Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Sunday Morning Thoughts

This resonates deeply with me, I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about the feelings and emotions that have been surfacing in me. Looking at them acknowledging them, allowing myself to feel them, finding ways to understand them and why they are surfacing at this time.
For example I have at this time zero tolerance and I actually get quite angry about selfish people. Being selfish at times is necessary and needed for your well being, but being selfish and unwilling to do the right things ahead of your own desires and wants when your actions impact others is not and totally different. That is the part that finds me angry,

I am normally a very forgiving person someone who is willing to overlook those things in others, presently I am not. So I have had to look at why. Partly I believe it is because the pandemic has gone on for so long and for those of us living with dementia and other illnesses who are more vulnerable and at risk it means we have been isolated and impacted to a greater degree than many. And even know that things are starting to open up, I along with many others must continue to be vigilant because we know even though we have had our two vaccines, the Delta variant, which is not fully protected by the vaccines are at a greater risk, so we continue to feel the impacts.
Second to that is the heat wave, fires and smoke, which has found me for the most part even further house bound. My love of nature and time in it halted again.
Yes a lot of people are still trying to get out and about and do some things, they are happy to put themselves at risk of the damage to their systems from the smoke. For me the heat and the smoke both impact my vascular system, creating inflammation, which impacts all ready challenging blood flow issue which directly impacts my dementia. I could still further damage and further hurt my ability for a quality of life, by putting myself into the danger zone of trying to be outdoors, but I have worked hard since my diagnosis to give my self the best chance of quality of life for as long as possible, so tossing all that to the wind at the moment is not an option for me. I am looking forward to the days when I can ride my bike again, when I can go for walks, when I can go to sleep without severe headaches and wake up without one.
In the meantime I have to deal with the emotional elements that come with the current situation, I cry more readily, I am much more sensitive. Yes I am angry, I am angry at those that think they should still have the right to go out into the back country, that they should still be allowed to be on the lakes,and having “their holidays”, with little to no regard for the overall impact and strain they add to a system struggling to manage. I am angry at the people who go out onto the forest service roads and toss bottles and cans and garbage, thinking they have the right to totally disregard this earth, yet think they can use it without having to give anything back or at the very minimum not do damage. Every area I go into I spent my time picking up those cans, bottles and garbage, bringing it out, other people’s mess, because I care about the animals, the rivers and streams, I care about the forests, so I can readily identify that that’s where my anger that I am feeling stems from because I can’t control the selfish ignorance or others. If we only had the fires started by natural occurrences we would have a much easy time to manage them, but when half are caused by the reckless and careless selfish acts of humans, it makes me angry, it makes me angry that people think it’s ok to go out into the waterways, lakes, oceans, rivers, because they enjoy it, but then think it’s ok to toss their cans, bottles and garbage out the side of the boats. Yup I’m angry and I’ll own it. I won’t try to understand and accept people’s justification for the behaviour, because people know right from wrong, it’s a choice. All I can do is my part, which one day when it is safe for me I will go and attempt to clean up other people’s left behind mess. I will acknowledge the sadness, the anger and all the other emotions it brings, so that I can come out the other side of it all and still be a kind and caring individual. For now, looking after my health, emotional, mental and physical is what I need to do and am doing, trying to remain hopeful and positive. My dementia has definitely been effected, and I’m hoping that once I no longer have to fight the impacts of the inflammation caused by the smoke and heat perhaps I will see some of those impacts improve.
Today I’m going to focus on my little dog Pheobe, who is sleeping in today, I’ve been let her tear up and down the hallway of the building so she can get a little exercise, she doesn’t manage the heat or smoke either, we are a good team and she is definitely my silver lining.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress


