He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him. –Daniel 2:22
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. –John 2:22
I really wish I had a different topic, I really do. No, not because I don’t appreciate the need. Not because I am tired of the topic and would be better writing about, say, cabbage recipes from Peru. Not because I am bored or tempted to change or anything else other than the fact that I wish we could make it obsolete. I mean, once Newton “discovered” gravity, all of the people who didn’t believe in it had to start complaining about something else on their blogs, right? #CancelAntiGravitiers . Would you help me change writing topics by helping me find a cure for this mess? Please? Here is my latest effort: Link . (Hat in hand)
I love fresh snow. I love looking out my window after a brand new snow to see an undisturbed sea of white. I love seeing the little fluffprints from the rabbit that took refuge on my back porch after this last snow or the little wedges that mark the prints of the front yard’s rare Karen Robin that could be overheard griping to her husband saying “You don’t need a map, you say! You know these parts just fine, you say! I shoulda believed my mom and dated Billy Hummingbird!!! At least he stayed south in the tropics through this junk!”.
I love crispy snow whose surface tension— (wait… Mr. Freiert <My science teacher in HS>…is it still surface tension if it is snow and not water?? )– is strong enough that you can carefully walk on it until it caves in with a crunch. (That’s it, I could write about surface tension in my new blog! First, let’s cure this disease then I will work on that.) I also love fluffy, dry snow. Last week’s deeper-than-I-expected snow was wispy that way. Our parking lot crew cleaned our sidewalks with a gas-powered leaf blower…and it was beautiful and amazing.
The white gives way to gray. (First note: Despite appearances, I am generally an adequate speller…but “gray” vexes me. Apparently we have just given up and you can just spell things all willy-nilly, so maybe I will switch it to “GREIGH” so it makes “WEIGH” and “SLEIGH” feel less lonely?) Gray snow is snow that is struggling. Impurities have been introduced. Its mass is declining and it is hardening. It still has most of the properties of its white predecessor, but those around it know the difference as it is obvious. There are hints to varying degrees of the snow’s white history, but the dark has overshadowed the white for sure.
The gray gives way…uhhh…errr…weigh…ok…way…to black. Black snow really isn’t snow at all, but, in my case, snow-originated ice. Our back parking lot at work is home to a babbling brook of runoff from the mounds of pushed snow that froze again into a black ice skating rink. The dangers were still there, but now are hidden.
But there is “gooder” news… The grey/gray will give way/weigh to water which will appear much more clear than before…and will run off of our parking lot to never been seen again. The water is easier to “deal” with, although flooding is a real possibility, because we can see it and know what is going on better than when it was black ice. All we do is sit around wait for it to be gone…
This snow cycle, to me, in my roundabout way of explaining it, is my mom’s situation. At diagnosis, mom was symptom free. She was a flawed person, as we all are, but was “made perfect” by the finished work of Christ on her behalf and was seen as perfect by God. Then the disease came some time later.
What did gray look like for mom? Years (approximately) #7-10 mom struggled, and progressively more so as time went on. First memories, then decision-making, then safety, then “the rest” of her activities of daily living. Her diagnosis gave strong explanations, stating that she had “diffuse volume loss, the overall hippocampal volume loss appears to be relatively symmetric but is advanced.” Apparently due to a combination of the brain being damaged by the plaque/tangle combo and the brain fighting off the same, it actually declines in size and density. It loses plasticity/the ability to adapt and react correctly…and the struggle gets worse and worse in the process. There have been many white snow moments with mom in these hard times, especially early in them. The piano, little bits of clarity, and hugs come to mind…but it was mostly un-white snow. Then we moved to black ice.
Mom, in this stage, struggled with 1,000,000 hidden dangers. Sure there are the falls and similar issues, but there are many more too…and many that are very sneaky. Infections are a big one and one that can be missed. Aspirating food/beverages are another huge one. Mom would keep food or drink in her mouth without swallowing it for significant lengths of time, and could and would breathe it into her lungs. Therefore, pneumonia is a common cause of death that could be just as easily attributed to the disease. Isolation is another hidden danger, and one that during the pandemic we have all had plenty of experience with. Isolation has the negative results of smoking 15 cigarettes a day on a person’s health…and for someone with the above killer staking them, they need no more health concerns.
And now we are at the clear snow stage. Mom is moved to and fro in her wheelchair. She is fed every meal and the rest…100% care. A lot of the dangers that used to be an ever-present concern (wandering away, falling, poking something into an outlet) are in the rear-view, replaced by a few fears: loneliness melancholy of Shawshankdom, aspirating food, infection…. but, in many ways, things are more sad, but easier in this end stage. I hate it for her but I love it compared to the slipping sliding mess we have tried to help her endure.
Just like the water/snow cycle’s last piece of the puzzle, in life mom has yet one more change to come: some day, some sweet day, should a restorative cure not be found, she will gain a new white appearance as her sins are shed and her future in heaven, the same heaven that has no tears, nor death, nor disease, will begin at last. I pray and hope and strive for a cure, but I also know that the real cure is to an everlasting life ahead.
The great news/praise: I received the following word today from mom’s nursing home: “We have some great news to share! Indoor visits can start effective immediately. These visits are by appointment only.” We are only allotted two weekly visits of 30 minutes including checking in, but it is better than nothing. This is a huge, yet tiny rock pick toward taking Shawshank Re:Dementia off the subtitle of this blog again. 🙂 And we are very excited! 🙂
Prayer request: One of the Sweet 17 is in the hospital and not well. Pray for Mrs. J and her family. Pray that she pulls through, that the family has peace and, if possible, time to see her, and pray for a cure for her and the rest.
Last word on Snow: Teepa Snow is someone you need to know if you do not. Here is a link to her channel and to a very popular way of understanding the stages of the disease: Link Link Snow knows more about this disease with half of her brain tied behind her back than I will ever know. Please check out her stuff. 🙂
2 thoughts on “Shawshank Re:Dementia Day 348: White to Gray to Black to Clear (to White Again)…and a huge praise”
So glad you are allowed inside visits. Hopefully they will increase to an hour and more often. So glad for you!
Thank you very much. Yup…2 visits per week max 2 people per visit. Better than nothing. 🙂 I am hoping by summer to have no restrictions with proof of vaccine, but who knows? Keep fighting 🙂
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