Life with art.

Watercolor with ink and color pencils by me.

Wetting paper, the whole page or just one place at a time. Picking up as much pigment on your wet brush and touch the wet page.

The most beautiful color bleeds on the spot into tiny feathery fingers. Then another color. All bright and beautiful. New images comes to mind.

A mind sometimes only seeing darkness. A brain deteriorating gradually. But the colors and images of the watercolor paint explodes into new ideas, new energy and happiness.

You still look young, a beautiful painting where no one can see the deterioration and sometimes you feel you have to explain or prove that which you loose sometimes day by day or gradually is unfortunately real. Nobody wants it, but it creeps up to you.

Then comes the tears, the waters over your page, sometimes all in the open… the whole page at once. Sometimes just spots around the corner where no one see.

But then you pick up that brush, dip it in that water, fill it with beauty. Red, purple, yellow, greens. An entire rainbow to brighten up your day. God will never leave you nor forsake you. Beautiful flowers flow out of your brush. Giving yourself and other new hope. We know the end, but we can live the in between in beautiful colors. Find out what your paintbrush is. For those that lost their paintbrushes already, help them. Take their hand and move the beautiful paint around. Ignite each others sparks to momentarily reach the surface.

Take a pen or brush or camera and discover the beautiful and whimsical beauty that will always stay in us. Let us share our beauties with each other and even leave each other encouraging notes.

Art brings your brain and imagination to life. Art can be anything, even gardening. The sky is the limit and sometimes these beauties leaves something for our loved ones to remember us by. Not with sadness, but with the joy that the colors of the rainbow brings.

With love and kindness.

Elmarie (Saro)

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End of year… balistic!

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This is my head, mood, emotions and and and and!!!! This is no new news to any person… human being on planet earth, except for those idiots that recon COVID 19  is some sort of alien conspiracy and putting the rest of planet earth’s population in danger of dying and dying themselves by the loads full.

I’m tired and angry. I had enough. What else can I add that starts with “I”.

I’m tired of being scared, lonely, frustrated, desperate and plain angry. How could a whole year be so horrific? 2020 is…. I lack the propper words for a suitable comparison.

I think I have just repeated myself more in a few sentences than in my entire blog.

The masks is choking a person.  If you have a wet sneeze it’s snot all over your face and particularly bad if you wear one of those see threw plastic masks that covers your entire face… I leave that to your imagination. Next one a burp after a particular garlicky meal and someone said if you smoke, it can become really stuffy.

Another thing about masks, I battle to recognize people or properly understand them if voices are so muffled. You cannot see if someone smile. The world turned into one huge unfriendly place.

You can zoom and socialise like that, but that is no real touch and a presence that only two or more bodies can create in a room.

Everything changed. Well you can say “new normal” until you are blue in the face, I can’t even figure out my phone when it updates, so how do I do “new normal” when the dementia is already doing a daily “new normal” number on me. How the F do I handle this?

I feel unable to move from my chair and do the things I like or have too. I do look forward to the kids I tutor 4 days a week, but that’s another angry story. Everything is just too much for me. I stoped smoking going for 2 years now, because of the vascular dementia, but my husband insists to choose his pipe over his family and the secondhand smoke is depriving me more and more of oxygen and my brain just happily dies off more and more.

I’m fed up for comfort eating the same stuff every day, I want something else to eat. Although, I think the reality here is that I want Corona and everything just to go away. Is someone just going to draw a line on Old years eve and we step over it into 2021 and everything will be ok again???? I think not.

If you think I should change this topic or are fed up because everyone is talking or writing about Corona… suck it up and bugger off. Go read something else.

I’m lonely. When I got my diagnosis, I chose to withdraw myself, but now I want human company and interaction, not counting kids.

Another thing…. “end of year” always has it’s own problems. You miss people you lost and don’t have with you anymore over the so called “festive season”. This time is marked by suicides, many of them young people.  Depression after losing your job or business in this year. Bad thing about being depressed… it is not very acceptable or fashionable to even just mention that you are depressed or have an intense desire to end your life. You just don’t do that.

I think I said enough for now. Don’t know if I made any sense at all… but that’s it for now.

