Sunday, February 7, 2016

Spotlighting!

"Spotlighting" is a common issue with Lewy Body Dementia patients. Understanding "Spotlighting" is very important for the caregiver and people that are friends of LBD patients.  For the uninitiated, the question is; What is "Spotlighting"?

Simply put, there are two of me.  I have two personalities at any given time, depending on who is with me, what is happening around me, and where I am.

In my home, with my wife, only; my symptoms come to the forefront. When a friend or another visitor is in the apartment, I feel the requirement to be my best.  Now, the secret of "spotlighting."  I am no better, no more alert, and my cognitive skills are no better when I am "Spotlighting".   I just hide my symptoms!  I am still lost, confused, angry, and agitated.

I have read on other blogs that LBD patients exhibit "Spotlighting" during doctor's visits, to the dismay of the caregiver.   I try very hard not to do that, since Neurologists are so unbelieving and skeptical of LBD patients!

Another thing that induces "Spotlighting" is tension, at least in my case.  When there is an issue, argument, confrontation, I become very soft, apologetic, and respectful, to the people around me.  That is directly opposite of the way I was before LBD.  Remember, I am a Master Chief Gunner's Mate and being quiet in the face of a serious situation could be your death.  I had to be in charge, and no one could question that!  And they never did!!  But, now, LBD and spotlighting, turns me into Melvin Milk Toast, when things go wrong.    But, inside me, everything is churning, on fire, and angry.

Why do I react this way?  I believe it is a self-defense mechanism.   I do not want to loose the limited amount of freedom I have.

So, when your LBD patient acts totally different when his friends come to visit, don't get angry.  Just enjoy the time.  He will go back to normal after the visit is over.

I walk around Azalea Trace and take to people, smile, ask them how they are doing, and even comment on how they look.  People tell me I do not show any symptoms of LBD and I must be wrong in the diagnosis.   I am learning to accept that attitude.  They don't see me when I am not "Spotlighting".

Another interesting thing.   Early in my journey, when I was still working, a good friend that really was the BRAINS of the branch I managed, noticed the changes in my mental abilities.  After I was granted my disability retirement, Don told me, he noticed my symptoms very early.  Then he listed all the symptoms he noticed!  Don and I were very good friends and I was very comfortable with him.  So, I never "Spotlighted" around him.

One other point.  "Spotlighting" is not voluntary in the case of the LBD patient.  We do not turn it on and off.  We are not in control of it. Instead, it is a symptom of the disease.   Instead it is a sub-conscience action that I cant understand.  But, I have read enough from the medical world and from other LBD caregivers to help me understand that I am normal in my "Spotlighting".

So, the next time your LBD patient acts normal when the grand kids come over, be patient.  He is not in control of his "spotlighting" anymore than he is in control of his fluctuating Blood Pressure.

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