I called this morning to find out how we should go about reducing the medication that seems to be making things worse.  Through his nurse, last week we were instructed to call back after a few days on the newly increased dosage of the Seroquel.  When she called back, she simply said that we needed to find a Psychiatrist to manage the dementia and the meds.  We have just been set adrift and are on our own.

This University of Kansas Neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s is the one on whom we have depended for about fifteen years now.  There are very few options where the kind of expertise needed to deal with Mary Ann’s complex version of Parkinson’s is available.  KU med center is one of the few places in the country.  None of the rest are close enough to do us any good.

I need to find out whether or not he is still willing to continue prescribing the medicines dealing with the motor issues associated with the Parkinson’s.  Then there are some meds that have impact on the dementia, but were prescribed by the Neurologist to deal with the Parkinson’s.  He also prescribed some of the meds that are intended exclusively to help with the dementia.  What happens when we need a refill?

When I asked during last week’s phone call if there were any Psychiatrist’s at the med center to whom we could be referred to manage the medication the nurse curtly told me that they were not taking new patients.

I have begun checking to find out if there is anyone here in this area who is competent in dealing with Lewy Body Dementia [LBD].  It is enough different from Alzheimer’s Dementia [AD], that it will not be adequate to simply be aware of the usual treatments for AD.  So far the responses seem confirm my impression that we are underserved in this area with good Psychiatric/Neurological care.

Whether rightly or wrongly, I have concluded that generally the medical community loses interest in folks in the later stages of life.  Hospice does a wonderful job of helping people during those years with end of life care.  They, however, are not in the business of treating the diseases that bring people to that point.

I will seek out the best care that I can locate here in this area and try to draw the best out of whomever she sees for care.  My goal remains to have the best quality of life possible for as long as possible in the face of a progressive disease process that we cannot stop.

I am apprehensive about how things will go now that we have discontinued the extra morning pill that seemed to make things worse.  It is a pretty powerful medicine.  Reducing it can have a negative impact.  Tonight Mary Ann seems unable to speak clearly — the words are slurred and pretty much unintelligible.  It is making the simplest communication very difficult.  It took a long time to determine that she wanted to sit up on the side of the bed and have some water.  When I gave her the water, she seemed unable to use the straw.  The years of experience giving people wine from a chalice during my active years as a Pastor came in handy as I helped her drink directly from the cup.

This morning Mary Ann got up very early again after a number of times up earlier in the night.  I actually can’t seem to remember how much sleep I got.  I did get to bed pretty early for me.  I think I got a little more between Mary Ann’s dreams.  She was again hallucinating constantly.  This morning she was actually pretty entertaining with some pretty silly comments.  She ate breakfast, then Bath Aide Zandra came.  She did not seem to do well and afterward was unclear that it was Zandra who had been here.

She napped a bit, rested with her head down some of the time.  Lunch was a little harder than usual to get accomplished.  Supper was tough since she just couldn’t hold her head and the upper part of her body up for me to feed her.  Holding her up and feeding her is really very difficult to do.  When we finished, she had eaten a fair amount of meatloaf, if little else.

Volunteer Tamara came this evening while I got to the grocery store.  It has been tough to get out lately even to do the basics.  Mary Ann is now in bed, but she seems to be having trouble settling.

I am dreading the task of finding competent medical care, developing a good working relationship with him/her, and adjusting to whatever changes in medications and treatments may be involved.  It is hard to walk into a new situation in which I bring 23years of intense study on this particular patient, but those with whom I am sharing come with the confidence that they are the experts whose decisions must be accepted as the final word after a few minutes of conversation.  We have been spoiled by having doctors who have listened well and communicated well.

I am looking for some good to come from this transition.  It often happens that paths we would not have chosen bring us to a better place than we might have gone otherwise.  I can hope.

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I am not sure either of us would have survived another night of constant hallucinations.  She slept soundly last night.  This was my early morning, but it still felt good to have almost six hours of sleep.

Wednesdays are often very active days in our household.  Mary Ann slept through my time in the Spiritual Formation Group that meets here.  I got full advantage of another thought-provoking and nurturing time focused on the Presence of God in our lives.  The conversation was stimulating, meaningful and very engaging.

Bath Aide Zandra came shortly before the group time was concluded.  She had to awaken Mary Ann to do the morning prep tasks.  While Zandra was doing her task and our group was concluding, Parish Nurse Margaret came to spend some time with Mary Ann.

