Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The stress of being a caregiver!

I can only imagine the stress my wife has to deal with as she deals with me having LBD.  I can see some of the indicators of stress on her and it hurts me to think me and my disease are causing these issues.  I have apologized many times for the circumstances we are in, but she always, graciously, tells me it is not my fault and it is not a problem for her.  Linda is a great wife, friend, and care giver.  I am blessed.

But, I know this is difficult for her.  She had to deal with her father having Alzheimer's and that was just the pre-show for me.  She was once removed from her father's issues since we never lived close to him until he came to live with us after her mother died.  By the, Kurt was well into Alzheimer's and deaf as a wall!  So, communications were limited.   There were some funny moments that we can look back on.  Like the fact that he did not like to wear the new dentures we bought for him, so, he hid them!   Kurt said they were stolen!  We found them after he passed away, hidden in his medicine cabinet!

Nursing homes knew little about dementia's back then, and knew even less about caring for dementia patients.  There were NO drugs to slow the progression of the disease available.  So, the progress was much faster and much more brutal.

Today, many of us slowly slide into the end stages of dementia.  Keeping at least somewhat connected to reality until the end stages.  In my case, I have had four good years of a slow, downward slide.  Very few abrupt drops off a plateau like we experienced with Linda's dad.  Thanks to drug research, my experience has been more gentle and manageable.

However, that slow progression may serve to build the pressure on the caregiver all the more!  Why, it is like waiting for Christmas when you are a child!  You know it is coming, but the anticipation is difficult to take.  Linda knows I am getting worse, she sees it!  Yet, there are days when I am much better.  That up and down progression is a signature feature of LBD.  And, it must be maddening to her.  Why, because she never really knows where I will be at any time of the week or day!  That alone causes stress.

Today is my birthday.  I truly never though I would get this old or be in this medical position.  Of course, God's plan for our lives is not revealed to us.  He knows all, but we operate in the dark, learning each day what God has provided for that moment in time.  Tomorrow is never promised to us.  That truth should make today, the most precious day we have!  This IS the day the Lord has made.  Let us be glad and rejoice in it.  Tomorrow may bring sorrow or joy.  But we have now, today, to enjoy.  Rejoice in that.

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