MADAMES's SparkPeople Blog MADAMES's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Caregiving a loved one is a 24/7 Job My 91 year old lives in his own home with 24 hour caregivers and hospice nurse visits twice weekly. For the past two weeks his favorite caregiver has been away on vacation visiting family. We have had two weeks of sleepless days and nights with substitute caregivers. My husband and I can monitor my dad's home with security cameras when we are not there; it is almost like living there. <BR> <BR> Thanks to a new government law mandating overtime pay over 40 hours, we have had to hire tw... Tue, 10 Nov 2015 00:07:16 EST Continued Progress My accident where I broke my shoulder was June 5. Yesterday on the three month anniversary of the accident I was able to put on my own socks and lace-up shoes without assistance for the first time. That was a great feeling! Today after my shower I found that I could gingerly reach over far enough to put on my own deodorant for the first time. Another celebration! This afternoon I walked around the yard with my garden gloves on, pulling weeds with the good hand and carrying them away with... Sun, 6 Sep 2015 20:34:24 EST Baby Steps to Wellness Eight weeks ago I had extensive shoulder surgery. I am on a slow but steady path to recovery. I go to physical therapy sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Now I am going to our warm water pool Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday where I can walk laps in the pool and do gentle restorative exercises in the warm water. It is amazing how quickly we lose muscle mass and strength and how long it takes to rebuild those! Now that the weather is cooling off a little, I will begin to walk outside i... Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:21:17 EST Two months out of the loop Two months ago, on June 5th, I fell in a church parking lot and fractured my shoulder. I have worn an immobilizing sling 24 hours a day since then. Six weeks ago I had shoulder surgery. I started physical therapy two weeks ago...painful but necessary. Thankfully I bought some loose fitting elastic waist clothing before surgery. I am becoming more self sufficient daily. My husband works hard to try to be a good caregiver, and I have hired a helper three times a week. If you are like m... Wed, 5 Aug 2015 21:13:29 EST Three Great-Grandmothers at Christmas... I have two granddaughters who are very special to me. Now nine and eleven years old, they bring joy into my life in immeasurable ways. They live about an hour away in the Atlanta area, and I feel very blessed to have them as a special part of my life. <BR> <BR> At Christmas, the girls made homemade gifts for all three of their great-grandmothers. They shared their love with my mother, my mother-in-law and their father's grandmother. Hugs and kisses from these girls brightened the lives ... Mon, 6 Apr 2015 12:07:12 EST Together Again Quick update: both parents are home with hospice care under their own roof. We have two hospital beds set up in two rooms with round the clock caregivers. Because of my dad's dementia and my mother's appearance after a massive stroke, it took 5 trips into her room before we were able to convince him that this frail lady in the bed was his wife. He cried emotionally and said that he would trade with her. He attempted to crawl into her hospital bed as he sobbed that he thought he had lost h... Tue, 10 Mar 2015 14:33:09 EST Update on the Eldercare My mom continues to be cared for in the stroke unit of the hospital. She is on a pureed food diet with nectar thick liquids. I spent over an hour today coaxing her to eat and drink a total of just a few ounces of food/drink, but this was the best she has done yet. We have been taking turns sleeping at the hospital, although I use the term "sleep" very lightly. It seems to me that her facial muscles have relaxed a little bit and that her face appears to be a little more "normal". Today phys... Wed, 4 Mar 2015 19:58:53 EST Ups and Downs of the Week It was a week of great frustration!! <BR> <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> How did I deal with all of that frustration? Some days I did all right, and other days I really overindulged in ice cream and chocolate. Emotional eating took over more than once. <BR> <BR> <em>76</em> <em>493</em> <BR> <BR> Today we took the day off from our challenges in order to enjoy walking in the state botanical garden. Green shoots from the daffodil bulbs are up all over town. <em>125</em> ... Sun, 8 Feb 2015 19:49:43 EST Take Nothing For Granted Our long trip for the funeral was supposed to end today. DH and I thought that we should have had an easy five hour drive home from Clarkesville, TN to Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. There were three very serious accidents on a stretch of I24, and we sat for hours in stop and go traffic. After ten days of grey skies and cold temperatures, we finally had a balmy day with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Who would have thought our trip would have turned sour? <BR... Sat, 17 Jan 2015 20:14:29 EST A Mother's love My mother-in-law died peacefully in Wisconsin before we arrived from Georgia. She had been hospitalized with the flu and developed other complications. She would have been 89 in a few days, but she is spending that birthday in heaven. She has now been reunited with her husband, her life-long love. We are planning her funeral for next week and reflecting on a life well lived, She derived her pleasures from her faith and her family. In theses days of women striving to do so much with the... Sat, 10 Jan 2015 16:16:28 EST Healthy New Year I wish all of my Spark friends a very healthy new year. I plan to take steps to make it my healthiest new year ever! These past 7 months have really taken a toll as we have scrambled t to take care of aging parents. We have not seen or felt "normal" in a long, long time. Our uppermost goal now is take back enough of our schedule to make sure that we prepare healthy foods and that we make exercise a priority. With those two goals in the forefront, it will be a good year. <BR> <BR> ... Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:00:15 EST Christmas Visitors Christmas morning brought news of a new challenge. My sister discovered a pretty substantial water leak in my mother's basement laundry room. The plumbing is quite old, so this isn't surprising. The only logical solution seemed to be to pack up my dad who suffers from dementia, my mother who was just discharged from the hospital with heart failure, their around the clock caregivers, their hygiene supplies, his hospital bed mattress, their medications, and their favorite foods and bring the... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:41:16 EST Heart Failure - Learn All About It I am learning all about heart failure as I care for my parents. Nine days ago my 87 year old mother reluctantly agreed to allow me to take her to visit her doctor. She was so near a heart attack that her physician started her on oxygen and called for an ambulance to transport her to the ER. When she was diagnosed with heart failure we were all devastated...congestive heart failure had been the diagnosis when her mother died at age 94. We assumed this was a fatal diagnosis. In fact he... Thu, 18 Dec 2014 05:46:43 EST "We Are Not Immortal" A character played by Loretta Young said this in the movie, Christmas Eve, and these are the last words my mother said to me before I left her at the hospital today. She was admitted there yesterday with heart failure; she has been my dad's full-time caregiver for the past six months. The stress of caring for a spouse with dementia has really taken its toll on her little body. Although we have all pleaded with her to take good care of herself we have watched her wither away from the stress... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 15:25:10 EST Gratitude for Everything (really?) I heard some wonderful messages today about living with a grateful heart. It is rather easy to be grateful when things are going well. It is much more of a challenge to feel gratitude for the bumps in our lives- the losses, the misfortunes, the diseases that rob us of our joy and keep us awake at night. <BR> <BR> <em>426</em> <BR> <BR> I am definitely still a work in progress because I cannot easily profess gratitude for the challenges of my life. I will work on it again tomorrow ... Sun, 23 Nov 2014 19:16:42 EST Activity Brings Motivation I really didn't feel like walking after dinner tonight. Why not? I was absolutely exhausted; the tornado sirens had awakened me at 3:30 this morning, and I never went back to sleep. I had to drive home from DDs this morning in a downpour of torrential rain. That 60 mile commute through Atlanta traffic with poor visibility was emotionally and physically draining. This afternoon after visiting my elderly parents I had a 13 mile drive through another downpour! Because we baby sat DGDs, I h... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:25:46 EST Walking in October We have had a beautiful October in north Georgia...some cooler days and some warmer days. Sunshine abounds; we could actually use more rain. DH and I explored Georgia's newest state park with its walking trails through the woods. We packed a picnic and enjoyed the day. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:01:49 EST A Mini Vacation My husband and I were able to get away for a few days for a little respite. We chose to go to Callaway Gardens, a lovely vacation spot south of Atlanta. When I was 10 years old my parents began taking the family to Callaway for a week long vacation every summer, and so I have a special fondness for this place. There are seven lakes located on the 35,000 acres. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:07:35 EST Hospice: An Update Those of you who shared with me the positive side of hospice were all correct. Although there are difficult moments, there are also many sweet moments to savor. Sunday was my father's 90th birthday, and a joyous day it was. Thankfully, he was lucid and in a good mood most of the day. He ate well of the foods that we kids, grandkids and great grandkids had prepared. He tearfully remarked that "This was my best July 6th ever". He sang "It Had to be You" to my mom, his bride of 67 years... Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:25:32 EST June in a Nutshell The month of June has surely been a tough one for me. My dad was in the hospital for 2 weeks, and he has been home with 24 hour caregivers these past 2 weeks. Tomorrow the hospice nurse will meet with the family. <BR> <BR> Understandably, I have not been on SparkPeople much at all. I try to track my food, but some days that just can't happen. I log my fitness minutes thanks in large part to my Fitbit. <BR> <BR> Socially, I have not been on the boards or the friend feeds. To all my... Wed, 2 Jul 2014 00:25:01 EST Hospice My dad will be 90 years old on July 6th. He is now home from the hospital, but his doctor has recommended that we call in hospice care. He suffers from severe dementia, and we hope to be able to keep him at home and keep him comfortable for his remaining days, weeks or months. This is both a sad time and an exhausting time for the family. Fri, 27 Jun 2014 22:14:53 EST Two Happy Doctors This morning I had my yearly physical, and my doctor was happy with what he saw. The nurse commented on my weight loss and congratulated me. Weight was good, blood pressure was good, and we expect that the lab work will yield good results. Thank you, Spark People! <BR> <BR> This afternoon my eye surgeon was happy with my 90 days of progress since my cataract surgery. My vision in that eye has gone from 20/80 to 20/30 since the cataract was removed. How nice to receive two glowing repor... Tue, 27 May 2014 21:49:07 EST Maintenance...41 weeks in a row Today I weighed in a bit below my goal weight for the 41st week in a row, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I'm not sure why the official weigh in makes me nervous, but it does. I do weigh each morning, but I always wonder if somehow my scale is suddenly out of sync with the scale at the Weight Watcher meeting place. Pretty silly of me, or is it? <BR> <em>192</em> <BR> <BR> Like so many Spark friends, I have gained and lost weight over the years. Reading and following The Spark So... Sat, 24 May 2014 15:38:24 EST Spring Cleaning for Stress Management My hubby and I are really struggling with control issues right now. As the oldest children in our respective families we have taken over "eldercare" worries regarding our parents. Dealing with our parents' strong personalities, fierce independence, states of denial and lack of sound judgment ...these conditions are all causing a lot of anxiety on our part. <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> One way we seek to pretend that we are in control of something is to clean our house! This week we have t... Sun, 27 Apr 2014 18:31:09 EST Spring Fever <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We just returned from five days of very nice springtime activities. Last Wednesday we left home and traveled to Madison, Georgia. Springtime is one of the best times to enjoy the small town that boasts one of the largest historic districts in Georgia. We walked a lot earning those fitness minutes! I have added a few links below so that you can peruse some antebellum homes from the area. <BR> <BR> <link>www.... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:46:34 EST We are expecting... daffodil blossoms! Last fall we planted 100 bulbs, and I can count 20 some green spouts that have poked their little heads out of the earth so far! I check the yard each day with I love Spring! Many of our neighbors have daffodils that are in full bloom already, but I am thrilled that we have little green shoots making themselves known in the yard. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Perhaps our yard will look like th... Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:09:27 EST Vacationing...Spark style My dear husband and I just returned from a dreamy twelve day trip to Colorado. We ate very well at some very nice restaurants. This was the honeymoon that we never had, the trip to Europe that didn't happen, and the trip to California that was dashed by my accident. In other words, we really indulged ourselves. We couldn't prepare any Spark recipes...we ate several special appetizers, and we ate several wonderful desserts. We sampled warm bread and real butter with some of our dinners. ... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 22:23:25 EST Pampered Me…Our Anniversary Trip to Colorado My husband and I are enjoying a memorable trip to Colorado for our anniversary. We are pampering ourselves for a few days in Colorado Springs before heading to his conference in Denver. We arrived Tuesday, and it was snowing heavily. I drove with great trepidation the 88 miles on icy roads in order to reach our hotel. Thankfully, we arrived safely , and the heavy snow was just beautiful! We enjoyed a relaxing meal…trout for me and short ribs for DH. <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeo... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 18:38:03 EST A chicken in every pot... Today I stewed a whole chicken, strained 5 containers of healthy chicken stock for the freezer and picked the bones clean. I have enough pulled chicken for a couple of recipes. <BR> <BR> While a full time teacher i had resorted to buying chicken parts and commercially prepared chicken broth. One of my goals for 2014 is to prepare more chicken and stock from scratch. DH just sort of rolled his eyes, not wanting to believe how much time I was willing to spend to do this. Let's see how we... Fri, 10 Jan 2014 19:11:34 EST Some Good & Healthy Things Happened in 2013 With the help of Spark People, I have made progress. <BR> DH and I walked our first 5K in March..tee-shirts, race numbers and all! <BR> Our entire family walked a 5K for multiple sclerosis in honor of my sister <BR> <img src=""> <BR> DH and I have become members of the Fitbit community. <BR> I achieved a "healthy weight" once again, and I have maintained it for 5 months. <BR> My granddaughter competed in the state swim meet, and my ot... