Mom…

This is the message that I sent out to family today… I thought I would share it with you….

A month or so ago, Mom finally had testing done at the Memory Disorder Clinic at Bruyere.

Today, Mom got the diagnosis Shirin and I were expecting and she was not.

Early stages of late-onset Alzheimer’s.

She took it rather pragmatically and there is some medication that she can take which will (hopefully) slow down the progression. However, had she taken me at my word years ago, she would have been diagnosed ages ago and had the benefit of a longer time on the medication and not so much of a precipitous decline in her memory the last few years.

Late onset, unlike early onset does not mean that we will “lose” her to Alzheimer’s. Basically, it is a slow-moving process which in a younger person means incapacity before the age of 65.

Mom is older and so will experience dementia at a ripe old age.

However, she will be experiencing a decline in her memory (short term memory) over the next few years and we have to face that.

It hasn’t been easy for me dealing with a lot of the problems which have cropped up, so far. I handle all her finances because she can’t. I handle her medications because she can’t. I handle making her appointments and seeing she gets where she needs to go because she can’t.

She repeats the same stories and questions and anecdotes and needs reminding about things she should remember on her own because she can’t remember.

If she calls repeatedly leaving the same message, its because she doesn’t remember having called and having left the message.

Her long-term memory is pretty good. I notice gaps in recollections. This indicates that she is starting to falter a bit there but ion the whole, her long term memory is pretty good. She remembers the stories, she just forgets she’s told you 15 times in the same conversation.

The upshot of this is that she will need patience and compassion. She will need people to visit and call often.

The fact is that, slowly but surely, we are losing her and we need to make the best and the most of the time she has left. One day, she will not remember us… That day is hopefully a long way off but in order to make these last years as good and as worth-while, she needs us.

Sometimes it is frustrating and upsetting to have to go over and over and over the same things sometimes 50 times in a day but that’s what has to be done.

As a family, we need to make every day memorable for her, even if she won’t, in the end, remember it.

New Charm… and one lost :(

My dear friend, Bob, sent me a charm for my Pandora bracelet and it arrived, today.Curly beadUnfortunately, I appear to have lost one of the spacers. It would only have been lost when I took the bracelet off in the living room to rearrange the beads or in the bathroom when I was going to wash my hair. One fell on the floor in the bathroom but I picked it up right away but where the other one is…. At least it wasn’t one of the beads

My Pandora Charm Bracelet

My sister gave em a Pandora charm bracelet for Christmas. I hadn’t heard of them before and never had a charm bracelet when I was growing up so it was new to me.

When I was in Pickering/Toronto over the New Year holiday, I kept hoping to get out and buy myself a charm or two to go on it (Mom’s Christmas present was to go out and buy myself something). However, going ANYWHERE in the area of Toronto entails a LOT of driving and none of the malls near where I was had a store that sells them. I ended up having to wait until yesterday to pick some up.

I bought 4 plus a number of “spacers”. Since the charms slide on the bracelet rather than clip to it, I will have to get some clips to hold them in place, in the section.

My friend, Bob, has bought me one, as well, which is on its way to me.

My bracelet so far...

There appear to be plenty of knock-off charms around but there are a number of authorized dealers that you can buy online from. The biggest in Canada is apparently Posh.

There are Muran glass ones (like the green one on my bracelet), animals (I bought a hedgehog), inlaid ones (the flower/moonstone one), and dangly ones (like the one at the right). There are also ones with enamel inlay, gemstones, gold ($$$), and wood inlaid ones.

My niece has a Pandora one, as well as a Thomas Sabo one. The Thomas Sabos clip onto a chain and are more like the traditional charms I remember from my childhood. They have a wide range of designs but while there are many I like, a lot of them are more “girly” than I would want. They appear to have only one style of chain to select from, as well. The Pandora ones have gold, silver, and a leather one.

You can make a wish list and list the opes you have but so far I haven’t discovered how to share the list.

Here we go again…..

I am experiencing the first unsettling twinges of another bout or anxiety/depression.

I’m hoping it is simply the post-holiday and pre “start-of-a-new-work-year” anxiety. Being at the distant end of the chain of work-scheduling leaves me waiting for work at this time of year. But it’s more than that and I’m feeling unsettled and anxious about just about everything.

Of course, I don’t do myself any favours not forcing myself into a regular sleeping routine. I find myself futzing around at 2 am doing something I suddenly thought of trying or looking up or researching just as I was planning on turning the computer off and going to bed. It would be handy if we all came with some sort of timer that forced us to simply shut down at a certain time. However, since we don’t, I am going to have to start forcing myself to do it.

