When in doubt, cook something.
That’s been my week.
Not writing. Barely researching. Angsting about everything and nothing.
And really. What does “you’re doing your best,” even mean?
This in an email note from a doctor as I reported out the latest of Jed’s symptoms. How he described himself as feeling “whoozy” again and needed to get back to bed. His heart rate hovering around 50 and even dipping a bit below. My doubts on full display, “showing my ass,” so to speak. How helpless I feel. Yes. He’s fine. Nothing we can do until the data from the Zio patch heart monitor he is wearing is accumulated and sent off next week. Then we can tell whether he really does have issues with his sinus rhythm.
All of this as I baked Jed’s “no knead bread” recipe. Starting it the morning before. Measuring the three cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, 1-1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1-1/2 cups of water to get it started. Mixing it first with a spoon, and then with my hands. Enfolding it, feeling it coalesce, become a coherent bonded whole threading through my fingers, before carefully placing it to rest in a large bowl coated in extra virgin Kalamata olive oil. I think, “only the best for my Jed.”
Tear up thinking about it.
How hard this is.
How with the dough in place and rising across the day into night, Jed, had woken up at around 1:00 AM, unsure of how to go to the bathroom. I had a moment of cognitive dissonance, and then rose up and showed him the way as lovingly as I could with out a hint of judgement or despair or anything really. Knowing how he was entrusting me just in asking the question. Not wanting to appear “bossy,” his favorite term for me of late. Only to get the engine started a bit. Like cranking up an old Model T Ford car. Once the motor’s on it’s good to go, just needing the bit of a start.
Lunch that day had been Greek fassoulakia: Green beans, potatoes, and kalamata olives in a tomato sauce with onions, garlic, basil, lemon juice, and a touch of cinnamon.
Comfort food for me. Shades of my 18-year-old self practically inhaling it off the plate whenever Nick’s mother Kalliope made if for us on the island of Rhodes in 1972.
Something yummy for Jed, as I’d taken him to Rhodes a couple of times, once in 1998, and once with Izzi in 2000–and where she started walking at 10-1/2 months. Ordered the dish practically every time we had lunch at a Taverna. Would mash it up a bit for her as we watched her smiling in delight with tomato sauce dripping down her mouth.
Later in the day, Jed was more of himself: Playful, funny, unworried about not having a clue. Enjoying the fresh soup I’d made in the morning to go along with the bread. Me dissecting the spicing (too much of the cloves) — him feasting.
“Hmmm,” he says, “the best I ever ate.”
And so it goes.
Bradycardia (low heart rate) can cause confusion, dizziness and other symptoms, which can otherwise be challenging for a caregiver to interpret. This was only picked up on an ER visit as an incidental finding–and we still do not know if it, in fact, is the cause of Jed’s added confusion in the morning.
In researching the subject, I found a paper noting that bradycardia seems to have more frequency for frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients with the behavioral variant, and thus something, FTD caregivers should be cognizant of.
For further information on bradycardia here are some resources (click on the item to open the link in a new tab):
Bradycardia in Frontomemporal Dementia
Strong evidence to links irregular heart rhythms to dementia