Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nothing New

Sorry for having so much time between blogs but there hasn't been a whole lot of change with Leona.
We did have a visit from Ennis' and Leona's daughter and 2 children in March.
Went great! Leona seemed to be aware of her and smiled a lot at her. She showed her daughter the up side of her. But a few days after her daughter left, Leona started to get up later again and sleeping more during the day. Wasn't as active as before. She still has problems getting up. Is shaky.
Since the whole coughing thing started, I have had sitters dropping like flies. We basically been out of help for almost a month. Except Mary B. who had taken up a lot of the absences. Now she is coughing but Naqah is back. My whole family except Russ has the cough now. Getting better though.
At this point, Leona is sleeping a lot. Not sure if she is catching the coughing stuff we all are getting. If she gets real sick, it won't be a good thing because she could die from that. Russ says most Alzeimer's patience don't really die from the disease. They die from complications such a cold or broken bone if they fall.
I guess I need to update on the Hospice idea. Ennis decided he didn't think we needed it yet because she still can walk around and still feeds herself. I think he sometimes hopes she will get better. It would be pretty final to him if he started Hospice now.
Leona's father died in March at age of 95.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Leona is still not doing as well with her stability. Her depth perception is decreasing. She hesitates while she is walking across the room. We may have to start walking with her as well. This way we can be sure she doesn't loose her balance. Ennis will be talking with Dr. Finney about starting the Hospice care. The doctor had mentioned it before and so he will find out from her what to do. He has been documenting the days she has fallen and her inabilities.
Looks like we will be having more family visits. This time is March 5th weekend. This would be Russ' younger sister, Karen.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


There are definite changes happening in Leona. She has been more unstable with her walking. There are times that she gets very shaky and can't stand. She has this week almost fallen twice.
Her weight has changed also. She seems to be loosing more so we have started giving her Ensure to help with maintaining her weight. She still has a good appetite.
I can see in Ennis how strong his attachment is to her. He tends to try to be more closer to her.
I know he gets depressed at times and it breaks my heart sometimes to see him that way. I know he has concerns all the time.
Leona's father, Arthur, who is 95, has been in the hospital. He was in rehab and he apparently chocked on food and maybe had a stroke. They think his oxygen was cut off from his brain for 30 minutes. He may not be surviving this week.
Also Ennis' daughter was in a car accident and she may have a hairline fracture in her hip and she is 1 month pregnant.
So as it is, there are a lot of things going on.
God is with us.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Well its been a little time lapse since I last blogged.
I wanted to give some more pictures of things that I see everyday living with Ennis and Leona.
He has really been working on taking care of her needs everyday. Almost like I'm working my way out of a job! He truly loves her tremendously.
He does a great job taking care of her.
He hasn't done everything but sometimes I don't have to do anything for her because he tries to beat me to it. LOL!!!
One of the things I have enjoyed about them is how he will pray with her on the couch or after he puts her to bed at night. They pray for everyone in the family and friends. It just is sweet to see him continue their life as if the disease never came.
He kisses and hugs on her constantly. With some of the reading he has done on Alzheimer's he says that the person still has emotion and feelings though their ability to express has gone away. He read also that it appears that men in general don't continue affection as much with their spouse after they get married but the wife does.
So he decided to experiment and he gave her a good kiss and he said that she required back to be kissed 7 times. That was interesting. So she really likes his kisses!
I believe it has strengthen his Faith in God to give of himself to her.
Leona seems to be staying steady with some changes. We had taken her to Dr. Finney for her second checkup. She told us that she sees Leona has regressed.
Later, Ennis had an appointment with Dr. Finney too and he decided he wanted to know what the Dr really thought about Leona.
Dr. Finney told him that she thought she had 6 months to live. Well, that really hit Ennis hard.
Sometimes I just don't know what to do for him when he feels the inevitable. I feel for him losing his wife through a disease like this. She was always his friend. They talked to each other a lot, did things together, etc. Now it's changed.
But I know in the midst of this God is in control and knows exactly what He is doing.
He knows exactly what He wants to do in all our lives. Bringing us closer to Him.
It changed my life as well as my family's. It is opening doors to the Pennington kids who have never come to RCV.
And the awesome thing is my family can be apart of it. I want us to be used!
Ennis sent another letter out to his kids expressing that since Leona is getting worse that they may want to see her again.
We will be having some of them come this month on Feb. 18th weekend. Russ' brother Micheal with his wife Angela and son Colton.
Possibly Russ' Uncle Allen and Grandfather, Arthur, in March. These are Leona's brother and father. Her father had just went into the hospital for breathing problems so it is tentative if he is coming.
Just asking for prayer for our family that God prepare's our hearts and we will be there for each other.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

