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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Next Steps

I hope this makes some sense because my thoughts and emotions are so scattered lately I feel like Hubby and I are in an emotional blender.

I've been avoiding, for the most part, the caregiving www.
I've struggled to support myself and Hubby and unless the support was "easy" to give and receive, I've remained silent.
Unless I was sure what to ask for or offer, I've remained silent.
To the majority of my family and friends, I've remained silent.
Now is the time to break the silence because the silence is breaking my heart.

Hubby has had some serious anger issues. Nothing physical, just verbal. And that's not really the problem since we have lived with his PTSD for our entire married life, I'm used to it. In the past, he could leave or I could suggest he leave and go someplace or I could until he cooled off. But now he feels trapped. Trapped by me, the Drs and his Lewy Body Dementia. He doesn't want to be here. He's mad at me, the Drs, his illness, the whole world.
If I was in his place, I would probably feel the same way.
He's also sad, very very lonely, frustrated and scared. All the things I wanted to prevent for him and have not succeeded in doing right now.
All I can do is watch as he fights with his emotions and listen as he vents his frustrations. Most directed at me and admittedly they hurt but I understand where they are coming from so I try my best to ignore the feelings that come because of his words.
What can we do? How can we fix this? We are maxed out on meds and some of my big fears are more would make him "drugged" something neither of us want. He's sick of taking pills anyway and I don't blame him.
He has had some very lucid moments and we have talked about his dementia, his feelings and a few of his fears. Then HE suggested that perhaps placement would be the best.
Oh my heart! I HATE Lewy Body Dementia. I hate that he can have these moments of clarity. I HATE that he realizes what is happening. I HATE HATE HATE IT!!!

At his suggestion, we have talked Nursing Home placement on several occasions. Sometimes he says he wants to leave, other times he says a Nursing Home is not where he wants to be, but he doesn't want to be here. Some times he says he doesn't want to be a burden. I've tried to assure him that he is not a burden, perhaps difficult at times but never a burden.
He and I have both spoken to our children about it.
I have to add that we are very blessed with the support that they offer us. They may not like the situation but they support whatever decisions needs to be made in the best interest of their father and me. How did I deserve such amazing gifts when I received them?

It took a long time to bring it up to them. Hubby and I both fought emotions about it. We've cried together and separately, I've prayed for and over him. I still fight back tears and it's taken alot of emotional strength to put these words down. Even more when I hit the post button.

I've read more than once that it's never too early for placement when dementia is a concern. But it can come too late.
Late for the caregiver who is stretched beyond their capabilities and health. Late for the loved one who may do something that could potentially be life threatening to themselves or to others.
And if you're already talking about it, now is the time to make the move.
My head knows all of this, my lips and fingers have repeated it to others. My heart wont get on board.

I've tried to find things for Hubby to be engaged in yet he refuses. So, I wonder if a different environment and the company of other people would be in his best interest. At least that way he could refuse to participate or engage with someone other than me.
I'm sure it wouldn't help with how he feels about his illness, the Drs, the situation or me and all of his losses but perhaps with others he could "vent" to, it would help release some of his anger. Maybe he could deal with it better. I don't know the answers. I'm grasping anything I can to get even a small hold on a constantly slipping situation.

Neither of us have decided anything but Hubby wants to talk to a Dr about it. He has an appointment in a couple of weeks.
Confession : His wanting to do this feels like a bit of rejection of me but I have to shake that off and realize, this isn't about me, it's about what's best for him.
I did tell him if he wanted we could tour a facility and nothing had to be permanent so if he did go in and then decided wanted to go home, I would be loading him up and bringing him home.

Please say a prayer for us. We need clarity of mind and sure direction.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In the year 2009

I found a couple of videos I had from 2009 when Hubby was admitted for testing to rule out hydrocephalus. I knew I had written a couple of FB posts before I ever started blogging so I found them and thought I would share them both.
May 30, 2009

Anxious Heart

So are you ready for a blow away?

Since Oct of 2007 Hubby has had a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. A combination of Parkinsons symptoms and Alzheimer symptoms. I've watched the other half of my heart decline for almost 2 years now. Some days at a very quick rate and some days unchanged. It has been a roller coaster ride for sure. These days he can't be left alone as he is a fall risk so I COMPLETELY understand what the expression "shut in" means. I'm grateful for this social network as here is as close as I get to spending any time with my family and friends and I can still feel a part of their lives.

Life may change though. Hubby had a Neurologist appointment last Thursday. They had the CT back from his head and it showed LARGE amounts of spinal fluid in his brain. Yeah, I know that doesn't sound good BUT they are going to admit him for a 3 day spinal tap and relieve the pressure from his ventricles and HOPE it makes a world of difference!! They could see an immediate change! Could it be that simple? It sounds almost too good to be true. Could he regain some of mobility and thinking back or has he had too much damage? My mind and heart are in a whirlwind with hope.

Then I have to think of all negatives also. If it helps enough, they will do brain surgery to insert a shunt and drain the spinal fluid. His age (72) comes into play here with brain surgery. IF he actually has Lewy Body plaques in his brain also, then we run the risk of an anesthesia catapult into a worse condition as lewy bodies and anesthesia are like bleach and ammonia mixed. Right now he is calm, not anxious, he feels safe and protected. Although I feel he is missing out on much of his life he is content where he is. Where will this procedure leave him and in what condition?

So many questions and more prayers asked as we are faced with possible life changing decisions. The biggest and hardest prayer is "Thy will be done". Following through with that though has been difficult as I find myself guarding my heart. I'm afraid to have him just to lose him yet again. I'm glad my Heavenly Father is my comforter and keeper of my soul. I could not make it without His hope and love. I look toward the day where there is no sadness or confusion. Just worship.

Wanted to share, keep us in your prayers.

Jun 19, 2009

Home from the hospital

Current mood:disappointed
My Hubby just spent 4 days in the hospital ruling out Hydrocephalus.
He endured a spinal tap for 3 days in a row with very little to no change in his gait or cognition.
I endured 3 nights of being away from him as the V.A. would not let me stay with him.

My fear of him getting confused, anxious and wandering or falling, then the staff giving him meds to keep him calm tearfully spilled over onto the poor Dr. I was assured that they would NOT give him any meds other than what was in his chart for any reason. A little calmer I left and double checked personally with the head floor nurse (I don't think she was too happy with me) before I absolutely had to leave. Came home and crashed and returned the next day bright and early. He had a bed alarm on his arm so they knew if he ever got out of his bed for any reason.

The tap however was not successful so hydrocephalus was ruled out and a shunt surgery is not even in question. I suppose the only thing accomplished was that my poor Bobby got a headache and is a little grouchy. We are however back to the , Why can't I drive? phase. I'm not sure how long that will last.

So it looks like Lewy wins again. And I'm too tired to give it much thought today.

Just wanted you all to know how things went.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wrapped up

Over the last couple of months I feel like, no, I have been wrapped up in my own little personal emotional bubble.
Why do I do that? I'm not really sure. Perhaps it feels like a safe place to protect my heart and mind while I sort through the jumbled mess looking for solutions.
Hubby is dealing with some strong emotions from his Lewy Body Dementia his own self so as we sort through these together and separate I'm finding it difficult to blog about at this time.
gasp! I KNOW! Normally I'm an "everything out there no holds barred" kinda gal.

