Nov 18, 2017 Latest post:
Nov 28, 2017
Welcome to Dad’s CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting, because it keeps me from having to call and text everyone.
Backstory: Mom began telling me about a year ago that Dad was becoming increasingly forgetful. I admit that neither I nor my husband noticed anything different about Dad until Mom had to go out of town for three weeks in October. It was then that I noticed Dad doing weird things, like getting me confused with my oldest daughter, getting in the car and forgetting where he was going, forgetting conversations we’d had an hour before, forgetting something he’d done earlier in the day, saying socially inappropriate things, and misplacing handfuls of cash. Mom also figured afterward that he did not check his sugar or take his insulin at all during this time (because he forgot to) which most likely led to his DKA episode.
Sunday, Nov. 5, is when we noticed that something was seriously wrong with Dad and rushed him to the ER. He was in diabetic ketoacidosis and had a gangrenous toe. He was admitted to the hospital for several days to get his sugar under control and remove his toe. He also had a pretty severe case of delirium for a few days, with vivid hallucinations and inability to recognize me or mom or tell where he was. His delirium resolved all at once and he was discharged to a skilled nursing facility on Friday, Nov. 10 and will be there until the 21st. He’s receiving three hours per day of physical therapy and occupational therapy, with the goal of getting him moving around as independently as possible. After this latest amputation, his balance is poor and he’s had several falls this past year.
However, he’s still having issues with his memory. He did have a CT scan the night he was brought to the ER and was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe cerebral atrophy, which is a fairly common indicator of dementia. After speaking with his nursing home doctor today, the doctor is guessing that Dad probably has Alzheimer’s Disease. I say “guessing” because there are still some tests that would need to be done before a firm diagnosis could be made. He’s basing his his opinion on the case history I gave him and the results of Dad's CT scan. He’s starting Dad on Aricept immediately. From what I’ve read, Aricept can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in some people, but not all.
Also, I believe Dad has also been having small seizures, which are basically long staring spells where he seems to “blank out” and can’t see or hear. I’m planning to speak to his PCP about that and get him referred to a neurologist. Seizures are common with cerebral atrophy.
He seems almost completely normal in the mornings. His dementia is much more obvious when he’s tired and he’s absolutely worn out after his therapy sessions. Because of this I believe he may be “sundowning,” or getting worse with his symptoms when he’s tired.
Aside from these concerns, he’s eating well and walking slowly and carefully, but unassisted, in his therapy sessions. We’re working on getting a ramp built at their home and we’ve requested a walker, a wheelchair, and a hospital bed for him. He can no longer be permitted to drive. I think that at some point we will all be moving in together so Ben and I can assist Mom with Dad as he declines. I’m trying to read everything I can on the subject and locate all the resources we might need.