Friday, August 10, 2012

From the at-risk perspective

6:26 p.m. Today's project was to visit Alzheimer's/dementia-capable assisted living facilities with our son Kriss, in order to select one for Steve. Because of his need for 24-hour care, I've been advised for a number of months by my long-term care insurance company's evaluating nurse that it's no longer safe for me to be home alone with Steve, which I am, of course, at night.  No caregiver, no matter how devoted, can stay up night and day, and expect to function safely in his or her daily life. My kids have mentioned that it's getting to be too much for me to handle, even with caregiving help. They do understand and respect my commitment to their dad, however, which I praise the Lord for!

Recently, with Steve running away--or trying to, anyway, even at his daycare, rampaging through the house for two hours after a daughter's visit, and hitting a couple of caregivers, I've had to prayerfully agree with the Lord that I need to take the step toward releasing him from home care. Talking with the kids has been helpful, but God clearly spoke to me about that two weeks ago, when I was using the need to get opinions an excuse to delay:

Why are you asking others' opinions when I've already told you what to do?

Ouch! When God speaks, we need to obey, the first time! Apparently, He had more to show me to move me across that bright red line. Yesterday afternoon, after Steve got off the bus and took care of his needs, he slumped over and fell about 6 ot 8 inches, to our tile floor. Considering my head  and neck injury from Monday, I stopped myself from foolishly trying to pick him up, and tried to talk him into grabbing a doorknob or even the stair bannister to pull himself up. No dice--his hand kept opening and releasing his grasp! Besides being dead weight to lift, he was utterly unaware of his need to help himself off of the floor. Since he wasn't hurt, I called our care agency to see if a caregiver could come earlier than was already scheduled. About 30 minutes later, with Steve sprawled comfortably on the tile, help arrived, the gentleman got him up, using the bannister, and they went on with their evening, with Steve going to bed at 7:30 p.m. as usual.

I need to remember, in the midst of so much difficulty, Psalm 46:1:

God is our refuge and stength, a very present help in trouble.

I arrived home at 9 p.m. from my Mary Kay meeting, and not long after, I heard Steve rustling around in the bedroom. Going upstairs with the flashlight app from my smartphone, I opened the door, and there he was, wandering. I tried to help him back to bed, but, again, as utter dead weight, he fell on top of me near the side of the bed! So, after wriggling out from under, I got his pillows, covered him with the comforter, and he went to sleep where he was. Nothing more I could do.

This morning, Steve got on the bus quite well. After prayer time with Cara, I went for a chiropractic adjustment and to pick up a few groceries from Vons. Kriss arrived about 10, and we went to our first destination, Raincross. It is centrally located, beautiful, well organized, expanding, very secure, and we were able to have a good, serious discussion with the director (a Christian) about my husband, Kriss' dad. I was very proud of  Kriss' transparency while discussing his assessment of his dad's condition; his perspective as one at-risk for the disease; the natural supplements from our youngest son Steven that we've been using to ameliorate Steve's symptoms; even Kriss' own improvement in brain activity using the spice turmeric! After all, in our family, each generation is at risk for early-onset dementia.  How we pray for a cure, deliverance from this scourge! Yet, I am able to say, with the psalmist, chapter 118:6,

The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.

I believe we've found the place for Steve; the Lord will work out the insurance details. Let me admit that part of my hesitation was to test my heart--that I'd not move my husband out of  our home for wrong motives, such as for my convenience and/or to alleviate the mounting stress on my mind and body. I want him to be safe, have active, structured days and for me to be able to see him once again as my husband--not my patient.

And for Kriss and the rest of our kids, highly at-risk for early decline and death --barring divine intervention--I pray that Psalm 23:4's assurance may reside deeply in their hearts:

Yea, though I walk through the
  valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me.


  1. I gulped when I read this and continue to pray for you. How challenging and yet how wonderful that you have that long-term care insurance.

    Did Steve have that 24 hour care when you where in Dallas? Did this set him back or have you seen these signs all along? When I took my cruise I was concerned that leaving my husband would be a setback for him; actually he was able to successful visit his adult son in another state. My pastor's mother doesn't recognize her own husband now and says "who is that man who is sleeping in my bed?"

    Your kids do not know for certain that they will get early on-set. None of us knows our days. Some church friends just buried their daughter not barely three. We can go through the shadow of death because this life is not all.

    Hugs and prayers,

  2. Hi Carol, Steve has been going downhill at the typical pace for his dementia, so no events either slow it down or speed it up. He has 24 hour care when I have to travel once a year. Last year, he had a very fun, active time with his caregiver and greeted me happily when I got home, and continued doing well, taking care of all of his personal needs.This year, since after Christmas, there has been a rapid decline, with temporary improvement from Steven's organic supplements.They work, but they aren't overcoming or halting the disease process. The third generation that we know of at least, my kids, are taking a wise preventive, realistic perspective, having a 50% risk of the disease coming upon them (statistics from the UC Irvine Neurologoical Center). And it may be even higher for the males. Our hope is the blessed hope of all believers in Christ, I Thessalonians 4:16-17, and we say along with Revelation 22:20, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"