But this latest Lewy Body Roller Coaster ride is leaving us feeling some motion sickness.
I always know where to go for the support I need. I feel like we have a good team with Hubby's Drs and I feel secure in knowing if I need them they are willing to work with me and Hubby to give him a better quality life. But the majority of my support comes from on line sources that I am so very grateful for. Besides my FaceBook family and friends, I have a Lewy Body spousal support group, a place I can find valuable information from spouses that live with, care for and love those suffering with Lewy body Dementia,
There are FaceBook dementia groups where we can give and take in real time.
I know my adopted support family is there for whatever I need.
I have prayer warriors and well wishers and virtual huggers.
I cherish you all and I have no problems asking for the support I need. Yet at this time I'm not sure exactly what kind of support I need. I think what I need is less "Oh, I'm so sorry", and more ideas, or solution, and lots of, I'm praying. I like the support that makes me feel like a stronger caregiver when I'm at my very weakest. Support that builds me emotionally, allows me to vent and cry then hands me a tissue and picks me up. Sometimes even snatches me up by the collar, shakes me a bit and sets me back down. That feels like support.  That feels strong. That feels like love.
The sorrys make me feel unstable and not strengthened.
So I suppose I'm hiding from the sorrys these days because my emotions are sitting right behind my eyes and under my skin, ready to collapse and I need to get a grip on those.

So until then we're making do the best we can and know how. One day at a time and seeking the smiles.
One BIG smile was very evident the other day.
I was given the gift of clarity from Hubby.
He and I were grazing in the kitchen. He sat down and started a serious conversation with me about dementia.
We talk openly and honestly about it, no secrets or hushed tones about his Lewy Body. He didn't cause it and he can't help it, there is no shame. We talked on and off for quite a while.
After a long silence he asked me a question about something earlier in the day. 

I said; "I don't remember", 
to which he replied, "Honey, are you getting dementia?" 
Then he smiled and cut his hazel blue eyes at me!! 

That my friends was a beautiful gift all wrapped up with a nice bow :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Memory Tree

It's the Holiday Season!
At our house we celebrate Christmas.
We celebrate with lights and trees and presents and baking and music.
We remember it's a day to celebrate Jesus' birthday, but He is a constant in our lives all year round too.
If that fact isn't obvious in my life, I have a serious relationship problem that one time a year wont make up for.
Of course as  I  the kids grew older and Lewy Body Dementia moved in we have scaled back on the decorating.

I have learned not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Take it slow and easy.
For the most part, Lewy Body Dementia has been VERY selfish with Hubby and my time. Most of the time it seems impossible to leave our home and do anything that isn't a Dr visit or a one stop trip out to eat then home. Most of the time we get to combine those two things, Dr and lunch and home. Makes for an exhausting day for Hubby. IF I'm lucky, I can pop into the grocery store for a gal of milk if necessary while he waits in the car. I try not to make that a habit, only on a have to basis.
I've done most of my shopping on line over the year and last night I had the boxes with a smile (amazon) stacked on my table for wrapping

We are planning a Christmas Eve celebration at our home. I've specifically asked to be the host mainly because Hubby is more comfortable in his own home, even though he doesn't recognize it as such. He can choose to participate or not and I can stay as long as I like and enjoy the company of family I get to see once a year.  I don't put expectations on anyone to join us for celebrations. They have lives apart from us, jobs and weather could prevent them from being there and I have said that any time we can get together is a time of celebration. They just may not have a tree in the living room when we do :)

This year is no different except, this year Hubby asked for a BIG Christmas. Now I'm not quite sure what that meant for him so I'll do the best I can to encourage the family to all come. I'll prepare a big dinner and we can all gather together under one roof. He misses his family.

I haven't done a lot of decorating but I did have a really good idea that I'm sure I stole from somewhere, I just don't remember where. I added my own flair so I don't think I get points off.
I made a Memory Tree for Hubby.
I printed off lots of family photos and clued them on various foam frames. I even bought some clear bulbs and inserted pictures in them. I left one empty. Just a symbolic gesture for me. I think it turned out really nice.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Adventure Seeker

I wrote the following in response to a question by a fairly new caregiver.
He asked how he could make the care of his father an adventure for he and his wife.
I liked my response so well, (sometimes stuff just flows out of my head and sounds good, giggle) I'm posting it as a blog because I think it can relate to others as well as those of us living and caring for loved ones with Lewy Body dementia.

It (caregiving) will be an adventure on it's own, YOU just have to decide the type. Keep your humor, you WILL need it.
Pick and choose your battles.
Don't sweat the small stuff and there will be an overwhelming amount of small stuff.

Find time for you, let your wife find some time for her and together find time for each other. Have a date night even if it's at home.
Sounds like you have a team of 2, add to it and smile LOTS.

Daily write one thing on the calendar that made you smile or laugh, anything at all, try not to repeat. It will be an easy start but will get increasingly hard to do so you will have to SEEK it and eventually you will train your mind to find the positive. Some days may be blank. Try not to leave too many of them.

Ask for advice, others can help you think outside the box. There is a TON of seasoned caregivers willing and able to lend to your list of suggestions. Every person is different, what works for one does not necessarily work for another. Trial and error. There will be lots of error
Don't let things "pile up" Try not to get caught up in the loop of negative thinking. It's too easy of a trap. Say you're sorry, admit your frustrations remember your dad can't help how he is.

Love him madly, even when he is the most unlovable, you won't have to like his actions all the time.

Buckle up! It's a bumpy ride, the twists and turns will make you and your wife bump heads at times. Stay seated and keep your hands and feet and heart inside at all times. You got this!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Sickness and in Health

Nov 29, 1981.
It was a Sunday, it was raining.
I remember what I was wearing.
I only had black shoes.
I remember what he was wearing, he wore a tie that his mother still had of his father's.

It was only 9 days prior that the sun was setting when he popped the question and I said yes.
So many things to do in 9 days.
I wanted some type of wedding with a cake and flowers, a dress and people.
Just a few.
And so it was.
We took vows to love, honor and cherish. For better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health and forsaking all others.
To this day I can tell you almost every detail about that day 31 years ago.
That very day, Hubby could have told you the main objective of the day, we were there, we got married.
He could have recalled this same information, if asked, for many years.
He was such a sentimental guy. ;-)

These days because of Lewy Body Dementia, Hubby doesn't even remember that we got married.
He doesn't remember me as his wife.
It's difficult to celebrate the day so I will just happily remember it.
It was filled with hopes and dreams of what was and what would be.
Promises of the day, for the day and for tomorrow.
We may not have known it then, but God had big plans for us by putting us together.
The dynamics appeared all wrong and we were given a 6 month expiration date by many. 
The journey has been long and hard, sometimes unbearable.
Other times there was bliss and blessings of magnitude. I can name 3 right off the top of my head. That's the better or worse part. 
Today is our Anniversary Hubby.
Thank you for making me want to be a better person for me, for you and for others.
You continue to forge me daily.
I hope you feel loved, cared for and safe.
I love you :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Beginnings and Endings

It was Oct 18 2007
I don't remember the weather but I do remember the feeling that someone had removed all the air from my lungs and I couldn't breathe. This was the day we received Hubby's official diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia.
We were given 2 probables to narrow down from because there is no test for Lewy Body so it's a process of elimination. I had an idea of what the Neuro was thinking. I had researched anything I could find. I was preparing for it. Hubby didn't want to know, he didn't care and spoke little to nothing about it. Then the moment came, the words, Lewy Body Dementia, my mind raced to everything I read. I was trying to sort it out but I felt like I couldn't breathe. I remember saying, "Now what?"
Every day with Lewy is a new day.
Every day I still find myself asking "Now what?"
Every day I try to figure out a game plan and every day I try to find a way to add some quality to Hubby's life.
Every day I pray that Hubby feels loved and safe.
And every day I wonder if there is something I can learn to apply to our life for him, for me and for others.
I learned something important when Hubby had to take a trip to the ER a few weeks ago.
I realized I needed to make a folder of  information to have readily available to hand to emergency personnel. Trying to answer medical questions when my mind was racing, was difficult. I fumbled looking for insurance info and ID. The only thing I did have readily available was my Lewy Body Dementia info from heplguide.org I keep copied off and in my car for educational purposes.

I informed the ambulance driver that Hubby had a living will and I was informed that in our state, Arkansas, a living will is not accepted as a DNR unless it is a Physician signed DNR order. So I had to get a separate order signed by a physician.

