Jul 21, 2011

Dotty Showers and Does Dishes

Dotty has returned to being a pain in my butt. For the time being at least.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty Showers and Does Dishes
For me, Alzheimer's is a fascinating disease. The disease just never stops amazing me. Of course when I say this I am referring specifically to Dotty.

Six weeks ago, Dotty was out of it. She just wasn't there. She was having frequent headaches, her temperature was flying all over the place, her blood pressure was erratic, her pulse was low, and she could barely walk.

I was starting to think that pretty soon Dotty was going to be unable to get out of bed.

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I took Dotty to the doctor four straight week in a row. We had all the usual tests and tried to figure out what to do. The doctor did make some changes in Dotty's medication, but not her Alzheimer's medication.

Joanne came to visit mom for her birhday and Dotty immediately perked up. She had more energy and greater awareness. Joanne left in early July.

While Joanne was here she would sit outside with Dotty in the bright light and yak. This reminded me of the importance of bright light. We get lots of bright light down here in south Florida. Of course, you have to go outside to get the full effect and the vitamin D.

So now in addition to taking Dotty out into the bright light daily, I am also putting Dotty out front with Harvey. If you watched the videos you know the area I am talking about.

I really didn't know if this would work. In other words, after a couple of minutes would Dotty start yelling, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby if I didn't stay out there with her. She hasn't. She likes it out there. She talks sporadically with Harvey.

I usually leave her there for about 20 minutes. Of course, I periodically check on her. Sometimes after 20 minutes I ask Dotty if she wants to come in. Sometimes she says no, not yet.

Why isn't Dotty yelling Bobby, Bobby, Bobby? She does it all the time inside when she can't see me. Although she now also says, YouWho YouWho. If I don't answer right away she continues to say YouWho over and over until she sees me.

Well, in the last few days Dotty knocked my socks off. The other day she went into her closet and got out a pants suit. I cannot tell you the last time that happened. Two years ago? More? Then she went into the bathroom and took a shower. Not a very good shower, her hair was not wet. But she did go in. I was not there to shout directions so it explains why she didn't put her head under the water.

When she came out I said, here is your pants suit. She looked at me and said, I can't wear that, its too fancy. So I gave her a top and khaki's. Dotty was on her way to Bingo by the way. Well sorta, she was getting ready a few hours in advance. Dotty won at bingo for the second time in a row that night.

A few days ago, Dotty did the dishes and put them away. Dotty did the dishes? Now that hasn't happened in many years. By the way, Dotty no longer understands the concept of soap. So washing the dishes meant rinsing them off with water. After washing them, she dried them with a dish towel. She then proceeded to put them away. Not exactly where they go, but in the right cabinets.

This is the most energy I have seen Dotty expend in a long time. Keep in mind, she is standing up on her own for an extended period of time. And, she is moving around the kitchen.

I'm not sure why, but I think its the bright light. Maybe its the combination of Joanne, bingo, and bright light. Or, maybe it is because Dotty has really been living her life lately, Joanne, bingo, bright light, and the small change in the medication. One thing for sure, Dotty's pulse rate is finally back up in the low 60s (I made an additional change in the medication on my own). Her pulse actually popped all the way up to 82 after I walked her. In the old days, I use to push her pulse up to 102-107 in the gym. Without problem by the way.

Yes, Dotty has returned to being a pain in my butt. For the time being at least.

I'm not complaining. I'm fascinated.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the 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