This morning early 4 am, the sky was actually quite clear, the smoke haze appeared better, the shift in the winds helped, but it is now 6 am and that is rapidly changing again, more evacuation orders new fires. During all of these recent events it has become apparent that it has created more changes for me. My ability to navigate and do some things which I had done for years diminished, requiring help, forms, information for claims to blue cross etc, now require help, it overwhelms me, I can’t decipher all the steps and parts. My ability to do one thing while listening to someone else, no longer possible, my level of frustration with myself has been high, yes these are expected changes, but settling into them not that easy. It has to do with pride, it has to do with sense of self. Aging is not easily accepted by most add in dementia and the changes it brings and it’s another added layer. I’m grateful that there are real life angels ( friends ) who step in and just do without trying to tell you “ if you just did”, as those kinds of statements only worsen things and further erode your sense of self and your confidence.
My ability to manage outings have changed as well, life has changed yet again. Arranging outings and seeing people in ways and settings is another set of changes.
settling into all these new normals, wondering how much all this last two years has contributed. Yet somehow I am although very emotional these days, ( but that is due to the situation in our province with the fires, speaking of, yesterday talking with a friend having a cry over what’s happening, I realized, just about every area I went to early this spring to enjoy my picnics and nature to hug trees, watch the wildlife, almost everyone of those areas are now blazing with fires. I picked up cans, bottles, everything I found and brought it out for the very reason that they can cause fires, people are so disrespectful tossing stuff out. So I clean up the forest while there. It feels like the universe sent me there to go see all the natural beauty before these fires started raging. I will go back if and when I can, to see the destruction, I think about the moose that I had interaction with, I cry thinking he’s likely had to run for his life. So this has caused high emotional responses for and in me. I have always operated from an emotional place, that as been amplified, that also is changes with my dementia. These amplified emotions are often hard for others to understand sometimes I try to help them understand but often I no longer try.

I’m grateful for those who show up who help me navigate the hard days, not just the easy ones, who allow me to express my frustrations with myself with my abilities and loss there of. That gift of having those friends are beyond anything else one could ask for. Recently that gift has been and come at a time I didn’t even know I needed it. I’m also grateful for those who have reached out checking in for the support and kindness during these unprecedented times. Some messages from friends far away, and a couple video calls and zooms have really helped me through these days. It feels like I’ve been living under a state of emergency here first with covid know the fires, heat and drought, for two years. Today they say while air quality is better today and the temperature better, that tomorrow the heat and wind returns. As much as I know winter will come and I will get through this still smiling at the other end, I can’t help think about what I will see when I next can go out to hug a tree or talk to a moose, and I’m praying we all have learnt and heed the lessons we are being given. Staying Strong with the help of my connections to others.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

My Motto “ I’m Not Done Yet”

This is the motto I have used since I received my diagnosis, however there are many days in this year 2021, that I have repeated that motto to my self only to then ask myself “ or am I”? The reality is life has changed a lot again this year for me, it’s hard to explain the changes, some are subtle, but they are there. This year has been far more difficult than 2020, and it’s only half over. One of the things that I am struggling with and trying to navigate is my newly found aversions to people, going out into public causes a lot of stress, I’d rather not, before it was the noise of places of not being able to focus if to many people were talking, but know it’s moved into something else that I’m not even sure how to explain it. Maybe it’s from being so isolated for so long that trying to navigate in the everyday world just somehow feels very odd. Venturing out has become a go only if absolutely necessary and time it so you can have the least interactions with others as possible.

It’s such a contrast to who I once once, miss social butterfly, the one who loved to entertain, always bringing people together, to now being the one who is most comfortable in the quiet and peacefulness and safety of my four walls away from people.

So I’m trying to navigate it, trying to get myself to be able to go out a little but small steps, inch by inch. I wonder how many others with dementia are feeling or seeing the impact of all the isolation or even able to recognize it. My cognitive abilities are a mess too, but I navigate those bits and pieces, and hoping once the smoke, and although the wind has cleared a lot of the visible smoke out during parts of the day, it drifts back in, the particles are still in the air, it gives me headaches everyday, somehow I think my brain pain and lighting bolts are preferable, as odd as that sounds, but this heat wave and the smoke, have and is causing me to be so tired, to have headaches everyday along with the fires, and the underlying stress that puts on my system, maybe once I navigate to the other side of all this, everything will settle into some kind of new normal.

In the mean time, power going on and off, internet going down intermittently, I will and am still pursuing my passion of advocating. It’s been hit and miss to attend things with everything going on, but I’m going to be trying depending on how I’m feeling and our situation with fires etc.

