My beloved wife, Pam

I am saddened and grief stricken over the loss of my best friend, companion and wife. She passed away suddenly without pain on August 19, 2013. According to initial predictions from my physicians, they felt that she would outlive me by many years. Ironically, I have been doing extremely well and am working part-time as a non-physician.

I will forever cherish our years together. We were able to experience many years together and shared experiences. I will remember those good times.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and thoughts for both my son and for me.

Warmly,

David

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Help protect yourself and Medicare from fraud and identity theft

Report Fraud

To help protect yourself and Medicare from fraud and identity theft you should report it.Whenever you get a payment notice from Medicare review it for errors. The notice shows what Medicare was billed for, what Medicare paid, and what (if anything) you owe. Make sure Medicare was not billed for health care services, medical supplies, or equipment you did not get.

Before you contact your health care provider, Medicare, or the Inspector General’s hotline, carefully review the facts, and have the following ready:

  • The provider’s name and any identifying number you may have.
  • The service or item information you are questioning.
  • The date the service or item was supposedly given or delivered.
  • The payment amount approved and paid by Medicare.
  • The date on your Medicare Summary Notice.
  • Your name and Medicare number (as listed on your Medicare card).
  • The reason you think Medicare should not have paid.
  • Any other information you have showing why Medicare should not have paid.

Report Errors

HHS Office of Inspector General

Phone

1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477)

TTY: 1-800-377-4950

Internet

Report Fraud Online

Senior Medicare Patrol Program

Email

hhstips@oig.hhs.gov

Mail

HHS Tips Hotline
PO Box 23489
Washington, DC 20026-3489

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Phone

1-800-Medicare

1-877-486-2048

Mail

Medicare
Beneficiary Contact Center
PO Box 39
Lawrence KS, 66044

Golden Rules for Living

If you open it, close it.

If you turn it on, turn it off.

If you unlock it, lock it up.

If you break it, admit it.

If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.

If you borrow it, return it.

If you value it, take care of it.

If you make a mess, clean it up.

If you move it, put it back.

If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.

If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.

If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

 

Flag At Half-Staff Until Noon on Memorial Day

For 142 years, Americans have taken the last Monday in May to remember those who have died in our wars. Like all deaths honored by the state, flags fly at half-staff. However, on Memorial Day, the U.S. flag only flies at half-staff for the first half of the day, and then is raised to full height from noon to sundown. This unique custom honors the war dead for the morning, and living veterans for the rest of the day.

Thank you for writing your senators to demand that they stand up to Wall Street pressure and enact meaningful financial reforms

I just watched this new video from AARP about Wall Street’s excesses — click on the link below to check it out:

http://bit.ly/bnEEr8

When you finish watching, take action to help urge Congress to stand up to the army of banking lobbyists trying to kill reform.

For the last two years, we’ve gotten the same old song and dance from Wall Street.

We pay their debt. They pay themselves huge bonuses. We struggle to make ends meet. They spend millions to kill the financial reforms that would help American seniors.

But here’s the worst part: Right now our senators are starting to waver as an army of banking lobbyists urges them to water down the financial reforms currently before Congress.

Well I say enough’s enough and that’s why I’m hoping you’ll watch this funny (but hard-hitting) new video and join me in urging the Senate to change their tune and pass the reforms we need.

http://bit.ly/bnEEr8

Thank you for standing strong against Wall Street’s excesses. With the help of people like you, I know we can secure the reforms that America’s seniors urgently need.

And I figured out how to use the spell checker again.

The Affects of Food on the Brain: Observations of a Care Giver by Sue Higgins

Thank you Susan for contributing to today’s post. We appreciate it.

 

Sue Higgins 

My mom’s illness is certainly a metaphor for life.  Her illness causes her to be off balance with outside influences adding an interesting twist to daily life. 

Each day, I make observations and adjust our routine as needed. All in an effort to provide my mom with more good days than not so good days… as we all know Lewy Bodies Dementia takes us all on a wild ride that is often scary.

