All posts by wendy7713

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

How are you coping with Lockdown…..?

I found this unpublished blog lurking in the background last week. I must have forgotten to set the date on it so it’s been hiding unseen until today. Typing and photography have helped me through these last few months, daily activities, daily routine……I think I might have written this near the beginning….anyway, finally found and published now…..

I’m always thankful when I’m asked to write pieces as it makes me think, gives me a different writing experience and makes me feel useful. I’m sure I’ve said before but typing is my escape from dementia, that part of my brain not yet been infiltrated by the dreaded disease…..The people at Brace emailed me recently…

BRACE funds world class clinical and laboratory research into Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to find better treatments, achieve earlier diagnosis and one day, a cure.”

BRACE stands out as an important charity with a unique role. Founded in 1987 by people whose families were affected by the disease, BRACE was drumming up support for dementia research long before the news broadcasts were full of dementia stories and a consensus formed that answers were needed urgently.”

They asked me to write a piece on how I’m surviving lockdown …This is a piece I wrote ……I’m sure if asked now, it would be very different…maybe….enjoy …..

https://www.alzheimers-brace.org/blog/adapting-to-lockdown-with-dementia

 

My playmates ‘No Sew’ genius mask….

Now I’m venturing out on the village bus, I obviously have to wear a face mask and I’ve been wearing them from start to end of journey. The disposable ones you can buy made me extremely hot and sweaty on my face. The posher ones are seem so expensive – people trying to make a killing while they can, I suppose…

And really weren’t very comfortable to wear. I really can’t imagine how front line staff wear them for a whole shift. Necessity just making them tolerate them I suppose. But many have spoken of sore ears, sore faces from the sweat, it must be horrible for them……I saw on our village facebook page that a villager has made 500 for locals – but much nicer to wear – how kind is that….I must have missed seeing them 🙄

Anyway, I have many wonderful playmates, but one in particular, Gail, has an amazing craft room at home as she used to do so much pre diagnosis, that now she still continues to make amazing things…..

I feel a special affinity with Gail as she lives in one of my favourite places near Blackpool, Cleveleys, the home the the beautiful shell and old man at sea. Her daily walk is one I do whenever I’m there, which obviously hasn’t been since last year. But it’s lovely to think of her walking the same steps….

As I said she’s very ‘Crafty’ and she decided to make a video of how to make a face covering, without the need to sew. Just what I needed! It meant I could have whatever colour I wanted and nice soft material. They really are very simple to make and even I found them simple – after a few tries……so now I have 3 tartan face masks which are much nicer to wear and washable…..3 simple men’s handkerchiefs turned into face coverings…..genius

You can see Gail work her magic on this simple to follow video….. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcnsKFfSv4g

First steps inside a dentist again……..

When life was ‘normal’ I used to go to the dentist every 4 months for my teeth to be cleaned and polished. Not that I’ve got very nice teeth, but some days I havn’t a clue if I’ve cleaned them and others I probably clean them several times…🙄 so rather than worry about it I let the hygienist see to me quarterly and that seems to work fine.

However, my last appointment was due just as the world turned Topsey turvey so it’s been many months. They’re not even convenient for me to get to anymore and, since changes to the bus timetables means they’re now 3 bus rides away but I love my dentist, so knowledgeable, so caring, so very good and when I had an email from them recently saying they were reopening, I was overjoyed…

I just knew they’d do things properly and safely. I used to know how to get there by bus, but now that’s long forgotten. Luckily Gemma is still working from home so was able to be my taxi. They’re used to me using emailing for appointments, but she rang for me and we were sorted.

An email came through explaining the new procedure. Forms now filled out on line and a list of new rules followed.

The car is now the new waiting room. So last Wednesday we went the scenic way even though it was a grey cloudy day, it’s a nice drive and cuts out the busy roads for part of the way…

We parked up and Gemma rang to say we were nearby and we waited for them to ring back to say I could go in. Only one patient at a time is allowed to be downstairs at any one time. Once they rang back, Gemma had to stay in the car and I made my way to the surgery…a tiny perfectly converted terrace house.