I chose to do the breakfast and pills with Mary Ann to maintain our routine.  Then as Margaret finished with Mary Ann’s toast, I started preparing for Kristie’s arrival.  Kristie does the monthly thorough cleaning, since I am all but useless at the task of house cleaning, especially the abhorrent task of dusting.  Kristie arrived just as I started the task of putting things away so that she could get to as many uncluttered surfaces as possible.

While Margaret stayed with Mary Ann and Kristie cleaned, I got a break to go and get more birdseed.  The little piggies are devouring seed at a phenomenal rate.  That is my part of the deal.  Their part is to provide us with hours of entertainment.  Yes, my feeding them is self-serving — but they do get something out of the deal.  Today is another rainy day, bringing lots of bird activity.  Unfortunately, there is evidence that the raccoon(s) have returned.  Unless a flock of birds came during the night and devoured a couple of pounds of seed, the cute but annoying little beasts are back.  Rather than messing with trapping, I plan to bring the feeders they bother into the house each night.  They can just argue with the possum over the seed in the platform feeder by the waterfall area.

Shortly after 1pm, a couple of folks came to talk about scheduling some paid time with Mary Ann on a regular basis.  This option came as a referral by Hospice Social Worker Kristin.  These folks are more reasonable than the Agency we use some times, and all of them are either licensed CNA’s or LPN’s who have had lots of experience with folks with Mary Ann’s sort of problems.  Glenna had served someone with Lewy Body Dementia and reviewed information about it on the Internet before coming to meet with us today.  We will begin with a Monday time the second week in June and just see what seems to be the most helpful.  She said that between her and three others like her, we should be able to get help on fairly short notice if needed.

Then at 2pm Volunteer Clarene came to be with Mary Ann for a couple of hours this afternoon.  At the same time former Parishioner Jay came by with a Latte for Mary Ann and coffee for me.  After we all talked for quite a while as Mary Ann was napping, Jay and I headed to PT’s just for some relaxed conversation (and more coffee).

Mary Ann spent a good deal of time today resting her head on the table.  When there was interaction, there seemed to be minimal evidence of hallucinating.  She napped in bed for a time this afternoon.  She was up for a bit when Clarene was with her and had a little more of the pizza I had gotten her for lunch.

After I returned we sat up together for a while, but she soon wanted to get changed for bed and lie down.  As always I don’t really know what to expect as to how the night will go.

As to the increase in the Seroquel, last night did not confirm that in Mary Ann’s case it increases hallucinations instead of reducing them.  The last increase many weeks ago produced a couple of bad days followed by some good days.  I would like for this increase now to produce some good days.  I am not even willing to hope that it will be so.  That sort of hope just sets me up for disappointment.  It is possible there will be some better days, but it doesn’t really seem very likely to me — possible, but not likely, that is tonight’s mantra.

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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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After she settled around 9pm last evening, she slept soundly until 2pm this afternoon.  There was one interruption as the Hospice Aide tried to get her up for a shower.  She told the Aide she was too tired.  I agreed that she needed the sleep more than a shower.

When she got up at 2pm, after getting dressed, eating something and taking pills, she sat for a while.  After lying in bed so long, the Orthostatic Hypotension (fainting due to low blood pressure when standing) was really creating problems.  She had some healthy intestinal production, but fainted numerous times before, after and during that activity.

Every time she stood up she fainted.  Even so, she kept standing up again and again.  Eventually, she was fainting so much, I put her back into bed.  She slept for another hour or two.

This morning, shades for the sun room were installed (three of the four — one needed to be remade to fit better).  The activity did not bother Mary Ann.  Also, while she was sleeping, Volunteer Coordinator Mary, brought over some flowers for Mary Ann’s birthday tomorrow.  Mary arranged the flowers and put them in a vase.  At the same time that was happening, Landscaper Sheila, who had smelled leaking gas at the meter when she was working outside the last couple of days, phoned the Gas company to check for a leak.  The truck arrived and the Gas Service Worker checked and found a leak that will need a substantial repair. He put some tape on it for a temporary repair until the full repair is done in a couple of weeks. A new meter will be put in also.

Of course the new landscaping will be torn up and a Forsythia bush removed in the process.  Sheila will prepare the area and replant the bush when the time comes.

After Mary Ann’s nap, she got up in time to enjoy the meal that friends and former parishioners Don and Edie brought over at about 6pm.  Don was the cook.  It was a great meal.  Mary Ann was very tired and struggled to eat, even with my help.

