Sunday, February 21, 2021

Trash or Treasure?

 


I’m fighting a paper war and I think I might be losing. My furniture is back in my office after replacing the water-damaged carpet with porcelain tile. I have returned some of the pared down files to my file cabinets, but I still have tubs galore to go through.

 

The goal is to spend at least an hour a day going through the boxes in the family room to decide what to throw away and what to keep. I’m trying to be heartless. When I see newsletters, articles, scrapbooks (mine and others), and books upon books I try to determine what is still important enough to keep. I don’t want to waste office space with projects that have been put on hold for ten years. 

 

To complicate matters—my dumpster is full and has been for two weeks. It’s past time for the pickup, but they just keep putting me off, the weather, you know. Yes, I know, but tell it to the dumpster and the full trash bags waiting for a place to be stashed.

 

I try not to spend a lot of time on the paper war—just glance, toss, or file. I finally tackled Jim’s file. But, I couldn’t help but be sidetracked with the memories pressed within the pages. I kept everything in the bulging file—at least for now. I found his long lost original birth certificate. I could remember it had a few weird things on it. First off, his middle name was supposed to be Dee, not D. I know for certain that Jim wasn’t the first born of twins or triplets. And he had three older siblings, not two. I still didn’t find his brain autopsy report. I thought if I went through the file carefully, it would appear as mysteriously as the long-lost birth certificate.

 

My next stumbling block was Virginia’s file. My mother-in-law was my “other mother.” I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it was for her to watch Jim’s decline. Until her health failed, she looked after him. She cried when I told her I was going to hire caregivers so that she could take care of herself. I don’t know if she was relieved, or upset that I didn’t think she could watch after him.

 

Jim was getting to be a handful. He kept taking off down the road and Virginia would follow him in her car. She would call me on her “car phone” and keep track of him until I could come home from work. He just wouldn’t get in her car. Another time he took off all his clothes in the yard and she couldn’t get him to put them back on. I assured her that since he was in our yard on a country road that anyone driving by would just have to look the other way. By the time I made it home, she had him inside and dressed.

 

Other than my mother and sister, no one even came close to being as good with Jim as his mom was. Being Jim’s caregiver was a labor of love for her.

,

After Jim passed away, we had an informal service. Jim’s friend Gary was officiating and when I told him some stories for the services, he said he wanted me to tell them. I didn’t think that was appropriate, but both of my sons agreed with him.

 

After Jim’s services, Virginia told me that she wanted the same kind of service when she passed away. When Virginia was nearing the end of her life, I went to her house one day and asked her to tell me some stories.

 

In her file, I saw the document that I wrote for her services. I read through the pages and laughed at the memories of her younger days. By the time I reached the end, my tears were dripping onto the page.

 

My heart ached for the days when all the family gathered at Bill and Virginia’s to share a meal, play cards, or enjoy music in the yard. The laughter and love of those days are treasures firmly entrenched in my soul. Those who have left this earthly home are only a memory away.

 

Copyright © February 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Super Sunday

 


On Super Bowl Sunday, we Missourians are super happy to have the Chiefs in the big for the second time after their long dry spell. Jim was a dedicated fan and proudly wore his Chiefs gear through the years of heartbreaking losses. He always looked forward to the next year when he was sure they would go to the Super Bowl.

 

For years, the Chiefs playing in the Super Bowl was on my “bucket” list. I was beginning to wonder if I would live long enough to see the big day. I would say, foolishly of course, “I don’t even care if they win. I just want them to make it!” Well, I reneged on that statement immediately after they won the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

 

I truly regretted that Jim didn’t get to see his beloved Chiefs go back to the Super Bowl. When Jim was a teenager, he boxed at a Boy’s Club in Kansas City where he met Lenny Dawson.

 

When Jim was in the early stages of dementia, he decided he wanted a Chief’s coat. One weekend, we looked everywhere in town, but he didn’t find the one he wanted. I went to work on Monday and when I got home, Jim proudly showed me the Kansas City Chiefs coat he had bought.

