Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dietary Advice

It is the time of year when I see a couple of my doctors for annual follow-ups.  It is a thrilling time, let me assure you.  I've got a couple of chronic health issues that have to be checked on but that I'm able to manage pretty well on my own.  (Thanks genetics!)  The tests typically come back saying much the same thing each time.  My white blood cell count is stunningly low but within my well documented range.  My thyroid will always need support and the rest of my counts are great... until now.  My weight has always been a challenge for me and carrying the extra load has caught up to me.  I've just, just crossed over into a pre-diabetic state.  So, time to get back to trying to drop some weight.  I've been advised to follow a low carb diet.

When Mom and I speak, Lyn is frequently involved.  She knows that I'm working to loose weight and that my doctor has advised a dietary change.  She knows that I'm planning to schedule time with a nutritionist who can help me balance my needs with my husband's dietary restrictions.  Lyn figured she had the answer for me and decided to dole out her dietary advice.

"Ok.  What you should do is eat this one day and then eat that the next day.  That should work for your husband, too!"

I had to cover my mouth to keep her from seeing me smothering a giggle.  I thanked her for her great advice and assured her I would share it with my husband.

"That's how I lost weight!"

She's lost another four pounds this month without dietary or exercise changes.  I won't tell her that her weight loss is anything other than her "eating this one day and that the next."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

House Book

If you've been reading DBD for a while, you may remember that Lyn has a "car book."  It is a notebook into which she's pasted pictures of places she's visited or of things that make her feel happy such as a hot air balloon.  She keeps this book in the car and takes it with her if she goes on a day trip with Mom.  When she gets anxious about being on the road or going someplace she cannot remember being before, she looks through the book and it helps her feel more calm.  We've added pictures to it over the years and try to have some pictures of sights which are very similar to a place we may be visiting.

While having this book on hand doesn't prevent her from breaking into tears, it does help and has been a good tool to have on hand.  As a result of this, Lyn is making another book she's calling her "house book."  In this second book, she's collecting pictures of things you would find around a home. For example, she cut a picture of a dining table and chairs from a magazine.

She's now forgetting words to describe objects she sees every day.  It is frustrating her.  The hope with the house book is that she'll flip through the book and point to the object that she's wanting to reference.  Asking her to find the object in the house can be an effort in futility sometimes because she's not sure where to start looking any more.  This leads to anxiety.

I foresee a time when a poster or a similar book will be needed to cover the topic of food.

I'm not sure who thought of the house book.  I think is it a great idea!  If it lets her communicate a little more easily, then the book serves its purpose as a tool.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Slow Recovery

Lyn stayed home most of last week.  She was struggling to recover from her double ear and sinus infections.  Illness is hard for her to shake these days.  It also makes it difficult for her to think.  This is common when an Alzheimer's patient is sick.  Their skills and processing take a back seat as their bodies work against the illness.  As a result, illness often brings substantial and noticeable differences from which the individual may not recover.

She's listless and not showing interest in things.  Nikka is still lavished with attention but she pretty much ignored our uncle when he came for a visit the other day.  She's not wanted to go to day hab this week.  She's not wanted to go out at all if the weather is even slightly off.

She even forgot she had more than one set of pajamas.  She came into the living room wearing a pair of pajamas she had worn for a full day.  When Mom suggested she change into clean clothes, Lyn commented that she had forgotten she had more.

As she recovers, she may perk up a bit.  Let's hope.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Product Reviews

Over the weekend, I was contacted by a vendor on Amazon offering to send me a brain health related product for me to try and review.  I don't intend to profit off this blog.  The readership is small and mostly personal.  Even if it were larger, I've never considered even placing adds on Dementia Be Damned.  When I link to resources, I try very hard to find resources which are freely available to you and to limit anything that's behind a pay wall.  That approach as been in place since the day Mom and I decided to start DBD.

