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

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This will be WAY TMI unless you are a caregiver or have interest in caregiving and desire to learn more.

Don't say I didn't give you fair warning.

You can turn back now and nobody will feel harshly towards you about it.

Last chance!

Ok, I warned you,

Lewy Body comes with a constipation issue. Even though we have tried numerous relieving techniques the fact remains I can't force my loved one to take them on a daily basis and I won't change his diet to the extreme he is frustrated and angry more than he already is. Thus I supply him with his desire for whatever he wants, specifically candy and the consequences that come with it.

We both learned a hard lesson on impaction.

We finally dug around until a solution was found and it all worked out in the end.
We'll know better next time, I hope.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Respite Act 3

When I was a young girl I used to love to visit the local park. The playground had a merry go round there. Not the carousel type with the horses but the colorful one that had the rut all the way around it where we ran while holding on to get it to spin, then we would jump on for the ride.
If we were lucky we could get an adult or another person to spin it and all we had to do was hold on for the ride.
Learning how to ride without feeling sick or falling off, took practice.

As a self spinner you could the circle jump on and gently ride out the fun until it stopped.
When another person and their force took over, that could sometimes be another story.
The slow spinners allowed us to sit on the edge and we could bring it to a stop by putting a foot down on the ground, another reason for the rut around it.
The faster spinners left us with little no control so we learned how to ride. For me, it only took one fall off during a spin to learn what centrifugal force was. So to prevent being spun to the outside edge and off, I needed to hold on to the metal bar tightly.
I also learned the many ways that metal bar would be my riding friend. I could sit straddle of it. Arms and legs wrapped around it with a death grip. A little braver, laying down with head toward the center and a foothold on 2 of the bars and hands clutching the bars near my head. Sometimes I could let go.
Learning to stand came with it's own challenges but you learn to crouch and grip, then stand and grip, and eventually you find a center of balance and realize, you can move toward the center where you find the ride isn't so dizzying. There is where you can extend our arms to the sky and feel like you conquered the ride. Just don't let anyone or or anything distract you or you find yourself on your backside getting swung out to the edge. It's also there that you can extend an arm to assist another trying to make their way to the center.

This is my caregiver merry go round.

So it's been over a year since I had a chunk of respite time. Granted, I get an aide for 10 hrs a week. I can get a few errands run during that time and if I have any 'free' time I usually try to get in a workout at the gym I am a member of. Lately that hasn't happened though.

Hubby has been very, very needy. I have been “Honey!”ed so much that I suspect bees will begin to follow me around!
My lack of presence seems to set off some sort of internal distress. Even running the vacuum in another room feels like a luxury. So mainly I sit with him, play a computer game to escape from the reality and mentally shut out everything I don't have to contend with.
Caregiving is weighing on my heart and mind. Everything feels like its sliding to the edge of the merry go round being turned by life and some days I wonder, “Will I be able to hang on without falling off and getting hurt?”
I keep trying to maintain my balance as I work my way to the center. Clinging to Jesus with arms and legs wrapped and locked on. I know once I get there I can find some peace from the struggle as I stand with arms lifted and watching the world spin. It is also there I can reach out to others to help them reach the center and hopefully a center of balance.

One of the things that threw Hubby and myself of center was the start of Hospice. Don't get me wrong, I am VERY grateful for them and so happy to have them. It's just... I don't know.
Hospice started with Hubby a little over a month ago. He continues to deteriorate physically but the odd thing is cognitively he seems 'better' (?). Oriented to place and person. Ahhh but “You aren't fooling me Lewy, I've seen your tricks before and I'm not falling for them!” So even though Hubby seems more his old self trying to communicate (very s l o ... what?), I maintain a distance in my mind and heart so neither will take a hit when the decline slams us again.

Now it's time for respite and I had scheduled 2 weeks.
Hubby's anxiety shot up as respite neared. I waited a while before saying anything to him for that reason and as the days got closer the anxiety increased. His behaviors worsened and his attitude towards me worsened and honestly I prayed SO HARD for the Lord to keep my mouth closed. Eyes straight ahead and just get through one day at a time. For a wile I didn't know if he would even go as he stated he would not. He tried to pick a fight with me the day before we were to leave and spoke very mean, vulgar and hateful things. I promise it took a great deal of emotional strength to remain calm and not respond. I prayed for a steal vault around my heart and a clamp on my mouth. I forgot to ask for protection of my mind because he got a few shots in that made me think, I would be glad when he was gone. Truth.
The morning came and although he was reluctant he was at least cooperative in getting ready. I allowed plenty of time and never rushed him to do anything. I packed almost everything the night before. One mistake I made was doing the packing in our bedroom. I could tell he was getting upset as I started gathering his clothes, so I stopped, waited for him to need to use the bathroom and while he was occupied, moved everything to another room and packed a little at a time until I finished.

This particular respite time I wanted him to try a stay at the VA contracted nursing facility instead of the VA Hosp. My reasons, all logical to me, were, since he had already expressed his dislike of the VA hosp I thought a different place and perhaps atmosphere would satisfy him more. There would be more people, men and women. More visitors in and out. He might be more engaging with them and actually better emotionally. He would be closer, 45 miles instead of 65. The drive is better and I don't have to fight big city traffic. Side note, I was not familiar with the town we were going to so I pulled out my map but Hubby had been there and through there many times in his car dealing business days so he told me how to get there :) Other reasons I chose this facility was he can take his Hospice services with him so if he needs anything at all, supplies, meds, they will provide it. Also the thought that IF I would ever need a permanent place for him, this is the facility I would use so I wanted us both to have some feel for it.

The facility is lovely from the outside. It looks like a remodel was done to it at some point and it was decorated for the fall. The inside was very clean and the front gathering area was large and homey. Residents were watching TV, conversing or playing dominoes with one another or just sitting. One item of interest was a very large display that had actual birds in it. SO pretty.

The room Hubby is in is roomy. He shares with another gentleman. A very nice and quiet man. This is much better to Hubby's liking compared to the noisey one he shared a room with at the VA hospital. The rooms are older though, painted concrete block walls and connecting rooms share a half bath. So 4 residents share a sink and a toilet. Immediately there was an issue with that. The bathroom was tiny and a wheelchair wouldn't even get wedged in the door. There were no grab bars and the toilet wasn't the raised type. So Hubby was offered a bedside toilet.
Another thing about the room is, compared to the VA Hosp which is completely furnished, this respite room is more like a dorm room. Except for a bed, completely EMPTY! They were kind enough to scramble and bring him a night stand. They rustled up a rolling bedside table too. The gentleman he shares with said Hubby was more than welcome to watch TV with him. The rooms don't provide TVs. So day one of my respite was spent getting Hubby settled in and then making a list of items he might need that I hadn't thought about or making sure he was stocked up. Day 2 was spent gathering those items and taking them to Hubby. ahhh Respite, so glad I get a break from caregiving! LOL!!

I'm not worried about Hubby per se, I do hope he engages with the others. Unless his Lewy Body Dementia lets up though, I doubt he will. Lewy put him on the downward slide. Although Hubby has been more vocal at times, his mobility is shot and for the last few days had to be total assist with transfers. He also gets hit with unresponsive or barely responsive. I do not contribute this to medication. It fluctuates too much. Another Lewy Body symptom.

One last thing to share, Hubby is very convinced that he will pass away while he is in respite. I asked him to wait until it was over. He agreed so I'm holding him to that ;-) but the best thing was his mushy sentimentality and expression of love for me.
As we were getting prepared to leave for respite, Hubby said “Well, if I don't see you anymore, it was nice knowing you.”
LOL!!!! I'll take what I can get :D

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surprise Reaction

No matter how much we prepare for something, ask for, anticipate and expect, some things we just are not ready for when it arrives.


It's a wonderful organization. They have been involved in my life more than once so I am familiar with them and appreciate what they do and how they do it. I always knew that when end of life care came for Hubby I would be glad to have their services and I have no doubts that I will be glad now that Hubby has finally qualified for it.

