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

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

Wednesday, 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.