fading away

For those of you wanting to know how Holly is doing with her Alzheimer’s (as of fall 2014), read on. If you have not been around recently, well, you will find she is a mere shell of the girl I married way back in 1970. No doubt about it, it’s rough. Each week requires new adjustments as neurons get snipped away.

She has reached a stage where I pretty much have to assist with everything. That means dressing, washing, toothbrushing and the like. She does manage to feed herself if the food is easy. As in cut up in a bowl and only if I put the spoon in her hand to get her started. Even though the spoon is right there, she cannot recognize its form and if by chance she finds it it’s usually the wrong way around. Or upside down. She’s good natured about it and will just keep trying even though nothing is getting in her mouth.

Her visual processing is gone which, like not finding utensils, affects so many things. Stairs, uneven ground, curbs, even the white parking stall lines are an issue. Outside the house I generally lead her around by the hand so she doesn’t fall. She cannot follow me in any case so it’s the only way to get things done and not lose her like I did once in Pike Place Market. She’s not driven to escape but outside the house she can slip away and make tracks rather quickly. In the house she sometimes gets lost, especially at night or in the morning.

Her circadian rhythms are often messed up with the result about once a week she stays up all night. I try to get ahead of that by giving her melatonin, but it doesn’t always work. I’ve gotten used to sleeping lightly so that I can catch her when she gets up at night. Sleep deprivation and naps are a way of life.

The TV holds little interest although program tone can affect her negatively. That’s true of the wrong music and activities around her as well. Reading has been gone for a long time. The same with bike riding and rollerblading. She will just run into things or veer into traffic. The odd thing is that her balance and maneuvering in a kayak are still pretty good but now that cold weather is here the risks are too great.

Taking her outside the house is challenging and sometimes exhausting. Public restrooms are a nightmare and to be avoided unless I have someone along to help. There have been events I don’t want to go through again. So I have been avoiding travel beyond bladder range. She won’t stay seated or quiet at the theater so I have given up on the dollar theater. I cannot imagine flying anywhere for fear of one of her screaming events. While she is happy and pleasant most of the time, she can really go off. We did have a rough period awhile back and I had just about reached my limit. But I found a dietary supplement that really had an immediate and dramatic effect. I find that odd since I cook all of our food from natural and healthy ingredients. As Shelley said recently, it’s odd that growing up Holly was relatively quiet and now she never shuts up. Well, that's mostly at home where she is happy and comfortable.

Her basic fun loving personality is still buried in there somewhere and with some effort I can drag bits of it to the surface.

I know this is kind of a downer so I plan to expand this page with some better stuff like vintage photos and some stories. Look for that in the future. My workload is overwhelming at times so I’ve had to make some hard decisions about what I can stay on top of. If you have not heard much from me, well, I apologize. But there’s not much I can do about it.