 

“Where did you get the coat?” I asked.

 

“Kansas City,” he replied. “They didn’t want to let me in. Said I needed a card.”

 

“Was it Sam’s?”

 

“Yeah. I told them I wanted a Chief’s coat.” He went on in his broken vocabulary to tell me that he had told them he was a Vietnam veteran and had fought for freedom. Freedom, which to him, meant they shouldn’t keep him out of a store he wanted to go into.

 

After more prodding, Jim finally related that someone made the decision to let him in the store, and he paid for the coat with his debit card.

 

“How much did it cost?” I asked

 

“I have no idea,” he replied.

 

“Well, it is a nice looking coat. I guess I’ll find out how much it was when I get the bank statement.”

 

Some years the Chiefs were so bad that fans were wearing bags over their heads at the games. Jim, on the other hand, sported his collection of Chief’s shirts at the nursing home, unaware of who was winning the game on his TV. He could see the Chiefs playing and that was good enough for him.

 

As the Chief’s go the Super Bowl today, it is on the heels of the news that former Chief’s head coach Marty Schottenheimer was moved to a hospice care facility. Schottenheimer, now seventy-seven years old, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. I hope he gets to watch the Super Bowl today. Although he coached several different teams throughout twenty-one seasons, I’m sure he will be rooting for the team wearing the red shirts.

 

Super Bowl Sunday—and the Chief’s are playing. Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Copyright © February 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Upside Down


I think maybe the best way to describe how my world has been for the last twelve months is “upside down.” I’ve told people jokingly that I think my brain has turned to mush. I can’t seem to keep the days, or sometimes months, straight anymore. I routinely misplace my to-do list and wander about the house trying to remember what important tasks I needed to do.

A few days ago, Harold was talking to me, the dog was checking out the floor, and I was putting on my socks. Harold made that “ah,ah,ah” noise like you do when someone is doing something wrong. I looked at the dog fully expecting her to be trying to eat an un-eatable object.

 

“You are putting a sock over a sock,” he said. Sure enough, I had one bare foot and one with two socks. That’s typical for the way things have been going lately.

 

Upside down meant we could no longer play music at the nursing homes, but it also meant that I became brave enough, or foolhardy enough, to post videos of “Linda and her uke” online. I would never have considered such a thing before the pandemic.

 

We’ve had a year of living Murphy’s law…if it could go wrong, it would go wrong. Right now most of our basement, including my office, is upside down. That should start being righted when the flooring crew shows up later this week.

 

My body feels upside down. After a few months reprieve from the arthritic pain, I’m having a major flare up, when I need to be physically active righting my office.

 

It seems that every so often we have to go through these times of upheaval. I crave peace and the days when tragedy stuck only occasionally. I’m being worn slick by chaos and death. People I loved died, and I couldn’t go to their funerals, but more often services were postponed until later, meaning when the pandemic is under control.

 

I seldom go to town, but during the past week, I’ve gone twice. The first time I went to town was to get the Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19. I’ve never been so excited to get a shot in my life.

 

Saturday, I had to go to town in the pouring rain. I was amazed at the heavy traffic and the number of cars at restaurants. Life was going on, as if there were no tomorrow, or pandemic.

 

I’ve lived through upside down times before. For ten years I watched Jim change from an intelligent, loving husband who loved to sing and play his guitar, to a silent man who depended on others to provide the most basic care. After he passed away, when I left work and headed toward home instead of the nursing home, I felt the emptiness and loss wash over me in waves of pain. It took time, lots of time, for life to seem normal again.

 

The thing about upside down is it forces an entirely different perspective. My mom and I were talking about how life has so drastically changed during the pandemic. “I think people will never go back to doing all the things they did before,” she said, “but it would be nice to go into the store and buy my own groceries.”

 

I agree. I don’t think I’ll ever fill my life with so much outside activities again. There have been distinct advantages to spending so much time at home. I’ve already filled spaces with other work and hobbies. I’ve had time to think about what I’ve missed the most—spending time with friends and family.