But WAIT!!

How come the news I was waiting for feels so bad? Why was this distressing? I should be relieved so why is this different than when my grandmother, mother and friends we cared for had them. We were glad to have Hospice on board then. Relieved actually that when we needed something, Hospice was a phone call away. Helpful and compassionate. Heck, Hubby and I even volunteered for our local Hospice. I expect nothing different in the level of care and attention, education and support. And yet, the tears came after the notification and they caught me off guard. stupid tears.

I've tried so hard to maintain a level of dignity for Hubby and the addition of Hospice will ensure I can continue to do that for the man who is piece by piece losing himself. Another piece gone is his ability to take his meds most of the time. I have started to hand feed them to him. A sip of water, pills, another sip of water. He has many times asked me what he should do first so I usually talk him trough by holding the cup and straw, encouraging a drink, inserting the pills and offering another drink. I don't have to do this every time but the frequency is increasing.

He is also experiencing more anxiety, most of the time upon waking from a dream he can't shake. He is always worried something is wrong, no matter how many times I assure him everything is fine. I can't even go to the bathroom without him opening his eyes if he suspects movement in the room, that usually comes in the form of the dogs jumping off his bed when I get up. Even the dogs want to know where I'm going and if everything is ok. One day I almost expect to find Hubby along with the dogs, lying in front of the bathroom door awaiting my exit :)

Yep, everything is fine as long as the tears stay away.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whatcha doin?

I think I may need to invest in a security system. Not to keep people out, but to keep a certain someone in. This morning at 5AM I found Hubby outside at the end of the walkway. Our dog, Lady aka Elvis to Hubby since he can never remember her name, woke me up whining. Thank goodness for Lady.
No telling how long he was out there but he was pleasantly surprised to see me at "these people's house". I seated him in the wheelchair and we stayed outside close to 15 mins just talking about "these people's house" looks like ours including the old toolbox on the porch. And "will "these people care if we go inside?" I assured his nobody would care. Best part, I wasn't the least bit cranky! It was a miracle morning :D

This is the first time he has actually left the house and I'm most surprised given the weakness he has and the mobility issues. I would have expected this at the start of his Lewy Body dementia journey, not so far into it.

If you've been keeping up you know this is the flip side of the last few days. It's emotionally exhausting. Now I'm concerned about him getting outside and getting hurt without me knowing. UGH! Sonny Boy is giving me some ideas for our home. I have questions and he has suggestions.

Years ago, when we first realized we needed to care for his mother, she was dx with dementia but we knew little to nothing about it. She too made efforts to leave the home and was successful a few times, not far just at the door, before we bought door alarms to alert us she was trying to open the door. Her mobility was fairly good though, she didn't need support assistances to walk and although she was slow she could at times be fast as lightning! Those little door alarms were great.

In other news. Not long after Hubby's diagnosis, Lewy Body had taken my starched and pressed and perfectly quaffed Hubby and stripped him of his desire to maintain his spit polished appearance.  The home dress code is now just underclothing and socks. He is comfy like that and I don't force him to dress.
Yes, there is other news but you need the background for it.
Yesterday Hubby was taking his usual bathroom time, meaning, he has no concept of time so he can just stay in the bathroom for very long stretches of time doing nothing. Eventually I go in to assist with whatever he needs help with. Sometimes just directions on how to get out.
Back to yesterday, I walked in to see what Hubby might need and proceeded to help when he informed me had had just been to someones house. I didn't disagree with him, I just said, "Oh, yeah?" as I helped him get his underclothes on. Apparently, in his mind he travels to lots of places. This could explain his confusion about place. And as I was helping he said "You know, I go to a lot of places without any pants on."
It was everything I had in me to keep from falling over in laughter so I just smiled really big and said, "It's ok. Nobody cares what your wearing." Then I helped him into his wheelchair and settled him in bed.
I sure do love my Hubby!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lewy Body Days

4 days of bed ridden , 3 days no food, 2 days no water to speak of. Cognition shot, mobility out the window, I prayed over Hubby, I cried over Hubby. I held him a lot and kissed him. I wondered if it was his ending. I wanted to make sure he knew how much he was loved. I asked for prayers and strength to face what was ahead. The strength and calm came. We rested.

Then this morning at 3am, youngest daughter found Hubby standing in the kitchen. He didn't know where he was or how to get back to our bedroom so she came and woke me. I got him settled back in bed and woke at 7, so did he. He sat up on the side of his bed, he ordered something to eat. I tried to get him to choose something lighter on his stomach than a sausage sandwich but he was having no part of it so I made one. He ate it all and didn't even share with the dogs!

Today he's had water, tea, cola, juice. Today he is walking his normal pull himself along. Today he got cranky with me when I offered him his afternoon meds. He didn't need no meds right then. 2 hrs later he fussed at me because he needed them and I hadn't given him any all day. Today he annoyed me and in some way I was glad. What a difference Lewy can make in a day!

I learned something through this experience. I'm not as organized for supplies handy as I feel like I need to be. I found myself flitting around to collect the items I needed for Hubby's care. Tomorrow I'll reorganize and make a one stop location for things we need, gloves, pull ups, bed pads, sheets, baby wipes, trash bags, etc. All of these we have but they were in various places throughout the house. I need this to be more efficient.

Another issue that developed was I noticed the start of a pressure sore on Hubby's heel. I try so hard to watch for these things and ward off potential problems so when I saw it I tried to beat myself up with some guilt. I was reminded that these things can happen no matter how much I check. I found it very early and am taking steps to find relief for it. I have no reason to feel guilty so I'm not going to. I have a call in to the Dr and someone was supposed to call me back with a solution or suggestion. I'll call again tomorrow. Until then I have his feet elevated off the mattress and am putting solarcaine on it. A store pharmacist said it was for sunburn but had aloe and an anesthetic in it to help with pain. I bought a bottle.

So there we were and here we are, and I have no clue where that is.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Prepared, But Not Ready

Hubby started his new pain medicine and I was expecting a hit in cognition and mobility. They both came.
I am glad I read a lot about Lewy Body dementia, have joined support groups and read the stories, gotten advise and feedback from those ahead on this journey. It has made the walk a little easier for me so I can make the walk a little more comfortable for Hubby.
At times I get a little overwhelmed by the grief and anger of caregivers. I retreat from everything. I wonder how can I help? I understand their pain and sadness. But I also get encouraged and supported by others. I appreciate their words. I try to be a supporter and encourager. Today however I may not be a very good one.

I had Hubby evaluated for Hospice again. I did that about a yr and a half ago. You can read it here
Again he didn't qualify because he could still transfer on his own, had limited walking and can put food in his own mouth. The dementia criteria is pathetic!

The last few days I'm struggling with my emotions.
I sit with Hubby as he sleeps. The new meds have helped cap his pain and I can tell by his facial expressions, or lack of, that he is resting, for that I am grateful. But oh the price he paid for it. As of today he is 2 days bedfast. No more pulling himself along the furniture to get where he wants to go. He must be physically assisted to transfer him from bed to wheelchair when he is encouraged to go to the bathroom and or get cleaned up. His appetite has decreased to maybe a couple of bites of something but for the most part, he doesn't want anything even when I bring it anyway. Bowls of ice cream are left to melt, sandwiches are left to dry out, candy and snack foods untouched. Although I did find a couple of wrapped pieces placed under his pillow.
A precious friend brought us fresh veggies from her garden and he was so pleased to have them but he only ate a small portion before giving up. I've made shakes and offered softer foods but they too are left unfinished or declined. It's hard to watch this.
I do however push fluids, fluids , fluids, water, tea, juice lemonade.
I think I'll try a few fruit slushies too, now that I'm typing this out.

