Friday, November 13, 2009

Change in Schedule for Alzheimer's Patient Creates Havoc

What an interesting day yesterday was. With an Alzheimer's person it is all about patterns and rituals. I think they do this to help remember things. Plus, there are some things we just automatically do like brush your teeth, then wash your face, then comb your hair, and they are ingrained in your mind. Pat has several of those. Which is good that she still remembers these things... most of the time.

Anyway, yesterday I noticed around 3:00 that Pat's eyes were droopy and she was tired. She had been up until 1:00 the previous night and up at 6:00am in the morning so I'm not surprised. I suggested that she lay on the couch for a while because the physical therapist recommended it to stop her back pain. And she did it! Only a couple of questions from her but nothing like the norm. She even let me take her sneakers off and cover her with a blanket. When she fell asleep I was in even more shock. And when the phone rang and she WENT BACK TO SLEEP, I was completely floored and felt I was on a mini vacation. Of course, I couldn't leave my recliner, my little island for fear of waking her, but I felt blessed. Thank you Lord for that breather.

She slept from 3:15 until 4:30 and then continued to lay on her back for another 20 minutes. While she was sleeping you could see her exhaustion. She flinched and clenched her hands, moaned, and actually looked relaxed a little. Mark came home and she continued to sleep for a while. I was able to finally get out of the recliner and visit with him for a few moments before she woke. I didn't want to be out of her eye sight when she finally did. I'm her security blanket. I need to be in eye sight at all times or she gets upset so I went back to the recliner. It's a good thing I did.

You know how you feel after a hard sleep? Disoriented and groggy? Add Alzheimer's, an already neurologically wacked disease, on top of that and look out. She kept telling us she felt funny, which she tells us quite often, but I still haven't figured out exactly what that means. I don't know if it is the confusion, the forgetfulness, the pain, the drugs, or something different like the flu. She seemed a little warm but no fever. It made for a long night and when she said she was tired at 8:00, I let her get ready for bed.

Today, she seems better. I know it is important for an Alzheimer's patient to get sleep. It makes sense. Clarity comes best to me after a good nights sleep. Why would it be any different for her. Who knows, maybe I can get her to take another snooze today. The confusion was so worth the rest she clearly needed. And yes, the relaxation I was forced to enjoy. I have such a hard time staying still.

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  1. Christina -- Thanks so much for your comments on my blog. Bless you for what you are doing. I'm sure that your boyfriend and his family appreciate all you are doing. Sleep is so essential for those of with Alzheimer's -- i definitely need my nap every day. And, what you said about moving -- it is difficult -- change is hard on anyone, let alone someone with Alzheimer's. We thought of moving closer to my family that live in the Midwest but my doctor advised against it and we knew that it was not the best thing to do at this time -- just too hard on me. I'll keep checking your blog -- thanks again. Kris

  2. Thank you so much for your blog. My father was recently diagnosed and last night was a battle. We just have partially moved into his home as they told us to not move him again until we place him in a nursing facility. We didn't have any advanced notice, you see, my stepmother kept this problem from his children. When my dad started acting funny and thinking she was having an affair, we pretty much believed him since she is a wicked stepmother to begin with, and then when he started about people following him down the road and writing down license plate numbers, we knew it was something more to it. We finally had to have him involuntarily committed and they kept him for 3 weeks, nothing major for the first 2 and then suddenly, my dad couldn't hold on to keeping it together anymore. He started having delusions that I was on the hospital grounds at night. That's when I was told he could come home, but start looking for a place. When I told his social worker my fiancee and I thought we could keep him for about a year, she told us it would be much less. So, last night was a battle. He had his first doctor's appointment outside the hospital and he swears I am lying to him about the day, despite the fact that he uses a computer and I write it on the board everyday. I've been trying to not argue, but last night when it was midnight and he wanted to go back down stairs, I profusely protested since he had his night time medicines.

    I'll keep checking the blog and am so grateful to you and thank God for finding it.


  3. Heather,
    I am so sorry I didn't see this post until right now. Things have been hectic with holidays and Pat. Since the daylight hours have lessened, she is more confuse.

    It's good that you didn't move your dad again. We had to move Pat with us TWICE and it was so tough getting her used to it.

    You inspired a post for me about the way Alzheimer's patients interact with loved ones. Please know you are not alone Heather. I hear this from so many people!

    Thank you for your support Heather and if you ever need someone to talk to, don't hesitate. Support is HUGE when dealing with this disease.