…No small matter for a retired preacher.  This one came so much out of the blue, that at first I was completely at a loss as to how to respond.

The night had been a tough one.  Mary Ann just could not settle.  We were up many times.  The frequency diminished to once every half hour or forty-five minutes after about 3am.  The last one was at 4:45am before I got up at 6:30am to prepare for the Spiritual Formation group that meets on the deck (weather permitting — downstairs otherwise).  I complained to Mary Ann that I would be getting up soon and wanted at least a couple hours of sleep before then.

Mary Ann was sleeping soundly when I got up to get ready for the Group.  Since a couple of folks couldn’t make it there were only two of us this morning.  We talked for a bit on the deck until I saw Mary Ann moving.  I keep the video monitor with me during the group when there is no Wednesday morning Volunteer.

I went in, and as she was lying on the bed facing me, I asked if she needed to use the commode.  Wide-eyed and angry sounding, she said in a strong voice, “Don’t lie to me!  I know you have been out all night smoking Marijuana.  You wreak of it!”  Yes, preacher of many words that I am, I was completely baffled and at a loss to know how to respond.

It is such a mystery how those synaptic connections can create thoughts with no context.  We both preceded the baby boomers by long enough that Marijuana had not yet been invented when we were in high school.  We didn’t experiment nor did our kids have any apparent experience with it.  In fact I asked Mary Ann this morning how she knew what Marijuana smelled like that she decided I was wreaking of it.  She said the kids told her.

Realizing that since she began this interaction with the non-sequitur response to my question about the commode that I should stop lying, I tried to connect with something that might bring her back to reality.  I asked who exactly she thought it was who was up with her multiple times all night long if I was gone.  I reminded her of my complaining at the 4:45am commode trip.  She remembered that.

I got her up and to the table to eat something before Bath Aide Zandra arrived.  She seemed to be transitioning at least part way back to reality.  I then commented on how angry she was this morning — to which she responded “So would you.”   She seemed to be back to feeling that it was real and not a dream/hallucination.

I asked if she still smelled the Marijuana.  She said, yes.  Then as if to hint that maybe it was not true that I had been smoking it, she said she knew that the kids smoked it.  She had seen them the last time we visited there.  She was referring to our Kentucky crew.  Then she said that the last time the Kentucky Daughter Lisa was here she said that she smoked.  At this point Mary Ann switched to talking about regular cigarettes.  Anyone who knows Lisa realizes just how crazy that suggestion is.  Mary Ann said that Son Micah told her he did not smoke.

I don’t remember so much as a recent news broadcast that would have brought the word Marijuana into her mind, unless it has been in one of the Law and Order episodes that dominate our television.

I realize that this sounds like something worthy just laughing off.  It is not funny to me.  In fact it was scary.  I felt utterly helpless to respond in a way that could deal with her anger.  It is hard to think about how upset she must be feeling when those painful and very vivid thoughts and sounds and images, and now even scents, take hold as her reality.  It is clear that there is nothing that I will be able to say that will remove that view of reality from her mind.  I will not be able to reason it out with her.  Judging from past experience, that now will become a reality she goes back to, one that will remain with her, accessible at any moment in time.

I read pretty much daily accounts of experiences almost exactly like ours.  The online Yahoo Group of Spouses of those with Lewy Body Dementia [LBD] talk about the hallucinations and delusions and vivid drreams confused with reality all the time.  Lots of their Loved Ones have people living at their house, are convinced that their spouse has been replaced by an imposter, are paranoid about one thing or another.  It does help to a certain extent to know that we are not alone in this regard and that it is normal behavior for those with LBD.

On the other side of it there is a terrible sadness realizing that this is only going to get worse.  The deep pain is apparent when those posting in that online group talk about living with a person who is physically present but no longer the person they have been married to for so many years.  That person has in some cases ceased to exist completely.  They are not alone but very lonely.

I am very grateful that Mary Ann is still present much of the time.  It is frightening to see the times she is present diminish as the weeks and months go by.

Friend Jeanne came over to spend a few hours with Mary Ann today.  Mary Ann spent more time awake than I thought she would, given the rough night last night.  I appreciated having time to run a couple of errands.  Then we went to G’s Frozen Custard for Turtle Sundaes.

Mary Ann ate a fairly light supper and dozed with her head down for while.  Then she got ready for bed.  She has been sleeping fairly well, at least it appears so.  I certainly hope she gets a good night’s sleep. We both need it!

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