By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Dotty is 95 years old and was diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's in 2004. She is currently on the combination therapy of Aricept and Namenda.
Dotty does not have any major health problems at this time other than living with dementia.
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Dotty is not on a walker and never has been.
She really cannot walk more than a few feet without holding on to something these days. If there is a wall near her she is okay. Sometimes she gets stymied in the house and she will usually start calling out YouWho, YouWho. Sometimes she just stops and doesn't say anything. Sometimes she stops and gets up the courage to go for the next thing she can hold on to.
Every morning when Dotty gets up she goes to the bathroom and then makes it to the door of her bedroom. At this point she stops dead and starts calling out, not loudly by the way, YouWho, YouWho, YouWho, I'm awake you know.
I go and get her, move her to the kitchen and we begin our daily routine. Of late this has been going very well. Dotty has been in a very good mood in the morning for several weeks now. Her pulse is back up into the mid 60s, so we solved that problem. Her wake up blood pressure the last couple of weeks has been better than in many years, go figure.
Dotty is not falling and she does not fall. Not yet. This is something I am very cognizant about. Dotty's legs are getting weaker and her balance is worsening -- something has to give sooner or later. I think I wrote the same thing last year.
Dotty should have her own television show. I think she would change the perception that some younger people have of older people, she would definitely convince older people to get up and go. Dotty would make a very good cartoon character, like in the Simpson's.
I get this question a lot. Does Dotty wear incontinence wear (pads, depends, etc) during the day or while she is sleeping? The answer is no. However, a few times when Dotty was very sick we did have to turn to the incontinence wear.
Dotty still gets up at night and goes to the toilet. Usually she whips off her undies and leaves them off. Yes, the undies do have some drops of pee in them. Sometimes her pajamas have some pee. She changes them.
In the middle of the night. I have the pee pee replacement pajamas bottoms hanging up all over the place. If they are not hanging in clear site, Dotty will put on cloths. I also have the pee pee replacement panties stacked up on the back of the toilet. it is not unusual for Dotty to go to bed with a matched set of pajamas and wake up with a mismatched bottom on. I check them every time. No pee. Sometimes she only has the pajama bottom on but didn't put on a new panty.
I have observed Dotty getting out of bed and slowly working her way to the bathroom. I guess it depends on what you want to see. For me, its is rather remarkable. Although, sometimes it reminds me of the old days when the old Dotty could really motor around with me, on foot, in New York.
The current version of Dotty is the old old Dotty. You get old old when you pass 85 in my opinion. Maybe you are older than dirt when you pass 95. Sometimes I tell Dotty she is older than dirt. She usually laughs. Sometimes she says, "kiss my ass".
Dotty does not pee in or on the bed. Mystifying to me if you want to know the truth. Five years ago I would have told you she will start peeing in the bed any day now. By the way, I use my eyes and nose to check so I know I have this right.
If I am vigilant with our daily routine we can go the entire day without any pee pee panties. This means making a pit stop every 90 minutes. We are pretty good at this, but far from perfect. Mostly Dotty gets some drops of pee pee on her panties and nothing on her cloths. Nose test. If I wait more than two hours Dotty will say at some point, I have to take a pee. It is too late. Pee pee panties, pee pee cloths.
Here is the good news. We haven't seen the yellow river in years. There are two exceptions: if Dotty gets very sick, or if, Dotty gets a urinary tract infection. When that happens, wozo edwards.
I have 96 different techniques for getting Dotty to take a pee. So this is no longer a problem. Go figure.
Five years ago it was WAR every time I said to Dotty, time to pee. Since most of you already know the kinds of things an Alzheimer's patient says when they don't want to pee, I won't bore you with the specifics. "Kiss my ass Bobby".
Its the routine, the pattern of the day, that makes the difference folks. You get that pattern established, socialize, get a repeat parrot, get out or into bright light, you have a chance to change the world. Alzheimer's World.
We beat urinary incontinence. Period. I don't believe any of the crap on the Internet. I believe in Dotty and I believe in me. On the other hand, I did wash 6,000,000 pee pee pajamas and pee pee underwear before I figured it out. The solution required many many futile trips to the Bunkhouse. Of course, when I did figure it out I said to myself, why didn't I do this two years ago?
Several days ago I put up the article about the dreaded bowel movement . I was so proud of myself when I put that article back up. Proud of myself for about 24 hours. Next thing you know we have a nasty case of poo poo agita going. I actually thought to myself, I have to stop writing about this -- I am jinxing myself.
So anyway, we get the problem solved.
Next morning, I think to myself, I am going to give Dotty a small glass of freezing cold milk and see what happens. I am thinking to myself, maybe this milk will run through her. I think this might be counter intuitive. Isn't milk supposed to constipate you? Yeah, I heard Doctor OZ say that. I dig Doctor OZ.
You'll notice I said freezing cold milk. Counter intuitive also, I think. I freeze the glass.
So I give the milk to Dotty and she immediately tells Harvey, this milk is ice cold. Harvey tells Dotty, ice cold, ice cold.
Along with the ice cold milk I give Dotty the first round of the daily medications. It all goes smoothly.
Next, I give Dotty some coffee, discuss the newspaper, and sing a few songs along with Harvey. Dotty usually joins in.
Lo and behold. About 20 minutes go by and there she goes. There goes Dotty. No assistance, no help. Straight shot to the bathroom.
Next day, same routine, there she goes. Next day, same routine, there she goes.
Could this be Alzheimer's World heaven?
You might not believe this. Dotty takes a poop seven days in a row. Get Guinness on the phone.
Now for the bad news, Today I had to get Dotty up and get her out the door. No eating, fasting. Its doctor appointment and blood test day.
I get Dotty home. I give her the milk, start the routine. No Poop -E.
I'm gonna come up with some combination of milk and prune juice. Try that. Oops, I don't mean at the same time. I mean like milk today, prune juice tomorrow and so on.
Dotty also gets cranberry juice every other day. She hates it, just like she hates the prune juice.
Dotty thinks that cranberry juice and prune juice are poison. I think they are a gift from God.
No walker, no yellow river, and little or no Poop - E agita.
Alzheimer's World is a kinder, gentler place.
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Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,800 articles with more than 602,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room