 

The past twelve months brought a multitude of changes, and change hasn’t always been bad. In fact, creative solutions are often better than the “way we always did it.” For example, the drive-thru Cooperative Annual Meeting was a favorite of mine. We heard all the pertinent information through the car radio, voted for by-law amendments and directors, picked up our door prize (credit on the electric bill) and were done in record time.

 

The “walk everywhere” Walk to End Alzheimer’s had its good points. As my friend WyAnn said, “We don’t have to get up before dawn to set up.” Also, we weren’t biting our nails over the weather. The downside was not seeing other walkers, or enjoying the atmosphere and excitement of working together toward our goal. Another downside, we weren’t able to raise as much. That was partly due to people going through hard times and not being able to have normal in person visits or normal fundraisers.

 

The exciting news is that we may be able to have an in person Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year. It will be more work and I’m not sure how I’ll fit that into my new schedule.

 

Maybe by fall (or sooner!) we can be right side up again and return to some of our pre-pandemic behavior. We’ve developed new skills and habits, so we can select only those activities that are meaningful to us. Lifestyles can be adjusted to embrace the best of both worlds.

 

Copyright © January 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

I’m for Love


Tuesday morning, I had a strange dream, which isn’t unusual for me. I dream a lot and while I forget many of them, some dreams nag me throughout the next day.

 

In my dream, I was working on a word search puzzle, and a man sitting nearby looked over my shoulder. “I see an important phrase,” he said. I asked where and he pointed it out.

 

I opened my eyes and looked at my cell phone to see if it was time to get my first cup of coffee. I forced my aching body out of my nice warm bed and went to the kitchen. I carried my first cup back to bed to relax before walking the dog and cooking breakfast.

 

While I was eating breakfast, I grabbed my pen to finish the word search I had started the day before. As soon as I looked at the puzzle, I realized the phrase the man in my dream had pointed out to me was “I’m for Love.” Well, it wasn’t in the puzzle in front of me, but I knew it was the title of an old country song. I couldn’t remember much about the song but the chorus.

 

After breakfast, I sat in front of my computer and thought I’d check out the lyrics and chords for the song. I typed in I’m and up popped “I’m for Love lyrics and chords.” Now if I’d said it aloud or had previously searched for the song, that wouldn’t have been quite so strange.

 

I picked up my ukulele, played the song, and sang it. Wow, those words were uncanny for these times.

 

A lot of people are for love, but sometimes it’s not easy. I always called an Alzheimer’s caregiver’s love “unconditional” love. I was used to having love reciprocated, but when Jim lived in the world of dementia, he didn’t show his love anymore except during rare moments of clarity.

 

Our marriage wasn’t perfect, but dementia made it more imperfect than I had ever imagined. No matter whether we argued (loud talked), worked through depression (his and mine), or struggled to pay the bills, the one constant in our marriage was love.

 

I’m for love. Without love, life seems kind of pointless. Love comes in many forms whether it is romantic love or love for family, friends, or God. It can even be unconditional love. Sure, when you put your heart out there, you open yourself up to a world of hurt, but more importantly, you can find the secret to the puzzle of life. It’s there in plain sight.

 

I played my ukulele and posted “I’m for Love” to Facebook. I thought with all the oddities that led me to that song, its message might resonate with someone that needed it. Oh, sure the part about being against cats in the house might have offended cat lovers. Truthfully, I shared my house with a cat for nine years.

 

I promised to tell in a blog post the story behind choosing that song to sing. As if I would forget, I opened up my blog folder to write this post, and discovered the lyrics and chords of “I’m for Love.” Huh? How did that get in the blog folder? I opened my song folder where it should have been saved, and sure enough, the song wasn’t there.

 

A simple cut and paste fixed the error. Now if I can just cut the negativity of today and paste it to yesterday where it belongs, I’ll have much more room for love and happiness.

