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, March 3, 2012

How old am I?

It was the best of times and it was the bestest? bester? oh whatever, it was really funny.

I am enjoying Hubby's calmness as of late.
The angry words and accusations seem to have diminished quite a bit.
Perhaps Hubby is finally coming to terms with his Lewy Body Dementia.
Perhaps finding a good combination of pain meds to help lessen some of Hubby's chronic back pain, has helped.
Perhaps a combination of the 2.
Whatever the reason I am ever grateful to a loving God for the blessings of peace :)

Hubby has acknowledged some changes going on in his mind.
He told me his mind keeps going back to a time when 2 particular restaurants were in our town. Both of which have been out of business before I ever moved her 31 yrs ago and perhaps were in and out of business before I was ever born. ( 26 1/2 yr age difference between Hubby and me)
He also acknowledges that he knows they can't be around anymore but for some reason, his mind sometimes tells him that they are.

This insight into Lewy has been the first REAL insight Hubby has ever shared with me that I can remember.
Most of the time I am left guessing and deducting what he might think and feel.
You can imagine how happy I was that he felt secure enough to share those thoughts.
He and I talked about the restaurants for a short,very short, time.

Mobility continues to decline at a quicker pace and that seems to be the most frustrating thing to Hubby.
The parkinsons type symptoms of his Lewy Body have made walking nearly impossible for even the short distances now. Fortunately Hubby has something to hold on to every couple of feet from our room to out adjoining bathroom. He clutches with a life grip, yet the other night he took a middle of the night fall in the bathroom. I jumped straight out of bed to get to him but he was wedged between the 2 doors.
Fortunately when we built our house, we put one door in that swings in and one door that swings out.
Isn't it amazing that God had the bigger picture in view when we did this?

Realizing I couldn't get in the one door, I leaped across my bed and through the kitchen and washroom to the other door. Hubby was able to move all his limbs. He had a spot on his knee and a pretty good sized goose bump on his head. A thin scratch on his back.
It took a good 20 mins to get Hubby uprighted and back to his bed. He is a stubborn and prideful man and refused to let me call for help from SonnyBoy who was sleeping in the other room. I finally demonstrated what Hubby needed to do in order to get up and Hubby was finally able to understand and rise from the floor.
I helped him into his bed and tucked him in. We slept the remainder of the night.

The next day we visited the Dr for medication follow up and lad test results. Hubby passed with flying colors all his lab tests and my good report of Hubby's behaviors and medication combination for pain easement made the Dr smile. He even laughed when he said "Good, we wont need to make any more medication changes:. To which I replied, "No, no changes, BACK OFF!" We both laughed actually :)
Dr said he was going to go ahead and schedule an appointment but if I felt like it wasn't necessary to be there, I could just call him with an update as he felt confident that if there were issues I wouldn't hesitate to contact him. I assured him he was correct :)

Communication comes and goes for Hubby.
He gets lost in his thoughts and easily sidetracked.
Words don't come even though he knows what he wants to say.
Many times he asks me if I know what he is thinking or will call me in to ask me if I knew what he wanted.

Sorry Hubby, I wish I was a mind reader :)

Simple every day things get incorporated into Hubby's conversations.
A word or phrase I might say will become part of a sentence Hubby is saying. Then he gets stuck on the word like a skipping record player.
Television is even worse!
When Hubby wants to talk to me or I need to say something complicated to him, I must try and remember to turn the TV OFF. Just down doesn't help because he can still see the movement and that distracts him.

Now for the fun stuff.

The day after our his Dr Hubby wanted to make a trip out to eat one afternoon. We eat a very late lunch or very early supper. I lovingly refer to it as "Old People's Supper".
On the way home Hubby made comment about his head still hurting and cupped his hand to his head and ear.
At this point I can only guess what was going on with Hubby and my guess was that he had a ringing in his ear because he said, "My phone is ringing"
Hubby pulled cupped hand off ear and looked at his hand.
I said "What?"
Hubby repeated, "My phone is ringing".
What could I say besides "Say Hello".
So Hubby did. He raised his cupped hand back to his ear and said "Hello?"
Then lowered his hand, stared at it, commented "That was weird" put it back to his ear and listened again.
It took every ounce of self will to keep from laughing out loud at this.
I just glanced out the drivers window occasionally and continued the drive home.
Hubby never realized he was not holding a phone but was not upset that nobody was talking to him.

