My experiences while living with my mother and her Alzheimer's Disease.(her birthdate = January 2, 1925)

Saturday, February 28, 2004

February 29, 2004

Notes about Martha Ratliff

Feb. 24 (Tuesday)--left off the Evista from Mama’s medications

Feb. 25—(Wednesday)—(note from Beverly)--Mama gave the “girls” poopy cookies. She seemed disoriented; not really here. She ate and went straight to her room. Mama is not swallowing her food.

Feb 26 (Thursday)—(note from Michelle)--Mama ate breakfast at 7:00 AM got in her chair and went to sleep. She slept until 9:00. She seemed a little out of it again today.

Feb 27 (Friday)—(Connie’s notes) Mama ate supper at 5:35 PM. While sitting at the table, she looked kind of lost. She tried to get up and was very shaky. I went over to help her up and her clothes were wet. Her body was hot and sweaty, but her face was dry and cool. She was very unsteady so I helped her to her chair in the living room. She wanted to walk around the house and was upset when I told her it was too cold and wet to do this. She kept trying to go outside, and I kept stopping her. She finally beat me to the door and I couldn’t talk her out of going outside. She tried to go around in back of the house, but I wouldn’t let go of her. She opted for getting in her car. I settled her in wearing her pajamas and her blue satin nightcap. Then I had to go back in the house to get the keys and lock things up. When I started the car, she tried to get me to drive around to the back yard so she could “give them some things.” Now who she thinks was back there, I don’t have a clue. I guess she wanted to give them cookies, but once again, I am not quite certain about this either.

I drove her to town since her car needed gasoline. She was fussing the whole time I backed out of the driveway wanting me to go around back. She was fine on the drive because she likes to nod at all the cars we meet. She used to wave, but now she nods her whole upper body. I figure it is her abdominal exercise and just let her bounce every time we meet anyone.

We came back to the house, and I thought she would eat and go to bed, silly me. She did eat, and then she tried to go outside again. I did my best to talk her out of it, but she once again made it out to the steps before I could catch her. I was afraid I would make her fall if I pulled on her to get her back in the house so I just walked out with her. She ended up in the car again. I just drove around our country block. When I pulled back into the driveway, she told me I could go in there and she would sit in the car. I helped her out of the car. When she got to the steps, she asked if this was her house. I told her yes. She ate again and then thank you, thank you, thank you, Michelle came for her Friday night duty.

This morning Michelle said Mama spent most of the night in her Lazyboy chair in the living room. She would fall asleep and snore, wake up, sit up and make sure Michelle was there, and then fall back asleep. At one point she even tried to recline the chair back. Michelle said she got up to help her a bit.

We are wondering if she gets lonesome back in her room. We might need to check into twin beds so someone can be in the room with her. I told the girls that we could get another television with a satellite hook-up so they wouldn’t go totally nutty. Will get with Tommy, David, and Linda and see what they think.

Feb. 28—today—Mama ate breakfast around 8:00 AM. Mama didn’t want to get dressed, but finally let Beverly and Michelle help her change. When I came into the living room, Mama was sitting in her chair under her blanket with her blue satin sleeping cap on her head. Guess she is trying to start a new fashion.

I went to town to do a little shopping and visit with my friend, Betty. In two weeks, we will be on our way to Peru for Spring Break!!

11:13 AM Had a sweaty spell. Beverly wiped Mama down with a cool cloth.

11:41 Mama had an excellent bowel movement—soft and squishy. Beverly said Mama was about to sit on the toilet when she started pooping all over the place. I guess it went all over the toilet, the wall, the toilet seat. Luckily it missed Beverly and Mama’s dress. Poor Beverly had to clean all that up—I am so grateful I was not here!!!!!!!!!!! Mama evidently gave Beverly a poopy coated Ritz cracker. Yum yum.

1:20 Mama sat in the kitchen and helped Beverly fix baked chicken. Mama kept opening the oven door so she could see what was in there as she asked, “Can I help you?” Beverly let Mama help her make the Broccoli and Rice. Mama laughed when the steam burned Beverly’s fingers.

Mama has spent some time today looking at a “Where’s Waldo” book I bought for my students. She touches all the things in the pictures on each page. We love this book because it takes her a while to get through it thus giving us a few minutes to recoup. She doesn’t like to look at it all the time for that very reason—it takes too long.

2:30 PM Mama ate again. She ate the rest of the strawberries and even licked the bowl. She ate the Broccoli Rice casserole and seemed to like it.

4:00 PM Mama went to her “thing” to go to sleep. Spent a long time calling “Come to me" every few minutes.

4:36 PM Mama was eating again and giving away cookies and kisses. She was mad at Beverly because she wouldn’t let Mama walk around the house. She kept saying that “he was back there.”

7:30 PM Mama is back in her bed asleep. We haven’t heard anything from her in around 20 minutes. I hope I don’t wake her up when I go to bed. She should be exhausted since she kept coming back to the front of the house to eat and give us cookies and kisses!

hugs Until later,

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Sorry for getting a bit behind in my blog updates. I was a bit worried about Mama's health and have been e-mailing family, but not updating this site. I am now sharing some of my email accounts with those of you who check this site.

Hugs to one and all,

today's message:

Well, it took a faxed letter to get the doctor's attention, but she finally called me back around 3:00 this afternoon. She seems to think that Mama's problems are heart related, but we are going to try a few options before putting her into the hospital for more tests. We are going to stop her Evista (hormone stuff) for a week and keep records of how she reacts. If the sweaty episodes stop, then we don't need to worry. If they continue, the doctor wants to try some nitroglycerin time released medication.