I do have irons in the fire and some exciting projects I am working on, along with working on my second book, but it does feel like like everything has been stalled but along with everything else I have to believe it’s all happening for a reason and as it’s meant too. Things will unfold as they should. And we just lost power again, hopefully the fires haven’t taken out the power stations. So till next time

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Staying Strong

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Sometimes staying and being strong means you have to find the tiger within. It’s been a long haul for everyone, we are 14 or 16 months into the pandemic, many areas are having another wave hit with the new variant, you wonder if they will ever get enough people vaccinated to get the world through this.
We were then hit here, with the unprecedented heat in June it is still here, then arrived the fires, and the smoke, it’s testing my reserve, it’s taking every bit of tiger that’s left in my tank to manage it all, you can’t escape it, you can go outside without chocking on the smoke, I wasn’t out for eight days because I was sick, but regaining strength, my dog needs to go out, the early early morning hours are best 5 am till about 8 am.

People are being evacuated from many areas, I am still safe at this point but for how long? This is mid July, we still have all of July and August to get through. I think of all those evacuated, I think about all the animals struggling to find food, shelter and places to go that are safe. I can’t imagine the fear running through them, displaced from their surroundings, heat, fire, food sources dried up from the heat, running dazed and confused.

My own brain is not functioning well, it is strange, it does not feel like how I feel when I get my typical dementia brain fog, yet it is acting in the brain fog way without the fog. I forgetting things as fast as I have them, like what day it is, I can orientate myself to what day it is minutes later its gone again and I’m mixed up. what week is it? Did I eat today? I believe much of the state of my brain at the moment is from the strange way of day to day due to the situation unfolding. This is what is classified as the bodies response to unusual and prolonged traumatic event.

Yes this unprecedented heat and these very unusual fire situations, ( yes we have fires every year never have we seen this so many the whole province being effected), we have had fires where homes have been lost where communities have to be evacuated, losing complete townsites, no rain, it is causing trauma not just for me but for most. People with dementia are adversely effected by stress, and my brain is definitely feeling the effects. Our sleep is effected, the light we are taking in has changed because of the smoke covering the sky. I am much more emotional, shed a lot of tears lately. It’s not that I am living in fear, it is not that I am consumed by it, but I am living in it and feeling it. You can keep busy doing other things inside the house but it is still always there at some level. So even if you think it is not effecting you at the subconscious level it is there, creating that underlying stress. You wake up every hour or hour and half at night, either from the smell of smoke seeping into the house, or because somehow your body wakes you and tells you have to go and check out side. When you get up about 4 or 430 in the morning for the day, your skin is sticky and feels like its covered in a film, it’s the smoke in the air. I take pictures and record the sky at different times, because history should be recorded. I know that so far we are still very lucky, we have not had to be evacuated. But for most of us we have friends and families that are in those situations, so it is effecting most people at some level.

I also admittedly have discovered that I am feeling somewhat angry, and that I have at this time no tolerance for selfish people, and selfish people are making me angry. People who feel they should still be able to go out into the back country and camp and play, people who think that well I don’t care this is my summer and I’m having my holiday, people that don’t care that throwing their cigarette buts or beer cans out while driving down the road, can cause a fire. People that somehow think this is everyones problem but theirs and that someone should do something as long as it’s not them. I have zero tolerance at this time. I know I must practice being forgiving and tolerant of these people but at the moment I am struggling to do that. I cry, I pray, I talk to my angels, I ask the universe to help. Maybe that is in part how my underlying stress is coming out, with less tolerance, maybe that will get better as we get through this cycle we are in.

I hear more people mentioning climate change, many mentioning that somebody better do something. Everyone thinks climate change is about the vehicles on the road and the plants and the oil and gas industry, yet if you really understand climate change, you will understand it is about how each of us live every day. We are and all do have a responsibility to do our parts, it we want to continue to live on this planet. People need to start within their own communities, and homes, plant shrubs, and bushes in place of lawns, get the community planners to plant wildflowers and shrubs and even vegetables on all the boulevards. Planting plants helps feed the soil, helps it retain moisture, helps it cool the earth, provides clean air, yes we can all do our part. I know everyone wants easy, everyone wants less work, but once those things are done they are actually easier and less work to look after than traditional lawns etc. Farmers must adapt to different ways of farming, we are not longer at a place where we can study it, we need action and every small action taken by each person and each family, is what will change the cycle and stop the climate change. But for me hearing that somebody should do something that somebody is each and every one of us. Ok my rant about that is over.

I hope that the coming days and weeks, see much relieve for not only my people here in my province, but for those in other countries and places facing these unprecedented times, we are going to have a lot of people struggling with the effects of truama’s, from the pandemic, to the situations being created by the unusual weather patterns.

