Last night was a little more constant than the night before in the rampant hallucinations/delusions/dreams mixed with reality.  This morning was at least as tough as yesterday morning.  She speaks clearly and with a strong voice.  She can get up and walk on her own, and I just hang on to the gait belt, helpless to change her behavior as we move this way and that.

She got up very early, when i could no longer coerce her into staying in bed.  After breakfast and pills, she was up and running for an hour or so.  Then she went into the bedroom, with me tagging along, and decided to get back into bed.  I, of course, was completely wasted from two nights in a row.

We had an appointment with a quality control worker from Wichita to evaluate the care we are getting from the state agency through the local County office.  For us that meant evaluating our Case Worker and Bath Aide.  She arrived a short time after Mary Ann had gone back to bed.

When the Evaluator arrived, we went into the bedroom to see if Mary Ann was awake enough to participate.  Mary Ann said she would participate but was clearly unable to do so.  I explained that we had been up two nights in a row resulting in her needing the sleep.  The Evaluator asked if she was sick.  Admittedly, I was baffled by the question since she was here to Evaluate the people helping us because Mary Ann is debilitated.  I told her it was the Parkinson’s and the Dementia that were at issue.

The Evaluator got the information needed for the form.  She was pleasant and understanding, even though her initial question had seemed pretty silly to me.  In the course of the appointment, she asked if I would be getting any rest.  I said that while I usually don’t rest during the day, I would have to do so if there was one more night anything like the last two.

After she left, I did some chores.  I continued to think about the option of my getting some rest during the day.  I chose not to do the variety of things that I would normally do with the break provided by her sleeping.  I went in and lay down to allow myself the option of getting some rest while Mary Ann was sleeping.  I actually slept for a couple of hours.

The negative of sleeping when Mary Ann is sleeping is that I lose time that is free for me to spend on things of interest to me, helping me keep my sanity and get some perspective on the daily struggles.  It is hard when all my waking time is taken by the caregiving tasks themselves.  This has, however, come to be a matter of survival.  If there is any hope that I can keep doing this while the dementia is in full swing, I have to get some sleep.  I am hoping that I can manage to continue to use at least some of Mary Ann’s rest time as my rest time as well.  I have to relent on my intention to keep nights for sleeping and days for waking.  I have tried not to reverse those two.  I no longer seem to have a choice on that matter.

At least once before, I had decided that it was time to look at facilities that might be acceptable for Mary Ann’s full time care.  I am again at the point of considering at least getting enough information to be able to know where to turn if things get too much harder here.

Hospice Nurse Emily came for her weekly visit this afternoon.  Mary Ann had just gotten up from her nap (as had I).  I tried to feed Mary Ann some lunch, but she just couldn’t handle even the chips and Pepsi.  She could barely suck on the straw enough to get the Pepsi into her mouth.  She only managed a very few chips when I was able to get them into her mouth far enough for her auto pilot to kick in and the chewing start.

Mary Ann’s Vitals were good.  Her blood pressure was 124/74.  That is about as good a set of numbers as a person could have — of any age.  Needless to say, next time those numbers could be half again as high or a third lower (as in the last two times it was taken).  Emily agreed to call about the progress on the possibility of having some paid help through Hospice so that I could count on a certain time for R&R each week. Emily did make that call, and one of the Aides is coming tomorrow to talk about the possibility.

Mary Ann was up for a while, but subdued, mostly with her head down on the table.  Eventually, she headed in to take a nap.  She was not interested in supper.  When Volunteer Barb arrived to spend time with her this evening, I went to check on Mary Ann to see if she needed anything before I headed out for a while.  She wanted to change into her pajamas and stay in bed.

After I returned and Barb left I checked again on Mary Ann.  This time she did want supper.  I got her a left over pulled pork sandwich and chips.  She ate pretty well and then went back to bed.  I have no reason to think that tonight will be any different from the last two nights, but I can hope.

I did phone the Neurologist’s office and leave a message reporting on Mary Ann’s behavior since we are trying to decide if the addition (three mornings ago) of the morning half tablet of Seroquel is helping more than it is hurting.  At this point, I am not sure what I think about that.  It does seem as if the consistent level of the hallucinations the last two nights suggests the medicine is having a negative effect.  Tonight may confirm that, or just sustain the confusion about what the medicine is or is not doing.

In the time away this evening, I read another section in the book on St. Patrick’s Breastplate, by Marilyn McEntyre, the verse that says, “Christ to comfort and restore me.”  There is a poem included in that section, a poem that is fitting for those with or without a religious affiliation.  The poem was triggered by seeing an acre of valuable, arable land sink into the river.  It is “The Slip” by Wendell Barry:

The maker moves – in the unmade, stirring the water until – it clouds, dark beneath the surface, – stirring and darkening the soul until pain – perceives new possibility.  There is nothing – to do but learn and wait, return to work – on what remains.  Seed will sprout in the scar. – Though death is in the healing, it will heal.

This is what she says in her commentary following the poem: “Three truths emerge conspicuously from this little passage that offer a durable way of understanding comfort and restoration: (1) there is nothing to do but learn, wait and return to work on what remains, (2) seed will sprout in the scar, and (3) healing and death are not always mutually exclusive.”

At this point in our journey, I am earnestly searching for the sprouts that are emerging in the scars left by the Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s Dementia.  Some are easily apparent, others still in hiding.

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