It's an odd feeling knowing that a piece of paper, that I have control of, can be the difference between Hubby's life on earth or his eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
Hubby and I have discussed our end of life issues. We know what we want and don't want. I hope I'm not selfish enough to hold him in his current or progressed condition should the time to make that decision ever arrives. It is my personal opinion that dementia is a form of suffering so I hope my love for him is stronger than the love for myself and I am able to hand over the papers with a heart that knows I'm doing what he wanted and / or what's in his best interest.

I made a copy of the DNR and placed it in a Bright Yellow Folder along with other pertinent information . Two folders to be exact, one folder in the house , easily accessible to hand to on site emergency personnel.
The second I carry in the emergency bag in my car. If another trip is needed to the ER I will just hand them the folder.
I keep the originals in my purse.

I got the idea for the folders from another caregiver.
I love when caregivers are so willing to help others and share information as well as encourage.
I find caregiving to a little overwhelming at times, not as much physically as mentally and emotionally.
It's times like that when I withdraw into myself  finding a way to regroup and carry on. 
I know I can always find just the right shot in the arm or swift kick in the pants when I seek out the advice and support of other caregivers.
I hope that I contribute to the support of others.
Maybe this will be of some help.
The following is the information sheet included in Hubby's folder

Religious preference

(Name), Korean War Navy Veteran,
has a primary diagnosis of PTSD
and Lewy Body Dementia (info included)

His Wife and GUARDIAN (court order included)-(name) is his full time caregiver
(Name) is a fall risk so assistance with standing and walking and transferring may be necessary.
He may have a difficult time hearing and/or understanding spoken and written words.
He wears glasses, (dentures?) and had cataract surgery (date)

(Name) allergies

Due to(NAME) Lewy Body Diagnosis certain meds should be avoided like neuroleptics/ antipsychotics meds, anesthesia if at all possible. These types of meds can severely increase his Lewy Body Symptoms and could be potentially life threatening for him.

A list of current meds (NAME) is taking is included

(NAME)'s Primary care is handled through
Drs Name
Phone #
Mental Health Dr

EMERGENCY Contact is
(name & #)
(name & #)

Included in this packet are copies of
ID (copy of drivers license both sides)
Insurance (copy of card or any other Insurance info)
Advance Directive,
Most recent medication list
Most recent lab results
Info on Lewy Body Dementia

Originals are with his wife, (name)

So it's been 5 yrs since that dreadful diagnosis.
But there is also good news.
You see, Gods timing is always perfect.
As we sat with the Neurologist after he gave us the news, my cell phone rang.
Normally I turn my phone off or on vibrate and ignore it when we see the Drs.
But this time I did not, on purpose.
This day we were expecting news about a new grandchild.
And sure enough, the call came.
I looked at Dr and said "I'm taking this."
In a matter of minutes the world that turned upside down uprighted with the news of our grandson.
Perhaps that was just what I needed to get my heart beating again after having the breath taken away.

It's odd how we can go from one emotional extreme to another in a matter of moments.
I'm just glad the good news came second.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

This Little Piggy

One of the core criteria for Lewy Body Dementia is hallucinations. You can read about symptoms here at lbda.org.
Hubby has them but somehow he knows that the majority of them aren't real.
Of course there are the occasional incidents of people in the house and some in our bed.
Builders and workers doing things in the house and in the yard. Sometimes children or animals, etc.
I feel like we are blessed that Hubby's hallucinations are not ever worrisome to him, or at least that he confesses to. And when he can't decide if it's real or not he isn't afraid to ask me about it and takes my word although sometimes suspiciously.
The other day he was looking out the window of our front door and asked me "Where did that pig come from?"
I never get upset when he asks about hallucinations, I always try to figure out what he may be looking at and mistaking for whatever, or explain that I don't see the things he does, so I walked to the window and looked out.
Sure enough, there was a black pot bellied pig in our yard!
We have no thoughts as to where it came from.
It was quite comical to me and I oh so much wanted to pet it but I may live I the country but I'm not a country gal so I was intimidated by the pig, although I did go outside and get close to it until I was uneasy about it, then I ran in the house. LOL!

No hallucinations this time Hubby!

Hubby has settled back into home and into our normal.
I think about my respite time and how much I enjoyed it.
It brings me comfort through the day especially since my return to aide issues.
Our V.A. careplan expired BUT good news! They didn't wait for a month to renew and we transitioned to the new careplan without a lapse in care. That is would have transitioned but our regular "wash woman" is out for a while and we are at the mercy of fill ins when we can get them.

My workout schedule has been off for a while now and I'm missing it and going "soft", especially the last 2 weeks of over indulgence. I don't know why I do that to myself :(

So with life back to our normal and really not a lot to write about I thought I would share a couple fun moments with you.

Oct 3 - Earlier this evening, Hubby, BIL (brother in law) and I went for a short drive. I saw an animal in the road "sleeping" and Hubby asks me what it is. I answer.
I think it's a squirrel that didn't get across the road. (Mistake one, too many words)
Hubby says "Huh?"
I say, "It's a squirrel." ( we were closer for a proper identification)
Hubby says "Huh?"
So loudly I say "SQUIRREL!".
I think I scared BIL and I feel like the cartoon dog on Up! LOL!!!!

Later that night:

 Well, you know what they say about paybacks. 
I caught Booger (our dog) stealing Hubby's candy so I told Hubby who's in the kitchen raiding the leftovers & refrigerator. I walk into the kitchen a few mins later to check on Hubby and he had found Boogers cookies. :/

Then the next day:

 Confession time: So after my posts about Hubby and BIL last night and after my giggling stopped I was getting us all settled in for the night. While looking for my phone I remembered it was in my purse, but where was my purse? Not in any of the normal places , then it dawned on me. I left it outside on the porch chair when I was bringing Hubby inside, along with my house keys still in the door. :/ SQUIRREL!

That's how things are at our house.
How are you guys doing? 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Respite...Take 2

Why , Thank You, I think I will take 2.
2 weeks that is.

Last November I brought myself face to face with the need for respite.
Fear of the unknown (read here ) kept me frozen in the decision for respite until I finally just closed my eyes and jumped in (read here ). Boy was I ever glad I did too. It was just a week and I didn't do anything that would qualify as special. I stayed home regrouping and close to the phone for contact if I was needed. It turned out to be a great relaxing week.

So now here it is 10 months later and I took advantage of the respite services that were offered by the VA. Hubby qualifies for up to 2 weeks at a time 2 or 3 times a year or more in emergency if needed. Lets hope we don't need the emergency time :)

I made special plans for this respite.
I called without hesitation and set up the date.
My time chosen coincided with my birthday! Imagine that ;-)
I planned on spending my 50th birthday with far away family and friends. Also reconnecting with my best friend from grade school. We hadn't seen each other in 34 yrs! I also made plans to connect with some on line caregiving friends. People that have become very close to my heart and I've been chomping at the bit to meet.

So I had these plans but was pretty reserved in my excitement for them, and if you know anything about me from reading this blog you know containing excitement isn't easy,  but I did since I wasn't quite sure how Hubby would react to another stay in respite.
I prayed.
A Lot!
I called in the prayer warriors too.
Hey, I'm not shy in asking for help especially when I know I'll get it :)

Hubby accepted the news about respite quite easily. I waited until a few days before hand to tell him. I know that telling him anything far in advance will leave him time to dwell on things and it raises his anxieties. Thus raising mine, so it was comforting that he accepted the information as well as he did. Power of prayer.

I remembered from the last respite they asked that I label his clothing with his name. Since he has a shirt he likes quite well with the name of his ship he served on embroidered on it, a few weeks before I had to pack for Hubby, I had several of his shirts embroidered with his name on them. He loved them. :)
I bought iron on transfers and did the same thing with his undershirts.

The  morning came and I got Brother in Law (BIL) up and off to school.
Hubby got up and I was able to get him ready to leave with no problems.
The ride to the VA hosp was good.