I was met by one of the smiley dental assistants who showed me to the hand sanitiser – an automatic one, so no need to touch anything. Then straight into the downstairs consulting room where the hygienist was waiting for me all decked in PPE. They’re so thorough as first thing they do is the regular checks for cancer of the mouth, the face and feel around before setting about hand cleaning my teeth. They can’t use the usual equipment because of the spray, so the old fashioned hand descaling took place.

She used, what I call, mini loo brushes, to clean in between at the end and I suddenly realised that was one procedure I’d forgotten about. I must have run out and then simply forgotten all about their existence. So she gave me two to take away, writing down the size of the ones I needed to remind me. We were popping into the shop on the way home, so I could get some straight away…

Then Nick, the amazing dentist came in, again all decked in PPE. He checked my guard that he’d made me ages ago, which miraculously cured the pain I’d had in my right jaw for over a year, over night – that was why I’d gone to him in the first place as he’s a jaw specialist. But during the lock down my left side jaw has started the same problem. He manipulated my jaw, pressed here and there, then adjusted my mouth guard and hey presto, I noticed later that night when munching on my handful of nuts, that the pain had disappeared…..he is sooooo clever at his job……..

Everything all completed, I had to wait while the next person entered and had gone upstairs before leaving the room and paying. Even the paying machine was safe. I’d often wondered in shops when the amount was over the simple touch limit, how safe it was to be pressing the buttons, where everyone else had been touching, but they’d thought of that too…It had a plastic disposable cover over the top which was replaced each time anyone used it. Perfect!

So you see, the dentist probably isn’t the first place you’d think of visiting in order to get back to normal, but I just knew my dentist would do everything right and I simply don’t want them to go out of business just because patients don’t support them……..and they seemed sooo happy to be back to doing what they do best…

Another good experience…….much better to try the places you know will do things properly and safely ……

 

 

The Art of Watching Nature…….Poem…

Just sitting and watching in silence

Patience is all that you need

To see nature appear

To appreciate what was a tiny seed

To hear the birds singing happily

To watch them fly around

Yet when they settle near by

Joy, simply abounds

You have to be still, you have to be quiet

And wait just patiently

And then the reward will appear

And be there in front quite graciously.

So patience is a virtue

Or so they say

But for nature it’s paramount

Blink and it will have gone away….

Chose this song, simply because I enjoyed singing it at school…….

My active day is reducing…….

My dear Aussie playmate, Kate Swaffer. Posted a link on Twitter last week. It immediately resonated with how I was feeling. The person who wrote the article, Christine Miserandino, has Lupus but, as Kate said, it is:

A great analogy of what it’s like living with Invisible Disabilities including dementia”

Indeed, it was how I’ve been feeling these last couple of weeks or so….The number of spoons I have at my disposal seems to be disminishing (you’ll have to read the wonderful article to see what I’m talking about) ….

The number of hours where my brain is capable of actively thinking, reducing……because the stimulation of the previous chaotic world is no longer with us, my brain doesn’t have that constant work out that it use to get. It’s becoming harder to think and do, to come up with ideas. My blog is the one thing that keeps me typing as typing these thoughts help me make sense of what’s happening. My trundles with my camera give me a focus for the day….but thinking, real constructive thinking is so hard at the mo…..

I was asked to think of 25 playmates the other day…I could think of a handful, no more, yet I know hundreds…..I was asked to put together a list of suggestions for a project, but it took me days instead of hours….my brain capable of a couple at a time and then I’d exhausted it…

I used to go on social media in the early evening, now my day stops about 5.30, I’m spent, nothing left, I just stare at the telly after tea …what will happen when I’m travelling home in the evening when travelling comes back again?

So the number of spoons at my disposal is reducing in number…lets hope the quantity increases when all this is over……now read this wonderful  article to find out what on earth I’m talking about, and thank you Kate for bringing it to my attention…

https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

 

I’ve found something I can finally ‘cook’ again…..

Well I use the word ‘cook’ very lightly….I’d almost given up totally the idea of cooking in a pan on the hob again. So many disasters and burnt pans, ruined food…..but then something caught my eye in the village. I pass it almost everyday on my trundle but have never stopped to investigate……

Abbie, who also owns the adorable sheep that a much photographed by me…and who gave me a bag of wool for my friend Philly….