Cognition took a terrible beating. The hallucinations have him confused but not upset. Where he would normally not acknowledge them as real or ask about them if he struggled with it, he asked one who they were so I can tell he is having a more difficult time distinguishing. Again he is accepting my word that I do not see what he does so that's a relief for us both. Verbally at times he makes no sense at all and a word spoken gets looped in his brain and he uses it in place of something else he wants to say. It's hard to keep up so some times I just wing it. It doesn't happen all day because he sleeps more than ever. That doesn't seem possible so maybe I should say he sleeps differently now. Before he would sleep and turn over or rise to go to the bathroom and back to sleeping, now, he stays put, in one place, never moving.
This raised my red flags about developing pressure sores. I have made a call to the VA to see if he is eligible to receive an alternating pressure pad and pump for his bed. I will keep a VERY close eye on him to ward off this trouble! We have him out of pain, I want to make sure it stays that way even if I have to order one myself.

My mind has been going over the list of coulds, needs and things that will.
This is hard to write but I promised I would be truthful about our lives in this blog so I don't sugar coat.
I know Hubby is dying, there I said it... I said it :(

My mind and prayers are stuck on our children. I keep praying for their peace and strength as well as my own. I pray daily for Hubby to always feel loved and safe and for his passing to be peaceful.
Hubby and I have talked extensively in the past about how we wish to live out our last days. We are both in agreement on how we want things.
Comfort care. No life saving measures, no tubes, no hospitals, just whatever it needs to make us comfortable as we transition from this life to our eternal one. Talking about this difficult subject was fairly easy for us. We have a Hope built on our belief in Jesus and we accept that life here ends for us all and we move into an eternal one. We agreed we wanted cremation and we agreed we wanted no services just a gathering of family members that wished to congregate over a meal somewhere. 
Arrangements for these things are all in place for Hubby. An advanced directive and a physician signed DNR. Burial policy paid in full. A list of people to call when the time comes and I even went so far as to write out the obit. I heard you gasp a little! It's something that can't be avoided and I wanted to do it with a clear head and not in a moment of emotional distress. So I think we are prepared, but oh, I am so not ready. Not ready at all.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What have I done?

In my mind, I've put myself in seclusion from lewy.
Seclusion from the blog. Seclusion from caregiving groups.
I've separated myself to think, ponder, to pray. I may have to live with it but I don't always want to think about it so I am giving it the cold shoulder. The silent treatment.
For now, this seems to be my self defense for protecting my minds peace as I sort through things. Yet even though I'm ignoring all things lewy, my mind is always churning about ways to make things easier for Hubby. I don't think that can be classified as denial when it's at the front of my thoughts all the time.

One of the big issues Hubby has had for quite a while has been chronic back pain.
Poor guys complains all the time. Those compression fractures he suffered a few months back didn't help things either and we have tried to find ways to alleviate the pain. At the least I would like to find a way to cap it to a certain level since it seems impossible to be rid of completely.
The, what feels like, never ending complaining finally weighed heavily enough on me that I vowed to do whatever we could at any speed we needed to, to get rid of Hubby's pain.
I made an appointment with Hubby's Primary Care Physician even though we weren't scheduled. The VA schedules everything and we are supposed to sit and wait. I chose to jump track. At this appointment we again discussed Hubby's pain and chose to take a more aggressive approach caring for it. In the past I have always dragged my feet with anything new for fear of side effects worsening lewy. I suppose I realize that lewy is going to stay it's course no matter what we do or how fast or slow we do it. Still, in the back of my mind I ask "Am I doing the right thing?"

Another avenue for relief was a Chiropractor. In the past Hubby has seen a chiropractor and feeling certain that his back had healed enough I made another appointment for an adjustment for Hubby. I guess you could say I am trying to adjust his attitude ;-)
If you ask Hubby he would probably tell you I need mine adjusted too. :0

After the intake which included the info about his recent falls and compression fractures and the lesson on Lewy Body; What? You thought I wouldn't? The plan of action was neck xrays and start there first. I got to see the xray and it was such a surprise to me when I noticed Hubby had 5, yes, FIVE! healed compression fractures in his neck most likely from his falls he had taken over the last several months. 
When I had taken Hubby to the ER nobody ever x-rayed his neck when he was seen, only his hip and back. After his last couple of falls his main complaint was his lower back so I never thought about his head or neck unless he had hit his head, which he hadn't, but just a hard sitting jolt can be enough to compress your vertebrae in your neck. Now I know to ask for head/neck x-rays too if we ever need another ER visit.

Dr Chiro adjusted Hubby and believe it or not, Hubby said he felt better afterward! YAY! 
The new meds, morphine, came in and Hubby started taking them. I watch him like a hawk but I don't really know what I'm watching for anymore. He's sleepier now, if that seems possible. Sometimes when he wakes he looks like he's in another world. I guess this is odd because I've always been included in this other world of his, now I'm just a stranger looking in. Maybe this is just an adjustment period for the meds, maybe it will be our new normal. Only God knows that. 
I ask myself, "What have I done?" 
It is then I must listen to my inner peace repeating 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. And reminding me, "You did everything you could to give Hubby the best quality of life you could. You have sought out ways to release him from the pain and are taking steps to do so, You love him even when he seems unlovable. You're doing the best you can with what you have and know." 
That's what I have done.

I guess I don't need to tell you about the cognition issues since we all know what direction they are going in also, I will share some fun with you though! 

Hubby is always wanting to "go" someplace and some of the time we actually do venture out in the late afternoons. One day Hubby decided he wanted a steak for supper. I'm not going to complain about that so we stopped at Chili's.
Sure enough they prepared an excellent ribeye. So tender and juicy! mmmm
I scarf mine down like I'll never eat again and Hubby eats his mashed potatoes.
Seriously, there's a steak sitting there, I even cut it up for him.
I ask if his steak is good, he says "Very", we brag to the waiter and manager.
The bill comes, $16 each! I gulp and pay it, ask for a to go box for Hubby.
We get home and he asks me if I want the steak. I think about it but decline.
Willpower, go me!
The next thing I know, he's feeding a $16 steak to the DOGS!!!!! 

At least he asked me first. ROFLOL!!!!

On another occasion Hubby asked me "Who do you work for?"
I answered, I don't work for anyone.
He then asks "How do you make it?"
Apparently my answer of "Honey, I'm married to you" was hilarious because he busted out laughing! LOL!

And again, In an effort to figure out who I am, Hubby just made me show proof of identification, from the V.A. My drivers license wasn't good enough for him. Good thing I had my medical card o_O 

Friday, July 19, 2013


Ever so slowly I have felt the tightness of grief.
I wasn't blaming it on depression. I've been there before.
Feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Brain fog. That lost alone feeling.
In my mind, this is depression.

No this is something different to that.
Then a situation outside of caregiving tipped the scale and now I feel like I'm in the stranglehold of anger!
So here goes.

Over the last few months Hubby has had good and bad days. More bad than good.
Lots of cognition issues, LOTS of his own anger issues we have tried to deal with and cap. Still no solution to that though.
Mobility has declined and I explained to his Dr at a recent appointment that Hubby wanders but don't get it in your mind that he stands up and walks across the floor with no issue. He clutches everything as he makes those tiny little shuffle steps and pulls himself along all the furnishings. Many times, almost every actually, he will get where he wants and then he "Honey"s me to come and rescue him with the wheelchair for a ride back to our room.
He still suffers with his back pain and his neck has decided to flare up and join the party.
His headaches that he used to complain about on a daily bases associated with his PTSD issues have returned.
Lack of movement, muscle atrophy and neurologic stiffness associated with the parkinsons type symptoms.
Falling is still at high risk. Hubby has already suffered 2 compound spinal fractures. I don't know how to make him understand he needs assistance with walking. He is still a very proud man and he would rather crawl where he wants to be than have anyone (besides me when he needs me) help him. His words.
He is so dependent on me and my presence. I get "Honey"d so often I may become a diabetic! Even Booger the dog gets up and moves toward the door when he hears it.

