Archives

Saying Goodbye in the Time of COVID-19

galleries-d36161d68e9df5217a9c55eec6e7ac08-14564867839Life as we knew it has been upended by COVID-19. As I’ve thought and pondered a lot on the changes we see and the potential changes ahead, I see that there could be some very good results that come from this, as well as some very bad ones.

I scan the news headlines a couple of times a day, and then I leave it alone. A steady diet of all the confusion, the outright wrong information (often from the government), and all the unknowns (and there are a lot) about COVID-19 can result in feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. I don’t want that for myself.
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We Had Seasons in the Sun (Debra “Deb” Lynn Ross – February 29, 2020)

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“This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
“The Hollow Men” – T. S. Eliot

My fraternal twin sister, Deb, died of complications from liver failure at 7:49 a.m. EST on February 29, 2020. I am heartbroken writing this.

T.S. Eliot is one of my favorite poets, and although I love the depth of “The Wasteland” and the profundity of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “The Hollow Men” has always been my favorite. The last two lines always run through my mind when someone I know dies, as does Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 – “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.” Continue reading

The Layperson’s Guide to Hepatic Encephalopathy

One of the conditions that occurs with advanced liver disease caused by chronic alcohol abuse is hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy is different from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, another condition associated with long-term alcohol abuse that is caused by a severe thiamine (B1) deficiency. However, the two conditions may coexist and lead to alcohol-related dementia. Continue reading

Seven Years Gone: Remembering Mama – August 14, 2019

The two most traumatic events I’ve experienced in a life that has seen its fair share of traumatic events are the deaths of my parents. When Daddy died on October 15, 1998, I went into protection and taking-care-of mode for Mama, suppressing the real nuts and bolts of my own grieving process over Daddy’s death so that I could give Mama my full support, help, comfort, and care.

I didn’t realize, at the time, that’s what I had done, because it seemed natural to me and I didn’t know how to do things any differently. Continue reading

Limbic-Predominant Age-Related TDP-43 Encelopathy (LATE) Dementia Identified

LATE Dementia IdentifiedA new type of dementia has been identified. While it may look like Alzheimer’s disease, it differs in significant ways. Researchers suspect it’s even more prevalent than Alzheimer’s disease – and may be part of a mixed-dementia diagnosis – but that remains to be seen.

The new type of dementia is called limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encelopathy or LATE dementia. The symptoms of LATE dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can appear to be similar, but while Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of plaques (beta-amyloid proteins) and tangles (tau proteins) in the brain, LATE dementia occurs because of the misfolding of accumulated TDP-43 proteins in the brain.  Continue reading

Mother’s Day 2018

Mama is holding Deb. Greta is beside her. And I’m on the end. Deb and I were 4 months old in this picture.

It’s hard to believe that it has been six years since the last Mother’s Day I spent with Mama. It seems like a minute ago on one hand and like an eternity on the other. 

There is not a time when I don’t miss her, wondering what she would say or think about things with us kids, her grandkids, the world. In many ways, just like with Daddy, I’m glad she’s been spared the last six years. 
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Healthcare Documents – Dementia Advance Directive

dementia advance directiveWe’ve talked many times about making sure you have all your healthcare documents updated and on file with your healthcare provider, as well as providing them to your healthcare proxy (the person who has medical power of attorney if you are unable to make decisions for yourself). Continue reading

Can Your Sleeping Position Impact the Chances of Developing Dementia?

sleep position may determine how well the brain detoxifies itself during sleepAccording to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people suffer from dementia globally. 

However, there are lifestyle changes you can make that may lower your overall risk of developing dementia.

One of these could be changing your sleeping position. Continue reading

The Neurological Legacy of 9/11 on First Responders: PTSD, Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia

9/11/01 Collapse of Tower 2 of the World Trade CenterWhile most reports on the long-term health effects on first responders to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York City have focused on physical damage – increased rates of severe respiratory conditions and incidences of cancer – often leading to premature death, it has only been within the last month that the long-term neurological effects have been examined and documented. Continue reading

Remembering Mama – August 14, 2017

Muriel Foster Ross: 1929 - 2012Five years today you’ve been gone, and yet it seems as if it was both yesterday and an eternity ago that God finally gave you rest in your grave, Mama.

I’m glad you’re not suffering anymore. That’s what matters most and what I appreciate most about losing you in this life.

Although there were very precious moments we shared in your last few years, I know the toll of dementias and cardiac problems made those years very hard for you, and I’m glad that’s over for you.

But I miss you, Mama. Continue reading