A woman cries in pain

Pain comes in many forms to different people.

November 16, 2012 – Pain:  Something we all experience in many forms yet it remains undecribed and unmeasured because there is no scale or other device to record those calculations.  The severity of the pain may be determined really bad as medics watch a patient’s blood pressure skyrocket under many kinds of duress, or the doctor will summarize it with, “She/he is in a lot of pain.”

A friend might say, “I feel your pain.”  Perhaps.  But to what degree?  So the remark should be graciously accepted for what it is: concern, sympathy, comfort, recognition or even empathy for where you are in life’s battle at that moment, and for what discomfort you are feeling – either mentally, emotionally, physically or all of the above. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-11-17 21:48:36.


junk mail

Responding to donations for one cause resulted in a whole slew of more requests.



June 8, 2012 — There are times when I look back on Ken’s diagnosis and wonder if he went into immediate denial or if he just didn’t understand the full ramifications of Alzheimer’s.


I did write about Crohn’s a while back in “Okay, Give Me My Shot,” loosely defining it because it has been a major health issue with Ken for decades.  Among the indicators of the disease is pain. To eliminate the pain and the accompanying symptoms of Crohn’s required an extreme change in diet.  High protein, low residue: meat, potatoes and white bread.  “That’s all,” the doctor said. Continue reading

Originally posted 2012-06-09 04:50:06.


Ken is sleeping longer now, but by ten in the morning I begin the waking process.  Opening our bedroom door and with my best cheery voice I call out, “Wake up sleepy head, it’s shower day.”   Moving across the room to pull up the blinds I am greeted with a grunt.   “Shower day,” I repeat.   “Not today,” he grumbled.  That’s a first from a guy who once showered twice on a warm and sweaty day.   “Okay,” I tell him, “it’s all right stay in bed a little longer.”

I was certain that when I returned in 10 to 15 minutes and suggested showering again he would be ready and willing.  He did not.  Taking his jeans and shirt into the bathroom, he shaved and dressed.  The next morning I went through the same routine, but again there was no shower.  He made excuses such as, “Why should I shower, I’m not dirty.”  It wasn’t two days, it was actually three because I have been scheduling his shower every other day.

I’m never really sure which of Ken’s three personalities I am waking in the morning?   Is it Ken, Mr. Hyde or is it Buddy?  All three are grumpy, but before Alzheimer’s Ken would have been up for hours.   Gradually the disease has put an end to Ken as a morning person and to make matters worse, he has developed shingles.  The sporadic pain plagues him with a vengeance all through his back and across the front of his upper torso.  The doctor tells me that when older people get the ailment it  usually stays the rest of their life.  It would appear that’s the case with Ken.

No matter which of the three personalities are present in the morning he still complains about pain.   In an effort to bring him some comfort, I tell him how sorry I am that he hurts.  He answers with, “It’s not your fault.”   Hoping to change his shower refusal to “yes,” I counter, “The warm water will make you feel better.”  And actually it does, but he answers, “No it won’t and it’s not your back.”   I leave him alone and return later to try again.  He is insistent, “No.”  It’s day four without a shower.  “You’re beginning to stink,” I tell him as he passes me in the hall fully dressed.”  “So do you,” he shoots back.  “No I don’t.  I took my shower.”  I’m losing this battle and I’m not sure what to do next about his personal hygiene.

It’s day five without a shower and Sunday.  Sleeping as late as he does we haven’t been getting to church.  In the past when I have greeted him with, “We’re going to church, you had better shower and shave,” he was always willing to shower before getting into his “good” clothes.   Even in his demented state he wanted to be at his best to enter the Lord’s house.

This particular Sunday I too slept late.  As we lay in bed I mentioned that we had been invited to our daughter’s house for an early dinner.  “You had better take a shower,” I said.  “Why?” he questioned.   “Because we’re going out and you need to be clean.  Remember?”  He thought for a moment then said, “I’ll see what mommie wants me to do.”  With that I knew he was 12-year-old Buddy, and possibly an even younger Buddy with his reference to  “mommie.”   Picking up on the clue I decided it might be in my best interest to take on a third personality for myself; that of his sister, Loretta.  I began, “Mom left me in charge today and she said I was to see that you took a shower.”  So, in addition to Carla, Mr. Hyde’s housekeeper/cook/caregiver; I am also Loretta, Buddy’s older, bossy sister.   Apparently, it all worked.  Buddy took a shower.

The shower problem might have been just a phase, a momentary pause in his personal care routine, but to be on the safe side I now suggest that he shower every morning.   It’s for certain that he won’t comply on a daily basis —  and if  he does that’s all right.   If not, then at least my chances of success are considerably increased.   Furthermore, when Buddy is present, I have also decided to take on the role of Loretta  and make every effort to address him as “Buddy” rather than Ken.  He seems to take comfort in hearing the “family” reference.   The top advantage of my being Loretta is that it will give me the authority to answer any “Why” questions.  As the big sister in charge I can just say, “Because mom said so!”

Originally posted 2009-03-16 05:05:58.

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