Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just a Little Theory I Have

Today, I read an article written by a man whose mother has pretty severe dementia.  He was talking about long term care insurance, about the HUGE medical expense the aging population is facing, and about how Boomers (Baby Boomers) are seeing this in huge numbers.  This is not new information for me.

The first wave of Boomers turned 65 last year.  65 is typically the age when people start having "dementia" on their list of worries. The younger Boomers are also often a part of the "Sandwich Generation," where they are taking care of their own young children and their aging parents at the same time. 

So, since 65 is the age doctors start "looking" for signs of cognitive decline, it stands to reason that there WILL be a significant increase in Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular Dementia, and other dementias in the near future.  There are over 5 million people with Alzheimer's right now, and that number is set to almost triple by 2050.  That's A LOT of people.  And, it's A LOT of people who will have SEEN what dementia does to a person. 

I am often heard saying that the unknown is the hardest part (of virtually anything stressful in life).  But, I think, in the case of dementia, KNOWING what is to come might be worse.  These Boomers will have seen the physical, social, and financial effects dementia has on people, and they're not going to like facing it themselves (duh).

So, here's where my theory comes in...

I think that with the aging population, especially the aging of HUGE WAVES of people (Boomers), our country is going to start debating physician assisted suicide, HOTLY.  I think that with the impending epidemic on our hands, we're going to see a significant increase in suicides of people who do not want to go where their parents went.  And I think that various socializing institutions (schools, media, churches), along with politics will struggle mightily.  We're already seeing it a little (Accusations of President Obama's healthcare reform instituting "death panels"). 

So, the question becomes, "If this happens, what are we going to do about it?"  As a pastor, I wonder what our theological response will be.  Maybe that's a blog post for another day.  But, today, I find myself wondering about this theory.  We'll have to wait and see, and pray for a cure so that this epidemic doesn't happen!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crazy dreams...

Last night, I had not one, but TWO crazy dreams. Well, actually they were more nightmare like than dream like. It's been a while since I've had dreams I really remember, but these two fit that bill.

The first dream had me at my congregation. I had failed to prepare a sermon, but had talked with a seminary mate about their sermon from the previous week. The topic was about sin, and I got a good idea from either Shannon or James, I can't remember which. So, in the dream/nightmare, I was reading the Gospel lesson, and then I took 8 bouncy balls (you know the kind-you put the quarter in the machine and turn the lever til the ball comes out) and bounced them into the congregation. I said something like, "Think of sin like this...The balls are sin. Even if they don't hit you, you still duck." Then, I started talking a little more, and I was looking at the bulletin insert. When I looked up, EVERYONE was gone except for three young girls. The funny thing is, only one of them actually goes to my church. It was strange, and one of those dreams that is just unpleasant. I have always had "inadequacy dreams," even when I worked food service. I used to have a recurring dream where I was SUPER DUPER late for work at Restaurant, and my boss always sent me home. So, I'm hoping this isn't going to be a recurring dream!

My second dream was actually WAY worse. I had a nightmare then. I don't remember the WHOLE thing, but here is what I do remember:

There was some kind of HUGE earthquake. It wasn't just limited to a city or state. The way that I was "thinking" in the dream was that this was a world-wide earthquake that seriously changed things...This was like an APOCALYPTIC earthquake. It knocked out roads and phone wires and cell towers and everything. I couldn't call my sisters and brothers and I had no way of finding out if they were still alive.

When the earthquake happened, I was up at one of the Bible camps, and we were having to help the campers stay safe, and get someplace where we could get them food and water and safety. I saw a seminary friend while we were up there and I said, "Is everyone in your family okay?" She got a sad look on her face and said everyone was fine except her dad, who died. I was so sad for my friend, and I think if I'd have woken up right then, I might have been crying, but instead, I kept dreaming.

Next, I saw a United Airlines sign, but the earthquake had broken it. But, either I was able to fly out, or my sisters were able to fly in. Suddenly, I was back at my childhood home, standing out in the yard. I was trying to find my sisters, but I couldn't move. So, I just started yelling my younger sister's name. She called out, "I'm here!" So, she came over to me and I said, "I'm so happy you're alive! Is everyone else okay?" She said everyone was fine except for Oldest Brother. His wife had wanted him to go under the stairs to pray during the earthquake, and they fell on top of him and killed him. Then, we were in my old living room, sitting on my mom's old couch, and the treasurer from my congregation was sitting there. Then, the dream ended, I think.

