The Way: Be Free

This is a blog I am writing to document my learning on the ways of fighting free radical damage specifically in the area of the mind. Having no formal medical training I am simply using information available to us all. In so doing I hope to further the advancement in the ways of prevention for free radical diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

A bit of my story. Memory science has always peaked my interest. Back in the eighties when very little was known about Alzheimer’s type dementia it was fascinating to me what Joan Minnenger had to say about the disease in her 1984 book Total Recall (one of the most popular books on memory of the time). She identified a loss of the substance choline from the brain in AD patients, many years before it was known for certain that the real effect of AD is to erode the very acetylcholine that is essential for neuron functioning.

In 2002 my father died with an acute form of AD, brought on by trauma to his brain.  The last time I saw him was 2001 at his care facility in San Bernadino, a long trip from my home in Northern Sonoma County. At this time my interest again was active in studying AD. Particularly because this acute form my dad suffered from is yet another realm of unknown within the AD spectrum. Still today there isn’t a clear understanding of how trauma affects the brain differently than non-trauma AD cases.

Now my mother is suffering from the Late Onset form of AD (LOAD) and I am her caretaker. My interest is reinvigorated to the max – so much so I need a place to write down what I’m learning – that’s where this blog comes in. With the hope that others may appreciate my task.

My mission is akin to many others certainly- although I do believe my task is limited by a force greater than Nature. Many people who encounter AD do so when their intellect has failed to the extent of eliminating their rational for understanding it. Perhaps this is by subconscious choice in some cases. My mom is a farm girl born and bred with a stubbornness that belongs in Ireland; though she’s not Irish she’s the most strong willed person I know.

What this means for her, taking pills, is so unreliable a way to medicate that it has to be basically ruled out. There’s no way to convince her that a daily regiment is necessary, nor will she take them on anybodies (including doctors) say so. She takes what she wants to take of normal good vitamins and supplements, I might get in one or two of what she really needs beyond that, but no more. Those are the parameters I have to work within. The ironic thing is that my mother has always had the ability to eat: anything. Raising five kids will do that to you apparently. So you will see on this blog how I have crafted food as her medication. It isn’t the most complete – but it is The Way – that makes it the best and it is effective.

I am a believer in Natural plant based medications only for this disease, all the best remedies for AD come from Nature. More than just a metaphor, on this blog you will find that flower power has a keen healing role against AD.

The pharmaceutical industry is so corrupt it cannot help many really. But in this case specifically you will see example of example of cases where drugs are being debunked (after billions in sales). Generic forms coming out at ten times the original strength to a massive protest from many consumer groups (because the side-effects from even the original dosage have not been completely identified). So if you feel like me that BigPharma can go take a flying leap and you want a totally alternative way to care for a person with AD, read on.

Most of you reading this know my mother Linda, you may know that her story has been fraught with loss, loss she’d just assume forget. There’s plenty of reasons in that loss, along with the technical reasons, for AD. She is not reading this beyond what I might show her of it.

I truly encourage people to add comments, if you do leave me a comment with a message to give to her I will, or if you want to make contact with her I will email you and try to arrange that as she doesn’t drive. I am a big believer in the concept in Zen Buddhism known as The Way, every post I put up here has some spiritual significances. You will get many opinions, many heartfelt pleas and a lot of Natural Medicine.

Please note as of March 2013 Linda’s phone has been disconnected. The number is now mine which is listed, otherwise just leave a comment below and I will email it to you. The best and only time to call is in the evenings, even then I can’t guarantee the phone will be answered, but if you let me know ahead of time I will try to make it happen.

The Way: Breakthrough

I have persevered the constant dilemma of no pills – worthy enough to force feed my mother with – by finding perhaps one that is. The supplement of Huperzine A, 200mg. As soon as there is tangible results of such, I will update this post.

