Saturday, December 9, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends!  Linda and I pray you have a blessed, joyous, family filled Christmas Season!!

Christmas has always been an emotionally difficult season for me.  Long before LBD, I suffered with depression issues during Christmas because of the situation of my birth and upbringing.  But, since I turned my life over to Jesus Christ, Christmas has been easier.  Not easy, but easier on me.  We concentrate on the Birth of the Messiah and not the commercial side of Christmas.  But, LBD has made Christmas more difficult in recent years and this year is going to be even more difficult for me and therefore my Wife!

All of us with LBD have depression and anxiety issues.  But, the social gatherings, noise, activity, and pressure to be happy and joyous make those problems exponentially worse for us.  The question we need to answer is;  How do we deal with our depression, anxiety, and anger, during the many mandatory social events of the Christmas season?

I have read about this topic and have come up with some suggestions.

First; concentrate on the good memories!  We all have Holiday horror stories.  Try to put them in the background and concentrate on the good events you remember from your youth, your early marriage, your children's younger years.

Second; Don't do too much!  Everything in moderation.  We have a tendency to try to do what we used to do when we were 20!!  Trust me, you can't!  Spouses, don't schedule so many events, visits, meals.  And, don't have the entire family over to the house for the entire day!  This will drive your Dementia patient into depression, anxiety, and anger overload!!

Third;  Watch your Dementia spouse closely through the event.  If they become agitated, overwhelmed, tired, or introspective, spend some one on one time with them.  Have a favorite friend of relative get them off in a comfortable cove and quietly discuss how they are doing.  Or, let the Dementia patient take a nap!

Fourth;  Don't schedule events everyday!!  Your LBD patient need time to decompress and rest.

I bring these suggestions to you based on my experiences and what I have read from other professional sites.  I am sure you have other suggestions that I have missed.  The key is, keep the well being of your LBD spouse in mind throughout the Christmas season.  Take time to be alone with him or her.  Concentrate on the good times!  And enjoy each other.  Every day is precious to us.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I just realized why I like Assisted Living!!

I have said before that I want to move to Assisted Living.  Many people ask me why and I had various answers based on care, comfort, and getting comfortable before I am completely confused by Dementia.  All, I believe are on target.  But, last night I finally got the real answer.  If you are a long time reader of my blog, you know I spent the majority of my adult life in the Navy.  I was a Navy Chief!  I retired as a Master Chief.  I lived in the "Chief's Quarters"!  Unlike any other Military branch, the Navy E-7 thru E-9 community live separately as directed by law.  It was a tradition that dates back to the British Navy.  All Navies of the free world hold the same tradition.  Chiefs berth, eat, and live totally separate from the rest of the Enlisted crew and the Officers.  It is a wonderful tradition that honors those who really make the ship function.  It is also a wonderful way to life that I loved.

Assisted Living and Memory Support communities remind me of the Chief's Quarters!!  Separate dining, separate lounges, separate berthing.  People to take care of your every need.  Even someone to wake you up in the morning!!

At least now, I know why Assisted Living hold my interest so much.  I am so comfortable when I am there.  I feel special, cared for, and at home.  Hopefully it won't be too long before I move back into the Chief's Quarters!  I can't wait.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dealing with people is hard for us with Dementia

This evening I went to take out to get dinner.  We do that often because I do not do well with people in the evening.  One of the women I know and get along with was having a birthday.  So, I told her husband we should sing Happy Birthday to her and he agreed.  We all sang and she font angry!  She scowled at me and said: "I did not appreciate that!"  Why, because you are having a birthday?  You must have had some before.   Is it because we honored you with a Birthday Song?  I apologized of course.  But, it upset me and ruined my night.

Look, I admit I do not understand why old women die their hair, wear body filler make up, and try to look 40 years younger than the are.  But, we did not use her age in the song!  But, I guess having a Birthday means you are getting older.  Duh!! You are older than dirt now!  Be glad you are still breathing you self-centered bag!!

For me, dealing with people and all their baggage is overwhelming.  I want to live in a Dementia Care facility where I am with residents that are on the same path as me and a staff that understands me.  I am sick of phony, landed gentry, uppity, snooty, faux socialites that only care about themselves!!  Moving here was a mistake for me!!

I wish I could use some Sailor language here.  But, I will control myself for the moment.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Understanding men!

There is a joke about a young man who finds a "Genie Lamp" in the beach in San Diego.  The Genie is angry that he was woke up and tells the young man he will only get one wish.  The Young Man asks the Genie to build a bridge from San Diego to Hawaii because he was afraid to fly or ride on ships and always wanted to see Hawaii.  The Genie said; "Do you have any idea how hard that would be?!  Pick another wish."  Te Young man then said:  "Oh, I never did well with Women, so I want you to make it so I understand how a Woman's mind works."  The Genie replies;  " How big do you want that bridge, two or four lanes?"

