The very first blog I ever wrote on the D’Adamo website was in 2004 right after the funeral for my Honorable Husband’s father. Now, 14 years later, we have been going through the final illness and funeral for HH’s mother.
His father had been in robust health, developed pancreatic cancer, and passed away in less than a year.
His mother was a completely different story. She had osteoporosis which led to broken bones and pain. She broke her pelvis in 2009 and had a caregiver from then on. Beginning in 2011 we began to notice memory problems which steadily got worse. Because of the dementia, she did not remember that she shouldn’t get up off the sofa to answer the doorbell or shut the blinds or retrieve a book she wanted to read. No number of reminders had any influence, and she continued to break bones. I blogged about some of those incidents.
In late October she got up in the middle of the night without asking for help from her caregiver who was on duty in the next room. She appeared to be walking to the front door when she fell, breaking her collar bone and her arm. They immobilized her arm and waited. The dementia worked against her. She pulled the feeding tube out of her nose, and tried innumerable times to get out of her hospital bed. The stress of two broken bones made all of her body systems more frail
She had no ability to comprehend why she was in the hospital. She only wanted to “go home” and by that she meant the home where she spent her childhood. It was very sad, and very painful for her children and grandchildren. She was moved from the hospital to a hospice/dementia facility where she passed away. She wanted to live to be 101 like her mother. She didn’t make it, but she was close.
She has been a part of my life since HH took me home to meet his parents 42 years ago. She was talented, gracious, an outstanding cook, a generous mother-in-law, a loving grandmother – in every way an amazing woman. Dementia changed her. She remembered family members, calling almost everyone by name. She could tell stories from the past in great detail. But she couldn’t tell you what she did an hour ago, and she couldn’t remember the answer to a question you answered 5 minutes before.
She lived her life with faith in God, giving glory to him even after her mind was failing. The last night I spent with her at the hospital I took a CD player and played hymns when she was restless and agitated. She said, “Oh, that was beautiful.” She knew the words and she trusted even then in her savior.
A verse in the Bible says “We grieve, but not as those who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. That is where I have been, emotionally. She was the last of my children’s grandparents. There is a hole in our lives. There is the stark reality that there will be no more family gatherings in the old home, or celebrations around the Christmas tree.
I know with certainty that she is in a better place. That she is reunited with her husband and her parents – who she talked about so much in the last months. I wouldn’t bring her back to a bed of pain even if I could. And she, surrounded by joy as I know she is, would not want to come back.
But still I have been sad.
Aside from explaining where I have been, and why I have been too preoccupied to blog, is there a BTD connection to what I have shared? Of course.
- In my sadness, I sought comfort in food. For the most part I over-indulged on beneficial and neutral food. I learned that extra protein is the best antidote when I am craving carbs. There was only one night when I threw caution to the wind and ate a lot of avoids. I have neither gained or lost weight. I have not caught a cold, or had any other ailment. I give my high level of health on the BTD credit for that.
- I have made a real effort to exercise every day. We had to go back and forth several times to the city where she lived, and there were travel days when exercise was impossible. Sometimes when responsibilities kept us busy all day, by nighttime we just wanted to sit and relax. But on most days HH would say, “Get your jacket, we’re going for a walk.” In between trips my exercise partners here in the neighborhood said, “Be at the fitness center at 9 am” or “I’ll pick up for line dancing at 8:30, be ready.” I’ve probably lost a little muscle tone in my arms – but I’m basically in good shape.
- If I tested my cholesterol, it might not be quite as good as it was in September when I was at a high degree of compliance. I know I can get it back in the proper range, even if it has drifted a little.
- But the thing I think of the most regarding the BTD is that I do not want to have dementia. I do not want to have osteoporosis. I want to live an active, productive, loving, caring life until God calls me home. I think that Blood Type Diet and Blood Type Exercise can do the most to make that happen in my physical realm. Holistically, combining faith in God and studying the Bible will do the most to make that happen in the spiritual realm.
I’m going to be OK. Perhaps I will be better than ever, because I am motivated even more to be proactive about my physical and mental health.
I will get back to blogging. Thank you for being patient with my absence and tonight’s sadness.