I was unsure whether or not to post this, but it definitely affects me in many ways and I'm one of those people who have to manage my stress to avoid a serious impact on my BG control. Right after this incident I was 97 and doing well, but here's my story.
Things have been rather crazy since last night when I think Wayne must have had a small stroke followed by another, perhaps larger, one this morning.
Last night I heard a loud sound and found him in the kitchen with his walker trying to get a mug of water. I got it for him, but not before he knocked a bunch of stuff into the sink and got rather belligerent and testy with me. This was really different for him, because he is never violent. Things got resolved, I got him back in bed, and went upstairs to collect myself.
I came back about 30 minutes later and found him sitting on his bed. He immediately apologized for being "mean" and was quite repentant. I assured him we were OK and I understood his frustration. He talked for about 30 minutes, then went to sleep.
During that time I noted that I was reading his body language and tone to get the meaning of his conversation, because the words were mostly nonsensical. I assumed it was the Alzheimer's getting much worse quickly. It's a hard disease to understand and I've gotten to where I just accept how unpredictable it is.
This morning at 7:30A, I was upstairs having a cup of coffee and reading when I heard a crash. My 18 pound cat is very active and loves to jump up on things to chase geckos up the walls (think kitty breakfast—he had brought a live one to my bedroom last night at 2 A.M.), so I didn't think much of it except to think I'd have something to clean up when I went downstairs.
About 7:45, I went down to fix breakfast. Wayne wasn't in his chair. Then I saw he wasn't in his bed either. Puzzled, I walked closer and noticed his walker still there. He can't walk more than a couple steps without it and no more than 10-20 with it, so that was really odd. I then noticed the lanai door was open. (It will be barred at night from now on!)
When I went out on the lanai, there was a trail of things knocked off the table and a chair in front of the lanai railing's gate blocking it, so that it would not open. I moved it and went out. His hat was at the foot of the five steep steps, a tissue and cough drop a few feet away, and he was lying on the grass about 40 feet away under a big old tree. I thought he was dead.
When I got to him, I went down on my knees and tried to talk to him. His eyes were rolled up and to his left and he was focusing somewhere way off in space. He is totally blind, but he does usually look at the source of the voice. Then he started talking. It made no sense whatsoever. I tried to get him up but he was rigid; then I tried to roll him over on his side. He resisted and was really stiff.
My neighbor came up then and said he had called 911 for him. I asked him if he would stay with Wayne for a minute or two while I dressed before the police arrived. I ran back in and was out within 2 minutes. Meanwhile the police had arrived and sounded like they thought he was intoxicated. He was talking a mile a minute because (he said later) he was afraid they were going to arrest him and he was trying to explain how he got there.
I explained he was 10 years into Alzheimer's. The police said, "Oh, well he can't stay here, do you want me to call EMT?" I said, "No, I would like help to get him back in the house, then I will call his doctor. He is DNR." The police caught on … realized Wayne wants to die quietly at home and I'm caring for him at home helping to make that possible for him.
They helped him up. I got his walker and we started toward the lanai. Then realizing the way we were going still involved the five stairs he had already fallen down once this morning, I suggested they support him while I get his wheelchair and take him in through our garage which is on the level. Police were appreciative … seems they hadn't been too sure they could get him up the stairs either.
He was very talkative, quite out of touch with reality, and still staring to the upper left for the next half hour or so. I checked him over for injuries after I realized he had climbed over the lanai gate and fallen down five steps. There are none visible. His tailbone hurts though, so I suspect he sat down on it rather hard when he fell.
When he began to look me in the eyes again, I gave him breakfast, tried to help him orient, then got him settled back in bed, and gave him his pain medication. I know that's not how you treat a head injury which is a possibility, but my goal with him is to keep him happy, safe, and as pain free as possible. He is dying slowly; preservation of life isn't an issue here, he is DNR by his choice.
At noon he got up for a few minutes. I got a bowl of his favorite cereal for his lunch. It's 12:30 here and he is now down for his second nap of the day. He was making better eye contact during lunch.
He is still telling stories that are fantastic, but I can see now how he is actually trying to tell me what happened this morning…it was a fantastic tale of being locked in a store, having to climb a fence to get out, falling, and loosing his "rubber" shoes in the process. He said he needed me to take him back to the store to get his rubber shoes. I assured him I already had them and all was OK.
Symbolism: the store is our house; he climbed over the lanai fence because he could not open the gate, fell, lost his thongs and hat at the foot of the stairs. Wow, the mind does really strange things in the throws of Alzheimer's. I'm thankful some of my psychology training included symbolism. It helps me make sense of these analogies.
It is now 1:45 here. Things are quiet again. I had my lunch (turkey and my new dressing recipe) two hours ago. My BG is 124. I think I'm going to practice self care and go take a nap on the sofa where I can hear him if he gets up.
Thanks for letting me share this. It's stress reducing just to journal the event.
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