Saro (Elmarie)

Living with dementia in lockdown for me.

I remember all started with a panic. See if we all have enough food and money. My youngest ordered lots and lots of masks and sanitizer, which is very good. For me, anxiety set in. When I am anxious, it feels like my head becomes a stone. It cannot think, reason. My words became less and less.

I dwindled down to being unable to count or any figures, I cannot read or follow a recipe anymore. I did not blog, because think is difficult, even find words. As time went on, tension become more and the moment there is conflict my brain shut down. I can literally not move or communicate. Then I cannot talk for few days. Miss every third or forth word. Difficult to hold conversation, because no social interaction. I do however have my Dementia Mentors friends with whom I try to zoom every day.

My concentration is down, I will wonder around wanting to do something, forget then find something else and then forget that something else as well, went back to my chair. When my daughters or husband go to work or somewhere, I become anxious, because I cannot remember where they went or when they come back. Then I want to send them Whatsapp and forget that and later wonder if they will be angry if I don’t send message and then forget that too.

My filter also broke. Saying things I should not say, like hurting someone or tell someone something I shouldn’t, not that we keep secrets, but sometime there are things you don’t say in public or to you family or to anyone.

It’s getting on my family’s nerves that I ask say 3 times in a row how they are and just forget I did. The forget thing is weird. I forget… it is like a black hole where nothing even ever existed. I started making jewelry, that helped keeping me stimulated, but lately I cannot think up new designs. I went to my GP yesterday and he asked me to take off my jacket and I asked him which one, as I was wearing two. He looked at me and said both…. that’s a bummer and I remember it. I don’t feel in control anymore. I get anxiety when left alone for a few minutes. Then I don’t know where everyone is.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I don’t catch a joke anymore, no matter how many times you explain it. It is difficult to communicate without seeing someones face. So video call works better for me to understand something. In this time of lockdown I really have no sense of day, date even time anymore. It is one big sleep time and awake time.

A human being needs to socialize, if your brain don’t function and the basic requirement of socialization even on the most basic and way, like saying hello to the lady in the pharmacy are deprived of, it shuts down. The few thoughts you have gets muddled. The other night I was lying in bed and the weirdest thing happened. I tried to think, but all the words were like a lot of colored marbles in a bag, refusing to form a sentence even a picture. That happens more and more with me. Communication, it becomes more and more difficult. When there is confrontation, I just use swear words and say bad things, because I cannot sort matter in my brain to fix confrontation.

Got to go, stay safe.

Lots of love

Saro (Elmarie)

Positive

Positive. See, I just started my blog positive. It is a desperate wish of mine to start or write today’s blog positive…. NO man! not positive for COVID-19…! Positive in attitude, thoughts, any other suggestions?

Everything feels so negative. I have no contact with the outside world… wait!!!! My Zoom buddies. O dear, we can be so funny, but I notice that we find it more and more difficult to keep the conversation light and funny. All of us…. for those that don’t know, have some form of Dementia and are early onset. We understand each other and even though the contact is virtual…. we figured Zoom out plus minus before the rest of the world, I would like to think lol.

What I wanted to say is, that we actually are a close family, even though some of us are really live across the pond. The two from England Peter and Andrew are on their worst behavior. Andrew just tested positive for COVID-19 and Peter is in hospital, being tested. Now I worry my self in a spin. They are important to me, all of them are important to me and I guess we are all important to each other. I love all of my Dementia Mentor friends so much. Creeky takes me to the beach on Sundays in Corpus Christi Texas. Ok… we chat on Messenger and she show me the beach and sea and birds flying over. Just got to love the girl with that nice bottle red hair of hers.

In the beginning of the lock down thing and start of the virus, I was concerned, then it escalated to worried, then anxious and then plain scared. Now I just feel numb, don’t feel like doing anything. The dishes in the kitchen is singing:” Tomorrow, tomorrow… tomorrow” In a lovely falsetto tone. And me…. just bugger off Okay!!!!!!! Imagine the dishes and pots etc, forming a line and starts a march across the field, past the cows, waving at the crows, saying hello to the sheep or something like that. Or I just might… Okay am definitely digging up my firm believe of fairies. Fairies whose sole purpose is to make me comfortable and then clean the house, do the dishes and I can supply them with a nice menu. A girl can dream or what lol.