Poetry In Soundspace Motion

Poetry In Soundspace Motion

An Event coming soon! June 28, 2014

The Way: Good Visceral Action

An action so extraordinary happened just now — one that hasn’t for such a long time — it bears mentioning. Linda let me massage her. Now those of you familiar with our story know that Linda has well known issues when it comes to accepting help in any form, this form included.

A little background first. When I was younger a neighbor of ours went through formal training for Shiatsu Point Massage, traditional Eastern acupressure basically. That neighbor’s daughter was one of my best friends and we were each others guinea pigs until we both had a good grasp on the technique. Her and I kept that up through our High School years together and we got quite good at it. To the both of them I am greatly indebted for this knowledge. I have very large hands and strong fingers making me ideal for massage. I can hit the 3 major pressure points in most people’s shoulders with one hand, there are those reading this who can attest to the value of that.

Of late Linda has taken an interest in massage, but of course she wants to give it, rather than accept it given to her. Let me just say that I don’t let her massage me with a frequently bad back; even when she was healthy this was a bad idea. People who worked for her at Stillwater got very good at avoiding mentioning any back problems to her because she would insist on diving in with both thumbs, directly on the knots in the back– not the object of Shiatsu. That method instead works on the opposite points of pressure to relieve tension — every pressure point has an equal and opposite on the other side of the body — likewise different points hold stress between them from one side to the other. The key to accessing one side is to work the other side until you can unlock the side with tension.

Now, the accomplishment in Linda letting me massage her is great. For one thing, after I did become proficient at the practice, she would always accept my helping hands if I were to offer them, when she had more rational about it. She would even seek me out for this purpose and I was often able to help her, likewise I’m still familiar with her back tension. So in letting me do some she will likely let me do more, based on muscle-memory, and there’s a lot that can be done that way. In stark contrast to the discipline I’ve had to lay down with my hands as well, this is great progress. It makes her more inclined to accept all that I give her with my hands — like veggies — that keep her well.

I’m passing this along here because this should be encouraged, it’s progress for us both. I can get better and giving her the help that she needs, and she can get better at accepting it. Clearing both our egos out of the way is in that process and it’s deep, there’s no room for ego in the true art of massage. There was a time when Linda would go to the one masseuse in the community for a Breema massage, which is the art of stretching the body. Now however, she’s less willing to go out to do that. Even though she has a free Breema massage coming I’m not sure she’s going to be able to accept it. Perhaps, if I juxtapose my methodology which does involve a bit more uncomfortable feeling, she might. All in all it’s worth noting that this is progress for Linda, and I’m glad to see it. Even a few minutes worth is worthy.

Addendum: from Linda herself who came to my house to tell me she “wasn’t trying to be negative” about my massaging her to which I responded “not at all.” Clearing the way for more massage which makes me declare: Victory!

The Way: Hot Button Topic!

So I have now an issue that is paramount for the attention of those close enough to contact Linda. Her bed. Those who know of what is in her bed — no one knows all that’s there — know that it’s a hoard. Just last night she asked me to help her because “she can’t sleep in the bed.” I know this is literally true — similarly she means that her delusions drive her to feel insecure in the bedroom — and to hoard the stuff . She takes anything and everything she feels are weapons, fortunately we’ve been through this with knives, scissors, all sharp objects. Thankfully I can report that nothing of that nature was found in the bed this time. There were however, staple guns, pliers, sticks, keys, eye glasses, many things that do not belong.

For all conscious desire she wants to keep the stuff in her bed, but functionally she knows she can’t sleep in it that way.  She will constantly claim her bed is “horrible” because she’ll only squeeze herself in on the side and not use the middle of the double. Moreover she’s got a 4″ latex foam topper that does make the bed good enough. Basically this is a water bed turned into a traditional style, but there’s no box spring to support a mattress, only a plywood bottom. On top of the plywood there is a very thick futon mattress, and on top of the that the latex. It should be noted that she had a basically new traditional mattress on top of the plywood and hated it to such an extent I had to take it out. This is understandable because she’s very bony and never liked regular mattresses even with a box spring to begin with. But the futon is designed to be solid underneath (slats anyway) and with the latex there’s plenty of give, it’s quite soft.