What I have come to see is that all of us are conditioned to take a pill when we have some ailment; we can’t help believing in pills, it’s what we’ve been told for decades, "better health through chemistry." Only now, do I question the belief in pharmaceutical drugs to be the end all solution.

The prescription drugs that my mom had taken for so many years only masked her ailments, compounding them, making them worse. It was only when I began to pay attention, did I discover that the secret to my mom’s improving health is through nutrition.   We cut out the processed food and my mom was able to begin to get off all the band aid pharma drugs. 

Today, my mom is physically healthier than she’s been in decades.  Through nutrition and a good diet that I have listed below, my mom has more good days than not so good days.  We can’t ask for much more than that with her condition of Lewy Bodies Dementia.

Eating Healthfully

Food is the most important medicine that my mom has every day; it allows us to create a balanced state in her body and mind.  I’ve witnessed that nutrition in the elderly; especially a senior with Lewy Bodies Dementia can be the most challenging aspect of care giving.    Often as Care Givers we are left wondering, "what do I do now?" 

My answer to this question is usually found when I analyze and observe and analyze again.  Because of my need to analyze EVERYTHING and understand it, I’ve touched upon something very interesting.  First hand, I have witnessed the relationship between food and my mom’s mental state of being. She is clearer when she eats "REAL FOOD", food that nature provides.

I’ve made lots of observations about food and the behaviors it seems to create in my mom after she ingests the "food."  I put quotes around food because not all food on the supermarket shelves is created equally.  Most is poison to our bodies and will eventually lead us to the exit for Dementia Highway… this is my opinion which I have based on my observations with my mom who has what we believe to be, Lewy Bodies Dementia.

Following is a quick list of foods to avoid and the behaviors that I have observed which seem to be associated with the ingested food.

Behaviors Observed

Wild and Scary Hallucinations, night disturbances, sleepwalking, fright, wanting to go home, confusion amplified

Foods to Avoid

  • All boxed and processed foods 
  • Everything with ingredients that you can’t pronounce
  • All gluten
  • gluten free products with ingredients that you can’t pronounce (not all gluten free is good for you.)
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder with Aluminum – this really messes up my mom for 3 days
  • All white food except cauliflower – this is very good for dementia (potato, white rice)
  • Eggplant – my mom goes on quite a hallucination trip when she eats eggplant, she sees wild animals mostly and scary people with floating heads.
  • All dairy – Lactose free seems to be OK.  Dairy typically causes my mom to have night disturbances with lots of sleepwalking and not knowing where she is … wants to go home when she eats dairy or any high animal fat content foods
  • Oatmeal that has been processed on machines that have processed wheat

Food to Eat

  • Anything that can grow in the ground that has not been treated with pesticides or Genetically Modified (GMO) – exception is white potatoes – these make my mom’s blood sugar go up high and she hallucinates and is way more confused. 
  • Eggplant causes her to hallucinate about wild animals and scary floating heads.
  • Organic Oats that have not been processed on machines with wheat (limit this because they can raise blood sugar.  I do put a 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder in the oatmeal which helps to keep my mom’s blood sugar from spiking and making her hallucinate.)
  • Lean meat and fish – we eat lots of chicken and fish
  • Legumes – these are good in moderation because they raise blood sugar too.  With legumes, serve asparagus because I’ve found it naturally lowers blood sugar. 
  • Herbs that lower blood sugar that I use when I cook complex carbohydrates like legumes… Bay Leaf and Fenugreek are the 2 that I’ve found to be most effective.
  • Herbs that appear to help with cognition – Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric and Black Pepper together, Curcumin, Coriander, Oregano.  The nights that I cook a dish with lots of Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric and Black Pepper, my mom seems to sleep better and the next day she is much happier about life.
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Fruit
  • Dark greens (kale, spinach, collard greens and arugula are awesome.)
  • Asparagus and Artichokes lower blood sugar and low blood sugar keeps hallucinations at bay
  • Garlic, lots of garlic

Substitutions

White Rice and Potatoes

  • In place of white rice, I serve brown rice or black rice.  We eat this in moderation only because rice makes my mom’s blood sugar go up and if it goes over 125, she starts to hallucinate. 
  • Quinoa grain is great.  My mom doesn’t have adverse reactions to this grain. 
  • Amaranth grain is OK.  My mom can only eat a little bit of this grain, otherwise she hallucinates.
  • Yams

Gluten Breads

  • Make your own gluten free bread.  I give a really good recipe here – My Daily Bread
  • Big leaves of lettuce make great wraps.  I wrote about it hereLettuce as a Wrap
  • I found that Gluten Free bread made with fruit juice is very good.  You can buy it at Whole Foods.  Tapioca bread is good too; I find it at Shaw’s.

