Again last night she slept from around 8pm to 9am this morning.  She was very sleepy, but she got up for pills and food before Bath Aide Zandra arrived.  Zandra chuckled that she seemed to sleep through the shower, hairwash and dressing time.

While Mary Ann was with Zandra, a friend from our Kansas City crew of friends of some 35 years called just to check in and provide some words of concern and support.  It helps to know there are people who are aware and concerned.  There are so many who are in difficult times, many worse than ours by far.  A word of support to someone you know can make a difference.

After her time with Zandra, Mary Ann sat in her chair, head down, dozing more until I got her to the table for lunch at about 1pm. She ate reasonably well at lunch.  When she eats on her own with no help, it takes her almost an hour to eat a meal.  Then she watched television for an hour before we took a trip out that we have been waiting at least a year and a half or two years to take.  The nearby Baskin & Robbins that closed then, has been remodeled and enlarged. It opened today!!!

Mary Ann had two scoops in a cup, Gold Medal Ribbon and Peanut Butter and Chocolate.  I ordered what I have been planning for weeks to have the first day it opened, a Hot Fudge Sundae made with Nutty Coconut ice Cream.   Yes it was as good as always.  Mary Ann allowed me to feed her the ice cream even though we were in public.  Ice Cream trumps pride.

I assured the owners that I would be one of their best marketing people.  I had met the owners when we were forced to drive to the other side of town to get our Baskin & Robbins fix when the one close to us closed.  They now own both franchises.  Owner Steve mentioned that the day or so before, he had been outside the new store when someone drove by, opened her window and yelled out that her old Pastor was excited about them opening.  That would be me!  Maybe, if I play my cards right, there will be a free dishes of ice cream for Mary Ann and me some time.  I am not counting on it.  They are likely to need every penny they can find to make this work.  I seem to remember hearing that ice cream places have generally fared well during the downturn in the economy.  I may be wrong about that, but it would not surprise me.

After we returned home, Mary Ann sat in her chair and moved back into dozing position.  She did grab a large stuffed frog that Becky and Chloe had brought for her Saturday night.  Our Daughter, Lisa, who supervised the building of a state of the art dementia building at a large CCRC (multi-layer of care facility for the older population) she helped administer, mentioned to them that sometimes it helped residents with dementia to hold a stuffed animal on their lap.  It helped keep them from trying to get up and it gave them something to hold on to.  Mary Ann hung on to the frog and it ended up serving as a place on which to rest her head.

Mary Ann ate supper by herself, another bowl of the meatball, sauerkraut, and veggie soup.  She went in to get changed for bed shortly after eating.  She has now had her meds and seems to be sleeping soundly.

The last two days have been easier caregiving days for me.  I still would like for her to be more active during the day so that we could get out and do some things.  I get out some when Volunteers are here, but that does not get her out and active.

I am still sort of reeling from last weeks craziness, and certainly do not want to risk repeating it.  At the same time, I want her to have the best quality of life possible at each point in her trip with this disease as a passenger. I will give this medication time for her body to adjust, then look at the possibility of reducing the dosage some to see if she can be more alert without triggering the hyperactivity and hallucinations.

My motives are at one level selfish.  I have a need to feel good about myself, to have purpose and fulfill that purpose successfully.  For those selfish needs to be met, I need to provide Mary Ann the best possible experience.  What is good for her fulfills my selfish need.  I also do love her very much, and it hurts my insides when she is not okay.  In addition I was raised in a family that holds honor and honesty in high regard.  Our last name can be traced back centuries, Norman originally, settling in Cornwall England. I have a great, great…Grandfather who was a hero of the Revolutionary War. We pass his sword from oldest son to oldest son. It is in my oldest brother’s closet.  Our ancestral Coat of Arms has written on it “Honor and Honesty.”  All that is to say, I keep my promises.  Mary Ann and I meant our marriage vows.

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There is no clear and consistent reason that is obvious to either of us that explains the restless nights that come at random — and far too often.  Sometimes there have been a couple of long naps during the day that might explain it.  Not this time.  Sometimes there is caffeine later in the day; there was a little in the mid-afternoon.  Sometimes there has not been enough in her stomach, occasionally due to poor timing of an ice cream treat, stealing her appetite for supper.  Sometimes there is an activity the next day that has caught her attention and refuses to allow her to relax.

Sometimes it is the hallucinations.  That was the presenting reason two nights ago.  When I was using the monitor to watch, her head would lift up quickly and the she would look intently at something.  Her head moved in that way every minute or so, often less than a minute.  Often she would be up on her elbow, many times up and sitting on the side of the bed.  It lasted until some time between 3:30am and 4:00am.

The hallucinations were the usual ones, animals, threads, needles, people.  While I recognize there is a disease producing the problem, nonetheless, I got more frustrated as the night wore on.  There was, of course, no reasoning away the hallucinations.

Not long after we both finally got to sleep (a couple of commode trips during the sleep time), it was time for me to get up, since Wednesday morning is the Spiritual Formation group that meets on the deck at 7:30am.  I get up at 6:30am each Wednesday and move as quickly as I can to get myself showered and dressed, the coffee made (the most important task), set up the deck, get Mary Ann’s pills and yogurt and ice water and granola bar opened.

Normally on Wednesday mornings, I set up all the above items in the bedroom on a table next to her transfer chair so that if she wakes up before the group is done, she can get her pills taken and food in her stomach on her own.  She almost always sleeps until the bath aid comes around 9am.

Not yesterday!  After being awake and active until perhaps 3:45am, she got up shortly after 7am.   As a result, I needed to stay with her rather than go out to join the group.  After about forty-five minutes, she chose to get back into bed for a while.  I was able then to go out and participate in the group for a time.

It is embarrassing to admit how selfish I am, but I was mostly concerned about the pain in my back and the fact that both the night and my morning were being stolen from me.  I should have  been  more concerned about the challenges the day would bring Mary Ann, since she would be tired and the hallucinations would be worse  than usual.

The day went surprisingly well yesterday.  I began this post last evening but was too tired to finish it.  I just shut down.  We both got a decent night’s sleep last night.  For a few hours today, we had the wonderful gift of a young lady who lifted the wheel chair in and out of the car for a grocery store trip and our Parkinson’s Support Group meeting.  Since then a challenging commode trip and return to bed has irritated my back again, but it still seems to be improving some.  She appears a little restless at the moment, but I hope for some rest tonight.  As always, we will just see what tomorrow brings.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.