Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Early Check-up

I decided to check on Lizzie early this morning at the day-program at 10:00. When I arrived she was argumentative with the staff and quite drowsy. They reported to me that she could barely stand up for being so sleepy when she arrived at 9:00, and that they had to "walk" her to keep her awake. I DID NOT LIKE THAT REPORT!

Knowing only that I did not know what all this meant and that I didn't like the sounds or appearance of it, I brought her home with me. Even though it was challenging to get her into the car peacefully, once in and listening to the music she was fine as I expected. She repeatedly asked me if we were going to dinner. GEEZ I hate that question! How many times do I have to say "no", or "later", or "not today", or "you just ate breakfast/lunch" ? UGH!

Once home, she immediately went to her place at the kitchen table and began sorting through the current newspapers. I gave her some water, a snack, and she seemed most content at the least. WHEW! After about an hour, I noticed she perked up and became "more awake" so to speak. In the meantime, I had phoned her caregivers and shared what I and the trainers at Choices had observed. We agreed I should call the physician who prescribed her meds and brainstorm, but I held off on that idea to "observe" my sister's behavior. attitude, emotional state, and general well-being. After a while, I phoned Elizabeth back and asked her if we might try to get Lizzie in bed an hour earlier to give her an opportunity to sleep off the night-time medications before starting her day. We agreed to try that, and she promised me she would begin tonight.

Lizzie became restless after a few hours and wanted to go somewhere. She kept mentioning "the others". Since she seemed to be her normal self again energy wise, I decided to take her back to Choices. In preparing for the ride and to finish the rest of my errands for the day, I put a cherry drink in my purse to relieve me from stress in the heat ... HA HA. As we were walking out the door to the car, I felt something wet on my foot. Lo and behold the drink was leaking in my purse so I told Lizzie to come back indoors so I could check my bag. My drink had soaked everything in my purse, and so I wanted to clean it all up and start with another handbag. As I was doing this, Lizzie stood at the front door and in a whining voice continuously cried out, "Hurry Honey ... don't you know I am waiting?" over and over and over again. I don't know HOW I tuned it out, but I did. It felt like eternity had passed by the time I was ready to go. Once in the car, Lizzie was jamming to the music again.

She did not want to get out of the car initially when we arrived at Choices, but coercing her to do so definitely took less effort than usual. So her new med schedule is calming her mood swings significantly after the sleepiness wears off. Lizzie got settled inside with the gracious assistance of the workers, and before long she had forgotten I was even around. THat's when I slipped out the door.

A Day Visit

I went to see Lizzie at her day care program yesterday. It was 2:00 and she was already sitting in a "waiting" chair at the front door ... waiting for someone to come pick her up and take her to dinner. When she saw me, the first words after her usual greeting were, "Are we going out for dinner?" This seems to be the #1 thought obsession for her. She says it soon after breakfast; soon after lunch; and sometimes soon after dinner.

Choices has expanded it's facility, and so I asked for a tour. I also asked to use the RR. While in there, I could hear Lizzie saying, "Where is my sister. They took my sister away. That's not nice." She kept repeating it and as she did, her voice became increasingly agitated.

Her trainer was able to calm her down ... God bless Sonja! She went back to her chair at the front door, took out her blue folder, and sat quietly waiting for her ride home. She seemed to forget about me being there ... the old "out of sight out of mind" idea ... and so I snuck out the door without saying good-bye so as not to agitate her again.

Does anyone ever get used to this?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not Happy

I don't like what I saw tonight.

All day today I kept hearing the voice inside my soul telling me to go see Lizzie this evening ... to spend time with her to see how she is doing at the group home in the evenings and with her bedtime routine.

When I arrived, she was sitting quietly on the sofa next to Judy and was fidgeting with her T-shirt. I put my face right in front of her and her eyes lit up as she exclaimed, "Twin Sister is that YOU?" "Yes, Lizzie ... it is me!" We hugged as I stoked her head with my hand. I sat down next to her and began to talk with her, but she did not respond to anything I was saying with logic or reason. Nothing made sense as she continued to fidget with the T-shirt. She was calm and appeared content ... dare I suggest oblivious to her plight?

I have a cough, and every time I coughed she acted startled and asked, "Are you OK Twin Sister?" When I suggested we switch the TV channel to old movies, when the movie appeared she gasped and said, "OH I know THIS one!" When her eyes began to close indicating a tired Lizzie, I suggested she go to bed. "Here?" she asked. I said, "Sure, why not?" and that was that. In less than five minutes she was in her bed.

Lizzie appeared to be void of emotion tonight. She had no "ups" and no "downs" like she has had in what seems to be forever. She just "was". I wonder if the new medication prescription is too much for her, or is she sinking further into the grasp of AD? I know I must be patient and give the meds time to "set in" and give Lizzie time to "adjust". I am told she is doing well at her day program and that she appears happy more than she used to. I will check on her there tomorrow.

I tucked her into bed just like I always used to do, and as she rested her head in my arms, I prayed our prayer that we used to say each and every morning of our lives together until AD robbed her of that ability, and tonight I added a humble request for God's sovereign grace.