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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

And who says men wont ask for directions

24 hrs after Hubby made his I love you statement, he once again reverted to being in the V.A. Home and me as his caregiver.
The statement/question he made this time was "You have a contract to do this (take care of him) don't you?"
I answered him without skipping a beat. "I sure do. It's called a marriage license".
The look on Hubby's face when I said it was priceless.
A combination of shock, confusion and disbelief and the smirky you're pulling my leg look, all rolled into one and it almost made me laugh out loud. I had to turn away from him and started typing on my facebook.

We settled into bed for the night , or I did anyway because Hubby wanders around at night and raids the refrigerator.
About 2 1/2 hrs later he called out to me. I shot up so quickly that for a moment I had lost my bearings then I noticed him sitting on the side of the bed.
I asked if he was okay but he responded no, he was lost and obviously frightened enough to admit it.
He didn't know where he was or how he got there.
He wanted to know where the doors led too and who was here.
He was shaking and I spoke calmly and reassuringly.
He settled in the bed still shaken and admittedly scared.
I held him close and asked him if he trusted me. He replied yes.
I asked him if he knew he was in a safe place. He said he thought so.
I followed through with those feelings to reaffirm we were in our own home and bedroom, nobody was here but us and everything was okay.
He eventually calmed down and drifted off while I pet his head.

According to Hubby this wasn't the first time this had happened to him but the first time he admitted he was afraid.
I so wish that fear was something Hubby never has to encounter but when he does I pray that we can deal with it quickly and easily.
I think we handled it quite well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


So it's official.
Hubby received his official decision from the Veterans Association regarding Aide and Attendance and the word is that although he does need 24 hr care he does not qualify for it since his condition is not part of his service connected disability. I was aware this would be the road block.
Onward we go just like we have in the past. And that's okay :)

I did learn one thing in the decision.
Apparently his records indicate that he was showing signs of dementia in Jan 2005.
How was I blind to this?!

Oh well, I'm not going to dwell on it as a negative.
I'm going to concentrate on the here and now and I am FULLY going to concentrate on his words to me last night.

I thought he was asleep when I crawled into bed.
He stirred and rolled over toward me and said,
"You know, I sure do love you."

You know what Hubby? "I love you too" :)
And I gave him a good night kiss.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Annual Review

Today was our scheduled day for the Veterans Association to review Hubby's care and well being by doing a home visit.
Hubby kept asking me when the Dr was going to come and I had to keep reminding him no Dr was coming.
He was set that he had a few things he wanted to get straight with the Dr.
Again I informed him that no Dr was coming but it never sank in.

I was prepared with all of the financial information.
My box was full of receipts and accounting ledgers, detailed and condensed information for funds spent. How and why and where. Everything sorted and organized.

I spent yesterday picking up the house so it didn't look like Hubby was a prisoner in a junk yard.
I actually cleaned house, more because I was nervous about the visit.
Why was I nervous, you ask?

Well I know that as far as the financial stuff goes I was doing everything Okay. As stated above, very organized and meticulous.
But what I was nervous about was Hubby.

What would Hubby say?
Would he tell them how he thought I wasn't his wife?
Would he tell them that I have been stealing his money?
Would he tell them that he wanted to leave here?

The unknowns with dementia are upsetting enough as they are, but, knowing that someone has the power to change your life with the click of a pen is a little unnerving. So I clean. 

My portion of the review went off without a hitch. As a matter of fact the lady that arrived to do the review was very impressed with my thoroughness.
Then came her part with Hubby.
I asked Review Lady if she was aware of his Lewy Body Dementia and thankfully she was. Hey, she is a paper pusher you know. Oh and a nice one by the way.

I led her to Hubby's room and left them to visit while I went into another room. Not far enough away to be out of earshot though.
Well, you never know when I might be needed!

I heard Review Lady ask Hubby the standard mini Mental Questions. Which I thought was funny since she isn't a Dr but perhaps she needed to verify his dementia.
Hubby remembered his name and Birthday.
Branch of service and even his Service number!!! (Impressive!)
He didn't remember what years he served though.
Review Lady asked him the day and date, the president, all of which he did not know.
Then she asked Hubby if he knew where he was.
Hubby said in a home.
When asked if he knew what kind of home Hubby replied "A V.A. Home"
He was asked who takes care of you?
He replied, "She takes care of me" (I will feel safe to think he pointed towards the direction of the door I left from)
Review Lady asked if Hubby was aware he received V.A. monies.
Hubby said No (I almost snickered)
Then she asked if Hubby received a weekly Allowance, Hubby replied No (True answer only because he doesn't ask for anything)
Review Lady asked Hubby if there was anything he needed.
(Holding breath)
Hubby declared he needed more money (LOL!!!)
Review Lady agreed that would be nice and she would like some too.
They laughed.