White Flour

  • Soy Flour is a great substitute for white flour when used to coat chicken.  Here’s a recipe that I use often and my mom loves it.  Oven Fried Chicken
  • Quinoa flour has a nice flavor and often I use it in place of the soy flour.
  • Almond meal flour is really good for coating as well as making baked goods. 

If you are going to bake, make sure that you get baking soda and baking powder that doesn’t have aluminum in it.  This REALLY aggravates my mom’s condition.

Butter

  • Good quality olive oil.  It’s really good brushed on a piece of toasted gluten free bread.  Gluten free bread is always better toasted.
  • If I use butter, I make sure that it’s organic.  I use it sparingly.  I have observed that high fat meals cause my mom to hallucinate and have night disturbances.

Some links to recipes on my blog:

Sue’s 3-1-1 Base Dressing

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

White Beans with Vegetables and Herbs on Red Lettuce

How to be a Soldiers’ Angel — "May No Soldier Go Unloved"

I have discovered a new way to be helpful to others as well as  to feel more worth while as a person. I’m on the Letter Writing Team of Soldiers’ Angels. Soldiers’ Angels is a volunteer-led  non-profit organization providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. There are over 200,000 Angel volunteers assisting veterans, wounded and deployed personnel and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways. Here a some of the ways you can easily be an Angel yourself.

Adopt a Soldier – Individualized support throughout deployment
Angel Bakers – Homemade treats for the deployed
Blankets of Belief – Showing deployed troops, "We believe in you!"
Blankets of Gratitude – Handcrafted love for hospitalized veterans
Blankets of Hope – Handcrafted comfort for the wounded
Cards Plus Team – Extra TLC for soldiers & families
Chaplain Support Team – Help chaplains support the troops
Community Team Leaders (CTLs) – Representing Soldiers’ Angels at home
Cooking with the Wounded – Chef-created dinners and culinary education
Eagle Cane Project – Handmade canes for the wounded
First Response Backpacks – Supplies for wounded in-country Hero Packs – Care packages
Ladies of Liberty – Extra TLC for deployed females
Letter Writing Team – Personal letters for the deployed
Living Legends – Remembering the fallen and their families
Memorial Portraits – Drawings for families of the fallen
Operation Birthday Cake – Shipping gourmet birthday cakes to deployed troops
Operation Outreach – Supporting families waiting at home
Operation Phone Home – Calling cards
Operation Top Knot – Handmade gifts & virtual baby showers
Scarves – Handmade heat and sand protection
SA Germany – Supporting medevac’d wounded/ill and medical staff at Landstuhl
SOS:Kids – Helping deployed soldiers help local kids
Tank Support – Helping Veterans Travel to Medical Appointments
Valour-IT – Adaptive laptops for the wounded
VA Crochet & Craft – Handmade comfort & dignity for hospitalized Vets
Veterans Support – Assisting veterans facilities
Wounded TLC – Letters and care packages for the wounded

I’ve discovered that some of the soldiers are able to respond back to me while others aren’t able. They may be in the trenches fighting, return to camp to shower, eat and sleep. Then return to the field with little time for anything else. I am very grateful to my Letter Writing Team mentor, Donna Stephens. She is undoubtedly an outstanding individual. Warm, friendly, encouraging, giving and delightful. I am truly blessed with her guidance.

Please consider joining Soldiers’ Angels. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t ponder over it. Just jump in! It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a lot of money to be an Angel. Just love and kindness. Make yourself feel good and Join Here. It is FREE! You may also contact the Soldiers’ Angels organization.

Warmly……………David

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