Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My head's exploding Part I

4:48 p.m. Today's project was to attend our caregiver support meeting at 10:00 a.m. Even rising about 5:45, I barely made it on time, because, as you would guess by now, I needed to:

  • Work out
  • Clean up backyard, set out water and untangle long tie-outs for the dogs
  • Enjoy devotions, prayer and the Word while the "girls" slept in their crates
  • Post scripture on Facebook and wish friends Happy Birthday
  • Make out my absentee ballot
  • Sweep, vacuum and mop downstairs
  • Deliver product to a customer at our medical clinic near the Riverside Office of Aging
  • Deposit ballot in the secure box at Registrar of Voters, also nearby
All on only one cup of coffee and a nice plate of scrambled eggs! The Lord faithfully gets this morning person going early, and has taught me to make good use of my time, and to do things "today, not tomorrow, " (TNT) because, as Proverbs 27:1 says,

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day
  may bring forth.
I signed in at the Office of Aging, and joined the meeting during sign-in time. It was so neat to be greeted with hugs by friends from our original January 2011 12-week training course, Ginny and Willie Mae. Ginny's mom is 96, and at Ginny's home in the afternoons after her mornings at Care Connexxus Adult Daycare, where Steve used to go; Willie Mae's husband, in his 70's, has a very slowly progressing case of Alzheimer's, so is at home with her. New members have joined, and some I met once and will be getting to know better each month. and our leader Darlene was ready with two video clips by a Occupational Therapist Dr. Teepa Snow. Her insights and the science behind them just amazed us and refreshed our views of what is happening with our loved ones.
In the first  10 minute clip, "A Tour of the Brain," Dr. Snow showed the parts of the brain and the behaviors they affect, and consequently, which behaviors Alzheimers or dementia affects.
The Frontal Lobe is the executive control center; makes us act appropriately and control our impulses.
The Temporal Lobe has a right and left side. The right side (formal language, remembering) is attacked by Alzheimer's. Despite the disease, the right side preserves automatic social chit-chat, and enjoyment of music and rhythm.  But this side also preserves and produces the vulgar, forbidden and even racist words that you may never have heard even once from your loved one. It's the disease! 
The Hippo campus controls learning and memory, but the disease begins to limit new  learning. But the affected person can remember emotional things. They forget recent things, and get lost in day and time.
The Occipital Lobe takes in information. So in the case of vision, the disease victim begins to lose peripheral vision because the brain shuts it off--it just can no longer handle all of the data constantly coming in, so it focuses on just central brain information only. So the brain ignores peripheral sections.
Sensory and motor strips travel the length of the spine, and go from head to toe. The brain controls muscles; there is a connection between sensation and movement. (What I sense and what my brain needs to do about it). Certain areas of the body, like mouth, palms of hand and soles of feet become hypersensitive, making a challenge for the caregiver.
I got so much information in 10 minutes, such scientifically accurate information, that I felt as if my head would explode form "new learning" of my own. Experientially and anecdotally, I've seen many of these happenings in Steve.  And on tomorrow's post, I'll review the next video clip, "Senior Gems," about progression of the disease. It's stunning, and beautifully and compassionately presented.
As we unlock the roles and power of the brain, we cannot help but glorify Jesus Christ, God the Son, Creator of every cell of us! Hear Amos 4:13:
For behold,
He who forms mountains,
And creates the wind,
Who declares to man what his
  thought is,
And makes the morning
Who treads the high places of the
The LORD God of hosts is His

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