Looking UP

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I have been blogging for a little over a year now.  I have visited the sites of many other bloggers and met some wonderful and interesting people.  This post is not about blogs, this post is about “Looking Up” to the Heavens and asking yourself why God put you on this earth.  How can you make this earth a better place for others.  How often are you “Helping Others” overcome challenges in their lives?

I started this blog trying to help others learn how to cope with being a Dementia Caregiver.  I spent 3 1/2 years caring for, and dealing with the problems of, my brother J.R. who had dementia.  I know I was never the perfect caregiver.  Stress and constant conflict with DHS, lawyers, nurses, doctors, hospitals, and finally nursing homes caused me immense sorrow, and totally overwhelmed me.  I had no life of my own, all caregivers know, you have to give up your life for the one you care for and love.  The worse part of my caregiver journey was watching nursing home doctors and staff use drugs to control my brother the last year of his life.  They were using antipsychotic drugs that were intended for mental issues.  Dementia is not mental, it is the brain slowly dying, slowly shrinking.  I never used drugs of any kind to alter my brother’s brain when I cared for him in my home for 2 1/2 years.

My heart fills with compassion for those who have any type of disease or disability that alters their life.  Life on this earth is hard, and it is challenging, even when you are physically healthy.  We all need to reach out to those who are suffering.

Throughout my “Dementia Caregiver Journey” my strength came from God and my family.  Each morning I would stand at the kitchen window alone, looking up to the heavens. Everyday I prayed to God to help all those who need His care and comfort to make it through another day.

The Power of Prayer

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Each and every time you think you are going to catch that close up picture of a buzzard in flight, that buzzard sails away in another direction.  Try capturing one of these if you have motion sickness like me – a few staggers here and there and this was the results. Good job huh!!!!!  Ha

The erratic flight of this buzzard reminds me of what I have been going through these last 10 days with my brother J.R. and his dementia.  I have found a lot of sad stories on-line and on blogs of families dealing with loved ones with dementia.  Breaks my heart to read these stories, such sorrow and stress.

The last 10 days for me have been full of anger, sorrow, and stress.  I took my aggressive personality out of the closet, stood up for myself, did not let anyone walk all over me.  Did I accomplish things – yep (but only with God’s help)!  Got medical issues solved for my brother, found out why he was violent (sever bladder infection and abscess in that area), and located another nursing home with a dementia unit.  All the prayers of my family and friends were answered. Thank you God was the first thing I said when that last phone call gave me the good news of a better place for my brother to live.  Never underestimate the power of God.

Support of Others during trials and tribulations

During those times of extreme stress and tribulation when you think you are alone and no one cares, someone does something that lets you know they care.

I was caring for my brother who has dementia when my spouse became very ill and was hospitalized with meningitis.  Traveling so far to the hospital, taking my brother with me to see my spouse, for 42 days, was overwhelming.  During that time a Christian friend picked a greeting card to send to me and many other Christians signed that card.  The words touched my heart more than I can tell you.  I have kept that card for 2 years and passed these words on to others who are suffering:

 I don’t know how our heavenly Father,

   straightens out the crooked pathways we face,

or fills the valleys we walk through,

   or removes the mountains that block our way . . .

. . .but I’m asking Him to do those very things,

 for you today.

God did those things for me and I know it was through the prayers of hundreds of good people all over the world. The doctors said they had done all they could do and it was up to God to heal my spouse.  God healed my spouse.  I have seen the power of God through prayer many times in my lifetime.  So, reach out and comfort others, let them know you care.  As my Granddaughter says, “Say hello to the stranger you meet, give them a smile.”  You just might make their whole day better.

Dealing with the tragedies of life

I never thought I would come this far in learning to operate and deal with the technology of what I call “Computerism”.  That may be a dumb word to many of you, but I often make up words to suit myself.

From the time I was a child my mother told me, “Kid, sqaure those shoulders, lift that chin and face the world head on.”  My mother is gone now, bless her soul, dementia took my mother from me years ago.   I have always tried to be strong, do it all myself, but as the years have gone by I have learned it never hurts to ask for help.

I have spent the last 2 1/2 years caring for my brother who is in the middle stages of dementia.  My brother is younger than me and much younger than our mother was when she was diagnosed with dementia.  Thats only half of the dementia story.  My sister, who is 4 years older than me, is dying in a nursing home with dementia.  My younger brother, who is the baby of us 4 siblings, has just been diagnosed with dementia.  So, I say to myself, Why am I still standing, why is my brain still functioning, when my whole family has dementia.  Only God could give me that answer.  Perhaps the answer is because I need to be a caregiver for my brother, who was a caregiver for our mother.  My story is sad, it is long and if any of you out there that read this blog need help with lawyers, DHS, acquiring Medicaid, I have been there and I have done it.  If I had not been a secretary for years, I would not have been able to do all the paperwork it took to disengage my brother from a business partner in another state who was stealing all of his assets.  Taking advantage of someone with dementia is a criminal act, but generally they never get punished.

I managed to get Medicaid long term care for my brother after hiring a lawyer and battling DHS for 5 months.  Paid the lawyer, paid a hefty penalty, but I guess I won one for my brother.  I never wanted to put my brother in a nursing home, but caring for someone with dementia is one of the most stressful things to deal with in life.

It is a deep and sorrowful sadness, to the depths of ones soul, to watch someone you love so much fade into the world of dementia.  Does the sorrow get easier each day?  No, the sorrow is there amid your daily life and one has to learn to find happiness despite the sorrow.  As my Mama said, “Face the world head on.”