Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GRATEFUL & THANKFUL


 

GRATEFUL & THANKFUL

Once again the holiday season is arriving and each year, especially during Thanksgiving, I like to reflect on the year as it comes to an end.

This year was an extremely joyous one for our son Logan became engaged to a very special young lady. My husband and I are doing wonderful and my brother and I continue to grow closer.  Mom turned 90 years old in August and is still able to speak and run around in her Merry Walker.

I posted two pictures (above) for as I reflect I realize how fortunate I was to have two loving and supportive parents. Although my dad passed away 20 years ago I know that I was lucky to have him for so many years.

Mom seems to be happy although most of her life's journey has all but disappeared. Alzheimer's has certainly robbed her of all memories, yet in a positive way it has also removed the negative ones that once caused her pain and heartache.

I'm thankful that my dad is not alive to be experiencing what is happening to her. I am grateful that she is still verbal as she shares words of love accompanied with a smiling face for the nurses; at the place we now call "home".

Her speech is more gibberish yet she still laughs and, at moments, surprises us with a sharp quick answer. Alzheimer's baffles me for somehow in her memory she still can spell and is able to sing the words to many songs.

I do not know how much longer mom will be able to sustain all that she now can do, certainly since she has this disease for over 10 years. So, with each day I remain grateful and thankful that however mom now is, we are still able to share our love with one another.





Over 180 great reviews. Available on Amazon, Kindle & Audio/ACX. MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love.http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers--daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400860930&sr=1-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

CONFESSIONS...15 MINUTES OF FEAR




CONFESSIONS....15 MINUTES OF FEAR



Could it be? Can I have the start of Alzheimer's? It is more likely that I can get it since it has stricken two of my family members (mom & her brother). My odds are greater than someone else whose family has never suffered from it.  It is hereditary although that does not mean that I will get the disease.

The thought occasionally crosses my mind when I cannot remember some movie that I saw, or a famous actor's name.  I try and concentrate till I recall the names and then I feel a sense of relief.

I do not walk around worrying about getting Alzheimer's, yet I am quicker to make a joke about it to excuse my momentarily lapse of memory. I have decided not to be tested to see if I have any Amyloid plaque buildup in my brain. I am really not that brave!

So, I must confess that today for about 15 minutes I could feel the anxiety, and panicked as I searched all over my apartment for a prescription that my drugstore said they had filled 15 days ago. Could I have been so forgetful that I had no recollection of this?

I called my husband to explain the situation and to hopefully calm me down. "The drugstore said they were sure that they delivered the drug to me on October 16th and here it is October 30th. If this is true wouldn't I have at least 15 pills left? Where could they be?"

I do have a great system, after I take a pill each morning I turn the bottle sideways in my medicine cabinet so I am sure that I took it. If this was the case I would be taking 2 pills a day for the last 2 weeks since no pills remained.

After my panic attack subsided and I was once again able to think clearly I called the drugstore back and with security said " I searched my home all over and do not have the pills." The pharmacist then said that I was correct, since they checked their records and it was never signed out or delivered to me.

As I took a deep long breath and cleared my head, my anxiousness subsided and I was able to feel "relief" that for "now" I was safe and free of this disease.




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Thursday, October 23, 2014

HOW IS YOUR MOM DOING?


HOW IS YOUR MOM DOING ?

This is mom 24 years ago. A lot has changed since then. My dad is deceased for 20 years and my son Logan is now 26 years old. Mom lives in a nursing home and we recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Except for Alzheimer's and macular degeneration she takes no medication and is in perfect health.

My family has lots to celebrate and be thankful for. There is one question that I frequently am asked which is "how is your mom doing?" I often answer,"my mom is doing good considering that she has Alzheimer's for the last ten years."

Several weeks ago I stopped to really think about how I just answered this question. My thoughts traveled to thinking about mom, a lady who has no idea about where she is living, or what she just ate.

She does not know that she should get dressed each day,and better yet. she does not have to wonder about what to wear.

She's doing good even if she is not aware of what day it is, the month, nor the year. She has no idea what  has transpired in the world. She has no fear of Ebola or terrorism.

She does not understand that her only grandchild has become engaged. In fact she does not really remember that she has a grandchild.

She no longer needs to think about what friend she might like to spend the day with, or what movie she would like to go see.  She no longer has to make any decisions on whether she'd like to take a walk in the park, stroll on the beach, or go to her favorite museum.

She does not remember that she was married for 50 years to my father, nor does not remember giving birth to her two children or, at moments,even that she has any.