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 13:40:25 EST Emotional Holidays I haven't been on Spark People very often during the month of December. This has been a rather difficult year for celebrations. This is our first Christmas without my father-in-law and without several of our very closest friends who have recently died. Many spouses we hold dear to our hearts are spending their first season with that empty chair, and all of the memories and the emotions come tumbling out with a cherished ornament, a shared tradition or a favorite carol. My father's demen... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:19:33 EST Progress Report on my November Goals Here is a recap of my goals for November along with my daily progress report. <BR> <BR> 1) Practice healthy habits of eating and exercise. <BR> * I stayed within my calorie goals, and I allowed myself only ONE tiny slice of freshly baked Italian bread at our favorite Italian restaurant. <BR> * I completed the Coach Nicole video: 12 minute seated core workout <BR> <BR> 2) Find ways to build more positive relationships with friends and family. <BR> * I ran errands with DH ... Sat, 2 Nov 2013 20:48:14 EST November Goals The beginning of a new months is always a good time to take stock of your life. I like to ask myself, "Where am I right now?" <BR> <BR> We are enjoying a really beautiful fall season here in north Georgia. DH and I are finally getting around to doing some improvements in the yard this month, and that makes us both happy. We are getting some plants moved to better locations, installing some new plantings and creating a pretty walkway. <BR> <BR> I had a phenomenal report from my checkup w... Fri, 1 Nov 2013 09:20:33 EST Non Scale Victory Today We were going out to a meeting this afternoon, and the temperatures were noticeably cooler. Capris were not really in order today. I pulled out a pair of jeans that I loved wearing last year, but they hung loosely on me and looked very unattractive. How about the new pair of khaki slacks I bought in May and haven't yet worn? I put them on, zipped them up and realized that I looked just like the Saggy Baggy Elephant. The good news is that my weight loss is now noticeable; the bad news is... Tue, 8 Oct 2013 20:35:21 EST Bittersweet Farewell to My 92 Year Old Father-in-law The world lost a wonderful man yesterday as my dear father-in-law slipped away during his sleep. He was one of those rare people who never was heard saying an unkind word about anyone or anything. Whenever life dealt him a challenging blow, he shrugged and smiled and worked his way through the hard times. For 92 years on this earth he was a devoted son, a special brother, a loving husband, and a supportive father. He delighted in delivering an honest day's work, carrying his lunch box o... Fri, 6 Sep 2013 16:39:57 EST My Pledge My Pledge: <BR> <BR> Today, I promise I will not quit. <BR> <BR> I pledge that no matter how many ups and downs I pass through, I will continue on my journey. <BR> <BR> I pledge to make a NEW START today, and forgive myself for my past, and to stop being so critical of myself. <BR> <BR> I pledge to take control of myself, to stop making excuses, and stop blaming other people or situations. <BR> <BR> I pledge to treat myself as I would my best friend, because that is who I am. <BR>... Sat, 3 Aug 2013 10:07:20 EST Working the Plan: July Progress Report I'm not really sure what clicked, but after a couple of years I have found the resolve to truly follow the Spark Solution. Here are some results that I see: <BR> <BR> 1) I am fixing most of our food from scratch, using Spark recipes. Today I was on my feet for hours with two labor intensive recipes, but it was worth it. I chose recipes that I hoped my husband would enjoy, and he really did like them! I will be sharing food with my parents in the morning. By the way, I thought they wer... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 20:12:12 EST Spark Summary...just discovered this! There are so many helpful things here on the Sparkpeople website... perhaps you are like me, and you enjoy finding something new. Today was the first day that I looked at the Spark Summary report which is found under "reports" under "My Trackers". You can pull up one month at a time and see at a glance how many calories you ate each day, how many fitness minutes you accrued each day and how many Spark Points you earned each day. I love this! When I want to know why a month was successfu... Mon, 1 Jul 2013 15:49:08 EST Today's Spark Funny <img src=""> Sat, 29 Jun 2013 06:57:38 EST Is It Working? What are some of the ways that I know the Spark Solution is working for me? <BR> <em>38</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> Clothes ordered online arrived yesterday; instead of fitting snugly, they fit with room to spare! <BR> <em>9</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> I build my entire schedule around my Monday, Wednesday, Friday water aerobics classes. <BR> <em>237</em> I do this joyfully. <BR> <BR> <BR> I automatically look over a restaurant menu for the healthiest options available. I don't want to... Fri, 14 Jun 2013 16:39:43 EST Streaking: Day 10 Most things in life seem to ebb and flow if you have been around as long as I have. My motivation to be healthy is at