So now to the constriction.
I'm angry because... (random order)

  • -Hubby refuses help from anyone but me.
  • -I refuse help unless I feel like I'm in a bind.
  • -I have to make ALL the decisions.
  • -Our aide took another position and we will have a new one probably with new days or hours.
  • -Hubby forgot who our baby daughter is, even though he sees her every day.
  • -I get "Honey"d
  • -Hubby stays up all night mostly raiding the fridge and drinking from the milk carton or rattling candy wrappers!
  • -I'm tired.
  • -The grass grows
  • -The dogs need attention. Why can't they be like cats?
  • -Hubby wants to go places EVERY night after the day has just about ended and I am tired, it's late and only a couple hrs of daylight left. Yet he has NO idea where he wants to go when I ask him. He asks me where I want to go. I don't want to go. I want to stay home! Then he gets upset at me for keeping him prisoner.
  • -There are a limited number of places we can actually go that are handicapped accessible and even fewer places that have family style bathrooms. 
  • -We never go anyplace.
  • -Hubby is STILL on the I'm stealing his money delusion. On the way home from a recent Dr appt he started in. I started loudly head singing, Mary Had a Little Lamb! I wish I had chosen a different song :/
  • -Hubby insists he will have a talk with his Dr about things and insist that I make appointments for TODAY, umm have you EVER tried to get in to see a VA Dr same day? It doesn't happen. yet when we saw the Dr, he didn't say anything.
  • -Hubby can't hear or comprehend what I'm saying so I have to repeat myself! Hubby can't hear or comprehend what I'm saying so I have to repeat myself! HUBBY CAN'T HEAR OR COMPREHEND WHAT I'M SAYING SO I HAVE TO REPEAT MYSELF!
  • -Hubby accuses me of yelling at him.  I'M NOT YELLING! Ok maybe a little.
  • -I use too many words to talk to Hubby.
  • -I have to be a thesaurus to talk to Hubby.
  • -I don't want to talk to Hubby.
  • -I can't talk to Hubby.
  • -I don't work out and exercise like I used to and want to.
  • -Hubby lost weight since his last nutrition appt. 8 lbs in 4 months and no changes in diet other than the ice cream addition since the hot weather settled in.
  • -I had to talk to the nutritionist about keeping Hubby's weight documented for the addition of Hospice services if it continues to decline. Failure to thrive will qualify Hubby for those services.
  • -Hubby believes he can move out on his own.
  • -Sometimes I wish he would.
  • -I can not come to grips with placement. I can't think about it. I've shut down.
  • -I'm angry because, I'm angry.

Oh this list could get so long but you see what my mind is dealing with. I think it's time to make some steps to see my own Dr and address these issues.  I don't want to let my joy be squelched by anger. And mostly I don't want to squelch my witness of Gods great love. Getting trapped in anger is scary for everyone!

So since I've whined all over this page and honestly, just getting that out seemed to help. I actually forgot some of the things I was going to list! I want to end with something positive.

A few years ago I built a small deck off the side of our home. Hubby and I could sit outside on the swing and enjoy the weather when it was enjoyable and he felt like it. Just a few times for him though.

This year I hired a crew to put a roof on it. maybe Hubby would want to come out more. I felt it best to hire professionals for the roof due to an electrical issue. They did an AWESOME job! Now Hubby and I can sit outside, heat permitting, and he (we) can be protected from the elements.

 I had also been thinking of building a ramp off the back of the deck. I'd like to connect this side deck with the one in the background of the other picture. I built that deck for our youngest daughters wedding 4 yrs ago. At some point I want to put a gazebo roof on it. That's a BIG dream for me right now so I'll stick with the ramp since I know I can do that.

And I found a surprise under my deck when I was building the ramp. Remember the kitten my sister in law sent me? If you don't, you can read that here.
We named her Shadow. She is a very affectionate and loving cat. Some days she gets run of the house. We like her. And apparently another cat liked her too because I found 3 kittens under my deck that belong to her! Note to self, shadow needs a vet appt.
My goodness they are already big and how I had NO idea she had them is beyond me. They are the most playful, friendly and loving things. You would never know they had no human contact before.
2 solid blacks, 1 tortoiseshell. All 3 have blue eyes and one of the black ones has a stumpy tail. From the feel of it, the tail never elongated. It has a tip but it's crooked and adorable. It's my favorite and it likes me as well. Booger the dog thinks I got him toys to play with.

 And most of all I want to say Thank You!
I have received some of the sweetest and most supportive comments from you. Thank you for your concerns and encouragement. Thank you for reaching across the near and far miles with your support. I want you to know that I have you all on my daily prayer list. For those I have no name for, God knows who you are.
I pray he blesses you all with His Peace and Comfort. Thank You Thank You!! This journey would be SOOOOO much harder without your support. I only hope that I can or have offer/ed you the same in return.

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28 2013

Today didn't go very well. Much like many of the days and nights lately.
We are struggling.
I miss my husband even though he is sitting in the same room with me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rude Awakening

Odd how our emotions can switch from one extreme to another.
The other morning Hubby took a really hard fall from the bed hitting the bedside table, busted his lip open, scraped his nose, eye, chin, knee. Blood everywhere. ewwwww

And all before I even had a cup of coffee!

I got him off the floor and into the bathroom so I could tend to him. He wouldn't cooperate and my frustration, anxiety and BP started rising I'm sure.
After finally assessing his injuries as non emergency I got him cleaned and re settled in the bedroom. Poor guy looks terrible!
I walk into the bathroom to clean it and hear him tell the dog,
"Did you see Daddy's face? People are gonna think I was drinking and got in a fight and didn't win."
Oh sheesh! LOL!!!

 Our reality is that the declines in Hubby have been coming slow and steady but coming non the less and coming much more frequently that making adjustments to any new normals feel out of reach.
Essentials for packing
LOTS of confusion, 
LOTS of repetition, 
LOTS of hallucination, 
LOTS of feeling displaced and wanting to leave, LOTS of conversations that seem to make no sense to anyone but Hubby and at times not even to him only leaving him frustrated. 
I even found a collection of items Hubby had gathered for packing so he could leave. Smart choices on his part as they were necessary items, well I don't know about my bottle of perfume. 
But I continue to pray for peace of mind, heart and spirit and to look for the humor in the confusion because I don't know any other way to deal with the sadness of the situation.

I haven't blogged much as we seemed to be coasting along with little to nothing to talk about. Not many humorous moments to share either, bummer. 
I did a couple of DIY's with PVC I will happily share. 
Hubby has chosen to sleep in our bed at nights now. There are no rails on that bed so I made some. $15 worth of PVC and so far so good. I am thinking I may have made it a little long but that's an easy fix. I used the hospital bed rails as a pattern but had to make the pvc rails taller for our own bedside.

During the day Hubby sleeps in his hospital bed. He can see outside his window during the day so I wanted to give him some aromatherapy at his window. I built a PVC stand, window high, and set a planter of lavender in it. Now when the lavender blooms Hubby will have a soothing aroma as he gets some fresh air and watches his birds! It was an inexpensive and fun project to do too.

I do have a couple moments AND I want to share some news about a trial that researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center are doing. A small dose of an already approved chemo drug that might help reduce or get rid of some plaques in the early stages of people with Lewy Body Dementia. According to the researchers "(The Study) offers a unique and exciting strategy to treat neurodegenerative diseases that feature abnormal buildup of proteins in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, Huntington disease and Lewy body dementia, among others."
I will let you read for yourself here.  
I don't normally get too excited in all the news of "might" but this one had my attention. And although I believe it is too late for Hubby to receive the best benefits, it might help someone else just starting.
For anyone interested in joining the trial registry, here is Dr. Turner's email address:

Now on to what IS.
When Hubby isn't driving me up a tree with the never ending looping questions, he is cracking me up with his confusion and hallucinations. 
More cracking up than driving up the tree.
He asked me if we changed hands since he has been here.
I asked what he meant by that and he said, "Have they got a new manager?" 

