Sunday, January 19, 2014

Down the rabbit hole

Well, the Christmas tree is up, thanks to my daughter's good help but hubby hasn't participated in any of the Christmas doings.  You know when you live with someone with Alzheimer's the changes become so gradual that it is difficult at times to evaluate what is the big picture and how the disease is progressing or not progressing.  Throw in some days when the patient seems clear as a bell and it can get a little fuzzy.
     Last week held a series of doc appointments including our primary physician and the geriatric team at UTMB/Galveston.  The primary nodded as I gave a run down and refilled some prescriptions.  But the new resident, Dr. Chala, at UTMB ran him through a battery of memory tests and he pretty much blew it.  It took him a very long time to say what year it is but somehow he knew the day.  As far as remembering the 3 objects she asked him to repeat in five minutes, he had even a hard time repeating them right after she said them.  Wow, 4 months ago he answered nearly all of the questions.  So here we are.  There is no other medication, no increase in meds they said they can offer.  The doc's only suggestion was to give him coconut milk and turmeric which I'm doing.  So I guess we are just in a wait and see and watch.
     Sometimes life with Alz gets hilariously funny.  The other day he got out of bed at a decent time, got showered and dressed and then ran in to me in the kitchen just frantic.  He said he had lost his hearing aids. OMG...I got more than a little discombobulated as those suckers cost thousands and we had finally got them paid off.  I raced into the bedroom thinking he may have gone to bed with them on or laid them on the night stand.  I tore the bed apart.  Nope, nada.  On to the bathroom where he usually keeps them in a covered container.  I went over it with a fine tooth comb.  No results.  I called my daughter in tears and she offered to come look.  Just then my girlfriend who wears them phoned and went over a list of where she thought he might have left them.  Phone in hand I looked.  Nothing.  Then she said, "See if he is wearing them."  I couldn't find him anywhere in the house.  My daughter arrived and found him in the driveway going through the garbage can looking for them.  She took one look at him and said, "Now really, Dad."  The missing hearing aids were in his ears.  I wonder if he showered with them.  Who knows but oh my, I was relieved.
     He continues to read diligently the Wall St. Journal highlighting it and cut out articles.  He wants to go with me on errands but ends up sitting in the car waiting listening to NPR or reading his paper.  Sunday he went back to bed saying he didn't feel well right after we got home from church and I left him there while I went to a meeting.  He didn't answer the phone when I called to check on him so I left the meeting and came home.  He was up and in the backyard cutting the heck out of the crepe myrtles and had not eaten any of the food I had left for him in the fridge.  He complains of being tired frequently.  It has been explained to me that patients are tired, that it takes a tremendous amount of energy just trying to keep their world together in something they understand.  I can accept that.
    The next day he seemed confused when I woke him at 11 am.  He wanted to go with me to the post office and the bank but stayed in the car.  As we were driving, I watched him staring blankly out of the window with that kinda glazed look that I have seen on too many nursing home occupants.  It felt to me like he was "going down the rabbit hole" and it made me really sad.  Sad and thinking we are closer to needing some help and sooner than I anticipated.
   But today he was great.  He woke up, got dressed and wanted to know when we were going to go for batteries for his hearing aids and he has been fine nearly all day...hallelujah.  The rabbit was out of the hole, for today anyway.  And his mate is going to bed now.

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