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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Decision #1)
Hubby has an appointment with the V.A. in a couple of days and at that point we will decide on palliative care/ hospice.
I knew that this would one day be a decision we would need to make and it's been weighing pretty heavy on my mind since we asked for the consult. My mind knows all the positives of it, my heart keeps saying, are you sure this is the time? It is.
I have questions I want to ask.
I want to know if their service will disrupt our (my) support team in a good or a bad way.
I want to know if I can still continue to use the support system that I feel like I had to fight to put in place.
Direct contact with his Neuro, Mental Health and Primary care are a call away if I have concerns.
I know that we have reached the end of the line as far as meds and treatments are concerned so I'm not looking for a straw to grasp. I'm looking to keep the people I feel are helping me and Hubby, even in a limited way, through this journey.
I want to know if we will receive at least the same amount of aide time we are getting now.
If not, As frustrating as it can be, I'm wanting to keep our aide time even if it means renewing every 6 months and waiting weeks without an aide to get the renewal. 
Perhaps I'm afraid to make this step and I'm not realizing that is what the weight of my feelings are.
It's odd how something that I know is good can feel so bad.

Decision #2)
When Hubby learned about this appointment he was sure I was taking him back to respite.
The scene that followed when I told him went from 0 to 60 in angry milliseconds.
His verbally ugly and angry outburst caught me off guard.
I had to reassure him several times that I was not getting rid of him. Although he said he believes me, he still makes comments to the contrary at times.
SO, now I'm second guessing my decision to use respite care as long as he is at this level of awareness and this sensitive to the thought of going.
One day at a time. I live life much easier this way.

Decision  #3)
The night before last, Hubby took a hard fall in the bathroom. He had fallen and smacked the side of his head against the wall. I didn't see or feel any bumps and as hard as the fall sounded and the position he was in when I was finally able to get to him, I could tell he had hit it pretty hard.
It knocked him for a loop and it took a little while to get him off the floor but it took even longer to get him focused on me and answer my questions.
The main was, Do you need to go to the Dr?
No! Emphatically.
Hubby said he had a hard head.
I agreed and said his skull was hard too ;-)
The best I could do for him was get him comfortable and watch for signs of concussion.
I decided to respect his wishes not to call an ambulance.
I watched him closely and our night was very bad.
It was difficult to separate the fall issues with Lewy Body issues.
Lots of confusion, Lots of mobility issues, restless sleeping.
At one point he concerned me enough that I got afraid.
He was shaking uncontrollably.
Not a seizure, not like the last time, different.
I had finally drifted off to sleep close to 1:30 AM when I heard the hand bar chain.
I got up and went to Hubby's bed. He said he was cold and was shaking.
I checked for fever, none.
I covered him with a blanket besides the 2 he already had but he was still cold.
He continued to tell me he was cold so I draped by body on top of him and his blankets and held him tightly until his shaking subsided.
I didn't know what else to do.
When he settled I went back to bed.
About an hr later I heard the same noise and he was complaining about the same thing.
Again I draped him and held him tightly.
I got afraid, I prayed, a difficult prayer.
I asked that Hubby be given some peace, I prayed that my fear would go away.
And I prayed that if this was the time God intended to take Hubby, that I would be willing to surrender him.
Now that all sounds like it came out easily but I assure you, it did not come without hesitation, chastisement for myself for thinking that way and many tears.
Hubby settled down long enough that I felt comfortable to leave him and go back to bed.
I cat napped the remainder of the night waking to every sound.

Decision #4)
A week or so ago, the owner of the gym I attend had planned a gathering and I was invited.
I asked our son, Sonny Boy, to stay with his father so I could attend.
Sonny Boy agreed as it worked well with his work schedule and I was looking forward to a little time away.
The day (yesterday) finally arrived but it happened to be the day after Hubby's fall.
Hubby was out of it still.
He didn't remember falling and couldn't understand why his head hurt.
On many occasions he asked me why his head hurt.
He conversed little and slept all day. I even had to wake him to go to the bathroom.
Walking was gone, so wheelchair rides and physical assistance was necessary.
As the day moved on I wondered if I should go ahead with my plans.
All the what if's crowded my mind.
Hubby showed no improvement, but also no decline and I had to trust that Sonny Boy would be okay to stay, after all, he was capable and if he needed me all he had to do was call.
I decided to go.