So when she asked me to help her it was enough to justify me clearing the bed, knowing that she could not return all the stuff in one night. Similarly I’ve warned her not to keep hoarding in the bed or else the topper is coming off. This is really just an attempt to persuade her; but since I bought the topper (something she refuses to acknowledge but does know) it’s a point of leverage I can use. Removing the topper would mean clearing the bed yet again, and it’s not beyond a possibility that I could do this. It would be the final ultimatum; undoubtedly she’d again hate it so much I could leverage her to keep it clean in order to get the topper back on. This is not something I want to have to do.

Now — this is where you all come in — she is still in bed from last night right now at 2:00 in the afternoon. She will do this when she’s less than pleased with me, I anticipated this in clearing the bed, but now she has the desire to actually have a place to sleep. So she does have a place to sleep, with the wont, and my hope is that she can be convinced that sleeping in the bed is better than hoarding.

I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone how serious her delusions are in terms of driving her to do the hoarding, but similarly a line has to be drawn. She is blaming me for a lot of the hoarding now (That means you’re off the hook for now Alex) so I will be unable to persuade her to keep the stuff off the bed. It will take the help of her family and her community. In order for me to keep her sleeping though, she needs to keep the bed at least free of the stuff. It will be disappointing if I have to face this issue with her again, with the same hoarding. I am asking for your help, for that you will have my thanks. As I said — all the blame is on me now — so no one else will have to bear the brunt. Anyone who can help her is encouraged to do so. Again, thank you.

The Way: Rageaholics

See the update in the previous post for good news.

It’s proper that this term is not considered a word in the dictionary — something like “germophobe” is not a real disease — rage is something that a person can get under control. Similarly, certain people are good at provoking rage in another Human Being. Linda has had the uncanny ability to provoke the kind of intense rage that stigmatizes a marriage, in two different men that I know of and likely a third. She’s definitely been addicted to that flaw in men.

For myself I’ve never truly been capable of staying in a state of rage, which is where I would define a Rageaholic beginning. Nothing significant enough to destroy the checks on the adrenalin in my brain that it takes to induce such a state have I experienced. This is only relevant in how I deal with Linda’s need to experience such rage on an infrequent basis, something like a drug she craves it. She’ll even go so far as to substitute me for her husband if she thinks she can provoke that rage from me.

So to highlight this I will use the example of the car, which is her car, though she has no license. It’s the only car currently running and thus the only vehicle that I can use to get goods, it’s imperative, and it’s become untenable to take her to do the majority of the shopping. The issue of not being able to drive — something she’s done since she was 12 years old — is a major stigma for Linda and I don’t make this an issue on purpose at all. However sometimes it happens that I have somewhere to go in the car, always combined with getting goods, and often this is something Linda cannot handle.

What this comes down to is prolonged battering of me by Linda. None of it truly bothers me but it gets to a point of being impossible to continue on normally without getting angry. So without actually engendering the anger I’ve been able to “act outraged.” I feel no different than when we’re sitting together watching baseball as we are right now. Similarly I’m not hiding it consciously that there’s no real anger behind my sentiment, but since Linda doesn’t process consciously, there’s no rationalizing the fact that I don’t mean what I’m saying. She gets it that it’s not genuine on enough levels to make it non-harmful, but she still craves the loud yelling that associates with a state of rage.

