Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A New Beginning Oct. 2007

In October 2007 we were blessed with a new grandson. Our youngest grandchild was already 15 so it was doubly precious, this new life. I think that Tighe coming into this world gave me a renewed sense of hope and life. I dealt every day with life slipping away and now we had Tighe to bring joy and love and lightness. Oh, how I longed to hold that child in my arms.

So, I flew to see the new baby and his two brothers, mom and dad!! Oh how I needed this.

Elbert had been sundowning badly of late. For the first time he got a little violent with me, shoving me away from the door when I wouldn't let him leave. I hoped that this would not continue and it has not, thank the good Lord.

I felt trapped in the cocoon of Elbert's disease. I couldn't break out. He needed me too much. I was with him, listening out for him, helping him 24/7. I seldom had any fun. I'd missed several support group meetings which was not good for me. I missed church, lunch out with my girl friends. I wondered what would become of me.

And............... I walked into the door and took that baby in my arms and I knew what would become of me. I looked into his face knowing that Tighe needed his Grandmother and I needed him. We instantly bonded and so it is a year and a half later. Whenever I can get away I wallow in that childs hugs and slobbery kisses and cry when he blows me goodbye kisses. He has been the saving factor in my life. I will survive... for life goes on and is good.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

October (2007) is full of falls

Fall is beginning. The golden rod is blooming, the peanuts are being harvested.... and Elbert is doing his own version of fall. Physically, that is. On the 4th he fell out of bed during the night. A loud boom woke me up at 2:45 a.m.. I found him on the floor of the back side of the bed, on his all fours. He said he was hunting some money he'd dropped. I told him he'd been dreaming but he let me know that he HAD NOT been dreaming. So, I did the thing I should have done in the first place. I told him to get into bed and I'd find his money!! After he's settled between the covers I scramble around on the floor. 'It was almost $30' he said from his pillow and in a couple seconds I 'find it'. ' I got it', I announce and go crawl back in my bed.

A couple minutes later I hear him call 'honey' so I go back to see about him. 'How much money did you find on the floor?' he wants to know. 'Thirty dollars'. I say. 'Oh Alright'. he says and he turned over to go to sleep. However, I lay awake until daybreak.

Elbert and I sit in the sunroom enjoying our Sunday afternoon, when he decided to get up out of his chair and walk to the window to look outside. I was right there but I could not prevent him from falling. Our sunroom floor is broken brick set in concrete. Hard. I'll never forget the sound of his head hitting the floor. I got him up and he seemed fine. One hard headed man!!

The next day (the 8th) I was walking with Elbert for him to go to the bathroom. We got as far as the dining room when he started leaning. I held on for dear life but I could not keep him up. He hit the floor pulling me down with him. We were a sight, all sprawled out on the floor. He had sort of grabbed onto the china cabinet and it rocked back and forth, dishes rattling. I thought it was going to topple over onto the top of us but the Good Lord just put his hand out and steadied that cabinet and we were safe. That episode just shattered me. I realized that when Elbert has these falling spells I can not physically handle him. So, where do I go from here. I take every step he takes but his strength is greater than mine. I have been told to just let him fall to not let him take me down but that's hard. You don't want the one you love to get hurt.

We saw the doctor. He did not know what was causing the falls and the best help he could offer was a wheelchair. He made arrangements for us to have one. Would that work? I still will have to watch Elbert. He's not going to move that chair when he needs to go somewhere. He'll just hop out and take off. And, Now, I'll have the chair to push. We'll try it. We have to do something.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It Happened -- he didn't know me - 2007

We had been traveling down this long, narrow path of Alzheimers for over 6 years and you think you have things all figured out and then you get blindsided. It was Sept 20, 2007 (I'll never forget). Elbert was talking to me ... about his wife and did not realize that I was his wife. I knew the day would come, if we lived long enough, but I just wasn't ready for it, not yet. I did not cry. It felt more like someone had slammed me up against the wall. I was speechless, it had just sucked the life right out of me.