Decision #5)
I am SO happy I did go!
What a relaxing couple of hours without thoughts of caregiving and errands that needed to be run.
I wasn't on a time schedule, other than my own.
I wonder how long it had been since I was able to do that.
I think 5 yrs!
I arrived and was happy to see many of the ladies I knew and met some new people.
I did realize I need to work on my social skills!
A display of food items and beverages was available and we all indulged in the spread.
It was a lovely evening, carefree and relaxing.
When I returned home, Hubby was still sleeping, I woke him to say hello.
Sonny Boy said he never moved while he was there.

Today Hubby is awake and alert. He slept all night.
His mobility, even as limited as it is, was back.

Yes, I believe I made the right decision in going.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ours, Mine and His

Once upon a time, a long time ago...
In our world we lived on the schedule of the children and husband. 
Hubby lived on the schedule of his business and the business I told him he had with our children. (He had to be reminded)
In our world there was freedom to just go if something was needed from the store or we wanted to visit a friend or family.  The children were loaded in the car and away we went.
Every day at 3 :PM Hubby would gathered at a favorite place with friends for coffee.
Every Sunday and Wed we attended church.
Every Sunday afternoon was nap time, every Sunday night was "Fend for Yourself" or as others call it, leftover night.
There were school functions and social functions.
In our world, adapting to each other and teaching the children to live in and adapt to it, was just part of raising children, being married and being a family.
In our world there was freedom.

Then our world was divided in two by dementia.

It became My world and Hubby's world.

Our worlds mirror each other at times.
The same, but opposite.
Most days our worlds look nothing alike.
It is then I have to decide which world I will live in at the moment.

Our freedoms have slowly faded away.

Routine and schedule do not work well in Hubby's world.
Things need to progress at whatever pace he needs when he wants and needs it.
Routine and schedule have to be in my world.
The schedule of Hubby's Home health Aide (HHA) allows me to run errands and take a few mins to care for me in my workouts.

When appointments for Hubby are made, pulling him into my world takes some effort.
Preparation and time allowed needs to be made.
It isn't always easy to get him into my world.
I'm usually as exhausted as he is by the end of the day and we both fall back into our own worlds.

At the beginning of dementia, I tried so hard to get Hubby to live in my world.
I tugged and pulled at him but the gravity of Lewy Body was too strong.
We've had some wild rides because of it too. Many of those rides resulted in hurt feelings, anger, and tears, from both of us.
Logic and reasoning , for the most part, are gone in Hubby's world.
It's not like he forgot or misplaced something, it's just gone, stolen, dead, never to return.

Logic and reasoning are still alive in my world although there are times when I forget or choose, not to use them.
Dealing with Lewy takes a delicate balance to get between the worlds. Some days I do tire of the walk but I continue it.
Caregiving is not easy every day, but it's not hard every day either.
We laugh and some days are quite pleasant.
Even in very difficult times there can be a silver lining.
Hubby and I took a trip to lunch the other day.
Once we finished and I payed us out, Hubby said he wasn't feeling well.
Restaurant owner took charge of Hubby's wheelchair as I got the door and the two of us watched as Hubby had a mental and mobile meltdown. Hubby slumped in his chair and became semi unresponsive.
We approached the car and realized Hubby had to be physically lifted from his chair to the car seat.
This was actually a first in this situation for us.
Most meltdowns happen at home.
In order to move Hubby, I needed Hubby to help me help him by wrapping his arms around me.
First I had to get him to acknowledge that I was talking to him.
I had him look at me while I explained I needed him to hold on to me.
I had to repeat this a few times to get a response and move Hubby's arms onto me.
It was then Hubby said, "I'd rather hold on to you than anyone else."
I smiled at Hubby, held his face and kissed him, then lifted him into the car seat.
Restaurant owner helped tuck Hubby in and close the door while I loaded the chair.
He was very kind and compassionate and I thanked him as I got inside the car and buckled Hubby up.
When we got home I got him inside and in bed and I sat on the floor by his bed with my head on his chest.
He put his arm on me.

30 years ago when Hubby and I decided we wanted a life together, I wanted to be a better person for him and for me. I still strive for that daily, for him, because of him and lots of times, in spite of him. I fall short so many times but my faith in Jesus and my relationship with Him keep me moving on to the next day, to continue to love, and forgive not just Hubby, but myself and others and most of all Lewy as odd as that sounds. I have learned so much because of Lewy and instead of staying angry and bitter towards something I can not control and have done everything I can in my own power to change or fix I have learned to accept it, as much as I dislike it, for Hubby's sake as well as mine. 