At the Moment

I want to say thank you to all for your awesome, encouraging response to this blog. It has blessed my heart more than you know!
I wanted to let you know we had an awesome Christmas! Being able to get out of my box, stretching out my heart perimeters to helping Leona and Ennis I was free to give goodies and gifts to my village family even more. I love this time a year cause it makes a way for people to see others. I just pray that I can continue just the same through this new year.
Here is an example of what I'm talking about with me.
I have learned a lot about seeing people, living in our village, listening to Abba and others but it probably didn't hit home as hard as by just watching Leona and Ennis. I was trying to set up our Christmas stockings one day and I had boughten one for Ennis not thinking that Leona needs one. Which obviously she didn't cause she wouldn't even know. But since I was only thinking in a box, the thought of Leona not needing one, I didn't consider that the one who needed it more was Ennis. It struck me when he asked where her's was. Well, I told him I didn't know if it was necessary and he agreed but really it was necessary for him. So I back tracked and bought her one too and I know it made his Christmas more sweeter with her. I just am grateful, though, I'm human and do human stuff God can help me realize what is most important in Life. That is to love with all your heart, everyone, no matter how small the circumstance or what state of being they are in. And I know doing great things isn't what God is after but being a vessel that He can work through for others. I always need reminding of that. Constantly realizing each day that my life has value as well as my neighbor's.
I had started this Blog only on the thought that God has something for me to do and I should share it. I am happy that I can. God has been very great to me and has giving me a WHOLE BUNCH!
Now we are still learning how to take care of Leona. It really hasn't been too hard especially with all the helpers who come each day. The ladies involved are Kitra, Shalom, Tehome, Donna, Chavvah, Yahshanna, and Mary B. The girls helping are Susie, Evelyn, Dalia, Naqah and Nikki. They all do things like give her showers, changes, feedings, reading, taking on walks, and just keeping her company. (Just a side note: Since Nikki has helped, she has become an awesome support and worker for me with her grandma. She has grown more responsible).
I also have Pamela and Rachel who come keep the bathrooms and living room clean for me.
And Hash who has been my secretary and schedule keeper. It has been a blessing to me to have her help! Ashley helped me get the blog going so I could post all this for you.
Thanks to all of you for helping keep her quality of life and allowing Ennis to have her at home so he can also take care of her. It has been a great blessing!!!! I know because he tells me all the time! Of course, I feel the same :)
I do need to express thanks to all the guys who made the changes in the house possible: Quinn and Ben for construction and windows. Yakyn, Danny and Joel for painting. Austin for coming to help. You all were awesome!
She has been changing a lot since they moved here. She now sleeps half a day and roams the rest. She has not been able to step down the front steps as easily as when she first came. She doesn't remember how to stand when she first gets out of bed. She remembers half the time how to use a spoon when she eats. She usually dumps her plate or glass. She sometimes gets confused when to bite her food or to drink her drink. She gets shaky or gets off balance when she walks.
They say that the memory goes first then the motor skills. She hasn't totally lost her motor skills but she is showing signs of it. It's like having sneak previews or windows to the future.
Like this past week, she hasn't been able to stand on her own out of bed. Usually, all I had to do was to pull her up and she would follow. She won't follow me now. We will see though, some times she gets her mind back for a moment to know what to do.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Romance