Hubby thinks he is in a VA Home and I am the caregiver so again, I explained that this was OUR home, we are the people that live here and it belongs to us, to which he replied "Oh No! I'm not going to be the manager. I'm not going to manage all you women!"

And my favorite - One night, Hubby was sitting on his bed looking at me and said, "You know, I love you. 
I don't know why but I'm glad I do." 
Me too Hubby, me too!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oh His Aching Back And My Aching Head

Poor Hubby. He took another fall 2 weeks ago, had another back x ray and a week later we finally received the results and only after I called  4 straight days in a row. I didn't have to stage a sit in either! The last time I finally went to the Dr office and sat in the waiting room until someone spoke to me. Progress! ;-)
This makes the second compression fracture from falls this year. The first in Jan.Hubby received a steroid shot and some muscle relaxers. This time I learned something I did not know. I asked if he could have another shot but was cautioned against it because, this is what I learned, steroids will weaken the bones, and since he has already had two fractures from 2 falls he didn't want to risk more bone weakness. He did prescribe the muscle relaxer again.

The last few days have been a bit trying with Hubby's back pain. Hubby finally managed to go to his eye Dr appt. we had to cancel a few times before due to various dementia related issues and once weather. It's so difficult to get into that clinic and I just about have to accept whatever appt time they give me. I was NOT looking forward to the hr drive to the VA but more than that, I was not looking forward to the drive home that would come come during rush hr traffic, or more like rush hrs!

Hubby has complained with eye problems for quite a while. His glasses weren't worth anything and he couldn't see. He complained enough that I finally got tired of hearing how slow the VA was, I took him to an outside eye Dr and paid out the nose to get him new glasses and the frames he wanted. Funny thing though, they are almost an identical prescription to the ones he already had, and when he took the eye test wearing the new glasses, he passed so well that even I was amazed. But Lewy took over and convinced Hubby that the glasses were worthless. He refused to wear them put on the old glasses and decided they were perfect. sigh

I know that Hubby has very mild glaucoma. He has drops he uses for it and when we attended the Dr appt the eye pressure had gone down some. Eye Dr suggested 3 options. One was a laser procedure, one was the drops and another was wait and watch. I suggested that the laser option may not be a very good choice because Hubby had the tremor that was quite pronounced and getting him still enough might be a problem. Since I don't know much to anything about lasers, my concern was that Hubby would shake and they would burn a hole through the back of his head. Perhaps I should have waited before speaking because Hubby, who started the day out having a testy morning anyway, became a jerk (no pun intended) and started gruffly telling eye Dr that I was opposed to anything he wanted to do because I was afraid they would let him drive again.
He continued to say I wouldn't let him do anything because I was in charge and I liked it.

Eye Dr just listened and then explained how the laser procedure was fairly simple and he felt confident that he could do it on Hubby. He also said the procedure wasn't a sure thing and drops might still be a necessity but he was happy and willing to give it a try.
I asked Hubby what he thought, he wanted the procedure, I said, lets do it. I was annoyed enough with Hubby that I almost didn't care if they burned a hole all the way through his head and out the back of it. So they did the procedure in less than 5 mins and we walked out 3 hrs after the initial appointment time, with drops and a return appointment to do the other eye. Oh and no holes through the back of his head that I could see.

Before we left the facility Hubby made a pit stop. I have decided that this facility needs a family friendly bathroom. I couldn't accompany Hubby inside so I waited for him out in the hallway. Still annoyed at Hubby's attitude and anxious about the drive home at that time of day I didn't even notice when he walked out, which is actually translated as clutching everything in sight and scooting his feet, and he was not wearing his glasses. It wasn't until we were several miles down the road when he asked me about them. I scoured my purse 3 times eventually emptying it in my lap only to come up empty handed for glasses.UGH! But there was no way I was turning around and going back. I fought the stop and go traffic for about 15 miles and was determined it was free sailing for home when we escaped it. Besides, we had to go back in a week.
As late as it was, as anxious as I was, and as testy as Hubby was, I made an executive decision to stop for a take home meal. The weather here had turned cold. It's May and we had to wear warm jackets to hos Dr appointment and run the heater in the car, so instead of sitting at the drive thru I told Hubby I was going inside. I asked him if he wanted to go in with me or sit in the car, He said, "We'll sit in the car." I laughed, by now I was settled down a little, and asked who "we" were. He said the guys in the back seat.
I turned to see.
YES, I KNOW I KNOW!!! But it was a moment, ya know?
I asked him if he really saw people in the back seat and he said yes so I said well you guys wait here and I'll be right back.

We made our final drive home and got settled in the safety of our room.
Youngest daughter had a brilliant idea to call the facility and ask for the lost and found! She's so smart, I think I will keep her!
I called but had no luck getting through over the weekend.

I also had no luck getting through to Hubby over much of the weekend. He was just generally out of it and confused. By the time Monday rolled around things for Hubby weren't much better. A "No" from the lost and found dept didn't help either. I do not contribute his issues specifically with the muscle relaxers. The last time he took them we did not have these issues and he was actually feeling so much better he thought he was getting better. You can read about the False Hope here.

I contribute the issues specifically to Lewy body Dementia.
Just yesterday as I was drinking my morning coffee and catching up on my FB, or more specifically deleting the unnecessary "middle school drama" from it that does not benefit me or my emotional self care. He was having a REM sleep dream. I could tell he was engaged in an argument with someone and he nearly threw himself out of bed to fight them. I gently woke him up before he took a fall. He roused, changed positions then sat up. I walked out of the room and when I returned he told me he had been out of town, bought a truck and got into a fight with some guy there.
I could tell he was serious about by the way he spoke about it. He then asked me where we were, "We are at home" I answered. Then he asked me if his truck was out there. I told him we didn't have a truck and he got mad at me, furrowed his brow and said "BULL!" Still upset by it later he asked his aide to tell me he wanted  the phone number to the place he bought the truck. I was busy getting ready for a dentist appointment so I didn't answer him right away and scooted out the door. By the time I had returned he had forgotten the truck but was upset I was gone too long for him. I gave him the rundown of where I was but it didn't seem to help. He stayed in that mood for a while and later admitted he was jealous and afraid I would leave him. I don't know where all that came from but I assured him that I had no intentions of leaving him. I hugged him tight, offered him cake and ice cream which he happily accepted and all was right with the world again, for the moment.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's Obvious I am NOT a Dr...

...but here's my take on Lewy Body Dementia.

Lewy Body dementia is a degenerative brain disease that deposits alpha synuclein plaques, also known as LewyBodies, in various places in the brain that destroy neurons causing impairment in thinking & coordination which leads to a whole lot of other issues.

I've tried to educate others as to what lewy is and what lewy does through this blog, hand out and spoken word. Yet when someone starts talking medical to me, I get lost in the language SO I began explaining it in terms I could understand.

Hubby has Lewy Body dementia. It is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer. It is a brain disease that has symptoms that look like Parkinsons where he shakes a lot, and some symptoms that look like Alzheimers when he has memory and/or thinking problems. One of the differences in Alzheimers and Lewy Body are the fluctuations lewy can do. You might even think the person is faking a problem because they seem so "normal" one time, "off" the next time, and back to "normal. 

So, imagine a highway.

 In alz, when the plaques and tangles interrupt the brain neurons trying to make a connection, the connection shuts down like a road block of quick sand. The neuron says, "Well we can't get past that" and it stops trying and eventually dies.

With Lewy, when the neurons hit a road block it keeps backing up and ramming to get through. The "off" happens while the neuron frantically tries to find a way through or around the neuron road block (lewy plaque) until it either accomplishes a detoured route, (normal) or has used up all of the options. Once it has no other options, it then dies. Probably from sheer exhaustion :/

The lewy delusions and hallucinations are like a house of mirrors and glass. In Hubby's case, most of the time he knows he is in the house of mirrors. There is more than one of certain things, things like me most of the time. Other things are distorted and confusing but, since he knows, he tells himself it's distortion or asks. This is a place I get to be also. I can see him but I can't get to him. There are occasions when he can't make the distinction. Those are the times he becomes convinced of what he sees and is sure he has found the way out. When it turns out not, he becomes agitated and angry.

