Disclaimer

This is dementia. It's not just a memory problem.
What you read in this blog is purely my own personal experience in dealing with Lewy Body Dementia every day.

This is not meant to offer any medical or legal advise.
I have no professional training in care giving or experiences in formal writing.
I'm just a woman that loves her husband deeply and wants to provide him with the best quality of life he can and chooses to have.
My prayer though this is "Lord, What am I learning from this; how can I use it help someone else and to glorify You?"
If just one person finds comfort in this public blog. I will feel like it was a success.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

That Wash Woman

Sometimes,
OK lots of times,
Hubby can not remember the name of his personal care aide so He calls her That Wash Woman.
She and I think it's very sweet :-)

Our life before her;

Hubby has gradually forgotten how or was unable to perform his basic care needs. There are times he can function quite well in remembering them but less and less. Shaving was one of the first to go. Mostly as a result of his shaking and trying to use a razor. I purchased him an electric shaver to use but eventually I started shaving him. Hubby is a fall risk so I took measures in trying to prevent that by placing anti slip strips on the bottom of the tub and I purchased him a shower chair to sit on while taking a shower. I also installed grab bars. In addition to what I purchased, the Veterans Assoc supplied many medical supplies that Hubby needed or would need in the future.

Concerned with falling, helping Hubby in and out of the shower was all that needed to be done with shower needs. As Hubby lost the ability to wash his hair and tipping his head back caused him dizziness I started helping with that. Now you wouldn't think that would be such a difficult job would you? Well I assure you that it is very different than sharing a shower ;-) We were both drenched along with the floor and everything else around us. It looked more like a dunking than a seated shower. :-)


We ,OK OK, I, eventually got the hang of it and shower assistance went much smoother.






So now more things to add to my list of caregiver duties.
Some days it feels like raising a child in reverse.

In the beginning leaving Hubby at home alone wasn't a huge ordeal. He was never without his cell phone and was always able to call me if he needed me. I wouldn't be too terribly far from being able to get to him myself or call emergency personnel if necessary. On the rare occasion I was a great distance away I would have our son call and check on him. I felt comfortable in doing this UNTIL
a day of shopping when I returned home Hubby was asleep in bed when I returned, That was normal.
I woke him and let him know I had returned and gave him a kiss on the forehead and he acted like I sent electrical shock waves through his body and grabbed his forehead.

I asked what was the matter and he tried to tell me his head hurt. (I guessed, go me!) I turned on the light to examine him closer and he had a bump and red spot just over his eye. I started twenty questions and by process of elimination surmised he had fallen down but he doesn't know what he hit. I surveyed him for other damage and limb movement.

Then it hit me like a panic, All the horrible "what if?'s " crept into my mind. I called the VA and they made a home health recommendation. I was afraid to leave him alone, no I would NOT leave him alone. I bought a monitor to have so I could hear him if he needed me and I was in a room too far to hear him easily. His safety became paramount. and still is.

Hubby was ambivalent to the idea of someone coming. I just needed a respite so I could run to town and grab milk, toilet paper, and coffee along with other necessities and know he wasn't alone should he fall again. The intake process was slow (dealing with the V.A. imagine) but when we finally got all the red tape ironed out he qualified for a personal care aide. I was so happy to have some relief and willing to let go of some of the responsibilities I carried. Or was I?

After the Nurse left, my emotions became jumbled up.

I was truly grateful to be getting the extra help. Help I had prayed for. I knew how much good it would do physically and emotionally. But at the same time I was stressed about another person caring for my husband in such an intimate way.

This is going to sound so silly and I can just hear your remarks now but my feelings were very real.
The fact that another woman would be in my house, my bathroom, my bedroom to assist my husband with bathing and dressing had me in an emotional spin. I don't know why either. I never ever felt like that when he was in the hospital or had female drs he needed to see. So why? I didn't understand my reaction.
It never even hit me and I never even thought about it until the nurse left. I was so ready for the help that I needed and need. I felt foolish about it.

I cried and prayed that I was doing the right thing.

I realized after much thought that I needed to move mentally from a 'wife' to a 'caregiver' frame of mind. I suppose I worried that in such an intimate setting I would lose the affections of my husband to this other person as she cared for his personal needs. I have lost so much of him to Lewy already I wanted to hang on to what was left.

So I made the emotional transition from physically intimate wife to wifely caregiver and this makes it easier for my heart to endure the things I must concede for his well being and mine. It feels like I have grieved for so many years already.

Please do not think for moment of time that I do not love Hubby. I most definitely do. He is the other half of my heart. It just hurts my heart when he doesn't remember who I am. Lewy Body has forced our relationship to change.

And That Wash Woman, she has been with us more than a year now. We all hit it off quite well and I am more than happy with her. She conducts herself in a very professional manner. Both Hubby and I are comfortable with her and he seems to be more cooperative for her because he knows she will only be here at certain times where I am here all the time he can just put things off until later.

She has certainly been a blessing to our lives :-)

2 comments:

  1. I am so glad "That Trash Woman" came into your lives and can give you some much needed relief.

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  2. I hope you're doing well. I can't thank you enough for your taking the time in the midst of your trials and dealing with your dear hubbies illness to blog about it. I am crying as I read this because it is hitting too close to home but at the same time it is helping me to see that some of my feelings and trials are valid and okay. Bless you for helping others as you helped your husband . My prayer for you now is that you are at peace and enjoying your life.

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