 

Copyright © January 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ
 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Light the Dark

 


We started the New Year in the dark. An ice storm had hit during the sleeping hours, and when I woke up at 5:30 in the morning the lamp flashed off and on, then off. Our emergency lighting came on. I immediately called the electric cooperative to report the outage.

 

In that moment, I regretted that we still did not have an automatic switch on our generator. The generator shed was practically in the yard, but with a layer of ice, neither one of us was capable of traipsing across the yard to light the dark.

 

At daylight, we called for reinforcements, and Harold’s cousin came and flipped the switch. Our neighbor who used to tell us when the electricity came back on has a generator too. Through our conversation with the neighbor, we learned that the cooperative had an app for that.

 

Ice is a good example of treacherous beauty. Looking out at the glistening trees and icicles from a warm house is a feast for the eyes. Trying to drive on slick roads, or to walk on an icy sidewalk, is dicey.

 

I’m not ashamed to admit that I used to be petrified to drive on ice. One time when Jim was in the early stages of dementia, I had him drive me to work. I trusted his driving much more than mine. I eventually learned to navigate the car on ice-covered roads, but it made me nervous. The first hurdle was getting up enough speed to go up the grade to the east. Sometimes, the best plan was to head west and go down into the dip and up the hill.

 

I’ve spent my life trying to light the dark. Even during the darkest times of dementia, I sought the bright moments—when Jim’s eyes lit up when I walked in his door at the nursing home, when the shower went well and he enjoyed the Rubber Ducky song, or the rare times he spoke.

 

The past year was filled with personal darkness. I lost two beloved sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law. I lost friends and saw other friends cope with their own dark days. We grieved together, and we found the strength to live with the loss and walked into the light together.

 

Our country has fallen into dark days. We’ve watched in horror as the pandemic has swept across our nation, sowing denial and harvesting lives. Covid-19 claimed the lives of celebrities, and more painfully, our relatives, friends, and neighbors.

 

We are a country divided. Too many choose politics over family, extremism over reasonableness, hate over love, conspiracy over unity, and unfortunately darkness over light. Polarized social media and opinion news programs have further divided us. Each of them preaches to the choir inciting distrust and violence.


For those of us who lived through the sixties, we’ve seen this before. The Vietnam War was a huge divider in this country. It was a life, death, and patriotic struggle. The war ended and eventually, the country healed.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in the darkness of disease and civil unrest. The only way out of this darkness is to keep moving toward the light. 

 

Copyright © January 2021 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Be Gone, 2020!

 


One thing I’ve noticed in my nearly seven decades of life: some years are good and some are bad. So we have the good, the bad, and I will characterize 2020 as the ugly. 

 

It seemed that as a nation we ran out of our good juju. Negativity spread like lava from a gigantic volcano. If you avoided the lava, you couldn’t help but choke on the ash.

 

I’ve seen images that I never thought I’d see in this country, especially in times of peace: empty store shelves, shortages, people waiting in line for food, thousands facing eviction, hospitals running out of beds, or going into a bank wearing a mask.

 

Who knew that living on a fixed income could be the best-case scenario? Along with not worrying about where the next paycheck was coming from, we had the option of staying home. With grocery pickup, Internet, and curbside service, it was easier for us to limit our risks.

 

This year was a time of self-discovery for me. I’ve gone back to my roots in many ways. When I was growing up, we lived in the hills twenty miles from nowhere. As Jim said the first time he went to my house, “You live so far back in the sticks they have to pipe in sunshine.”

 

During the summer, I could go weeks and not see anyone but family. “Going to town” was an event. We didn’t eat out; we ate in. New clothes and new shoes were bought when school started. My mom and dad both worked hard just to keep eight kids fed and clothed. We were poor, but so was everyone else. Times were hard and people were tough. We weren’t involved in a lot of activities because we lived far from town on a pot-holey gravel road.

