blanket,” his protector and, at times, his motivation to talk and move.


Thankful Thursday

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Boo's Favorite Photos of the Week

From Years Ago

What Boo allowe Boudreaux to do when they think no one's watching

He has fresh water in his bowl!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Boo's Current Ten Favorite Foods


Providing Boo with a well-balanced diet has been difficult lately. Some days he's very interested in food. Other days, he'll eat if bribed. On rare occasions he'll only eat if I feed him. This past week I had a cold and felt miserable. I concentrated on fixing his favorites and making them as nutritious as possible. Next month, his favorites will probably change.



10.

Cantaloupe

Boo has eaten three cantaloupe by himself this past week. He eats it cubed as a snack. For a light lunch or breakfast, I freeze cantaloupe cubes and blend them with plain yogurt, vanilla soy protein powder, some Splenda, a teaspoon of ground flax seeds and a few ice cubes.



9.

Carrots

Carrots he'll eat in any way, shape or form. Steamed seems to be his favorite. Because I was trying to increase my fluid intake this past week, I made a quart of carrot, cucumber yogurt soup. I put it in the fridge to chill and went back three hours later to fix some for myself. Boo had eaten it all. I guess he likes it.



8.

Graham Crackers

Boo loves graham crackers and milk. I usually make them from scratch so that they're made from all whole wheat flour and Splenda. If he'll eat peanut butter on them along with the milk, that's a complete protein.



7.

Hummus

I make homemade hummus from white beans, spices and a little yogurt. Boo will eat a cup of it at once with celery and carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets and crackers. For some reason, I haven't found a manufactured hummus that he likes. Some he says are too salty. Others too bland.



6.

Spinach

This is another food that Boo will eat in any form. Fresh spinach with a diced boiled egg, a crumbled piece of bacon, diced tomatoes and Ranch dressing is a favorite. He also likes spinach and cheese omelets, sauteed spinach, mushrooms and garlic and just plain steamed spinach.



5.

Roast Beef

Boo likes roast beef for breakfast, lunch and supper. I add carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, bell peppers and sometimes parsnips to the roast. Boo does like to supervise the preparation of the roast. He'll tell me which spices he wants, whether to rub them on or just sprinkle (Who knew it could make a difference?) and what veggies to add. If he participates in the preparation, he's more likely to actually eat.



4.

Whiting

Actually, he'd rather have craw fish, but that's not available here. Boo will arrange whiting filets with lemon and lime slices, sprigs of rosemary and olive oil to bake. He seems to like that. I make a chowder with whiting that he'll usually eat too. (Last month his favorite fish was catfish. This month he won't touch it. Go figure...)



3.

Cinnamon Chex

For years, he's liked Cheerios. Now, it's Cinnamon Chex. He also prefers rice milk with his cereal. If I've had time to make it, he's in luck. Otherwise, he gets skim milk.



2.

Beignets

Beignets are a rare treat. I haven't found any way to make them nutritious, but they are good. What's not to like about fried dough and powdered sugar? Well, in Boo's case, empty calories and potential blood sugar spikes. Still, once in a while, I make them. Sunday was beignet day and Boo was thrilled!



1.

Oatmeal

Definitely Boo's absolute favorite when his appetite is off. Boo will not touch instant oatmeal. He really likes old fashioned oats any way they are fixed. Cinnamon and apple, cranberry and orange, pecan with maple flavoring, whatever I throw together. In fact, at the small community hospital in Anson county, he told the dietitian how to fix his oatmeal---and he had oatmeal just the way he liked it every morning that he was there!

Please check out other Top Ten Tuesday entries and consider sharing one also.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY



Outside my window...

the sky is slightly overcast and gray. The birds aren't singing as they were earlier. Still, it is a beautiful day!



I am thinking...

about my right shoulder. I thought I had arthritis in a new joint. Not a big deal as I age, just a new ache to handle. The medicos at Duke, after extensive testing (Xrays, an MRI and painful twisting and pulling by sadistic residents) have determined that I have a torn rotor cuff. They advise surgery. I'm thinking about that. Are there alternatives? Investigation needed.