……also has hens which I can hear clucking away…..the sign she’s put up tells their story and how much loved they now are

I put my money in the honesty box and trundled my way home happy with my purchase….

Thinking back to only 6 or 7 years ago, I was a very good cook, every meal from scratch, a fair baker of cakes and treats galore, but dementia took all those skills away from me…not being able to coordinate pans, ingredients, timings…..but I couldn’t resist trying a simple egg once more.

Now you might be thinking , what on earth is difficult about boiling an egg….? Well it’s the distraction that catches me out. On a showery day as today was, as soon as I see the sun, I venture outside….so I had to be prepared. Funnily enough I could only work out how to work one hob, not sure why, but the others didn’t make sense. Maybe I always used to use that one, who knows. I thought it might be easier if I boiled the kettle, that would be one less thing to get wrong and get distracted while waiting for the pan to boil….

I set 2 alarms for the time. I didn’t have a clue how long to cook it for, couldn’t go upstairs to look it up on my iPad as by the time I’d get there I would be doing something else. 8 minutes should be fine, I thought… So I took my camera in the sun room and sat with one alarm on my lap, snapping piccies of the garden visitors

Until the sudden noise on my lap brought me back to now….and then almost straight away the one in the kitchen sounded it’s large shrill which made me get up immediately as the noise pierces my ears…

I had to suddenly think, what to do next? I automatically filled the pan with cold water, thinking it would immediately cool the egg down, but then just started peeling the shell away, burning my fingers as I did..🙄…just couldn’t think how else to cool the egg inside….once deshelled, I cut it in half and knew that if I went away I’d forget it….so sliced it more and put it on the buttered slice of bread…the golden yolk so fresh, it looked a work of art. I was so pleased with myself.

I know it will go wrong at some point. I’ll forget it’s on, be distracted, go out into the garden but today I didn’t ….today my brain behaved…I’ll have to pick my moment next time, just as this moment was right…

Such a simple warm boiled egg sandwich ……and how delicious it tasted….well the sheer fact that I’d boiled the egg, made it an achievement and delight to eat….5 more eggs, 5 more egg sandwiches or maybe even an egg salad ……onward and upward……

 

 

My first venture out on the village bus for 3 months……..

I woke up last Friday and went, for what’s turned out to be, my early morning trundle to feed the ducks…I was wondering what to do with my day when suddenly an empty village bus passed me by, the driver waving a lonely looking wave……

It then occurred to me that if I’m going to take the plunge and go on the village bus, it would be best to do it while they were quiet. In a couple of weeks, as more places open, it might start to get busier and be more stressful. At least now, the driver would hopefully have patience to tell me what to do or what not to do….it might be less complicated.

So the feeding of the ducks over

…..and still a couple of hours before the next bus. I meandered up the church walk towards the village church. The Rev had stopped me on his bike the other day and told me how at 9am the sunlight shines through the East window and casts  lovely colourful rays on one of the walls. He was more than happy for me to take photos, not being a churchy person, but I do love beauty and our church is small and beautiful.

He was right.The door lay open and as soon as I walked inside it was immediately cool and silent…The sunlight was streaming in through the stained glass window and the rays of colour were falling on the opposite wall…..beautiful…the magic doesn’t really show up on the photo…

Pleased that I’d remembered the extra call after the ducks I made my way home for a cuppa and to prepare for my village bus trundle. I looked on the web site for the times. They apparently were exactly the same as before but I didn’t have a scooby do what time that was…I took a piccie of the timetable so I’d have it for coming back. I decided to take my camera as taking piccies would help calm me down if things got stressful…

Armed with my Facemask I went out 10 minutes early and waited alone at the bus stop….felt very strange as there used to be several of us, but not today, and for once I was quite thankful. I needed the bus driver to myself.

