Author: nhagal

Mom, Wife, Certified Advanced Trainer of the Nurtured Heart Approach®; Consultant to the Children's Success Foundation, Website Admin, Full-time Elder-Care giver; Creator of Greatness Media, Mixed Media Design Team Member, Word-Smith

blessed for sure

Thanksgiving has come and gone… and we had a very quiet one.  Grateful for each and every moment we get to spend with Mom.  It could have been so much different if the stroke had been any worse.

November 17th just as we were prepping to get Mom ready for bed, she collapsed.  We are very fortunate that EMS arrived within 5 minutes of our 911 call.  Mom was on her way to the hospital within 10 minutes -and by the time we arrived, she was having a CT done and her room was ready in the ER.  Mom was responsive and alert when we saw her about 20 minutes later.  She recognized my brother and said, “That’s my son, Pete.”  Such joy for my brother!  And I was just thrilled that she’d gotten a full sentence out and her words were clear as a bell.

We spent the next couple of hours at the hospital.  Mom was doing well enough to come home.  We all got to catch up on a bit of sleep and decompress a bit.

She’s doing remarkably well since that episode.  We’ve completed the follow-ups with her primary and her neuro. Neither see any residual effects and were even surprised that she answered some questions for them that she hadn’t been able to do in previous visits!

Fast forward to yesterday.  We had our traditional family gathering with the family.  Most everyone was able to be there.  We’re all grateful for the privilege we have of spending one more Season of Giving and Loving with Mom.  Lots of precious memories were shared and I’m pretty sure that most everyone spent more time doing the same on their trips home.  More time was spent sharing stories than taking pictures.  We’ll take those pictures with Mom today and add them to the growing “library” of memories in our family’s dropbox folder.

Wishing you all joy-filled moments and memories to treasure today and throughout the days to come.  Happy Holidays!

     Our thoughts shape who we are.

 

the harvest

Throughout our lives we have planted seeds in our relationships.  I often wonder will the harvest shared with my kids be as sweet as the “harvest” we are now sharing with Mom during this season of her life?


My thoughts about the current harvest that is underway is that we have been blessed beyond measure!  Mom’s efforts throughout her years has been one of nurturing gentleness, kindness, compassion, joy, laughter with a generous supply of humor.  She has tended this garden for all of her years.  She hasn’t withheld her love nor her faith with each of us.  She’s plucked the weeds and tended to the plantings with tenderness and more love than we may have been entitled to in the moment —

As we go about our part now, as her caregivers tending to her garden (memories, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) we want to ensure that the legacy of a bountiful harvest will continue on.

Gratitude nurtures the love we have for her.  The beautiful scenes she painted that hang in our homes will continue to remind us of her talent and the joy that painting brought to her for so many years.  The family favorite recipes that we’ll cook, bake and serve throughout the holidays as we remember with fondness the joy that gourmet cooking brought to her heart and delighted our palettes as we grew up.  Hand-crafted gifts and one of a kind holiday cards will continue to bring us joy as we continue the traditions that have blessed our family for so many years.

And mostly, the word REMEMBER will continue to be the best nutrient for our soil as we prepare for the next season of growing and harvest.

Beautiful things happen every day

I love this image… it’s one of my favorite sunsets.  Regardless of what the day has held, I look forward to seeing the colors in the sky each evening.  They remind me of the “gifts” we’ve been blessed with that day.

We’ve awakened, our eyes have seen the sunrise and now the sunset.  We’ve enjoyed each other’s company.  Shared a laugh, a smile and maybe even albeit, too short, lucid conversations or moment of clarity where there may have been none only a moment previously.

Care-giving can be tough.. but there are multiple joys as well if we choose to look, see and delight in them.

My challenge for you, dear readers, is to make the moments count today and at the end of the day, reflect on one of the many “gifts” you’ve experienced throughout the day.  Let it lift your spirits and prepare you for more beauty in the days to come.

another day

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Today, will be just another ordinary day.  Nothing spectacular happening.  Nothing notable on the calendar…. at least it’s that way from Mom’s perspective.  To me, it’s a whole different story!