Once we arrived for intake, I took on my Lewy Body Dementia teacher persona.
Nurse and I had a nice visit about it, pharmacist and I did the same.
We went over all the meds Hubby takes and I made sure everyone understood that Hubby only received the meds listed and nothing more. I explained about his hallucinations and that he is not distressed by them and most of the time understands they aren't real so they aren't anything to get concerned about or anything that needs medicated. I must have been a little insistent that they understood that because when I said "He doesn't even get a tylenol unless it goes through me first." I got a "Yes Mam" from the pharmacist. LOL

I made sure they had my numbers and emergency contact numbers.
I had made a list of items packed and worn and gave to the intake nurse.
I also assembled information on Lewy Body Dementia for the staff to read and share.
Education, Education!

Hubby got anxious only once when I was leaving. He didn't know why I was leaving before he was settled in his room. I explained I couldn't stay and the nurse would take care of getting him settled. He was okay with that. He kissed me goodbye.
I walked away and didn't cry this time.
I believed he would be in good hands and I trusted my prayers to be heard and answered with a yes.

I had a day and a half to get myself ready for my own trip.
My excitement for the time was beginning spill out.
I still had BIL to place with his sister but that was a piece of cake since he already has a living setup at each of the 3 homes he lives in.
I also made an executive decision that there would be no "on purpose" exercising. "So Be It" Gavel strike

Now comes the part when I pull out my slides of my trip.
*Dims lights*

Oldest daughter and her Hubby accompanied me as travel companions.

Now I only had plans to do 2 things for certain.
1: Have a gathering on my birthday with family and friends.
2: Finally meet my on line caregiving friends.

Son in law said that was perfect, meet strangers and have a party.
Sounded like college to him LOL!!
Yes, the rest of the trip was just as hilarious.
We laughed the entire time we were gone.

Our first stop brought me to face to face with my newest friend Bette.
Bette cared for her mother, who had dementia, in her home for several years before her mother passed away last July.  My heart ached for Bette, rejoiced with Bette, cried and laughed with her. How could I pass through her state and not find her? Bless her heart for taking the time to come meet and visit with me. It was like seeing an old friend and I hated leaving her when our time was up.

Oldest daughter, Son in law and I continued our travels arriving in NY state, the place I was raised.
We did the typical sight seeing at the Falls and I filled my heart with the joy and love of being with my family and friends. The only bad part about it was that I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to. Fun part was reconnecting with my second grade teacher!

Our next destination took us to the outside of Chicago.

We took the train into the city and rode a trolly through the town. Sight Seeing at it's finest including a trip to the Aquarium and some deep dish Chicago Pizza and

Oldest Daughter, Son in law and I made our way to the Sears Willis Tower for the last stop of our vacation. 1400 ft, 103 floors up and we even stepped off into the glass bottomed ledge.
Confession, I walked in backward looking up and did a lot of nervous laughing.
I had a spectacular view of the beautiful city and to top it all off, I got the sunset. It was a perfect ending to my perfect respite.

We headed home the next morning and I returned refreshed and  rested. Normally in whirlwind travel we can feel tired upon return. Nope, this respite was just what the Dr ordered. I even had a few days before getting Hubby to catch up on laundry, visit the dentist, take our dog Booger to the vet and get BIL resettled into his routine. 

You might be wondering, "Did she even think about Hubby while she was gone?"
Oh yes, I did. Even though I was enjoying my respite time away I still kept Hubby in the forefront of my mind. I called all but 2 days to check on him. He did well and adjusted easily. He had one slide out of his wheelchair without injury and it was reported on one day that he was having some anxiety and was a little irritable. I laughed at that and said he was having a good day then ;-) But overall, his stay was a good one.

The day to get him arrived and as I walked into the wing Hubby was in I saw him sitting in a wheelchair in the hall. He looked good but I could tell there was a decline. He didn't smile at me when I walked in but he did smile at me when I spoke to him. He wasn't ready to leave so we went into his room. We were met by a male nurse and we all hopped in to get Hubby dressed and packed. Hubby needed to use the restroom and had been in there awhile so Nurse stepped in to see if he was ok. I overheard Hubby ask Nurse "Who is that woman?" I laughed out loud! I think that was the first time Hubby has not recognized me. For a long time he hasn't "really" known who I am as his wife, but he has always recognized me as someone he knows or is familiar with even when he gets me confused with the "other" Kathy.
When he came out of the bathroom I had him packed. I handed him his hat and asked him if he was ready to transfer into his own chair and go home. His answer was "Yes, but lets get one thing straight before we do. Who are you?" I explained I was the love of his life and the woman he couldn't live without LOL!!! 

He kept asking me about the "other Kathy".
The nurse assured him that I was the same woman that was there last time he stayed with them. I offered that I had colored my hair to remove my natural highlights so that might be confusing him. He accepted what he was told and came home with me even though I could tell he wasn't quite sure.

We made a few stops on the way home. We had lunch with Youngest Daughter, Other Son in Law and Youngest Grandson. All familiars to Hubby. We stopped to see a friend of Hubby but we didn't stay long as Hubby had physical  meltdown. I finally got him home and settled in his bed.

The next day we had to go back to the VA for a hearing aide appointment. Hubby has complained about hearing for a while and to be honest, even though he does have some hearing loss, I believe it is less his ability to hear and more his inability to process the words. On the way home he complained about the noise and half way home of our 70 mile trip, Hubby had another meltdown physically and mentally. He slumped down in his seat and stopped conversing with me. I got him home and in bed but he was basically worn out for the rest of the day.
Kathy diagnosis : Too much auditory stimulation for his brain to process sent him into automatic shutdown.
He has not worn his hearing aids since.

Hubby's 3rd day home had another Dr appointment scheduled but at the facility closest to us about 20 miles. We finished early enough to take Sonny Boy out for his belated  celebratory birthday lunch. Hubby did well this time but became very needy as the day and night wore on. As soon as he needed one thing I was trying to get  and do for him, he needed or wanted something else. I felt like I was running through myself for him. I stopped and stared at Hubby and laughed. I had just been on an 8 day whirlwind road trip and felt great and Hubby was home 3 days and I was exhausted! 
Life back to normal :)

I learned a few things about myself and life in general on this respite.
The first thing was
NEVER EVER color your hair the day before you travel IF you are using a new brand. You might wind up with an intense color.
Secondly, If you plan on having pictures taken make friends with spanks and do not pack the pants that might fit in the back but cut you off in the middle.
You could end up looking like a sausage with a rope tied tightly in the middle.
And Third, don't brag about your running ability if you can't run faster than the people in Chicago are walking!

Respite, it's all it's cracked up to be :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting Game

Hubby had a follow up appointment with the dietician in our efforts to get him a liquid nutritional supplement from the Veterans Association.

As instructed at the first appt I added more sauces and gravies to Hubby's diet. Changed his milk to whole and pushed the high fat high protein and offered a nightly ice cream treat. you can only imagine my emotional  pain as I declined from partaking in the delights!
For the first 2 weeks Hubby ate well. He even had a 2 week weigh in at the time that revealed a 10 pound INCREASE! Seriously! I couldn't believe it. I honestly thought the scale was broken. Dietician recorded the date and weight and said she would see us at the 3 week appointment time.
But the foods began to have a negative impact on Hubby, as in more constipation than he experiences anyway. He began to refuse the food or limited what he would eat by half or more. I continued with sauces and gravies and  the whole milk anyway but as the saying goes, You can lead a horse to water...

Appointment finally came and another weigh in was had. This time a LOSS of 5 pounds was recorded.
During the appointment Dietician didn't take into account the previous weight gain and the now weight loss. She looked at it all as a gain of 5 pounds and asked if I wanted to continue with the request for liquid supplements.
Uh, yes.
Then I told her what I had witnessed and handed her the 3 week food diary while I  mentioned the weight loss within the last week as well as the extreme constipation and the issues that causes. Abdominal pain and more confusion.
Then I handed her my written plea for the supplements.

