Almost every moment Mary Ann was awake today, I was never sure who she was seeing or where she thought we were.  She talked to people, the little girl, her Mother.  She whispered to me that there was some woman standing “right there” inside the van when I was trying to give her some medicine.  In the car after coming out of Perkin’s Restaurant, she asked why “he” gave directions to Laramie (Wyoming, the state in which her estranged brother lives).

That is the rock.  The hard place includes two things.  One is that she has continued to faint often.  There are times during the day when it seems more likely, but it can happen any time.  They often result in a subsequent nap.  That is the second thing of the two things in the hard place.  She has slept during much of the day many days.

The medication of choice to control hallucinations is Seroquel.  The most prominent side effect is that it causes drowsiness and can result in lots of sleeping, day or night.  Another concern the Neurologist mentioned is that Seroquel increases the vulnerability to fainting due to low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension).  By increasing the dosage of Seroquel, the other problems worsen.   If we reduce the Seroquel, the hallucinations would be likely to increase.

As I have mentioned many times before, the medicine that is used to keep blood pressure up, reducing the fainting keeps her blood pressure at a dangerously high level.  Today in the Dermatologist’s office her BP was 208/93.  That is without taking the med to raise her BP so that she faints less often.

We turn one way and face up against the rock.  When we turn the other way, we face up against the hard place. It is a difficult spot in which to remain for very long without beginning to tire of it.

Because of the unique character of Parkinson’s Disease Dementia/Lewy Body Dementia, there is a sensitivity to sedative type medications that precludes the use of any but a very few.  The choices are very limited.  The problem with trying other meds for hallucinations to see if they will work is that the sensitivity of LBD and PDD results in losses that cannot be regained.  We can’t just try things for a while.  Mary Ann is now on the medications that are most recommended for treating the problems caused by PDD/LBD.

This spot between a rock and a hard place seems to be the place we will be living for the indefinite future.  We choose to live in an intentional state of denial, but it is not easy to maintain it.  While I always hope that the latest sign of decline is transitory and better times will return, it is beginning to seem that the better times are long gone.  The Neurologist of someone in the online LBD spouses group told her that some time her husband would have one of his fainting spells and just not come back. Sometimes having a support system that includes lots of information about the disease one is dealing with includes too much information.  Some things are better not to know.

I have rushed to the bedroom a dozen or two times as I have been writing the last few paragraphs.  Mary Ann is hallucinating and pretty adversarial and angry that I don’t respond appropriately to things that simply make sense to me or have no corporeal existence outside of Mary Ann’s mind.  I can only wait until, hopefully, she just wears out and goes to sleep.  She has been in and out of fainting most of the times I have gone to the bedroom to get her back into bed.  In fact she has been vocalizing some while fainting, sometimes acting in a belligerent way while in that state.

This morning I knew problems were beginning.  She was up a number of times very early, and when she could no longer stay in bed, she had that intensity that signals the beginning of the streaming hallucinations.  There was some fainting early on, but Bath Aide Zandra didn’t have problems with her.  After Zandra left, I got her breakfast and pills.  She sat in her chair for a while in pop up mode, but soon put her head down.  Finally, she wanted to lie down.

After lying down, I got her up to go to the Dermatologist appointment she has been asking about for a couple of weeks, often thinking it was the day of the appointment. She was concerned about some bumps she felt on her head.  There were no problems discovered.  The nurse asked Mary Ann what she was doing at one point.  Mary Ann said she was separating her fingers.  It was the thread or gold chain hallucination.

I just headed back to the bedroom again.  She asked if they served breakfast and lunch.  I confirmed that she thought it was a motel.  I tried to convince her that she was in her bedroom.  She responded angrily that I kept moving her from house to house.  I asked if she wanted some applesauce.  She said yes.  Then while I was getting it, she got up, walked around the end of the bed to the area between the beds and fell.  She did not hurt herself, but that spot is one from which it is almost impossible to extricate her.  The only alternative was to lift her straight up and on to the bed.  My back reminded me just how risky that move is.  That  area between the beds is too small to get the lift in and manage to put the sling around her.

I got her around to the side of the bed and started feeding her the applesauce.  She fainted, completely falling into me since I was sitting next to her.  Even when finally she was awake and ready to eat again, I had to hold her up and try to keep her hand away from her mouth so that I could get the applesauce in.  Sometimes when I am feeding her, she moves her hand to her mouth as if she is feeding herself.  I have to try to figure out how to get the food around her hand and into her mouth.  She gets irritated when I push her hand out of the way to get to her mouth.

I finally got her back into bed.  I am sure she will be up again soon.  Needless to say, this has not been one of our better days!  Here we go again — again demanding lifting and shifting and adjusting her in bed. Each time I have gone to help her there has been the same need for the physically demanding help.  This is another one of those times I am wondering how long I will last.

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