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.

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.