Beginning's DH has passed peacefully.
Just wanted to let my friends from this Board know that our family's long visit to the world of early onset Alzheimers' ended peacefully yesterday, after a very brief illness in the NH.
A week ago DH was still in his Brodi chair, eating 100%, and interacting (although only rarely speaking understandable words). He had an unexplained 10 lb+ weight loss last month that we were monitoring, despite eating well. We had started year 4 in the nursing home and saw no reason why we wouldn't be entering year 5.
He started having a fever that would spike over 104 (once almost hit 105). Fever control mechanisms were put into place, but he had quidkly become nonresponsive. Comfort measures were used, and we stayed with him for the 4 days until he quietly just stopped breathing.
The NH staff was wonderful. Everyone tried to help, from the Nursing Supervisor, Social Worker, and even the janitor. They moved furniture into his room so we could sleep there, and delivered trolleys with drinks and foods so we wouldn't have to leave. The hospice staff visited frequently. Our youngest kid obtained a radio from the staff, and we played an oldies rock station throughout. Initially, the music was in the background as comfort for DH because he really loved this music. It turned out to be comfort for us, as we recalled him dancing in the kitchen, singing in the car, etc. We discovered that we had happy memories associated with DH and every song!
While we will always miss him and wish we had been able to have a future together, our family is not sad that DH has passed. We are celebrating the wonderful man he was, and that we had him in our lives as long as we did.
Thank you to everyone here who helped us from the first shocking diagnosis at the beginning (hence my screen name "Beginning"), when his MMSE scores were still almost normal. We hoped the doctors were wrong, expecially since we had no family history with this disease. The forum was a great source of information and help as he had to stop driving, stopped working, and we tried to help our kids adjust to our new situation.
The forum then helped us when he reached the point where we couldn't leave him alone in the house anymore, and through finding a day-care center and an aide to help sometimes in our house. I got help from wonderful posters in the forum when the day care center said they couldn't keep him anymore, and we had to admit him to a nursing home. The forum supported us in the early stages of the nursing home experience, when we were struggling with the adjustment.
Over the years, there have been extraordinary posters who have helped our family. I have rejoiced with them when they report that they are finally able to move on with their lives and leave the forum behind. I've been here so long that I've see that the cycle turn over several times. There are always new posters seeking a resource for information and support, and people whose loved ones are in more advanced stages who have loving open hearts and are willing to share their experiences. Eventually they, too, move forward and others take their turn to offer strength.
It is our family's turn now to try to rediscover a life without Alzheimers (although we will obviously continue with our volunteering and fundraising activities). Thank you again to everyone, both the current wonderful group of posters and the memory of those wonderful people who were here for us 11-12 years ago or have left during that period. You all make a huge difference.
Last edited by Beginning; 02-20-2013 at 03:56 AM.