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Old 02-21-2007, 09:15 PM   #1
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extreme concern

Hi All,
As you know mother is swiftly approaching or in her last stage. It's amazing to me that she has went from this screaming fighting patient the NH wanted moved to a locked unit to this almost comatose most days little soul. Last night my DH almost had a heart attack when he went in her room to check on her and she was so deep asleep he thought she wasnt breathing scared us both to death.
Today he sat at the table holding her hand while I had her up in the chair for awhile and he just kept saying "jessica" something is wrong with her !!!( I was trying to paint kitchen cabinets). Then when I moved her back to the living room in her favorite chair he took her socks off to check her feet (because they swell more now) and lo and behold two of her toenails has turned dark brown. It concerned me a bit and I thought he was going to have a break down! Does anyone know what this could mean? I know when they get older they have discoloration sometimes, not what Im talking about. I lotion and wash her off everyday and this has occurred suddenly. They are completely brown. She has a doctors appt. on tuesday he thinks it may be last stage symptoms but Im not sure. DH says the medicine is killing her. Also Im having to force her to get up, she really is almost unable to stay alert, she is not talking hardly at all anymore. Tonight when I would say anything to her she would just murmer a type of hmmmnn and shake her head.
Has anyone had last stage and expeiranced this type of behavior? If she is awake she just sits and stares in the same spot and says nothing, I keep kissing and hugging her and talking to her regardless but Im a little concerned. Im also concerned about the facts ( mother will possibly die at home) and I think he DH is going to flip out. When my dad died of lung cancer he was on the road home from a trip and he got their right before they took my dad's body, he fell apart out in the yard. He has also had many bouts of crying and even purchased my parents property and remodeled them. I use to go over there and find him in the basement crying over my dad. My sister and I were talking tonight and she reminded me that we married when he was barely 18 and my parents are really all he has because he had such a bad childhood and he's not close to his parents who are divorced. I have enough to deal with and now Im worried about him. I truly never gave a second thought to how he might feel about losing mom. Im so close to my mom but I have been through all this emotional crap during this disease and the first time mom was here he worked so many hours every week he really had no real clue. Now he is home every day at three thirty and so he spends alot more time here. Im tired so Im probably rattling on and on, anyway Martha how is your mother doing? and Sandy how is your mom? I know ours was close to the same stage for awhile. Seeingred if you have taken care of your sweet children and endured Im sure more pain and heartache than myself then I want to tip my hat to you for caring so much about your MIL it says volumes about your character. We just dont want to see you break down but we are all behind you and we have all been there in someway so goodluck and Im glad DH listened. jess

 
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Old 02-22-2007, 03:42 AM   #2
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Re: extreme concern

Dear Jess,

I'm sorry you're going through this drama. I wish I had any advice for you. I never heard of toenails turning brown unless it is the result of a fungus (and relatively harmless.) Her doctor certainly should look at it.

Your husband has not had experience in this sort of thing and, like many men, he would probably rather move a mountain than have to deal with sickness or death. But life dishes out crises we never expected to have to deal with. He will most likely rise to the occasion. He will try to be strong for you.

Maybe if you call her doctor, you can get Mom an appointment sooner than next week. Perhaps the toe does have some significance, and maybe a short hospital stay will be needed. Certainly all her meds have to be evaluated.

I never heard of progression of Dementia that moves this fast, so I kind of suspect something else is wrong with your mother. If you call the doctor and describe in detail the extreme change in her in such a short time, he or she may want to see her right away. Perhaps there is a medical condition (heart, infection) causing the extreme fatigue and lethargy.

Good luck and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 02-22-2007 at 03:43 AM. Reason: mistypes

 
Old 02-22-2007, 05:08 AM   #3
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Re: extreme concern

Hi Jess,

Oh, I felt so sad to read your post. You and hubby have suffered a lot through all of this. Being so close to your mom, he probably does feel like she is his own mother, too.

Yes, I thought our mothers were similar in progression, too. We seemed to be seeing the exact same symptoms a year ago. I think we both moved our moms to a home during Feb last year. Both showing the same aggression.

My mom is pretty much the same. I don't see the aggression anymore, mostly because I agree with her at all costs . The only time she gets really angry is if I try to explain (why she's there) or reason with her. Each visit she asks that I bring her money next time, and we find her a cabin some where. I agree. And she's fine, asking the exact same thing every week and on phone calls during the week. She does cry a lot, though.

Sometimes, I wish she were a little more sedated to keep from being so sad. But, the lady who runs that "group home," is very against sedating them heavily. She wants them active and doing things rather than sleeping all the time.

I've never heard of the darkened toe nails, either. Hopefully your doctor will know right away or move her appointment so that you can get some answers. She does seem to have progressed very quickly. Hopefully, Martha is right and it is just a symptom of something else that is treatable.

