The Dog

Our story in this season of sickness…

As his imaginary world becomes more entrenched the husband is always asking me where his dog is. He mentions this dog at least once a day, and this morning it wasn’t just a curious inquiry, it was a need.

It was early in the morning and he was being moved and cared for, but it was upsetting to him. The words were quite clear. “I need my dog.” It was repeated with conviction. “Where is he?”

I have gone the route of explaining that we don’t have a dog, but that he has seen a dog in his mind and that’s okay. That doesn’t seem to help lately, so I have begun telling him that the dog is probably outside since it is not in the house. People take their dogs out in the morning – they have to pee. His dog does too. He wants to know if I can see him and I say no. I tell him not to worry because he has told me himself that the dog is very smart.

Eventually he will ask for the cat. I can produce a cat. He will hold Shadow on his lap and feel her and this morning he settled down. I am grateful that she does cozy up to him and sit on his lap quite often. She is little and black, like “the dog”.

The cat will have to do.

My theory has the dog being important for several reasons. The husband needs unconditional love at a time when he knows he is unable to give back. It also comforts him to feel responsible for a creature, to still have purpose. Lastly, I don’t know, maybe he always wanted a dog when he was young and never had one. He has always enjoyed some things about the dogs we have had in our years together, but he didn’t have the need that he does now.

His condition continues to decline. I feel there is less engagement overall. There is more confusion, more resignation. One morning last week I asked him if he was okay as I often do when he’s had a coughing spell or seems upset. “Not really.’ he said. He also has started asking me “Am I confused?” These are new admissions for him.

Lest you think that he does a lot of talking, I am recording here most of the significant conversations, and there aren’t many of them. He doesn’t usually talk when we are working with him. His eyes are closed much of the time. He unfailingly produces a smile when asked. Every now and then something will make him laugh. This morning when I told him the dog was outside “taking a leak”, as he calls it, he laughed and said “We’re doing the same thing together.”

They were, and that’s okay.


Such a Hard Thing

Such a Hard Thing


If it were not for hugs, I would not know what to do to preserve the relationship between my husband and myself. Sometimes it is all we can do. We have to quit talking and hug.

We often hit an impasse when he attributes his symptoms to something other than Lewy Body and I remind him that LBD is the most likely cause of most all his symptoms. “That’s just a name. Nobody really knows what it is, what causes it”, he will tell me. Whereas he is onto something big that may prevent LBD and other dementias. It’s something that God wants him to pursue, record and publish.

He wavers. Every now and then he wonders if he has heard correctly what God is saying to him. He will even think that LBD is something God is using to get his attention and correct him in his ways. He will get very introspective and cry. He might even conclude that God wants him to quit trying to convince others and trust instead. But he cannot quit thinking, researching, striving, so the next time fear or anxiety strikes he is right back in the game. There is always a new plan to present to me first, then to whomever he can get to listen and perhaps act.

One morning after requesting a serious talk, he told me that he would never hold it against me, or others, for not understanding. It was his fault for not being able to explain it well enough. I told him it was not a matter of understanding, it was a matter of believing. To him, his theories are facts that others should be able to understand. To others, his theories are just that, theories. And they are not the most likely explanation for what is happening to him.

He often suspects that I have been leading people to view him as unreliable in his ability to think and reason. I get requests to not do this, and especially to “change my song” when talking to him. He gets frustrated with me but is not angry, just obsessed and persistent. For that I am thankful.

He is seeing his illness as a very spiritual experience. He hears God speaking through it, and I agree that some of the things he hears are right on target. He has changed his mind on some important issues. But after he feels he has gotten the lesson and accepted God’s correction, he then looks for physical healing and wonders why God is withholding it. Then doubt, guilt, depression and self pity come rushing back in. He is more in touch with his feelings than ever before in his life. He cries nearly every day.

He is not crazy. He talks knowledgeably about many things. It’s his conclusions and his obsessions that make people question him, and they would do that even if I told them nothing.



So tired.

Last week we went to church and sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.  As he began to talk to us, the pastor wanted three people to tell of God’s faithfulness in their lives. I always jump up at this kind of invitation. It’s not that I have it in mind to say a particular thing, but I know God has been faithful and I should say so. I stumbled around a bit, explaining the difficulty of moving to a new area and then getting word that my husband has dementia.  It has had its depressing moments, circumstances that we weren’t happy about, but we go through each day, able to find the goodness of God toward us.  I said something to that effect.

As I finished, the husband raised his hand and said, in his “Lewy voice”, “and I wouldn’t have it any other way”.  I know what he meant by that. We have talked it over numerous times.  He has felt an actual friendship with Jesus and had dreams (I think he would call them that) where he’s been given words to think about and investigate. Jesus knows he’s a scientist and loves to figure things out, so he gives the husband clues, that lead to more clues.  If he gets stuck and doesn’t know what comes next, he asks and waits until Jesus tells him more. He’s very touched by this friendship and gets emotional relating the details.

It’s never been his choice to have this diagnosis, of course, but knowing that God has allowed it for a reason, he is accepting it. The resulting relationship with God, and with friends and relatives, has enriched the experience beyond what he would have expected in life. In that sense, he really wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, because it probably wouldn’t have happened any other way. God knows how to make happen what we need to have happen.