Monday, July 30, 2012

Anger issues Part II

OK, I went off course on my last post.  I was going to talk about the anger issues.  Like last year at our Seniors apartment.  We had returned form a shopping trip and we had numerous bags of food to take up to our third floor apartment.  No problem, we had a cart in the garage that handled the bags well and there was the elevator.  When I pushed the elevator button, nothing happened.  No lights, no sound of the elevator moving to the ground floor.  Nothing!  I thought the elevator was out of commissioned.  I was frustrated but I also understand that mechanical things break.  Just the same, it WAS working when we left because we rode the elevator down.  So, I started carrying the groceries up the three flights of steps and then I noticed the elevator stopped on the second floor, door open, and full of furniture.  Someone was moving into a second floor apartment.  I said to the young men moving the furniture;  Move the furniture out of the elevator so other people can use it.  The sarcastically said; "No, it's OUR elevator!"  I BLEW UP!!  I mean really BLEW UP.  I was ready to fight, I was screaming at the top of my lungs using language that would have won me the World's Swearing Championship!  People in the next building, behind closed doors, heard me.  I know, they told me!  Then, after challenging them all to a fight, I went over and exploded on the management staff!!  It was ugly.

After I returned home and calmed down, I knew I had to apologize to everyone and anyone I offended.  I did so, even to the sarcastic young fellows.  I was embarased and my wife was upset.  That was the first time I really understood that my "Social Filters" were broke.  LBD had taken my ability to be nice in tough times.  Something I used to pride myself in.  It has happened more recently also, but you get the idea.  In the blink of an eye, I went from happy to ready to fight!  I was not just angry at the situation, I wanted revenge!  Thank GOD for restoring my sensibility.  But I know, this will only get worse.  So, we guard against it and try to stay out of situations that may encourage rage.  But I cannt stay completely away from life, so in my daily interactions, I am sure I will once again explode.   can only pray it is controlled.  My wife is my human rock and sh understands me better than anyone else.  She should after 40 years of marriage.

Anger and rage are real issues for those of us suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.  Again, thanks to others for sharing their experiences.

Anger issues

I was reading a blog post from a care giver for a LBD patient and I read an excellent article on anger issues. This disease has numerous symptoms that come and go as fast as the weather changes in Florida.  One of these issues is anger or outbursts of anger.  I gained important insight into my own disease by reading her experiences with her husband's anger issues.

I also get angry, even elevating to rage.  Presently, I recognize that emotion and either contain it or go to bed where I am alone to let it pass.  Since 99% of my time is spent with my wife, who is my care giver, the LAST thing I want to do is explode on her.  Being a retired Navy Master Chief Gunner's Mate, she has heard me explode before and I am sorry for that.  However for a long time, I have made every effort to control my anger and contain my outbursts.  Before LBD, that was easier because I knew what I was getting angry about.  Now, anger has it's own agenda and sometimes I don't recognize it before it explodes in my brain!

My wife is still able to rein in my outbursts with various techniques ranging from calm explanations to loud demands to calm down.  All of her techniques work, so far.  Like I said, I also work very hard to be civil and in control.  I fail sometimes, but right now, I think I am doing well.

It is beneficial for me to read about other LBD sufferers issues and problems. First of all, it gives me the assurance that I am not abnormal or broken.  I am just suffering from a disease.  Second, other peoples experiences give us an insight into what will happen next.  That is very valuable when you are trying to figure out the newest issue of LBD.  Because having LBD is an on the job learning curve.  It is like being fed with a fire hose.  There is little information out there and most GP's don't even know what it is.  So, the sufferer and care taker are on their own, especially in the middle of the night when a new problem pops up.

To my fellow bloggers, thanks for being there!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Calls from friends

I have written before how telephone calls and visits from friends are the greatest boost to my mood.  Yesterday, I received a telephone call from a friend I worked with for 20 years.  He is always upbeat, encouraging, and witty.  Yesterday's call was no different.  Now Tim is dealing with his own issues looking out for the physical and emotional well being of his Mother.  Tim and his wife have been his Mother's only family support for a long time and now, as she needs even more help, they continue to be strong and steadfast.

As we talked, Tim asked me how I was doing and I told him I was doing well and that I was getting accustomed to Florida.   Tim then verbally punched me in the nose!!  He said; "Why don't you write about being better.  You sound like you are miserable!"  Well, point well taken!

But, in my defense, when I write about being unhappy or uncomfortable about my surroundings, it is because I am!  However, in Tim's defense, I have been doing better.  I do not feel as lost here in the Panhandle of Florida.  But I will not fulfill the recall on my Garmin GPS because I am afraid to be without it!  I am beginning to make some friends in the neighborhood.  A new retired couple moved into the house across the street.  I am glad to see the because they are older than me!  My next door neighbors are a great couple and they watch over us like we were their parents.

I have also joined the local Gideon's group, so I now have a Ministry to pour my energies into.  All in all, I am doing better emotionally.  Health wise, is a different story.  My medical condition reminds me of an old joke.  A fellow walks up to me and asks;  Can you lend me a thousand dollars until my brother gets better?  I reply, what does he have?  The fellow replies, AIDS!

My memory is getting worse, any exertion reduces me to a sweating, shaking, collapsed, pile of humanity.  I have had to purchase a rolotator, ( a wheeled walker) to help me get around when I am unstable and weak.  My doctor is fairly sure it is related to my LBD, but he did an EKG and discussed my issues with a Cardiologist.   Now they want me to do a stress test, just to be sure.  So, my health continues to get worse, but I am happier in my surroundings.

The bottom line is, Florida is good and I am as good as I can be!  Thar's not a bad way to be.

Please keep those calls and visits coming!  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A trip to the water park!

I enjoy water parks.  I like to ride the water slides.  Not the extreme ones, like the 160 foot drop, 60 mph ones, but the gentle, or even slightly fast slides with plenty of turns and drops.  I am like a kid at the water parks and have enjoyed a number of water parks with my grandsons.  Sadly, I found out last Thursday that those days are over.  We went to a park close to us here in northern Florida.  It is a park directed at the large tourist trade.  But it was nice, clean, and well ran.  But, it was built on the side of a hill!  I have never seen so many steps just to get from one ride to another.  Not to mention climbing up to the top of the slide.  To say this place was not handicap accessible would be an understatement.  Yes, I know, handicapped people don't go to water parks.  Yeas they do!  The water park in Virginia Beach IS handicap accessible!  Not all slides, but the wave pool and other places.

Just the same, I got extremely tired in quick order and had to sit and rest the rest of our stay.  I was out of breath and weak!  No, I did not have any chest pain.  I was just winded and weak.   When I got home, I could hardly walk and I had great difficulty getting out of my chair!  Now, being totally truthful, my legs and arms have been experiencing stiffness, pain, and rigidity, for the last few weeks.  But, these last few days, I have had to depend on my cane.  Of course, that makes my right arm hurt all the more.  My arms begin to shake after a short time of strain.  So yesterday, I did something I have been putting off for quite a while.  I bought a rotilator, or as some call it a walker with wheels.  It is easier on my arms and gives me better support.   Additionally, it has a seat and it has a storage compartment under the seat!!  The wheels are larger than most so it will navigate gravel and rough terrain.  OK, not an off road vehicle but more usable than a smooth tile floor model!

This is just another expected step in the progression of my disease.  Yes, I expected it, but I did not welcome it.  But, it is what it is.  By the way, my legs are still sore and stiff, now two days after the water park.   SO, the cane and walker are still in service.

While I was in the store purchasing my walker, I looked at the chairs that help you get up.  I think that will be my next purchase.