Thursday, September 29, 2011

If It's Not One Thing, It's 25

The last few weeks have been pretty typical as typical goes with Alzheimer's day is predictable.  Billy has had ups and downs with his behavior but probably more ups than downs.    He had a doctor's appointment for his 3 month checkup on the 19th, and the med student examining him did the Mini-Mental Status Exam with him.  I recall the first time he took this test (which is a series of 30 questions and tasks) around 2001 or 2002.  He got 30 of 30 correct.  I don't know if I could get all of them correct today.  (Count backwards from 100 by sevens.)  The score has decreased gradually, and his score this time was 17 correct of 30.  He said the month is April and the year is 2007.  When the doctor told him it was actually September and 2011, Billy said, "I should know these things because I'm a teacher, and I have calendars all around me."  

I notice his self-care skills are slipping quite a bit. He still gives it his best shot, but shaving is such a chore.  Sometimes he misses large spots, and sometimes he shaves twice in the same morning.  If I don't watch him carefully, he shaves, and then he puts mousse on his face instead of his hair.  He's put his deodorant on his face before like it's shaving cream.  I put the toothpaste on the toothbrush for him, but I have to tell him to brush, and I don't believe he does a thorough job of that either, but I don't obsess over it.  We are both doing the best we can, and I see no reason to make our mornings any more difficult.

He is sleeping very well, and I even have to wake him some mornings - Praise God for that.  I do believe that's pretty common with the disease because he fatigues easily.  He falls asleep around 8:30 or 9:00 in his recliner, so we head to bed a little after 9:00.  He does his make the bed routine (it's already made, of course) and fluffs the pillows for as long as I can stand it.  I take the decorative pillows off the bed, and while I'm in the bathroom or somewhere else, he puts them back on the bed.  Some nights, I'm amused, and some nights, I say..."Enough fluffing and straightening.  Leave the  pillows alone, and get in bed!"  I give him last pill of the day, and he conks out quickly. 

We do have a new adventure ahead, and I am thrilled.  Billy was approved to ride the MITS bus which is public transportation for disabled folks.  The cost is very reasonable, and they will pick up Billy from our house at 6:15 a.m., and deliver him to the Cottage.  They will return to pick him up at 5:00 from the Cottage and bring him home.  The thought of gaining 10 hours a week that I'm not on the road is huge to me.  What a blessing in so many ways.  Please pray that Billy can tolerate the rides to and from, and that it all works out. 

Please keep my mom, Alyce Barnes, in your prayers as well.  She was admitted into the hospital today because her right kidney is blocked from a mass that is pushing against the ureter.  Biopsy and stint put in place tomorrow.  Lots of unanswered questions. 


  1. Kathy, I hope all went well with your mom. I will keep her in my prayers. I will also be praying for your husband, that he will enjoy the new bus ride. As always, keep up the good work and keep hanging in there. Much love, Sheryl

  2. Reading your post brings me back so much to a different time. There are so many similarities with the daily struggles. Have you had the pleasure of Billy using the garbage in the bathroom as a toilet? Some days you hurt, some days you get frustrated, some days you laugh and others you cry. I understand. I will also pray for your mom. Stay strong and take care of yourself.

  3. Sheryl and Karen, thank you for your encouraging words. I'm going to the oncologist tomorrow with my parents to find out the results of my mom's biopsy, and we pray it's something benign and easily dealt with. Like you say, Karen, I'm ready for a break already!

    Karen, I have not had the pleasure you mention, but I have been warned by so many of the time when these things come. I've tried to prepare myself for what is to come, but with some things, you just don't know how you'll react. One of my dear friends has placed her husband in assisted living recently, and she shares some of the incidents that you just have to experience to truly understand. I was reading some of your posts from 2008, and I do believe Mike is the Energizer Bunny. He just doesn't give up, and neither do you. God bless you all.