Aug 3, 2010

Don't Mess with this Alzheimer's Caregiver

It was BACK! The day before, I bought a slingshot and garbanzo bean ammo. I had practiced.....
By C J Wright
Alzheimer's Reading Room

This first appeared on the Alzheimer's Reading Room as a comment.

Mom has gone through a major positive transformation, from DeadZone to being alive again, thanks in part to giving up Ativan. I guess you could say it backfired on her.

I was totally exhausted yesterday morning, as my respite caregiver had just called canceling for the second day in a row. Now again, cancelled with no warning! I deflated even more knowing she wouldn't burst through the door in five minutes. I picked up my screaming cat and curled up with her on the couch crying. The cat purred. We both settled down, then I got up to face the day, alone with mom trapped.

Outside the back kitchen door, where we feed the peanuts and seeds to the squirrels and birds, I noticed one squirrel lying Cleopatra style, on one elbow, eating her peanut. I had seen her a few days ago, and assume she had been injured in her hindquarters, perhaps by the hawk who just discovered this squirrel buffet. Indeed the squirrel crawled away like Porgy, but fast, hiding under the bushes. I put seeds and peanuts in the area for her...or course she had to share with the mob of others.

As soon as I saw that poor creature, my fatigue blew off. I sprung into action finding gloves and a cage for another time when I could perhaps catch her. I'd bring her to the rehab place and make sure they returned her to me for release. Or if she couldn't be released, then I'd keep her as a pet. Mom would love it!

So with this little moment, I was rejuvenated for the whole day. But what really put me on turbo charge was hearing the scream of the hawk. It was BACK! The day before, I bought a slingshot and garbanzo bean ammo. I had practiced. After I snapped a few photos, I got out my slingshot and let loose. I actually hit it and it flew off screaming in protest, swooping down on the rowdy crows. The whole lot of them careened around my head while I shot wildly one more garbanzo bean.

My whole senses were now sharp. I was HUNTER. Shortly, I heard the cry again, and the hawk was settled high, almost overhead among palm leaf type branches which glowed bright green. I zapped another garbanzo at it, and it flew off. But I kept marveling at the tree canopy. Who ever thinks to look UP up? I admired the trees ACROSS up on a regular basis, but it was a wonder to see the glowiness of the UP up.

I am still determined to drive off the hawk, now a pair (shall we nest?), but am thankful for the experience driving me out of the house and into the wild, which was there all along.

Several weeks ago, when mom was coming out of her DeadZone disaster, I tried to talk her into living for its own sake, one little experience threaded to another. My peashooter mind was snipping "gee you have been alive 90 years and you haven't even thought about this? What were you DOING, then?"

Most people don't, I guess. Anyway, this is what I blogged about that day

CJ Wright is the sole caregiver for her mother who is in a late stage of Alzheimer's disease. CJ shares her insight, advice and experience at When does the glad start: Caring for Alzheimer's. She currently resides in Silicon Valley, California.

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Original content CJ Wright, the Alzheimer's Reading Room