Request for Liquid Nutritional Supplements

A request for liquid nutritional supplements for Mr (Hubby) has been made by me, Kathy, his wife/caregiver, due to his continual decrease in weight since Dec of 2011.
On July, 2012 he had an average loss of 1 pound per week even though his appetite had remained good, and proper and adequate nutrition was consumed.
Blood test on July 10, 2012 verify that Mr (Hubby's) cholesterol, blood glucose and other levels were within normal limits.
An appointment with the VA dietician was made and kept 2 weeks later on August, 2012. Weight loss of 4 lbs was recorded at that time. A loss of 4 pounds in a 2 week period. Suggestions for increasing his fat and protein were made and handouts for educational purposes were distributed to me.

I informed the dietician that Mr (Hubby) suffered with constipation problems. He takes a stool softener daily and dosage of Polyethylene Glycol every other day or daily as needed.
I also informed the dietician that Mr (Hubby) had limited to no daily activity so an addition of more proteins and fat might prove to be a problem with more constipation but we would take and use the suggestions as part of the process to receive the approval of supplements.

A 3 week diary was maintained for monitoring consumption.

I feel it is in the best interest of (Hubby) to receive the nutritional supplements not only due to the loss of weight which I know can not be restored but as his dementia increases, the amount of food he consumes decreases. Trying to encourage Mr (Hubby) to take solid foods that will increase his constipation suffering will do nothing more than agitate him.
End stages of dementia usually result in the patient being bed bound. Solid food consumption is decreased by the patient and it is my understanding should not be heavily encouraged as the body goes through the shutting down process, yet hydration still needs to be encouraged for the comfort of the patient. Liquid supplements will provide some fulfillment of hunger and aid in hydration.
Maintaining My (Hubby)'s comfort and his calm is the goal.

Respectfully submitted

Dietician said it sounded good and she would have to submit it for approval and that she herself was recommending the supplements.
Yet with all of this the request was denied by the pharmacist. I don't know how the pharmacist has more pull over the dietician but apparently that's how they run things at the V.A.

Got to love the government. At least they are saving some money and boosting the economy since I will now purchase the supplements on my own :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stubborn Independence

Oh my, what a day.

Poor Hubby took a fall and banged the side of his head leaving a mark and I will be forward thinking enough to guess a black and blue face in a day or two.

His attempt to walk from the bed to the bathroom proved futile. He called for me and I immediately went to him but the moment I stepped in the door I saw his grip on the hand rail release and I stepped into the twilight zone of slow motion as I watched him fall over and I attempted to get to him.
So close and so far away and my stomach knotted as I witnessed his stiff unbending body take a tree fall into a piece of furniture and his head scrape down the front of it. He lodged between the end of his bed and the antique sewing machine.
I was horrified as I watched Hubby fall and overwhelmed with frustration at myself for not getting to him in time to, at the very least, deflect his angle and hope he landed on the bed.
I've actually done that in the past by giving him a hip check as he was falling to prevent serious injury.
This time I was too late. Realizing Hubby was in an awkward position I had to drag him out from where he was trapped. Hubby wasn't unconscious but he wasn't responding to me either. He was making some kind of a low moaning noise.
After I got him into the open and sitting up, I could do nothing but cradle him in my arms and cry.
I couldn't even survey the damage I feared he had. I had to pull myself together but I was struggling to do it.
After a few moments I tried talking to him again. He was responsive this time. I sat back and checked him for injury. A mark on his face and ear. A mark on his wrist but he was moving all fingers and wrist. He wasn't complaining anywhere else.
I suggested a ER visit without the ambulance but he refused.
His face wasn't swelling, he seemed alert and oriented (?) Okay alert and oriented for Hubby. So I suggested we get him up and in bed. He agreed yet wouldn't accept my help to get up. He insisted on doing it himself and after several minutes he finally accomplished it. I stood close by ready to assist, wanted or not if the try took a turn for the worse.

I wonder when or if he'll ever realize that he needs more help in the areas of walking.
The fluctuation of Lewy Body make it difficult for him to understand he can't do the things he thinks he should.
I know he wants to maintain his stubborn independence, I get that, but at what cost to him?

Just the other day he was having a really good mobile day and during our outing he wanted to stop at a friends place of business. I always get nervous when he wants to make stops in town but I did and he insisted on walking in so I let him without fussing about it. I sat in the car and videoed him as he made the attempt. This looks farther than it is.

He finally made it inside and through the glass I could see him talking with his friends. After a few minutes they walked outside and the friend stepped in my direction. I got out of the car as friend proceeded to tell me that Hubby was having trouble getting back but didn't want his help,
"He said you would help him, cause you always do."
Friend was right, at least I always do try.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some days...

It doesn't pay to get out of bed.

The day actually started okay.
Hubby had a Dr appt scheduled and as the norm for him when he know about an appointment he stresses about it. Asking every day when it is, what time, what day is it now, etc etc as though he is worried he will miss it.
We arrived in plenty of time and had a short wait.
We were escorted to the room and Dr was complimenting Hubby on his new haircut (I buzzed it off again but I wont tell you about removing a middle section of one of his side burns by accident) and his new shave  (he FINALLY let me get rid of his beard). Hubby was bright eyed and talkative and Dr  commented on that.
I told Dr that was one of the bounces we get with LewyBody.
We all discussed meds and how Hubby was feeling to which he replied, "Oh alright I guess, I don't really know" and as if someone flipped a switch, Hubby got very angry in tone, body posture, attitude you name it and proceeded to tell the Dr about how he was mad at the VA for allowing me to steal all of his stuff and him have nothing. He didn't understand how I was able to convince the VA that he was sick and the do him like they did.
I think Dr was taken back a little because he had not seen Hubby like this before.
Dr asked Hubby what he thought was wrong with him and Hubby replied, "Not much of anything that I can tell."

I'm not going to go into all the details of Hubby's beliefs of lies and deception, or Drs attempts to smooth Hubby's feathers to no avail. Dr couldn't get straight answers from Hubby about certain accusatory things so he finally just cut him off saying we could do that all day but it's hard to converse with someone that cant understand that he has an actual problem and it would do nothing but upset Hubby trying. Our appointment ended.
Hubby was not happy.
I wasn't happy, but not at Dr and not because of what Hubby said. I was not happy because there was obvious distress in Hubby's tone.

As usual I try to fix everything with food. I suggested lunch.
Maybe that only works on me but Hubby wanted no part of it so we came straight home.

Once home Hubby settled in then came to find me, we had to talk.
He was leaving me.

This is the part I didn't do well at and things went down hill pretty fast.
Actually the ground opened up and we plummeted.
I did not fall gracefully. 

Hubby took a breather as I was breathing hard, he returned to tell me he wanted a phone number so I wrote it down and handed it to him. Then as a courtesy (read with a sarcastic tone) I handed him the phone. He stared at it (because you don't know how to use a simple phone!) He asked me several questions about the phone and I did explain how to use it and even suggested he use the pick up and dial phone in our bedroom. No extra on off buttons besides the numbers to push. Hubby stared at the phone as I stared at him, then he threw the phone across the room. I mumbled, great, under my breath and he yelled at me for not dialing for him. Snap, so I yelled back. "If you think you're able to move out and live alone you should be able to make a phone call without help. Prove you can do it!"
Go me, that's telling him, way to go girl :/

Hubby retreated to his bed and I felt like dirt :(
I try so hard not to get wrapped up in the negative of dementia but some days it feels like I jump in feet first.
I know how hard it is for me to live with the difficulties but I can only imagine how difficult it is for Hubby to live with it every day without escape. Why do I make it even more difficult for him sometimes?

We eventually settled down and talked.
He said he was a burden, I said he wasn't a burden but there were times that his Lewy Body was difficult.
I also said I knew he didn't understand why things are happening the way they are and I was sorry that I added to his stress with my own behaviors. I try not to. I don't always succeed.

He made his call, I dialed for him.
We are getting ready to go out for supper.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Room Service

"Kathy!, You need to call home ASAP!" Not exactly the words you want to hear on your voicemail but the ones I got yesterday. I dialed home as I ran out on my workout. 