I’m closing with a some pictures of the last couple months the changes are drastic, oh I long for those beautiful adventures, maybe this fall.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Eight days Out

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Tonight is my eight days out from my 2nd covid shot, I’ve done so much better today, although easing into things, I managed to reply to three emails, but everything will eventually get done as I can manage it. I’m grateful for the support and understanding of those waiting/ needing or wanting things from me for their patience. Hopefully each day this week will allow a little more.
There is also a lot of underlying stress, with fires burning all around so close to our town and homes. It is a heaviness and weariness everyone here where’s right know. It is a very scary time here for us in the west. I have been very emotional the last two days, I think the tiredness of my body from being so sick, and the stress of seeing fires erupting in every direction, has my emotions running high, so earlier just as I got a message about another fire my girlfriend called from another province and wanted to come and rescue me and get me out of here., as soon as I heard her voice I burst into tears. I felt better after talking to her.
The other thing I realized was that I really have zero tolerance towards selfish people right know, normally I try to show everyone kindness and compassion to try to be understanding, I never try to judge people, however, when planes and helicopters are grounded because someone selfishly decides his right to fly his drone trumps the community at large safety and the safety of those fire firefighters, then the very next day seeing they are having trouble getting onto the lake because of interference from boaters and paddle boarders, again creating so much unnecessary and totally unneeded risk to so many.
So for whatever reason maybe because I feel like I was just starting to feel like I could move around a little when the heat hit, then the fires started, then I got sick, feels like I’m in the middle of a third pandemic. Maybe being forced to remain at home on my own is somehow going to be a blessing in disguise, but I am monitoring my stresses and finding ways to alleviate it, I’m also sure as I’m feeling stronger I will manage it all better, after all even I am only human.
I was thinking I would be feeling guilty about not being busy advocating and doing all the stuff, but sometimes just managing the plate in front of you at the moment is all your supposed to do. It’s these times, things like the fires, figuring out an emergency route out of town if need be, taking care of all that stuff, when it really hits you how truly difficult life is alone, dementia or not, life is tough on your own, and I think as we age the more we realize it, but we are also realistic enough to know sometimes that’s what your dealt. I was wondering about that. You know why did I come to earth, to bear so many traumas, to feel so much crushing heartbreak 💔, someday when I’m sitting with all my angels I’m going to be asking a lot of questions.
Tomorrow I will manage whatever I need to, it’s 730 pm, I need to sleep now.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

All things me

I haven’t opened emails in a week, I haven’t been doing my social media sites, I haven’t written. I have been as the Doctors said, I have been levelled… yes I received my second doze of Pfizer vaccine on Monday, with Thursday been spent at the hospital, Levelled is definitely the way to describe it, unable to stay awake, to weak to stand or walk, a beyond blinding headache. I described it to the doctors as feeling like someone took a sledge hammer to my forehead. So nauseous that managing fluids was the best I could do, the fatigue is like fatigue on steroids. I’m not sure if I made any sense when talking with my doctors, the pharmacist was here, he didn’t want to leave me alone. My neighbour’s have been gems, taking Pheobe out, although she goes begrudgingly, she doesn’t want to be way from my side, literally by my side. Friday I managed to get from the bed to the couch, a huge feat,Friday also saw two friends appear, one bringing ginger tea to try to ease the nauseousness, The other armed with all the supplies I could possible manage to need in the coming days, watermelon, popsicles, yogurts, drinks, cottage cheese, all things I could try yo just pick at, she also changed my bedding, the feverish sweats were leaving the bed soaked a few times a night. I don’t remember if I even was making sense to either of them I was just grateful for their kindness. My brother-in-law law dropping of things for Pheobe and I.

Our fire fighters were unable to fly due to a drone interference

That same day a forest fire ten minutes from home had them evacuating people, and I was amiss of it all, Then yesterday another fire very close too, and the bombers and helicopters being grounded, because someone’s flying a drone and interfering with the firefighting efforts. I’m not sure of the status of the fire this morning. This morning I’m having or trying my first cup of coffee in a week. I am writing, although it’s exhausting me so I keep putting it down and restarting.

