Tag Archives: caregiving

Book Review: Adventures in Mother-Sitting – by Doreen Cox

Adventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen CoxBook: Adventures in Mother Sitting
Author: Doreen Cox
Publisher: Olmstead Publishing
Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Memoir (adult reading)
Pages: 266
Price: $18.00; Kindle under $6.00
My Rating:  A good book for anyone caring for a loved one with dementia

* from the book blurb: ADVENTURES IN MOTHER-SITTING is a memoir that speaks to a journey through grief, through losses of many kinds.

I read this book with the intention of reviewing it, especially since I also am a caregiver of a loved one.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is a book written by the daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Doreen Cox wrote from raw and real emotions and experiences. She took the reader through her journey, preserved in journals, in a way that draws the reader into her life, and into her home which she shared with her mother for whom she became a “care bear”.

Three things that stood out to me in a less positive way are:  1. I have never read anything where the author used quotation marks as freely as in this book.  2. It felt as if chapters 11 and 12 yanked me right out of the story and were not necessary.  3. Some repetition seemed unneeded as the reader can understand what was said and will likely remember most of it from before when encountering things that relate back.

Now, that out of the way, the great things about this book are the honesty with which the author wrote and her willingness to share it all. She told in great detail, some parts difficult to read because of the exposed reality of the disease, about how Alzheimer’s (dementia) steals from its victim. Not only are memories stolen, but the memory of how to do even the simplest things disappears. The brain is confused and damaged by the disease, affected in such a way so as to make it stop relaying the usual messages we all take for granted, such as how to eat, dress, carry on a conversation. There is so much to learn about Alzheimer’s, so much to understand in caring for someone afflicted. Doreen opens a window into seeing what it is like living with that horrible disease, and how acutely needed are love, compassion, patience, understanding.  She also bravely shared how it sometimes became too much for her when she was sleep deprived and exhausted, and how she coped – or failed to cope – with the demands on her.

Adventures in Mother Sitting is told with humour, love, and tenderness, but also with a sometimes shocking truth. It is raw, revealing, and perhaps awkward for some people to read, but it should be read anyway.

Two years ago I wrote a review of Still Alice  – a fiction novel about a woman who learned she had Alzheimer’s, and covers two years of her life as the disease gradually takes over her brain’s ability to function. It is a book highly recommended among caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, and during our Alzheimer Caregiver Support Group meeting this month I recommended Adventures in Mother Sitting by Doreen Cox.

If you are facing dementia in any way, particularly as a caregiver of someone so afflicted, I suggest you read this book. It will help you to understand more from the viewpoint of the caregiver, enabling you to see from the author’s experience how the disease changes a person’s abilities and mind to that of total dependence.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

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Challenge updates: NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo

My writing challenges update:

NaNoWriMo: I am not doing well when you look at my link (at top of page), but I am thinking about it. That’s a start, isn’t it? :)  So far … zero words written.

PiBoIdMo: It’s day four and I have 9 ideas so far. Tara Lazar has fabulous guests again who have fabulous suggestions to help us with our picture book idea writing. I feel good about it this year.

NaBloPoMo: As you may have noticed, so far I am keeping up with daily blog posts.

Health: The first part of this week is busy for me in other ways, so my writing time is chopped up. Monday – an information education session called Understanding Dementia. It was very helpful, some of it new info for me. Tuesday – a Caregiver Stress Management workshop, which I expect to be more of what I need to hear. Wednesday I have three appointments for myself, including with my naturopath and my reflexologist. They have helped me with health issues, and aided me in regaining and maintaining my health – very important to me. I have to be well in order to better take care of others. It looks as if I will have Thursday and Friday for writing. All this takes place when I have someone present for my respite time. It probably won’t be uninterrupted, though.

Writing: I went through a blah spell with my writing, low on inspiration and energy for it. In early Spring one of my daughters got me into a game to play on my iPhone and it has turned into a vehicle of inspiration for my writing. Each day when I ‘visit’ my ‘neighbours’ I leave a little blurb of 120 characters or less. The response has been generally good, and that has served to keep me going. I found it has even released my creative thinking so that now I’m into these writing challenges it could be of help. My wheels didn’t rust or seize up during the slow time. :)  In fact, I am seriously thinking about a story book I can write from what I have been posting there. One never knows from where will come the next inspiration.

That’s all for now. I will post something tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

A B C’s: Alzheimer’s, Blogging, Cancer?

I have been missing in action again. Well, not really missing, but absent from blogging. It was not intentional. I just need sleep, I think.

Since NaNoWriMo ended I have been trying to do a little catch up on other things. This is my week home from caregiving (Alzheimer’s) and even though I have had some time, I’m finding it hard to accomplish much extra. My blogging has suffered (again!), and for that I apologize to you, my readers.  My stress level is climbing and I’m quite tired, but Christmas is coming and I have to get busy!

2160578-tired-santa-claus

The added stress is that recently my dear husband was diagnosed with level 2 melanoma, skin cancer. (I had to pause before typing out that hated word.) My husband told me he doesn’t care if I talk about it here; he says many people know anyway, and it is what it is and will likely become obvious. I am sharing this information in the hope that Believers will pray for him. He has had one minor surgery, and on December 18 he will be undergoing a more involved one. After that one and before doing reconstructive surgery the surgeon will be searching for lymph nodes in order to remove some for testing. This all will happen within six hours on the same day. Test results are to come back four weeks later.

That happens to be my week at Dad’s, so I am working out details to have someone there in my place while I am with my husband for two days. Once he is doing okay then I’m back to Dad’s for the rest of the week. Plus, it’s going to be crazy trying to get everything ready for Christmas during all this. We have been attempting to get our shopping completed in preparation, and I got my ‘away’ gifts all mailed yesterday.