During the afternoon, former parishioners John and Marilyn phoned and then brought over Marilyn’s traditional gift for Mary Ann.  It is a three layer chocolate cake with thick fluffy white frosting covered with coconut.  Because of the frosting it needs to be refrigerated.  The cake looks as if it would be almost too rich to eat, especially with frosting so thick.  On the contrary, it is very light, melting into wonderful waves of chocolaty gentle sweetness.

After the cake, Mary Ann seemed to drift into what looked almost as if she had fainted.  While Don and Edie cleaned up the kitchen, I got Mary Ann into bed for another nap.   Don and Edie and I talked for quite a while.  After they left, I got Mary Ann up to get her pajamas on and take her pills.  She is now back in bed.

The Parkinson’s Specialist’s Nurse and I connected this morning.  She reported that Dr. Pahwa suggests trying an additional half of a Seroquel pill in the morning in addition to her evening dose.  We are to try that for just a few days and call in to let him know what is happening.  The last time we increased the Seroquel, the dementia got very much worse for three days before there was the hoped for improvement.  From the way the suggestion was reported, I inferred that there is not much hope this will help and maybe some fear that the dementia will worsen — if that’s possible.

Last night because Mary Ann slept so well, I was able to get a full night’s sleep.  It sure felt good.  I am feeling greedy enough tonight to hope and pray for another night of sleep.  Whether or not that hope is realized and prayer answered remains to be seen.

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[Too tired to edit — publishing as is.]

There seems to be no end in sight to the constant hallucinating.  It continued last night until about 3:30am or so, and fired up again some time in the 6am to 7am range.  When she is awake, she demands constant attention since the her mind is driving her this way and that.  She is anxious to tell Daughter Lisa about the girls bringing a wagon from the downstairs to help her when she fell.  Mary Ann even described the worried look on Ashlyn’s face.  They are still at their home ten hours away in Louisville, Kentucky.

As usual, gratefully, she did lay her head on the table and settle there after getting dressed, breakfast and pills — hallucinating all the while.  The position she was in looked so uncomfortable.  After a time she decided that she did want to go in and lie down.

During her rest time, I finished moving all the firniture out of the way for today’s carpet cleaning.  I also managed to get hold of the Neurologist’s office.  The call was a little frustrating since the Nurse saw that we had not followed one of the Doctor’s suggestions in the chart from our last visit.  She was not aware that in that visit, the Doctor indicated that the suggestion to get a Psychiatric Evaluation of Mary Ann, was only an option if we were not satisfied with Dr. Pahwa’s choice of medications.  Since I am very aware that Dr. Pahwa is one of the best Parkinson’s Specialists around, I opted not to try to find someone less knowledgable in the area to suggest other drugs.  The other meds for hallucinations are more dangerous and less effective for the kind of dementia Mary Ann has.  Dr. Pahwa confirmed that he was only making the suggestion to provide a sort of second opinion.

The Nurse seemed quite frustrated that I had not done what the chart indicated had been one of the suggestion for us.  The chart listed the suggestions, but not the result of our conversation at the appointment.  She did agree to talk to the Neurologist.  Since we were away from the house on account of the carpet cleaning, I missed the return call.  Somehow I also missed the call on my cell phone.

I got Mary Ann up to get in the car and head out when the carpet cleaner came.  We met former parishioner Jay for lunch at McFarland’s Restaurant, where Mary Ann feels especially secure — and the food is good.  There are lots of folks our age and older who frequent the Restaurant.

We had a great conversation.  Mary Ann was really struggling to stay alert and functional.  Even with my help she wasn’t able to eat very much.  We sure seem to have lost a lot of ground.  It continues to appear that it is not a temporary decline, but a new location on the ride.

After lunch, we tried to go home since Mary Ann was so tired.  The carpet was still too wet for us to go into the house.  We went over to the church from which I retired to use the bathroom, since I thought it would be quiet enough that I could take her into the women’s rest room without fear of interruption.

Then I broke down and took her for ice cream to Baskin & Robbins.  It was uncomfortable, but I will get over that.  The ice cream was good.

The next stop did not go well.  I drove to the grocery store.  We went in and gathered a number of items.  When we were about two thirds of the way done with our list, Mary Ann said she had to go to the bathroom for serious business.  They have no family bathrooms, but very active Men’s and Women’s rooms.  Since it was major business, I could not just ask someone to take her in.

It would have taken too long to try to check out with what we had before leaving to go home and use our well-equpped bathroom.  I took the cart to the Service Desk, told someone there that I would be back for it, and we high-tailed it home.  Things went fine there, but afterward, Mary Ann had to lie down and nap.  There was no way I could get her back to the store.  With the potential for bathroom needs and a store because of construction almost fifteen minutes away, I could not leave her there while I drove back, got the rest of our items, checked out and drove home.