This isn't fair. We have a new grandson on the way and Elbert will never know that child and the baby will never know what a wonderful grandfather he had.

I caught my breath, then I smiled and told him I would call his wife and tell her what he wanted me to tell her. HIS Wife, that's me. This is a devastating blow but I picked myself up, made my pretend call, then went about my chores. Within a short period of time I was back to being his honey again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm Depressed May 2007

So much has been going on...and I am so depressed. I'd taken a trip over to College Farms to pick up four gallons of strawberries. Some to eat, some to put in the freezer and some to give away. I was just driving along and suddenly burst into tears. I was wondering if there was bread at home. Now, how crazy is that? A stop at a store would fix the dilemma. No big deal. But, the tears flowed. Next doctor visit I mentioned it to our family doctor and she prescribed an anti-depressant. Well, whatever it takes. Crying over bread is pathetic, but the root cause lies hidden deep inside me, digging at my spirit. I've tried very hard to be upbeat, to deal with each new phase but it's just bigger than me.

Three weeks later I am sitting at my sewing machine upstairs making a quick project for son Michael. He was there directing me (after all it was a hatch cover for his boat and something totally unfamiliar to me) and we heard a huge thump. Both of us ran downstairs as fast as we could go. We found Elbert, sitting on the floor,  leaning up against the kitchen cabinets. There was a gash in the back of his head and a skinned place on one elbow. Michael and I both tried to get him out of the floor and finally got him into a chair but his eyes were vacant, he was convulsing some and trying to vomit. I called 911. In a distant fog I heard the sirens coming.

Elbert was loaded into the ambulance and we headed to the ER. All the tests came back negative so at midnight we headed back home. What caused those symptoms? Why didn't they find something to justify his collapse? Now, I am left to wonder when it will happen again.

A week later when we go to get the staples out of that nasty gash our doctor says the drop in the blood pressure was probably caused by the dosage of aminodrone that he takes for his atrial fib. He has to have that so what do I do now? Gee, no wonder I get depressed!!
then volunteer firefighters filling the kitchen. Soon the EMTs got here. People had gathered on the front lawn to see what was happening.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Today (Wednesday March 21, 2007) was doctor visit day. Elbert had an appt. with the eye doctor. He has glaucoma and the pressure has to be checked often. Then we grabbed a quick bite and headed to our family doctor. Some sort of checkup. There are so many it's hard to keep track. That is why I started keeping a journal about our daily ups and downs in this physical world.

We get called back to the exam room and are waiting for the doctor to stick her head in when Elbert has another anxiety attack. He'd had one before but this time the doctor (if she will hurry up and get in here with us) can see what is happening. Elbert was hyperventilating. Doc is cautious about adding more meds since he is already taking so many. I just love women physician assistants. They just seem more on the ball and a little more caring than the men doctors. Anyway, she did decide to increase his risperdal by 1/2 tablet a day to see if it would help.

I was so thankful that the attack happened when it did. You just know that the Lord is looking out for you. Because it happened when it did, it makes me feel reassured that my diagnosis of anxiety attack was correct. I just wonder what is going on in that head of his to trigger the anxiety. Sure, it's got to be scary to not remember anything, to not feel like you are yourself, that you don't know the people around you or even where you are. I guess that's enough to give anyone anxiety.

Changing the medication did not help right away or may have not helped at all. The attacks could have just worked through their course and ended. One night about a week after the doctors visit Elbert had another one. He was in bed and came to tell me that he had been trying to sleep on his back and couldn't. I suggested trying his side. That didn't work, either. And, then he said the strangest thing. He said, he was salavating so much that he was afraid he would strangle. It was a long night. First thing next morning I called the neurologist and he saw us two days later.

The explanation we got about the anxiety attacks was this: the neurotransmitters in Elbert's brain are not sending signals so that the body gets confused which triggers the anxiety.