Take care Jess, and keep hugging that hubby!
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:30 AM   #4
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Re: extreme concern

We thought my FIL was going through the end stage several weeks ago. He would sit in a chair and stare while we talked with him. He talked extremely slowly and we could not understand the few words he did say. He was sleeping all the time.

I made a list of his medications and gave it to one of the nurses because we were concerned about his lethargy. She said it may be possible to phase him off of some of his antidepressants.

When we went to visit him last week the difference was startling. He knew us, something we had not been sure about for some time. He also offered the observation that gasoline was now 8 cents a gallon (I wish). He also said he appreciated us coming to visit him once in awhile--the longest sentence we had heard in months.

He was extremely aggressive several months ago and still gets upset when he is being dressed, but he is calm most of the time right now. I would take a list of your mother's medications when you visit the doctor to see if some can be scaled back.

Jane

 
Old 02-23-2007, 06:07 AM   #5
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Re: extreme concern

I think I am going to have to recant my rosy post of a few days ago. We went to see my FIL yesterday and he was scary. Last week, he was responding to us, but this week we got the icy, rather hostile stare and no response. His medication is being scaled back, but maybe a little too much? He was alert, but definitely not there at all.

One of the aides said he became agitated at lunch. He was eating with eyes closed and when they made him open them he became upset at seeing the aides. We don't want him comatose, but we don't want him to be agitated either. It is so frustrating trying to decide what is best for him.

Jane

 
Old 02-24-2007, 05:53 AM   #6
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Re: extreme concern

Jane,

This happens to me, too. The big swings in my mom's behavior. But, I think I've figured it out to be whatever medication Mom is taking at the time.

My mom is in a "group home" with 9 other AD patients. The manager does not like them highly medicated and comatose. She likes to keep them moving around and relatively active if possible. (She does have 2 patience, though, that are far beyond that and seldom leave their rooms.)

Most often, visits with my mom are the same every time. She wants to go home. Why don't I ever visit her. Where are my children. (They are grown, she thinks they are younger.) Where is her money.

Occasionally, she will be angry and crying and aggressive and scream and yell as soon as I come in the door. On the other hand, sometimes she's totally out of it...like a little girl....."happy as a lark" and as sweet as can be.

Any time there is a big shift in her behavior and I ask the Nurse about it, it's because they had to give her a medication that is given only "as needed." In other words, she was so out of hand......they had to use a stronger med.

To me, I feel like I'm between a rock and hard place. When she's on the stronger medicine, she's happy, glad to be there, not angry, not wanting to leave, not wanting to go home, etc. But......she's so medicated she doesn't know which end is up.

I like seeing her happy, but it isn't really "her."
When she isn't so medicated, she's miserable, crying and begging to go home.

I think the meds are a catch-22 sometimes.

What a spot it puts us in......
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Old 02-24-2007, 07:31 AM   #7
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Re: extreme concern

In my opinion "it isn't really her" anyhow - so the not quite real calm and happy one is a lot better than the unreal angry one ....

Oh how I wish for a cure for this disease.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 02-24-2007, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: extreme concern

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandyspen View Post
To me, I feel like I'm between a rock and hard place. When she's on the stronger medicine, she's happy, glad to be there, not angry, not wanting to leave, not wanting to go home, etc. But......she's so medicated she doesn't know which end is up.
Isn't that the truth! I think I am more concerned because two of his daughters are planning trips to see him in the next few weeks. They both have to come from fairly far away and I want him to be able to respond to them. However, if he is as hostile as he seemed to be this week, they will definitely come away feeling as depressed as I do.

Another daughter is planning a visit this summer and she is the one who keeps saying that if he weren't on so much medication he would probably be more of his "old" self. Since she only sees him once a year, I have a feeling she is going to be in for a big shock. Although I try to email all of his daughters weekly to keep them up-to-date, she is the one who doesn't seem to accept the situation or realize how much he has deteriorated since last summer. For example, she asked if we took him to his sister-in-law's funeral several months ago, not realizing he does not remember he had a sister-in-law and would be terribly agitated around so many people in a strange place.

After last week's visit I am leaning toward keeping him on all of his drugs.

Jane

 
Old 02-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #9
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Re: extreme concern

That is funny!

Martha, you said - what I was feeling too guilty to admit!

It's the truth, though. She isn't that angry, cursing woman; demanding to be taken home, accusing us of ignoring her.

On meds, she's just sweet as pie, loving her new home, kissing everyone. Her eyes are clear and she's happy.

But........this med is only "when needed." I always feel guilty when I think, well, maybe she should be on it all the time.
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Old 02-24-2007, 09:42 PM   #10
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Re: extreme concern

Hi, Jess! I am sorry that your mom and your DH are in such bad states. My first thought about your mom's level of awareness was meds. My son is on medication, and over the years I have seen altered states due to a new med or to one that has built up to a too high blood level. As for the toenails... maybe a fungus? I'd consult her doctor on Monday.

Wishing you and your family peace.

SeeingRed

 
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