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Old 04-29-2012, 10:33 AM   #16
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Dear Nina and Deb, thanks for your replies. My major worries regarding Lucy's accusations are about my personal and my son's welfare. My son is still in high school. My concern is that I could be in a lot of legal hot water if any of her accusations are ever taken seriously by some authority. I really don't know how to guard myself against that.

The major problem right now is that Lucy is still undiagnosed with anything. I would love to get to the bottom of this and know what we are facing. I found it very curious, when reflecting on my own behavior, that I was the most unhappy and angriest before when I worked on the assumption that she was just being an insensitive jerk. All those years arguing with her, trying to logic with her just led to fights and more fights. It is only the last 6 months or so, when I finally accepted that dementia is a real possibility. It was only when I began to manage our daily situation in that new light, that the world brightened up for me. I guess the acceptance of dementia as a possibility freed me from the need to try to "get through to her", so to speak, and to accept that, at least for the time being, that I don't really have an equal partner. Indeed, I went through a very rough period when, in retrospect, I was mourning the cessation of that equal partnership. I missed our nightly conversations over dinner, when we could actually discuss something real. I miss her insights and I really miss planning our life together.

I think I am mostly done with the worst of that phase. The fact that I found myself on this board recently says that I am now prepared to address this possibility in seriousness. Now I have that very critical aspect. Somehow I need to get her looked at. So at least I can know what the future might be. There is so much life left. We are not seniors by any means. I am also in academics, by the way Nina, so you know what that life is like. I just don't know how I am going to be able to juggle all of this in the future.

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:31 AM   #17
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

That is why you need to get her diagnosed ASAP. Once she is diagnosed with dementia and is said to be incompetent at times, the court or police won't believe her because you have the proof from the doctor's office. Get these people to support you. Make sure you tell your son what she said is not true and I am sure he understands it. Make sure your family is on your side first.

Yes my FIL sounded so genuine that his caregivers we hired almost believed him! Once he picked up a book about physics (not his thing) and picked a photo there saying he was the one in the picture! Well it is not him at all and I had to tell the caregiver, no, no, it is not even his thing!!! It is his imagination from the past.

In the beginning my FIL even attempted to sue my husband as he thought we tried to change the wills from my late MIL and him!! The fact is it is not possible to change a fixed will. The lawyer just asked him if he wanted to change his own!!! Thank God he was not so bad and we were able to make him understand the nature of the wills on the phone together.

Get her diagnosed ASAP. It is hard, but try to get some help. Ask an attorney about this matter to protect yourself.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 04-29-2012 at 11:32 AM.

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #18
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Also make sure you are the power of attorney for your wife and you can help her when she is incompetent.

Nina

 
Old 04-29-2012, 05:32 PM   #19
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Yes, the legal paperwork is important. Durable and Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, Medical Directive, and her Will.... whatever your state requires. It is very important to do them NOW.

Knowledge in power and acceptance is a huge step forward. It is easier to deal with a medical condition than somebody just being a jerk. I went through that with Mom. It takes a while to get past the anger and resentment once it has accumulated but when you know for sure that it is a disease of the brain it makes it so much easier. Just don't let guilt sneak in because you didn't know. I will repeated something I have said many times. We do the best we know how to do with the information we have at the moment. When we know we do different. Who would think, at your age, that you might be dealing with dementia? So be kind to yourself for anything in the past. You are here and you are looking for answers. Go forward from here and no look back.

As for the accusation she has made.... please get the diagnosis you need. That is your protection. When Mom called the police and reported that I had stolen her van... the dementia along with the fact that the van was in the possession of my sister who had their POA make it a non-issue. Also, with a son in high school he needs to know that Mom is not just being that way but has a medical reason for her antics. That will be important for him.

Hate you needed to be here but glad you are here Call the lawyer and get the paper work done and call the doctor and get a diagnosis.

Love, deb

 
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:22 PM   #20
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

So I will cap off this rather eventful Sunday with a story for you all. I am ready to call it a night so nothing more will happen.

So this morning after breakfast Lucy announced that she will be picking up a new foster dog. She expressed surprise that I didn't know a thing about it. Lucy collected her first dog 5 years ago, just around when I thought she was starting to act a bit off. This one will be Dog #6. I have no idea how she thought she would care for Dog #6, since she already has trouble looking after Dogs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, even with a lot of help from son and I.

Also what I didn't know, and only found out when she called around 1pm looking for help getting out of a jam. She was totally lost, somewhere in Pennsylvania 2 1/2 hours away. See.... what she also neglected to mention was that Dog #6 was 3 hours away in the next freakin' STATE!