I tried to remain calm but I'm guessing I'm not real good at it. I sprinted across the parking lot and as I sat in my car to call and get the scoop a stranger walked over to me window to see if I was ok. I smiled and assured her I was. Bless the heart of concerned strangers.

Hubby had an unresponsive fainting spell while his aide was there. According to her, she had given him his sink bath and he complained about his neck, then just laid back in the chair. She couldn't get him to respond to her so she called the paramedics then called me. I didn't hear my phone when she called the first time and I had just missed her call the second, that's when I got the voicemail.

I met the ambulance at the Hosp and claimed the white socks I saw through the back doors. Turns out it wasn't Hubby but I had enough anxiety that I would have claimed the lady on the stretcher as my own and been concerned for her too.

What seemed like an eternity to me, eventually another ambulance pulled up and I saw bare feet. They were mine, I mean Hubby's. I checked him in and met him in the room. They were dressing him in a hospital gown because his pull ups were the only clothing he had on when he arrived.

My assessment was that this was an incident that has happened before with Hubby or incidents similar to this. Had I been at home we would not have made the trip but standard procedure for the Aide is to call emergency personnel. I understand that.
I educated again about Lewy Body dementia. I was oddly happy that our contact was with new personnel. :) ER Dr. was also grilled and he was knowledgeable about lewy.
ER Dr. asked Hubby some questions and he was able to answer a few, then ER Dr and I discussed what happened and I told him my thoughts. Hubby has had similar incidents like this before. You can read that story here.
So the plan for the day was to do a routine blood workup, and an EKG, ER Dr said unless he saw something out of the ordinary he didn't see any reason to try to do a battery of tests that would have Hubby hospitalized. The less stress on Hubby the better he thought it would be. I wholeheartedly agreed.
Youngest daughter came to join us and check on her Daddy. I stayed in contact with Sonny Boy and Oldest Daughter who offered to come. I assured them this was not a big thing and all was well. I promised to let them know if that changed for any reason.

EKG man came in and did a tilt test. Before he started he explained what he was going to do and asked about Hubby's shaking. Ahhhh, student number 4! He now knows that Lewy Body has Parkinson type symptoms resulting in a movement disorder. EKG man said it might be difficult to get an accurate reading due to that but we would do the best we could and see what the Dr had to say. Blood Pressure taken laying down, BP taken sitting up and BP taken standing. The easiest was laying down as Hubby needed assistance staying upright while sitting and complete help standing. EKG man called in reinforcements because he couldn't hold Hubby and push the button on the BP machine. It took several attempts to get accurate readings, Hubby's blood pressure appeared to be all over the spectrum, dangerously high to mortality low. They wrote the readings they could get and carried them away after settling Hubby back in the bed.

A few mins later a tech came in to draw blood and she was visiting with Hubby. He smiled and chatted away in what was his usual flirty self. A side of him I hadn't seen in a while, then he introduced us to the tech, He said "This is my daughter and this is my wife and I'm the proud husband and father." My heart melted that he remembered me as his wife, and Youngest Daughter and I awwed at his sweet words.

After the tech left, Youngest Daughter said, "You sure were being nice."

Hubby replied, "You have to be nice to the people that can bring you food."

Youngest Daughter and I laughed loud!

A few mins later a nurse came in and asked if we needed anything, Hubby emphatically  said "YES, something to eat!." 
Youngest daughter and I laughed at his request. 
A short while later the nurse came in, with a plate of food! 
I'm still shaking my head. When do you get to order and have food delivered in the ER?!

ER Dr returned after a while and said everything looked good. He just had one issue with the EKG and he held up the paper. I cut him off at the pass and assured that the "blip" he saw was a normal part of Hubby. 
Hubby has a misbeat in his heart rhythm. He has had it for many many many years and it has never presented a problem for him. ER Dr felt comfortable that I knew what he was going to say and dismissed us for home with instructions to follow up with Hubby's Primary Care Dr. 

YAY we get to go home! Hubby was still eating his plate of food they brought him and I wondered what he would wear home! I had a bag in the car that had some extra pants and undergarments and socks but no shirt. I fussed at myself for not having a shirt then fussed at myself for fussing at myself. Now was not the time to beat myself up over a shirt. 
 I retrieved the bag and when Hubby finished his food Youngest Daughter and I helped him dress and they allowed him to wear his hospital gown home.

Discharge papers in hand , Hubby strapped in the front seat, Youngest Daughter kissed goodbye, we made our way home.
Got Hubby all settled in his own bed and the rest of the evening went fairly smooth.

I did however repack a bag with a shirt this time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Today I had a first.

Hubby had an audiology appointment at the V.A. and being his chauffeur and helpmate I accompanied him into his appointment. We were ushered into a small very gray room with odd looking doors. As we walked down the hall I mentioned that the rooms looked like they may have been vaults at one time. The closer I got to the door I viewed it was a thick door with another thick door attached to it. Peculiar looking in deed with long pull handles instead of knobs. Dr. Audiology took the wheel chair and lifted it over a raise in the floor. I surveyed the raise and it was a small gap in the floor. It actually felt like we were going into an elevator or vault. Then Dr Audiology closed the door, with some umph to do so! Now at this point, had I been claustrophobic I may have been screaming to be let out! Then the quiet set in. And I mean quiet. We were in a sound proof room. How cool was that?!
Dr Audiology,... I'm just going to  call him Ear Dr because spell check keeps alerting me to my improper spelling of audiology :/ My fingers are going to fast and mixing up my letters.

Ear Dr. took some time to visit with Hubby about his hearing and ask Hubby what he thought about the problem. I thought that was very nice of him. Ear Dr explained the types of testing he would do, sounds and word recognition. He fitted Hubby with the earphone equipment and while he did that I asked Ear Dr if he noticed Hubby's Lewy Body diagnosis. He said yes so of course my next question is,,,Are you familiar with Lewy Body?
Ear Dr was not as confident with his knowledge and admitted he was only vaguely familiar with it. We discussed Hubby's hearing issue as a possibility of  less hearing loss and more lack of understanding but since it's impossible to tell where the lewy protein deposits are taking up residence in Hubby's brain we will just see where we are and go from there. I liked Ear Dr for being so honest about his Lewy knowledge.

All fitted for his testing, Ear Dr left the room through the big doors and the outside noise swept into the room. Very interesting experience for me, then the silence again as he closed the door. There was a fairly decent sized window in the room, at first I thought it was one way glass but I think it was just hazed over, maybe on purpose. It was butted up against what looked like another hazy window and I caught a shadow of a person sitting down. I surmised this was Ear Dr.

I sat quietly in my chair I was offered and looked over the room. Not much to see or rather nothing interesting to go and explore or so I told myself since I could be seen through the glass and heard as I realized when I saw a microphone protruding from the wall next to Hubby. I remembered my grandmother telling me to mind my Ps and Qs. Hmm come to think of it, I use that phrase myself but I have no idea what Ps and Qs are. So I minded them and stayed quietly seated.

Hubby sat in his wheelchair waiting for the test to start when all of a sudden he shot up in his seat and he looked around the room. I will only guess that the test started and the sudden noise scared my easily startled Hubby. His eyes got HUGE and I broke out in laughter but quickly contained it in the form of the Muttley the Dog laugh! You know that cartoon dog that does that odd laugh?
Hubby could hear Ear Dr but I couldn't and occasionally Hubby would say "yes" or say a random word. This went on for a little while but I kept recalling the surprised look on Hubby's face and had to keep the Muttley laugh in check. Let me tell you, that is not easy to do in a soundproof room and you're the one making the noise! I kept turning my head hoping to see something to concentrate on and divert my thoughts. Finally I had to tell myself "Get a grip" and I did until I suppose another sudden sound startled Hubby and he jumped and looked around again. I think I snorted a little :/
I'll be honest, as I sit here and write this I'm still smiling.