My belief is that giving her this facsimile, like giving a Nicotine patch to a smoker, she gets the idea but not the full weighted sentiment which is like a bomb — I know. It’s likely, in doing this, I can keep her craving it less and less; she ultimately recognizes the untruth in the exchange and she won’t abide by it. To be clear it’s not something I like, or look to do, but it’s the difference between a conflict that can last days if I don’t show her the kind of rage that calms her down. Even though it most often puts her to bed somewhat immediately after she eats, it’s better than coming back to the same conflict. Inasmuch — the act for me — is over in an instant and I go back to being my normal self, sometimes it only takes her an hour for her to come back with a completely refreshed attitude, more often it’s a night or part of a day.

On the larger issue of how rageaholics and addicts together form a dysfunctional relationship all I can say is opposites attract. I made a conscious decision in becoming a man that it was time to end that cycle for myself. I make the effort to avoid ever using anger as a weapon. I recognize that it’s a tool which can be used when carefully taken into measure, against wrongs and injustices, it’s a necessary emotion for Humanity.

There’s certainly anger throughout evolution, keeping the dominant pairs, and similarly a good argument that we, males, should be getting less angry that way. There’s more women than men on this planet now and we are very lucky guys in that respect, as compared to the animal kingdom, where most species have male dominant population. There are definitely women who crave rage though, perhaps that comes from abuse, but it’s certainly a reality, just as there are men capable of it.

 

 

 

The Way: More Fluid

A lot of good has happened of late and it’s about time I mentioned that here. For starters I have to say that a more vigorous effort toward getting the proper healing foods into Linda’s diet has shown to be the only, best, solution and it’s working. Turmeric, and coconut oil are the staples. In the combination of lentils and a steel cut oat/millet mixture I am able to get a veritable ton of healing spices in. What this all amounts to — beyond the memory loss — is Linda being happy and healthy.

An ingenious way to introduce coconut oil into the diet is to substitute it for butter. Linda has a strong craving for bread, gluten free, and she’s got no problem liberally adding coconut oil. Truly incredible to see how much the craving, for sugar in essence, is satisfied by the oil which substitutes for glucose.

Of late she’s been able to get up out of bed significantly earlier than in the past. Mostly stimulated by food and coffee she’s willing to come to the warm dining room. She’s still chasing her delusions, but I still believe it’s one of the only things keeping her from being completely sedentary.

Also a wonderful solution has come about regarding a previous conflict Linda was having with a certain friend of mine. A wise friend of ours suggested to me that it doesn’t really matter who takes my time away from my mom, it’s merely the time that’s taken. Looking at it this way led to me to consider bringing my friend here to the house and introduce her more formally to Linda. This worked miracles, once Linda saw that my friend could be her friend too, gone were any feelings that she was hated. Linda was more than willing to accept a friend, and this worked brilliantly.

This acceptance has made me realize that I need to make a renewed effort to bring old friends — who in essence are new friends — back into the fold. The acceptance of someone she genuinely didn’t know previously made me realize that any kind of connection, especially from long ago, could be easily renewed. Soon, we hope, to see a great old friend and I will report back when we do.

I want to update this since we did see our old friend Alyson. It was truly a wonderful visit and I know this was kind to all of our souls. There’s certainly a benefit for those who make the effort, as Alyson can attest, there’s still  a good deal of the real Linda left in her, and she’s readily able to engage you in conversation, even losing her delusions as a primary focus.

The Way: So Rough

It is the great paradigm of AD, how time doesn’t matter to the subconscious, so event dates become irrelative. For instance there is a FD benefit held every year on Mother’s Day now. In the beginning it was a lamb bake in Cazadero, started by Linda and my dad. Not that you would know those origins walking into the current benefit necessarily, so there’s little that Linda remembers about this day from year to year. She remembers Mother’s Day to a limited degree, but connecting it with this benefit, at this point, is hard.

