Monday, July 18, 2011

Saga Fifteen

Sharing the load. Today Dolores communicated with me that last night her husband didn't recognize her or where he was. Sigh! Today he is fine, however, knowing her and that they are home.

Sally and Jake. Sally said that Jake did not recognize one of his adult sons that they saw recently. Sigh! Now Jake recognizes us, and I would have thought that son from his first wife was part of his long-term memory. My friend Sally has come up with a great idea--once a month socials at our home. The four husbands will play pool on our pool table and we gals will play games. I love the idea! Socialization is so good all around. Jake doesn't drive any more due to his not passing the Alzheimer's test and we hope he is done obsessing about not driving.

Since last December, after our car crash with that DUI driver that totaled one car, my husband didn't want to drive again. We decided to not replace that car and get by with one car. When I needed him to drive the popup camper we got from Sally and Jake, however, DH started driving again in February. He really is a good driver and my husband has only driven the car when I am in it. He drives well, although needs directions from me and will get tested again in the fall.

However, this morning my husband went out BY HIMSELF to go get gas for the lawn mower. I was scared. (Maybe last year sometime he had gone out to get gas for the lawn mower and it took him three trips to remember why he went out!) Will he remember how to come back home? Will he remember how to use the debit card? He drove less than a mile and a half. I called him on his cell phone and fortunately he answered. He returned and poured the gas directly in the riding lawn mower, not remembering how to use the gas can nozzle. The front and back lawns got mowed.

June 1 to July 6. Sally, Jake, DH and I did go to six workshops co-sponsored by the local Alzheimer's Association and USF. Ann wrote about this in May on this blog.  It was in Winter Haven and Sally and I took turns driving. We wives sat in the front of the car and the husbands in the back seat on the 45 minute trip back and forth. We usually played upbeat country or oldies music for the husbands on the trip--on my iPod or with Sally's CDs. (My husband is very sensitive to Jake not being able to drive and so when the four of us are together either Sally or I dive.) At each workshop session we wrote a weekly ACTION Plan. DH and I started going to the gym again. Sally and Jake had been going to the YMCA. At that workshop we were more open about Alzheimer's. Everyone there was either an Alzheimer's patient or a caregiver. I was so proud of my husband's sharing as we sat around the table. A lot of Jake's issues were dealt with in the workshop. The four of us were also interviewed after the workshop. I got more out of the workshop than perhaps my husband did, because he wouldn't remember from week to week. I felt more empowered after the workshop.

Supplements recommended by our chiropractor. Since our December crash, we had been going to a chiropractor (I am still going for my back.) The chiropractor recommended Ribonucleic Acid and CoQ-10 supplements for my husband from. There are no studies on the use of these supplements to improve thinking for Alzheimer's patients, but I do think they have helped his thinking. DH is cheerful and uses parts of his brain to compensate. Now the short-term memory is not any better, but my husband is great. He takes two 175 mg of RNA twice a day and one 400 mg C0Q-10 with his statin medicine at night. I still cook with coconut oil when it works out. I put a link for the RNA from Standard Process Inc. under Favorites at the right.

Thanks for your prayers for Dolores, Sally and I and our husbands. 


  1. (I'm hoping I can post! *S*)

    I'm sorry to hear about Dolores husband. I will head over to her blog soon. How heartbreaking. I'm glad he was better the next morning.

    I forgot to ask you about your back and neck. Are you getting better.

    What would we do without God's grace?!

  2. I like the new fresh look of your blog!!!

    It's wonderful that your husband can still use his cell phone! David hasn't been able to use a cell for over 5 years, and can't answer the home phone. That was a big loss for me being able to call and check on him.

    Driving to get gas and mowing.... that's wonderful too!! Enjoy these times!

    The workshops and good times with friends is so good for all of you.
    God is good!

  3. The blog looks great. He is a busy man. I would be scared too about him getting lost . But it is great he can get so much done. Praying he is a busy man for many years to come.

  4. I was surprised to read that your husband can drive. I took myself off the road even before the doctors said I could no longer drive after a few instances of doing things like stopping in confusion at a traffic light and staying there after the light had changed, unsure of what to do next and driving up on a curb and into a garbage can. Any type of excess stimuli freezes my brain and has done so for over a decade. Thus the noise and commotion of being out on a road shuts down most of the parts of my brain that are needed for driving. Apparently your husband has not reached this stage. I am guessing that also from "We usually played upbeat country or oldies music for the husbands on the trip" - i.e., listening to music doesn't cause his brain to overload and shut down?

    It is interesting to watch how dementias progress so differently for people. It may also be the fact that mine is not Alzheimers that took things like driving away from me so early but has left me still able to use the computer.

  5. Usually I am driving when we play that music from my iPod. Last fall the Johnny Byrd ALZ people sent my husband to take a special ALZ driving test and he passed it. He will have to take another test in a couple of months. If he doesn't pass that test, he will not be driving.

    He drives maybe 40% of the time we go out together, and rarely by himself (may this one time I wrote about here) since we have only one car now.

    He does get angry verbally at other drivers, and is very aware of what is happening. I have not seen road rage, and he politely supervises my driving.