I can't stop the progression. We've applied all of the slowing down we can and now our tires are worn to threads. I can only learn how to try make Hubby's life easier for him. It's a delicate balance and a LOT of trial and error in meds and action.
As easy as it can be to take his negative attitude and actions personally I MUST remind myself to keep my own self in check. I get testy and pouty and annoyed. When verbally pushed, I verbally push back. I'm not the perfect caregiver but I love deep, even if some days I don't like,  I do the best I can. I try not to wallow in the negative but I can get overwhelmed. I can shut down but I always regroup, stand up and continue going. I laugh and surround myself with others that laugh. I limit negative from outside sources. I offer support the way I want to receive it. I try to care for myself. So far both Hubby and I are doing as best we can. I contribute that to the very many prayers I say throughout the day. Prayers for him and for me. It's my prescription for our happiness.
Even though I'm not a Dr, I think it's working.

Friday, April 26, 2013

False Hope

Lewy Body dementia is peculiar in that it comes with fluctuations in cognition.
Don't believe me, check out this lbda link they have all the technical/medical info about lewy and then some.

Hubby has had plenty of fluctuations in cognition. They can last anywhere from a few moments to days. He can go from completely confused that he is in his own house to describing how we built it and back to wondering where we are all in the span of a few moments, or over the course of a few hrs or days.
We've had a huge positive fluctuation over the course of several weeks.
Hubby had even seemed "better". His mobility and memory were improved greatly. He could carry on a detailed conversation. He was remembering things even I had forgotten. He was walking without the use of any assistance. Long distances at that. Long, as in from the car to the inside of a local eating establishment and back out. 
We had the occasional "blips" but nothing that wasn't quickly recovered from. 

then, the bottom fell out. 

In my heart I knew it would be coming because that's what Lewy does, it tricks you. 
It tricked Hubby. He was so aware that he was feeling better. He was convinced he WAS getting better. He commented on how good he was doing and that he thought he was "going to beat this". It was heartbreaking to hear him talk like that because I was staying poised for the decline and unable to REALLY enjoy the moments of clarity. But, the one day I let my guard down we ended up in a physical altercation in the car. 
The day started out fine. We made plans to go to town. I got him shaved, something he still wasn't able to do and he dressed himself. 
Once we got into town, Hubby became angry at me because he had decided he was feeling well enough that he wanted to move out and wanted to see a lawyer. I refused to take him. Instead I turned the car around and headed home. Our day out turned into a fight for the keys and steering while we were driving. We are blessed that we live in a very small town with very little traffic. My anxiety went into overdrive and the fight over the keys resulted in Hubby getting a scratch injury from the key ring. We've been through this type of behavior before but it's been about 3 yrs. And to be honest, it feels like we had gone back in time 3 yrs but I did not want to relive those 3 years again. 
Over the last few days we have skipped ahead. We are back to angry and hurtful words.  
I guess I'll take the reality as opposed to the false hope.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Algo Para Pensar or Something to Think About

Today Hubby was watching a hispanic TV show.
That might not seem odd but neither of us speak spanish. :/
I couldn't understand anything that was said and could only pick out the times they laughed. Every now and then I recognized a word or two but the longer it was on, the more frustrated I felt and I wanted the channel changed.

This got me to thinking.
I wonder if this is how Hubby feels sometimes with language.
I wonder if this is what his world must be like when he can't understand what is happening around him or there is too much activity for his brain to sort out and respond to correctly.
It made me stop and think and I hope I remember this in the future when I find myself frustrated at him for not keeping up in a conversation or constantly asking huh.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Look Ma, No Hands!!!!!!!!!!

It seemed that for a few weeks lewy had taken a break from the havoc it can wreck.
I'm not complaining at all!
To be honest I was a little afraid to mention it for fear the coasting would run into pot holes, or sink holes would open up under us!

Even though the last few weeks had been cognitively decent for Hubby they have also been filled with other emotional struggles. A family members illness and eventual death kept me torn between home for my loved one and away for my loved ones. We are blessed that youngest daughter was willing to stay with her father so I could lend support to others.
This family situation was not one I could keep from Hubby. I was concerned how Hubby would react to this distressing sad news. I was concerned how Hubby would react to my being away so often. I was concerned for our family and the painful journey they would be taking. I couldn't take away their pain, I could only be there for them when it was possible.
 I was concerned for youngest daughter taking care of her father. Not because I didn't think she could do it, she just graduated from CNA classes, but because Hubby is very needy.

Or at least that's how he is with me.

I  learned that while I was away Hubby became very independent.
Instead of asking youngest daughter to do anything, and she offered many times, he refused most of her assistance and did things on his own.
Things like turning on lights, getting his own beverages, finding snacks, changing the TV channels. Oh, there were the occasions he would mess the TV up and call youngest daughter to help, or needed muscle cream applied to his neck and back and would ask for her help then.
But mostly, he got up, walked around and did for himself.
Are you kidding me?!
I would have never known this had I not been told because as soon as I walked in the door, it was all "honey, do".
But now that I have this knowledge, what could I do with it?
I tried and eventually failed at getting Hubby to do some things for himself since then. He was good for a day or two and just stopped. Complaints of pain and general feelings of illness took control of Hubby's physical movements. His shaking has increased. Some times he looks like he's on the last step out of a fun house. You know, that moving floor you have to cross?
So that leaves me to wonder, Maybe I am Hubby's problem ;-)

Besides the shaking Hubby has developed another issue. He has started to drool.
Not a lot but enough to make sure he has a tissue close by and reminders to wipe his mouth. He says he isn't aware it's happening.

Hubby also took a HUGE positive fluctuation in memory.
He can recall MANY things that have occurred in the course of our lifetime together. Things I had forgotten my own self until reminded.
Minor things also as well as significant one.
Lewy Body Dementia is such a strange disease.

I wish I could really, really, just enjoy the positives.
I know we should live in the moment, enjoy the day, blah blah blah. Reality can have an ugly side. I keep waiting for the fall. I made a comment to a group the other day "Somewhere between diagnosis and death there is a whole lot of good living to be done. Why does it feel like we always try to skip to the end?"
Maybe I'm protecting my heart from hurting again when Hubby once again loses the memory of our life. I don't know.

Another change in Hubby is his interest in Gospel music. I'm not saying that's a bad thing LOL!! I find it odd because Hubby is a country music guy. In the past I have offered music of various kinds for him. He would always want it turned off. They say music soothes the savage beast. Well Lewy was having NO part of being soothed, until lately.
It just seemed to me that Hubby went against everything I learned about caregiving for someone with dementia. He didn't like routine, he didn't like music, he didn't like activity, he didn't like... insert all things "tried and true" by the professionals. Was I failing because of that? No, I just realized that is Hubby's dementia.
Like the saying, Once you meet one person with dementia, you've met one person. All uniquely different.

I'm keeping to myself these days. I'm staying focused in our world, maybe too much.
For now, we coast with hands off the bars and wind in our face.
Yet ever mindful that the handle bars must be grabbed to steady on.
I feel the front tire wobbling.

Here's some glimpses into our lewy life from FaceBook.
Feb 25 : Yesterday, Hubby wanted to have a talk with me. He motioned that I sit at the end of the bed and we had a very long conversation about. Because he thought it should. He didn't want me to. We did this. So I sat and listened and responded accordingly. And when he felt like we had talked enough, he was content with how it went.
Now you may be wondering what the heck I'm talking about, right? yeah, me too.
BUT apparently it ended well so that's all that matters. :)

March 17: The MOST annoying sound in the world? Candy Wrappers at 3AM!!! Not mentioning any names though >:/

 Youngest daughter asks her hubby to bring her ice cream tonight. They asked if Hubby and I wanted any. I politely declined and hubby accepted. Hubby kept asking me if I wanted some and after it arrived continued to still ask me. Several times I declined. A minute or so after receiving his, Hubby shuffled over to me and this time I was very quick to insist that I did not want any, seriously, I was fine and appreciated him wanting to share, but no thank you, in a firm tone. Then he said, I just wanted you to open it for me. Kind of rude that he didn't want to share! ;-) LOL!!!
Now he's feeding the dogs some with a spoon.