Okay... many phone calls, and I acting as navigator using google map..... she got her dog, and brought #6 home. Sigh. The only good news was that Lucy made it home safe and in one piece. Yeah... don't tell me I should take her car keys away.. that's another series of post another time.

It was 6:30pm when she came home. I was preparing dinner in the kitchen. I was hovering over the sink cleaning some vegetables. She said Dog 6, which was a puppy, had soiled her blanket in the trip. From behind me, Lucy said, "Excuse me...", and nudge herself to the kitchen sink, ... and get this... proceeded to shake out the bits of dog poop from the blanket into the kitchen sink. There were dishes; there were glasses; there were utensils; and there was food! Now there were dog sh*t crumbs everywhere, all over the dinner and dishes. I must have shrieked, and Lucy caught herself and became very apologetic. She then grabbed the kitchen cleanup cloth and dish towel, and proceeded to wipe up the pieces of dog sh*t from the sink and counter. In the process, she ended up smearing sh*t all over the place. ..... (I will spare you the rest of the story.... and no... we didn't eat the dinner. I called for pizza delivery.)

I mean, why the kitchen sink? The garage utility sink is less than 25 feet away. The yard is also there. Why not clean crap out there? Honestly, it did not even occur to her that shaking out dog sh*t over the kitchen sink was not a good idea, much less so when there was dinner preparation in progress....

Folks, if this is not so pathetic, it could almost be funny..... I tell myself, if the Three Stooges did this, I would laugh. LOL laugh. Maybe even LMAO laugh.

I also don't have the foggiest idea how to get a handle on her dog accumulating behavior. I feel like I am part of a slow motion train wreck in progress. What the heck am I going to do with 6 dogs and a wife who can't even take care of herself, much less these 6 animals???? Now, she is beginning to talk to these dogs, and these dogs talk back to her... just like how a little girl would talk to her dolls and she would mimic her dolls talking back to her? She would have whole conversations like this... all the time. Please tell me that this is not normal....

The only thing I am doing right now is to find as many activities away from home. If I have to stay home all day to deal with her right now, I will go batty myself.

Maybe if I go to bed now, there won't be any more "events".

Good night.

 
Old 04-29-2012, 06:57 PM   #21
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Gees! It is so unreal...

Usually if she really acts crazy, no lawyer or judge will listen to her so at this point you may not have to worry about her "accusations". But do get the POA and etc. so you have the power to help her out.

I don't know about talking to dogs...
The sink incident is actually kind of dementia related. The person with dementia may not wash or clean herself. She may not know what is clean and dirt. In fact, most patients are afraid of water and don't like to take showers like my FIL. At least they would not know they need to wash their hands when they are sick. (My FIL used to tell everyone to wash hands when he was normal.)
So it is possible that she lost the understanding about what is clean or dirty. It is like animal grooming now.... Hope she still takes a shower everyday by herself.

About the talking, this is kind of strange but it is not that far off with dementia. I don't know what is the cause here, but when my FIL got sicker with his speech, he could say "wawawawa" to me once or twice - he learned it from animal planet and the dog show. He didn't know how to express himself as he disliked my talking to the caregiver, so he said "wawawawawa".
Indeed the person with dementia would go down that path and seems to behave like an animal... Later it is worse than animal in the cogntion level.
I would not say they are like animals, but they are like a child in the body of an adult with a whole life experience. It is like double personality and it is weird.

All I can say is get her diagnosed ASAP. Also if you can, get rid of these dogs. One or two dogs are enough at this point given her sickness.
She is sick for sure.

Take care,
Nina

 
Old 04-29-2012, 07:22 PM   #22
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Sorry but I did laugh One things you have to keep is your sense of humor and sometimes you have to see the Laurel and Hardy slap stick of it all. I will keep you sane. But that will come....

It is all typical dementia behavior. Getting lose is typical. Irrational obsessions (6 dogs) is classic. That would also explain having two sided conversations with the dogs. Having no clue how to function acceptably is also common. Yes there was a yard and a utility sink, but the one you were at drew her attention so that is what she used. The inability to know how to fix a problem is a problem. The more you type the more I see Cognitive Impairment of some type.

