Jan 7, 2011

Dotty Still Not Feeling Well and....

Dotty is still not feeling well and is very weak.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty's temperature continues to spike up. This morning it is 98.9. That might not sound high but Dotty's base temperature is 97.8. Yesterday for the first time her temperature seemed to stabilize bwtween 97.9 and 98.6.

Last night she fell asleep and seemed very weak. I decided not to wake her up and give her Tylenol. That might have been a mistake. She didn't have any Tylenol since 5 PM yesterday. I just took her temperature and gave her the Tylenol so we will see what happens soon.

Dotty is drinking plenty of fluid so that is not a problem. And, it is moving through her system. She is also pooping. Thank goodness. I thought that was going to be a big problem on top of a big medical problem.

Eating is a bit of a problem for Dotty. She will eat but like a bird. I am now feeding her Ensure along with small amounts of food. I need to get some calories into her and some protein. We will work on this today.

I have been moving Dotty around in a wheelchair. The effort to get her into the wheelchair is very taxing. It takes a lot to move Dotty a couple of steps. I really don't know how women move their husbands arounds when they find themselves in this situation. It is NOT easy, and I am strong and Dotty is small.

I have been putting Dotty on the toilet. That is a project. But, we are doing it.

And now for the amazing part.

A few days ago I went to put a diaper on Dotty. She did not resist in anyway. In the past Dotty has not only refused to wear a diaper, she has refused to wear an insert in her panties. Until this week, pee has not been a big problem for us. As many of you know, I developed a program to insure that Dotty peed every two hours. Before this week Dotty was not peeing in the bed, although her pajama bottom was sometimes damp in the morning. However, never any pee on the sheet or mattress pad. I use my eyes and nose to make this determination.

The fact that Dotty did not resist the diaper, and still isn't, is a good indicator of where we are. Dotty is very weak and at times out of it. However, she is more communicative and did seem alert when I gave her the Tylenol this morning. I sat her up to do it. She did say almost immediately, I want to lay down.

This you might not believe. Dotty who has not been able to walk two feet got up out of bed, walked to the bathroom, took off her diaper, and threw it in the sink last night while I was sleeping.

Then she put on a clean pajama bottom. It appears she went to the toilet again. Because she now has a second pajama bottom on. She threw the first one on the floor and it was damp. Not soaked.

Obviously this is a good sign. At least I hope so.

We are definitely not out of the woods.

On Wednesday, I had a wonderfully enlightening conversation with Carole Larkin about the alternatives at this point. After that conversation I developed our next step plan. Well I guess I should say, Carole spelled out the alternatives and that is the plan. I intend to write this up over the weekend.

Carole is a geriatric care manager. She has a couple of decades of experience. So talking to her is not only an education, it is empowering. I feel comfortable in saying I would have made a series of decisions that while not bad, would not have been as effective as the plan that now needs to be executed. I'll explain all of this later.

I already knew that the Internet was a powerful communication medium. Nevertheless, I am awe struck by the level of concern that many of you have for Dotty. It is clear to me that many of you are "very worried".

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and concern. It would be impossible for me to describe in a few words how you empower me. I feel certain that Dotty feels you.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room