I will keep you posted as I learn new info.


From today: a diary of Mama's episodes as sent to the doctor:

Since last week, Mama has had the following incidents:

1. 1/29
a. * Mama fell in her bedroom. She grabbed her curtain and ended up pulling it down
b. *later that day, she stumbled and tried to steady herself by grabbing a wire shelf containing glassware. Luckily her caretakers were close enough to catch her and keep her out of the broken glass.

2. 2/11 (2/10 gave her first nighttime dose of Memantine medicine)
a. Passed out for around 10 minutes; Penny caught her before she hit the floor. Called ambulance. Visit to the emergency room (discontinued memantine)
3. 2/15
a. *2:00 AM short spell; dizzy and sweaty
b. *4:40 PM sweaty

4. 2/16
a. *9:30 AM unsteady on her feet.
b. 11:00 AM another spell; she kept falling out, making funny noises in her throat. Jerky unsteady movements
c. night slept fitfully; made loud moaning sounds and jerky movements in her sleep

5. 2/17
a. seemed very disoriented and confused; speech very slurred for a short period of time
b. 12:00 labored breathing; sweaty
c. night slept soundly all night long

6. 2/22
a. 12:30 PM Mama was sitting looking at a magazine; she became extremely sweaty; she seemed better after wiping her face and neck with a cool wet rag.

We are wondering if Mama’s Evista needs to be adjusted. Could all of these spells be connected to hormones?

from Feb. 23

Well, I called the doctor again today. She never has called me back. I am working on a letter to tell her how disappointed I am in her lack of response. Penny is threatening to go to the hospital board--she likes to tattle to the authorities!!

Mama is still calling, "Come to me." From 5:30 to is beginning to get on my nerves!! She just handed me something that wasn't a cookie. I finally figured out it was the blue zipper thingy off the Ziploc bag. Guess she ran out of cookies and found a substitute. Thankfully it was not a poopy cookie!!

from Feb. 22

Well, I had a nice, restful visit with Bebsy in Corpus. We didn't do a whole lot which was just what I needed. Bebsy fixed up some tasty tortilla soup and some yummy ranch crackers. We watched movies and snacked on the goodies. We did do a bit of shopping, but since Beverly has been coming on Saturday, I didn't have as long a list as I usually do.

Beverly and Michelle seemed to have a good time with Mama. Mama did have a sweaty spell this morning. They described it as similar to a hot flash. She has had those a few times with me, too. Maybe we need to get her Evista dosage adjusted! I plan to call her doctor tomorrow. She wasn't in the office on Friday.

Mama is roaming so guess I had better go check on her.

Hugs to all from a rested,

from Feb. 19

Mama's doctor's office faxed a copy of the EEG report to Tommy. He called this afternoon and said everything looked good. I am not sure exactly what this means, but guess it is good. She hasn't had any episodes yesterday or today so maybe it was the new medicine or a combination of medicines or I have no clue.

Need to go pack. I am going to Corpus tomorrow.


from Feb. 18

Still no word from the EEG test. The technician said a neurologist had to read the results and then send them to the doctor. Since Mama is not seeing any neurologist, her test results may be at the bottom of the pile. I called the doctor's office a couple of times today, but never heard back from anyone. I have asked Tommy to call tomorrow. Maybe she will talk with a fellow physician. If not, we may have to find someone who has time for us.

Penny's little girl was sick today so Beverly stayed with Mama all day. She said Mama didn't have any spells all day long. Hope that is a good sign.

She is still awake (8:40 PM) and calling for me to come to her so I guess I had better go check up on her. Michelle will be here at 10.

I am thinking of going somewhere away from Matagorda County this weekend. Michelle and Beverly have offered to double up and give me a break. I think I may take them up on it as my patience is really limited. David, any chance you could drop in and check on them while I am gone? Am sure they can handle it alone, but it would be a nice time for you to visit with Mama and have help in case you need it. Just a thought.

She just hollered again so hugs until next time.

from Feb. 16

Well, we survived the EEG. Mama did pretty well. The Mama-sitters had her all clean and spiffy. They said she had a minor episode this morning. Evidently she started jerking a bit while she was dozing in her chair.

Mama hugged and kissed her way through the waiting room while I completed the paperwork for the test. We headed for the room where she would be tested. They put a blue cap full of holes on her head --she looked like either a WWI flying ace or a parachuter--wish I had taken a camera so I could share that one! Mama was fussing the whole time because I had taken her glasses away. The technician started putting gel-type stuff in all the holes. Then she put a strap around Mama's chest and hooked the cap to the chest thingy and a box full of wires. I had to get Mama to lie down on a bed. Then they turned a machine on to measure her brain waves. This is supposed to tell us whether she is having seizures or not. The test took about 20 minutes. They are supposed to have the back by this afternoon or tomorrow. A neurologist has to read the data. I guess Mama's doctor will then get in touch with us.

Mama was ready to head for home as soon as she finished up. She was not happy that we all didn't pile into her car. She was still motioning for us to get in as Penny drove her away.

I went by the cemetery to check on the flowers I had put on Liz, George, and Daddy's graves. They were a little soggy and needed a bit of straightening, but otherwise looked okay.

I headed to Wal-Mart to boost the economy of our county, and then headed for the house.

Mama is sleeping now. I think I am going to soak in the tub. I may be sound asleep before Michelle gets here at 10:00.