Forest fire that started in vernon on Friday night

I don’t want to discourage people from getting their vaccine, my reaction is a rare one, the plus side is I will have really good immunity, most people do not have this severe of response, so mine should not be used as a measuring tool in the pros and cons. Ok another rest and I’ll try to do a little more, I won’t even attempt the emails and messages I have waiting, just know that if you’re waiting for something from me it will likely be delayed. The fact that up sitting upright and actually writing is feeling very positive. And I should say I do not regret getting my vaccine, the flip side of being so sick ( again most people will not experience this) is being dead from the virus, the other good thing that happened in all of this they changed a doubled my heart medication, on the same day I got my vaccination and my heart is very happy and humming along quite nicely, so that means once I’m over the effects of this I should be feeling really rather well. At any rate everyone who knows me knows you take the bad ones and let them remind you of how very precious the good ones are.
I was left to ponder last night how well I would manage to get myself evacuated if need be, my emergency kits are all prepared, but then I thought, your body would kick in to whatever it needed to to allow you to manage it. It again reminds me of how a more communal small living arrangement would be better for people as they age.

I always manage I am a warrior a survivor, although a very tired one a this time. Thank you all for your lovely messages I will get to emails etc hopefully this week, today I will just try to manage to be up more, but I also won’t push I don’t want to go backwards. Hoping where ever you are you are safe and surrounded by love.

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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

The Heart Connects to the Brain

Another change or buying time?

Today, amidst the wind and smoke, with too many more fires starting in the province to keep track of, comes more changes for me.

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I have seen more recent challenges again with my health, my brain fog a lot worse, my balance, vision, strength all off, my fatigue so bad, too put it bluntly I look like hell. yesterday the neighbour ladies all didn’t even ask if I was ok, they just said, do you need help you look like shit.

You could blame some of it on environmental factors, the extreme heat and the smoke, but this was more and I knew the environmental factors may be playing into it, but yes I knew it was a lot more.

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Today my Doctor confirmed what I had been thinking and feeling. My heart is working too hard, the medications to help it are not enough now. So today my medication for my heart gets doubled, and one more added, he reminded me that we knew this would be where we were headed at some point and we are at that point. So first I go for my second dose of the Covid Vaccine and then I start my new heart meds. I will have to monitor myself until we see how my system adjusts to them.

It is becoming more and more of a balancing act between the different players in my life, but the players are the normal types of players, the players are the parts and pieces of my whole being, my heart, my brain, my vascular system. One changes, they all change, I have to adapt, it’s becoming that the time in between those things happening are becoming less and less. Sometimes I am not sure how long I can keep walking the high wire, or how long my body can is maybe the better way to put it.

Maybe the other question is how long to I want to keep pushing for more. My Doctor has been amazing, helping me have the years I have had, yes with many hospital stays, many hurdles to overcome, but always with the idea of giving me as much quality time as possible. He’s not ready to quit on that idea just yet, but am I? Or is my brain just not thinking well because my heart is not able to give it the blood/oxygen it needs right know? Will I feel like I’ve got more time and good quality still left when my heart is functioning better, if these meds actually are enough. So many questions. Too many things to try to balance.

Not sure how the second covid shot will effect me, coupled with a new mix of medications, I’ll be lying low for a few day, seems funny as it feels like I’ve been doing that for almost two years for one reason or another, either my health, or the environmental factors to which I have no control over.

Pheobe went and got her summer cut today as well so that she can be hopefully a little more comfortable in this extreme heat, she has been a trooper though and the fans have become her best friends, but I’m thankful that she isn’t scared of them. She amazes me every day, at 17, I try to make each day about her as much as I can, but she knows when my system is struggling and she watches over me closely. Together we have been a great team…. I will be forever grateful for the joy she brings me.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Practicing My Writing