a very high peak at this point in my life. I started dabbling with the Spark Solution the day it was released, and I have been a Spark Solution true believer for ten days now. The Spark Solution and those new recipes have helped me more than I would have expected. I have really enjoyed fixing something different yet healthy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have really ... Sat, 8 Jun 2013 17:09:09 EST My New Jobs in Retirement Exactly one year ago today I retired from teaching. Although I loved teaching and had barely turned 62, there were reasons to call it quits last year. My husband had been home alone for 5 years, having lost his vision to macular degeneration. I pictured myself in his place, and I couldn't imagine how lonely some of those days must have been. Our four parents, ages 85-92, were beginning to need more of our time and attention. So, it was time to leave the classroom; I couldn't continue to ... Sat, 1 Jun 2013 10:37:33 EST Week One of the Spark Solution What made you decide to try The Spark Solution Program? <BR> It was a great deal, especially with the free CDs and the free Spark Coaching! <BR> <BR> • Have you seen or felt any results in this first week? <BR> The scale does show a loss, but more importantly, I feel satisfied for hours after these meals. <BR> <BR> • What do you like the most about the program? <BR> I love the organized approach where the program is all laid out for you. Just open the book and follow the directions! <... Sun, 19 May 2013 15:18:55 EST The Spark Solution I just pre-ordered the Spark Solution which will be released on May 7th. Right now you can get free gifts including 2 exercise CDs from Coach Nicole and 3 months worth of Spark Coach. I ordered the Kindle version from Amazon for only $11.89, so I don't know how I can go wrong! My program needs a good kick start for spring...I have been hovering at the same weight for entirely too long! Cannot wait! <BR> <em>347</em> <em>381</em> <BR> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 17:25:57 EST Difficult Travel Ahead Just checked the weather for Wisconsin for the next few days...snow showers, flurries, freezing rain, etc. Saturday we fly north where we are going to spend a few days with the in laws...DH's. dad is 92 and has been in and out of the hospital. These are trying times for us ; I just lost my BFF from grade school to cancer, and DH just lost one of his oldest and dearest friends to ALS. I hope there will be a glimmer of hope in this gloomy trip. At any rate, it will be good to visit and s... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:34:27 EST Healthy Ways to Cope Some of you know that this has been a very trying week for me emotionally. I blogged about it a few days ago, and then I removed the blog later that night when I decided that it was too personal and too painful. Happily, I have turned to exercise to help me deal with the stress. I have also forced myself to choose healthy foods even when I didn't much feel like it. I count those two steps of exercising and eating healthy foods as positive ones for myself....a few years ago (pre-Spark) ... Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:19:45 EST Couch to 5K: My story I’m not sure exactly when I began to think about participating in a 5K race, but I know that it came from my relationship with my wonderful Spark friends. Reading about what other people are doing here on Spark People is very inspiring! <BR> <BR> I have not been physically active my entire life. When I was in school there were virtually no athletic activities for women. I went to a parochial high school that had no gymnasium, and we didn’t even have physical education classes. In colle... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:34:12 EST Daffodils On March 2, my husband and I walked through the daffodil gardens of Gibbs Gardens to see the early blooms and to renew our membership. We also renewed my parents' membership as an anniversary gift to them. I think I remember the temperature being about 37 degrees that day, but we bundled up and walked about the gardens. (Rather, I bundled up while my husband wore his walking shorts and said that Georgia doesn't get as cold as the Midwest :) )The daffodils will bloom until mid April with ... Tue, 12 Mar 2013 15:39:13 EST Where am I now after two years on Spark People? A Spark friend mentioned in her blog recently that Spark People had adjusted her caloric goals based on her increased level of exercise. I realized that my caloric goals have not budged one bit since I began my journey in earnest two years ago. Why, I wondered? My goals in February 2011 were to get healthy again after my accident, and I didn't need to lose weight. I was at my goal weight, and I had been at goal for several years. As a result, I set up my Spark People trackers for mainte... Wed, 27 Feb 2013 20:28:25 EST New Beginnings I have always loved Mondays and today is no exception. We are given new blessings each day but Monday's blessings seem to me to be doubly good because we have not only a new day but also a new week! Included in my blessings today: a new finch feeder and seed that DH bought me last week... I have already seen my first breakfast customer this morning! Secondly, I have a new week of water aerobics classes to attend. WooHoo!! Thirdly, the days are getting longer...I saw light coming in aroun... Mon, 18 Feb 2013 08:11:57 EST