Posted on Pi Day, 2022 (3.14….2022)
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
Happy Pi-Day, you’all! 🙂
May your lattice be lit!
May your crust be bubble-free!
May your filling be…filling (This means you ate it for lunch…)
May your slices be big and your joy be peach!
May you achieve an appropriate flakiness?
May your slices be big and your joy be peach!
ok…the analogies run dry a little…It is the first DST Monday.
Anyway…have a great day. I hope you have at least 3.14x more joy than you did yesterday. 🙂
Happy, groggy because of the Daylight Non-Savings Time to ya!
.(wheeze. Mumble sound: “Taxes need to be filled out” Teeth grind.)
I’m awake! I was just letting my eyes rest!
Anyway. Happy first Daylight Savings Time Monday to you all too. I am super sleepy. I ran 26 miles Saturday and Sunday (12+, then 13+) and another 4+ today. That plus the time change has me jones’n for some nappytime, but I press on….knowing that many, many of you are NOT afforded the luxury of sleeping with both eyes shut on a good day. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you to stay strong and to find joy in the sadness, even if only through a small piece of pie.
I was thinking about a meme on the way to work and thought it a good way to describe my heart right now. Here is said meme (an a couple other ones I found funny regarding the topic) :
In the interest of public safety, though, here is an emergency plan should you face a quicksandy doom:
Ok. While the chances are EXTREMELY small,they are never zero. EXAMPLE
Quicksand used to seem like such a real and present danger growing up. I was prepared for it, though. In fact, I was taught all sorts of things about being safe around certain killers. I knew to stop, drop, and roll should I ever be caught on fire. I knew that hiding under a school desk was safe for protecting against nuclear bombs. I knew that smoking causes cancer and should be avoided. (Not enough to make it illegal…just enough to make a bunch of taxes off of a highly addictive substance.) I learned all sorts of things about the rare killers of our world.
However, I never learned much about a very common killer, especially in my family it seems: dementia.
How is Dementia like Quicksand? Let me count the ways:
- It traps you and, unlike the real thing, is not escapable, even by the Houdinis of the world.
- Having it, and caregiving those who have it, slowly squeezes the life out of you. Every thing you try to do, just like the movie version (and the opposite of reality), is at best neutral and at worst makes it worse. Once you check in, like a mixed metaphor’ed roach motel, you never check out.
- Part of what makes it soooooo nefarious is the slowness with which it kills. My mom has been on hospice for over 2 years. If it were a baby delivery (since mixing metaphors is fair game since I am the writer), mom has been in hard labor for about 6 months.
- Aloneness is often a feature of this sandy death. Falling in the quicksand in movies is often something that starts alone for the star. Eventually, unless they are a Nazi or a red-shirted Star Trek crew member, they are rescued at the last second by a vine-tossing hero. In dementia, the vine is made of bungee.
- Helplessness. Doomedness. (Making up words is also ok on my blog.)
- Trapped, claustrophobia-inducing suffocation- A common cause of dying in dementia is aspirating food or drink (choking and/or especially pneumonia/lung issues caused therein). A common cause of dying in quicksand is being in a movie featuring A quicksand scene.
- Despair. Tiredness.
So what can you take from this? I mean, I have mixed fun and gloom in my typical cornbread mixing bowl here and haven’t given you much in the way of good news. Allow me to summarize in one paragraph of disjointed thoughts:
Quicksand death is exceedingly rare. Dementia death is exceedingly common. The Facts and Figures edition for 2022 comes out this week which is an annual publication telling the state of the disease. I expect the numbers to be high and also expect to see that MANY of our loved ones with dementia died of Covid. Want to die of lung issues? Have dementia, get Covid, and have a Do Not Resuscitate Order. Mom had all three….and survived. 🙂 What is the best way to avoid death by dementia or quicksand? Prevention!
Quicksand: Stay out of movies with quicksand scenes.
In dementia, do this:
- Eat the Mediterranean Diet or another heart-healthy variant of it. What is good for the heart is good for the brain!!!
- Keep your blood pressure in check
- Keep your blood sugar in check
- Keep your stress level in check
- Sleep at least 3 cycles per night…typically 7.5-9 hours
- Guard your head against injury
- Exercise! At least 4 sessions per week of 30+ minutes. It should be, if possible, easy enough to still talk, but strong enough that you couldn’t sing.
- VERY little alcohol and no smoking.
- Get out and be involved. Keep your mind busy. I know some people sell games or apps (or pills) to help your brain…and those may be ok, but a busy, always-learning mind is more resilient. Get a hobby. Read! Learn some computer programming…believe it or not, you can. Play music. Paint. Sing.
- Recognize and get help if you have depression. Meditate/pray/get therapy.
- Treat other, seemingly unrelated conditions seriously.
- Avoid falls.
As many as 33–40% of dementia cases are PREVENTABLE. I have seen reputable studies that suggest even higher numbers! Even as high as 60 percent! It takes commitment to the above list, but it can be done in most cases.
Last summary of the summary: Avoid quicksand and the movies they feature. Take care of yourself, especially your heart, and your brain will likely do quite well. 🙂
One last thought: The “Unexpected Blessing”. Can I just say that dementia is slow. It isn’t quick-sand fast, it is SlothSand slow. While it is exhausting to care for our loved ones through many years…possibly a couple of decades in some cases (mom is well over 10), it is a blessing in some ways:
- I have had hundreds of chances to say goodbyes…. and to love mom with hugs and songs and time.
- She is at peace right now at least.
- She is still fun to be with most days and is always a blessing to have near.
- All days haven’t been bad days. Most have been good.
- Caring for mom over these years has grown me as a person in many ways..probably more than I realize.
- She knew the road she was entering and was prepared mentally and spiritually. We weren’t mentally prepared, but the journey has certainly strengthened us spiritually as we all yearn for the day when we can meet again in a place with no dementia (or quicksand, for that matter…)
Update: Mom is about the same. I am eating lunch with her today and supper tomorrow after our support group. No news is good news. She has had a chest rumble for a week, but it isn’t getting worse.
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple update: I ran a lot(!) over the weekend, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I ran 12+ Saturday, 13.1 yesterday, and another 4 thise morning before work. I hope to do 15 and 15 this Saturday and Sunday. My goal if to do back-to-back marathon days on those two days BY late April. Then I need to do it again a couple of times in May. I need to at least do one full Frisco run in May too for the mental part of the process. It takes a village, though. I have to lean on family to be my drink/food stops. I will get there, somehow. 🙂 This disease needs to go and I will continue to fight just like mom continues to fight.
Here is my fundraiser link if you could help in the fight: LINK
Last running thought: there are NO signs of quicksand on the Frisco and I have ran all parts of it many times. I won’t leave the path, though…just in case. 😉
Here are some more examples of rare, but slightly possible killers: