If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer. -Ecc 10:11
Happy Friday all! Another week has flown by faster than parts can fall off my car (and that seems quicker than ever!) 🙂
I was just reflecting a bit more on a happening from my preparation run last week, namely almost being bitten by a Copperhead. Here is the said Nope Rope:
He got me thinking about the topic at hand. (The collective sound of shock and robust slackjawedness is present) (Note: slackjawedness is apparently somewhat dubious as a word. Autocorrect requests blockheadedness as its best guess). Anywhoooo…
Some Things Nearly Getting Killed by a Copperhead Make Me Think About regarding Dementia
- Support matters– Support, as a running term, means typically that you have people either stationed nearby or following with provisions. These provisions include in no particular order: food, drinks, dry socks, first aid gear, encouragement, a Super Soaker squirt gun, a camera, and/or toilet paper (if you are running a monster distance. Without support, running becomes much more scary. Sure, we try to Beverly Hillbilly’s truck ourselves with gear and food and the like, but there are some things that this just doesn’t work on. We need help, regardless how block headed we are (note how fast I used their autocorrect suggestion. Thank you WordPress). If you are a caregiver, you also need help. Not only do you need it for the sake of your loved one, you need it for you. Taking care of yourself makes you a better caregiver. Getting help brings in more skills, it gives others a chance to be blessed, and it makes for a better situation as a whole. Make a list of things you need help getting done on a typical day/week/month…and have it available when someone asks what they can do! Getting help doesn’t make you less than…it makes you stronger. I had no support the day I was almost bit…and my cell signal was at zero bars. If he would have got me, I would have had to walk at least a mile before I could call for help. It would have gotten ugly.
- Temperature matters– The snake was sunnin’ on a patch of semi-pavement (smooth rock and in the sun). He actually struck at me a time or two even though I was over 6 feet away. He was warm and he was cranky. I wonder sometimes how conscious they are of their temp. Speaking of that, temperature becomes an issue in many folks with dementia. Whether it is their brain not processing the sensation of the temperature correctly or their brain actually overriding their thermostat like a grouchy dad who complains “Turn that thermostat down! Think we are made of money?!?!”, it is common to hear about folks with dementia wearing gloves and a coat outside in a 100 degree day. My mom did exactly that…or tried to. We coaxed her out of the coat, but she insisted on the white wool gloves. Remember, though, friend, them FEELING hot isn’t the same as them BEING hot. Don’t let them overheat. Heat stroke is deadly enough for a brain not struggling…
- Flexibility matters– It was miraculous that I missed landing on our little slithery friend. I (or the Lord) redirected my flight path in mid-air and I landed funky on my ankle but not bad enough to fall nor close enough to get bit. My ankle stiffened up, but the longer I ran, the looser it got. Such CAN be the experience of caregiving (although I speak more from stories than from personal 24/7 caregiving experience). Be flexible, but stay in schedule and routine as best you can. I realize that is sort of an oxymoron, but it needn’t be so. Try to stick to your plans the best you can…but be aware the apple cart may be upset and you have to wing it. Set this expectation in advance and plan on the unplanned. 🙂
- Teeth matter– This little dude’s teeth would have been a very inconvenient mess had he got me. Mom’s teeth were also a very inconvenient mess for a good 2 years. Here are some good links for teeth issues in dementia: LINK (This one is a great, short video) LINK LINK LINK
- Life matters– My niece Erin was bit on the ankle by a copperhead several years ago while at camp. She swelled up and spent some time in a hospital recovering. It was a mess, but she recovered. Her ranger, who cut the snake in two, was nearly not as fortunate. Even cutting the thing in half, it bit him while he was carrying it off and just about killed him. He was in the hospital a hot minute with a badly swollen hand and heart concerns caused by this event. But he made it. Life is so fragile that we don’t even realize the fragility until it is almost taken. That is why I beckon you to soak up every minute with your loved one. Don’t give up. Don’t stop visiting. Don’t quit trying. Your conversations will soon be one-sided, but we just don’t know how much they are processing and not responding to. Be strong, friends. 🙂 It is an honorable thing you are doing and you matter!
Bottom line: the snake missed me…or I missed it. I will be running the same path tomorrow for at least 20 miles getting tuned up. I may see him again and, if I do, I will video him. I have very little time left to prepare for this run. Every day counts. Here is the link if you would consider donating and the next one is if you would consider buying a shirt while they are still for sale. 🙂
Shirts (through the 10th): LINK
Sorry I always have my tin cup out. Thank you sooooooo m uch for your support in all ways. 🙂
Update: Missed seeing mom yesterday as I had to work from home. I will see her shortly today, though. 🙂 She seems to be about the same lately. She has lost a bit more weight, which is fine for now. She is eating pretty well, but the serving sizes are smaller per doctor’s orders. She is a wonderful mom…I wish you could have known her quite a while ago…
Have a great weekend, friends! Wish me success at the KU clinical study early next week. I won’t have a post Monday, but will try to update you Wednesday about it…and I always overshare on my Facebook. 🙂