I am thankful...

for my husband, family and friends. They are so wonderful! I am particularly thankful that last week's cold seems to be over and done. I am such a wimp when I have a cold. Oh, I am also thankful that Boo shows no signs of a cold. Maybe all the hand washing, sterilizing and extra vitamin C paid off.



In the kitchen...

is enough beignet dough from yesterday to make another batch of beignets. Boo will really enjoy that! Maybe the neighbors will too. Tonight I must make vanilla yogurt in anticipation of tomorrow's ice cream making. OK, not exactly ice cream. We're actually having Reduced Sugar Butter Pecan Frozen Yogurt. A friend requested it when he saw the ice cream maker. I've made butter pecan ice cream and I've made various frozen yogurts, but never this combination. I'm cobbling two recipes together. We'll see how this turns out.



I am wearing...

old jeans, an old gray tee shirt of Boo's, frosted green anklets (When did I buy these socks and why?) and my favorite white tennis shoes. Comfort clothes. Pajamas are what I want to wear today because I still feel a little run down and because my arm hurts. Dressing is important. Life must go on.



I am creating...

nothing this past week. I have managed to learn a little more about the Paint Shop program we have. It's far more user friendly that I originally thought and I really like it. Now, if I could only figure out how to add color to text in that program... I know we'll be crafting something this week. Boo has determined that it's time to finish the Marion tiles we began earlier this month. So, I guess that's our project this week.



I am going...

to make an appointment for a second opinion before I allow surgery to be scheduled to repair my rotor cuff.



I am wondering...

Are there any osteopaths around here? Maybe I should ask at Whole Foods. They seem to be a good source of information on alternative medical treatment in the area. If there are viable options to surgery, I definitely want to investigate them.



I am reading...

several books. That I could do even feeling icky last week. I am still reading The Stolen Crown and A Right to Be Merry. I completed several novels this past week: A Time to Heal by Barbara Cameron and Dance Upon the Air, Heaven and Earth and Face the Fire by Nora Roberts. Boo and I listened to two audio books: Treasure Island by R. L. Stephenson and Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.



I am hoping...

to get Boo outside for a walk today. He's not interested right now. Maybe if we put Boudreaux's “guide cat” harness on, Boo will be more interested. Boudreaux is still getting used to wearing a harness and is not happy when I put it on him. He does like being able to go outside with Boo however.



Around the house...

all is quiet. Boudreaux and Boo are napping.



I am pondering...

whether to take Boo with me when I get a second opinion on my shoulder or whether to get someone to stay with him. Logistically both are difficult. If I take him with me, I need to pack a backpack of necessities, maneuver him and his rolling walker and be prepared for meltdowns. If I get someone to stay with him, I have to be sure they understand how to reorient him, when to give him medication, when and what to feed him, etc.



A favorite quote for today...

“The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possess, even if he does not realize it, is family life.” Blessed Adolph Kolping





A peek into my day...

Here's what Boudreaux is doing. Boo doesn't want to have his picture taken right now. Maybe later...




For more daybook entries or to enter your own, please go to http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Boo's Daybook for May

Boo wanted to make a daybook entry today.  Mostly, I think he just wanted me to stay beside him a little longer.  Still, he seemed to enjoy it and that's important.


For Today...



Outside my window...

it's raining and the wind is blowing. It's been dreary and overcast all day. It just started raining this evening.



I am thinking...

about the people I love from the youngest to the oldest and I feel love cascading through my body when I think of all the people I love and who love me. We've been focusing on the many people who love him today. Friday was a rough day. Saturday and Sunday were not his best. He was easily upset and needed help reorienting himself several times each day. Today has been much better.



I am thankful...

for my family and friends.



I am wearing...

a dark green turtleneck and fleece pajamas with dogs on them. He was chilly after his bath and wanted warm pajamas.



I am going...

to sleep soon, I hope. I hope he stays awake long enough for supper.



