Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.
SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website: www.horvich.com
Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!
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THIS WAS THE FINAL POST TO THIS SITE BEFORE IT WENT DORMANT.
Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.
Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.
With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.
Please follow me there by clicking http://mhorvich.blogspot.com or click the link located on the right side of this page.
Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
A friend asked this question and it certainly is a valid one. I am not really sure of the answer but I can dance around it.
When Gregory ended up in the hospital, close to the beginning of his time at Lieberman, the experience took a large toll on his mobility and general functioning. He fell and gashed open his head. With a knee jerk from that pain, after falling, he to hit his forehead on the bottom of the bed leaving a huge bruise.While the X-Rays showed no broken bones, I think that Gregory did some damage to his back and neck which have always been sensitive areas for him since we met some 39 years ago.
Next he had a major Grand Mal Siezure that put him into the hospital for four days. Research says, I did not know this, that approximately 28% of people with Alzheimer's begin to get seizures at the end stages of the disease.
Gregory began Dilantin to avoid future seizures and the medication took two or more weeks to balance itself, the strength of it causing him to be weak, drowsy, and basically "out of it."
On the last day of the second hospital stay he came down with the flu. It was a mild case because he had had the vaccine in October but non-the-less the effect of the medication for his H1N1 flu was like being hit by a truck.
Over the next weeks at Lieberman Gregory got stronger and stronger and felt better and better but one must be reminded that he is in the last stages of Alzheimer's. The progress of the disease over the last year, and then between Christmas and his moving to Lieberman have been exponential.
At this point, due to the above and the progression of the disease, he is not unable to walk so lives in his wheel chair. He doesn't seem to mind. He is progressing a little with Physical Therapy and over the last four days has been peddling a bicycle from his wheel chair for fifteen minutes at a time and has been walking with the help of two therapists.
Progress may be progress, but with Gregory at this stage, progress needs to be redefined. It is not the kind of progress that you or I might experience after a fall or an illness.
Part of the problem now that he is regaining strength, is that his cognition continues to decline so while he may be strong enough to walk, he no longer knows how to do so cognitively. I.E. the brain sends out the "walking signals" but he legs do not know how to "read them."
The same has happened with his fingers, hands, and arms. The strength is there at times but the signals get scrambled. Due to this disconnect between the cognition and the muscles, he has developed what are called "Intentional Tremors."
When the brain sends a signal to his hand to pick up the fork, the signal is just interpreted in a jerk of the muscles in his arm and hand. The ability to stab or cut or scoop a piece of meat with the fork, let alone get it to his mouth no longer works well.
So this is the long and short of it. He does look at times like he is "out of it" in his awareness and responsiveness. Where he is, who knows. But he does come back.
Also his coordination of muscles due to lack of use, and cognitive disconnect causes him to look like he had a stroke and most of the time his neck needs to rest on a pillow because he cannot hold it up.
So there is your relative answer. Hope this helps you see Gregory in a real light which is also a loving light that continues to bless both Gregory and me.