In our world, nothing is easy.  Volunteer Coordinator Mary came to our rescue.  She has helped with groceries before and offered to help whenever she could.  I called her and asked her for help.  She immediately offered to pick up the groceries, stopping by the house to get the coupons and the rest of the list.  She quickly called back to offer to stay with Mary Ann while I went back and finished shopping if that would work better for me.  That is the option I chose.  It turned what had felt very frustrating and distressing into a few moments away to in a relaxed way get the task completed. At the store they had been thoughtful enough to put in a cooler the items in the cart that needed to be refrigerated.

When I returned, I thought Mary Ann would still be sleeping, and just need to be changed for bed to complete the night.  She wanted to get up for a while.  She needed something to eat.  All through the time she she was up and then eating she was lacing her reality into the reality visible to me.  Since going to bed, she has been hallucinating some.  There is not clear evidence yet as to whether this will be a night of sleep or of multiple interruptions by the hallucination/delusions and dreams mixed with reality.

One thing is certain.  I need to get to bed soon so that I at lease have a chance of getting some sleep.

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.

Stress sometimes produces odd markers.  My stress marker apparently is clenching my teeth.  It is a bad idea.  I ended up at the Dentist’s office while Mary Ann was in her Tuesday morning group.  The good news is that the pain is apparently not signaling an abscess.  No root canal!  Yeah!  The bad news is that I am wearing though the surface of my teeth, even some crowns.  It does not bode well for the future.  There are likely to be expensive sittings in a dental chair coming at some time.  For now, a night guard is the weapon of choice for trying to stave off major work for as long as possible.

While there are some obvious stress producers in our current situation, I suspect the problem would be the same no matter what the source of the stress.  The threat of many thousands of out of pocket dental expenses is a strong motivation to use the night guard regularly.

Today was a better day for Mary Ann.  She slept very well last night.  She was alert and participated in her Tuesday morning group.  Volunteer Scheduler Mary took us out to Boss Hawg’s Barbecue for lunch in honor of Mary Ann’s (5/15) and my (4/14) birthdays.  What a treat!  Mary Ann ate lots.  She needed help after a while, but she stuck with it until the food was almost all gone.

Hospice Nurse Emily came by this afternoon.  Mary Ann’s vitals were all fine, but her blood pressure was low this time, 108/64.  Emily commented that she never knows where Mary Ann’s BP will be when she takes it.  Mary Ann is always an interesting and entertaining patient to any health professional who takes care of her.  She is never boring!  I can’t remember what exactly it was she said when getting up from the toilet stool once today, but it was one of her smart aleck comments that brought laughter from both of us.

I talked with the Hospice Nurse about my considering returning the Midodrine to the meds to see if our quality of life might return to something closer to what we had six months ago when Mary Ann took it daily.  It is the med that raises her BP to levels that are not good in the long run.  Since quality is more important to both of us than quantity of days it seems like a reasonable option.  It is within the range of options acceptable to the Cardiologist.  When I talked with Mary Ann about it later on in the day, she said that she didn’t really want to change anything.  She feels it is all working well now.  Looking at it from my direction, it doesn’t seem that it is working well.  On the other hand, it is her body into which the meds are going.  For now, I won’t press the issue.

There were a couple of deck times today and another chapter in the book on St. Patrick’s morning prayer.  This chapter, “Christ Before Me” as well as the one I read yesterday, “Christ Behind Me” have both been thought provoking and comforting.  Maybe more deck time and devotional reading will help reduce the teeth clenching.

Parish Nurse Margaret stopped by with some fresh asparagus from her garden, which I added to the bratwurst and sweet potato fries we had for supper.

All in all, today the scales balanced in favor of clarity and good communication.  There were some times of confusion, but they were less prominent than the last couple of days.  Mary Ann has been especially restless tonight.  It is very late and she still seems to be awake and moving around.  While that does not bode well for tomorrow, tomorrow will speak for itself.

It is almost 11am, Saturday morning, and Mary Ann is still sleeping.  I wrote no post last night since I was especially tired.  The two nights before last were not wonderful.

Yesterday, Mary Ann was again very tired all day long.  The hallucinations/delusions/dreams mixed with reality continue. Yesterday morning she asked me to check on the towels.  I confirmed that she meant the towels for the people she is convinced are living downstairs.  She admits that she thinks I am lying when I say that they are not here at the house.  I offered to take her downstairs.  I think the bed is not made but has the clean sheets folded on it.  The problem is, not only would it be almost impossible at this point to get her down and up the stairs by myself, but she would probably just conclude that they cleared out for the moment just to fool her.