I suppose this is “sort of” a New Years resolution. I don’t make them. The only “resolution” I make is “Do nothing to upset the balance of the Universe” which I have managed, as far as I can tell, to stick to.

PhotoHunter: Lick

Okay… This is another “slightly circular” approach to this week’s PhotoHunter theme. HA! A puzzle AND a pun!

Battle of the Windmill historical site

The Battle of the Windmill Historic Site, 2008

In 1837 and 1838, Canada was the scene of a number of rebellions.  Rebellions were fought in both Upper and Lower Canada during this two year period.

In the British colony of Upper Canada (Upper Canada being the region of Canada lying “up the St, Lawrence”, generally Eastern and Southern Ontario), was brought about by the efforts of William Lyon Mackenzie a reformer, newspaper editor, Mayor of Toronto, and orator who had for many years been trying to bring about reform of the government of Ontario. In 1837, he gave up on a peaceful means of achieving this goal and rallied both radicals and moderates to overthrow the government.

This  rebellion, known as The Upper Canada Rebellion, was rapidly quashed and William Lyon Mackenzie and many of his followers absconded to the United States. More than 800 followers were arrested. Some were granted amnesty, two leaders were hanged for treason, and some two dozen were “transported” to a penal colony in Australia.

Some of the rebels banded together with American supporters who saw the prospect of overthrowing the British government in Upper Canada as a chance to expand America into the region.

In December 1837, they launched a raid which led to their occupation of Navy Island (a small island in the Niagara River which they proclaimed “The Republic of  Canada” from which they were eventually expelled and William Lyon Mackenzie fled to the US).

A skirmish at Short Hills in the Niagara peninsula, in June 1838, The Battle of the Windmill, in November; and a series of bloody and violent  raids in the Windsor/Detroit area, in December, followed. Large numbers of British regulars and Upper Canada militia repulsed the raids, 15 rebels were hanged and several dozen more were transported to Tasmania, into penal servitude.

On November 12, 1838, a group of American raiders (calling themselves Patriot Hunters) and Canadian rebels  made an attempt to land on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River. in order to take the town of Prescott, side of Fort William. They were driven back that night. Convinced that this force of about 250 men would be quickly joined by hundreds of discontented Canadians, the undeterred force tried another landing point at Windmill Point, some miles east of Prescott.

Sadly, their mistaken belief that some (or, indeed, ANY) Canadians would join them led to the bloody and tragic event called the Battle of the Windmill.

Certainly, the Windmill was an ideal place  (seemingly) to choose to base their attack on Upper Canada. The invaders, under the command of Nils von Schoultz, were well equipped with ammunition to last 4 to 5 days. The Windmill was a strong defensive point and would have afforded them an excellent vantage point and the British could not approach unobserved. This, and their certainty in drawing local supporters to their cause, led them to believe they would win handily.

The British quickly gathered a small group of local militia  and regular troops in Prescott and, with the support of guns from steamers plying the waters of the St. Lawrence, on November 13th they made their approach to the Windmill.

Even with a superior force of some 600 men, it was not to be an easy victory for the British and Upper Canadians. The fighting went on for some 5 bloody hours, during which 13 British soldiers were killed and  78 wounded. The “Hunters” were believed to have lost 18, 20 wounded, and 26 captured.

By the 14th and 15th, the Hunters were running low on ammunition and food, and had suffered heavy losses. Reinforcements from Ogdensburg (on the American side of the river) had not appeared and neither had all those supposedly discontented Canadians.

On the 16th, the Americans must have been terrified. More and better armed steamers had arrived…. and a force of 1000 British and Canadians were preparing for the second attack on the Windmill. At 3:30 in the afternoon, the bombardment from the artillery by land and on the river, began. Some of the Hunters surrendered but others put up a futile fight. By 6:00, the Americans were defeated. Some surrendered while others melted off into the gathering darkness. Some 50 were laid in common graves near the battle-site. Many were captured and tried.

“The process of trials and punishments required many months to complete. There were few acquittals (40), and relatively few executions (11, including Nils von Schoultz). 60 were convicted and transported to a British penal colony in Australia. 86 were condemned, but later pardoned and released to return to their homes.”

The Battle of the Windmill was a crucial victory for Upper Canada. Had the Americans and the Canadian rebels taken Prescott and the fort which protected the St. Lawrence River, they would have essentially cut the throat of Upper Canada and left it open to invasion from the south.

However, we LICKED them…

The Windmill, prior to 1838

The Battle of the Windmill

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