Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clueless in Ruidoso (and everywhere else)

Sweet Sadie (She's sleeping, that's why!)
I am ticked and annoyed.  My mother just called.  No, I'm not ticked that she said they were on the way to the ER with my father.  His arms and legs were tingling.  He thought he had a pain in his left arm and chest.  She then called and said they were not going up, but meeting Alicia for lunch. 

I'd read somewhere about tingling in the extremities being a symptom.  I know restless leg is.  I started looking up physical symptoms of Alzheimer's.  Well - try finding a list.  There isn't one.  There are lists of body systems affected.  There is information about behavior.  There is information here and there.  You can find end-stage physical issues, but that's not much good early on, not much good at all.

The list of cognitive symptoms is everywhere. I found an idiotic piece that exercise may delay onset.  That's a total crock.  My mother has kept APR very active.  I can't imagine anyone would be so pathetic and manipulative to try the exercise gambit.  In fact, WebMD's information on Alzheimer's is the least helpful and far less accurate than other sites.  The bottom line is there is no one single list of physical things to watch for - early on.

Early physical symptoms that may appear before the mental symptoms:
Difficulty getting up out of a chair
Difficulty getting out of a car.
Difficulty getting up from a table.
Constant feeling of being cold.
Difficulty walking and maintaining balance.
Changes in urinary habits.
Recognition of scents and odors.
Hand grip

So far, this is my list. I keep looking for additional things.  I think there is a great disservice to people, not to have a list like this.  APR's early symptoms were more physical than cognitive.  If we had known to put these symptoms together with the constantly lost wallet (he was always losing things, so that never bothered us), etc. maybe we could have caught things earlier and saved a heck of a lot of trauma.

I never became truly disturbed until last December when I noticed that he could not do certain math problems the way he once did.  That's when I knew we had a real problem, but never thought of Alzheimer's.  It's quite obvious that we are at the first stage, and have been there for at least a year.

All rights reserved, SJ Reidhead. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Fuzzy Day in Roswell Town

Cathy, Sadie & Hondo (who was ticked with Sadie)
Yesterday was a very fuzzy day.  I'm not sure if it is an additional change, but APR's directional problems were worse than usual.  He was okay when we left the house about 12:30.  He napped for about 30 minutes.  When he woke up, as he frequently does when in the car, he did not know quite know where he was.  He knew he was in Roswell. but was a little fuzzy on the directions.  The "usual" questions lasted until we were nearly back at their house.

  1.  My head isn't working right.  Just what road are we on?
  2.  Are you sure you know where we are?
  3.  Just where is our house?
  4.  Are we going back to where we were to pick up our clothes? (he thinks it is a motel)
  5.  Just where are the dogs?
  6.  Is this the right way?
  7.  This road just doesn't look right?
  8.  How many houses to we own in Lincoln County?
  9.  Are we going back to where we were last night?
10.  Are our things safe where they are?
11.  Aren't we going to go pick up our clothes?
12.  Are we going to stay where we've been for the past four nights?

He asked these questions, repeatedly - over and over.  My mother was very good with him, very patient.  I felt sorry for her.  Then again, she learned that someone they know is now in such bad shape with diabetes that he has lost his vision, cannot walk, can barely use his hands and is dealing with dementia.  What is worse, that or Alzheimer's?

One thing we did note that, yesterday he only had a piece of toast and a doughnut for breakfast.  He usually has 2 cups of old fashioned oatmeal (you think my mother would do instant?), toast, fresh fruit, OJ, and coffee.  He ate nothing else until 2:30 and then it was almost all protein.  I got him a Starbucks strawberry & cream frap.  Thirty minutes after digesting the frap, he was his old self.

Is there a connection?

Or - are we hitting another six months problem?

Yesterday evening he was okay.  My mother thinks the problem is that we have traveled so much that he has it on his mind.  He's just not quite clear between here and South Carolina.

Today's he is okay.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Great Lawnmower Affair

Rumsfeld and His Grandmotehr
One of the very real problems with Alzheimer's is the fact that the judgement sector of the brain eventually is ruined.  One of the earlier signs of this is abject bull-headed stubbornness.  You can't even begin to talk a person out of something they want to do.

My mother experienced this today with the great lawnmower affair.

The front courtyard is a mess.  Thanks to the wonderful rain, grass is rapidly growing.  My father wants it cut.  He wants to cut it himself.  There's no way he can cut it.  He has a hernia.  He is very shaky on his feet.  He's already lost 1.5 toes under a lawnmower.

He has been on this track for two days.  Yesterday Maggie tried talking him out of it.  Every time I've talked to her today, when her back is turned, he heads for the mower.  Also, the moment her back is turned, Sadie grabs one of her stuffed bears and goes behind something so she can pull the stuffings out of it.  When my mother would ask my father not to mow, Sadie would run after him, yapping.

Ray is cutting grass.  I suggested she get Ray to stop cutting on the big mower and go cut the courtyard.  It would make things so much easier.

This stubbornness is an early sign of Alzheimer's. 

Pay attention to it!