 

I’ve spent more time at home this year than I have since I was a kid. Beginning in March a series of events were cancelled. Later, I decided to stop attending social functions. At first, it made me anxious, but I decided the most prudent move for me was to stay home. Now, I am so busy at home that I can’t imagine how I had time to do all the volunteer work. I’ve gone from being double or triple booked to going weeks without any social commitments.

 

I would say I enjoy the more leisurely pace except that I still have to make a date with myself to watch TV or read a book. I try to spend at least some time each day playing my ukulele, occasionally making a video. I prefer to sing silly songs to make people smile. Sadly, two of the videos I’ve made lately have been tributes to my sister-in-law Michelle, and more recently, my sister-in-law Dinah. Memorials are being delayed until springtime, but I wanted to do something now to help find some closure. I know that until we had Jim’s memorial service, I was suspended in time.

 

Our friends, family, and neighbors are hurting and they need our kindness. We need to heal relationships, show respect for each other even when we disagree, look out for each other, and pray for our world to righten itself. My hope is that God will guide science to end Alzheimer’s and this pandemic.

 

Be gone, 2020, we don’t want to see your ugly face again! We are ready to flip the calendar and do “overs” with 2021. The optimist in me believes that the New Year will be a happy and healthy year, or at least happier and healthier than this one was.

 

Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

A Blue Christmas

 


The Christmas season this year was a bummer. I was ambivalent about decorating since we had decided to cancel our Christmas get-together. I put up two trees, and arranged some random decorations.

 

I finally decided to drag out some of my nutcrackers. I went downstairs, pulled out a few tubs of my collection, and took them as far as the family room in the basement. I noticed a light on in the bathroom, so I decided to turn it off. As I reached for the switch, I noticed the carpet was wet in the bathroom. Before long, I discovered the carpets in the hallway and my office were saturated.

 

I made an emergency call to my favorite plumber. Before long, help arrived, and Dakota gave me the bad news that everything was backed up in the pipes. Before the day was done, the septic tank was pumped and the plumbing was working again.

 

I began the marathon of emptying my office. Who knew that a person could accumulate so much stuff? After we moved the contents of my office to the family room, my son Rob and brother-in-law Terry ripped up the still soaking wet pad and carpet out of three rooms.

 

Rob carried the tubs of nutcrackers back to storage. This is the first time in twenty years that they weren’t on display.

 

We called in a professional to dry everything out and stop any mold. The fans and dehumidifiers were set up on Christmas Eve.

 

Christmas morning we had just finished breakfast when Eric called to break the sad news that Jim’s sister Dinah had passed away. Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse.

 

Dinah and I used to spend a lot of time together. Years of memories whirl through my brain when I thought about our adventures. We used to pile our kids in the car and go to garage sales or to shop for everything from shoes to groceries. She and I came up with a couple of failures as far as money-making schemes. We picked up walnuts and sold them. I suppose we made enough to pay for our gas. Another time, we picked apples. After a few days of teetering ladders and exhaustion, we realized we only made about half of minimum wage.

 

A memory that has always been on my heart was one time we were in downtown Sedalia. Before we got out of the car, we saw two elderly women walking slowly arm and arm down the street. “Someday that will be you and me,” Dinah said. When I heard of her passing, my first thought was we never got to be those old ladies.

 

Jim and Dinah had always tormented and teased each other. Dinah had a hard time accepting that Jim had dementia. It was only through trial and error that she realized that Jim had changed so much their bantering was a thing of the past. Her love for her brother never wavered, although everything about their relationship had changed.

 

Throughout this long, miserable year, we’ve lost several friends and family members. I know a lot of us had a blue Christmas. Maybe next year the blues will vanish like magic and we’ll have a white Christmas. Next year I hope I feel like decking the halls and lining the shelves with my nutcracker collection.

 

Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Monday, December 28, 2020

Life Is Hard at the Nursing Home

 


We are fortunate to be able to stay home where we have plenty of food, cleaner, paper towels, and enough toilet paper to take us through the next couple of months. Who knew back in March that our lives would become topsy-turvy throughout the remainder of the year?

