Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012, the year in review

This has been a very eventful year!   But you already know that.  It has also been a very emotional year for you and me.  You have seen me meltdown on this blog over the outcome of the Presidential election and have read about how LBD has effected me.  You also know that we moved to Florida at the end of 2011.  That transition has been difficult for me and the year of 2012 has had it's ups and downs as a result of that move.

Today is Christmas day.  My Pastor called me and I really enjoyed that call.  Pastor Fred is a mentor and friend to me.  He took me from an AWANA leader and Sunday School teacher to a Pulpit Preaching Pastor.  I miss Fred, my Church family at Grace Community Church in Virginia Beach, and that entire part of my life.  Yes, leaving my Navy family has been hard and they are not replaceable.  But, I miss my Church and all of the wonderful people there even more.  And, as I have found out, they are not replaceable either!

Florida has been good for me in many ways.  I truly needed to build an adult relationship with my son.  He moved to New York state not long after he was married and we just never had the time together to build that relationship.  Him and I being together, without kids or wives, is special.  We can discuss "Man" issues and help each other through the problems of daily life.  That can't be done  600 miles away or during a few visits a year.  James and I have re bonded and now have a much stronger relationship.  I have also been able to reconnect with two of my Grandsons.  They are in the middle teen years and, in both cases,  Linda and I are having a real influence in their lives.  This time is precious for them and for us.

I would not give this time with my family up for all the money in the world.  It is a precious gift from GOD.  But I still long for the times, back in Virginia Beach, with my Church family and my shipmates.  Definitely, there is a hole in my soul that will never be filled because we are no longer together.  I never thought I would leave Virginia.  GOD does work in mysterious ways.  HE also works for our good.  I will never forget that!

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Yesterday, I cried!!

For a long time, I had been unable to cry.  I don't know why, but crying just would not happen.  Recently, I have found myself crying about things that surprise me.  Yesterday, I looked at a Christmas ornament that has been with me since I was a very little boy.  It is a little elf that was a package decoration.  Every year, it was on one of my presents.  Then, it became a traditional tree decoration.  My Mother gave it to me when Linda and I were married and we have placed it on our Christmas tree for the last 39 years!  

Yesterday, I was looking at the tree and burst into tears!  I looked at the elf and realized he was the model for the "Elf Story" that is popular with small children today.  For some reason, that little elf brought forth a flood of emotions, missing my Mother, My Mom and Dad, remembering my youth, friends, the hurts, and the happiness.  I was also overwhelmed with the deepening feeling of my own demise.  

Now that topic has never been a topic of thought for me.  Even as a Navy Gunner's Mate, as dangerous as that profession was, did I ever think of death.  Lately however, the thought of death seeps into my mind.  As I have said before, my neurologist in Virginia Beach told me I had not yet come to terms with this disease.  That was over a year ago and now I am beginning to address the outcome of LBD.   I guess I am a slow starter! 

Now don't get me wrong, it actually feels good to cry.  To be able to release the emotions that build up is a relief, not a problem.  So, I am glad this has come to me.  I am also beginning to look at life from a different prospective.   I always knew that I would die, someday.  Everyone know that.  But, in my mind, that day was an eternity away!  Now, I know that it is not.  I am beginning to enjoy life more.  For instance, Christmas!   I always dreaded Christmas.  I had some very difficult memories of Christmas from my youth and the entire hustle and bustle of Christmas was just overwhelming to me.  I resisted putting up the Christmas tree and really resisted putting up out door lights.  Now, I want the tree up as early as possible and I have my front yard as a witness to the birth of Christ with a very large, lighted, Manger scene.   I have lights along the roof of the house and I have plans for even more lights and a camel and donkey in the front yard for next year!!

So, crying is a positive thing for me and I believe I am beginning to realistically deal with Lewy Body Dementia.   More to come.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New neurologist blues.

Since we moved to Florida, one of the frustrations has been establishing a relationship with a new group of doctors.  The Family Practitioner is wonderful.  Not as good as my Family Doctor, Bob Dowdy, in Virginia Beach, but a good substitute.   But getting used to my Neurologist is a real challenge.

By definition, Neurologists have the bedside manner of a rattlesnake!  They are full of themselves, self absorbed, and self-proclaimed Know-it-alls.  Every time I have to go to a new Neurologist, I spend the first year of appointments trying to convince this doctor that the other doctors were correct and I DO have LBD!!  Each self-absorbed doctor thinks everyone else is wrong and only they can properly diagnose any neurological disease.   And each time, the new neurologist comes to the same conclusion, at my expense.   Even the neurologists at UVA who were tasked to provide a second opinion by my Neurologist in Virginia Beach.  Actually, that one event may have been the most trying for me.

This Neurologist is the same as all the rest.  He treats me as if I am malingering or lying!   As my wife and I describe problems and issues that have occurred since my last visit, he tries to tell me they are not related to my disease and trivializes my problems!  Truthfully, I am fed up with the drill and I am tempted to tell him and his profession to take a long walk off a short pier!  However, my wife has convinced me to hang in there a little while longer.  But one more curt answer and he is out of here!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Confrontation, disagreement, bother me!

I know I have addressed this problem before, but I believe it is getting more pronounced.  Any situation that is based in or has an escalation to a confrontation causes me to become upset and also causes my "Fight or Flight" responses to surface.  Normally, I just want to get away from or peaceably stop the situation and return to calm, normal conversational topics.  I have had a couple of angry outbursts in the car when someone does something that I feel threatens us.

I realize this is a normal emotion in everyone but it is amplified in me and happens earlier in situations that ever before.  Additionally, I react the same way with the discussion of our finances, even though our finances are demonstrably fine.  The normal discussion of our financial goals and condition causes me to recoil and immediately change the topic.  That or I just quickly agree with my wife and change the topic.  Now, I used to do all the long range finances and savings plans.  Now, I want nothing to do with the topic.

This change causes a challenge for my wife.  It causes her to either shield me from controversy or watch me react to it.  She has to walk on egg shells because of me and that is not fair.  But, she knows I am not at fault, it is the LBD.  The interesting part is, right now, when I am doing well, and there are no issues at the fore front, I can write about this issue and describe my emotions.  But, when I am negatively impacted by the events or topic of the discussion, I just react, without reason or thought.  This truly is an interesting, unpredictable, maddening, disease.

Of course, I know soon, I will not have the good times as much.  So, it is good to describe these reactions now for all to learn.  Thanks for listening.