“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ Luke 10:5
It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my fun day
My “I don’t have to run” day
It’s just another manic Monday. – Great thinkers from the group The Bangles.
Hi all! Another week has started up today vertically and not horizontally, so there’s that. 🙂 I am self-quarantined waiting my daughter’s COVID-19 brain tickler test results. We all feel fine and I suspect it was just a false alarm, but the hotline (800-232-4636) demanded (gently) that she go. If she is positive, I and my bride will have to get our brains tickled again this afternoon to see if the few days we were with her passed on the ‘Rona to us as well. So be it…we are pretty desensitized to the pandemic at this point, spending more free time at home binge watching TV (Currently The Mentalist just after finishing the entire run of Bones) and doing things that better ourselves spiritually and physically. I am still exercising and dieting like a man on a mission: lose 100 pounds in 2020 by November as a way to help celebrate my 30th anniversary around there (more on that at the end). Will I make it? We shall see… Regardless, off we go.
“Think about what (we) had and not focus on what (we) didn’t have”– Tony LaRussa paraphrasing Lou Holtz’ advice in Tony’s outstanding book “One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season“.
Today I just want to provide you with a bit of a recommendation. While I am sure that there are some who would disagree with my wholehearted recommendation (likely the same people who hate Santa and think vaccines kill millions of folks every year), I recommend strongly Teepa Snow and her Positive Approach to Care. Here are links that point at her resources:
I know I have mentioned Teepa Snow many times on this site, but I want to give a formal thumbs up. 🙂 Teepa gives a wonderful reminder that, like Lou Holtz said in the above paraphrase, we absolutely must “think about what (we) had and not focus on what (we) didn’t have” if we are to have a meaningful relationship as our loved one slowly drifts away. Here is the first video I had watched from Snow:
Snow reminds us in 1001 ways to re-humanize our loved one. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Instead, cling to what is left and revolve activity around that. When something challenging happens in their care, for your own self-care, cling again to what is left for an explanation and for comfort. Example: “They” are not the person lashing out. That part is the disease. Instead, keep a tight grip on the good times and an open hand on the challenges, remembering the good times over the bad.
Here is a great recent Q&A session from Teepa:
Teepa focuses on addressing unmet needs when at all possible. Much of the hardest parts of this mess revolve around challenging behaviors, and many, many challenging behaviors can be traced to an unmet need. (Being scared, a physical concern/pain, etc…) We have to search and empathize even as it gets harder and harder and less rational.
Much of what Teepa offers is free, but she also offers paid resources that would certainly be very valuable. I haven’t been able to purchase any yet although I am considering some of the training. I can safely recommend these resources (even as I don’t own them) because I have seen many, many of her free videos and they all are cohesive and well-organized. Given that the free ones are that good, I can only imagine how good the paid content is. 🙂
With the above recommendation finished, let’s go back for just a second to Lou Holtz’ paraphrase for one final thought: “Think about what (we) had and not focus on what (we) didn’t have.” I remember, like it was yesterday, setting on a couch (that felt a little burlappy) at my Grandma Applegate’s senior living duplex. The year was in the mid-1980s. I was grandma’s part-time remote control. She had a “clicker”, a sort of remote kind of common back then that used sound/frequency that made a click sound to compel the manual channel knob to turn as if Casper himself was at the set. It seemed like magic at the time…when it worked. When it didn’t, I worked. Regardless, when lunchtime came at grandma’s, her “stories” began. (Translated by the non-Urban dictionary, “stories” were soap operas…namely The Young and the Restless and The Days of our Lives.
Grandma and her neighbor Belle would watch at the same time (I could hear Belle’s TV, turned volume wide open, through the wall. The only thing louder was both of these two lady’s commentary. “D@## It Nikki, don’t take that scoundrel back! Can’t you see he is up to no good???” bellowed through the area and both of these ladies did it. The Good Lord help you if you interrupted their “stories”.
Think of these two ladies with me for just a second and pretend they had dementia (grandma had a stroke a few years later, but never showed signs of dementia that I am aware of…but with Belle it was probably NOT a stretch). We have a few choices when we visit:
- We could turn down the TV. After all, we wanted to visit with them.
- We could laugh or make fun or be less empathetic.
- We could sit on our phone the whole time (LOL…the phone was tethered to a 6-foot coil cord, with no texting, no Bluetooth, no internet, and a slightly staticky ability to communicate IF someone found you)
- You could jump in to the fun.
I propose to you and I feel like Teepa may agree…try #4. Work with the cards dealt to you. If all you can do, like it is with me and my family, is Zoom with your loved one, make it the best dang Zoom of your life. We do our best to say we love mom many times, and make small talk…but we focus on joy and smiling and laughter above all. Does it work? No clue…but it certainly works better than trying to make her aware how crappy things can be. If you are blessed to still be caring for your loved one at home, make the most of it! Get out the old pictures every day. Play the old songs. Do what is required to make the old smells (bake a pie…or pop some popcorn if those are your memory smells). Live for today because, as Day’s reminds us…”Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”…or, if you prefer, as the wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, said ” Life is fleeting, like a passing mist. It is like trying to catch hold of a breath; All vanishes like a vapor; everything is a great vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1)
Gather up the minutes like precious gems and use them wisely. Remember the weaknesses of your loved one, but remember more what is left and enjoy that part. We can do nothing better until there is a cure or until someone finally finds a way to #EndALZ once and for all.
Update: Not much to report. I have a Zoom with mom Wednesday. I am hoping/praying for the best. 🙂 She is quite tired and certainly lonely. We are searching for ways to comfort her that will not make her or others ill…even as I sit here self-quarantined.
Diet Update: As promised last week, I lost back what I gained, plus interest, from my BBQ extravaganza in KC last week. I am sitting at 91.4lbs lost which means I need to lose 8.6 pounds in the next 4 weeks to get to my first major goal: 100 pounds by my anniversary. This is even now a stretch goal, but not nearly as much as it was 91.4 pounds ago. Will I make it? Stay tuned…
Dad joke of the day:
“Is this pool safe for diving? It deep ends.”
“When does a joke become a dad joke? When it becomes apparent.”
See ya Friday!