Friday, June 12, 2020

Dementia, Asparagus, Cleaning, Superintendent.

As I was explaining to Ivy of The Happy Whisk yesterday, in the comments section, one of the reasons I am writing about Matt and his Alzheimer's it to let others know just what it is like. I didn't know before it happened to me and I am ashamed now that when someone pointed out to me that a woman had a husband with Alzheimer's my reaction was "poor woman" and that was it. As I said to Ivy, I beg you, if you know someone in a similar situation, please reach out to them. Dementia is a very lonely disease for the caregiver as well as being frustrating, upsetting, and productive of many tears, it doesn't matter if the caregiver is male or female. It is also something that produces a terrific load of guilt because you believe you should be more patient, more understanding, kinder, you name it. In fact, in my experience, the patient themselves doesn't suffer nearly as much, basically because they don't know what is going on. The Alzheimer Society has a leaflet called Ambiguous Loss and Grief in Dementia. Meaning, that whilst you are still sharing a home with your spouse, you have actually lost that person you loved to dementia even though they are physically still with you.

Of course Covid-19 hasn't helped, being cut off from anyone else and being deprived of all association and assistance is a pretty dreadful position to be in. I said to one of the spouses I know, I would enjoy a real conversation, she agreed with me wholeheartedly. Thank God for the internet, it does help. What it would have been like in former years I dread to think. There is a group on Facebook for caregivers as well as other groups which I personally have not yet been in touch with. That's another thing, I don't have a lot of time. Over the years, I have been given a lot of leaflets and literature about what some group  or another does, particularly the health groups locally, but I don't have time to read all this stuff.

Some of my friends might be asparagussed out, but I certainly am not and I went over to the farm today, taking Matt with me, if I left him that long he would probably start to worry. and he tends to forget he can phone me. When I got there, they had made yet another arrangement which was OK for those who can walk, next time I will take a short cut. However, they had pre-packed the asparagus so you could just take as many bags as you wanted. Of course the walk carried you through their back rooms so you could see all the things they also sell. However, by the time I had staggered up the stairs, struggled to pick up four bags and walked the rest of the way, I wasn't remotely interested in anything else. One good thing driving there, most of  the main road is now newly paved and is a joy to drive on. For supper tonight, I decided Matt wasn't getting enough greens so I cooked asparagus. I was informed he didn't like these green beans. He liked them a few days ago!!

I am delighted to report that my neighbour who does some cleaning, has agreed to come and clean for me, not sure how permanent this is, but at least I know she will be good from reports I have heard. She is obviously being paid for her services and will start on Monday so I can tell the woman who is currently doing some cleaning for me as a volunteer that she doesn't have to come over any more. She has done a wonderful job helping me for the last few weeks and I am very grateful.

On the way back into the building this afternoon, I bumped into our superintendent. We had a longish chat about Covid-19 and I asked him if we had any more cases in the building, he said not that he had heard of but said the one person who did inform him, did so by accident. We discussed privacy as opposed to warning the rest of us and his comment was, common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone's garden. I thought it was a wonderful expression.

Anyway, here is yet another "green bean" recipe. If you too are asparagussed out, sorry, this goes on til around July 1 because I have never yet been asparagussed out.

Spicy Thai Asparagus Soup

2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil
2  tbs green curry paste
1 can 400 mL coconut milk
1 ¼ lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs (15 mL) lemon juice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add curry paste; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice

2. Heat oil in large saucepan set over medium heat; add asparagus, onion, garlic and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk mixture.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

4. Tips: Serve garnished with blanched asparagus spear pieces. You can also puree this soup for an added creamy elegant touch. After cooking through to end of step #3, transfer soup, in batches, to blender. Blend until very smooth. Garnish as you would above and with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. You can also use an immersion blender.

Servings: 4

Source: Food Network

Have a great day, stay well, stay safe.


  1. I have long thought that dementia is the cruelest of illnesses for just the reasons you mention. The person you knew is gone, but the person who remains needs an incredible amount of care. Years ago I worked in disability policy and many of the stories which emerged during community consultations haunt me still.
    Dementia is a decided possibility with my own illness - which terrifies me both for me and for my partner.
    I do hope you can usually kick the guilt to the kerb - where it belongs.

    1. It is Sue, and you obviously understand a lot more of it than most. I am not sure what your illness is, but I used to be terrified because some of my ancestors definitely had dementia of some kind (one didn't talk about such things of course) and I thought I would be the one to get it. I do hope you steer clear of it Sue.

      Not easy. Nice to see you spell it kerb, over here they spell it curb!!!!

    2. MS. Dementia isn't a given but a very real possibility as the dread disease progresses.

    3. Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear that Sue. I confess I don't know a lot about MS but I do so hope it doesn't progress into dementia. Wishing I could help you.

  2. We have health privacy laws here that need to be suspended for now. This really is everybody's business. Love the common sense quote.

    I have had two friends tell me in the last week that they really miss talking with me - because we agree on stuff, lol. My friend who takes care of her husband with Parkinson's has told me several times that she just breaks down and cries some days.
    And I think I told you that after I saw the movie 'Iris' I told my sons not to take care of me if I get Alzheimer's, just back over me with a car. Cruel I know but that is just how depressed I was walking out of that movie.
    Take care of yourself FIRST. And why doesn't Barrie's offer curbside delivery????

    1. I agree Denise, especially when it comes to a place like this. Not that we see each other much at any time, but we should be permitted to know when someone has the disease.

      Talking to friends f2f is so different from talking on line although of course that is better than nothing.

      They do, sort of, especially if you haven't got a mask. Next time I will ask them to deliver to me as I can't do that walk again.

  3. A touching piece, Jo. I suppose that it resembles death in certain respects. The person you have known and loved, laughed with, travelled with, shared the vagaries of life with, has gone. A physical presence remains, but the person you knew is no longer there. When I read some of your posts I get a sense of what it must be like, but I carry on with my life, and it remains just a little of what you deal with every day, with no idea of its all-consuming nature. Understanding something intellectually and dealing with it as a reality is quite a different matter. I hope that blogging, i.e. contact with others, albeit not in person, is enjoyable and therapeutic, and helps at least somewhat. Little comfort perhaps when Matt refuses to eat his "green beans!"

    1. Definitely David, the only thing with death you can work on getting over the grief but with dementia the grief is with you every day.

      As you say, understanding something intellectually is not the same. I understood that way before and now I regret not reaching out. That's why I am pleading with people to reach out.

      Yes, blogging and the internet do help.

  4. Ha. I remember the first time I served my daughter asparagus, she complained about the taste of the green beans.
    Common sense is definitely not found in everyone's garden.
    Being a caregiver to Matt makes you a heroine in my opinion. It's a difficult and mostly thankless position to be in. You'r amazing.

    1. Did she get to like it afterwards Susan or is she an asparagus hater? I love that saying about common sense growing in gardens.

      Why thank you Susan. I don't feel like a heroine most of the time I feel more like an itch with a b in front.