I was with Mom and Lyn for a week this summer, less than six months ago. Six months in the progression of early on-set Alzheimer's is plenty of time to notice differences. Here are the differences that I noticed with this trip:
- Lyn asks for help when having to tie her shoes. She doesn't do it all the time, yet. When she does, she tries to cover it by saying that she wants the knot in the center. I don't remember a time when she actually tied her shoes with the knot in the center. It has always been off to the side.
- Lyn doesn't always know how to use a knife now. During dinner, she tried to spread butter on her roll using her finger. When Mom directed her to use her knife, she looked confused and just put the bread in her mouth instead. While I didn't see it directly, Mom commented that Lyn is asking her to cut her food for her more and more often.
- Lyn prefers the spoon to the fork. When she holds the spoon, it still sits easily in her hand. When she holds the fork, she's got it clutched in her fist and has to turn her hand to an odd angle to get the food to her mouth. She will only use the fork on meat now. All other food is either eaten using her hands or a spoon.
- Lyn's smell is becoming more pungent. Her clothes are clean and she still bathes daily. However, her toileting requires the fan for some time after she's done; even if it is just to urinate.
- Lyn's speech is generally more monotone and carries less inflection. However, she still uses a tremendous amount of inflection when talking to Nikka. She actually almost uses baby talk to the dog.
- When she wants to tell you something, she rushes through it like she's trying to get the thought out before she looses the thought. The more important the thought is to her, the more she'll rush and the more likely she is to repeat herself.
- Lyn's walking is even more unstable. Her feet really slap the ground even though she's not walking quickly. If I didn't know better, I would have thought she was stomping. She's not aware of this change in her gait but it is like she's trying to remain firmly planted at all times. Her movements are slower and tentative. It reminded me of how I moved after delivering my eldest child who broke my coccyx. She doesn't seem to be in pain, fortunately. It is strange to see this caution combined with such heavy footfalls.
- She has greater difficulty getting up off the floor where she likes to sit with the dog.
- Lyn doesn't notice if you move things away from or in front of her when she's not looking. It is as if she assumes she took the action herself.
- Lyn regularly complains that her scalp hurts. She reaches for the same general location at the top right of her head. There is nothing there that we can detect. There is no bump, scratch or even an infected hair follicle. We have no idea and I wonder if it is internal.
- Lyn's diet continues to become more restrictive. Peas and carrots are about the only vegetable she will eat. Chicken or pork chops (boneless) have to have no seasoning. Plain rice, boiled potatoes or french fries are her preferred starches. She does still each spaghetti but not as much as she has historically.