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Old 05-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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What recourse do I have left?

My wife Lucy. Still undiagnosed. Only 52. If you are a mere acquaintance and you run into her, you think she is an ultra-friendly, albeit ultra-talkative and a little batty dog lady.

The fog seemed to have lifted significantly towards the middle of the week. Son was away on a sporting event, and I was really hoping for a pleasant relaxing weekend. Sunny skies, clear nights, and minimal fog. Not so. Before I knew it, twilight zone, with a vengence.

There was a neighborhood restaurant that over the years Lucy has repeated commented we should go. On Saturday, being alone just the 2 of us, I suggested that we try it. She was in great mood. We walked in, and instantly I knew that the atmosphere did not agree with her. She commented how cheap the furniture was, etc. I tried to distract her with some positives, reminding her that it was only a neighborhood casual restaurant. Menu came, and she decided to select the most expensive item on the menu... something Greek lamb chops with scallops. I tried to caution her... the place may be more capable of serving a good spaghetti and meatballs, not greek lamb chops with scallops. She ordered it anyway. Was greatly disappointed and let me know so. After we left, she made a huge stink in the car, saying how dare I thought I could take her to a dump like that, etc etc. Then the thing escalated when she recalled a similar event over 7 years ago when we walked into what looked like a nice restaurant, but actually not. After about an hour of choice names and how I never respected women, especially my own wife, she calmed down. Thankfully, because I was really reaching the end of my ropes. I thought the storm has passed. Not so. This morning I was outside mowing the lawn. As per what I have done every weekend for the past 10 years, I told her I was mowing the lawn. As per what i have done for 10 years, I opened the garage door, took out the mower and started. She opened the door half way through. All her dogs run out and loose all over the neighborhood. We did finally got them all back. Now she tells me I was trying to kill her dogs, and how stupid it was to have the garage door open when I was outside. Obviously reminding her that I have done this every weekend for 10 years only made her more angry. So now she locked herself in her office suite with all her dogs. She would not let any of her dogs near the "dog killer". There is more, but you get the picture.

I am at a total loss at what to do at this juncture. I could get the doc to prescribe sedative, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, etc. I do not think she will take them. On the other hand, if she maintains this level of aggressive anger towards me, I am not sure how long i can hang in like this. Surely, I have no control over her or her actions. The problem is that I think her aggressive anger is becoming more severe and increasingly more focused over me. Oh.. one odd bit... you guys know that Siri artificial intelligence voice that Appe's iPhone has? Well I was using Siri to make some reminders over breakfast, before her dog outburst. She got very agitated and sarcastic. I think she is even jealous of Siri. This is getting to a point where I am wondering if I can even care for her.

 
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

As often as she is up and down, manic and depressed, seh does need medication to level the moods. For her emotional well being as well as your. If you are on the edge just imagine how high strung she is. No, you can not depend on her to take the medication but will need to personally be sure she takes them, even if you have to add them to her food. Some do come in liquid form or patches or can be crushed. When Mom was out of whack and refused, it was a Xanax laced piece of Dove chocolate that did the trick.

Irrational judgement is typical. The inability to know how to react to a situation is common. Making a decision which is irrational and then complaining about the outcome happens a lot. Confusion and short term memory creates chaos in her mind and she responds. It could have been a perfect restaurant but it was unfamiliar and she was unable to deal with the unfamiliar... so you got the backlash. Next time grill a steak at home Familiarity gives her a sense of control that will make your life easier. Where as we enjoy something new and different... those with dementia just can't deal with the new and different.

Yes, you have done the same thing for 10 years and you told her you were doing it again. Did she remember what you told her? Probably not Did she have any idea what day it was when she opened the door to the garage and the dogs all ran out? Probably not. Did she know you were outside with the garage door open? Probably not. So when the dog ran out it was all your fault because she had no clue. She was not guilty because she honestly had no idea. If she is locked in her study... enjoy the peace and quiet!!