March 19: 
Hubby and I are getting ready to go into town. He's struggling but I'm helping. Doing simple things like that makes him shake much more and wears him out. He made a comment about his struggle and shaking. I said I believed that doing things like that requires more mental energy from him resulting in the difficulties.
He smiled and asked, "Are you trying to say I'm using my brain too much?"
My answer: "Yes and you're not used to it."
He swatted me! LOL!!!!!!

March 23:  Hubby, feeling his oats today, decided to sneak up on, grab and scare me. Not a good thing to do because in fight or flight mode, I fight. I hit him in self defense and nearly knocked him down. oopsie! LOL!! I better check him for black and blue marks later.

March 31:  Hubby shares EVERYTHING he gets to eat with the dogs. He will even chase them down with a spoon or fork full of something so they can have a bite and at times he will try to force feed them. Nothing I say seems to deter him. Not even a sick dog :P
Tonight is no exception, he's eating cake and ice cream and sharing. Deciding he needed more because the dogs were eating it all, I finally try to put down my foot about it and it worked, until I walked out of the room and he gave them the last bite. LOL!!

April 3: 
Tonight I am SOooooo glad we paid more to have DVR.
Hubby insisted that it was going to be 80 degrees tomorrow.
I tried to explain that it wouldn't be anywhere near it, only cold and rainy, yet he insisted all the more.
Fast thinking I grabbed the remote, hit the back button until the 5 day forecast showed up.
He pointed and said SEE?!
to which I said "That's an 80% chance of rain".
Hmmph, I showed him! Literally.
Worth every penny to be right! ;-)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fat Lip, Big Mouth

The other morning Hubby woke with a fat lip.

It was quite a surprise because he hadn't fallen out of bed, nor was there anything that he could have hit in the night. But BAM! There it was as big as all get out. 

Hubby said he bit it in the night. I thought that he had his Lewy Body Dementia REM sleep disorder in full swing (pun intended) hitting his own face during a “fight”. 

I had even thought he might have had a stroke so I had him do the S.T.A.T. signs for me - 

Smile (looks weird but both sides are moving check), 

Talk to me (jumbled but understandable, check), 

Arms up (check), 

Tongue out (sticking straight out no down angle, I bet he enjoyed doing that, check) whew no signs of stroke.

Whatever it was, there was no denying something happened to him.

Perhaps this was a “payback” for the hateful way he's been treating me as of late. Not just privately but in the presence of others. And harsh enough to be scolded by Oldest and Youngest Daughter on 2 separate occasions. Accusations of theft, personal insults, his insistence of leaving and moving out on his own, driving, the list goes on and on so you get the point.

Yes, I know he can't help it and he can only react to the things his brain is convincing him of but for the last 4+ years I've been a 24/7 caregiver to Lewy Body Dementia, a year before that a watchful wife/caregiver, a few months before that a concerned wife, a couple months before that we were working on repairing a damaged marriage, 17 months before that I was fighting undeserved divorce proceedings, learning how to live alone and deepening my relationship with the Lord. A while before that Hubby had an ongoing affair that shattered our world and the 24 yrs before that I was a homemaker, mother and wife living with and buffering for Hubby's PTSD.

So, separating the man from the disease isn't always easy especially when I'm feeling emotionally beat down by his harsh and hurtful words. I've shook it off, walked away, run it out, and yet there are times that my feelings get hurt and I run my big mouth.

These deep feelings have kept me away from blogging. The deepest hurt is his insisting that Hubby wants to leave. He even wanted to look into placement.

I feel like I've tried so hard to keep things easy for Hubby, yet he continues to reject me.

I wrapped myself in prayer but admittedly I don't even know what I needed to pray for so I asked for a Spirit of calm to make the contacts necessary for Hubby.

Eventually I did receive that calm and leading to make the contacts and this was actually before the big melt down with my mouth, just needed to throw that in.

Wouldn't you know it though, when I told Hubby I had made the contact he changed his mind about leaving for placement. Imagine that! He is cognizant enough to understand what it means if he chooses to go into a Nursing Home. I told a friend I felt like I was on a hamster wheel because he doesn't want placement but still wants to live by himself. Squeak! Squeak ! Goes the hamster and the wheel.

Contact about placement was only for information. I wasn't sure what the process was or where or how to even start. The social worker at the VA was new so even she wasn't sure and referred us elsewhere, to another new person, who wasn't sure where we were even located on her map.

To my surprise none of our 3 local facilities were contracted through the VA. One never has, one sold so they don't and won't have a contract and one lost their contract due to issues. The SW didn't say why. Because I was almost in disbelief of the local facilities I actually visited the 3 places . She was correct and after walking into the one that lost their contract, if the greeting I received was any indication as to why, I could see! I would never want Hubby there!

The SW did give me the names of 3 facilities they did contract with that were the closest to us. But each one was at the least 45 miles away! She suggested I look on the Medicare.gov site to compare and research the 3 suggested facilities.

The first and closest one I looked up was an absolute No! No! No! A 2 and 3 star rating out of 5 and complaints on the medicare website was enough to dismiss that idea without ever seeing the facility for me. So Hubby has 2 choices if he chooses to go into a home closest to our location. The other 2 places were higher on the rating scale so if Hubby decides this is what he wants, we will be taking a trip to each one. This is breaking my heart apart in small pieces at a time.

I also had to ask questions that were hard for me to ask. How would it need to be paid for? Would I lose my home, would I need to find employment? Would placement nullify the guardianship?

I was assured that if Hubby chose placement nothing would change except his location. Being 100% Korean War era Service Connected Veteran qualified him to Nursing Home Care and if he decided he didn't like it, he was free to leave and come home. Nothing was permanent. That eased my mind a little.

It's been a few days since the melt down. Hubby has been in a nicer mood, for the most part. He still continues to need my presence even though her resents it. He won't ask others to do for him, just me. I'm heart tired and have neglected my own needs but this past week I'm trying to sort out what those needs are and working on them.

And to end on a good note, we FINALLY got the Home Health Aide hours straightened out and are once again receiving 10 hrs a week.  
Please continue to pray for us as we walk through this part of the Lewy Body journey.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dr Grumpy

In all of my married life, 31 yrs, Hubby has had maybe 3 ER visits for himself. broken ribs (fast shower half time of a football game), asthma attack and kidney stone (hated seeing him like that but funny as all get out when he got some loopy meds).
But in the last few months, Lewy had sent us to the ER 3 times.
Lewy Body Dementia presents itself with symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
From the lbda.org website Parkinsonism or Parkinson's Disease symptoms, take the form of changes in gait; the person may shuffle or walk stiffly. There may also be frequent falls. Body stiffness in the arms or legs, or tremors may also occur. Parkinson's mask (blank stare, emotionless look on face), stooped posture, drooling and runny nose may be present.
Hubby lives with all of these symptoms and the one that scares me, is the falling.

As a matter of fact, it was the falling that made me decide to seek Home Health Care. The day I was gone from home and returned to evidence Hubby had fallen but even worse, Hubby didn't remember what he had hit. You can read about "That Wash Woman" Here.

Hubby had taken a fall in the bathroom the other night.
He's taken some doozies in the past but always was determined that he didn't need to go to the Dr. Our stubborn heads butted many times about this. He won all the times but 2. This last time he didn't even argue and agreed to a late night visit to the ER. You know it was bad when he said yes.