To that end, let me assure you that I won't be accepting products for me to try out and review.  It goes against the approach we've decided to take here and, I'm afraid, it would be misleading to you.  Let's be honest.  The topics of DBD are my sister's life and Alzheimer's.  If I were to review a product that claims to improve brain health, what could I say about it?  Is the product's producer going to provide me with their test data from reputable labs which show beneficial results?  Are they going to pay for me to under medical tests before using their product and again after product use to determine there's a change?  Alzheimer's is a very long process.  How could we expect to have meaningful product results to review within 45 days?  How could we realistically say that this product would stave off Alzheimer's?  

My red flags started waving right away.  It sounds like a whole lot of quackery to me.  The part of the inquiry which made me giggle was where they said they had checked out DBD and all of my product reviews.  Perhaps they've found reviews I've submitted elsewhere for dresses I've purchased on-line or cooking products.  But here?  Hardly.

So to the person who inquired and for any who may think that DBD is a good place to hawk their goods or have DBD provide reviews on their site, I assure you, I'm not interested.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sudden On-Set

On Thursday, Lyn had a follow up with her physician regarding the hearing test.  The audiologist had not really explained things well and Mom wanted an opinion about seeing an ENT.  During the visit, Lyn's ears were checked twice with an otoscope and they looked fine.  Before they left the office, the doctor's staff called and arranged an appointment with the ENT.

An hour later, Mom and Lyn were finishing up an early dinner at one of Lyn's favorite restaurants when Lyn's behavior suddenly changed.  She grew very agitated and looked out the windows, seeming to check the level of light and time of day.  Mom could tell Lyn's agitation was high and quickly wrapped up the meal so they could depart.  Lyn tried to remain calm but burst into tears as they were resolving the bill.    The restaurant staff were immediately concerned  and Mom assured them that Lyn would be OK.

They got home and Lyn resigned for the night early  Waking about 2 hours later complaining of her head hurting  and sobbing again.  When at the restaurant, Mom thought Lyn's behavior change was a result of Sundowner's anxiety.  At this point, she suspected the behavior change was the result of a sudden infection.  By morning, it was painfully obvious that Lyn needed to be seen and Mom allied the physician's office.  Without a same day appointment available, Mom ended up having to take her to Urgent Care where it was found the had a raging double ear infection and the beginnings of a sinus infection.

The urgent care physician was able to access and review the physician's notes from the visit which happened less than 24 hours before.  She was surprised by the speed with which the infection hit.  Lyn was able to tell them that she had cried at the restaurant because of the pain in her ears but that she was confused by the pain.

She's on antibiotics and recovering now.  Her illnesses are going to come more frequently as her immune system is less and less able to respond to viruses and bacteria.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Welcome Laugh

I called to check on Mom and Lyn the other night.  Mom and I were merrily chatting away and I could hear Lyn grumbling in the background.  Mom asked if Lyn wanted to talk to me.  She did not.  She wasn't interested in it at all.  The grumbling increased in volume but she wandered away.  A few minutes later, Lyn comes back and loudly proclaims "I guess I should speak with her."  Her voice was dripping disgust and obligation.  I was clearly an imposition.  Mom and I burst out laughing.

Lyn cheerily asked how I was and how my kid are doing.  If I hadn't heard her her before she took the phone, I would have thought she was eager and interested in the conversation.  I knew she wasn't into it and let her off the hook pretty quickly.  She walked off grumbling some more.

Mom and I picked up our conversation and discussed the various upcoming doctor appointments.  Lyn's having a follow up on her hearing tests.  We don't know if Lyn needs to see an ENT or not.  The tests say her hearing is in a normal range.  Her behavior indicates it is not.  Is she actually able to ear and is not able to process it?  Would a hearing aid be needed or would it even make a difference?  If she got a hearing aid, would she be able to deal with learning how to handle it?  These are the questions we have.

Lyn heard "ENT" and loudly corrected us.  "I don't want to see an ENT!  I want to be seen by an EMT!"  When Mom and I could stop laughing we agreed with her; being seen by an EMT would be more interesting.

After our call ended, I received an email from Mom.  It was an apology as mandated by Lyn.  Lyn was convinced that Mom was laughing at me because I had slipped on ice earlier in the day and had fallen.  Lyn was angry with Mom for being mean to me.  It is a good thing that Lyn can't read.  She was satisfied Mom sent the apology while not knowing we both got a good laugh out of the whole series of events.