Staying at home hasn’t been easy for a lot of folks during the pandemic that started far, far away but migrated to our hometowns. At first, I thought we were safe here in rural Missouri, but it didn’t take long before the virus infested friends, family, and neighbors. Some came through with minor symptoms, but sadly, some died.

 

Life has become hard for essential workers, parents turned teachers, those quarantined, people sickened from the virus, people who need “elective” surgery, and those who are unbearably lonely. Many of us are home alone and miss our families.

 

 If you have followed my blog throughout the years, you know that I always encouraged families to visit loved ones in nursing homes. Residents of nursing homes have been hard hit by the virus, and 40% of the deaths are in those homes. Staff has become vigilant and many do not allow visitors at all. The goal is to keep residents safe.

 

I think back to when Jim was in the nursing home. Our family pulled together to see that he ate. He had to be fed and did not do well unless a family member was there. I bathed him, toileted him, and made sure he was dry and comfortable. I’m not sure how I would have handled not being able to provide that extra care for him, and I know that he would have suffered.

 

A lot of people think that a person with dementia doesn’t need visitors. “He doesn’t know who I am” or “She keeps asking the same question even after I answer” or “I can’t stand to see him like that.” In normal times, these were just excuses. In the year 2020, those people may wished they had visited when they could. I was always comfortable that Jim knew I was someone important in his life even if he didn’t know exactly who I was. I do know that there were times when his eyes lit up in recognition, and those times more than made up for the times he tried to ignore me.

 

I feel so sad for the people in nursing homes. I have a friend who is in a nursing home and she reports being on lockdown in her room from time to time when another resident tests positive for Covid-19. I’ve heard that the first nursing home Jim was in has had several Covid deaths. What a heartbreaking and worrisome situation for staff and families.

 

As my mom always says, “This too shall pass.” We will get through these tough times and emerge stronger. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found I can do without shopping, eating out, and makeup. I’m having a much harder time without hugs, coffee with friends, and our annual girl’s trip. Most of all, I miss normal.

 

I look forward to when families can visit their loved ones in nursing homes, when we can have family reunions, and hold our loved ones tight to our hearts.  

 

Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Hot Cocoa Type of Day

 


It’s that time of the year again—when I start decorating for Christmas. Since I have to pace myself, I try to make every trip up and down the stairs count. So far, I’ve brought the Christmas bulbs up changed the look of the dining room table, and set out a few poinsettias.

 

I’m debating on the nutcrackers. I may bring up only my favorites for a couple of reasons: What’s the point? And I can’t get to some of them. They are on shelves in the basement in a dozen tubs, but after the plumbing overhaul, heavy sawhorses, various tools, and toolboxes hinder access to some tubs. Everything was shoved aside to make room in the middle of the floor for access to the plumbing, and that’s where they are still.

 

Decorating for Christmas used to be a lot simpler when I was younger. We put up a tree, threw some decorations on it, and called it good. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a truckload of various collectibles and trees.

 

I still have the small fiber optic tree from my office at work, Jim’s tree from the nursing home, and then Harold had a couple of trees of his own. We could start a forest.

 

Thinking of decorating has become bittersweet for me. The last year Jim lived at home, I started removing pictures from the shelf and putting them in a box to clear a spot for my Santas. Jim came along behind me placing the photos back on the shelf. I finally realized that he didn’t want anything changed.

 

The pictures were a link to the past for him. One of the caregivers said that Jim showed her the picture of our daughter’s wedding. Our daughter? We had two sons, no daughters. The caregiver  said Jim pointed at the picture and said, “Stacey’s wedding.” I had to laugh because Stacey is our daughter-in-law. It was a mystery why Jim could remember her name, but sometimes forgot our son’s name.    

 

So, as I contemplated how much decorating I wanted to do this year, I decided it was a good day for a cup of hot cocoa. My new coffee pot has a hot water dispenser—extremely hot water, at that!

