Before I get into what I have been up to, I want to share a statistic put out by the Associated Press.
More than five million people
in the United States
have Alzheimer's Disease.
Now that figure doesn't tell us how many have dementia. Remember that dementia is the set of symptoms. You can think of dementia as the umbrella of symptoms. Under those symptoms are many reasons, diagnoses, or folders. Debbie Selsalvage says the folder under the umbrella with the most papers in it (people or cases) is Alzheimer's Disease.
There are many, many causes of dementia symptoms. Some of them are curable. That is why it is good to get to the doctor if you or a loved one is showing symptoms. Sometimes it is just a vitamin deficiency, a tumor, or a medication side affect.
Speaking of Debbie Selsalvage, she is part of a fundraising effort for Dementia Education happening at the restaurant that I go to with my bike group every Saturday morning.
I am donating 10 paperback copies of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George. I deliver them tomorrow when I go to buy my ticket(s). I don't know if they will have a drawing and give them away or if they will sell them to raise more funds.
I haven't decided if I am buying more than one ticket. I can think of a lot of people I would like to invite to go with me. If you want to go and want me to pick up tickets for you, let me know. I could meet you out front by the rooster.
I am not over it....
What? you may ask.
The day George died.
Notice I didn't say, being a widow or missing George or George not being here.
I mean I think of those things and I am adjusting, but the biggest effort (and I talked with others who have this symptom) is getting my mind to not mull over the last days. Some widows have lived wonderfully with their spouse for 50 years or more and still their thoughts loop and loop over the last weeks, days, hours.
Today I was having a busy and great day. It still is a busy and great day. At 6 p.m. after a warm and sweaty and active day I decided I needed to shower. I showered just fine in the master bath.
Afterward, on my way walking through the master bedroom I remembered him lying on the floor there unable to move. I quickly made the effort to change the subject in my mind. I don't need to go there again. We had 41 years of memories. I don't need to replay that one.
I do well with the mind switch. Right after he passed, the thoughts looped obsessively. It is like a worry loop only looking at the past instead of the future. I was trying to think of what I could have done differently in those last hours. I think this might be a traumatic-event symptom of the brain.
I had to make the effort to stop those thoughts. Logically I told myself I was a loving wife and cared for him well. I could continue to torture myself with those images and thoughts or I could re-direct to something more positive.
In my long life I have read and practiced positive thinking and thought re-direction. So I created a fun image that I could think about whenever I caught myself heading down that same thought path.
Want to know the image I created? Doesn't really matter, just make up an image or remember a nice one from the past. Something that gets you to smile... puppies playing, babies laughing, a pretty scene.
OK, twist my arm! I will tell you the image I created. I call her Bertha. She is a large busty woman in a low-cut, tight-fitting, teal gown with glittery sequins. She is leaning toward me and shaking her finger at me and saying, "Oh no, girl! You ain't goin' there!"
So Bertha and I interupted my thought loop again and again and again. Now the switch happens so often and so fast that it takes less effort. And sometimes it doesn't even take Bertha! But it still takes a little effort.
I don't sleep in the master bedroom yet. I sleep upstairs. As we fall asleep we relax, our guard falls away.
Shortly after George passed, I slept in the master bedroom with no problem. I slept on the floor in a different part of the room. That was when there was not a bed in the room... just fresh carpet and paint.
When the bed was put back into the room, it had to be placed in the same location. It is a different bed, but it is the same size and the only wall it fits on is the location it was in that last day.
It has been well over a year since George has passed. It still takes effort.
I wanted to share that experience in case anyone out there is experiencing the guilt, the what-ifs, the horrible images of a trauma. If you want Bertha, she's available.
OK, now for the mind and body all over the place stuff.
I have approved and submitted the first audio book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George, to Amazons audio book division (ACX.com). As I have told you before the narrator, Robin Siegerman, added so much fun to the book! She is great! Did you listen to the sample yet?
ACX said it takes 14 business days to go through a book and if there are no problems they release it. Only it seems like this has been so much longer than 14 days. I keep checking to see if it is released yet. Today I wrote them an email.
In the meantime I am working on a press release, gathering emails of editors and reporters who might find it news-worthy.
The Journey Continues
I am preparing for the launch of the second book, The Journey Continues.
The editor I hired, Patrick Hartnett, has completed his work. So now I get to take his edits that he made to the audio script and put them into the Kindle version. DONE!
Since the Kindle version has colored pictures and the paperback version had black and white photos, I am now going through the paperback adding the edits.
In the meantime the voice actor, Candace Tuttle, is working on recording the book. My goal is to have it all done by the launch date, December 4th.
Candace wrote to me yesterday, "I'm enjoying the story and your attitude through all of it. I can't believe how active you stayed through such draining times! And I laughed about the lady's dad who got his walker stuck in the bathroom!!"
Which reminds me that this blast of activity with the books and life is an on-going thing with me. It is the energy of care-giving re-directed.
The official launch of The Journey Continues will also involve press releases, a celebration (just coffee and a reading) at Cattle Dog both here in Inverness and one on December 6th in the Tampa area, Social media images and blasts. More info on that coming in a future post.
And I just put together a Launch Leader Team on Facebook to help me spread the word when time comes and help me keep my thoughts clear. I feel there is too much to do and too little time. I can use some clear minds of some talented fans to help me launch successfully. If you would like to add your talent and enthusiasm to the team, private message me on Facebook: Susan Straley.
Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders
I do the newsletter and schedule for the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders. I got up this morning and thought I better check the schedule so I can remind folks when our ride start time changes. I send everyone the schedule at the beginning of the season, but no one remembers to write stuff into their calendar... including me. I learned that our ride start time changes today.
I quick had to get an email out to the group. And as I was doing that I realized I have not reminded people of the upcoming special rides for November. So I had to put that newsletter together and send it out the committee for review and approval.
All that before jumping on the trike to go ride with some of our riders for a shorter ride because I had an appointment with a health-insurance agent in the afternoon.
It seems as we age we need to keep moving in order to... well, keep moving.
I am just thinking that there are still parts of my body I am neglecting as I do all this other exercise.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays I still ride my trike with the bike group.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the clubhouse and meet up with my friends in the neighborhood. We do high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) for about 20-30 minutes and then yoga.
After that I really need to work my bones, so I have to get to the gym at least twice a week to lift weights. Somewhere in there I am supposed to walk for the old bones too. That doesn't happen as much, except to walk the three blocks to the mailboxes in the neighborhood.
If you aren't moving around, here are the simple exercises I did with George to keep him ambulatory. At least try to do these.
Did I tell you that my traveling is done until the spring? I was going to fly my trike to Arizona but the people I was going to visit had some medical stuff going on so I canceled my flight. I have a credit sitting at Southwest Airline until July. So I am going somewhere, maybe still flying my trike to Arizona.
I am glad to be here in one spot. So much to do, so little time.