Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Internet Safety

This weekend, Mom told me she took a couple of pictures of Lyn while they were out visiting the Bosque.  Lyn was immediately agitated.  She was not happy about Mom taking one picture, much less two.

She remembered when Mom asked to take a picture of her by their car but was not aware that Mom had taken one of her stomping away from the camera.

She started to lecture us on how to be safe on the internet and that posting pictures was a dangerous thing to do.  Lyn was ready to spin herself up and I decided to use some pretty strong tactics to redirect her.  First, I assured her that Mom approves every picture of Lyn that goes on the blog.  Second, I check them over and make sure that there is nothing inappropriate.  I assured her we don't want to make her feel uncomfortable or put her in any danger.  Finally, I pulled out the big guns.  I told her that sometimes, if I'm not sure about a post, I have my husband check it over.  Now, I didn't tell her that this final check is usually reserved for when I mention our children.  I felt that refining point would just muddy the waters for her.

Lyn listened and was clearly trying to think through what I was saying.  I had to repeat it a second time, particularly the bit about my husband, before she accepted it.  She did though and quickly calmed down.  She was pleased to know that he had a eye on things and was keeping Mom and me in check.  She has always deferred to him and Mom and I will unashamedly use him to help redirect her when needed.  He knows the score and goes along with it.

So, when the pictures were sent, there was included instructions that he was to check the pictures "so he can decide if they're ok."  He's checked them over and, with a chuckle, given his approval for us to post.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Share the Orange

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

Alzheimers and other diseases which cause dementia symptoms are physical diseases.  The symptoms of the disease are the result of cell death in various parts of the brain.

Cross section of healthy and Azlheimer's brain
Brain comparison image from alz.org

Over the course of the disease, Alzheimer's can result in about 140 grams (4.9 oz) of matter being lost.  Given that the brain starts at about 1360 grams (48 oz), that means that about 10% of a person's brain is lost to the disease.

Additional information:
Alzheimer's changes the whole brain
Loss of Brain Volume Could Flag Alzheimer's

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nikka Speaks

Mom writes:

The bath was taken @ 3pm.  Dinner at 4:30.  Sleep at 5:15pm.  Between bath & dinner she was sitting on the floor with Nikka on her lap.  She started laughing and when I asked what was funny she informed me that "Nikka is telling her to just stay home tomorrow."

I laughed and said we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Neuropsych Eval 2016 part 2

Day two of the evaluation went very well.  Mom learned that the first evaluation which was done on Lyn a few years ago was more focused on evaluating Lyn's IQ and was not focused or specific to dementia.  This one was focused on dementia and not IQ.

The doctor worked with Lyn for about an hour after they first arrived.  The second hour was spent with Ruby the dog and the doctor's assistant. (Ha!  I just realized I blithely named the dog while avoiding people names.  I'm not sure what that says but it amused me.)  Lyn was nice and cooperative when working with both.  The doctor did note how "highly distractible" Lyn is and how easily she "goes dow a rabbit hole" during a conversation.

While Lyn worked with the assistant, the doctor asked about Lyn's daily life, what she does and how she reacts.  She indicated it is a good thing that Lyn's never left unsupervised at this point.

The doctor indicated she had all the information she needed and Lyn's cooperation allowed them to complete the necessary evaluation in just two sessions.  The third session is not needed.  In a few weeks, Mom will visit with the doctor again to get the results of her evaluation.

As a treat for her cooperation, Mom took Lyn to lunch at our Aunt's sandwich shop.

While it took quite a bit of effort to line up this evaluation, we are feeling as though it was worth the effort.  When we get the results, I'll share them with you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Neuropsych Eval 2016

Lyn is undergoing a new neuropsych evaluation this week.  The clinician who is performing it specializes in Alzheimer's patients and the intellectually disabled.  This is the evaluation Mom started trying to line up for Lyn months ago and that we had given up on due to lack of response.

Monday was the first day of the evaluation.  Today will be the second day.  If it is determined that a third session is needed, that will happen tomorrow.

Yesterday's session lasted for an hour and a half.  Mom describes it as an intense collection of background information, primarily focused on Lyn's health and biographic history.  The clinician asked about everything from where Lyn was born (Italy), where she graduated from high school (Montana) to what medication she currently takes for any condition (surprisingly little).  Lyn was able to recall where she was born with confidence.  She recalled one word of the name of the high school.  She couldn't tell the doctor where my family lives.  When the doctor commented that Lyn clearly had a sister, the statement was followed up with the question of "Do you have any other siblings?"  Lyn's prompt response was "No but I have a brother!"

The doctor asked about the previous evaluations, MRIs and other tests.  Mom is to bring in all of those reports with her today if she hadn't previously included them.  Mom had included some of the test results but the doctor is interested in more.  Mom also provided the write up of changes that have been noticed over the past year written by Lyn's speech therapist and me.

Today, Lyn will work with the doctor's assistant and the assistant's therapy dog named Ruby.  Mom's not sure what kind of dog Ruby is other than furry and highly trained.  Lyn was very happy to learn that Ruby would be involved.  They took a few minutes to introduce Ruby to Lyn yesterday which was very well received.

The topic of medication was addressed in depth.  The clinician acknowledged it would be years before a treatment for early on-set Alzheimer's or an effective Alzheimer's treatment is available at all.  Mom stated that knowing the currently available Alzheimer's medications neither slow nor stop the progression of the disease, Lyn would not be a guinea pig to see what side effects she would have with no hope for a beneficial result.

So, while the time yesterday was spent in a conversational tone, the questions were clearly calculated to help the doctor gauge Lyn's ability to respond as well as her ability to recall information from various points in her life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Lyn loves personalized attention and has a jealous streak.  Both came into play last week.

There is a client at day hab who disembarks from the bus backwards.  The staff work with the client and more than one, particularly the men, are right at hand to guide and help the client during the exiting process.  Sometimes, the staff member will put a hand on a back to provide gentle reassurance while the client is on the bus's stairs.  This makes Lyn jealous.  Jealousy makes her angry.

The above scenario happened on Thursday or Friday and she was still angry about it when we spoke over the weekend.  She was able to tell me that she was angry and it was because of something the staff did.  It took a while for her to put her thoughts together but Lyn was clear that she didn't like what happened because it didn't happen to her.  She wasn't happy because she felt she should get that level of help too.

I was actually glad to hear her say it and see that she was able to acknowledge that she wants personalized attention.  Expressing herself is an increasingly difficult thing to do.  However, Mom and I still need to help redirect her emotions.  In this case, we pointed out that Lyn is capable of getting off the bus without help and the other client is not.  We pointed out that all of us want Lyn to do as much for herself as possible because that will help her be as independent as possible for as long as possible.

Lyn made a disappointed face and said "Well..." which was short for "Well, I may not be able to argue but it isn't what I want."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Shopping Pleasure

Lyn loves shopping and a gift certificate is a welcome gift to her.  She received one or two for Christmas and again for her birthday.  This weekend, Mom took her to the store to use one of her gift certificates.

She was very pleased.