 

Since I’ve been cancelling out of about everything possible, I continue to be amazed at how busy I am. Yesterday was my work anniversary, which reminded me that for thirty-three years I worked forty hours a week. I’ve been retired for six years, and it seems that forty hours a week barely gets me started.

 

Maybe I’ve slowed down and it takes longer to get things done. Another possibility is that I’m bogged down with too many different projects. I have trouble relaxing even if I’m too exhausted to finish them. Sometimes I feel like I’m putting out fires while an arsonist is always one step ahead of me.

 

Today, I hope to schedule an uninterrupted hour to read. I read library books on my Kindle at bedtime and after a couple of short chapters, I start nodding off. I may be half way through a book when it disappears.

 

After I made my cup of hot cocoa, I sat down to relax. Then, I remembered I had started working on bringing my bookwork up to date yesterday, but was interrupted before I finished. Instead of relaxing, I pulled out some more statements, sat down in front of my PC, and opened Quicken.

 

I picked up my cold “hot” cup of cocoa, and took a sip. I decided I would get back to decorating later—hopefully, before the end of December.

 

Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

#ENDALZ

Monday, November 23, 2020

You’re Not the Boss of Me

 


When I was a kid and one of my siblings tried to tell me what to do, I would say, “You’re not the boss of me.” Now, I’m trying to tell my dog that.

 

As long as I’m moving around, she will find a spot of sunlight and nap, but let me sit down to work on the PC and she’ll start pawing my leg indicating that it’s time to (a) take her outside or (b) go to the living room and play with her.

 

If I try to ignore her, she will bark or woo-woo-woo. Since she is not normally a barky dog (unless the doorbell rings) I know that she is starting to get bossy with me. Telling her that she’s not the boss of me doesn’t work anymore than it did when I was a kid.

 

You would think that once a person retires, that would be the end of being bossed around. Demands on your time are a subtle way of someone bossing you. They are taking away your free time, and your choice as to how you want to spend your personal time.

 

I’ve finally worked my way up to saying “no” more often. I hate when someone won’t take no for an answer. I hate it worse when I change my firm no to a yes.

 

Once time is gone, you can never get it back. None of us knows how much time we have left. That can make us want to keep frantically busy, or it can make us want to slow down and enjoy time.

 

Have you ever known someone who finds out they have a short time to live, and he spends what time he has left working every spare minute to get his affairs in order? Or, you may know someone with a terminal disease that takes a cruise, travels across country to visit family, and lives life to the fullest. How we feel about time determines how we use it.

 

One of the saddest uses of time is when someone with dementia forgets how to do the things that once brought them pleasure. They forget their skills and can lose their initiative to do anything at all.

 

Well-meaning caregivers may treat a person with dementia like a child, rather than with the dignity they have earned. Instead of bossing a person with dementia, professional and family caregivers should seek cooperation through the power of suggestion. When the nursing home couldn’t get Jim to take a bath, it was all in the approach. Some would say, “You’ve got to take a bath now,” and didn’t work because Jim didn’t like to be bossed. “Do you want to take a bath?” got a “No” or a blank stare because those were the usual responses to a question. A cheerful, “Hey, it’s time to take your bath. You’ll feel so much better” resulted in willing cooperation.

 

Throughout the years of Jim’s dementia, I worked full-time, completed my bachelors degree, and took care of him at home and later the nursing home. People often asked me how I did it. My reply was “I have no idea.”  

 

I’ve always liked to have plenty to do without being overwhelmed with a pile of projects that had to be done…yesterday. Lately, I’ve been staying home and now realize how many personal projects I need to finish, how much work needs to be done to upkeep a large house with a huge yard, the sheer volume of daily cooking and cleaning, and how little time I really have to relax.

 

 Maybe life itself is the boss of me. It could be that I have too many bosses and they are playing tug-of-war with my time. My precious time.

 

The one person who should be the boss of me is the only one who isn’t. That person is me. Now, if I can just convince the dog.

 

Copyright © November 2020 by L.S. Fisher

http://earlyonset.blogspot.com

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