His complaint was his back, we called the ambulance for transport. I grabbed our Emergency Bag and the Folder I had put together with Hubby's info. See my folder items here.
When the ambulance arrived I gave them the short version of the situation and about Lewy. They loaded Hubby and turned to me for info and I smiled really BIG, handed them the folder and declared, I'm about to make your night! And apparently I did because the look of confusion went to delight when they realized the treasure trove of information they had and it was theirs to keep! They went on and on about it :)
Hmm, now I wonder if I should have been all smiles while they were wheeling my husband off to the ambulance for a trip to the hospital. #visiblyconcernedwifefail

Next stop the ER. I went inside to present Hubby's info as the EMT personnel carried Hubby to the back. I was informed that I would be notified when they had him in a room. I politely took a seat away from as many of the obviously sick wall to wall people in the waiting room. Seriously, the flu has hit our area hard. And a posted sign stated that the wait time for minor cases was going to be 3 hrs. ! People just kept coming as I sat there.

As I waited patiently to be notified what room Hubby was in, I overheard one man I truly believed was not a minor case as he spoke loudly and rudely to his grandmother on the phone. I doubted it wasn't his finger he needed looked at. It was obvious he needed a serious attitude adjustment, and quick! >:|

After a 20 min wait I finally walked back up to the desk and asked about Hubby's room. I was buzzed through and Hubby had already been to and back from X-ray.
Everyone that worked with Hubby or had contact with us was very kind and concerned and attentive. It surprised Hubby to learn that the man that came in and told us who the Dr would be and took Hubby's vitals was his nurse. 

Hubby asked "Who was that?" I explained it was his nurse and Hubby was confused and I laughed when he said "That GUY?" 
Yep Hubby, men are nurses too. LOL!!

Another man marched into the room. The results were in and they showed a very small fracture to Hubby's T12 vertebrae. The man held up his fingers to show the approximate size of the fracture. He gruffly continued, There was no danger of any spinal cord injury to worry about. It's going to hurt like crazy, but if you think he can tolerate the pain take him home and give him meds.  The man quizzed me on meds and I gave him a short lesson on Lewy and pain meds and what Hubby was already taking. At this point I'm deciding this must be the Dr. I didn't see a name tag so I named him Dr Grumpy in my head. Dr Grumpy told me to double Hubby's current meds for his pain, then he turned and marched out. No hello, no goodbye from Dr Grumpy.  

I didn't let Dr Grumpy or the circumstances distress me, I actually saw a positive in the situation. Since we have to live with Lewy Body Dementia I use every opportunity to educate about it. This was Hubby's first trip to the ER in the night. This meant a new group of people to meet and share. I did.
Hubby was discharged for home.

Between Hubby's shot of Demerol at the hosp and his pain meds at home he slept the rest of the night. Good for us both.
The next day Hubby did well, still in pain but he slept most of the day.
Then the night came.
Hubby was calling out every couple of hours, even in his sleep. Neither of us rested well. 
I have a call in to his PCP to see if we can do something else for the pain.
Of course I'm worried about meds and worsening cognition changes but after last night I'll do whatever we need to keep Hubby pain free. I'm praying hard.

Today Hubby is still suffering with pain and is extra extra needy. 
I'm afraid to touch him because he hollers out but he needs my help with everything. Like getting up to go to the bathroom, getting in and out of the bed and the wheelchair, covering up and most recently he called me to help him divide a piece of candy evenly for the dogs to share. Really Hubby?! :/ LOL!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Kat in a bag

Somebody dropped a young cat off in Sister in law's neighborhood.
It found it's way to her home and to her dogs food and decided to take up residence.
SIL, not being a cat person, needed to get rid of Cat so she called me, Cat Lady, and I agreed to take the cat if it could be caught.
A few days later Brother In Law shows up at the house, bright and early wearing gloves and carrying a pillow case with, 
you guessed it, 
Cat inside.
We decided to put the pillow case down next to the cat food and open it.
Sure enough as soon as that pillow case was opened, Cat jumped out, straight up a wall, across a window screen, off the porch and shot across the yard into the woods.
I think the cat was black.

I called and called for it throughout the day, hoping it would come back or I would see a glimpse of it.
I finally gave up, hoping Cat would come back to the food once it settled down.
A couple of days later it did. Very nervous but hey, if your life started out as a drop off then a pillow case trap and dump, you would be nervous too!
It's been a few weeks since then, it finally settled in to a box I set up for it and food. It's even friendly enough that I can pet it and lately it will run up to me for attention. Every now and then it will try to get inside the house. I think it likes it's new home and we are all adjusting.

You're saying to yourself, “This has NOTHING to do with caregiving, Kathy!”
Ahhh, but read on my dear friend and you will see.

Yesterday Hubby had a Mental Health Dr appointment. The appointment I've been dreading because Hubby had decided he wanted to talk to Dr about placement.
Over the last few weeks Hubby's desire to leave has increased. He even decided to stop taking ALL of his meds. Just like that. So he did.
I can hear some of you gasping, but think for a moment, what is is REALLY going to do that's worse than dementia?
I didn't fuss or insist. The inner struggle to hold on had to loosen it's grip. It is such a very difficult thing to do.

Some of the meds he takes such as Depakote relieved his anxiety and anger issues he experienced as a result of his PTSD. Since stopping I haven't noticed an increase with those issues any more than what he was already experiencing before stopping. I know there is nothing physically he can do to anyone or himself and I can walk away when the hurtful words come.

The Galantamine he was prescribed when he was diagnosed with his Lewy Body did such a wonderful job at the beginning that I wanted to kiss the makers. I saw such a positive change in Hubby's cognition and as time went on, the dosage was increased to it's max and although I was not seeing any positive's from continuing that med, I was afraid to have it stopped because I saw what it did and was worried about where he would be without it. Apparently it was no longer effective because I have not noticed any sudden(?)different declines in cognition.

I said in an earlier post that Hubby and I have had some serious talks and we have cried separately and together over some of the things he is experiencing.
Because of these emotional breakdowns I was able to talk Hubby into taking his antidepressant to help him feel a little more stable. He agreed. Because of the pain he experiences in his back and neck he also agreed to take his pain meds. I said there was no reason for him to suffer with pain.

At the Dr appointment Hubby mentioned that he felt a little more shaky. Part of his LewyBody symptoms is shaking. When asked he said he thought more about death and dying and he had no thoughts about how to make things better. When I was asked how he was I explained about the meds stopping and how Hubby had been angry and sad and how he wanted to leave even if it meant placement. Hubby agreed.
The pillow case was opened,
I think my brain exploded and leaked out of my eyes so I wont be able to tell exactly what all conversation was said.
I was asked if I had spoken to the Social worker. I jumped out of the pillow case, straight up a wall, across the window screen and porch and off into the woods, just like Cat. I shook my head, I can't talk to her.
MH Dr was so supportive. He said the same things I did, Nothing was permanent. If you voluntarily check in you can check out. Lets just get the info we need to make an informed decision. There is no right or wrong with these decisions. We are doing the best we can and it's smart to think ahead.
He said all the things I have said to myself and in support of others. But I wasn't coming out of the woods.

We all agreed that it was okay to have stopped the meds if that is what Hubby wanted but he was keeping them active in case Hubby changed his mind about them.
Side note: I LOVE my team! Always having Hubby's best interests at heart.
MH Dr. offered to have the social worker call us to get the info we would need for placement should we choose to go through with it.

So, right now, there the food sits on the porch and I'm waiting in the woods, just like Cat. Afraid to move and hiding out.

We all think we know exactly what we will do in any given circumstance but until you are actually faced with it, we just do not know how we will react. Right now as long as I don't have to think about it too much all is well. But in those still quiet moments, or when Hubby is having a moment those feelings rush in and overtake my heart. I keep reminding myself that my plans are not God's plans. He has a bigger and better plan for me and for Hubby. I need to trust Him and follow keeping my eyes on Jesus and not on the storm. It looks like a pretty big storm brewin. So I'm in prayer that the Spirit calms my heart and clears my head so I can walk out of the woods, like Cat. 
I know when I do I'll find a warm box and a bowl of food. 
Just not today though.