Yesterday was extremely busy and stressful for me. The entire day seemed too short to accomplish every task that I needed to complete. Somehow, by the grace of God, I finished the day with a “mission complete” status….it was finally done and over. I am sure each of us in the world has experience that type of day…nothing goes right, every challenge becomes a stumbling block, and when it rains, it pours !
I stood outside on my deck last evening, enjoying the view of the moon and the stars. I sipped gingerly on my night-time tea, enjoying the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs while my dog scampered though the yard looking for a spot to potty. My mind ran free with thoughts….random thoughts…” Why do dogs have to hunt to find the perfect spot to piddle? Just squat already! Why is she circling now that she has found a spot? What is the purpose to her drama? ……Did I mean to leave my grill cover off? ….Does it look like rain? …..The sky looks pretty clear. …..What a beautiful night….. The breeze is very refreshing….Maybe I should turn the AC off in the house….. I probably should not have drank this tea before bed, I will never get to sleep…..” My mind was having fun processing thoughts that had no real purpose…..the thought of “sleep” however, prompted me to decide to go inside, lock up and trudge off to bed.
Ahhhh, the softness of the bed welcomed my weary bones. My fluffy pillow has never been so inviting. I flipped the channels on the TV, hoping to bore myself to sleep. Suddenly I found myself caught up in a show on the ID channel. The suspense of who committed the murder was enough to cause me to drift off to sleep. ( Don’t you hate when you watch a show for an hour and miss the last five minutes???)
I was awakened by the sounds from the TV and the faint sound of a barking dog. Flipping the TV off, I slipped back into the comatose like sleep I had been enjoying before the noise interrupted me. The sound of the clicking ceiling fan was the only noise remaining…..until I heard it again….the barking dog.
I closed my eyes again, only to pop them wide open as I realized……I forgot my dog! In my “lost thoughts” I had locked her outside accidently!!!! I flew out of bed, racing to the backdoor in a wild sprint to find her standing in the middle of the yard barking incessantly. She noticed my presence and immediately jumped on me as if I had been gone for weeks…. wagging tail and tons of kisses.
Once back inside, we settled in for the night. I hugged her, apologized for leaving her outside and drifted off to sleep…………
You know, it’s amazing how the brain works…or how it can malfunction at the drop of a hat. Stress can make a person insane in a matter of minutes just as joy can make one carefree and careless.
Each day at work, I redirect lost dementia patients, console Willie as he mourns the death of Maggie ( in his mind she has just died ), explain to another patient that he HAS indeed eaten today, remind another to put pants on ; listen intently as another explains how someone has stolen his money; while yet explaining to another resident that the bus she is trying to catch is broken down and won’t be running today, (hoping to avoid an escape attempt!) By validating each dementia patients thoughts, they are happier, less stressed and have decreased anxiety….but boy oh boy, it’s a lot to keep up with and I wonder why my brain malfunctions????? But then again…..
I think about the patients and how their memories probably swirl around like mine were doing on the deck. Floods of memories, thoughts and mind’s eye views that they can’t express. It must be frustrating for them to have a fleeting memory of something wonderful and lose the thought…or worse yet, to have the brain misfire with only bad memories. Willie is heartbroken every single morning, thinking his beloved Maggie has just died, when in reality, it has been months now. He is “stuck” with that thought every single day. Nothing can soothe, modify or change his thought processes, not even time……….
If you encounter an Alzheimer’s patient, you will notice how their thoughts are like a flight of ideas. They jump from topic to topic like machine gun fire……never able to quiet the mind….. I think that’s why Paul wrote in Philippians Chapter 4…. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. ( Holy Bible NIV)
Maybe that explains why residents become calmer as the great hymns are sung, or played on the piano. They sing -a- long, most recalling every word of “Amazing Grace”….” The Old Rugged Cross” or ” How Great Thou Art”. Being reminded through the music of the peace that only God can give, brings peace to the soul and the over-active, misfiring brain……..
I think we should all follow Paul’s advice and focus on things that are lovely and worthy of praise and not stress so much over the things we have no control over. We need more peace, more quietness of mind and more calmness in the soul to be at peace with ourselves…….I am going to start doing that more and more each day……….. and by doing so…..I bet I won’t forget the dog………
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