Got to go, our President want’s to talk to us…. God save the Queen…. no… that the Brits!

Good night, Good morning and Good afternoon dear friends and family and now, I did not drink, it is against the law here in South Africa.

Saro (Elmarie)

Day 4 of lock down.

Hi guys and girls, it is out fourth day of COVID-19 lock down. Many lovely positive things happened today, so no complaints over here.

My dearest friend Marian had her 49th birthday today and I made her a lovely little basket and lid from newspaper. She was really happy with it. She also brought us some frozen chickens and offer to to buy some necessities, so that my husband and I don’t have to be exposed. We decided to wait another 2 days, as the government old age payments were today and there would have been a lot of people. Also, she can get the stuff we need close to us, that is not that much visited by people. That’s really awesome of her.

One thing though…. my husband and his pipe smoking or smoking in general is killing me. I stopped 6 months ago. The pipe smoke gives me a headache and makes me nauseous. Tomorrow, I’m wearing a bandana or scarf around my face. I love him very much, but this is really getting too much.

Another good thing that happened was that I decided to make a Whatsapp group to keep in touch with my 3 brothers. They all thought it to be a good idea and it makes me happy, although I stated it is to chat and not to be spammed with stupid pictures …. those that some people spam your phone with mornings and nights.

I must admit that this pandemic is raising my anxiety to new levels. I do however try to just avoid negative things and search out positive things. Share the amount of people that recovered after having the virus, instead of how many are now infected or died. We have to live in confined spaces for quite some time, so we must take measures to avoid depression. Also, get closer to God, he never leaves us. He is not the one that send this, He is the one that heals. God is in the healing business not killing. His love for us is infinite and far more than we can ever imagine.

Have to go now. Hope and pray that all of you stay safe and are well.

lots of love and kindness

Saro (Elmarie)

I’m back blogging.

Ok, I’m just going to type as it comes up. I have not been blogging all this time, because I was afraid that I cannot do it anymore. It was shaky according to my standards already, but let me not be harsh on myself… I do have early onset vascular dementia after all.

I started out getting an image, which I don’t like anymore, but decided to keep it anyway. I woke up one morning somewhere end last year and my speech was almost gone and what was left, was incomprehensible. It was dreadful. I already had aphasia after the first stroke, but not that bad.

Well I started making paper beads and then jewelry. Something I just could not believe, because I have severe hand tremors. At one stage I could not write, had to be fed etc. I so felt pathetic, which of cause is stupid. How can a person feel pathetic about something you can’t help. I just tried to email from my phone some of the photos of my jewelry to my laptop, but the fricken thing updated again and of cause I will have to figure it out again from scratch. Well to make this shorter, my hand tremors improved and my speech. How that works, is beyond me, although I read on google that they use art therapy for speech problems. And of cause, God is awesome and deserve all the credit, because He is the one putting this paper bead, jewelry making thing in me. I don’t care what doctors say, that’s what happened to me. I do not take new medication, in fact the medication I’ve been taking for my hand tremors, my pharmacist is unable to get hold of.

In the meantime, I noticed that my memory is going downhill. I always was still aware of what went wrong, now most of the time I just don’t know, which in a way is bliss. Not beating myself up that much.

My family also is making progress. There is no more…. don’t worry mommy I also forget with a whole story about the forgetting. What most people don’t realize is that normal forget is something you can be reminded and you remember again or going back in your tracks or whatever trick you do to remember something…. with us there is just a black hole… nothingness. Whatever we forgot just never existed where it concerns us Us, being people that falls under the dementia umbrella. I have a note for the 30th of March in my diary to contribute for tommy otter. Who and what the hell that is, is beyond me. It is written with my pink pen in my best handwriting. Oh well, one of those things. It kind of suck to put something in your diary to remember and when you get to it, have absolutely no idea what it is.

I can’t remember what I really wanted to say, except that I wanted to see if I can still write. Well I hope it is not to shabby. My reading is starting to suck…. long things only get read about a quarter in, then the not remember kicks in.