Two years ago Linda went to the brunch in freezing cold fog weather, it was a challenge for sure. Especially for a woman used to being behind the scenes of such an event, and the center of attention to a certain degree as such. With her skills as a coordinator, manager, it’s unfortunate that it took so much effort for her to get noticed at an event that wouldn’t be anything without her. It’s borne out in the fact that she doesn’t remember a responsibility to this benefit, where she does to the lamb bakes. There’s nothing at this benefit that honors the tradition of the past and that’s truly unfortunate. In other words, if there was something to connect this benefit to the older one, she’d not only want to come, but remember why she needed to be there. That, for Linda, is the ultimate motivation. She would still do all the behind the scenes work, even if there was that honoring, but now she doesn’t remember the work.

As some of you know and those of you reading this might surmise, she did not go to the benefit this year. I was ready and willing to take her as usual, but she elected not to go at the last minute. Since there’s no way to convince her that her presence only is necessary, and not her work, there’s no way to remind her.

Today she’s missing the benefit, thinking it’s happening now, thinking it’s June, when the lamb bakes would happen. Thinking that she let people down for not doing the work, lashing out at me for not telling her about it. I cannot tell her the truth, she will not listen. It’s very rough listening to her berating me for not putting her back on the grinding wheel. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really react to this, it doesn’t bother me in the least, but in this case there’s clearly a lesson in it for us, for her subconscious.

So I will leave her to go to bed and listen to the baseball game on the radio instead of watching it on TV, the Giants are bad enough to be better on the radio anyway. It is quite tricky to deal with this kind of sudden change in tone, from very cheery to very admonishing. As I said, it’s like water off a duck’s back with most anything fantastic she might blame on me, but this strikes a nerve for all these reasons involved.

The Way: Damn Good Food

Just want to take you through a way to have a very healthy BBQ. First off some info that came recently from a good publication, Nutrition Action. Studies have shown that marinating meat, even just quickly dipping it, prior to cooking, helps retain moisture and prevent drying out. Drying in the meat on the grill means free radical iron increases. Good marinating, plus proper slow cooking, can practically eliminate the free radical iron. So we’re talking about a small fire.

The brine I use is a half day soak, it’s so intense, it doesn’t need more time. I start with a Pomegranate balsamic vinegar, Pomegranate being and incredibly healthy healer for dementia and other maladies. Turmeric, so much healing from that great spice for dementia, as well as Saffron, Sage, Marjoram, toasted Sesame oil. Tamari, sea salt and then water just to cover over. Saffron’s flavor distributes well as the brine water is warm to start, that necessitates cooking it within a day, but it similarly integrates the spices extremely well. The brine looks like this.

Brine

Rosemary and garlic get added on the grill. Over a very small fire of Oak, Alder, and Apple goes the organic chicken.

GrillinC

GrillinChickenYou can see the finish on the top side. A very slow cook on the other side, literally about 40 minutes as the fire got low and subdued from the moist chicken. Finally with the dry Rosemary in the fire I coaxed it into flame with the grill off and lightly seared the meat as the flame went out. What this brine does so well is to brown the meat, and it is as crispy a skin as you could want. Supremely tender and moist on the inside, so unique is the flavor that Linda doesn’t recognize it as chicken, but she likes it. It’s incredible how much the Pomegranate balsamic vinegar penetrates the flavor but only adds a touch of sweetness, more in the crispy finish. With my smoked salmon the vinegar blackened the edge nicely. Turmeric sticks well as you can see the yellow. All in all this is a wholly healthy way to do meat, all dark meat chicken in this case to boot, the healthiest kind.

The Way: Hard Times

There is salient advice to let an AD person craft their own reality. That said there is a point where the narrative thread becomes so hostile it’s untenable. Simply said at times a good argument is warranted; because of the frustration an argument can release. Linda will get verbally aggressive all the way to the point of physical aggression.

In this case it’s the idea of another person is taking my time. There’s absolutely no tolerance or reticence, unfortunately. There’s a feeling that manifests in the thought for Linda “that person must hate me.”

One thing about AD is that it makes a person fairly clairvoyant to emotions, dealing in the raw subconscious it’s hard to hide feelings our rational minds don’t even know we have. Similarly it’s easy for Linda to ambush a person with the buttons to push.