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Its not always easy to admit the many challenges that have descended on me since my diagnosis, but one of the challenges is my writing. Sounds odd doesn’t it, seeing how I’ve written and had a book published, many articles for magazines, but writing takes on many forms. Technology is great as it helps that I can just type, a lot of times when I’m doing words back to front, or all the letters and numbers in the wrong sequence, it will catch at fix those things, not all but many. Those errors don’t happen due to laziness or sloppiness, or stupidity, they happen because of how my brain and the rest of my body work or don’t work together, and it doesn’t recognize when it is wrong, it sees it right, it’s a very strange thing, hard to explain, except maybe to liken it in some ways to people who have dyslexia. But handwriting is totally different, my hand writing was nice, I had nice handwriting, it is no longer nice, it’s hard because it doesn’t flow easily know, trying to get the words right, the letters right, I have to hesitate a lot, it makes my handwriting more like something between writing and printing. It’s likely why I don’t write very often, I don’t like to see how poorly I manage it. I was proud of my handwriting at one time. It’s not the thought process to write it’s the actual physical skill to write. But I decided a short time ago that I wanted to write letters to certain people and tuck them away from when I’m no longer here, so this means that today I started practicing my writing, trying to find new ways to help myself with this skill.
I ordered my self some old fashioned lined paper and envelops ( see picture below), to write the letters on, I will write them over time, and tuck each one in with my will in my safe.
I know I could type them out and print them, sign them, but somehow it doesn’t feel like that would make it the personal piece I want it to be, somehow handwritten notes and letters still carry a more personal element, and that is what I’m hoping to capture in the letters. I’m not writing letters to everyone and I’m not writing or writing to individual because it means someone holds more value or a more special place than someone who I don’t leave a letter for. For one thing, I don’t have any way to know if I will finish my letters before my end comes, or maybe my end will come when I feel I’ve done all the letters. It simply means I have things I wish to say, something to leave you with.
So while I’m locked in from another day of extreme heat, coupled now by the air being filled with smoke, although slightly cooler, and I mean slightly. It’s making me extremely fatigued, it’s hard with my lungs that already struggle, it messes with my oxygen levels, my sleep is compromised. I’m exhausted, napping when I can, they say we will get a short reprieve after the weekend until then, smoke, wind, lighting, heat, too many fires burning. So I’ve been doing what I can puttering around, my paper and envelops arrived yesterday, so today, after doing some house cleaning, sorting and getting clothes ready to give to the homeless shelter, I decided I should start practicing my writing so that I can start on my letter writing. It’s a project I am looking forward to doing.

My writing paper
Today’s temperature at my house

People ask why I’m taking pictures of the temperature, well I’m taking pictures of the temperature each day, the skies, the weather, because this has never been these extremes, it’s a way of documenting, of being able to look back. So as much as my letter writing is important so too is my documentation of the weather I am seeing, I do a lot of picture taking it’s my way of documenting life, and things and events as they evolve around me.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

It’s Been A week or maybe more

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The days keep getting hotter and hotter, the intensity of this heat is crippling. I feel like I’ve had to be so isolated for so long because of the pandemic, and know I’m living in the dark because of the extreme heat. My house gets the direct blistering sun from about 11 am, until the sun goes down at around 9 or just after. So I am usually watering from about 430 am until about 7, I can leave the blinds open until about 10, then into the dark I go until sunset. At which time it is still too hot tonight at 930 pm it’s still 43 Celsius at my place it won’t cool down tonight much. It feels like you can’t breathe, the air conditioning is no good for my lungs, but I have to use it, the heat is no good for my dementia, it creates stress on my system which creates inflammation, then the fatigue and brain fog. We have at least another week of high temperatures with lighting expected Thursday. There is already so many fires burning, we are not in a good predicament at this point. So many heat related deaths the numbers are hard to take in. For me I’ve been trying to just focus on each day I’m in, I worry more about getting my little dog Pheobe through this, at 17, this is really hard on her, so she is a big focus, I’m grateful to have her. I don’t cook, everything I eat is cold plate, I don’t want to generate any more heat than there already is.
I know a lot of people don’t believe in climate change but at 62 years old, I am very aware of how much change has happened and it scares me to think if we keep going we may have no chance to fix things, we will be the cause of our own demise. Maybe I could say, it doesn’t matter because I live with a progressive, terminal illness, but it still matters, it still matters because of all those I care about, because of all the animals, and plants, and because I just don’t know how not to care. I love the rivers, streams, oceans and lakes, I love the forest and the countrysides, I love how different and vast it all is.

the sun slipping behind the mountain

I wish everyone would tear up there lawns and plant bushes and shrubs, and we need to plant more trees, all the things that help the earth, get rid of all the concrete and go back to dirt roads, half the logging roads are nicer to drive on than the highways, it would do multiple things, slow people down, cool the earth down, encourage people in populated areas to use transit more. Making adjustments and some concessions instead of expecting “ somebody to do something”, as long as it’s not us, could go a long way to helping fix this disaster we have created. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinions, and I know we can justify why we can’t do this or that, most of those justifications if looked at closely end up being self serving and nothing more.

