Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog 9/30/2010

Husband had a choking incident. Scared the devil out of me. He was choking on a tuna sandwich. The CNA called the EMTs while I worked on my husband to free the item lodged in his throat. He was able to bring up the piece of bread that had been stuck, but it was the worse “close call” so far. The EMTs arrived and checked him over. Husband has now decided to pay more attention to his eating and chewing (with the couple teeth he has left), to avoid choking again.
It’s been said that Parkinson’s won’t kill you, but the conditions it causes can do you in. I think when my husband’s time comes he will choke to death. Not a pleasant thought. When his Carbidopa/ Levadopa (hereafter called “C”) wears off, his muscle control slows making it hard for him to swallow and to speak.
Sometimes he gets to fussing over taking his pills as he did in 2006 when he wound up in the hospital. I have to explain and remind him the consequences of not taking his “C” meds. He hates the pills and the dyskinesias (wiggles) it produces. I don’t like giving him this pill because I know what it does to him. But without it he can’t move.
The wiggles start 20-30 minutes after taking the pill and can last 1 to 3 hours, slowly winding down. He was prescribed to take this pill 4 times a day. If I gave him the pill that frequently he would climb the walls. That’s not even considering the other side effect of hallucinations.
The “C” is crucial for him to be able to move. Being able to move his facial muscles helps him to chew, to swallow, and to speak. A short time after the “C” has taken effect he is able to speak very well and he will talk you under the table with stories of his earlier days camping or driving truck or fishing. But when the pill wears off, within 2-3 hours, it is nearly impossible to understand him. In frustration he will throw his hands in the air and scowl. And for the rest of the day he will try in vain to communicate, only to get angry with me or his CNA claiming we need hearing aids. If I convince him to take a little extra “C” to hold him over, within 20 minutes he is usually able to speak again. He gets the wiggles again and a short time later, maybe an hour, the benefit will have worn off. Nothing is predictable with this disease.