This morning I thought the increased dosage of Seroquel had gone too far and put her into a sort of drug-induced stupor.  She was sleeping so deeply.  She would not arouse.  She had hardly moved a muscle all night other than two commode trips.  Yes, I wanted to get some sleep, but not at that cost.  I would rather endure the rampant hallucinations than lose her completely into some distant world out of touch with reality, with who she is.

At that point I decided that unless things changed dramatically, I would call the doctor and do everything in my power to find a way to reset her medication regimen completely — take it all away (medicine vacation) and re-introduce only what is absolutely necessary monitoring side effects with each addition.  Some of the meds can produce hallucinations.  I would do it at home or in the hospital or wherever necessary.  I refuse to concede anything to this disease other than what absolutely must be accepted.

As I did morning preparations for the time that Sunday morning Volunteer Edie would arrive, I tried to awaken her a couple of times so that she could be dressed and have eaten and taken her pills.  Her hair needed washing after the last few difficult days.  She was just sleeping too soundly to get up.

I headed up to the lake after Edie settled in with instructions for giving meds.  I assumed that when I returned, Mary Ann would most likely still be in that same deep sleep.

As I drove the half hour to my spot by the dam, I put on a CD done by Lisa Kelly from the Celtic Woman group.  Her voice has a very engaging timbre.  Most of the songs were ones that I had heard and enjoyed before.  When I settled in by the lake, no eagles in sight at that time, the music and my image of Mary Ann in that deep sleep, began to burrow in.  For some reason, even though well-rested from last night’s virtually uninterrupted sleep, it all began to well up.  It surprised me at that moment to hear a song I would not have expected on a commercial CD for the general public.  The title is “The Deer’s Cry” from a movie called The Pilgrim.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise to-day
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s eyes to look before me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
From all who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in a multitude.

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ to shield me,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me.

I arise to-day

I am not embarrassed by this, but it has happened only four or five times since I was a child.  I have teared up, I have gotten choked up, but this morning I cried out loud. I just couldn’t stop. I was sitting in the car in the parking lot hoping no one would drive in and stop, as people often do since it is such a beautiful spot.

I don’t want to analyze all the whats and wherefores of what happened.  It was a deeply personal moment.  Writing it here risks trivailizing it.  I hesitated talk about it here, but it was too important to me for me to write about today honestly and not reveal it.  It just happened. I was overwhelmed with the vision of Mary Ann being lost in her own body.  She deserves more!

I refuse to be complicit in any way in treatments that make it easier to care for her at the cost of her being fully present to whatever degree possilble.  If I need to have paid help her overnight to be able to endure challenging behavior, so be it.  I wlll not lose her until the disease process itself takes her from me.

Yes, I am angry at this damn disease!  I don’t blame God.  The words of St. Patrick’s Breastplate in that song are what broke open the tears.  I sometimes forget how much I need what I sought to tell others all those years.  I am angry at myself for beginning too soon to accept losing her .

The recent decline and move into dementia has happened too fast.  Yes, sometimes declines happen so slowly that they are not noticed until they cross a certain threshold.  That can create the illusion that the change has happened quickly.  I remember a Neurologist in a Webinar saying that Parkinson’s progresses slowly.  If a change happens fast, it is not the Parkinson’s.  Something else must be the cause.  Lewy Body Dementia can change back and forth between getting better and getting worse quickly,  This decline and the increase in hallucinations has moved at a pace that suggests the need to look carefully, especially at the medications to see what other explanations there might be for the rapidity of the change.

I will accept only what must be accepted and will concede nothing more!  I am tired of just taking what comes and accepting as inevitable every decline.  While we choose to live in a certain denial day by day, I have no illusions about the general course of this disease. If anything, I know too much about what lies ahead, having read emails from other Caregivers struggling with this same disease in their families.

When I returned from the lake, I walked in the door to see Mary Ann sitting in her chair with Edie sitting next to her.  They were talking.  Mary Ann had gotten up shortly after I left.  She had taken her pills and eaten a good breakfast. She had drunk lots of liquids.  I had noted the color of Mary Ann’s urine in the commode this morning suggesting she might be getting dehydrated.  She had had a good BM (a big deal).  She had asked Edie about her new Grandchild.  She wanted to hear more about the baby.  She tracked the conversation, smiled and laughed at appropriate times.

After Edie left, we ate lunch — a sauerkraut and meatball soup that both Mary Ann and I love.  After much prodding, Mary Ann allowed me to help her eat. As a result she ate a good quantity of the soup and bread.  She had a big piece of carrot cake.  Not too much later she asked for and ate a bowl of ice cream.

She and I watched television for the rest of the afternoon.  She probably wondered what was going on since I did more hugging and telling her I love her than has happened in a while.  Neither of us is very demonstrative.  This morning messed up my controls for a while.

I got ready for the Evening Service, got things in the car, the garage door open.  I had been talking about going to church, as usual.  I put her shoes on.  She was tired and had been sitting there with her head hanging in her lap, napping.  When it was time to get in the car, she just was not willing to go out.

I gave her some supper.  Then she went right to bed.  She has now had her pills and is in bed, moving around a lot. I will be heading in soon.  Even though last night was a wonderfully sleep-filled night and today was a good day, tonight and tomorrow could be completely different.  We can take nothing for granted.  It will take some time to process all that happened today.  I am out of breath from the ride.

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