It turned up on time and as expected, I was alone….the driver had a Facemask on so neither of us could hear what the other said..but his eyes were smiling so I guess I was ok. The front seats were all taped off so I took the first window seat. I couldn’t see any other rules but then a small sign on the window caught my eye and I took a piccie to read later as it was too small to see from my seat…

The last stop out of the village arrived and surprisingly another regular was waiting to venture on. We knew one another but because of the distance between us and the face masks, we couldn’t hear one another so we sat in silence and trundled our way into town. It was a joy to see the Westwood again, still not being allowed to venture out of the village on foot means it’s out of my reach

And the town cows, obligingly stopped the traffic to cross the road

All was good. I got off a stop early knowing it would be quieter and saw images I’d not seen in a long time. The library, still closed, with pots of flowers delighting passers by…A single thrush looking for food in the daises

It wasn’t as bad as I thought..until I turned a corner and saw a busy packed high street, the market place full of cars…no one wearing a mask…

I had nearly 2 hours to wait for my bus back…and suddenly this didn’t seem like one of my best ideas..

Whichever way I looked there was either queues or simply crowds of people milling around. 2 metre distancing didn’t seem to exist and I felt like a freak in my mask. I suddenly started to question myself, whether I’d remembered the rules right, but if I didn’t keep it on I’d forget it when I needed it for the bus again….

I saw one of my favourite clothes shops close by was open, and because it was small, I could also see it was empty. I could escape into there while I had a think. I’m glad I did as someone met me at the door, explained the rules and smiled….I even bought 2 things, just to feel normal again…

Opposite was Marks and Spencer, they’d been good last time I went with Gemma, so I ventured round to their current entrance at the back but was greeted by a very long queue. But at least they were keeping to the rules, so I joined the queue thinking I’d be as safe there as anywhere…but still few people wearing masks…..

That experience was as pleasant as last time. All the staff smiley, only a few shoppers allowed in. So I managed to buy everything that wasn’t on my list 😂….hardly anyone wearing masks inside…😳

Coming out of there I still had an hour until my bus, but no other shops I trusted. My head was starting to bang with the shear concentration of trying to avoid others who were just going about life as though Covid had vanished….

Many shops still hadn’t opened, many ‘To let’ signs up where shope once were, a sad result of Covid. A huge closing down sign attracted my attention. It was ‘Laura Ashley’ home store…just one person was waiting outside, so I joined that queue, simply wanting to be away from the crowds. One woman joined after me and was giving the shop assistant a hard time for not letting more people in…why would you be like that?

After that I carried on walking and found an empty bench and just sat, sat watching the world continue as though the last 3 months had never existed. It made me think, was I wrong, had I remembered the rules wrong? As someone else tried to join me on the bench, I felt uncomfortably close to them so got up and made my way to the safety of our little bus station. I’d just arrive early and wait….

As I thought, it was nice and quiet with lots of empty benches. I sat on one by my stop and was soon joined by the fellow villager who’d also decided to arrive early. We lifted our masks and from separate benches we were finally able to speak to one another and hear the replies. Turns out she was as shocked as I was. It was also her first time on the village bus, just to try it and see what it was like.

We chatted happily for half an hour, about the last 3 months and how nice it was to finally choose our own shopping instead of relying on others but how lovely it would be to get back to the peace and safety of the village. We were joined by one other passenger, a young girl, who I vaguely recognised, but couldn’t see her properly behind her mask…

Further round the town, 2 other women got on. They had lots of shopping and were only going a couple of stops. They broke all the rules and me and my travel companions were very uncomfortable and thankful when they departed…

As the villager got off at her stop, I remembered the name of her house was Woodbine cottage, which always reminded me of my dad as he puffed on Woodbines for many a year…

The young girl got off at the same stop at me, immediately took off her mask, smiled and said, “it’s me Wendy’…..the young girl who delivers my meals from the pub on the odd occasion I have them 🤗…the mask covers so little yet hides so much..…

Grateful to get back home, sat writing this with my cuppa tea and all was right in the world again as once, a while later, more I set off for a trundle round my peaceful village…..

 

Yesterdays Lolly Quiz Answers …..

So here’s the answers to yesterdays quiz…..wonder how many you got right? Hopefully you beat my 1…🙄

Answers to Lolly Quiz…

1 – Twist ER …Twister

2 – Mag. numb…..Magnum

3 – Fruit Pass till……Fruit Pastille

4 – Cornetto (not sure how this one works!)

5 – Nobbly Bobbly

6 – Ice Pop

7 – Zoo m…..Zoom

8 – Sol…ER…OH……Solero

9 – Nine tea Nine…….Ninety Nine