Photo by Eva Elijas on

checking to see if the sun had slipped behind the mountain, so I could open my blinds, and get the remaining daylight in. I’ve been trying desperately to save my plants, I’m losing the battle, it brought me to tears tonight. It’s 5 am, its close to 30 degrees out, the sun is just coming up, today will be the worst I think heat wise. So now and I’m watering again, and I see I have lost more plants, I guess the heat and not even cooling at night is just too much for them. I will continue to try to save what I can. Mother nature is giving us all so many wake up calls. I wonder are we really listening?

I’m glad I’ve only had minimal things I’ve been signed onto over this last stretch, my brain power would not have been able to manage a full slate of things to attend or participate in. It’s been a tough week or two, health challenges, created or worsened by the environmental effects we are living with. I will manage through it and be fine, but I won’t deny how difficult this has been and coming into what would be the hottest months of the year, it scares me to think about what’s yet to come.

Its a good thing I am adaptable, one of the blessing of dementia, adapting to the changes constantly happening within my brain and body, and to the environmental things around me.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

An Unprecedented Heat Wave and my Brain

This is the temperature on the shady part of my deck yesterday, at 5 am this morning it was already 80 degrees out. This heat dome we are under has never been seen here before in Canada. Most often people refer to Canada being “ the Cold North”, we are anything but cold this year. Our winter was mild, little to no rain in many parts of British Columbia. Our Forests are like tinder boxes. For those of you who know me , you know how much I love being out in the forest, but I won’t be going anytime soon, it’s too dangerous, one small spark could create a fire, and if a fire erupted you could end up trapped. This heat requires monitoring my system, plenty of fluids, early morning, like know at five a.m., the rest of the day, my apartment blacked out, being still, no cooking, unless it’s early am, then it’s outside on the bbq, getting the meal for a number of days ready, mostly though it’s eating salad or ice cream.
Even though I am being vigilant, I am and my system is feeling the strain, not sleeping, more like napping for an hour or two at a time, heat headaches, headaches from the noise of air conditioners running constantly, the effects of the air conditioner on my respiratory system,. All of these things create, brain fatigue, exhaustion, and then brain fog. I am having a lot of trouble yesterday and today, my ability to have thoughts be clear and fluid, mostly non existent, can’t focus, keep losing sight of what day or week I am in. My head / Brain does not feel right, I know yesterday or maybe the day before I had another series of lighting strikes in my brain, the electrical storm in my brain was so intense it brought me to my knees, another Tia, perhaps brought on by my system trying to navigate the immense stress from the heat, my vision is effected today, very weak, well another round to get through, I will be lying low, even more so than what is more my norm know. It’s like even though you know, you do all the things, extra water, don’t stress your system , don’t be in the sun, your system still somehow feels the effects of the situation, and this situation is the heat, like we have never seen.
I worry about those who are not able to recognize the impact this weather may have on their system. I never really thought about it much until I found myself struggling cognitively yesterday more than I have for the last little while. But the heat is making my brain tired, and when you think about it, it makes sense that it would impact my dementia, the heat creates inflammation and swelling in our bodies, causes us to retain extra fluids, so more inflammation means my system works harder and my brain is the centre of it all.
I am still trying to go for a bike ride or walk but very early in the morning, but only every other day. My main focus is spent trying to keep my plants alive and my garden, I’m not sure if I will be successful, 112 or more degrees is a lot for them, but I am trying, I have rigged up extra watering units, have an umbrella trying to provide some shade, I wish I had one of two more but they are stressed and showing the heat fatigue as well, and it’s supposed to get hotter each day for a number of days to come. We are running at least 20 degrees higher than normal, and we are still only in June, Normally July and August are our warm months, but even then these temperatures are not seen.
I hope people living with dementia, or those caring for people who are ill, elderly or somehow just frail and children and animals are understanding that even if they are doing and protecting them from the direct heat, the effects of this type of heat can and will be felt, appetite changes, sleeping patterns, mood, behaviour, cognition, so please be ware and do extra checks provide light snacks instead of meals to ensure nutrition is taken in, and water, popsicles, a bucket of cool water for your feet, nap and sleep as your system needs. I am feeling grateful that I still have the ability to recognize when my system is being effected, and not being left to someone else to decide if it is or not. I have seen it often that people think just because you stay out of the sun, or indoors out of the heat, that you can’t feel it’s effects, but that’s not true, our systems do, so I’m grateful that I don’t have to hope that someone would be willing to take that into consideration.

Hydrating my plants