Doctor Doctor Doctor... you need to talk to him ASAP. Yep you need a diagnosis and medication because you are the one that needs the medication!! Once you know what is going on then you will have a better idea what you can do to make it better. But until a diagnosis you do need to talk to the doctor about something to calm her down.

Love, deb

 
Old 05-20-2012, 06:18 PM   #3
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

You are so right, Deb. The thought did occur to me that she did not react well to a strange restaurant. I guess I am not into the D mindset yet. She did say, as recently as a week ago that she wanted to try. Then earlier in the day she said let's try somewhere we never been.

The dog thing is just plain strange. There is no way I can anticipate where and when wires will cross.

... And good grief... She just walked out and gave me another shot. Incredible. She **IS** jealous of the female artificial voice on my phone!!!

As for medication, right now I am having a double scotch.

Last edited by Luau; 05-20-2012 at 06:32 PM.

 
Old 05-20-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

No, there is no way you can anticipate when the wires will cross... and sometimes you don't have to do a thing. Her mind will dig up some old incident and lock on it. Then you are in trouble and have no clue what you did. My best with the dog thing is just what I said. She had no clue what the day was and where you were. In the moment she needed to go in the garage and out when the dogs. I bet next weekend you close the garage door

Remember what I said about not being able to determine between real and TV/radio/movies/fantasy... even Siri! It's a female voice and it is with you. So many times you can look back and guess what might have triggered but in the moment it's almost impossible because you never know where the brain will take her.

Hopefully she will go to bed or back to pout in her office... and you can finish your scotch in peace

Love, deb

 
Old 05-21-2012, 04:05 AM   #5
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Thank you for your uplifting words. You know? I really don't know how you care givers can hold up this well, year after long years. I really don't know if I have the strength... I suppose this post is probably more about me than Lucy. I feel so completely alone, trying to keep everything afloat. When one's spouse has alienated anyone and everyone, when you are the only one left, and she spends increasing percentage of her awake hours blaming her world's problems on you... the insults, the accusations, the yelling, the slurs. Like we all know, there are nice congenial drunks and then there are the angry, aggressive drunks. Lucy happens to lie firmly with the latter group. I understand intellectually the part about needing to realize that it is the malfunction brain, not the real Lucy. Yet, sometimes the incidents come so hot and heavy, and frequent, I do not have time to recover before the next onslaught. Last evening, the night of the big "dog escape" misadventure, and the day after the "bad restaurant" debacle, she wanted to build a fire and sit outside on our backyard patio and have a romantic time. You know, I was still so p*ssed that I had trouble looking at her, much less spend time with her .. (yeah.. I know, I should not be feeling that way. But I was.) I went outside anyways and build the fire. Then it started again... sarcastic harping about this or that, including my "girlfriend Siri". The biggest problem I am have is that I can't get away from this. I can't simply pass her onto someone else for a while. There is no one else. I also wish that I have someone I could retreat to, and talk to about Lucy. Where is that someone who can even just say, "what have we done to deserve this..". I am alone. All my colleagues, casual acquaintance and friends think she is absolutely great. A little batty, but great. Long gone are the times when she would express (or even realize) an appreciation for something I did, even if it is just making a extra nice dinner. Now, good dinners are expected, but I only hear about it if it is unacceptable. Food magically appears in the refrigerator except when she finds we are out of something. Spend a whole day working in the yard only to have her complain that a particular patch was not yet weeded. I now resent it when she insists on coming to son's school or sporting events, only to have her brag and taking all the credit about how well he is doing. Heck, I am the one who drove him everywhere, consoled him when he was down, kicked him in the pants when he needed a kick, and I am the one he turns to when he is troubled, or in need of anything. I really don't see how you caregivers can do this, year after long year. I am completely worn out. Though I know I am doing this because of my sense of obligation to my marriage, I am having a hard time feeling the love I am suppose to have for her. The partner I used to turn to for relaxation, comfort, fun, and insight is now a stranger, a stranger that is liable to turn on me without notice.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 07:40 AM   #6
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Luau, I am so sorry you are having to go through this and your post goes straight to the heart of what so many of us feel. Even when we know all the right answers.. we are human. Even when we know it is because of the disease we still have that lingering emotional upheaval that each incident leaves behind. We look at the outer shell of the person we wish was still there and just hope that the new monster created by the disease does not emerge. When it happens we are looking at the person we are supposed to love as they rip into us. Then they flip on a dime and go back to sweetness as if nothing happened and we are the only one left with the emotional baggage. They are off to the next episode that will tear us down just a little bit more. If we let it, it will bring us to our knees.