I have learned that I can't force Hubby to live in and adjust to my world without backlash, so I have to visit his world in order to be a better caregiver for him I MUST bridge the two and step into his more.
Am I missing out on anything, maybe. Maybe I'm not experiencing "life to it's fullest" in the eyes of others.
But this is Hubby's fullest now and not only am I experiencing it, I'm getting to contribute to it.

Statistically I will outlive Hubby.
My life hasn't ended in my caregiving role.
I will move forward when Hubby passes on. I have no idea where or exactly how. But that's not today's decision.
I will not say what I chose to do was in vain.
I will not have regrets that I "missed out on life"
I will not feel like I sacrificed everything even though I have given up, willingly and sometimes reluctantly, a lot of things to stay here.  
I will rejoice that I didn't miss out on Hubby's life and appreciate and treasure the time we do have. As limited in freedom as it is. I still have the freedom to love Hubby anytime I want to, and I do.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Hubby requested we go out to eat so he could get out of the house.
Then in his next breath he said, "At least you let me do that."

Poor Hubby, he wants so much to do things but 99% of what he wants to do he isn't able, ie: driving, going places by himself etc
I've suggested over and over that he participate in different activities but his stubborn side refuses to hang out with "old people".
Seriously?! The man himself is 75 yrs old! LOL!!

At this request to go, I set aside everything I am doing, jump in the shower and get ready.
Then I help Hubby who had decided he wanted to lay back down while I get ready. Not a good thing because the end result is a sleeping Hubby by the time I get finished and we go nowhere. This time he was still awake watching a western.
We get him dressed and shaved, his hair combed and all the extras that go with preparing to leave.
We talk about where he wants to go. He doesn't care.
We talk about what he would like to eat. He doesn't care.
I suggest fish, steak, hamburgers.. He doesn't care.
So I cut my eyes at him and suggest MY favorite with a sly smile, Chinese.  He cares!

We find ourselves once again at a favorite and accommodating place.
We eat a quiet and slow supper, just like all our others.
They seem to get slower and quieter for us.
I tip well for fear they might charge us rent on the table.

Hubby has lots of trouble eating and I assist where I can and am allowed.

Just before we finish a couple we knew walk in.
We haven't seen these people in 5 yrs.
I smile and wave and as they pass our table Hubby looks at the gentleman, perks up and says "Well, Hello Joe!"
I was thrilled that Hubby remembered who these people were and even more thrilled that they took a couple mins to say hello to Hubby. Much of the time Hubby is overlooked when others are around.

Hubby stays all perked up as we leave and he gets all chatty about nothing in particular on the ride home.
Hubby realizes he is chatty and we both laugh about it, but I like it.
When we finally get home I jump out of the car, open the house doors, let our new dog, Booger, out and get the wheelchair from the trunk for Hubby. He and I decide to "walk" the dog.
We enjoy the evening in the yard for a few mins when Hubby asks me, "When are we going home?"
I answer "We are home."
Hubby reponds, "This isn't my house."
One victory at a time I suppose LOL!

Hubby continues his downturn through the night.
He informs me that he has been thinking.
I swallow hard.
Then I ask about what.

Hubby doesn't know where he is.
I ask him if he knows who I am and he says yes, my name is Kathy.
I ask if he knows what my relationship to him is.
He does not know this answer.
I inform him ( I was nice about it!)
I asked him if he felt safe with me.
He said yes.
I tell him we are at our own home.
I asked him if he felt safe at this house.
Hubby looks out the window and says yes.

He tells me he thinks he recognizes my car.
He also tells me that he bought the car for me.
I agree (even though it was I that bought the car)
He continues that he bought the car for me and for "the other one"
I ask who the other one is.
"She is supposed to be Kathy."
Hubby looks confused as he sits down.
He then says "but she can't be Kathy"
I ask why.
Hubby answers, "because she isn't.. She's a ghost."

I refrain from a smile and tell Hubby that there is an actual medical term for him thinking there were 2 of me, Delusion.
He seems satisfied with my answer.
I'm satisfied that he says he feels safe.
And he isn't afraid of ghosts.