The shadow of the person in the other room got up, In a moment Ear Dr came back into the room and fitted Hubby with another devise. This one wasn't directly on the ear itself but sat just above the ear towards Hubby's temple area. This was interesting enough to me to keep me occupied. Ear Dr apologized to Hubby for startling him, Hubby said he just wasn't expecting it.

Ear Dr left the room and in a moment I saw the shadowy figure take a seat. So at this point I'm pretty much thinking I'm right in believing it's Ear Dr.

This time I hear a beep noise, I look around, Hubby says nothing. It stops. I hear it again, Hubby says nothing, so I ask, "Can you hear that?" Hubby says "yes" Then I hear the voice of Ear Dr coming from Hubby's head. I sit quietly and concentrate on the beeps that Hubby isn't acknowledging and the ones he is.

Ear Dr. returns to the room, disconnects Hubby and says that it appears that Hubby has lost some hearing but they were going to fit him for hearing aids. He said that it wouldn't restore Hubby's ears back to his youth but it might help remove some of the stress Hubby may be experiencing trying to hear and providing him with less stress and some comfort was what they wanted to do.

I sure did like Ear Dr.

So our Audiology appointment went quite well. Hubby should have new hearing aids in a few weeks. Lets pray that Hubby does get some relief with them.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recipe for Disaster

Since Dec Hubby has lost about 1 lb a week. His last weigh in was 2 weeks ago until today where he had an appointment with a dietician and she weighed him. Hubby had lost 4 lbs. Dec 16 he was 198 lbs, today my Hubby is 166 lbs. It's obvious, he looks frail and weak and walks frail and weak.

What prompted this appointment was me asking for a nutritional supplement for Hubby because of his weight loss. Hubby is 100% service connected through the Veterans for his combat time in the Korean War. As such he qualifies for medical care, medical supplies and meds themselves. I felt that the nutritional supplement would benefit Hubby since he has diminished his intake of solid foods in the last 3 or 4 weeks. I felt a liquid would help to keep some nourishment and hydration in him. Apparently this is going to be another one of those fight for "luxuries".

The first luxury we had to fight for was pull up disposable undergarments.
2 attempts to get this style of undergarment were met with resistance and incorrect fulfillment after the agreement from the V.A.
The third attempt was successful after a face to face meeting with the pharmacist and an explanation as to why that particular style was necessary. Yes, I had to give a very good reason for the V.A. to send Hubby the pull up briefs. I informed him that Hubby was still mobile to some degree and the tab type garments were a hindrance to him. He still wanted to maintain some independence and I wanted to maintain his dignity. At this point I took the plastic garment, placed it on the man's desk and told him those would not help with either of those things. Apparently my plea was successful and Hubby started receiving the correct ones.

During the meeting with the dietician she told me that getting liquid supplements would be difficult and the pharmacist would have to approve it. To start with I had to keep a record of everything Hubby ate for 3 weeks, he would need to be weighed again and the pharmacist would have to approve the request with a good explanation. I'm already drafting the plea :) I'll let you know how it goes.
Dietician also gave me some high fat high protein recipes for Hubby. She told me that his last blood workup was good for sugar & cholesterol so there was some "wiggle room" for her to make suggestions.
She suggested I use whole milk, ( I was using 2% for Hubby) instant breakfast, butter, gravy, puddings and custards, sweets, cakes, cheese sauces etc etc.. The more she suggested, the more my stomach growled.
She said serve about 6 meals a day on small plates.
Poor Hubby, having to be subjected to so much food.
But I know he could actually eat more that way, I've been known to eat nearly half a cake throughout the course of a day because I cut tiny bites of it and nibbled on it as I passed by it each time. By the end of the day I wondered what happened to the cake?! Umm forget I mentioned that part :)

I informed Dietician that one of the problems associated with Lewy Body is constipation. I was concerned that Hubby eating that much food and him having mostly no activity would not be helpful. My reason for liquid supplements were to keep some nutrition in Hubby since his appetite has decreased for solid foods yet he still wanted something and I wanted to keep Hubby hydrated to prevent any more body pain than he already has. I also told her that Hubby got anything he wanted when he wanted it, so wiggle room didn't mean anything to me.

So away we were sent with a handfull of papers. I started making a mental grocery list. The longer I made the list the more I realized, this may not work out for me! I'm weak!! I have carb addiction! I want sugar and chocolate to be my friend!  :)
Oh my, I will need lots of prayers for a strong will against temptation.
This seems so unfair ;-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Make Room For Daddy

Friday, July 27, 2012

No Sure Footing

Have you ever been walking along and lost footing and it's taken several awkward steps to regain your balance? That's how it feels with Lewy Body Dementia these days.
Hubby has had what feels like so many small yet steady declines over the last few weeks, trying to regain a sense of balance is difficult.
This morning was no exception. What you are about to read will seem startling but I assure you that all ends well. I needed you to know this spoiler before reading, sorry for those of you that like suspense. ;-)

2 times in our 30 yr marriage I have ever been afraid of my husband.
Once when he had a bad reaction to some new night time meds and he got very very very (I said very, right?) mad about something, tore through the house throwing things and swearing. I prayed the kids slept through it (they did). I lay in bed pretending I was asleep as his tirade went on. Why didn't I call an ambulance or the police? Because honestly, I was used to Hubby getting mad and having a temper tantrum. Hubby has PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so dealing with anger issues had become so commonplace for us it seemed normal at the start. I don't remember what took the turn to fear for myself, I just remember that sick feeling I got and I hoped and prayed that his regular sleeping meds would kick in, he wouldn't hurt me and he would go to sleep. As long as I laid there pretending to sleep, he ignored me but his outburst continued on other things in the house. The next morning Hubby was back to normal. I was up early cleaning up some of the wreckage of the house when he came into the kitchen and asked me if I had seen his glasses. We eventually found them under the kitchen table. As soon as the VA was open I called the Dr and TOLD them that I was discontinuing the new meds and why. I didn't give them any opportunity to ask me to at least give them some time. And to this day it is a NO NO meds for Hubby. I don't know why but I was never in fear for the kids. If they didn't sleep through it I have never been told by them. That was many many yrs ago.

The second time was at the snapping point of our marriage. Hubby had already been gone a couple of days returned for some more of his things. It was a Monday I remember because I was leaving the house to meet a lawyer as he drove in. He walked over to my vehicle and told me what he was there for and asked me where I was going. I told him I had an appointment, I would be back if he wanted to talk. I started to drive away but he stopped me to tell me he had a lawyer. I think I said, well it looks like I need one too, or something to that affect and I remember he asked me who I was going to get. I told him who I was going to see and Hubby took on a whole other demeanor. He became enraged and started swearing at me, I started to drive but he kept stepping in my way and proceeded to withdraw his pocketknife from his pants. That same sick feeling I had once before came over me. He threatened to stab my tires with it so I couldn't go anywhere. I panicked and drove off and I'm pretty sure I spun him around as I did. I threw gravel and dust and squealed tires as I hit the road. I drove straight to the sheriff's office and filed a complaint then to my new lawyer.
Hindsight I believe this was part of his Lewy Body Dementia. That was 7 yrs ago.

Today, for a split moment I had that same sick feeling.
Hubby woke up in a foul mood. More mobile than he has been lately, He shuffles all around clutching everything for balance. He is so lost to location, always asking where we are and how we got there and who brought his clothes, are we going to stay here, is this a VA home ? etc etc.
Today he believes someone has stolen some of his things and has accused me of the same. Something I am used to by now I barely consider it as odd anymore. Oh the things we label normal when living with Lewy Body Dementia. I already decided I was not getting tangled up in the theft ring so I tried to change the subject by offering food. He agreed to that so I sliced him up some watermelon and set the bowl in front of him. There was no redirecting his thought train so I tried to assure him that nothing had been stolen and I sure didn't need to steal anything. I then walked out of the kitchen to my comp room and pulled up my prayer list. I can see the kitchen from my comp chair but I couldn't see where Hubby was sitting but I heard him when he got up. He finally came into sight and I saw him reach into the sink and withdraw the very large knife I was using to cut the watermelon. I got the same sick feeling for a moment as I watched him shuffle back toward where he was sitting. He stood at the counter and I slowly stood and stepped into the kitchen. My mind was racing as to every scenario and how I could play it out with a successful ending. I surveyed Hubby looking at the counter confused so I scanned the counter when I realized, he didn't have a fork for his watermelon. My heart still racing a little I walked in smiling and told Hubby “I forgot to get you a fork” Hubby agreed and said “salt too” I approached him talking to him the whole time about forks and salt and took the knife from him and locked it in the dishwasher. Retrieved the proper utensil for eating and the salt. Hubby sat at the end of the counter happily eating his watermelon.