Still having communication issues a couple of days later, Hubby and I were watching an old TV show.
In the show a girl screamed.
SonnyBoy, who was in a nearby room laughingly said "She screamed just as I sat down.!"
Apparently she startled SonnyBoy and he and I laughed about it.
Hubby didn't understand what SonnyBoy said so I repeated.
Hubby said, "SonnyBoy sat on her and that's why she screamed?!"
SonnyBoy and I both thought this remark was hilarious and through near tears I tried to explain that he did not sit on the woman, but Hubby never could get it straight in his own mind and seemed a little disgusted that SonnyBoy would do such a thing.
I have to agree that it is not polite to sit on women.

Some days, living in Hubby's world is a little more entertaining than the real one.
And Hubby's more comfortable when we can meet him there.

Today is Hubby's 75th Birthday.
It seems that Hubby has forgotten his age, not just by a yr or so but by the 10s of years, and over the course of the last few weeks, occasionally, he will ask how old he is.
Today when I wished him Happy Birthday, he asked me how old he was.
I replied "75"
His response, "Well, I'll take your word for it."
Happy Birthday Hubby. I love you very much :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Highest Praise

Tonight, I just received the highest praise I could ever ask for.

Hubby asked me if I wanted to get rid of him.
My reply was was a resounding "Not at all" then I asked why, was he wanting to get away from me?

He looked straight at me and said, "I'd be in a world of hurt without you".

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Treading Water

Feels like Hubby and I have been treading water for quite some time now.
Although we are still moving along in the Lewy Body Dementia waters at least we are not being sucked into it's undertow.
That's a good thing.

We still have cognition problems.
Just last night Hubby asked SonnyBoy where we were.
Hubby was obviously concerned and SonnyBoy got concerned about his father's state of confusion and obvious fear and relayed it to me.
Since I see this so much I suppose it's a normal question to me.
I went to Hubby and asked if he needed or wanted anything, meaning I give him yes or no questions.
Do you need a blanket? Can I bring you some water? Lemonade? Would you like cheese with crackers?
Are you feeling ok?
Hubby can answer these types of short sweet questions.
He asked me where we were and I assured him we were at our home.
Hubby's response, "That's what I thought. (SonnyBoy) didn't know where we were and I didn't know if maybe we got kidnapped or something."
I laughed and so did Hubby, then I hugged and assured Hubby nobody had been kidnapped and retrieved a snack for him.
All was right with the world again.

Mobility is getting worse.
Hubby struggles more and more with walking but is still able to get to and from the adjoining bathroom. He has limited the number of times he goes though. That reminds me, note to self, buy more laundry detergent.
Sitting up is also very difficult for Hubby. He falls over because he cant sit still.
The Parkinsons type symptoms of his Lewy Body have increased to a frustrating degree for Hubby.
Unfortunately the meds in the past we have tried for Hubby's shaking have not worked.
So he must live with the shaking. In order to combat it, he stays horizontal; even when I wake him to eat.

I think this activity stresses me a little for choking possibilities and I have expressed my concerns about it so as a compromise, Hubby lays on his side to eat and drink.
I even tried to get him to let me raise the hosp bed for him but he doesn't like the bed up, sigh.
Since there is no serious issue, pick and choose your battles with dementia.

I feel fairly confident to say that we may have been able to get Hubby's back pain to a manageable level with the increase in meds. He still has pain but at least he isn't complaining as much.

Hubby hasn't been trying to figure out ways to get away and his attitude toward me is softer. Even very dependent at times. There are times I will hear him call out to me in a distressed tone. I will hurriedly go to him only to learn he didn't know where I was and got concerned. My presence eases his distress for which I am thankful. Of course that isn't to say he doesn't get cross and suspicious, just not as much.

So here we are, treading water, staying afloat for the time being and every now and then, I can touch the bottom and stand up to rest.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Boys

Last night Hubby needed and asked for assistance with his bed covers.
As I was hovering over him he asked me if there were people in the house.
I answered no, there were not.
This question is common but it came with a different tone for Hubby.
He then stated that he hears a lot of background talking.
I stopped fussing with the blankets and assured him that nobody was here.
I reminded him that hearing voices was a symptom of his Lewy Body Dementia.
I also said that hearing voices or even seeing things like people or animals could happen.
Hubby didn't care for my explanation too much and scowled at me.
I fussed with the blankets some more and made sure Hubby was covered up and warm.
I suppose I was taking too long when Hubby announced that my doing that was bothering him for some reason. He didn't know why or what but it was really bothering him.
I think it was from the scowling.
I backed off and gave Hubby some space and a concerned smile.
The rest of the evening was calm.