I am wondering...

about tomorrow and what it will bring.



I am listening...

to my wife read several books. Today I heard St Clare and the Wolf. (It's from Legends of Saints and Friendly Beasts.) He watched some westerns this afternoon on TV.



I am hoping...

that tomorrow is a bright, sunshiny day so that I can take a walk.



Around the house...

Boudreaux is sleeping on his perch. If I call him, he'll come to me. The flip side of this is that if I call, Boudreaux will look at me and consider whether or not he should respond.



I am pondering...

the weather. I don't like thunderstorms or tornadoes. On his unsettled days, Boo does not handle thunderstorms well at all. Fortunately, this is a spring shower and not anything that should disturb him.



One of my favorite things...

is spending time with my wife and cat, Boudreaux. At bedtime, this really is one of his favorite things. Calm, quiet and predictable is the key then.



A peek into my day...

This is what one does after answering questions!



Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Peek at a Difficult Day


This is not the post I'd planned for today. Today was supposed to be a calm, quiet day spent taking a short walk, reading or listening to an audio book, recording some of Boo's childhood memories, eating lunch outside. Well, you get the picture. Calm and quiet with meaningful activities. Unfortunately, that is not how today has been.

Today is one of Boo's confused, unsettled days. They don't occur as frequently as they once did. Having a regular (not rigid) schedule and feeling safe and comfortable are major helps. Of course, he has prescribed medication that can help him through the rough patches when they occur. On days like today, I try to keep Boo's focus on the here and now. He's easily distracted and easily upset. Consistent, calm refocusing on the present is usually the most helpful thing I can do for him.



1.

First thing after breakfast, I found Boo carefully tucking his bedroom slippers into the small space beside the aquarium in the living room.

“Where are you putting your slippers?”

“Just giving them to the white fish.”

“Ah...” When he gives an off the wall response, I have to delve a little further. Sometimes that's tricky. In this case, he could just want to sit near the aquarium with his slippers off. Or his feet could hurt. Or he might be considering putting his slippers in the tank with the fish.

“Can I look at your feet?”

“Nope. I'm going to bed.” And off to bed he went.

After he was settled in bed, he let me rub some lotion on his feet. There were no red or inflamed spots. His skin was warm and smooth. His toe nails were alright. So, it's probably not his feet. I checked his slippers. They seemed fine also. His blood pressure and blood glucose readings were normal. Who knows? Maybe after a short nap he'll be himself again.



2.

An hour later, Boo yelled for me.

“Aren't we going to eat breakfast? My stomach's growling.”

“We ate some earlier. Are you hungry now?”

“I didn't eat earlier. Maybe you fed Boudreaux my breakfast.” Well, maybe, but Boudreaux doesn't eat cranberry bran muffins and sugar free peach mango yogurt.

“Would you rather have a scrambled egg and a piece of toast or cheese and crackers?” Choices definitely work better than open ended questions.

“I want a salad.” OK, so that's different. He ate a small spinach salad with half a boiled egg, a little shredded cheese, tomato, celery and shredded carrots.

When he finished his salad, I asked if he was still hungry.

“I wasn't hungry to begin with. Are you through feeding me?”

Um mm....I guess so.



3.

“Where's my tiger cat? BOUDREAUX!!!” Amazingly, Boudreaux comes running to Boo when he's upset.

“Don't play with the alligators!”

Time to help Boo refocus on the present. I sit beside him and calmly stroke his hand until he acknowledges me.

“What do you feel? I feel your hand.” Usually Boo will respond appropriately. This time, he started trembling. Not a particularly good sign.

“I bet you can feel Boudreaux.” After a long pause, he finally responded.

“My tiger cat's good. I think he's been in the bayou. He was wet yesterday and there are alligators.”

Before he could get too overwrought, I interrupted him.

“I bathed Boudreaux yesterday before we gave him flea medication and he did great. He didn't mind being bathed at all.” That's probably overstating the truth, but he did tolerate it well.