You are only human with emotions and feelings. You are going to get down. You are going to get angry. You are going to get frustrated. These emotions are going to happen. I have yet to find a way to prevent it from happening because you are dealing with the irrational. You are going to have to take care of your own emotional well being because Lucy can't help you with that.

A few suggestions from my journey. First is find somebody or somewhere that you can freely express all the emotions that are swirling around you. You are here and that helps. When you share the emotions it does help. You also need to find a local support group. You can find meeting dates of the Alzheimer's Association support groups on their web site. There will be others there you that will understand. It's a great resource to find support and resources in your area. You will find out that you are not alone in the emotional roller coaster and that does seem to help. Online is good but somebody looking at you over a cup of coffee and truly understanding with a big hug is even better

You also need to know that you are not responsible for taking care of Lucy and putting up with her antics yourself. In this disease, your responsibility is to make sure that Lucy is cared for. There is a huge difference. If you are not able to do it all yourself, you can find other resources. Sometimes knowing what you can and cannot do is most important. You also have a son and a job to consider. Unless you are super human there is no way you can care for Lucy 24/7/365 yourself and still take care of a son, and maintain your job. Those other resources will become clear when you know for sure what you are dealing with. (that is why I keep coming back to diagnosis) Now you are in a state of limbo. You suspect but you are not sure. You want an explanation but yet you don't want the one that is coming. As much as you don't want verification, you need to more than anything else.

I can also tell you, sad but true, that it become easier with time.... and practice. "Expectations are resentments waiting to happen." In this disease, this is such a true statement. Even with a diagnosis we still have a level of expectation of how a person should act and/or treat us. It is the expectation that drives us to anger, resentment, and frustration. As time goes on we learn more about this disease and what it does to the brain. We begin to understand the just how completely our loved ones are under the control of this disease and the fact that they truly can do not different. They are doing the best they can. In time our expectation level alters to fit the situation. You are still surprised when Lucy lashes out at out. You expect that Lucy you want to be there. I heard that being said all through your post. In time you begin to expect what you get. There was a time when I was actually surprised if Mom didn't bash on me! That tilts the emotional scales. The good days are much better and the bad days are expected rather than the good days being expected and the bad days devastating. Yes, I still get blindsided from time to time but with the shift in expectations it is easier to deal with. (Insert her the diagnosis because knowledge is power and helps alter the expectation level).

Until then you are doing what you can. You are looking for help. I give you kudos for being hear expressing the conflicting emotions and feelings. That is not an easy thing to do. Just saying you are not sure you can do this is a huge step. You need help and you know it. That's the first step. Now you have to go after that help. Until that can be accomplished you are here and know those of us here do get it. There will be ups and downs. Right now there are more downs than ups and you need to turn that around.... Hang in there

Love, deb

 
Old 05-21-2012, 07:59 AM   #7
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

You know more and more this does not sound like dementia or alzeimers so much as maybe bi-polar or some other serious mental situation.

If you cannot get her to the doctor then I suggest consulting an attorney to see what your legal and financial obligations will be if you leave.

Have you contacted the local mental health association for advice?

Also, you might get a different set of suggestions if you post on a board more related to other mental illness such as bipolar disorder. There are some at forum.psychlinks.ca.

