Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Velcro

In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Nikka is made of velcro.


When Lyn came home from day hab, Nikka greeted her by spinning around the room.  This is her normal approach to greeting my sister.  Lyn sat down and the velcro between them took hold.  They stayed like this for over a half hour.  

Lyn may not be smiling, but she is thrilled by Nikka's response to her and just adores the dog.  It is a good thing because the feeling is so clearly mutual.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Your Correspondent

"We're Entering the Age of Alzheimer's" is an article that crawled across my desk just last week.  It was published earlier in the month.  The article combines a personal account from the perspective of the author who refers to himself as "your correspondent" along with the statistics surrounding Alzheimer's and the anticipated impact it will have on the human population.

It is a tough article to read for a number of reasons.  There are times when I want to argue with the author's word choice, but I can't.  Despite my role in Lyn's care, I don't have the direct, extended one-on-one care experience to quibble with his words.  The author's points are salient and across to me as brutal honesty; not an attempt to offend or belittle.  That being said, the article is well worth reading.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Justin Has Passed

At the end of August, we learned about Justin, an individual with Down's Syndrome who was participating in an Alzheimer's study.  I was saddened last night to learn that Justin had passed away in his sleep this week.

May he be remembered well and with love.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Can and A Dog

Lyn wanted to show her craft project from day hab.  It is a dog on a can.  She's very pleased with it.


Lyn wanted to share with me the instructions for how to make one of these.  They are as follows:

1. You need a purple can.
2. You need someone to use a hot glue gun.
3.  If you have that then you can make one too.

I don't know why the can has to be purple but she insists.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Loosing Weight

Lyn's weight has been high for years.  We all struggle with our weight.  Mom convinced Lyn to make some small changes such as having no more than one soda a day and she lost some weight.  We've praised her lavishly for being able to loose some weight.  However, the weight loss has increased and we think it is not about dietary or exercise changes.  We think it is the Alzheimer's.

Weight loss is actually associated with Alzheimer's.  This association has been known of since at least the late 1990s when a study reveals that weight loss "is a predictor of mortality" for Alzheimer's patients and that the "risk of weight loss tends to increase with severity and progression" of the disease.  Two years later, there were several hypothesis for why the patients shed weight but no definitive answers.  A study released this year indicates that the build up of amyloid-beta interferes with the hypothalamus's ability to respond to the hormone leptin.

Lyn's visit to the doctor for the current infection indicates that she's lost 7 lbs since her last visit 2 weeks ago.  Prior to that, I believe the weight loss from her physical in August indicated 12 lbs lost.  In short, she's lost 19 lbs in under 2 months.  The soda reduction was months ago.  She's not exercising more either.  Her appetite has dropped noticeably however and that is also part of the disease.

Mom and I are concerned because the weight dropping quickly can increase the chances of Lyn taking a fall.  It also reduces the body's ability to fight infections.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Updating the Diagnosis

When Lyn was first undergoing the process to diagnose what is happening to her, the physician listed the diagnosis as early on-set dementia.  Mom has been thinking about this diagnosis for some time and feels that it is too broad.  Dementia is the collection of symptoms resulting from a number of degenerative neurological conditions.  The list of dementia causing conditions includes Parkinson Disease, Vascular Dementia, Fronto-temporal Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Alzheimer's.

Graphic courtesy of the Alzheimer's Organization Alz.org

Lyn's symptoms match Alzheimer's; not any of the others.  Even the last evaluation from a neurologist is in agreement.  As a result, Mom asked Lyn's physician to change the diagnosis from dementia to Alzheimer's.  Her physician thought about it for a few minutes and then agreed, making the change right then.

This really doesn't change anything about Lyn's care.  It just makes the diagnosis as specific and as accurate as possible so that the whole team can speak to the real situation at hand.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Tough Weekend

On Friday, Lyn came down with a massive sinus infection and another ear infection.  The previous infection just two weeks ago had been cleared up and this is in her other ear.  It amazes us how quickly the infections hit her these days.  I really wonder if she's just not aware of the infection building.

She wasn't up for going to day hab and needed to be seen by her doctor that day.  Mom got her in to be seen.  The diagnosis was confirmed and a prescription was ordered.  By the time that Mom got them home, Lyn was ready to fold up.  She did and slept several hours.

Mom has kept Lyn home all weekend and Lyn's spent the weekend sleeping.  Despite being on the needed medication, Lyn's not bouncing back and it looks like she's not going to be up to going to day hab tomorrow.  She's been sleeping until almost 8 each morning, napping from 9 am until at least 11 am, barely eating a lunch and then napping again for several more hours in the afternoon.  She's up for only an hour or two and then bathes and returns to bed for the night.  Mom has commented that Lyn's sleeping on a similar schedule to how she slept as an infant.  Neither of us can recall a time when she's slept more than she's been awake.

Mom cancelled Lyn's speech therapy session for today.   As of Sunday night, she wasn't really showing much improvement and Mom decided to get her seen again by the doctor today.  Hopefully, she'll be back on her feet in a day or two.