“Will you push me up?”  Mary Ann asks often, especially when we are out in the car.  When she asks, sometimes her head is almost completely horizontal over the console between the seats.  I usually push her up before it goes that far, even if she hasn’t asked.  I have to be careful since sometimes she is napping in that position and doesn’t want to be moved.

It happens sometimes when sitting in her chair in the living room. Especially when she has not had enough sleep, or when she shifts into the non-responsive mode, she will lean forward or in whatever direction there is something on which she can rest her arm and head.  When she starts napping in her chair, I offer to take her into the bedroom so that she can lie down.  It is not unusual for her to prefer staying in the living room if she wants to avoid taking a long nap.

When she is awake and leaning, it is always to the left.  There seems to be a natural affinity for moving to the left.  When Mary Ann is sitting at the table eating, almost without fail after a while she will be sitting with her knees and feet off the left side of the chair, eating over her lap and the floor, rather than the table where her plate is located.

It is hard for me to see that and not move her back to facing the table.  My response is not just some compulsive need for her to be sitting a certain way.  My need to move her back to facing the table comes because when she is facing to the left, the food that falls out of her hand ends up on her lap and the floor.  I then have the task of cleaning it up, hopefully before anything gets stepped on.

Mary Ann’s turning to the left at the table has been a bone of contention between us.  Sometimes she gets angry with me when I move her back to eating over her plate.  I complain about her eating over the floor making it more difficult for me because of the clean up.  I am not the noble self-less uncomplaining caregiver.

What has helped me in accepting the leaning to the left and at least trying to be less grumpy about it is the discovery that very many of the others who are Caregiving Spouses of those who have some sort of Dementia with Lewy Bodies describe the same behavior.  When someone in the online group mentioned that her Loved One couldn’t hold his head up, many responded with the same problem and still others described the leaning phenomenon.  Many of those who have been dealing with Lewy Body Dementia struggle with the same issue of trying to deal with the effect of the Disease on their Loved One’s ability to maintain a sitting up position or keep his/her head erect.

One online member suggested using a chair with arms at the table.  That suggestion is a good one.  The disadvantage is that our space is so confined that getting her in and out of an arm chair at the table is difficult.  It may, however be the lesser problem.

As I have mentioned many times before in these posts, it seems to help when a frustrating behavior can be explained by the disease we are battling.  It moves the behavior from what seems willful to something that is completely involuntary.  It moves the problem to simply another area needing a creative solution.  By the way, when I make observations on behaviors of Mary Ann that are frustrating to me, I become very grateful that Mary Ann is not writing blog posts on the things that I do that irritate her.  You think my posts are sometimes long!!  She could write volumes.

Tomorrow will be an early day since we are going to try to attend the Annual Parkinson’s Symposium sponsored by the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.  We will see how the night goes and whether or not we can manage a very early starting time.  We have to allow for an hour and a half travel time.  My hope is that we can at least make it for part of it, and that the information will be helpful.

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