To me it sounds like this is not just an early onset type thing but maybe something else.

Last edited by Suzy0513; 05-21-2012 at 08:01 AM.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 08:20 AM   #8
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Suzy - I was beginning to suspect the same thing. Luau, go see her doctor - on your own, without her and tell him/her what all has been going on. I had to do that with my mother when she was abusing prescription meds - again! Form a game plan with the doctor about how to go about getting a dx. Venting to us is great. But it doesn't move the situation forward for her.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 08:25 AM   #9
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

I would not rule out the dementia. The brain changes caused by dementia can be manifested in behaviors that fit the definition of serious mental illnesses but the root cause is the dementia. That is why they are treated with the same medications. Medications used for schizophrenia, bi polar, manic depression, hysteria, and other mental illnesses are the medications used to treat emotional and behavioral problems in dementia. That is why diagnosis is so critical. The subtle differences between the two needs a diagnosis

Love, deb

 
Old 05-21-2012, 11:14 AM   #10
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

You are all correct. A thorough neuro-psych eval is an absolute necessity. The sooner the better. Clearly something it not right, dementia or mental or something else.

I also agree regarding AD. The more I learn about early onset, the less well it fits. If dementia, her presentation is more consistent with Picks FTD. It may be just mental illness, like bi-polar. In fact, until about half a year ago, mental issue was what was going through our minds.

However, on this board I stopped talking about her memory lapses or her loss of ability to balance a checkbook. Or the "dazed" look I see on her face sometimes. So it still could be manic depressive, but it fits less well than early onset AD based on the sum of what we are seeing. The reason I am focusing on the behavioral aggressiveness at this juncture is because it more immediately impacts on my ability to care for her. I hope I am making myself clear.

Just to give you all a brief time-line.

- 6- 7 years ago: first troubling personality changes became noticeable. Gradually became more extreme.

- 4 years ago: became increasingly reclusive. Began an obsession with dogs. Began spending 24/7 at home in her "home office". Strange verbal outbursts became more frequent, once or twice a year to about once a month or so.

- 2 years ago: began shedding friends. Began extremely judgmental. Increasing issues with blacking out, mainly attributed to hypoglycemia. Social inappropriateness became much more evident, to a point family (including myself) began discussing how to address problem. Social inappropriateness include insulting people, getting angry at people, saying the wrong things, etc.

- 1 year ago: memory issues popped up. Began with asking the same question 4, 5 times. Not remember simple things that has been said. Most evident in keeping appointments.

- 6 months ago: began accusing people of having done fictitious things, sometimes dating back decades. Reinventing history. Ability to handle money is completely gone. Behaviorally became much more polarized. Intolerant. Intelligent conversations ceased. It was close to impossible to say anything without her finding it an insult. Started to have trouble understanding more abstract conversations, or the use of abstract descriptions or more complex relationships.

- this year, last 4 months, or about when I started coming to this forum looking for help: memory issues became very evident. Forget people, faces, and events that she should definitely remember. Remembering events out of context or huge distortions. Forgetting movies she has watched recently or old time favorites. Began hunting for words in talking.

- last month: began increasingly more aggressively angry. Hard to control. Mood flip flops from morning to afternoon to evening. Verbal outbursts became frequent, almost daily. Screeches at top of her lungs at her dogs instead of talking to them, like she usually did.

Last edited by Luau; 05-21-2012 at 11:54 AM.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 11:39 AM   #11
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

I think in this case it really is going "to take a village" and even a village might not accomplish it easily. It is impossible for one individual person (Luau) acting alone to get it all done. That is why I keep harping on involving the larger resources.

If this is early onset that is hard enough, but if it is something else it can be even harder because with the dementia stuff the capacity eventually declines but with some other mental problems, it does not and it becomes very hard or impossible to 'control' the person. Look at the recent celebrity named Charlie and his very public meltdown to get an idea how hard this type of thing can be to contain.

