This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two years

It is about two years now since we realized John had Parkinson's disease. He was diagnosed as soon as we saw his family practitioner and sent to a neurologist and then to the Movement Disorder Specialist who said Lewy Body Dementia.

John is doing better than I had expected. Our son, who isn't very observant, said he thought John hadn't changed significantly in those two years. The changes I see are that John is slower and gets confused more easily. But he is still taking care of himself except for wanting help putting on his socks and he still doesn't have hallucinations. He did a driving evaluation with the occupational therapist at the rehab hospital and passed. I think our new renovated house has improved our lives--he can deal with his sleep issues by watching tv or listening to books on tape in bed or sleep on his back and snore. We have a caregiver/cleaning person twice a week who does her best to keep his chaos under control. I'm happier anyway now that I have my own peaceful space.

He is in somewhat more denial about the cognitive issues, but he admitted recently he can't handle financial matters and the like when he asked for my help with a situation where he has been dropping the ball for years--serving as executor of the estate for some people who were important to him when he was young. I thought he had withdrawn a year or so ago but it turns out he didn't. I will play the illness card on that one--tell them he has early dementia and doesn't like to admit it. We also have arranged for an accountant to help aunt Florence with her finances so she doesn't keep asking John for help.

John and I talked a little about how he is doing better than I expected after two years. He wondered how much of it is due to his taking coconut oil and MCT oil? No way of knowing. He does have impaired glucose tolerance, so if some dementia is a kind of diabetes in the brain he is likely to be in that group. And that is what the oils are supposed to address by providing ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.

We saw John's neurologist yesterday and the doctor was pleased with John's muscle tone. John is working with a better physical therapist and she has even motivated him to do some exercising on his own. He has even gone out for a walk a couple of times in the last few weeks. I just wish he didn't have such a tendency to decide to go for a walk or to go see his aunt Florence at dinner time.

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