Driving privileges... I have to say it! If she is getting lost she doesn't need to be driving. It's not the physical ability to drive that is the problem but the cognitive inabilities if something happens that will cause problems. Just like she didn't know which sink to use for the blanket contents, she will have no idea what to do if somebody runs or pulls out in font of her. Then she might well leave the scene of the accident not comprehending what is happening. We had to deal with Mom's "hit and run" but thankfully it was only a parked car. Which leads me to another point. Yes it is frustrating to deal with this behavior consistently but her being alone may become a bigger problem. You can clean up the blanket mess... but other things can be more problematic. It was my parents that refused to leave the house even through the smoke detector was blaring and the house was filled with smoke. The chard remains are still present from the computer battery back up that caught fire when one of them plugged the vacuum into it The inability to understand danger and react accordingly is a huge issue. Just a forewarning from somebody that has been there done that!! Don't want you to end up with an even dozen rescues

Hang in there and call the lawyer and the doctor tomorrow!!!

Love, deb

 
Old 04-30-2012, 05:03 AM   #23
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

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.......Also if you can, get rid of these dogs.
Okay. How?

I have been wrestling with this issue since Dog 4 came around. Around then, her two grown sons began to note that all their Mom wanted to talk about were her dogs. All conversations led back to her dogs, and she was beginning to interrupt conversations with non-sequitor comments about dogs.

These days, she would be talking about her dogs, and then she would start crying. Then I would find out that she was crying over a dog that some organization rescued that was severely mistreated. Then I would find out that the dog in question was a thousand miles away across the continent. Once, and I kid you not, she was crying over another dog ... get this... in Korea. Recently I was able to re-assume all control of our family finances. Just before that, I was trying to figure out why we were broke continually. Like, an entire month's budget would evaporate by the 15th of the month. Then I found hundreds of dollars of donations to rescue dogs from Pennsylvania and Korea, and California ...

On the other hand, her dogs have been a way she isolates herself, not only from society, but from me as well. She can"t even watch TV without having a pile of dogs on top and around her. And if I were to be sitting there, she would want to put a dog or two on top of me too. She doesn't seem to understand why I might not want to be on the bottom of a dog pile all the time. Moreover, her dogs are imposing a serious financial drain,not only in food but in vet care. Of course, they get the best of foods and vets.

Periodically, Lucy wants to have a dinner party, like the way we used to. She can't understand why I am unenthused to the idea. Lucy thinks my son is weird because he never has his friends over. Last Christmas, both her grown sons only spend 1 night at our place. Lucy was hurt by that, especially when she found out that both had plenty of time and chose to spend the remainder of the week at their father's house. She can't seem to understand that it is the dogs that we are unwilling to subject our guest to and her sons are unwilling to put up with.

Her dogs are a very serious issue for us. She is so attached to them, I fear that taking them away abruptly will lead to armageddon. I think at this point, it is hard to take something away without having something else to offer in its place. Am I right in this? I really need some input here. Of course there is the ultimate by calling SPCA, but this move is as drastic as it can get. I love dogs, and I certainly want to see these dogs find good homes. What to do? What to do?

 
Old 04-30-2012, 09:58 AM   #24
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

You are right. Taking all the dogs away is going to be traumatic to her. They have become her comfortable obsession that allows her to deal with the chaos that is in her mind. She relates to the dogs. The rest of you humans are weird while she and her dogs are ok. CLASSIC! The fact that money was disappearing to dog charities is not a surprise. She has no idea that she has done anything wrong by sending money to these dog charities. They need her help and she feels control and satisfaction in her ability to help. Yet you can not let this situation continue so the question is... what to do!? The problem is there is no good answer.

Your best solution is to deal with each dog and not try to get rid of them all at once. You are probably going to have to be a little deceptive as well. The idea of full disclosure and total honest is out the door as of now. If you can find a reason that one of the dogs needs to go to the vet then use it to your advantage. Take the dog yourself. Find a reason the dog needs to stay gone and then turn it over to somebody that will find it a good home. Let that settle down while controlling the intake of any other dog. Try to keep her away from information regarding neglected dogs. Block sights from the internet if she is on the computer. Control the money flow so she can not buy another rescue. Then you can do it again if necessary to get rid of another dog. But leave her with a few dogs because they are her comfort blanket.

My Mom's obsession was pine straw. 103 degrees at home and Mom is in the flower beds picking sticks and leaves out of the pine straw. She would fluff it up and put down hand fulls of new straw where needed. She did this for weeks!! It mattered not the weather. She sat out there in the blistering heat and the rain. I made sure she ate (sitting in the flower beds many days), had plenty of hydration, and would actually stand over her with an umbrella to shade her. This went on for frequently for 8 months!! Her other obsession was washing windows. Sometimes the 24 outside windows were washed twice a week. This involved ladders. I tried to to show her the leaves in the straw when window obsession struck!

