Have you ever been walking along and lost footing and it's taken several awkward steps to regain your balance? That's how it feels with Lewy Body Dementia these days.
Hubby has had what feels like so many small yet steady declines over the last few weeks, trying to regain a sense of balance is difficult.
This morning was no exception. What you are about to read will seem startling but I assure you that all ends well. I needed you to know this spoiler before reading, sorry for those of you that like suspense. ;-)
2 times in our 30 yr marriage I have ever been afraid of my husband.
Once when he had a bad reaction to some new night time meds and he got very very very (I said very, right?) mad about something, tore through the house throwing things and swearing. I prayed the kids slept through it (they did). I lay in bed pretending I was asleep as his tirade went on. Why didn't I call an ambulance or the police? Because honestly, I was used to Hubby getting mad and having a temper tantrum. Hubby has PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so dealing with anger issues had become so commonplace for us it seemed normal at the start. I don't remember what took the turn to fear for myself, I just remember that sick feeling I got and I hoped and prayed that his regular sleeping meds would kick in, he wouldn't hurt me and he would go to sleep. As long as I laid there pretending to sleep, he ignored me but his outburst continued on other things in the house. The next morning Hubby was back to normal. I was up early cleaning up some of the wreckage of the house when he came into the kitchen and asked me if I had seen his glasses. We eventually found them under the kitchen table. As soon as the VA was open I called the Dr and TOLD them that I was discontinuing the new meds and why. I didn't give them any opportunity to ask me to at least give them some time. And to this day it is a NO NO meds for Hubby. I don't know why but I was never in fear for the kids. If they didn't sleep through it I have never been told by them. That was many many yrs ago.
The second time was at the snapping point of our marriage. Hubby had already been gone a couple of days returned for some more of his things. It was a Monday I remember because I was leaving the house to meet a lawyer as he drove in. He walked over to my vehicle and told me what he was there for and asked me where I was going. I told him I had an appointment, I would be back if he wanted to talk. I started to drive away but he stopped me to tell me he had a lawyer. I think I said, well it looks like I need one too, or something to that affect and I remember he asked me who I was going to get. I told him who I was going to see and Hubby took on a whole other demeanor. He became enraged and started swearing at me, I started to drive but he kept stepping in my way and proceeded to withdraw his pocketknife from his pants. That same sick feeling I had once before came over me. He threatened to stab my tires with it so I couldn't go anywhere. I panicked and drove off and I'm pretty sure I spun him around as I did. I threw gravel and dust and squealed tires as I hit the road. I drove straight to the sheriff's office and filed a complaint then to my new lawyer.
Hindsight I believe this was part of his Lewy Body Dementia. That was 7 yrs ago.
Today, for a split moment I had that same sick feeling.
Hubby woke up in a foul mood. More mobile than he has been lately, He shuffles all around clutching everything for balance. He is so lost to location, always asking where we are and how we got there and who brought his clothes, are we going to stay here, is this a VA home ? etc etc.
Today he believes someone has stolen some of his things and has accused me of the same. Something I am used to by now I barely consider it as odd anymore. Oh the things we label normal when living with Lewy Body Dementia. I already decided I was not getting tangled up in the theft ring so I tried to change the subject by offering food. He agreed to that so I sliced him up some watermelon and set the bowl in front of him. There was no redirecting his thought train so I tried to assure him that nothing had been stolen and I sure didn't need to steal anything. I then walked out of the kitchen to my comp room and pulled up my prayer list. I can see the kitchen from my comp chair but I couldn't see where Hubby was sitting but I heard him when he got up. He finally came into sight and I saw him reach into the sink and withdraw the very large knife I was using to cut the watermelon. I got the same sick feeling for a moment as I watched him shuffle back toward where he was sitting. He stood at the counter and I slowly stood and stepped into the kitchen. My mind was racing as to every scenario and how I could play it out with a successful ending. I surveyed Hubby looking at the counter confused so I scanned the counter when I realized, he didn't have a fork for his watermelon. My heart still racing a little I walked in smiling and told Hubby “I forgot to get you a fork” Hubby agreed and said “salt too” I approached him talking to him the whole time about forks and salt and took the knife from him and locked it in the dishwasher. Retrieved the proper utensil for eating and the salt. Hubby sat at the end of the counter happily eating his watermelon.
I returned to my desk and blankly stared at my prayer list. I told God how thankful I was for Him watching over us. I could have been hurt (I know, I thought about me first) Hubby could have fallen and gotten hurt. I also said that I just couldn't concentrate on my prayer list at the moment but He knew what the needs and praises were so AMEN!
Now that I'm settled I believe that Hubby had NO intentions of doing harm, he was looking for something to eat his food with but got confused about which utensil he needed and where they were located. He took what he saw I had used.
There is however a REALLY GOOD lesson here.
When Hubby's Lewy Body Dementia was first diagnosed, a suggestion on the spousal support group was made to remove all sharp instruments. At first I ignored the idea, Hubby wasn't as bad as the husbands of those making the suggestions. After further reading and a few weeks passing I decided it might be in our best interest to do that very thing so I removed them from sight. Better safe than sorry.
We may say to ourselves, Oh my loved one isn't that far along or my loved one would never do anything like that. But the truth is, we NEVER know what a person with dementia is capable of doing and when. Unless you can pinpoint what parts of their brains are dying we are walking in the dark. We should plan ahead and prepare for the worst and always be vigilant to their safety as well as our own. I was lax in that. I will know better next time. Scary lesson learned. I've always been a hands on learned though.
Now, Hubby is calmer, he shuffled to his bed and is feeding the dogs potato chips.