Now since I don’t like too long stuff let me say bye. This was day 2 of total lockdown for South Africa. Hope I will be able to organize a schedule. Jewelry, blogging, online game and ofc the chickens.

Toodles

Saro (Elmarie)

Funny… where???

Hmmmm this being brutally honest can become a bit ouch. Talked to a friend yesterday, that said that she don’t want to talk about sad things all the time. She want to have fun and laugh. It was the first time we talked one on one, usually we are part of a group chat.

I think I lost my funny somewhere, or didn’t. I’m so intense busy with dementia and dying and such stuff, that I forgot funny. I forgot to live and enjoy stuff. It is as if my mouth is saying one thing, but my heart and head are on another chapter. How to get out? How do I find my funny again. I used to be the funniest person ever and could find humor in everything.

Or what if I am having fun here and there and forgot about it? Twice now someone told me that I said something and I have absolutely no recollection of it. It is just not there.

How do I stop being scared and accept or get used to the inevitable. My grandma had vascular dementia. But I was not much there to see or experience it. My aunt, bless her beautiful soul, took care of her.

Sometimes it feels as if it is I, me and myself. I have never been a selfish person or an I, me and myself person. What stages does a person goes through when they get their diagnosis. No matter what illness. “Sorry dear, go get your stuff in order. You are going to forget your family and everyone and then you are going to die. Yes sorry dear, but Vascular dementia is terminal”

Just went to the bathroom and had an epiphany…. sometimes I get the best ideas there. Sorry if it is too much information. My head really are screwed. With the bipolar, I desperately want to take my own life and die and with the Vascular dementia I am going to die and don’t want to die. Geezzzzz how does that sound… you should see my face now… wanted to write: as if I smelled a fart…. but, oh well there goes.

This blog writing thing does something for a person. It actually helps me think and see things for how it is or not. I really hope that this musings of me help some caregiver to understand or another person with some sort of dementia to understand that they are not alone.

Got to go to bed now. Meds are almost kicking in.

Much love and kindness

Saro (Elmarie)

Missing time.

I decided to blog on my phone as well, as the things I want to say dissappear.

One thing lately, is that time dissappear. I don’t know where it goes. Also someone will tell me something or my family is talking, it is as if the first part of the sentence dissappear. I continually have to ask to start from the beginning again.

The other thing is, it feels sometimes if there is someone else in me… No I don’t have that multiple personality thingy. Sometimes it feels as if I expect too much from my family to handle this vascular dementia. It feels as if I just want to curl up inside of me and die, so that none of us have to go through a prolonged suffering on both sides. (no I’m not suicidal)

Thing is, it is not that we expect everyone to be at our back and call. It is the disease that causes an inability and even not knowing about stuff.

We will always love our families and caregivers, we will always be grateful. Sometimes it might not be evident, but it is there on the inside of us. We lose our abilities, not ourselves.

My family I know will always love me and take care of me and whatever I can do for them, I will. I have read posts of caregivers that said how they hate those they take care of and wish they die… That is horrible, but I believe those caregivers were rotten even before. It is fine to vent and my eldest daughter also blog to vent, it is heart breaking, but I’m glad to be able to know how she feels and she is never nasty.

If a way can be found how caregiver and LO can work together all will be well I believe. There are cases I read about where the LO becomes a danger, but they can be taken care of… Don’t know about that stuff. There are many videos to be watched, for instance from Teepa Snow and Jennifer Bute and Dementia Mentors etc.

Got to go, much love and kindness.

Saro (Elmarie)

Vascular dementia and communication challenges.

It is my intention with this blog to be brutally honest. It concerns my feelings, happenings etc. Some of my perceptions is not necessarily the truth, but it is how it feels to me. Fear of the unknown is absolutely devastating.

I had a very traumatic experience the other day, had to go for a colonoscopy. In the first place they had to puncture me 8 times to get a vein. Not the doctor’s fault I think, but what was terrible, was that I was most of the time not sedated. It was painful and just terrible. My confusion etc. increased after that, as is my memory and my sense of date, day, time and year is gone. I keep on getting it wrong and when I try to figure it out, it is as if there is just this big black hole.