When you get your diagnosis please talk to the neurologist about your wife's dog obsession. There is medication that will help! Medication that does not sedate but will take the edge off the anxiety that she is feeling which feeds the obsession. Yep, we are back to diagnosis

Love, deb

 
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:01 AM   #25
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Deb is right. One dog at a time. It is like remove the car. With tricks.
No kidding. It is not about being moral. It is about keeping her safe and caregiving.
One dog at a time. Come up with some trick and send the dog to the new owner or the vet. Hopefully she will forget how many dogs she has?!

It sounds good you got 3 children involved - her kids and your kid.
These boys need to be told about Mom's condition. So they understand she is sick with dementia. Understand that they may need to help her.

It is good you got hold of the finances. One day, you will take away her debit card, credit card and checks... Well it is not easy and she will hate it.

Did she do these dogs stuff some years ago? Or it just started after she got weird?
I hope she will cut down to 2 dogs or so.

Regards,
Nina

 
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:11 PM   #26
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

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Originally Posted by ninamarc View Post
Deb is right. One dog at a time. It is like remove the car. With tricks.
No kidding. It is not about being moral. It is about keeping her safe and caregiving.
One dog at a time. Come up with some trick and send the dog to the new owner or the vet. Hopefully she will forget how many dogs she has?!

It sounds good you got 3 children involved - her kids and your kid.
These boys need to be told about Mom's condition. So they understand she is sick with dementia. Understand that they may need to help her.

It is good you got hold of the finances. One day, you will take away her debit card, credit card and checks... Well it is not easy and she will hate it.

Did she do these dogs stuff some years ago? Or it just started after she got weird?
I hope she will cut down to 2 dogs or so.
I can't thank you two enough, Deb and Nina. In the past couple of weeks, I have searched the internet forums and support groups. There is much about care of dementia, but there is absolutely nothing about the first uncertain steps leading up to identification of dementia. No doubt you have all gone through these initial steps. This is the stage I am finding myself. I strongly suspect something is wrong, but I cannot get her to see someone. What does it take to get diagnosed, how do I stem the damage until there is a diagnosis and I can take charge? Then there is the matter of her diabetes. She is a Type I, and I am having increasing concern about how she is handling this condition. That's another very long story.

Right now, Lucy's cognition in this regard is very good. She remembers all her dogs and this is not yet the time for trickery. Just last night, she went through a panic convinced that I left one of the dogs outside. If you are to meet her, you will come away with the impression that she is a charming, talkative, friendly, albeit a little whacky dog lady. And you will be regaled with stories of her dogs and her kids when they were young.

The 2 grown boys, 29 and 25, are hers. Both live very far away. My boy is 17; he lives with us. All are very fine young men, and they do us proud! Eldest is a film producer, middle is IT consultant. The youngest is eyeing MIT and Stanford as his university choices. The Eldest has a lot of caretaker in him, and he is most on top of the game in understanding what might be happening. The 17 y.o. has gone through a lot, experienced the trials and tribulations of an alcoholic mother, but he is surprisingly resilient. He and I are very close, and he trusts my judgement. The middle son is the one I worry about. He needed that extra push to leave the nest, and right now he is plain angry that his mother won't listen to logic. We will need to be gentle on him.

I have placed calls to her primary physician and to my attorney. I am awaiting their call back. I will start assembling a list of Lucy's contacts with the dog rescues so that I have a way to disperse the dogs to good homes when the time is right.

 
Old 04-30-2012, 12:31 PM   #27
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Is it possible that you can talk to Lucy about her dogs since she is still pretty good at that? Her motive is that these dogs need a home. Maybe you can sort of tell her your trouble with these dogs at home and suggest that there are good people who can take the dogs. Give her the choice of what dogs she like to keep.
You sure she still knows how many she has? It is surely a hard issue!
I know that there are some social workers who can come to take away the dogs if someone hoards too many and etc., but this would only upset her.
If she is really still good at it, maybe you can get an interested potential pet owner to come to the house and beg for a pet?

If the second son is impatient, then you can just explain to him that given dementia, she won't give in so he does not need to be angry at her logic.
Be patient with her and etc.

You may want to ask the family physician first about getting someone to test her memory. Don't talk to him in front of her. Explain to him the issues on the phone. Sometimes a doctor or a friend can persuade her to do the test.
They don't have to say it is because of her problem, but just mention that it is good for her. Once she starts with the MRI and etc., it is a start.
My FIL was different - he managed to ask for the memory test himself and didn't renew his driver's license after he got lost that April in 2006. (He was a physician in his home country and he studied brain as a professor.)