I returned to my desk and blankly stared at my prayer list. I told God how thankful I was for Him watching over us. I could have been hurt (I know, I thought about me first) Hubby could have fallen and gotten hurt. I also said that I just couldn't concentrate on my prayer list at the moment but He knew what the needs and praises were so AMEN!

Now that I'm settled I believe that Hubby had NO intentions of doing harm, he was looking for something to eat his food with but got confused about which utensil he needed and where they were located. He took what he saw I had used.
There is however a REALLY GOOD lesson here.
When Hubby's Lewy Body Dementia was first diagnosed, a suggestion on the spousal support group was made to remove all sharp instruments. At first I ignored the idea, Hubby wasn't as bad as the husbands of those making the suggestions. After further reading and a few weeks passing I decided it might be in our best interest to do that very thing so I removed them from sight. Better safe than sorry. 
We may say to ourselves, Oh my loved one isn't that far along or my loved one would never do anything like that. But the truth is, we NEVER know what a person with dementia is capable of doing and when. Unless you can pinpoint what parts of their brains are dying we are walking in the dark. We should plan ahead and prepare for the worst and always be vigilant to their safety as well as our own. I was lax in that. I will know better next time. Scary lesson learned. I've always been a hands on learned though.

Now, Hubby is calmer, he shuffled to his bed and is feeding the dogs potato chips.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


One of the truths about Lewy Body Dementia. Tonight Hubby told me (slowly, repetitiously and broken up) "I think I have something in my hand, it feels like it, but I know I don't. I can see I don't, but I think I do"

Hubby has had a permanent decline.
I say permanent now because I've seen it coming but we always had a bounce back, like Lewy Body Dementia likes to do. This time however, the decline is constant and has been for a while now.
I'm talking about location. Hubby is completely lost when it comes to where he is now. He will ask repeatedly through the course of a day, Where are we?
Always I answer matter of fact that we are at home. I'll give our address and answer any questions about it for him short sweet and to the point. Hubby accepts my answer, sometimes with confusion but acceptance anyway. For that I am grateful. It wont be long before he is asking again and after the umpteenth time of hearing it I still answer the same way. I remind myself that to Hubby this is the first time he has asked and he sincerely does not know he has asked before. It's not like he forgot and it will snap back and most of all it's not like he keeps doing it to annoy me, although I can see where it could grate my nerves to snapping if I didn't keep reminding my own self about that truth.
A funny thing happened the other day, I've been assembling a photo album for Hubby so he can flip through the pages. I asked him to join me so I took him into the dining room with me where I had the pictures scattered about the table. As Hubby looked through the photos, I put every one he recognized into the album. After a while he asked me where we were and when we were leaving to go home. I tried to assure him we were home but he wasn't so sure with me this particular time. I told him we were in the dining room and that was probably why he was more confused. Still unsure he asked me when we were leaving to go home. I told him we didn't need to leave because we were staying here where we live. In a huffy tone Hubby insisted "Well we can't stay here!"  Raised his arms and looked around the room. I got tickled and escorted him back into our bedroom where he was more content. Perhaps he thought I was going to make us sleep in the dining room :)

Update on the falls specialist orders. The alert mat for the floor finally arrived and I got it installed. What I've observed about the mat is that it does a good job when it is walked across, BUT Hubby steps ACROSS the mat to avoid the sound it makes. No matter where I place it, he insists on stepping over it. One very early morning he got up and made the attempt to step over the mat, in the process he fell. He wasn't injured thank goodness. When asked why he tried to step over he told me that he didn't want it to bother me LOL!!! At least he still thinks about me :) I haven't taken it up yet and assured him I WANT him to step on it. It's a work in progress.

Now the hip protector shorts. They are very nice, similar to athletic shorts. They have the bulky padding for the hips sewn in the sides and Hubby wore them once, backwards, and has refused to wear them again. He shuts down when I try to explain their function. sigh. I'm not so sure there will be any progress in this area.

My own Dr appointment left me knowing nothing more than I knew when I went in. Appointment day after arriving early and getting all my paperwork filled out I still had to wait before seeing the Dr. When I got in to see him I felt like I was chatting at 100 mph, this is what I do, this is what I don't do, this is what I feel this is what I don't feel. We decided a blood workup was in order but I had eaten so it was a no go, I had to go back. Apparently the only time they would do it was during the hrs I wasn't able to and their lunch hr(s 2 of them to be exact) fell in my aide time. After explaining that I was a caregiver and to my husband with Lewy Body Dementia, Dr was nice enough to make sure someone would be available to draw my blood when I could get in. At my return nurse and I were conversing and I told him I appreciated his time, I knew it was his lunch and I thanked him and told him I was a caregiver to my husband with Lewy Body Dementia. Nurse was intrigued. He didn't think he had ever heard of it before. And stupid me forgot to bring the print off I keep for times such as that. UGH!! (note to self, print off and carry extra copies in car) So I gave him a mini course and we discussed a family member of his that had alzheimers. Being the scardy cat I am of needles anyway and willingly at that, I was very relieved that I felt little to no pain. He hurt me more when he squeezed my arm :/ I was told results would be back in 24 hrs.
I waited, no call
I waited another day, no call, maybe I was supposed to call them
Next day, I call and am told nurses only work on Mon Tues Wed, so now I have to wait and someone would call me. it's Friday.
Mon, no call
Tues, no call, Wed, you got it..
The next Mon I call and inform them I have waited 2 wks could a nurse please call.
Mon afternoon the phone rings, finally, oh but not so fast, apparently they wont talk to me on the phone so I have to go back in. It's a good thing I am not a paranoid person otherwise I would have diagnosed myself with a life threatening disease with days to live and they were afraid to tell me! Ok so maybe I thought about it. once.
Turns out all my labs came back glowing. On paper I looked great except for 2 numbers, weight and cholesterol. The 2 things I already knew. I need a cholesterol med to help speed along the process of ridding myself of the yucky bad stuff. So my question was, "Will this help me feel less tired? (remember the reason I was there)
Oh you will love this part
Dr said, If I lost weight by eating a low fat diet (already been working on it I told you last time I was in here) exercising ( I mentioned that I was doing that too and had taken up my running again since the weather cooled down) drank plenty of water ( that too) I would feel better. The heat probably isn't helping either. Come back in 3 months and lets do it again.
The GOOD NEWS about this return is that I took my print off and asked the nurse if she would care to read it and share. I told her about the other nurse and she was happy to have it and promised she would, (I like to believe people do what they say) I walked out with a feeling of pride at educating the medical community about Lewy body Dementia. So it wasn't all bad.

Oh I wanted to share this status from my FaceBook: 
Hubby has been sitting in the room with me and we have been semi engaged in many conversations. In other words, he has sat here and tried talking with me for a long time. I see his attention is diverted many times for various things but continues to be directed to a certain spot more than one. All of a sudden he yells, "Stop staring at me cat!" I jump, at this outburst but smile thinking he has mistaken the dog for a cat so I look at where he is looking and realize, he's seeing my ceramic cat and it's facing him. I turn the cat and ask if that's better, he says yes and continues his talks. I even amaze myself at how quickly I can fix a situation ;-)

 Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 
Repeat as often as necessary