It is ego that drives Linda and this I know, a complete autonomous, possessive, selfish, conceit is totally normal. But when it comes to disparaging my friends for delusional reasons it just gets to a point. Something like disciplining a child, but in this case it’s more about raw anger release.

Bottom line, while we’d all like to be perfectly passive caregivers, there is some justification for airing it out once in awhile. When for instance it means the difference between Linda going to bed, not eating dinner because she’s so pissed off, and getting back up to eat it as she did.

Anger is not a tool, it’s an emotion. But there is a way to channel it to a positive result, particularly when the rational mind is removed. That is the truth, while I do decide to give her an angry reaction the actual exchange comes from my subconscious to just show the raw anger emotion. Doing this actually does make progress on the issue, about the pace of icebergs forming.

Very difficult to ascertain whether my attention to another person in the presence of Linda would even be enough to trigger this defense, but that’s the feeling I have. The way is only within me to change the reaction to any friend of mine that Linda deems hostile. Hard times, that makes it, for ones I love.

Coffee II

Flavor, it’s my strongest desire in coffee, and many who drink it black. I found something in the bottom of my French Press (FP) when the coffee had been sitting in there for a good long while. Ultimately this led me down the path to realize that the whole concept of the FP is not right. I don’t expect anyone to take my word for it, only to realize how it could be improved.

Here’s the example that makes it easiest to understand. For a long time I’ve wondered what it would be like if I loaded the FP with the coffee on top of the plunger screen instead of underneath, subconscious almost, was this thought. Well today I did just that, and the coffee was fine! It was excellent in fact.

I loaded the coffee on top of the plunger screen, pushed all the way to the bottom. Then poured the water on top (note this requires taking the top off the plunger shaft which most FP allow). Next I pulled the plunger back up so it just touched the bottom of the coffee, as it drifted down, about 2 inches below the surface.

This mimics the setup of an Indian coffee filter, where a top chamber allows the coffee to drip through a perforated bottom, into a lower chamber. This methodology has one distinct difference that significantly improves the coffee health wise because the coffee is not compressed at any point, it’s always free floating in water. And yes, as it turns out compressing the coffee releases more that’s not good for us.

Cafestol is the name of the primary diterpene, kahweol another lesser, fat soluble organic compounds derived from the oils in coffee beans. From Harvard,

Coffee contains a substance called cafestol that is a potent stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels.

It does this by interfering with the body’s ability, in the liver, to process cholesterol. What it boils down to is this, it’s more advisable to get less of this cafestol in your coffee. Considering the options, you can use a filter and eliminate the cafestol down to .005%, whereas the FP is more like .12%. Some people swear by a Melitta filter and won’t use anything else, you can get reusable cloth filters. My method is more like .03%. Harvard only really advises those with cholesterol problems to use a filter and thus eliminate the danger from cafestol.

There’s evidence that cafestol isn’t all bad, it has shown anti-carcinogenic properties and may be part of the reason coffee is preventive against colorectal, and other cancers. So, you can’t throw out the orange to get rid of the peel.

The Indian filters use extremely fine grind coffee so I believe that the cafestol mainly hangs with the bulk of the grounds, since some of the silty grounds will get through the filter. There’s definitely more cafestol in that method than the filter, but it’s regarded as a significant amount less by the various studies I read. Basically, only the FP with over .1% can raise cholesterol by 6-8% if you’re drinking 25-30 oz over a duration of a week.

In conclusion, my subconscious thought — now honed by dealing with Linda operating out of her subconscious — has served me well. I was envisioning the coffee free floating without the restriction of the screen as it seems that screen always takes with it some of the flavor i’m after, similarly I’m finding more flavor in just allowing the grounds to sit in the FP for 15 minutes or so. The natural oils are still released into the coffee but there’s no forced separation of the negative compounds.

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