Yes mom is doing good and she never has to decide on where she'd like to go on vacation or what country she'd like to travel to.  Life for her has certainly become "carefree".

So my answer to this question "how is your mom doing?" It will remain the same, for considering what is left in mom's world at least I can believe that she is happy. Happy for she is not aware of a world that exists outside of the four walls that she now resides in.

Mom has no understanding of how her life has been wiped away by such a horrible disease. So how is my mom doing? She'd doing good, and how am I doing? I'm also doing good, which is a conscious choice that I have made.

I can be happy or I can be sad. I choose to be happy. Happy that mom is not aware of what is happening to her.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Special Interview I'd Like to Share With You



This is a special 20 minute interview that I would like to share with you. It will also have you meet me(sort of in person). You have in some ways all become my family as I share my journey with you about my mom and our relationship.

Here is the link. Hope you enjoy it !

http://youtu.be/aTIP5NmOUog

Hugs to all,
Lisa

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WHERE IS MY LITTLE GIRL ?



WHERE IS MY LITTLE GIRL?


One of mom's nurse's mentioned that when mom is lucid she will ask where I am and say that her daughter Lisa does not come to see her. She also says this of my brother (which makes me feel less guilty). Even if I had just visited mom she would not remember and would be repeating the same thing.

While I was speaking to the nurse mom happened to stroll by in her Merry Walker. The nurse put me on speaker phone so I was able to hear the conversation . "Ruthie how are you doing today?" Mom answered quickly that she was" good." "Would you like to speak to your daughter Lisa, who is now on the phone?" She answered "no not really I'm too sleepy," as she continued on her way.

The conversation made me giggle, yet it could not stop me from wondering, was mom really not wanting to speak to me or was she too tired? Did she really even understand that I was on the phone? Does she even know what a telephone is? She answered as if she understood, so why would she not want to speak to me? Luckily I did not feel slighted.

As Alzheimer's progresses mom's conversations have mostly disappeared. She can still speak and has moments where she is so sharp with her responses. Yet she is not able to concentrate enough to keep any conversation going because she cannot remember what someone just said.

I believe that there are moments when she is aware and wondering about everything, from where she is living to what is happening to her. Unfortunately her thoughts disappear so quickly that we can never know what she is thinking.

I miss mom terribly although I do get to watch her on videos that my brother recorded when I visited her. They have become so dear to my heart for they are the closest I have to being with her, even if my mom at moments is wondering where her little girl is .



MY MOM MY HERO. Follow our journey through the eyes of love. With over 175 Great Reviews. Available as EBook, Audio Book & Paperback.
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

A WORLD FREE OF ALZHEIMER'S



A WORLD FREE OF ALZHEIMER'S


I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose all of my life's memories and to no longer recognize my loved ones. How could I ever not remember my husband, giving birth to our son, his first day of school, my senior prom and all the other things that I have treasured in the world?

This is the very way that Alzheimer's invades ones soul. My family has been affected by this awful disease for quite a few years. My mom has it for ten years and her younger brother lost his life after three years of suffering from it. I often wonder why some family
members get Alzheimer's and others are spared?

For the last several months it has become more difficult being a long distance caregiver. A feeling of loss gradually started when I was no longer able to speak to mom on the phone each day. After she was moved into the nursing home she seemed more and more agitated and confused to be on the telephone. I decided that it was better not to disturb her and no longer asked the nurses to get her.

My brother had not been able to see mom for almost four weeks now. First he was ill and in the hospital, and then he left Florida for a two week planned vacation. I was not at all upset with him, I just felt troubled knowing that this was the situation. Who was now watching over our mother?

When I became aware of this I immediately phoned the head of nursing to ask her to please give mom an extra hug from me and to look after her. She replied that mom was doing really well, gained 2lbs. and that as usual she was busy running around in her Merry Walker.

Mom no longer realizes if the sun is shining or if the sky is dark and filled with clouds. She does not know if today is her birthday, or better yet mine. I know that my mom had no idea that she did not have any family visiting, yet I knew and I could not help feeling saddened because of it.

I sometimes feel as if mom is just locked away, locked away from life and from the world, as she lives somewhere inside her "own" private universe. Yes, mom is still alive it's just different now for all of us and I also must adjust as her disease progresses.

It's funny because my brother returned home yesterday and I awoke this morning realizing that last night I had a dream about her; Mom still had the disease yet she seemed content as she was surrounded by some friends. I cannot recall my dream specifically, yet I was left with a "magical" warm feeling. It was the first time in quite a while that I felt mom was safe again.