We have another opportunity to share space and time with Mom.  An experience we wouldn’t have imagined being possible a few short years ago! We get to experience everything at a “heart” level.

So grateful for
each and every smile.
moments of laughter
tapping of toes in time to the music
songs sung
shared meals
relationship
heartfelt connections
occasional bursts of conversation
zingers
rare moments of lucidity
recall of a memory from long ago
the occasional calling me by name
sense of humor
humility
curiosity
….

Looking forward to a #bestday kind of day!  Nothing says this is just “another day” in my books.

a new season

As always, every day brings something new our way in this journey with Alzheimer’s.  As easy it might be to fall in the woo is me trap, we find joy in every day we have with Mom despite the “junk” that sometimes creeps up on us.

The leaves have begun to change into brilliant shades of gold, yellow, orange and red.  The mountains are boasting their first dusting of snow on the peaks and it was such a beautiful sight to behold. The colors begin to fade — just as memories continue to fade even more with Mom.

Late night conversations, bursts of energy to cook, answer the door, find something that might be lost have been our latest challenges… Grateful she still wants to do something, even if it’s 2 am or another 0’dark thirty time.  Smiles and eyes that twinkle are still an everyday thing.  Laughter, tapping to music, favorite foods and a root beer shake are highlights of our week.  Speech is becoming less frequent and garbled at times, but there are still those moments that Mom brings us to our knees with a zinger!  LOVE IT!

treasures

it never ceases to amaze me when we “catch” that moment of lucidity, share a laugh, cry a little or hug, or stumble upon an idea that changes the course of things….  (https://greatitudes.com/2018/06/24/a-month-of-changes/)

This week we had a routine visit with Mom’s primary care physician.  He seemed genuinely thrilled with Mom’s current state of health and was even more impressed to notice that her hair was growing back in  (Yes, that’s a big deal!) and that there were no open wounds from “picking.”  We talked about the change in medication of one of her prescriptions and how that change in dosage was making a difference in the intensity of the headaches but more importantly the “deep itching” on her scalp and sometimes other places on her body.

It’s taken a couple of months to get to this point of 20 minutes or so of  “not-picking”, but it’s so been worth it.  We are grateful to the medical professionals who were willing to listen and let us advocate and try something a little different to see if it made a difference for Mom and hopefully, it might make a difference for another patient in their care experiencing the same issues.

Today, we’ll not take for granted one single moment.  We’ll treasure each one and the joy they can bring.

Karen Salmonsohan

 

July has come and gone

Oh My!  Where has time gone?  I’ve thought about sharing a few updates over the course of the last 6 weeks, but continue to get waylaid by life and time spent with Mom.

If you read my last post, you know that the last round of PT visits didn’t quite go as planned.  The PTA wasn’t the best fit for Mom and it was difficult to get Mom to do the exercises when the PTA wasn’t here.  We did learn a few things with that experience… and have resolved that Mom’s well being doesn’t always mean bringing in an army of reinforcements.

We still experience daily, weekly, monthly highs and lows, but overall, the past month wasn’t as much of a low as the one before.  Change is hard and upon reflection, probably as difficult for the caregiver to handle/accept as it is for everyone else.

About 2 weeks ago, the finishing touches were added to the wheelchair ramp.  It makes it so much easier to get Mom in and out and spend a little bit of time outside every few days — we haven’t been able to do that recently since the air quality has been so bad due to the recent wildfires in the area.  But when we have been outside, it’s definitely worth the smiles and seeing her eyes light up as she takes in the sights and sounds.


A side note:  Self-care for the caregiver is again at the top of my list.  I hope you do the same.  Despite the fact that I can’t control the number of hours of sleep I get at night right now, I can and do make time to take a walk, observe nature, get a little bit of sunshine, read, study, take a class, shop, go to lunch, and make time to do a few other things I enjoy.

It’s been a blessing at so many levels. We can do so much together with the right support.

Remember, Be Kind to YOURSELF!  No one else can be the kind of caregiver you were meant to be.