Abuse & Caregiving


Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 4.29.16 PMI’ve been thinking about this the past few days. There are so many different kinds of abuse. I think, when we’re experiencing good times, we don’t pay that much attention to it. But, when times are bad, and we have a low tolerance for things which might not have bothered us, we start noticing it. I know I have. I also know part of the equation is to recognize that abuse exists. It takes many forms. You might not even notice it. It is only when you are awake to abuse and the tactics that abusers take that you realize what it is, and perhaps not to combat it, but to be able to walk away, or make rational choices.

My Pink Flamingo Blog was 10 years old on October 4. Aside from the usual wondering where my life had gone, for me, it is an excellent way to observe the abusive process in action, via social media. I’ve recently been subjected to a tremendous amount of harassment on social media because of my Christian faith. I thought stories like that were urban legends, then it began happening to me. It is abuse. The tactics are abusive. I started doing a little research and discovered I’m not the only one.

You learn how to recognize abuse. Currently, I know of an instance where an elderly woman who is trying to protect something she treasures is and has been abused by a tenant. Her daughter only learned of it quite recently. That is such a soap box for me – the way the elderly are treated. We have a tendency to think of the Cathy Bates style nightmare nurse character, but abuse is far more subtle, and more frequent than we think it is.


Some are intentional. Some are not.

One of the worst instances I encountered was when an ER medical tech put a DNR on my mother’s wrist, when she was being taken to ICU. They were monitoring her for a heart attack. I was in the ER with her, the entire time. The person who did this took it on himself. I still have questions about his actions. I was so exhausted it did not process in my brain. My sister, who was frantically driving from Memphis to central New Mexico caught it. I blew up, and started living up to my reputation as the bitch of the family. Threats of legal actions were made. The best part is I do have POA, and my sister and I have medical POA. By this time our mother was so frantic she did not know what to do, and this is my usually calm and collected parent. She was terrified she was going to die. Because of this person’s ‘mistake’ they would have legally allowed it.

This led to home health being brought into the lives of my parents. They were a nightmare from hell. As writers we are always stealing from ‘real life’. I’m working on a series of murder mysteries. One of the storylines I’m weaving through at least three, maybe four books is a home health nurse who fanatically believes in euthanizing the elderly. It is so easily accomplished that, just the research I’ve done into how to accomplish such a thing is chilling. It is the stuff of horror.

During that same time frame, while she was in ICU, my sister brought our father up to see her. My mother did incredible things with him, dealing with his AD. The only time I ever broke down was that day in the hospital, and he needed to go to the restroom. We were going into Stage 6 at the time. He was great, knew where he was, but had to go to the restroom. I was trying to get one of the nurses to let him use one of their restrooms. The walk to one was the equivalent of about a block, and he was nearly 90 years old.

He made a mess, all the way down the hall. I lost it. I was hysterical at the abusive way this woman treated him. My sister, on the other hand, who had once been a nurse, thought payback was great. The nurse was left cleaning up the mess. My sister told her, had she allowed him to use the nearest restroom none of this would have happened.

I came to realize the medical professional in general, with the exception of those who worked with him, regularly, treat people with AD like dirt.

One of the problems family has is we’re often the last to accept the fact that our loved one has AD. We were. Once we knew what it was, as usual, having defeated melanoma, I know you arm yourself with knowledge. What I learned is that AD is not a disease to fear, not if you tackle it properly. It can be managed, shockingly enough, via B-12 injections every 3 weeks. There is a 45% chance, if caught early enough, according to antidotal stories, the disease can be stopped in its tracks. We did not catch my father’s AD until about Stage 2 or so. What the B-12 injections did was delay the onset of the worst symptoms, or prevented them, entirely. By the time he was in Stage 6, if you did not know he had AD, you would think he was a dotty old man.

Caffeine is a miracle drug
Sugar and caffeine are mana from heaven!

I know someone who lives in Colorado who is working with AD patients. There are several who have been taken off all AD meds, the way we did my father. They are, to a person, much more coherent after about 3 days being off the meds, which basically do little more than drug them. Those who are being almost force-fed medical marijuana in the form of candy are experiencing remarkable results. I wish I had known about it, earlier. The first thing I would do, now, is to make sure the AD patient had a prescription for legal medical marijuana.

Caffeine injections directly into the brains of lab mice are sowing a regrowth of brain cells. The cure for AD is going to be via nutrition. I suspect caffeine is probably going to be that miracle drug.

Because family is quite often the last to realize what is happening, people prey on those who are suffering from AD. One of the reasons I’m so exhausted, my life having almost been put on hold is due to trying to clean up that mess. The entire process plays with the care-giver’s brain. We lost my father last year on October 18. I swear, I am only now getting my brain to start working again. I’ve been walking around like I’m in an exhausted cloud. My 85-year-old mother, who has a serious cardiac condition, is having an even more difficult time.

It takes forever to recover.  I read today, about a FB post about a beautiful wife and mother who is currently care-giving.  Her heartfelt lament has left me in tears.  No one tells you how badly care-giving hurts.  Oh, they try, but it hits you right across the face, when the crises is over.  I’m still trying to recover, and December 12 will be a year.  I was talking to someone on Monday, who told me you do recover.  She was a care-giver for her parents and lover.  I hope you do.  I’m waiting.