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When I was pregnant I always prayed that my babies would be healthy, and have ten fingers and toes. I had so many miscarriages after my son was born that I never thought I would have another baby. When I was pregnant with Missy, I knew it would be OK. I prayed that she would just make it the nine months and be born. I didn’t care if she had 9 toes, 6 fingers… hell, I just wanted her to be born. I would deal with anything as long as she made it into the world. I only prayed once to GOD when I was pregnant with her, and that is what I said, “Just let her make it 9 months and be born and I will handle whatever you give me.”
Last year during the cruise contest I got some ugly, mean messages. People told me I caused Missy’s MS, and it was my fault she had it. I got to thinking…maybe in some way they were right. Maybe I should have prayed more when I was pregnant. Maybe I should have said, “GOD make her healthy.” Maybe my deal with GOD caused her MS. Maybe he was showing me that I got what I wanted. Read more…
Last night I told Missy why I am so happy. I told her why everything is OK and why I am not scared of Alzheimer’s anymore.
One of my good friends died a few weeks ago, they wouldn’t let me go see her. The nursing home wouldn’t let anyone but family in because of the flu epidemic going around their, but I talked to her on the phone. She told me, “Barbie, I’m going home. I’m so so happy. I know in a few days I am dying. The doctors told my children and they are all here, my grandchildren are here…we have had a beautiful few days…but I told them I am so ready to go home.”
She told them to call me. She wanted to tell me that I would be OK. She told me how wonderful her heart felt, even though she was in pain and having trouble breathing now. They had taken off her oxygen so she could talk to me. She told me, “Barbie, its beautiful where we are going, so peaceful, and, oh I can’t wait to see my husband and my mommy and daddy…my sister Ruthie and brother Tommy….and hold my baby girl that died at birth.”
“Oh, Barbie,” she said, “I will be there when you come. Read more…
Old age comes so quickly. One day you are working, having children, cleaning house and then you wake up one morning and poof – you are old, have Alzheimer’s and have to have someone do everything for you. I sometimes think, “Oh I wish I could go back to one of my worst days when I was younger.” Because now I know it wasn’t really a worst day…it was just life.
Yes, old age comes so quickly. I tell everyone: don’t put off anything, surprise your mate with something that they would never expect you to do, do something for a stranger, tell someone they look beautiful today, whistle a song, sing to someone, dance in the kitchen.
And the most important, look your children right in the eye—make them look at you—and tell them, “I love you, forever.” Make them say, “Oh Mom,” or laugh, or tell you “I love you back.” But, make sure that they look into your eyes when you tell them…because one day, they will have that moment, and yes, they will remember. Read more…
To do it all over again, in my life, would I change anything?
Oh yes, some things…but over all…no. I would correct the stupid mistakes I made, and spend more of my time with my family…go on more vacations, spend time that I didn’t think I had with those that I miss the most now. Surprise them more.
To do it all over again, I would make love more, dance more, just walk around the block more…I would sing in front of people not caring what they think more, and I would yell at the top of my lungs how much I love my husband and my kids more.
I would speak out more for those I didn’t…and I would make sure that everyone I loved knew it…
But mostly I would love me more, pat myself on the back more, look in the mirror and say, you did what you could, the best you could. Good job Barbie. And I would buy myself flowers, just for the heck of it. Just for me.
To do it all over again…oh boy, oh boy…to know what I know now… Read more…
I found Mom’s Christmas list, she had the nurse write it out for her.
1. Try and make everyone happy
2. Give hugs
3. Tell those that I love how much I love them
4. Take a picture in my mind so I never forget
Then at the bottom the nurse wrote, “Oh how I love this woman.”
Doesn’t get any better than that does it…so that is my Christmas gift from my mother. When I get crazied over the next couple of weeks, all I have to do is read this little piece of paper. Read more…
Today I made my Christmas list out. I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so I thought I would give away things of mine that mean something to me and have a little story behind them for special friends and family.
I have a special box with little things in it…things like menus of restaurants that my friends and I went to, or matchbook covers from a bar that we had a good time in. I have books, and just a box full of trinkets that make me smile…a chipped tea cup from my grandmothers house, an old favorite earring of my mothers, silly things, but things that have a story. I told Missy that I wanted to box them up pretty and write down what their story was.
