December: Monthly Update

Thanksgiving has come and gone. December is almost over as well. This is our second winter since the diagnosis and I was thinking over the past year and comparing our present with the past.

Dennis is thinner, less physically active and a bit more dependent, but not drastically changed. I think I notice Parkinsonian symptoms increasing faster than anything else. His hand trembles almost all the time when he isn’t holding something or doing some motion. His face is rather mask-like and his voice is soft, monotone and often hard to distinguish. He always shuffles now, especially outside when he’s trying not to slip on snow or ice, but also in the house. And he is sooo sloooow.

Since the hospitalization last month he has not had any trouble with thrombosis – but, of course, he is on an anticoagulant. The doctor says he may have to stay on it indefinitely. He has had continuing trouble with his blood pressure being high and we are still working on getting that stabilized.

He has been much more content to stay at home by himself. He watches a lot of TV, talks on the phone to anyone who answers his calls, and does a lot of thinking (and a few naps). Yesterday I was even able to leave him at home while I took Mom to the doctor for outpatient surgery. He found his own breakfast and lunch without having to call me, which is an accomplishment for him.

One thing we have added is a membership in the senior fitness program at the hospital. He uses the stationery bike when we are there, usually for 39 minutes and then he is done. I have to instigate our trips there and I intended to be faithful at that but no, haven’t done so well.

December is his birthday month. In fact, his day is the day after Christmas, which means he’s always felt a little anticlimactic. It’s a good thing he doesn’t have expectations of grandeur. We usually have to remind him that it’s his birthday. This year both daughters are coming to celebrate with us. They have been faithful visitors since the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. He will not have a hard time enjoying them since he is still quite good cognitively. I got him a couple of things too, but I cannot say what they are because I want them to be a surprise.

The thing that disturbs me most lately is that I feel emotionally distanced from him. I don’t know if it’s my problem or his, or a combination. Some days I spend time reading to him and that seems good, or I take him to exercise and to lunch, also good. But a lot of days I would rather spend my time elsewhere. His interests and topics of conversation are very limited and not very interesting to me. I feel like he talks at me, not with me. Once he starts it’s hard to get him to stop and I often just walk away without him seeming to notice at all. He just keeps talking. I seldom want to watch TV with him. I’m thankful I have a room to retreat to, where I can read or talk on the phone or watch a movie. I know I’m neglecting his social wellbeing, but I am not sorry enough to do something about it.

I have asked him to think about what he wants to do for our anniversary in mid-January. He isn’t saying much.


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