Where have you been?
If you have read any of the Caregiver’s blogs, you already know that Harriet has been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia. Because of this she retired from her job in 2013 and I became her Caregiver. I retired from my job in 2016 and we moved to Adrian, Michigan. Since that time I have been a caregiver to Harriett as she lost abilities , memories, and her personality. At first she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but a couple of years later the diagnosis was changed to Frontotemporal Dementia.
I started writing this blog in November of 2018 and continued until April of 2020. I stopped writing because instead of getting worse Harriet was having remarkable improvements. Because this is so abnormal that I couldn’t think of what to say that would be helpful to other Caregivers. Not only that, but since then until today I have been struggling with a deep fatigue that I thought was caused by depression, but in fact, is caused by Parkinson’s Disease.
Two things happened at the end of 2019 that helped Harriet. The first was, a dear friend, Father John, went on pilgrimage to Faatima and Lourdes. Everywhere he went he prayed for Harriet to be healed. The second thing was that Harriet’s Neurologist prescribed Arecept to help with her speech. What part of this improvement can be attributed to the medication and what is the answer to Father John’s prayers, I have no way of knowing.
This article will contain three parts. Part one will be a quick overview of Harriet’s downward spiral from Dementia. Part two will overview the positive changes and a return to a more normal life. Part three will discuss where we are now since I have Parkinson’s and some troubling signs in Harriet’s life.
Part one -Quick overview
Forgot when she was scheduled to work weekends.
Forgot password to turn alarm off.
Attended training on computer/websites couldn’t retain information.
Forgot procedures and processes of Owosso Library.
No longer enjoyed working as a librarian.
Increasing inner turmoil about large church or family meals.
Stopped making multiple hord and desserts began to ask others to bring them.
No longer enjoyed preparing family holiday dinners.
David began making majority of dinners.
Couldn’t remember how to operate a kiln.
Confused about types of glass
Became a better artist and taught Wreath making classes.
Difficulties with comprehension and retention
Forgot names of friends and family members.
Episodes of paranoia.
Episodes of delusional behavior.
No interest in romance with David .
Withdrawal from social life.
- Health issues
6/18 fractured vertebrae
Abrasion on arm
Bruising on legs, torso and head
Multiple non injury Falls
9/19- Broken arm
UTIs- Recurring infections over a two-year period.
- Lack of connection
In 2019 we celebrated our 50th anniversary and went to Vermont which was the only state Harriet hadn’t been in. I called this the 50/50 trip. On the way home she asked me, “Why did we make this trip?”
Part Two – NOV. 2019-July 2021
Almost every problem listed above has been resolved. With the exception of trips out west, our 50th anniversary party, and other positive things, she has no memory of the past three years.
Part Three – A return to Moria
Over the past summer I have noticed an increasing problem with forgetting important things.
She had run out of her blood pressure medication and couldn’t remember how to resolve the problem. She had been out for 2-3 weeks before she asked me for help.
On the days when she volunteers to make dinner she won’t remember to get meat out of the freezer or do any other preparation until it’s dinner time. If I ask her about it she becomes agitated and tells me everything is under control.
She purchases food for meals like cabbage rolls. I volunteer to help prepare the food but she will put it off until the fresh ingredients are spoiled and must be thrown away.
She is always tired and can’t seem to get on a sleep schedule.
The reason this section is called a return to Moria is because I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. This has made it difficult to speak loudly enough to be understood. My sleep schedule is very poor. I am tired all the time and lately have episodes where it feels like someone has flipped a switch from on to off. I have little choice but to take a nap.