My next visit is not for twelve weeks yet this is a very special trip for I will be going to spend an entire month with her. It excites and frightens me all at the very same time.

As for now I just want to try and imagine a world one day free of this disease. Today this may be just a dream, yet one day a true reality. How wonderful it would be if all of our children and their children can live in a world free of Alzheimer's.





MY MOM MY HERO. Follow our journey through the eyes of love. With over 175 Great Reviews. Available as EBook, Audio Book & Paperback.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

MOM I WISH YOU COULD HEAR ME


MOM I WISH YOU COULD HEAR ME


Logan is now twenty six years old and is my mom's only grandchild. She adored him and I know deep down in the mist of "her world" that she still does. Yet today because of Alzheimer's I am unable to share with her the joy I am feeling.

On Sunday my son got engaged to a fabulous lady who mom would have loved. What a magical moment in all of our lives, one that I so badly wanted to share with her. I know in my heart how thrilled she would have been.

 As I picked up the phone to call the nursing home I knew even if I could get mom to listen that she would not be able to comprehend what I was saying to her. What I found even more upsetting was that she would not be able to remember. One of my favorite nurses answered and I was able to share my feelings with her. I had her promise me that she would tell mom, and as I hung up I was secure that my message would be delivered.

As I walked down the streets of Manhattan I started to cry. These were not tears of joy. They were tears of how much I missed mom and how I wished that she could truly hear me. For a few moments I was sad that I could not share this with her. I felt sickened by this disease and thought of how my mother was half alive. I longed for the part of her that once was here.

It's funny because every time that I have shared this with those who are dear to me, tears still flowed down my face. I think my husband expressed what I was feeling. He said that although my mom is still alive, because of her illness in many ways she is no longer here.

 I know that I am still fortunate that there are parts of her that exist and this is so much better than the alternative. I can still squeeze her hand and I can still hear her as she whispers in my ear that she loves me.

In January my son and future daughter-in-law will be visiting her. I look forward to seeing, if only for a moment, mom's excitement. It does not really matter how much mom can understand, as long as we can all celebrate, once again, this wonderful occasion.


MY MOM MY HERO. With over 175 Great Reviews.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

LOVE DOES MATTER


 
LOVE DOES MATTER

My mom has opened my heart to a world filled with love & compassion. After she became ill she  blossomed into this beautiful flower with a breath of fresh air.

Although I can no longer speak to my mom every day, I awake each morning thinking of her smile and how she maneuvers around the nursing home sharing words of love.

She has become like a Buddha as she spreads joy to the aides, nurses and some of the other residents who also have Alzheimer's.

As upsetting as this disease can be it also fascinates me. I have watched as it has crept into my mother's life, removing what once existed in her universe.  Now I watch as she retreats into a "new"world.

I cannot help but wonder how Alzheimer's destroys some cells quicker than others, and why some people have it for years, while others succumb to it so quickly?

What magical quality does the sound of music have to those who have this disease? I have witnessed as they come to life when they hear the melodies . I have watched when my mother interacts with those who no longer speak and I see how they look at her as they utter several words.

 What makes some of their memories come to the surface while others disappear? Why does my mom think her home is with her parents? Does she go back to a time and place when she felt safe and secure? Does the world she now lives in frighten her, only wanting to return to her childhood home?

Do we think that in some ways our loved ones no longer exist and that they cannot hear our voices? Do we stop trying to communicate to them? For me I do believe that they do not disappear. I believe that even when we may think so that they are still listening.

With all of this being said, then how can we deal with our loved ones who now suffer from Alzheimer's? Can we, as caregivers, understand that maybe all they want is to be loved?

This is what people with Alzheimer's have demonstrated to me. They are no different than all of us for they have taught me about the power of love. They, as well as my mom, have shown me that love is all that matters.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MOM & MARGARET

 MOM & MARGARET

My brother and his wife while visiting my mother found her speaking to her "friend." They were able to capture this special moment which truly shows us how two people with Alzheimer's can connect. We as a family did not feel that my mother anymore was capable of this.

This is a touching video that shows us the intimacy two "friends" can have. While they held hands, my mother shared with Margaret how her daughter(me)did not come to visit her. From what I have just witnessed I am able to understand a little better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnieGv2Mxi4&feature=youtu.be


 
MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

SHE'LL ALWAYS BE MY MOTHER




SHE'LL ALWAYS BE MY MOTHER

How can I find the words to express all the feelings bottled up in me since returning from spending four "precious" days with my mother? This was a special trip in which we celebrated her 90th Birthday.