Dreams are weird. I have mentioned before that I've ALWAYS had very vivid dreams. Usually they're just weird, and not scary. But this second dream was very scary and I didn't like it. I don't feel particularly stressed right now, and I like my call (and I think they like me), so I don't really know what brought these dreams on. The subconscious is a very weird thing. Anyway, here's hoping tonight's dreams are better.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Well, I've decided to try to kick up my physical fitness regimen. I used to really like walking around SeminaryTown with some good friends. I like hiking and bike riding and playing on my Wii Fit Plus. BUT, now that I'm in North Dakota, it's a little LESS fun walking around (though I still walk most places I go when I'm in the town where my church is). I don't have a functioning bicycle anymore (much to my chagrin), and Wii Fit Plus, while fun, is not that great a workout when you're trying to lose weight and tone up. Oh, and pretty much everything around here is flat, so there aren't a whole lot of hiking opportunities (this probably makes me the most sad because I LOVE hiking).

So, I was up late one night (big surprise) and was watching some t.v. infomercials. The one that came on was about a fitness DVD set called "Insanity." The people on t.v. said that the program comes with the DVDS, nutrition guide, and calendar that tells you which workout to do on which day. The infomercial showed all these people with fantastic results and lots of pounds lost and amazing six pack abs. I was a little skeptical, but it got me thinking.

 A little while later, I saw another infomercial for Insanity. The guy who leads the work out is named Shaun T. My husband has Shaun T's "Hip Hop Abs" DVD workout. I tried doing that once, but since it is dance based, and because I am the most clumsy person you will EVER meet, I didn't like it. But, seeing the infomercial again just got me thinking EVEN MORE about it. So, I Facebooked Older Brother the Younger because he recently became a licensed fitness instructor. I asked him what he thought about these DVD workouts. He told me that they work really great if people don't get too discouraged or frustrated or injured. You have to STICK WITH THE WORKOUT, and because they're so intense, a lot of people drop it after a week or so.

THEN, I was on Facebook and two of my friends were talking about working out. I butted in on their conversation and asked if they were doing Insanity. They said they were, so I asked how it was working for them. They both said that it was going really well, even though they can't do it every day like you're supposed to, due to work or school related things. That finally clinched it for me; that there were actual people I ACTUALLY knew who had good things to say about the program. I decided to order the program, but off of Amazon, because I'm cheap.

I bought the DVD workout. It didn't come with the calendar or the nutrition guide, but I was able to download the calendar for free off the Internet, and I already have a pretty good grasp on nutrition. I was doing really well, but then I injured my leg a little and had to take a break for a couple weeks. Then, I got back into it, but was not doing it every day. But, that wasn't working for me because I need to make things a consistent habit. I just got done working out about an hour ago, after not having done it for three days, and WOW could I tell. So, I'm going to restart.

But, I HAVE noticed some physical changes. I feel really good (even though WHILE doing the workout I feel like I'm going to DIE). I'm not losing weight, per se, but the way that I look is changing. My cardiovascular health, I think, is improving, and I have more energy. I'm excited. I'm also looking forward to EVENTUALLY getting to month 2 (you do the same several workouts through month one, then in month 2, it ratchets up a bit. From what I've read, a lot of people see more drastic change in month 2). But, for now, it's basically back to Day 1. Here's hoping I can do this whole thing!

Anyway, if you're bored with your workouts and you want to sweat, sweat, SWEAT, I would recommend Insanity. I like cardio workouts, but self-directed ones are too boring for me. This is definitely NOT boring. It's a challenge, every SINGLE TIME. But, I like it! Also, those who have followed my blog might be happy to know that I waited until AFTER I got the results of the Echocardiogram to buy Insanity. I wasn't going to risk it. Oh yeah, and I recently decided to start seeing an endocrinologist again (it had been about...10 years since I last saw one and every general practitioner I've seen since has suggested I go back to see one.  I decided to finally follow their advice). During our time together, I mentioned the echo and the results and she said that could be because I am under-medicated with my thyroid meds. So, she bumped me up a little, and that is also helping me feel better. Good to know! That's what is on my mind right now, anyway. This was a really long post. A lot of times, I don't like reading long posts, so if you've stuck with this one til now, good for you! Have a great day.