The reason I'm making the title of this blog 'A Romantic Novel' is I wanted to share with you the romance I see between Ennis and Leona and their Father in heaven.
When they first came, it was so amazing to me to hear how much Leona loved her Heavenly Father as she was in this state of Alzheimer's. She would say everyday to me, Shalom, or other ladies how much she loved God and how great He was to her. How she would praise Him at gatherings or preach a word or two on how awesome He was. Singing as loud as she could.
She knew He was here with us. She would often say to me that she loved me.
But mostly she would say everyday to her husband the special words 'I Love You' and 'you are a good man.' I wasn't around them a whole lot to see how they were together when she was well but I get the privilege now to see.
Since they have been here, I did see at times the battles she would go through in this disease. Like her body was fighting against the spirit. I can see, though her body is dying, her spirit is still alive and very vibrant.
There would be times she would say I want to go home. She had talked a lot about her mom and brother who had already passed on. Like they were still alive. So I know she is only waiting till she gets to be with them again.
Just recently, Ennis wrote another letter to his kids and family about his feelings.
He said a few years ago he became convicted that he didn't show his wife enough praise and love for all she did. He neglected to say to her everyday that she was doing an awesome job. Giving her kisses, hugs, expressions of love, etc.
He realized he needed to start doing that. After awhile of doing this, his relationship with her got better even though they had a good relationship anyways.
He also realized that she did a lot more expressions of love towards him. He especially realizes now when she smiles at him, when she touches him, and when she and him hug in the morning and she says I love you. He recognizes the affection.
He is very grateful to be able to spend the rest of their lives together, really together! Him being allowed to take care of her 24/7.
He wants his children to cherish what they have. Their spouses, children, and friends. He wants them to show their love and how they feel about them everyday. And not least, to praise God for what he makes possible for them and how much God loves us more than we know.

The Beginning

Leona and Ennis were married when she was 16 and he was 21. They have been together for 52 years. So that began their life. She had been strong in God from the age 13 praying for a Godly husband. So here goes telling you guys what's happening.
Well, I'm not a writer but wanted to inform everyone about the Alzheimer's disease my mother-in-law has and what they have been going through. First, Alzheimer's disease is a progressive deterioration due to generalized degeneration of the brain. In other words, the neuron's in Leona's brain have been getting smothered by the natural plaque we all have in our own brains. Literally killing the neuron's that run our brain. But the interesting thing is no one knows why this happens. Speculation is the processed foods, multi tasking, etc. My thought would be Walmart! Simply because they keep changing everything around when you shop. Taxing if you ask me.
Leona showed signs of the disease in 2005. Not remembering things or where she put things. Not communicating as she did before. Having to pin pieces of paper to her clothing so she could remember if they still fit. Not remembering how to play a domino game. Sleeping during the day more. Loosing some memory of people she had known. Basically their life started changing. No longer was she in charge of her home. Keeping it clean, cooking, doing laundry, etc. but everything started being transferred to Ennis, her husband. He basically didn't have a clue to doing house keeping, laundry, meals, etc. He now had to be in charge of both their lives.
In 2010, he started sending letters to all his children of how this illness was progressing and how much he felt the importance was for them to be with their mother as much as possible. Her memory and recognition of them was diminishing.
Russ and I and children took a trip to Texas in July 2010 for a fun family reunion. Not really knowing what to expect.
Earlier this last year, I had prayed for God to expand my life more. Give me more to do.
During that trip, the family came to a decision for us to have Ennis and Leona live with us. He wanted her to not have to go to a Nursing Home if at all possible. So them coming to Tennessee was their option. I'm grateful that God had chosen us to take care of them. I believe He answered my prayer.
It wasn't long after that, that Ennis started getting his house in order and getting rid of things and only packing what they needed for the move.
And on our end we had to get a house ready for them. One that could be "baby proof" for her safety because at her home, there was stuff everywhere. She could get a hold of things and put them in her mouth and eat them. She didn't know any better.
They moved her to the guest trailer in August 2010 until we could get the house ready.
It was not a very secure place for her because she could leave and no one would know it. She could mess with things she shouldn't. She at this point was capable of using the bathroom, eating, dressing by herself. But since she moved in with us in September, everything has changed to being dependent on us. Not knowing how to use a bathroom, putting on her clothes, eating with her fingers. Her speech makes no sense usually. Her words are mixed up and she repeats them. She is rapidly regressing.