Shutterbug Times

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Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

I started out adult life as a documentary photographer and ended up as an executive assistant.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Anya looks better than anyone else I know while displaying my first wearable homespun items. The hat was felted in an attempt to conceal some of the more rustic "features" of my work, while the scarf was left to forthrightly show my beginning spinner's skills.

Anya insists that I take her picture anytime I show up with the camera!


Homespun Hat & Scarf

This is my rudimentary attempt to create wearable items from homespun yarn. All new spinners should take heart from these humble items! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

This is a felted bedpost bag with cat fiddlies attached.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

This is Jim's kitty, Oreo, sitting in the January sunlight. Oreo misses Jim, too.  Posted by Picasa

I am spinning and knitting to find relief from Jim's inevitable declining condition. I never knew any activity could bring such distraction. Although there is no way to handle his downslide with grace and total acceptance, I find that losing myself in pursuit of creative projects soothes the open wound and gives me patience. I have placed below a photo of my "stash bag", knit from my own homespun yarn using large needles and my own design. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

Posted by PicasaDana's Visit

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Jim at the Rehab Center Posted by Picasa

Taken at the Rehab Center October 5, 2005

I don’t know where to start. The last few weeks have seen a serious downturn in Jim’s health status. During this time he experienced considerable motor control loss while standing, sitting, feeding himself, and using the Privy. He also suffered considerable cognition deficits. After one particular fall in the bathroom when he couldn’t move a muscle and had to be hauled off the floor to safety, we realized that he needed more care and evaluation than we could provide at home. At that point, many telephone consultations and his transport to the emergency room resulted in his placement in the Medical/Surgical unit of a local hospital for tests. He was seen by neurologists and other specialists for a complete update of his condition.

I must say that his sense of humor was absent for the most part, although he was a good sport about the situation at first. After we left him and came home for some rest he called not long afterwards and demanded to be taken home. When I said he needed further testing he became very put out with me and did not seem to understand what was happening. He didn’t remember this the next day and probably this is just as well. Since then he asks to go home with us every time we visit him and we need to steel ourselves to this. I have tried telling him that if he applies effort in his occupational therapy and physical therapy sessions he will gain the strength he needs to come home and live there again, with the assistance of aides from the HBCS (Home Based Care Services). Of course we are just fighting a holding action and will ultimately lose the war to the dread disease, which will lead to long-term care and finally a hospice.

Where is the humor in all this? I am sure it must be there somewhere, but not in this particular space and time. I can say with certainty that the “Valley of Death” seems quite long and narrow, without any rest stops. On the other hand, Jim seems in much better spirits than many of the patients in the Rehab Center where he is struggling now to regain some of the skills most of us take for granted. No loud groaning, screaming or outward signs of pain. Only repeated demands to be taken home.

Friday, August 26, 2005

One Demented Morning Posted by Picasa

It's hard to start anywhere with this subject, because it's hard to know where and when it begins. Dementia defies description or classification at its onset. It could just be personality quirks or a slip of the tongue, a dropped book, or a forgotten errand. And then, even after a dementia has been diagnosed, it takes awhile to know which type of dementia is present. Some time after suspecting something is amiss, you know for sure where you are- in dementia land. After awhile, you don't really care where you are located in this mysterious place.

But I must explain something. I am the primary caregiver of a gentleman (my husband of many years) who is experiencing a dementia known as Lewy Body Disease after the doctor who isolated it as a dementia in its own right in relatively recent times.

There is information about dementias on the Internet; that is not what I want to convey. What I want to discuss are the social and emotional effects of the disease on the family and loved ones and the patient himself or herself. I think that there are many things that need to be shared. Loneliness, isolation, fatigue, and various other states are not exactly popular topics for discussion. As the saying goes, "Laugh and the World laughs with you; cry and you cry alone". I want to change that notion to something more normal and less depressing. Another saying, "There's a fine line between Tragedy and Comedy", is more to my liking. Dementia doesn't have to be a tragic end to a fading life.

My husband, for example, enjoys his hallucinations. He enjoys the many strange and convoluted language constructions that spout unheeded from his mouth. He likes reading the same mystery novel more than once. If he forgets that he's already eaten some chocolate he doesn't feel guilty about eating more. He enjoyed a recent wheelchair visit to the zoo with relatives with much more interest and enthusiasm than many of the children in strollers.

If we can find the humor in Dementia, maybe more people will pay attention to the condition. More and more people will be living with demented people in their midsts. We need a cartoon, something on the order of "Mr. Magoo" of yore (who was popular although seriously senile and not truly demented), a humorous outlet for expressing lovable though demented episodes such name it. Putting the pants on upside down, etc.

Sorry, I'll have to end here. My husband just turned up from his bath. More another time.