As reported in the previous post, last night was pretty crazy until Mary Ann settled down around 12:30am.  Since that time, she has been awake only six hours of what has now been twenty-four.  She was awake for an hour early in the morning, an hour and a half late in the morning and three and a half hours in the late afternoon/early evening.  She seems to be sleeping soundly at the moment.   A portion of the time she was awake was spent in a very sleepy mode with her head down. 

My hope was that all the sleeping would give her mind a chance to rebuild those synaptic connections that had not had time to build since there had been some restless nights and a napless day yesterday.  My hope was that the rebuilding process would reduce or eliminate the hallucinations.  That hope was not realized during the few hours she was awake.  There were almost constant threads to be picked up and pulled off her hands.  She insisted that the bedspread that had in her mind been soiled by the raccoon last night be put in the washer.  Bedding needed to be washed anyway due to the very long midday nap without a bathroom break. 

It seems unlikely that she will be able to stay asleep throughout the night with all the daytime napping that happened.  We will see what tonight and tomorrow brings. 

One of the challenges for this and most other Caregivers is the challenge of dealing with being tired much of the time.  I am too proper and frugal to use illegal drugs to stay alert.  Actually, I don’t want to mess with my brain by putting foreign substances into it.   I have chosen to use something legal and familiar to stay alert — caffeine.  The delivery system that I use for getting the drug into my system is coffee.  I don’t do soft drinks.  I don’t use energy drinks spiked with large quantities of caffeine. I drink coffee, hot coffee, nothing added, no flavors, but not just any coffee.  I would not condescend to drink Starbuck’s.  I only drink coffees made with beans roasted to perfection locally. 

One of the owners of the business travels to the farms all over the world, especially Central and South America, and comes to know personally the local farmers and their families.  They are paid above fair trade standards with the agreement that the workers and the local community fund will benefit from the proceeds. 

The Baristas are well-trained, often winning at regional competitions and even participating in nationals.  The national Roasters’ Magazine designated them 2009 Roaster of the Year.  

Needless to say, I have developed an interest in the coffee that I use as the delivery system for my drug of choice, caffeine.  I have learned a little about the various ways of preparing the beans and the resulting characteristics of the coffees made from those beans.  If I sound pretentious on the subject, you have made an accurate assessment.  I know far less than most who are interested in good coffees.  I just like to talk about it, use the jargon and pretend to know stuff. 

As to what any of this has to do with Caregiving, like the raccoons of former posts, it is my entertainment.  The caffeine does help me stay alert when I am tired.  That part is a real benefit when needing to stay at the various tasks associated with filling Mary Ann’s needs and maintaining the household.  Even if drinking a good cup of gourmet coffee is mostly about the placebo effect, fooling me into thinking I am more alert, it still works!  

One of the difficulties of being so picky about the coffee is that when I am stuck at home, I am in trouble.  Yes, I can pull out the decades old Mr. Coffee and make a pot.  It is not the same as getting it from PT’s.  One reason is that they can brew the coffee at a hotter temperature (am I a coffee snob or what) than home coffee pots.  Home pots brew at about 160-165 degrees, while they brew at 190-200 degrees. 

Now for the really good news!  There is a coffee maker manufactured by hand in Holland that meets the professional brewers’ standards.  It is a Technivorm coffee maker.  Needless to say, they are not cheap.  Through a very unusual course of events, I was able to purchase one at a very steep discount. 

This all sounds pretty silly in the face of the real challenges of daily life, especially for full time Caregivers.  It is not at all silly, when completely trapped at home with no access to the stimulating liquid that provides a little pleasure. 

Now, using the new grinder (a Conical Burr Grinder, also steeply discounted) to provide exactly the right texture to the coffee grounds, I can make a pot of coffee brewed at 190 to 200 degrees, using freshly roasted beans, the best available, allowing the flavor to bloom before opening the bin to let the brewed coffee slowly fall into the thermal pitcher. 

Today, we were not able to set foot outside the house.  In spite of that, the day was bearable.  We had bought a half gallon of ice cream yesterday, so Mary Ann could have a big bowl this afternoon during one of the times she was awake.  She had leftover cheese bread from our favorite pizza place, left from yesterday’s short outing.  I had a good cup of coffee to lift my spirits.   The birds were singing and the waterfall was spashing over the rocks.  Trapped, but surviving well.  Check them out.  You won’t be disappointed!

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