Tonight Hubby called for me and when I entered the bedroom he was sitting on the side of my bed.
He had a look of confusion so I asked if he was ok.
His reply was no, yes, I think I just saw grandson.
Hubby asked me if the boys were here.
They are not.
Hubby was very convinced he saw one of them and I assured him that I believed he really did think he saw them and I explained again about his Lewy Body and its ability to make the brain believe something was there when it really wasn't.
Still obviously upset, I asked Hubby if he was okay?
His answer was that he was trying to get a snack from the kitchen but seeing the boy in the bedroom made him have to sit down and make sure of what he saw.
I asked Hubby if he was frightened by it.
He answered no, just confused.
I offered to get a snack for Hubby and he happily accepted.
I asked Hubby to always tell me if he sees something and has questions about it or is frightened by it.
He said he would and shuffled off to his bed.

Auditory hallucinations have been around for a while here.
Some visual but Hubby has always been able to shake them off as, that can't be real, or, tricks of the eyes.
Last night and tonight they had a very real presence to him.
I pray that I will always have the words to assure Hubby and make him happy with an offer of a snack.

Except for these incidents, things here have been fairly smooth and steady.
I like smooth and steady.
Hubby has been in good spirits and calm.
Little to no anxiety.
New pain meds seem to be helping with no serious or odd side effects.  A little more tired perhaps.
I have no complaints
And neither does Hubby
On second thought, Hubby with no complaints? Maybe a few odd side effects but I can live with them ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

This is all about me.

I'm a caregiver statistic.
I eat poorly,
I haven't seen a medical Dr in 5yrs maybe more,
I don't exercise regularly,
I put my own self care last or completely ignore it until it screams for attention,
I was 4 yrs before I used any respite time that the VA had available. 

I do not suffer from depression, and I try to avoid it in all forms, but I do have some anxiety at times. Especially when significant and sudden downturns come.

I can tell I'm a little snappier in my responses to others.

My mental health is hanging on. For now.
My physical health is another story.

I'm a terrible self motivator.
Just take one look at me and my house and you will see that.

I've tried the home exercise and home hair cuts and home cooked meals.
I use my stability ball as a seat, I think I can rock a pony tail and since I found Schwans home delivered food, well, need I say more there?

I feel bad when I can't stay on course for myself.
I feel bad when I wish for more time away from Hubby so I could do some things I want.
I have learned the value of time. It is a precious commodity when it's in short supply for yourself.
As a 24/7 caregiver all the time is Hubby's except the 8 1/2 weekly hrs I get through the V.A. for an aide.
in this 8 1/2 hrs errands must be run groceries must be purchased, travel to and from must be included and where we live its a 20 min trip one way to our largest store, etc etc. I must find a way to fit in all the things I HAVE to do and still find some time for me in there. Occasionally I get a lunch with a family member or friend. Hurriedly of course but I still do it. Think about the expression, Eat and Run :)

Now this all sounds mighty whiny of me. But that isn't my intent here.
I am very blessed to have this time.
I know what it's like to have none, especially when the VA doesn't renew Hubbys Aide service for a month! breathe in, exhale slowly ahh

Available family have filled in for important things and run errands if I ask, so again, I appreciate the knowledge I can call when I have to.

But I don't like being a statistic. It's happening though and I can tell.
I thought of all the ways I could prevent it. I started doing small things, walking/jogging in the driveway.
A dual trip to the eye dr, Hubby was there so I squeezed in too.
Much needed dental work. (Remember the neglected self care and screaming, almost losing a front tooth due to neglect is a screaming issue ).
And just the other day, after much consideration and serious thought, lots of praying, mostly consisting of please let me find a way!, Weighing all the odds and planning the timing more than once, it occurred to me, I can start working out again! The gym I was once a member of had relocated several months ago. Their new location is ideal for me and my errand needs. Grocery store, drugstore and place to get my oil changed all within a stones throw! I am SO EXCITED!
Today was my first day back in 4 yrs! I was able to get my workout in AND pop in at the grocery store (right next door) with time enough to get home and not feel like I was running through myself :) it was a glorious feeling.
A funny thing happened at the store, I grabbed a cart, made a quick run through produce, went up the soup aisle rounded a corner and BAM wobbly legs got me and my knees buckled. LOL! I didn't fall down and was able to upright myself in plenty of, save myself from embarrassment, time. Good thing for shopping carts! I thought it was funny and I can't wait to get back to my workout Mon!

