The hospice nurse, doctor and social worker were here for Bo’s six month evaluation. Their conclusion: “If he didn’t have such good care, he would be in much worse condition.” Hospice care will continue for him because he shows multiple signs of decline despite our efforts. We are there to prevent falls, to keep him well fed and clean, to give him comfort and security, but we can’t stop the regression.
I was away for a week (next blog) and when I returned yesterday, Jon said he had seen a serious decline during those seven days, a decline that started before I left. It had nothing to do with me being away, and everything to do with his disease. He has left the plateau that I described several blogs ago; he is less alert and more sleepy, more confused, off- balance and weak.
Jon told me that a couple of days ago Bo was on the sofa and signaled that he needed to go to the bathroom. Jon helped him to stand, but he tottered off-balance and didn’t know how to move his feet to take a step. “What do I do?” he asked Jon. That same thing has happened on the stairs. He was stepping sideways and holding onto the railing with Jon holding his hands, but now sometimes he stands at the top, facing straight down with no idea what to do next.
He is actually even having difficulty standing without help balancing. He stoops over more, and often when he sits, his head is hanging forward; he tends to lean toward the right, which is apparently one of the signs of Alzheimer’s regression. The Hospice masseuse comes every two weeks now to massage his neck and shoulders. She explained that the purpose of doing this is to keep the muscles from tightening, which the brain apparently signals the body to do.
Sometimes now he eats only half of his food, while two weeks ago he ate all of it, and once again, he may fall asleep at the table. It is as if a cloud of fog has settled over him and he lost contact with everything around him.
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