The fax is working!  It seems to be a great way to maximize the quality of the communication with the doctor.  Even though Mary Ann’s appt. is not until Monday, the Neurologist, Dr. Pahwa, has read the fax.  Through his Assistant, Stepanie, he contacted us by phone with a couple of things to think about before Monday. 

The first is that we think about whether or not we will want a referral to a Psychiatrist to deal with the decisions about what meds will serve best in dealing with the hallucinations.  I will, of course, ask for a referral to someone who knows Parkinson’s Disease Dementia and Lewy Body Dementia and what differentiates it from Alzheimer’s Dementia.  It needs to be someone with a large enough patient base of those with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia to be able to speak from experience as well as from book learn’n.

The second suggestion was to think about a referral to a Hospice program.   Medicare and many other insurer’s require a prognosis of six months or less.  I have not yet phoned a Hospice program to be sure what their requirements are, but the marketing materials often talk about a Palliative program that is a longer term intervention that provides a transition to the full Hospice care.  

Having been a Pastor for forty years, I have interacted with Hospice and many who have used it.  The reactions have been almost unanimously positive.  Many in the online Caregiver Spouses group have used Hospice.  Most in that group have had positive experiences. 

Whatever insurance and Medicare do or do not require, there is an expectation that the person being enrolled will not be resuscitated if they experience a cardiac arrest.  There is the rub.  I am not sure that Mary Ann and I are ready for that.  Four months ago, I doubt I would have seriously considered it.  Now, as much as she has declined in the past few months, I am willing at least to consider it.  I am not sure Mary Ann would be willing to accept a DNR order.   Actually, not long ago, our Daughter-in-Law had relayed a suggestion to us from a friend who had read this blog.  That suggestion was to check into hospice.  At that time I started thinking again about the DNR issue.  Mary Ann has declined considerably since that suggestion and its consideration. 

This Wednesday evening, our Daughter, Lisa, will arrive from Louisville, KY, to stay with her Mom for three days, while I have three days of respite at a Center for Spiritual Renewal in a beautiful rural location in north-central Oklahoma. 

In talking with Lisa this evening about the Hospice suggestion, she admitted that it was something she was intending to bring up during her visit.  She has been an Administrator at a very large CCRC, mult-layered complex for older adults.  She supervised the construction and staffing of a dementia building there.  She has also served on the Staff of a Hospice program in South Carolina, working with Volunteers. 

My hope is that our Son, Micah can come from Kansas City so that we can all talk about the matter of Hospice and the DNR that will be required if we choose to enroll MaryAnn.   Our Daughter, Lisa, and our Son, Micah have been a tremendous support.  I respect their ability to process the options with wisdom and rational thought laced with love and concern for both Mary Ann and me.  

Last night was another difficult one.  She was up for a number of times, not as many as some nights, but at least six or eight times.  There were dreams to be dealt with.  She needed to get up very early again, but this time a little single serving applesauce won us another hour or so of sleep. 

One of the times, around 6am, I heard her and awoke to see her standing by the bed.  I rushed over to see what she needed.  I asked if she needed to use the commode.  She seemed to say no, but then talked very fast with slurred words that were unintelligible to me.  She did that a second time.  I tried to manipulate her to sitting back down on the bed. 

It was not until the moment I reached around and got her moving into the sitting position that I realized that she had pulled down the pj’s and disposable and there was soft stool to be dealt with (sorry!).  There followed moving her quickly to the commode, changing clothes and rinsing out bedding so that it could be washed. 

At that moment I started thinking about how to title this post in a way that would change yesterday’s title “Difficult Day” to whatever comes after that that would indicate the next level of difficulty. 

Gratefully, the day improved some.  Actually, Mary Ann had a pretty good day.  I was glad for that since friend Jeanne had visited last week and Mary Ann slept almost entirely through the time she was here with Mary Ann.  Jeanne had a good part of the day able to interact with Mary Ann today. 

One odd moment came when I returned from some errands to find Jeanne very excited about the fact that our Daughter, Lisa was, according to Mary Ann, pregnant.  Mary Ann was convinced that I had told her Lisa was pregnant.  She, of course is not pregnant.  The fact that there simply are no boundaries between dreams and reality for Mary Ann creates some very interesting and sometimes bizarre results. 

Mary Ann is still in hallucination mode, but it has been a little more manageable today.  She did nap for a time this afternoon.  She ate very little supper and was not interested in my help.  She did not even eat the ice cream treat from Baskin & Robbins.  That actually is distressing since I have counted on at least being able to get some calories in by giving her ice cream.   Mary Ann’s recent weight loss seemed to Lisa  be especially relevant to the discussion Hospice Discussion.

Mary Ann is in bed now, and has not so far needed my intervention.  That has no bearing on how the rest of the night will go, but it is allowing me to write this post with fewer interruptions.   Here is hoping for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep tonight.

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