Now if a hairdresser would move in close by...

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Conversations around here can be hilarious at times.
Our struggle can range anywhere from unfinished sentences to incorporating parts of other conversations in the present ones.
For instance, when I passed by Hubby's bed, I reached over to get a small blanket and he flinched saying he thought I was going to touch him with my cold hands.
I assured him "I'll give you advanced warning before I do that".
Then I asked him what he wanted for lunch and went down the list, one at a time, of yea or nays.
No, was the word of the day and when I got to hamburger he said , "I need advanced warning".
After a moment to process this, I took this as a no and offered PB&J, it was yes.  
I wonder if he doesn't like my hamburgers. Hmm LOL!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blub blub blub

Day 6 in the new year and I we are holding our own.
Hubby seems more content, less agitated. These are VERY good things.
Yet, I keep waiting for the jack in the box to jump out and scare me.

The Holidays came and went with little fanfare.
We kept it simple in many ways while still enjoying our family.
Hubby even participated in the family Christmas Eve gathering this time :)

New Years Eve came and I was a day behind wondering why everyone was celebrating early.
Half of the day was gone before I realized why. LOL
Hey, in my defense, all the days are the same around here.

BIL's time with us was over and he left to stay with his other sisters. He will return next Sept.
He is always quiet and when he isn't in school you would hardly know he was in the house but when he is gone, there is a hole left behind. We will of course see him as often as possible but his absence is felt in our home.

The Shaking that comes with LewyBody has increased enough to cause Hubby more neck and back pain.
In the past we have moved slowly and sparingly with pain meds.
I always fear meds because they seem to have a negative effect on Hubby's cognition.
In the past, fear has kept me holding off more aggressive treatment in pain management. Although I still have concerns I wonder, What I was holding Hubby back to? The tug of war of emotions to hang on or let go is emotionally heartbreaking. I had to decide that Hubby's quality of life was more important than my desire to "keep" him. Helping him stay as pain free as possible became top priority and the best care I could give him.

Meds were changed I am still watching for side effects but happy to say I haven't noticed anything distressful. YAY!!
Downturns still come but I have not necessarily contributed them to the new meds as they have been coming all along anyway.
Words are difficult to find. Hubby confuses easily.
Word recognition is diminished more.
Conversations are harder and sentences must be kept shorter. I struggle with that. :/

Hubby has started drinking his coffee in a laying down position. and eating his breakfast in the same manner.

Last night Hubby had mobile meltdown. Around 3:30 AM Hubby opened our adjoining bathroom door. He has done this a million times but this time, the sound woke me. I only stirred enough to see the time and be annoyed at being awake at that hr but something else said, something is wrong. Sure enough, I saw Hubby standing in the doorway, clutching the frame unable to move.
God has perfect timing and an acute alarm clock.
The longer he stood there the more he leaned forward and fear of him falling pushed me out of bed and to his side for support. It took all we had to walk (drag him) the few feet (6, I measured) to his bed and get him in it and settled. He couldn't remember  how to walk.

Today he is struggling to sit on the side of his bed and I was able to convince him to let me raise the hosp bed to sitting up and placing his table in front of him.
So far, it's working.

The biggest change in Hubby has been a noise he now periodically makes.
quite loudly he will make a sound that is familiar to a fast  "BLUB BLUB BLUB"
He makes this noise on occasion and mostly when I am busy in the room.
Perhaps a way of releasing frustrations and at times a way of getting the attention of our grandsons as they enter the room.
Sometimes I find it amusing and other times not so much when I'm trying to watch something on TV.
I do always ask if it helps him feel better to get that out :)
Somehow it reminds me of his mother. When we cared for her, she would make noise similar to that of a goat bahhh. Given a choice of sounds, I'll take a blub over a goat ;-)

Not every change is bad though.
The best change in Hubby has been his attitude toward me.
I can't say if it is because if Dr Neuros straight talk with him, or our straight forward talks here at home.
Whatever it is Hubby has been kinder toward me to the point of making an extra concerted effort to come and give me a kiss goodnight each evening.
And closing on the best note, One night we lay in the dark, in separate beds I said, "Goodnight Honey, I love you."
He replied, "I love you too, more than you know."