Last night when I helped her to the commode, while sitting there, she told me she was in jail.  Another time when she sat up on the side of the bed I heard her say, “we are unarmed.”  Who knows what that was about.  This morning she was angry with me that I couldn’t understand that she had to pick up her Grandmother (of course gone for many decades).  Then when we went in to get her dressed, she said something about the fact that her Grandma died, and if it were my Grandma, we would be get there right away.

She is at the table in the heavy chair with the arms, subdued and dozing off and on, with her head lying on the table.  Yesterday I asked her often if she wanted to move. She always answered firmly that she was fine.  I am not bothering her so much today, but watching her moves using the A-V monitor screen by the computer at which I am sitting.

Last night was worse than the previous two nights, if that is possible.  Actually, the first part of the night, about 11pm to almost 3am, was within our more bearable norm of just being up a few times.  As I reported in my post last night, she was almost wild with the hallucinations and activity as if she was overdosed on speed before she finally agreed to get in bed.  It started again some time around 3am.  She started getting up on the side of the bed, talking and wanting to get up, dealing with the dream or hallucination of the moment.

In the 4am to 5am hour, the times up were as close together as three minutes.  She was very upset with me, as was I with her for that matter, that I insisted that she lie back down.  Finally shortly after 5am I just gave up and got her up to come out to the table and eat.  I knew it was too early to start the daytime pills.

It was not easy to get the food in her mouth, but she managed some yogurt and toast.  She was still hallucinating much of the time.  By about 7:15am, she was ready to lie down.  I went back to bed also since I have been pretty wasted with the short nights and challenging nights and days.  She slept about an hour. Then we got up, got her dressed and gave her the morning pills withmore yogurt.

With both of our kids, Lisa and Micah, emailing the same response at the same time that I had reached that conclusion, I have phoned Home Instead to see if someone could be found to stay with Mary Ann overnight some time very soon.  I will talk with them again on Monday.  At the moment, they have a number of folks out sick, so it will be some time before this can work out.  One option is their $150 for a twelve hour shift overnight.  That one won’t work for us, since that is only doable if the person staying with her is  up a maximum of four times to help her.  If that were the maximum times I was up with Mary Ann, I wouldn’t need the help.  That would be a great night in our world.  The next option is the hourly one. It runs $16-$18 an hour. It is certainly worth it to me for the sake of survival.  I will probably start with one night a week.

The problem, of course, is that the current situation is almost no longer doable.  It is hard to imagine being able to handle that all day long seven days and all night long six nights a week.

In checking with the online Lewy Body Dementia Spouses group, some others have had problems with Seroquel.  Some found it to be a problem at a larger dose, but workable at a lower dose.  One of them even used the description, “as if she was on speed.” that I had used before reading that post.

I have to decide whether to take the next step tonight by increasing the Seroquel from 125mg to 150mg.  This is not an easy choice.  The hallucinations had been increasing to an unbearable level before I increased the Seroquel from 100mg to 125mg.  I had been waiting anxiously for the batch to arrive in the mail, looking at the increase as the hope for returning the hallucinations to a manageable level. The first morning after I increased the dosage the first step, there was a hint of a little more lucidity.  That faded quickly and the frequency and intensity of the hallucinations ramped up even more.

Do I take the next step in hopes that the evidence is wrong, and it might begin to improve the situation rather than make it worse?  Do I respond to the evidence that it seems to be making the hallucinations worse and pull back?  At the moment, I do not know which I will do.  I don’t know how much risk there might be of another increase making the problem worse and moving us farther down the road permanently.  With LBD it is common for strong meds to cause a loss that cannot be regained.  That level of vulnerability is one of the ways LBD differs from Alzheimer’s Dementia.

Whatever I decide, assuming this does not improve, next week I will phone the Neurologist’s office at KU Med Center’s Parkinson’s Clinic and ask for a full review of her meds, to see what changes might have some hope of mitigating this pretty much untenable situation.

I suppose I will also make some phone calls, possibly visit, one or two places that could serve as options if this ceases to be doable at home.  In talking with my daughter, Lisa, the idea of hiring someone either to live-in and help out with Mary Ann a few hours in trade or someone to stay a couple of nights a week re-emerged.  We did have someone we hired for a few hours a week some years ago. I still have an active federal ID number and state withholding tax number just in case we go that route again. We have a finished basement with egress windows in the bedroom and living area, and there is also a large full bath (shower only). That space was finished to allow the option of live-in help if we needed it.

I guess we have been in the frog-in-the-kettle mode.  Things have been moving past being manageable at such a slow pace that I didn’t really realize how hot the water was getting.  I guess it is time to find a way to reduce the heat before our frog is cooked (or goose – take your choice).

Mary Ann stayed at the table, I got lunch for her, and she ate very little.  At about 2pm, after a trip to the bathroom, she stopped at the bed and indicated that she wanted to lie down.  She has been down for about an hour now.  It is such a relief that she is sleeping for her sake and for mine.  While sleeping during the day is not always a good idea, any time that she is resting and secure is a wonderful respite for me.

Our Son Micah phoned and will be coming over with our Daughter-in-Law Becky and Granddaughter Chloe this evening.  It is over an hour one way, and Chloe had indoor soccer and basketball games today, so we really appreciate them coming after a long day.  They arrived in time for us to order pizza.  Mary Ann was not ready to get up from the nap she started after lunch.  She did get up when supper came. 

She was moderately responsive, compared to having been almost completely unresponsive most of the rest of the day (other than the morning hallucinations).  She did eat a little of the pizza (cheese sticks).  She went to bed again while they were still here. 

It was very helpful to me to be able to sit and talk with them and hear how they are doing.  It was good for Mary Ann also just to have them around.  It was a low key evening, but just spending the time together seemed to lift for the moment the pall that has been settling over us last few days in particular. 

It is done.  I gave Mary Ann the fully increased dosage of Seroquel tonight.  One option that is unfortunately the more likely one is that by three or four in the morning at the latest. she will be bouncing off imaginary walls.  If and when that happens, I will be running after her as she does.   The less likely but preferred option is that she will finally sleep well and have fewer and less intense hallucinations tomorrow. 

And so the ride goes on! 

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