Switches and Chicken Salad

We all have our own form of light switches. You know, something you can flip on and off rather quickly.  My switch is for sleep. When I lay down, I’m out within seconds. Then at times I suddenly come wide awake and that’s it. I’m up no matter what time it is. A lot of times I will lay there forever thinking that sleep will come again but it typically doesn’t. Last night I went to bed at 10:30 and was out practically before my head hit the pillow. Then, just as quickly, I was lying wide awake a little after 1:00 this morning. I didn’t even make it three hours.

I know which switch was flipped this time. It’s that overwhelmed switch. Yesterday I spent the day in class for the business that we are trying to get off the ground. I got to take a class with Ron LeGrand. He was absolutely awesome! He was so refreshing. He’s not concerned with being politically correct which is so cool. It’s nice to see someone open and willing to be who he is with no excuses. Loved it!

Several of the things that he talked about really stuck in my head. When I suddenly came awake this morning, it was something that he said that popped into my head.  “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.” For the life of me, I cannot remember what he was referring to when he gave us that gem of a quote. I just know it stuck in my head. It also makes perfect sense. Right now, I’m dealing with a lot of chicken shit. There’s no way I can get chicken salad out of it. It’s going to stay chicken shit and that’s okay.

He told us about something his father had given him. It was of a ship in the middle of a stormy sea. He told him to remember something when he looks at that picture. You may find yourself out in the middle of a stormy sea. Just hang on tightly and ride it out since the next day can bring calm waters. I think I need to find me one of those pictures as a reminder as well. There’s been so many times lately when I’ve wanted to slip off the ship into the water and never surface again.

After class, I ran over to the hospital where my mother-in-law is staying. When I left her the night before, she was back to being Sally and doing great. I was expecting to see additional progress and couldn’t wait to see her. I walked in to find her switch had been flipped.  She had gone from being Sally to someone ravaged by late stage Alzheimer’s. My heart sank.

The longer I stayed, the more her mental condition slipped. We got to a point where she couldn’t stop shivering and kept taking short, shallow breaths. She was almost to the point of hyperventilating. From what I could get from the little bits she would say, she thought she had fallen into some water and couldn’t breathe. It was so real to her in her mind that she felt cold and was gasping for breath. It is just freaky to see how much power the mind has over you.

Then she moved on to thinking that something had happened to her sister, Jo. She was frantic to find her. She actually thought that Jo was in danger. For a second, I thought I was going to have to ask them to strap her down. They did come in and give her something for anxiety. You want to talk about the clock standing still. It seemed to take forever for that to kick in. When it did kick in, she opened her eyes and knew who I was for the first time last night. Talk about a trip.

I’ve been around people with dementia and Alzheimer’s before but never this closely. I have to say that I have new respect for the brain. It makes me want to take better care of mine. I’ve come to realize that I keep forgetting to do things like eat, drink, sleep, go to the bathroom. I’m starting to feel the affects of not taking care of my simplest needs. The first thing I did when I finally gave up and got out of bed was reach for the water. I felt like I had been walking through a desert.

I think I might finally be getting sleepy. I think it is time to try once again to get some sleep. I’ve got to see if my sleep switch is working. Nite nite.

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