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, October 20, 2011

Anniversary ..of sorts

Oct 18 was our anniversary.
Not the wedding type, the diagnosis type.

4 yrs ago we sat in the Veterans Hospital in the Neurologists exam room coming face to face with the official diagnosis of Probable Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia.
A few months prior the Neuro Dr had suggested it could be 1 of 2 things but more time, testing and drug trial was necessary.
I researched and scoured everything I could find on both.
My heart of hearts told me that the diagnosis would be Lewy Body, my heart of hearts took a major hit when I was correct.
To me, it felt like all the air had been sucked out of my chest.
To Hubby, I have no idea how he felt. He appeared emotionless.
He never wanted to talk about it so we didn't.
I wanted to learn everything I could, for Hubby and for me.

At this point I am going to make a suggestion to watch the new STARZ OriginalSeries, BOSS
Kelsey Grammer, as the main character, gets a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. 
THE FIRTS 5 MINS ARE WORTH THE WATCH for the education of Lewy Body BUT BE ADVISED This video is rated MA for GOOD REASON. After the first 5 mins it lives WAY up to it's rating.
Don't say I didn't tell you.
The show IS sensationalized. It is STARZ and not the Hallmark channel.
It's RAW and gritty. It's TV and they want the rating and to stick around for a few seasons.

You can watch episode 1 >>> HERE <<< You will be prompted for your birth date because it is rated MA.

Of course I did have 1 issue with the show, Lewy Body Dementia is NOT rare.
Lewy Body Dementia is the 2nd most common form of dementia after Alzheimer.
I suppose it is rare that it is diagnosed properly and that many health care professionals are familiar with it, which is a shame, but is it NOT rare.

I do appreciate STARZ for helping spread the word Lewy Body and if you would like more info about Lewy Body Dementia check out the lbda.org website or click >>> HERE <<<

So imagine yourself or a loved one sitting in front of the Physician as you hear the words Lewy Body and the description that followed it.
I wish I knew what Hubby felt. He was emotionless he had no questions, perhaps he zoned out, perhaps he went into a self defense mode and blocked out the words. Only God knows.
For me, the words seemed to get farther and farther away as the air was being sucked out of my chest.
Even though I thought I was prepared, I wasn't.
I could feel my heartbeat.
I remember saying OK, now what?
After that I don't remember.
I remember the ride home was silent in the car but not in my head.

That was 4 yrs ago.
I have learned a lot.
About Lewy, about Hubby, about friends and family and about me.
It's not a life lesson I would have chose for myself but God has plans for us.
Plans for Lewy, Hubby, family and friends and me.
I will trust Him and learn.

One lesson I have learned is about Respite.
It's been 4 yrs of caregiving without a complete break.
It's beginning to take a toll on me.
It's noticeable.

My fears kept me from making that very important call but I did finally make it.
There was much anxiety in the pressing of the buttons.
I actually started dialing once and hung up. I chastised myself and redialed.
The funny (HA HA) thing is that NOBODY was available to take my call.
All stressed up and nowhere to call! LOL
I didn't let that discourage me though.
I called back, SEVERAL times.
It became my mission to get through to someone, anyone!
When I FINALLY did I had to leave a message for a return call. Which I missed when I had to run an errand so I called again resulting in phone tag. My message was
"Hi *Respite Lady*, this is Kathy returning your call about you returning my call and I suppose this is now phone tag so TAG your it! Please call #-#-# Thanks and have a great day, Bye!" My byes end on an up tone :)

A couple hrs later my phone rang and real life connection to Respite Lady was made.
I learned that respite from the Veterans Assoc is given at the VA Hosp.
It can actually be made every few months with a minimum of 1 week and and a max of 2 weeks at a time.
Why I originally thought it was Mon-Fri is unknown to me, anyway.

Respite Lady said intake would be about an hr long and I could bring Hubby during morning hrs and pick him up in the afternoon.

I asked about a waiting list knowing it was possible that he would have to wait a couple months or so. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the ward Hubby would be on, would be able to deal with not only Hubby's dementia but also Hubby's PTSD, and is almost always readily available within a day or so and if I wanted I could bring him Mon.
MON?!!! I got light headed, my heart sank, my throat closed, my pulse raced. I wasn't ready for Mon!
I prepared myself for the waiting list! Not Mon! No, No, No, I couldn't do Mon!

Respite Lady was very sweet and understood perhaps my change in tone when she volunteered that I could sleep on it and get back with her about a time.
Myself, even though I wasn't ready for Monday, knew if I didn't do make a plan now, I may not do it so I grabbed my calendar and stumbled around with my words to work around Dr Appointments and finally came to an agreed time in the next couple weeks.
I only wanted a one week respite though.
I can make a Dr appointment (haven't seen one since before Hubby's diagnosis!)
I can do some leisurely Christmas shopping with my Sister in law.
I can sleep all night without getting beat up by Hubby's REM sleep disorder.
Brother in Law and I can go catch a movie.

The possibilities are many.

Should I feel bad that I feel good about this?
I'm conflicted.

Then there is the flip side.

I will tell Hubby that he will be admitted for a week to watch him and see how he is doing with his meds.
I will of course wait until much closer to the date.
I will also schedule this stay with a Nero appointment right on it's heels.
I worry he will be angry with me for leaving him if he knows it's respite.
I worry he will try SHOWTIME (best behavior which IS possible for LBD patients) and leave the facility.
Will he get upset and need medicated?
The possibilities are many.

Should I feel anxious about this?
I'm again conflicted.

So as we have to to deal with each day as it comes, sometimes each moment, I am going to TRY and not get too far ahead of myself in the good feelings or the bad feelings and just live in the moment.
I'm a risk taker!!

2 comments:

  1. The anniveraries are neccesary -- but hard to take sometimes. It can feel like the clock is ticking away. I appreciate you very much. I wish I could DO something to show you how much you have meant to me. HUGS !!!

    Linda

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  2. You are in my thoughts and prayers. It is amazing how similar our stories are. My husband is 23 years older than I am and he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia 2 years ago, although he should have been diagnosed a minimum of 5 years ago and would have been if his doctors had only listened to me. My husband recently fell and broke his hip and now he is in late stage dementia and is in a nursing home full time. Please do take care of yourself. After 15 years of taking care of my husband through a long list of terrible illnesses, I suffered a stroke two years ago. That is when my husband was finally diagnosed. I found your blog by accident. Today is our wedding anniversary and I just feel so sad. I googled "dementia, anniversary" and your blog was what I found. Sometime the Lord does work in mysterious ways.

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