Review Lady's final question for Hubby was "Are you being well cared for?"
Hubby replied "Yes, it's good here."

What a relief to hear that. After all the days of wanting to go home and accusations of theft and talk of leaving.

Review lady left the room and said her goodbyes but before she did she asked about me and how I was doing. Informed me that there wouldn't be a need for another review for 3 yrs. And she said Hubby looked great, and appeared very well cared for. He even smiled for her.

It's always good to have affirmation when we think we make so many mistakes.
And even Hubby, somewhere,in his brain, he knows he is in a good place.
It's been a good day and the house is clean to enjoy it :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

She's supposed to be my wife

That's what Hubby told the Dr he saw the other day when asked who I was.
But Hubby doesn't really believe it. sigh

Sometimes I just get so tired of caregiving for Lewy Body Dementia that I don't want to even think about it, talk about it, research it,  blog about it, read about it. Unfortunately it's like air, caregiving is vitally needed so you go into auto pilot. Or at least in my case you do. I'm hoping it's just this dreadful heat we are having. A body doesn't want to do anything in it.

So where are we? Lets see. Still in our holding pattern except for some unexplained anxiety Hubby has been experiencing lately. We had an appointment with the Veterans Admin for Aid and Attendance a few days ago. We don't think he will qualify because his problem is not his service connected disability. I didn't really have high expectations for it but we followed through knowing all they can say is No.
So we get the appointment to see the Board Dr.
Hubby needs a 2 hr window to get ready to go ANYWHERE! Our appointment is in the afternoon so I don't have to get him up early.We have over an hr drive which is always difficult for Hubby. He sleeps or rides with his eyes closed so that helps. Big City traffic distresses me AND Hubby. The traffic itself for me and the amount of stimulus for Hubby.

As we prepare for the day I ask Hubby if he would like to stop and eat before we go. Hubby agrees and we stop at out favorite restaurant for lunch. Hubby allows me to use his wheelchair to take him in. This is actually the second time he has conceded to it's use getting into the restaurant for which I am VERY grateful.

Served and filled we make the trip to the Big City.
We arrive in plenty of time, check in and sit in the waiting area.
We are quickly called to the Dr office.
Now if you are familiar with the V.A. you know this is a rare thing indeed!
The Dr proceeded to ask Hubby a few questions.
Name,  check but spelled his middle name wrong
Date of birth, check
Age, He didn't know and looked to me for the answer
Who I was, answer, "She's supposed to be my wife". Still stings but shake it off.
Where were we, check
What was the date, unknown
What was the day, another look at me for answer
Who was the president, unknown
What town did we live in, check
What was our address, unknown and looked to me for answer.

Then Dr asked me some Qs about Hubby's abilities to care for himself , walk or be alone.
Dr showed me Hubby's THICK file that was going before the board.
Dr explained what our obstacle was.
Dr said he would help all he could and we were finished.
People this took ALL OF 10 MINS!! from wait time to leaving.
Going to the bathroom before the hr long trip took longer!!

Every one of these Qs could have been asked over the phone, or gleaned from his records. Especially from the form that his PC Dr filled out for this very thing just a few months ago!
The government, sheesh!

So anyway we make the trip home, stop by the fruit stand for the green tomatoes on the way and a trip to the store for milk then home.
I do not know what happened at this point but Hubby became agitated at me and refused to let me get the wheelchair to help him get to the house. For Hubby, the walk to and from the car is rather long so he uses the wheelchair and I am considering a few yard and parking modifications.

His anger was verbal in nature and the heat was high. He refused to let me assist in any way and told me to get away from him. The more I tried to get him to explain the more anxious he got. Realizing I wasn't helping the situation I left him there and came into the house watching him from the window.
Hubby struggled to get around the car but eventually made it only to get 'stuck' as soon as he needed to let go of the vehicle and walk without support. Seeing this I offered to assist in a matter of fact non threatening way.  "Honey, I'll be happy to get the chair for you." this was met with a hard look and a wave off. Again I retreated to the house. Watching Hubby let loose of the vehicle and 'freeze' in place was heart wrenching. I worried about the heat also. Yet no matter how many times I offered assistance he refused. Eventually he walked to the front of the car into the shade, was able to get a hold of the house and work his way to the porch along the wall and to the front door.
Once inside he was hot and HOT!
I left him alone as he went to our room, undressed and got into bed. I never knew what set him off but as the night came he seemed in a little better mood.