We did not get out yesterday except to make a quick circuit to get my coffee and a take-out luncheon Lasagna from Olive Garden for Mary Ann.  Later in the day she opted not to go out for ice cream but eat what we have from the store here at the house.

I don’t know if this is actually a decline or just temporary, but the confusion becoming a routine part of each day, increased fatigue, and the reluctance to go out is a little unsettling.  Maybe it is still the Urinary Tract Infection.  She is done with the ten days of anti-biotics.  We will be getting a specimen for the lab when she gets up to see if it is actually gone.

…Mary Ann is up now.  She got up at about 11:15am.  She ate a usual breakfast and then sat for a while, pretty much dozing most of the time.  Understandably she did not want to lie back down even though her head was hanging.

When I asked about lunch, she said she did want to go out.  I was apprehensive since she appeared so tired, but it seemed worth a try just to get both of us out of the house.  When she stood up to put on a light jacket, she ended up having a major fainting spell.  After she came back around, she still wanted to go out.  She, of course, has little awareness of the fainting.  I rolled her to the door to the garage and she walked down the steps as usual (she handles steps better than flat surfaces) into the garage.  Before I could get her into the car, she had another major fainting spell.  I have four folding chairs lining the garage wall along her side of the car, so that one is always in reach.  I grabbed one and got her in it before she went down to the floor.  I have put the colorful foam playroom squares along her side of the van so that if she does fall, the damage will be minimized.

I finally got her into the car, and we made our way to Perkins.  Since she was in the wheelchair except when transferring from the car and into the chair in the restaurant, she did not faint during that outing.  She managed to eat a few pieces of pancake on her own, but then she allowed me to help her eat more after ceasing to be able to get them speared and into her mouth.

When I got her out of the car back at the house, she had another major fainting spell.  After she was awake and able to stay seated in the folding chair by herself, I prepared the portable ramp into the house and got the transfer chair.  That way i was able to get her into the house.  As always, she needed a trip to the bathroom.  She fainted again there, but this time it was not a major outage.  By the way, when I refer to a fainting spell as a major one, it means after jerking and stiffening for a few moments, she goes limp.  Then she remains out for a minute or two (rarely it is many minutes up to a record fifteen).  During that time she is snoring as if having a spell of apnea, sort of gasping for breath, and saliva comes out of her mouth (my sleeve usually gets wet since I put my arm across her chest to keep her from falling out of the chair).   Gratefully, she is completely unaware of all of that and remembers nothing of it.  She sometimes seems to think I am making all of that up, that she does not actually faint.  Since she has no conscious awareness of the fainting spells, she has no natural reticence to getting up and heading out no matter how many times she has fainted.

When Hospice Nurse Emily came to pick up the specimen for the UTI lab test, I asked her to take Mary Ann’s vital signs since Mary Ann had appeared to have labored breathing and admitted to having some difficulty with her breathing.  Her vitals were fine.  The blood pressure reading was 158/92.  That reading came after there had been some fainting spells and before we headed out for lunch, experiencing a number of major spells.  That reading would be high for anyone under normal circumstances.

Here is my dilemma.  Do I add back into her medication regimen the Midodrine that raises her blood pressure all the time.  When she is on the medication, it is as high as 220/120 in the mornings and goes even  higher sometimes when measured at doctor’s appointments.  Many months ago, when she was taking a full therapeutic dose of Midodrine, we were able to do much more in the way of traveling, eating out, participating in activities.  We have long ago decided that the quality of our time is more important than the length of it.

As I write, I would like to be attending the wedding of the daughter of a family of which we think very highly.  Her Mom was on the Staff at the church from which I retired.  I have enjoyed their kids and value them as friends as well as former parishioners.  If that is not enough, one of the Pastors doing the wedding is a young man whom I watched grow at that church, and had the privilege of Ordaining into the ministry not long ago.  Lot’s of folks whom I came to know and love during the twelve and a half years as part of their lives will be gathered there.  I take some comfort in the fact that I am at the moment doing exactly what Katie and Jacob are  promising to do, what I promised to do over forty-four years ago.

Tomorrow is the day of the concert in which I will sing as part of a trio in a larger choral piece.  It would probably be a good idea to get a good night’s sleep tonight.  Mary Ann is in bed and appears to be sleeping at the moment.  Here is hoping that she sleeps well throughout the night.