My brother and his beautiful wife, whom I will meet really for the first time, the other time was with my mother’s funeral. I am so happy they are coming for a visit, but on the other side, it freaks met out. In the past I could say:”Ok, this and that and ten other things is what needs to be done, etc.” Now I cannot think of one thing to make for dinner, where are they going to sleep… It is just one big irrational fear inside of me. I feel out of control. I don’t have control over anything anymore… It scares me… (Note to self… (geez girl, you been such a control freak?)

Sometimes it feels so lonely, even though I have my family with me. They love me to kingdom and back. I find it increasingly difficult to communicate. To have a conversation and also I think people don’t want to hear about dementia all the time. I can talk about God… recite the bible. Talk about history, European, Egyptian or Russian or Vikings, lots of things, but then not many people go past recipes, gossip, their kids and sport. So by the way, I’m so happy the Springbucks won the rugby world cup. I never watch sport, but that I watched and I remembered the two other times we won. It is as if there is this barrier or nothingness when I try to tell or communicate something to someone else. The other thing is the words. Everyday sayings, hello how are you, fine thank you, hows the kids… no problem, but try to use or remember bigger words or have a conversation…. That kite just don’t fly anymore. Then when people see you… Oh wonderful, you look so good. O yeah I’m fine thanks dear… who the hell is this female……????

I am amazed that I can still write like this… hope it is not too bad. I forget to write my blog. I forgot to play my online game Dawn of Titans for a week… goodness, I’m suppose to be addicted to it. I will continue to write and I hope it will be for years.

Anyways, got to go.

Much love and kindness.

Saro (Elmarie)

Getting stuff in order

Warning: Contents might be upsetting.

Hi there

Haven’t written in a while (getting to be a boring intro..), but I find my concentration to be shorter than that of a hamster and I get so easily distracted, it’s not even funny.

Before I get distracted again. This is still about getting stuff in order, because at some stage I will not be of sound mind anymore or whatever happens with vascular dementia. Fact is I’m going to die……. BUT ON ALL THE OTHER DAYS I’M GONNA LIVE. (Snoopy and his chum Charlie came up with that I think, but I’m going for that “all the other days” ) watch how I get distracted…. I want to do fun things, already tried one thing. My husband bought us a new mattress and I wanted to jump on it, he refused me immediately… just sitting on it and hopping, I tried to make it a bit less upsetting for him, being strict with his woman and such things. He still refused. (I waited till he left the bedroom, mattresses don’t talk… lol)

Okay, here goes. First of all I could not decide who to give power of attorney, not wanting to step on anyone’s toes of feelings, then Lora my eldest stepped up and informed me that she will take the job. Don’t know if they held a meeting or something, but made it easier for me. Then she got me in the car and got me to make an appointment with our dear local attorney Gerhard Mattheus. The living will went down a bit more difficult. I got an example from his office and it scared the living daylights out of me. Remember now here, that I don’t want to take my own life. The bipolar is just a nonsense that is being controlled by medication and family.

The living will is for if by some way or another me and my family can be spared me to be in a vegetative state as I see it. No resuscitation or machines and such, is my wish. I also thought it to be cruel to doctors, but it is my life and my decision. A decision not made lightly. My family’s first reaction to the living will idea was that I want them to kill me. By no means, it is only for when I’m going to die from something else or another, I don’t want to be resuscitated or kept alive by all means. The end of dementia is way more upsetting and scary for me than anything else. I know this must be upsetting, but life is not fair and facts are facts. Well both documents are now in place and I have peace now.

Just one more thing to be done… Give forms in booking places for me and hubby for one day in the far far future at our local Old Age Home. We know everyone there and will be happy and be cared for. I put all our documents in a file, just need to update the funeral policy details and all is finished and we can get on with our lives. Mind you trying to fix the policy over the phone was quite a nonsense. The female were incredibly rude and my husband is deaf and have no idea what email addresses are and all such foreign stuff from Marsh. I’m 56 and he is 65, I think that should explain a few things.

Well, I think I’m going to say bye for now. So lots of love and kindness

Saro (Elmarie)