Anxiety continues to plague Hubby but not like that day. At least he isn't angry and I can deal much easier with non angry issues.
Most of the anxiety seems to hit at night, Hubby's internal thermostat goes haywire and he is usually burning up. I put the fan on him directly and it seems to help.

Another thing I noticed is that when this happens to Hubby he stresses about my whereabouts and hollers for my presence. Most of the time I am in the room pounding away at my FB games or looking for amazon deals so if I happen to be in another part of the house he will begin to yell "Honey!" Which I find funny that he does considering he isn't quite sure who I am, but then again, Hubby has always been a flirt ;-)
I'll come running only to find him confused, restless and unsure of himself. I make him comfortable as possible and sit with him until he sleeps.
Specifically last night I was busy in the kitchen when Hubby yelled for me. At first I said I would be right there, hang on, but he yelled again leaving me to believe he had fallen and needed help or something like that. I ran to the room to find him in bed but distressed. I asked if he was Okay to which he replied, "NO I'm suffering" I snuggled up to him until he settled down.

Anxiety is the new norm.

Another new norm is Hubby's declaration of his death. He talks about it quite often.
It goes along with his desire to move away and 'go home' to live alone. Wherever home is.
Hubby isn't sure where home is exactly but he knows this place he is in is not it. He believes this is a hospital that he has been mysteriously brought to and I am his caretaker everyone is trying to convince is his wife. I feel bad for Hubby but if I were the one needing care I think I would want me to be the caregiver. Although I tire, I'm pretty good at it. LOL!! ;-)

And me? I have finally overcome my mental hurdle about exercise. I wanted so much to attend a gym not just for the exercise but for the motivation, support and communion with others. But it was out of my reach so I sat frozen basically in my own depression UNTIL I watched an old episode of Bones ( I love that show) anyway, in the episode she and her partner Boothe were interrogating a woman. The woman was quite large, to be polite, and as they walked in the room, Boothe covered his nose and asked "What's that smell?" Bones, answering in her direct, scientific manner she has, said, "Mold, morbidly obese people have a tendency to develop mold in their fat creases." I nearly fainted and my hurdle for exercise was jumped! I did not wish that to be me.

So I started changing my eating habits and began ATTEMPTING (major emphasis) the couch potato to 5K challenge. It has NOT been easy as it's taking me 2 weeks to accomplish week 1 but I can see results not only on my scale but in the way I feel.
I use the 20 mins specifically for prayer time (in addition to the sporadic throughout the day conversations)
I changed how I thought about me, God gave me a job, caregiving. How could I continue to do it properly without the right tools? My body and mind are all part of the caregiving package and I was not using them to do the job properly. I could feel my own health failing. It needed repair. Just like any piece of equipment we have that might need repair I would see to it that the piece was repaired or replaced.
Since I didn't want to be replaced, ie having to place Hubby due to major illness of me, it was time to repair the Temple.
In my eating change came Hubby's eating change. Healthier choices, smaller portions, more fruits and veggies.
No candy, few sugars. Hubby's change is less restrictive than mine. If he asks for it he still gets it but I don't volunteer those things or have them readily available, well except for the fudgepops. They will have to be a special trip to the store.
I even tried to give up my morning coffee but that was the result of a 3 day headache! I couldn't live with that so I welcomed it back with open arms. I'm gradually cutting back on the amount and it seems to be working.

I purchased a juicer for fresh juice.
I only hate it because it gives me thoughts of  wanting to plant a garden next year! LOL!! ;-)

These changes are not easy, I won't lie and say they are a breeze.
They haven't given me miraculous power to be superwoman. They are just a step I needed to take for me.
I still get tired of caregiving.
It consumes my every thought and action.
Even when the aide is here is still not down time. I must run errands and be aware of the time.
Everything I do has to be with Hubby in mind, even at the back of it.
And if it's not supposed to be, how do you separate him from it?

I'm still challenged in my caregiving roll but I'm trying to stay positive.
I know the changes are inevitable and I hope to be able to roll with them.
There are just some days I'm in caregiver overload and I want to sit down and say, No thanks, I'm good.