It is very hard for everyone when someone, as my aunt's psychiatrist put is "goes crazy." She says it not to be disrespectful but to put it in layman's terms. If they are still deemed mentally competent then sometimes there is nothing you can do but walk away.

Calling the doctor is good, but if I were Luau I would just go straight to a psychiatrist, preferably one that handled bipolar disorder and to the local mental health organizations and hospitals. These groups are often equipped with support for when someone calls and says "Help! I think this person is having a severe mental problem and I don't know what to do." I would make my desperation and my need for help clear, I would not hide it from them.

I would also go to the lawyer and say, my wife is having some kind of mental breakdown. I am at a loss. Legally what MUST I do, what CAN I do and what should I NOT do? This way he is protecting himself (and her too) if things get even crazier.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
Suzy - I was beginning to suspect the same thing. Luau, go see her doctor - on your own, without her and tell him/her what all has been going on. I had to do that with my mother when she was abusing prescription meds - again! Form a game plan with the doctor about how to go about getting a dx. Venting to us is great. But it doesn't move the situation forward for her.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 12:01 PM   #12
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzy0513 View Post
It is very hard for everyone when someone, as my aunt's psychiatrist put is "goes crazy." She says it not to be disrespectful but to put it in layman's terms. If they are still deemed mentally competent then sometimes there is nothing you can do but walk away.

Calling the doctor is good, but if I were Luau I would just go straight to a psychiatrist, preferably one that handled bipolar disorder and to the local mental health organizations and hospitals. These groups are often equipped with support for when someone calls and says "Help! I think this person is having a severe mental problem and I don't know what to do." I would make my desperation and my need for help clear, I would not hide it from them.

I would also go to the lawyer and say, my wife is having some kind of mental breakdown. I am at a loss. Legally what MUST I do, what CAN I do and what should I NOT do? This way he is protecting himself (and her too) if things get even crazier.
Suzy, I hear you. Believe me, I thought exactly the same myself, especially last night. However, she is my wife; she has given me some very very good years. I owe it to her to get to the bottom of it. Yes, the lawyer has been contacted. I just need to get her into the medical system for a full neuro psych. Believe me, at one point yesterday she was so out of control I was close to calling 911.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 12:06 PM   #13
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

That may not be altogether a bad idea at some point. She can be held - in most places - for 72 hours for an eval. But that would be last resort. Call her doctor and get this moving forward - for her sake as well as yours. How would you feel if you contined to suffer this and then found out several months later that it was all a benign brain something that a pill or surgery would correct immediately? Don't put it off any longer. Call and make an appointment.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 12:11 PM   #14
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou View Post
That may not be altogether a bad idea at some point. She can be held - in most places - for 72 hours for an eval. But that would be last resort. Call her doctor and get this moving forward - for her sake as well as yours. How would you feel if you contined to suffer this and then found out several months later that it was all a benign brain something that a pill or surgery would correct immediately? Don't put it off any longer. Call and make an appointment.
It's not being put off. Trouble has always been convincing her to go in. She has an "routine" appointment on first week of june. Her doc and I already had a long conversation. She will be given an MMSE plus she must comply with MRI (she already canceled the two previous appts with the neuro guy and MRI) or else they will report her to Motor Vehicles and have her driving license suspended.

I am just trying to survive these next couple of weeks.

 
Old 05-21-2012, 12:43 PM   #15
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Re: What recourse do I have left?

Perhaps you could get on the list for a cancelation and get in earlier? And I'm certainly not trying to give you short shrift. I understand how difficult it can be to "hang in." I had to do it to get my mother of prescription drugs - she was 78 years old and doing 3 valium and a halcion a day! When she couldn't deal with the withdrawal (wouldn't go the doctor to get help - just went cold turkey) or couldn't sleep - she called me and vented. If she couldn't sleep, then I shouldn't since it was all my fault. So neither of us got any sleep for 3 months!

Last edited by Titchou; 05-21-2012 at 01:05 PM.

 
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