“Look around you. What can you see?” Because sight is not Boo's strongest sense, I need to begin to reorient him with a different one. Many times he becomes disoriented because he can't see and only panics more when asked to use that sense.

“I see my brave tiger cat and...” He's calmer at this point and can reorient himself.



4.

“Let's exercise.” Boo is generally very anxious to exercise and enjoys moving around.

“Alright. Just a little.” Boo's lack of enthusiasm and lackluster vocabulary are clues that he is having difficulty staying oriented.

We begin with a simple exercise. He stands behind a chair and holds onto the back with both hands. Then he raises and lowers each leg sideways twenty times. This is usually very easy for him and requires little concentration. Today Boo can't stay upright and lift his leg even holding the chair.

Instead, I have Boo sit in the chair and do ankle circles. He can do that, but it requires a lot of intense concentration on his part.

“Done now! Where's Boudreaux?” After ten ankle circles, this was a very abbreviated exercise session. Another sign that Boo is still not himself.



5.

Boo and Boudreaux sit and watch TV for thirty minutes. Well, Boudreaux lounges on top of the TV and Boo watches it.

“HONEY! Where are you?”

“Right behind you. I'm on the computer.” I sent a message to his doctor's office explaining what Boo was doing today and what his vital signs were.

“Are you coming back?”

“I'm right here. I never left you.” Time for a little hand holding and quiet talk.



6.

“It's lunch time. I'm having a salad. Do you want another salad or a sandwich?”

“Oatmeal. I really want oatmeal.” Oatmeal is one of Boo's comfort foods. When he's confused or has little appetite, oatmeal seems to be the one thing he'll usually eat.

“Let's eat outside on the deck. It's a beautiful day and I'd hate for you to miss it.”

“I can't leave Boudreaux long. He needs me.” Although Boo talks to and about Boudreaux every day, he usually understands that he is a pet. This over dependence on the cat is very telling.

“Just long enough to eat. We both need fresh air.”



7.

“HONEY! I need help. I can't find the bathroom. It's been moved.”

We locate the bathroom. It's still about seven feet from the bedroom door. At this point, Boo is so confused that he can't be left alone in the bathroom.

When we go back to the bedroom, he asks for something to help him calm down. Although I haven't heard from his doctor at this point, it's definitely time for medication.



This has been a particularly difficult day. Most days are not like this, thank heavens. I really appreciate the “normal” days. I try to fit in as many good times as I can on those days. Perhaps the recent good memories and the past good memories with his family and friends in Louisiana will help him over the confused times.

(It's midnight and Boo actually had a much better evening. That is seldom the case when he's confused. Generally when he is confused, it is far more pronounced in the evening. After his medication took effect, Boo calmly talked to me, ate his dinner and went to bed.)



Friday, May 11, 2012

Bathing Boudreaux

Our wet cat
      

       Have you ever bathed a cat? Years ago, I had a long haired white cat who was allergic to fleas and the flea medication available then. I bathed her every other week during flea season. Not a pleasant experience and she was very gentle!

       Boudreaux is, thankfully, not allergic to flea medication. He has had a few baths in the past. As a kitten he got into some fire ants TWICE and definitely needed a bath as quickly as I could get one ready. Recently Boudreaux has had an irritated chin. I didn't know whether he had fleas that I didn't see or whether he was allergic to his plastic food and water dishes.
  
       Today I actually saw a flea on him---and if I saw one, there are more. Before I could declare war on Boudreaux's flea, he disappeared inside the house. When he reappeared, he had a thick, black oily substance on his back. Definitely bath time! Boo cried. I was hurting his cat, etc. Boudreaux on the other hand was completely silent. Not a peep. Not a growl. Not a hiss. Not a single meow. Maybe he was in shock? Or terrified of what this crazy human might do next?

