For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. –James 2:26
Hi all! I trust your week was better this week than last? It was here, for sure. I got to see mom (on the other side of a screen) for the first time in months. The weather was literally 60-90 degrees warmer this week than last! Actual temps. What more can you ask for? 🙂
I am still running, prepping for my June fundraising run attempt. Here are the details: Link Note: I feel a little bit freakshow-ish, and a little Fonzie from this scene as I prepare:
Note: I promise I will wear more shorts than this. 🙂
I am NOT an athlete. I have never been one. I played baseball in high school (pitcher), but I was only as good as my mind would take me. It takes a drive that I simply have never had to be an athlete. That is what makes my little Runnin’ Til I’m Purple event different. I may succeed. I may fail. But I will not give up. There are millions who need a cure for dementia and this is just one little thing I can try to do. More will follow… So, for now, I am working on it and working hard. On Wednesday, after Monday and Tuesday running 7.2 and 7.5 miles respectively, I tried something different. I slow jogged thusly:
Here is what I learned going uphill and what it has to do with Dementia:
- Incline stinks– I maxed out the incline at 15% Going uphill is hard. Gravity pushes on us. It isn’t as natural…we have to work harder. The uphill part of dementia…we’ll call it the early-mid stages…is very hard. Going from simple memory loss to complete inability to perform activities of daily living one task at a time is hard to watch. I can only imagine how hard it was to endure.
- Balance is important– Balance is truly important in all areas of life, but on the treadmill it is critical. Anything imbalanced and things go kafritz. Balance is important in running motion and it is important in speed versus incline. I jogged very slow…but for an hour uphill. My body hated it and I burned a ton of calories trying to fight off the imbalance. Centering yourself in the treadmill is also critical. Try running along and accidentally stepping on the edge of the treadmill that isn’t moving and see how you do. Done that myself…not fun. In dementia, and in aging in general, balance is so very important because, as I have mentioned in a dozen or more articles, falling causes huge problems for seniors. Mom fell over and over again in the early days with the Sweet 17. Read some of the early articles of those days…soooo hard. SeniorAge, my employer and co-recipient of my fundraiser, teaches various classes to help with balance.
- Running uphill prepares for… running uphill– The only other time I ran I jogged a marathon 10+ year ago before gaining all of the weight. It took me 5:55 and I was third last to finish (although many didn’t finish). One big thing I remember, that I was completely unprepared for, is the peril of running downhill. It was hard to run uphill in the few hills of that event, but running downhill was, in some ways, even harder. Your shin muscles and other unsavory muscles and joints freak out trying to slow you down when you are tired. Running uphill a lot on the treadmill doesn’t prepare you for that. The downhill journey with mom with her dementia has been similar. Add in the COVID Shawshank Re:Dementia lockout and we are all out of whack and unprepared. To me, selfishly, this is why I beg you that have lost loved ones to this disease…don’t give up helping others. Please share your experience. Warn them/us about the peril of downhills…
- The dots tell the tale– Notice on the top-left of the screen? The dots tell you how hard what you are trying to do will be. The more there are, the harder. In dementia, dots (or similar) do something different. There are usually dots or some subtle sign on the nameplate area that designate/symbolize last directives. A green dot might mean resuscitate and do everything you can to keep them alive. Heroic measures are acceptable, so to speak. A red dot means these measures are not approved by the resident and comfort care is all that there is on the menu. This explains why many in nursing homes have passed away from Covid-19 as well. My mom set up a strict, no ventilator policy long ago and I am sure that was and is her wishes. Had her Covid progressed that far, she would have been another tally on this terrible pandemic.
- The combination can get ya too. I could do a 15% incline a lot easier at 1 mile an hour instead of 3.5. The fan was too fast, the gal two sots down from me was gum-flapping loudly on her phone…all of these factors made this run harder. “Comorbidity” means having multiple conditions. I suspect that the already astronomically high dementia mortality…much more than Covid on a “good day”, are greatly undercounted. So many not diagnosed. So many struggling. Pneumonia kills, but did the dementia cause the lung problem? Probably… Infections, falls, accidents, and a million other things can kill…but dementia deserves the credit in many cases… That is why we have to find a cure for this stinking things, and fast!
- The prize awaits– I look sooooo forward to June 19th, when I can hop on the trail and see if all of the treadmill and trail time paid off enough. One way or another, I will make it. In dementia, two prizes await. Prize one: a white flower. The white flower signifies the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. First. None before. People run 35 miles all the time…350 probably. Heavier, less athletic ones do too. I get it. But people don’t beat dementia…yet. But what if we found a cure??? That is why I am going to run this trail…to hopefully raise funds to find a cure and bring out the white flowers! Watch this video again and dream with me. The second prize: For many million believers that have passed before her and for mom, her heavenly prize awaits. Heaven has no tears, no sadness, no sin, and no dementia… What a day that will be. Until then, we serve, we love, we advocate, we give, we care, and we fight to #EndALZ .
Update: Mom is struggling with problems breathing again. Probably aspirated food or drink again. Her fragile, yet fighting body struggles to clear her lungs from whatever the foreign substance was… Our care team has her taking breathing treatments and rotate her in bed to be sure nothing settles. She was toooooo tired for a good visit today although Steve and John gave it their best shot. This is truly a devastating disease. 🙁 Mom’s friend from the Sweet 17 continues to hold on. What a sweet, PB&J lovin’ lady she is…one of my very, very favorites there! Pray for her recovery, for mom’s lungs, and for the rest.
Thank you all…back to work. 35+ miles ain’t a runnin’ itself. 🙂