The first two days mom was exuberant as she shared many different stories with us, some that made sense and others that did not. It didn't really matter what she said for it was a miracle that she was feeling so alive. Her smiles and laughter melted my heart. She was energetic and it reminded me of how she was before Alzheimer's crept into her life.

On day three she seemed more interested in running around in her Merry Walker than speaking to us, and, on day four, she expressed how tired she was, sounding more like a lost child, as she questioned every second what she should be doing.

Fortunately I was able to enjoy every moment with her and did reflect on my trip after I returned home. After sharing this with my husband I realized how much my heart ached for her and how much I already missed seeing her.

It will be four "long" months till I return to Florida. It's been difficult living so far away and having such limited time to share with her. This time in January I will be staying a whole month so I can spend more quality time with my mom.

Mom said some special things that I hope never to forget. The one I want to always remember was when we were walking down the hall together and she said that she "will always be my mother".

I know that she is my mother yet I still cannot help feeling how I want to take her in my arms and protect her from everything in her life that could possibly hurt her. I want to hold her, cuddle her, and kiss her as I tell her that everything will be alright.

Friends and family always ask me if my mom still knows me. I want to think so yet at other times I may not be sure. Today, I believe she knows she is my mother and that I am her daughter. It's a bond that can never be broken no matter how much Alzheimer's may steal from her.



MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 150 great reviews.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

ALMOST 90 YEARS "YOUNG"



ALMOST 90 YEARS "YOUNG"

This photo was taken last year in August after mom entered the nursing home. She certainly looks happy and content in her new surroundings. Mom never wanted to leave her home, yet last year my brother and I decided that it was best for her. Fortunately, she had no idea where she was going or how she even got there. If there can be anything comforting about Alzheimer's it is that whatever upsetting feelings or thoughts that fill her mind disappear as quickly as they surface. It seems that they are washed away being forever lost at sea

In one week I will be visiting mom to celebrate her 90th Birthday. As the time approaches I start to feel excited and nervous. The combination of mixed emotions, whenever I go to visit her, has been happening for quite a few years.

Being a long distance caregiver I never know what to expect even though I speak to the nurses each day. My brother sends me pictures as well as keeping me abreast to his weekly visits. Since I do not see her as often I immediately witness the changes that Alzheimer's has had on her. I can see how much the disease has progressed.

I know that I must keep my upsetting feelings suppressed so that I may enjoy the time that I get to spend with her. I do not know how many more birthdays that I will be able to celebrate with mom, yet I know that each one of them is so very special. Turning 90 is no "spring chicken," although many people are living longer.

Each day that mom can still laugh, speak and smile is a day I cherish. Life is so precious and it is a treasure that she can still say my name. My love for her is so strong and to be able to celebrate her 90th birthday is a moment I will always remember. So, in less than a week, my sentimental voyage to mom will begin.

MY MOM MY HERO is for dedicated to all of our mom's. Over 150+ great reviews. Available as a Paperback, E book and Audio.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


RUTHIE MY SWEETIE


Most of the time mom seems to be so happy, strolling the halls of the nursing home stopping at every one's door to say hello. With a smile on her face she whispers that she "loves" them. 

The nurse have share with me that she stops to speak to some of the other patients who sit alone in their wheel chairs as they wait to be brought to an activity or the dining hall. I've been told that even those who no longer speak, at moments utter words to mom as she approaches them. She runs around in her Merry Walker nonstop, with so much energy, in search of something, or perhaps just being the "welcoming committee".

I've been told that everyone loves mom including the aides. She makes them laugh and smile. I personally witnessed this when I visited as they stopped to give her a big hello. Before mom became ill she was always friendly and stopped to speak to everyone she knew.

Now she is one of the few at the nursing home (on the Alzheimer floor) that still speaks and has mobility. She seems to attract much attention with her joyous disposition. Ruthie is turning 90 years old on August 24th, and is not on any medication; except for having Alzheimer's and macular degeneration, she perhaps, is healthier than most of us.

During the summer there are students at the nursing home who love to spend time with her. We are so fortunate that her personality is delightful and that this disease has not made her aggressive or agitated like so many others.

Who knows Ruthie one day might be elected the "mayor" of her facility or perhaps win the "most liked award". For me my mom, Ruthie, certainly is my sweetie.


MY MOM MY HERO is for all the special people in your lives. Over 100 great reviews.

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