For the last two and a half years since diagnosis, changes have been gradual. Most of them have been physical and of a parkinsonian nature. The shuffling, tremor that started in the right hand and now affects both, sometimes a tremor in the legs, incredible slowness of movement, a blank facial expression – all those symptoms have been the most noticed. Even with these things, Dennis has been mostly independent. He moves himself from one place to the other, gets to the bathroom without help, puts himself to bed, gets a snack when he wants one, and makes decisions to go to church or the chiropractor or to visit Mom or my brother.
Cognitively, he is able to think and remember fairly well. He brightens up when talking with friends on the phone and carries on a meaningful conversation, although slowly. Sometimes he snaps into his scientific mind and amazes people. He has become focused on a few subjects, which he follows by listening to YouTube podcasts on his phone. He has a list of prophets that provide daily updates and he often listens to the same one several times.
He doesn’t spend as much time researching his own disease, although he runs across something every now and then. He is more centered on the supernatural, hoping for a better chance with God than he has noticed with medicine. The most recent therapy which he is still receiving is applied kinesiology which includes chiropractic, muscle testing, light therapy, nerve stimulation, cranial-sacral therapy, and tapping, all from the same practitioner who also prays with him.
He was alone at home for one week in April while I took Mom to Florida for a memorial and family visit. He had my brother and Lurae, a neighbor, looking in on him and providing meals. He seemed to be fine with that. My brother remarked that he perhaps did things better than he does when he’s being waited on all the time.
But I think I notice, following that week, a tendency to sleep more during the day, and not as well at night. It looks a lot like depression, and why would it not? There is so little he feels he can do except listen to his phone. That gets tiring so he goes and takes a nap.
Last night he could not tell what the food on his plate was. He was trying to cut it up as if it was chicken, but to his surprise it was salmon. He had a lot of trouble getting food on his fork and reverted to using his fingers to eat the fish and green beans, which is okay with me, but messy. He took a spoonful of cranberry relish and thought he was putting it on his plate but no, he was purposely putting it on a napkin that he thought was his plate. I think the whole mealtime experience devastated him. When I asked if he was having more trouble with his eyes he said yes, and that he thought it was probably his brain rather than his macular degeneration getting worse. He was very resigned and quiet about it.
My question is, are we heading into a period of more noticeable changes that are taking away vital functions? I hope he will still be able to travel to our daughter’s wedding in July. He was so looking forward to that.