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 04-30-2012 at 12:33 PM.

 
Old 04-30-2012, 01:08 PM   #28
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

I think I can get her to part with 1 or 2 of her dogs if I can find a really interested owner to come beg. However, this will give her an opportunity to replace them. In fact, the reason we only have 6 is because I got her to give away a few. Somehow I have to get the names of her "pusher"s" and cut the supply, so to speak.... Lucy may be fuzzy on a lot of things, but she is sharp as a tack when it comes to her dogs. As I mentioned, she acquired her first dog shortly loosing her job during the IT .com downturn. We all thought it was great idea to keep her company. Then she got Dog 2. Then Dog 3. These were not fosters. She went out and bought them, at a couple of thou each. (yeah.. ouch). That was when I starting saying, hold on there!. She swore that would be the end. But before you know it, I would come home to have another dog in the house. And then another, and another. She never went back to work after that, and has not been remotely interesting in getting out and getting a job for the past 5 years. I am sure there was an element of depression in there, at least in the beginning. Now, with the memory lapses and weird behavior, it is much more than that. The last string of dogs had been fosters, since I absolutely refused to pay for another dog. But she ended up adopting them behind my back. As I said, I managed to convince her to give a few away, but they were soon replaced by others. Nowadays, she sits at home in front of her laptop all day interacting with various dog rescue people and other doggie-whackos who see nothing unusual in having 6, 10 or more dogs in a house. Lucy was diagnosed with colon cancer a year and a half ago. Thankfully we caught it early, and the colon surgery and chemotherapy was a complete success. Lucy's cognition took a huge step downward subsequent to this event, and I had attributed to the infamous "chemo brain". She has been off chemo for a year now. Her coordination and other neuropathy issues have subsided, but the cognition part remained. Last year she went through a 6 month phase where she was terminating friendships right and left, burning bridges. There was a lot of anger in her. Then around the last Christmas time, thankfully she became less angry and judgmental. Now, Year 2012, she is much more subdued but the reasoning and memory department took another big step downward. I took over handling all money recently, and she seemed genuinely relieved at that. We give her a discretionary sum each money, in a separate debit account. Still she has trouble keeping track of that sum, over drafting that account repeatedly. She retained a few credit cards from before we married. I am pretty sure she has those babies charged up close to maxed. Since she is refusing to acknowledge that she has those debts (I know better), I told her that I am refusing to pay them and let them stay maxed out. I am paying the interest but can sleep easier knowing that she can't run up thousands more behind my back.

Which brings us up to today, and this is where we are.

 
Old 04-30-2012, 02:31 PM   #29
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

I guess the chemo probably hurt her brain a little bit but this needs to be checked with the oncologist to see what they feel about it. Not all chemo causes dementia. I had chemo in 2000 and I feel OK now. Maybe she had dementia already. Indeed any trauma like the chemo may make the dementia worse. Probably she was afraid of death with cancer. I was touched with it and certainly that changed my certain thoughts and ideas.
Definitely I changed my diet!

Do discuss these things with the doctor. She needs some med to deal with this. Maybe there is some imbalance or some cognition level issue... There are many types of dementia, so do get the diagnosis.

Nina

 
Old 04-30-2012, 04:46 PM   #30
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Re: Some insight and opinion needed, please

Dear Luau,

Wow! What a long strange trip it's been, eh?

I don't need to tell you that Lucy's health issues need to be addressed first--with her medical history, so many things need to be ruled out. Call her primary care physician before the appointment and tell him/her everything you've told us. Say you are concerned about how well she's managing her diabetes and he/she can do a hemoglobin A1C test or refer her to an endocrinologist. Other than that, I'd start with a referral to a neurologist and go from there.

Getting a diagnosis is not always straightforward--sometimes it's a matter of ruling everything else out first. Hang in there and keep at it. You may have to come up with some creative ways to get her to the appointments: Your life insurance company requires a physical, new health care laws demand it, whatever. If she's one of those people who takes forever to get ready, tell her the appointment is at 10:30 when it's really scheduled for 11:30.

Since Lucy is sharp as a tack when it comes to the dogs, you can't fudge the facts there. I do know our county has a law that you cannot have more than 3 dogs unless you apply for a kennel license. Also, if they receive any complaints from the neighbors they can come and take your dogs away. Check with the local animal shelter and find out what the laws are in your area. Maybe you can use that information to convince her not to replace the removed dogs with new ones.

Hang in there and keep typing!

Hugs, Kren

 
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