Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Weekend and kitties have a cold

It's Friday before the Memorial Day Holiday.  My girls are gone to their homes and families.  The girls are the CNA and the sewing assistant.
Don worked on the hickory wood project today. He was able to use the palm sander to prepare some of the parts for the next step.
All week long he has been very quiet and subdued, not doing much of anything. I was actually able to get something done in the sewing room this week because he was not in his shop requiring my attention.  The girls can't help him with machinery, that's not in their job description. And God forbid they get hurt. So they always have to come get me when he wants something,  Also they can't understand his sign language, pointing to something, describing something with vague hand movements.  Fortunately I know the tools in his shop, and like a surgeon's assistant can know just by what he is doing what tool he will need. Strange comparison I guess but you get the idea.
The cats are starting to sniffle.  BB started it with sniffles and is now bringing up his food. I just called the vet and made an appointment for Tuesday if they are not better.  If one gets it they will all have it soon.
Also got the grass cut this afternoon after I finished altering blouses for a customer. The grass is starting to grow faster than I can manage. That' the down side to summer.
Next week will be busy.  We'll see how it plays out.  Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Move A Patient in Bed - How does the spouse sleep?

This may seem like a weird story but it’s true.  My husband with his Parkinson’s disease is not able to turn or move himself in bed.  (This lead to the creation of the Bed Sled).  But that’s another story. 
First I need to explain that we sleep together in a queen size bed. In the beginning of his diagnosis he was not able to settle to sleep unless I was cradling him.  After his drug dosages were worked out, his need for my touch subsided somewhat. But not completely. 
He will still during the night reach out to make sure I am in bed, that I have not left him alone.  It’s hard to sleep with this “touching” disturbance.   It’s nice to be needed but I need my sleep.   For the past couple years when he rolls in bed, because he does not have control of his arms or legs movement I was often times getting kicked or punched while trying to sleep. I found myself moving away from him and closer to the edge of the bed, sometimes hanging on “with my toenails”. 
When he would call during the night to roll him, I got out of bed, went around to his side and took hold of the Bed Sled pulling and rolling him in the direction he wanted to go. I would often not be able to fall back to sleep for a considerable time, if at all.
One night I tried laying a foam mattress on the floor alongside the bed. But with my bad knees it was difficult getting off the floor to answer his calls. So I was back in the bed.  Then I tried putting a clothes hamper up against the bed on my side, so if I rolled I had something to catch me. It helped but was very uncomfortable.
Also our dogs, Tippy and her brother Tobie, slept in the bedroom with us. So whatever I did I had to make sure I would not trip on the dogs when getting to him in the dark.  Now that both dogs are gone, and the cats sleep in the powder room, I can have a clear path on the floor.  So I moved my cedar chest up against my side of the bed, piled some extra bed pillows on top to bring it up level with the bed and am now sleeping on this “bed extension”.  Works pretty good actually.  I am able to sleep without falling out.  And when he wants to roll I don’t have to get out of bed most times.  I reach over and roll him without getting up from bed.  Occasionally I have to get out of bed to perform the roll, but most times not.  It’s not the easiest thing for me to get into bed now, but once I lay down its pretty comfortable.
Now when he rolls it is like a log roll, literally from one side of the bed to the other.  I don’t need to pull him over to make room for me.  I just make sure I get him into bed far enough when he is transferred into bed. So when I roll him towards his side of the bed later during the night he will not roll out. I still find him looking at me to make sure I am still in bed with him, because I am lying just outside his reach (unless he really stretches).  But now I can sleep better.  And to think I considered getting rid of the cedar chest because we don’t keep woolens anymore!
The point of this story is that nothing is stupid if it works!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Update May 2012

This past month has been scary.  Don has been quiet, polite, subdued.  But drooling has been really bad for nearly week.  Swallowing is very difficult.  Choking not an issue because the food does not get that far.
Friday morning he had his normal oatmeal, banana, juice, eggs, and bun. He could not eat his lunch or dinner. Saturday he ate 2 small pancakes and a little juice.  He normally would eat 4 large pancakes, a banana, and juice.   Again he could not eat or drink his lunch.
After lunch that he did not eat, we went shopping to purchase more patches for the tissue box holders.  He sat quietly the whole trip.  He did not want anything to drink.  I’ve been concerned about dehydration and now I was starting to really worry.  In the past two days I don’t think he drank 8 ounces of liquid.  But he was still losing all that fluid in his drool.    I know this has been playing on my nerves and my conscience… was I the cause – neglecting or missing something?
I have been giving him additional Ropinerole or Carbidopa/Levadopa a half hour before dinner hoping it takes effect before I serve the meal and he will be able to eat.  Lately that plan has not been working. Considering his state I decided to give him a larger dose, it could not/would not do any harm.  It took 45 minutes but finally it took hold.  He wriggled and danced in his wheelchair which I know he hates, but it signals the drug is working.  I got him to eat… and boy did he eat!  4 large eggs, sausage, potatoes, 3 pieces of cake, left over pie, soda, juice.  Made up for not eating all day, and part of day before. 
I guess we are back to a larger dose again until he gets maxed out with hallucinations, irritation, demands, confusion.  Might be only a few days, maybe a week and I’ll be cutting him back again.  At least I get a momentary reprieve from worry about dehydration.