Well, Men are even harder to understand.  Especially men facing their own death.  Those of us who served in the Military in actual combat positions, put our lives on the line and many times came very, very, close to death, without giving it a second thought except for a laugh over a beer later.   But, let that same combat vet be diagnosed with a life threatening disease of condition and he becomes very introspective and he will NOT discuss his fears with his wife, children, or friends.

There is a man who lives where I do who is in tough shape.  He knows he will not get better and is only looking his own downhill journey to death.  Not an honorable death defending our Nation or saving his friends lives, or the ship.  Instead, he is weak, unable to do anything he did for the 34 years he served in the Navy, and is a shadow of his former self!  To discuss this with someone who knew him when he was rough, tough, strong, mean, and the authority on anything and everything, would show him in his weakened state.  Trust me, that ain't going to happen.   So, he is a grouch, difficult to talk too, and disconnected mentally from those he loved and knows.

Men, like my friend and me, need a neutral party to talk to.  To unload on.  A Pastor, a Psychologist, or a Nurse.  But that individual need someone to talk too!!  I have a Pastor and a Psychologist I unload on.  They are both extremely helpful to me and for me.  But, you, the friend, wife, son, of a man facing his demise must connect your loved one to a neutral party.  If you do not, you are not helping your loved one find some happiness in his last days.

Yes, I would have been happier if I died a Combat Death.  But, here I am, facing a much more mundane death.  My Psychologist and Pastor helped me understand I am still the man I was and  that I still have value.

I told my friends Wife the same thing today.  That's all I can do.  I hope and pray she takes my advice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Boast Ye NOT of Tomorrow"  Instead, enjoy today and all God has brought you.  Even though we have LBD or another form of Dementia, Life is still a gift from our Heavenly Father.  Thank HIM everyday and especially on Thanksgiving Day.

To all my friends, family, and my friends that read this blog;  Thanks for standing by my side through this journey.  I could not have done this without you!

Friday, November 17, 2017

The severe effects of General Anesthesia on Dementia Patients!

I have a friend here at Azalea Trace that has mid-stage Dementia.  Which one is up for grabs seeing that accurate neurological diagnosis are very difficult to get her in East Lower Alabama!  In any case, he fell and broke three ribs about two weeks ago.  Since then, he fell again and broke a hip, which required surgery.  Naturally the doctors used General Anesthesia.  The General Anesthesia has severely and negatively impacted his Dementia!

There are at least two very good medical level articles on the Levy Body Dementia Association Web Site (LBDA.ORG) that address this issue.

My friend will never return to where he was before the surgery!   I am no doctor, but after visiting him today, it is my opinion he will never get out of bed again.  I am upset for him and for me.

If you have a Dementia or are the caregiver for someone with Dementia, PLEASE read the articles on the site about the impact of General Anesthesia on Dementia patients.  Fore warned is fore armed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Overload Monday

We were busy yesterday.  Too busy!  We each had a doctors appointment with our GP, both at the same place.  They were slow as usual and I got agitated!  The, since we were in the town over from Pensacola, we did some shopping we needed to do and ate lunch.  We came home and an hour later had a scheduled Vet appointment for Zeus, the Winder Dog!  All three medical appointments went as expected.  Then, I had to do my usual Monday laundry in the evening to be ready for Tuesday.

Tuesday will not be much better since my Wife has an appointment for a medical test after her BSF Leaders meeting.  I am preaching at the Skilled Nursing Facility for the Staff Chaplain at 10 AM, so Tuesday will be busy too!

Busy days are difficult for me.  I get agitated and angry over any little thing.  Even riding in the care causes me issues!  Maybe because the illiterate morons that live here can't drive!!

A topic of my GP appointment, among many, was my left shoulder.  The rotator cuff is torn and needs repair.  We have known that for a long time.  But the pain is getting worse and I am loosing mobility in my left arm.  I even have difficulties drying myself after a shower.  BUT, haven surgery under a General Anesthesia is not a good idea for LBD patients.  

LBDA has two new articles on this tops that I found very good and very concerning.  The medical evidence is that General Anesthesia accelerates and advances the impact of Dementia in LBD patients.  My GP know this and told me I have to make a quality of life decision.  In other words, is the pain and immobility more of an issue than the possible loss of cognitive ability!  

I have not come to terms with that yet.  My Wife is against the surgery but she does not want me in pain either.  I will Pray about this and seek God's will.