Monday October 27, 2008

     

Be bold and courageous. When you look

back on your life, you’ll regret the things

you didn’t do more than the ones you did.

 

 

I came across this on the Merck website today. Can’t believe how good it is. It lists all the types of dementias and the differences between them. I never gave much thought about there being a marked difference between vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. Thanks to Kat on the Dementia Rescue Early Onset Yahoo group for prompting me to look this up.

 

 

There’s a saying I learned in training — “Who they were is still in there somewhere…” I think about this a lot of the time. I find it almost impossible to visualize ever being in a nursing facility (denial???), but if I were I think these would be some of the things that I’d like for someone to do:

 

 

 

Make an extra effort to show me you love me and care about me

 

care package

 

An extra telephone call

 

Maybe a plant or some flowers

 

Send a card anytime

 

 

 

 

I may not totally understand what those gestures would mean, but the David in me would still be there inside me and still remember about good old-fashioned TLC!

 

 

David

 

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4 Responses

  1. What happens if healthy people are given a cholinesterase inhibitor like Aricept? How does it affect their cognition? Are dementia types other than Alzheimer’s associated with low acetylcholine levels?

    My husband had MCI or early Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia for several years and then had a front-temporal-parietal subdural hematoma for 5 months. About 8 months after the subdural hematoma had healed, he was started on 5 mg. Aricept BID. He became agitated and belligerent within a few days. Why would Aricept cause that reaction in him? Does that mean that his acetylcholine levels weren’t low?

  2. David, this is very true. My church group has visited two area nursing homes for the past 15 years, concentrating on those residents who have no family or friends. Some years ago, we became attached to a gentleman named Bella. He was Hungarian and, in his younger days, had been a trapeze artist. Alzheimer’s had taken a toll on him but the spark in his eyes was still there. On one of the last visits with him, we showed him a quilt we had made for his birthday. We asked if he wanted us to put it in his room. He couldn’t answer but did extend his arms to take the quilt. As he clutched it to his chest, a tear rolled down his cheek, proving exactly what you’ve written. I’ve never forgotten Bella even though he passed a number of years ago.

    As I’ve observed many of those sharing space with my mother (LBD and PD), they all want to hold a hand, blow a kiss or see a smile…something that takes them momentarily away from the reality of the day and allows them a brief trip into a time when they were more whole. It’s been rare to see a resident who doesn’t respond positively to a smile and friendly greeting. With few exceptions, the friends are no longer visiting and family visits have become less frequent, possibly due to the pain of watching someone become incapacitated in so many ways. Strangers become the lifeline at that point, even if only for a moment in time.

    Thanks for your efforts at spreading knowledge of these diseases.

  3. To Lynn in Florida………………………awesome story!

  4. Dr David, Years ago [1946] I had a very dear friend named Lou. When our babies started coming, we exchanged baby sitting. I loved her babies and her children grew up calling me Aunt Dot, although we were in no way related. My older children baby sat for hers. The love was a two way street for years. I cannot sing but I did croon to babies as I held them in a rocking chair and put them to sleep. My attempt at singing was a family joke but babies seemed to love it. One day as I held one of Lou’s children in my arms and hummed a tune, off key, Lou walked in and jokingly said to her child, “Don’t listen to Aunt Dot or you will never learn to sing” We laughed, of course. Years passed as our children grew up and married and had children of their own. Lou and I remained close friends. She developed Alzheimer. I walked the sad path with her. One day in the nursing home when the end was near, I sat and talked for a while with, of course, no answer, She became restless and I began to softly croon as I had done years before. She let out a big laugh and the biggest smile you can imagine. I continued and she settled down and was soon sound asleep. Yes, Lou was still in there somewhere. Her daughter, Kim, wrote about Lou’s journey. Her book can be found if you google “Painted Diaries by Zabbia”.

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