Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Our Alzheimer's Journey ~ 3/5/17

Jordan continues to have good days and not so good days. --Actually, it's good moments and not good moments. One of the things that we need to figure out is his depression. This is so hard for him. I think it's clinical depression. And it seems to be an experience/feeling that perplexes him. I think that the sheer heaviness or illogical moments that the sadness overtakes him confuses him.

He does really enjoy time spent with people. Time with others seems to really distract him from his sadness.

We did the testing for seizures, which was inconclusive because they were unable to induce a seizure while he was there. --We also saw the neurologist this week (separate appointments). He said it is very common for the testing to give "false negatives". He said the only time the test is conclusive is when a seizure is measured. Seizures are random and often don't happen during these tests. The neurologist said that he is not ruling out seizures as a diagnosis for his episodes. If the episodes are seizures they are not "typical" but there are two things that make him think they are seizures: 1. The phantom smell he experiences as the episode begins and 2. The confusion/disorientation that happens afterward. 

So, all that said, we are treating him for seizures. The doctor put him on seizure medicine that we will ratchet up over the next four months.  And we took him off of Aricept/Donepezil. The Neurologist agreed that we haven't seen improvement with the med...so there's no reason to continue with it. And it is possible that it is causing some of the emotional problems he's experiencing. 

When we were at the neurologist Jordan said he feels depression every single day. I think this is where I need to turn my attention. 

I'm not sure how to describe his cognitive changes. This is probably more noticeable than the memory impairment. Though the memory impairs a lot of his activities. An example is if he says "I need my glasses to read this label", he walks to his desk and if he doesn't see the glasses, he opens the drawer and stares. Finally, he says "what am I looking for again?" 

Things I've done/put into place to manage/cope:
1. I hired someone to come over and hang all of our pictures and some additional mirrors to help brighten the apartment. Jordan is very visual and aesthetics are very important to him. Just making the apartment pretty and homey gives him moments of happiness several times a day. My goal is to give him more happy moments and hopefully make the moments last longer and longer.

2. I will be contacting another of his Drs. to begin serious medical help for the depression. I feel this is critically important and time-sensitive. I discussed this with his neurologist and he said he is clearing Jordan for his other Doctors to aggressively use meds to help with depression.  --Before the testing, Drs. were unwilling to risk affecting upcoming brain tests. The neurologist said there is no longer reason to wait.

3. Jordan's companion started on Friday. This is a home health care person. The care plan is that every day the caregiver comes they will go on some sort of field trip. It can be sitting outside at Starbucks or going to museums or movies or the dog park. The list is fairly endless. On Friday they went to the art museum. They have an Ansel Adams exhibit. This was a good day for Jordan.

4. Rachel was adopted by a good friend of mine (Barbara) that lives in town. Today she brought Rachel to our house for a visit. We went to the apartment dog park so we could show Barbara Rachel's agility abilities with the agility course. Jordan and Jacob came to the park with us. Rachel knew Jordan and immediately went to him and leaned on him. It was special for Jordan to get to have this connection. 

I'm still trying to juggle keeping up at work. I end up needing to work late to get my work done (because of the days off I have to take for doctors visits). I have to figure out a way to eliminate the late nights. He is experiencing some of the sundowning symptoms that occur when evening comes. He is not wandering away, but he is anxious if he doesn't know where I am...which, he doesn't remember where I am all the time. When I call him during the day to check on him, he is so happy to talk to me...And he always says "where ARE you?" I'm hoping that increased activities will help.

This is all I really have for this update. Thank you all for what you do to reach out to Jordan (and me). 

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