A fun thing for me is that on Saturday I met a new author who is a bit of a celebrity. She signed her book for me and after I finish reading it I will be doing a review here .. after the others I have lined up.

** If I told you I would read and review your book, please send me a quick email and remind me. I must have misplaced my list (can’t imagine how!) and really have to get a better system together. I hope you understand it’s been difficult to get into reading and reviewing lately. There are some exciting books lined up for me to review, though, and a couple of giveaways are included. Please stay tuned! :)

I cannot end this post without saying that in the long line of people waiting for the signing of books on Saturday, three people behind me was none other than the lovely and talented author Laura Best! Remember my review of her book Bitter, Sweet and our interview? We had a chance to chat a little which was enjoyable for me, with comedy added since her husband was her “professional photographer” and quite a kidder.

I suppose most of this reads like a “woe is me” post. Admittedly, I’m feeling rather blue right now, but after a good sleep things should look a little better. Truly, I rely on the Lord although it may not seem like it right now. My human nature is to look at the situation and then have to remind myself to look to the One who knows all. One of my life verses is Romans 2:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I hope you are not stressing, but if you find life to be overwhelming … look to the One who knows all. :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

 

When is a writer not a writer? (pity party alert)

My apologies right off the top for a dreary post.

My question is: When is a writer not a writer?  No, this is not a riddle. Then maybe again it is … but I have no real answer for it. Maybe you do?

I’m tired. No, let me say that again … I’m so tired.

And I don’t feel particularly creative. My well is low – on motivation, energy, inspiration, ideas, stamina. Maybe it’s because I’m tired. And a little discouraged. And feeling a bit forgotten. Now, is that a great menu for a pity party, or what!

My creative well is rather plugged up with stuff, such as – lack of quality sleep (aware all the time while “on duty”, then at home it’s hard to relax from that), caregiving concerns (situation is getting more involved as Alzheimer’s gets worse), always trying to balance two households (but not knowing enough about my own anymore)

physical pain (more since I had a fall a week ago, so add to the list an x-ray tomorrow AM), seeming to be invisible when it comes to the fellowship I was part of (probably “out of sight out of mind” because I seldom get there now), not having much interaction with writers (really need an ‘anytime chat’ place), needing a vacation (every second week at my own home is not a vacation), missing the ocean (my healing place), I have books to read and reviews to write (love doing both, time is a factor), I’m WAY behind in my emails and blog (many other demands and concerns),

and –

I hate that I sound like such a whiner!

Of course, my sister also has her own set of life stuff going on along with our caregiving commitment. It’s always interesting!

Okay, I need a hug. Where is my grandson when I need him?

There must be an up side to all this. Yes, of course there is.

  • 1. Our loved one gets to stay in his own home for as long as we can help him.
  • 2. We get the privilege of honouring him through giving of our time for him.
  • 3. My sister and I are learning as we go while also learning to work together to make a stressful situation workable.
  • 4.  We have fibre optics here! ;)
  • 5. …  hmm     5. … ?

I’m sure there’s more to add but right now I can’t think of it. (Was that you I heard say, “Good!”) This has been a writing exercise for me if nothing else, and hopefully my next post will be more upbeat after the tropical storm and hurricane pass tonight and tomorrow.

By the way, I don’t believe it’s writer’s block that’s got me in this place, it’s weariness and life stuff. Otherwise I could take some tips from my own Writer’s Helps page. :)

In the meantime, can you answer my question? When is a writer not a writer? What do you do when you not only can’t come up with ideas but you hardly are interested in trying?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

Book Review: Still Alice – by Lisa Genova

Book: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books
Date: January 6, 2009
Genre: fiction novel; mental health
Pages: 337; paperback
Price: $15.00 US; also available from Simon & Schuster Audio & as an e-Book
My Rating: A ‘must-read’ for anyone dealing with Alzheimer’s in any way, or wanting to know more about what it’s like – from the inside of it.
 

This is a book I discovered at a meeting of our local Alzheimer’s Support Group. I was urged to read it, so months later – when I felt I was ready – I borrowed it. [As an aside: We meet once a month, and I highly recommend that you join a support group if you are a caregiver of anyone with dementia.]

At first I put off reading this book. I lent it to my sister to read, she said, “Read it!” I lent it to one of our respite workers, he said, “Read it!” Finally, yesterday .. I read it.

This book will open your eyes to, and broaden your understanding of, some of the inner workings of Alzheimer’s disease and what it is like to be its victim. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author did extensive research and study to get it right. It is so very believable. To me, it felt as if I were reading the memoir of an actual person, I felt the frustration and pain of her family, and I laughed out loud at one incident which was both funny because of what happened and sad because of why it happened, and in another place I had tears in my eyes because of the truth of it.

This is a painful and terrifying disease. Even as I write this review I feel the emotion of it. Alzheimer’s steals its victim away, a little at a time. Lisa Genova so aptly described the disease through her characters and helped me better understand the cruel reality of what I (and my sister) deal with every day in some capacity.

Lisa’s main character, Alice, is a very intelligent, highly regarded and respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard University. She and her  husband (also a Harvard professor) had brought up their three children and now, at only fifty years of age, Alice knows something is seriously wrong with her memory. She puts off telling anyone and sets out on her own, at first, to find out what is going on. What she learns changes her whole world, and that of her family.

The author draws the reader into the lives of Alice and her family in a very smooth and captivating way. I wanted to know, I needed to know, and Lisa does not disappoint as she covers two years in Alice’s life.

At the end of the book, there is a section of Discussion Questions for a group, or for personal study of the novel. There is also an interview conversation with Lisa Genova.

Lisa Genova, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and Still Alice is her first novel.

Now, to you I say, READ IT!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)