Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Disgruntlement

A friend at a social networking site invited her readers to update her on their lives, there at her blog. I wrote:

Adjusting to Spouse's Alzheimer's — learning not to reply in impatient tone of voice when answering same question 3rd time; suppressing the little chill that goes through me when he says something sorta surreal; not pursuing the matter when he simply can't give me an answer to a simple question; spending a lot of time talking on phone to providers of various help services, explaining the same details over again to each; noting how people (family and friends) who don't actually live with him don't begin to understand what it's really like; amassing pile of documents on the subject to read, given by each new professional person in turn, and wondering when I'll find time to read them ... well, you did ask.


Yes, I do get a bit pissed off at times!

On the other hand, it was nice to get a visit from the community nurse, who told us she is called in whenever anyone is diagnosed with dementia. It was immediately clear she has an excellent understanding of the problems.

He told her he didn't think he had Alzheimer's any more. I'm sure my eyes widened considerably at that news! She just said, cheerfully, 'You know, I see a lot of people who tell me that' and gave me a little nudge on the arm to stop me putting in my two cents' worth, as she added that usually the people who live with them have a better idea than anyone else.

She invited us to a series of monthly morning teas at a nice restaurant overlooking the river, which she has just organised, for carers — and, if desired, the people they care for — to get together. I jumped at the chance. She said it's good for people with dementia to get out socially — better than doing crossword puzzles and so forth, to keep their brains working. I had already been coming to that conclusion, from observation. And good for carers to meet others who understand what it's like. This regular outing begins tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it in all sorts of ways.

Meanwhile, the arthritis in his spine got very painful and x-rays confirmed further deterioration. He has decided to ditch our chiropractor, convinced those treatments were no longer making a difference. Instead the doctor has prescribed a new painkiller which is helping noticeably. Almost immediately he started to wonder if he should be taking it! This after constant nagging about the doctor's appointments and the x-rays, when he was anxious to be rid of the pain and kept forgetting that the appointments were already scheduled.

I burst into tears and insisted he keep taking it.

'Don't get upset with me,' he begged.

Not with you, about you,' I said.

He put his arms around me. 'You mustn't worry. I'll be all right.'

Trouble is, the nurse explained to me that the medication he is now taking for his Alzheimers, while it inhibits the chemical that impedes the messages between brain cells, does not stop the cells from dying off. She suggested that he will get worse, albeit gradually.

I have an appointment to see the geriatric specialist myself — though not until late March. Alzheimer's was in my father's family. He had it, so did his uncle, his great-aunt and his youngest brother. I'd like to find out if I have any signs of it, and if so catch it as early as possible!

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