       Boudreaux has recovered and is busily grooming himself. All that beautiful red fur must be just perfect, you know. Boo, on the other hand, is absolutely furious with me. He alternately yells at me and refuses to speak to me. Oh well...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Prayer Community

     How do you connect with people to pray and reflect on the Mass readings when you're homebound?  We have a wonderful group of ladies from the Legion of Mary that bring home Communion almost weekly---and that is quite a blessing!  Still, I felt that we (or at least I) was missing out on a feeling of community, being a part of a community. 
     Earlier this week, I stumbled across Elizabeth's website and discovered a treasure trove!  Boo has been asking daily to see the roses that she photographed in her yard and to have parts of the entry reread.  I appreciate the way Elizabeth provided thoughts on the Mass readings that were easily grasped by Boo (and myself) and that continue to provide foder for our daily conversations.  In addition, because she asked for prayer requests, there is a way for us to participate.  And isn't lifting each other up in prayer one of the things we, as Christians, are supposed to do?  Remembering the prayer requests daily has been a tremendous way for us to feel a part of this community.
     This is definitely a site you'll want to investigate!
    
     Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Wordless Wednesday: Boudreaux in a Box





http://www.wordlesswednesday.com/newhome/

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Caregiver's Devotions to Go



     Amazon currently has Caregiver's Devotions to Go by Gigi Murfitt as a free Kindle book. (Free selections may not remain free for long.)  I've only read the first devotional story.  So, I can't vouch for the whole book.  It seems to be similar to the Chicken Soup for... series.  Obviously, this is not an indepth Bible study.  That being said, there are many times when I need a pick-me-up, a new perspective.  This easy devotional seems to fit that bill and I look forward to using it in the days to come.

     Even if you don't own a Kindle (and I don't), you can download the free Kindle app for your computer or ipad to access this book.  Here is the link to Caregiver's Devotions to Go:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QZ9RQI/?tag=readtoday-20#_

Ten Ways to Pray the Rosary


Praying the rosary was not a part of my life growing up. It still seems strange that it has become such an important part of my daily life now. I learned to pray the rosary when Boo had a stroke and asked me to pray it with him. Now, with his limited attention span, we've had to become creative to find ways to pray the rosary.



  • Pray and meditate on only one decade per day. On Boo's most confused days, this works best. We may pray five decades of the rosary during the day, but because we only meditate on one mystery, Boo is better able to incorporate that mystery into his life.
  • Pray each decade and mystery at different times during the day. While Boo can seldom sit for a whole rosary at once, he can many times pray the whole rosary over the course of a day.
  • Pray a walking rosary. This idea came one day when Boo didn't want to take a needed walk. We walked around the block slowly and stopped to pray a decade at various spots. We've done this several times in the past few months. It's amazing how Boo remembers that just around the corner is a statue of Mary in a flower bed and wouldn't that be the perfect place to pray the next decade?
  • Hold hands and use your spouse's fingers as “beads.” Many times we do this when Boo is agitated at the doctor's office or hospital.
  • Dedicate each decade for a specific intention. For some reason this is one of Boo's favorites. He really tries to match the intention to the mystery.
  • Pray a story telling rosary. This can take quite a while, but because it's broken up by memories, it holds Boo's attention. One of us will tell a story from our lives that relates to the particular mystery on which we're meditating.
  • Pray a family picture rosary. Each decade is offered up for the family member in the photo. This is one way for Boo to feel close to family who live in other states and to do something truly helpful for them.
  • Pray a candle light rosary. We can only do this when Boo is steady and not too confused, but he really likes this at night. We place five tapers around a small statue of Mary. As we begin each decade, we light a taper.
  • Pray a singing rosary. Well, we've not actually prayed the whole rosary this way, only a decade at a time. I founded the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be in song on You Tube and on occasion we'll sing a decade.
  • Pray the rosary in Cajun French (or maybe Latin). One of Boo's daughter's gave him a CD of the rosary in Cajun French and this is a treat for Boo. It brings back memories of his extended family getting together to pray the rosary sometimes.



Does anyone have any other ideas that might hold Boo's attention while praying? When we try to pray the rosary daily, our whole day seems calmer and more peaceful. There are times when Boo simply can't manage even a decade. Making the effort is extremely important to him and somehow just the effort makes a difference.


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