Missy frowned at me and said, “Oh mommy…those are your memories, your special things, they will never mean as much to someone else because they are your memories of your friends and your good times.” I thought about that and thought she was right…who would want my old matchbook covers or little handkerchiefs? It’s really not the item, it’s all the memories that go along with it.
That’s why I hate Alzheimer’s…its a disease that makes a person just a being…when you take away their stories, their memories…their joy of remembering….you just have the shell of that person. Read more…
I can’t remember my Social Security number, my daughter’s birth date, how old my grandchildren are, what I had for supper last night, what I watched on TV this morning or what you call those round green things that are red inside and some have seeds and some don’t. I love them cold but can’t think what they are called. I can’t remember what the grocery store closest by our home is called, what Mike’s oldest brother’s name is, what type of car Missy drives…
But I do remember, that I love cinnamon toast when Missy makes it for me at night when I have bad dreams. I remember how Missy gives me a bath every morning and rubs on my favorite lotion. I remember that my great granddaughter is name Ava Barbara. I remember that I love crazy socks. I remember that I love bacon lettuce tomato sandwiches, I love Coke more than Pepsi, that I can’t eat chocolate. I remember that I love to volunteer at the nursing home, I remember that I used to love to dance and sing, I remember that I have lots of friends who love me on Facebook. I remember I have Alzheimer’s and Missy has MS. Read more…
A friend of mine also has Alzheimer’s. She can still walk and her daughter called Missy today upset that her mother had walked out of the house. Her daughter found her quickly, but she was only wearing a housecoat and no shoes. Her daughter was crying to Missy that she felt so guilty. She had only left her alone for a couple of minutes.
I have questioned GOD as to why I cant walk any longer…why my feet don’t work and I can’t make them go where I want. I think sometimes GOD answers some prayers in ways that we don’t know about.
Maybe me not walking is to help Missy. Maybe sometimes prayers get crossed. Maybe Missy prayed for help in caring for me, maybe I prayed for Missy to get help in caring for me, and for me not to be such a burden. Yes, today, I thank GOD, I can not get up by myself and walk around…it would be another burden for Missy.
I hate Alzheimer’s, I hate it. Read more…
Editor’s note: If you are following along with Barbara and Melissa in their journey, this post is from writing done a couple of months ago with both Barbara and her daughter and caregiver Melissa recounting the impact that small things done with great love can make.
Hello Nurse Buddies, I was in the hospital recently and made many new nurse buddies. My favorite was a tech who gave me a shower. I have not has a shower in 3 years, just baths given to me…This wonderful woman gave me an extra long hot bath, and even let me spray her with the spray nozzle.
She washed my hair and it was better than sex…ha ha…I love you nurses…and techs, and aides…you work so hard, and showed this old woman that sometimes, even at your job, you can have a little fun, and make an old woman’s day!!
Melissa writes: Today mom had a shower, a real hot long long shower. She has only had baths by me in the last 3 years…so today she in a chair in the hospital shower and a wonderful, wonderful, let me say one more time—wonderful tech took extra time and washed mom’s hair, gave her a 25-minute hot, hot shower. Read more…
I hate Alzheimer’s, some days are good days, some are not. I am getting worse, I know it.
Nights seem to be worse. Last night I laid in bed, I thought I was in a strange bed, I was scared. I was afraid that no one would ever come back to get me, that I had been left alone. I laid there for awhile and then I cried a little bit. Missy heard me and came into the room and turned on the light. Oh boy, oh boy was I thrilled to see her. She asked me what was wrong. I told her I was in a strange place and I was so glad she came to take me home. She said, “Mommy we are home. Look you are in your comfy bed. Look around, see it is your pretty room.”
I was so happy. I asked her, “Why am I so scared? Why am I doing this?” Missy told me it was the disease. She told me not to be scared, that she would not leave me alone. But, I worry I will not remember that, and wake up scared again. Missy took me to the restroom, we talked for awhile then I was happy to go back to bed. Read more…
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Alzheimer’s in the First Person
Barbara Taylor Vaughan is 90 and in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Barbara and Melissa Vaughan are putting a face on the disease by chronicling Barbara's illness. Melissa, living with Multiple Sclerosis, is Barbara's daughter and caregiver.
They hope educating others will inspire them to volunteer to help ease the suffering of those with the disease, thier families and caregivers. Barbara and Melissa's relationship, compassion and humor are inspirational.
We love them and thank them for their humanity and generosity of spirit.
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