Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crazy Relieved....

Inlet Beach, Florida

I have been skirting around this for several days. To write or not to write. Perhaps it took some time to process. Any other time I would post as to not forget what I wanted to post about. 

It seems WB is having strokes. Subacute (less than acute) strokes, deep in the white matter....

That was the news Monday after the occupational therapist also confirmed what we had already noticed. WB was slurring his words and it does come and go. So, Monday's schedule included another trip to Shelby Baptist.

After several long conversations with his team of doctors, I cannot decide where to put this. 

Am I relieved that I know what may be causing this rapid decline? Perhaps
Am I overwhelmed that there is not much we can do? Yes
Have I researched everything I can find on subacute strokes? Of Course
Am I horrified that this will happen again? Absaolutely

I was convinced several years ago that he was having small strokes or TIA's and had some experience recognizing this as my grandmother suffered with this for many years as a result of hypertension. However, when I insisted on testing in 2005 for stroke, the MRI showed nothing.

Then again when he was diagnosed in 2007, the MRI showed "consistent with Alzheimer's Dementia" but nothing that would alert doctors for stroke. Immediately afterward, we consulted a surgeon about the possibility of blocked carotid arteries. One was good, one was questionable. 

Note:  WB is not a surgical candidate. Alzheimer's patients are never encouraged to go "under the knife" or under general anesthesia. It is too large a risk for already impaired cognitive functions. We know of those who have had simple outpatient surgeries and either never woke up or who woke and knew nobody standing in the room with them.

He was already taking blood pressure and cholesterol medicines so I added a baby aspirin per day. ...until they made his ears ring constantly, so I took them out of the regimen.

So I sit here and ponder what to do. Actually, I am not sure as we are in a certain time warp. To treat with more medicines to possibly cause issues with the latest and newest medicines, to insist on surgery to clear the arteries (if they'll even consider it), to run him through another round of appointments with all doctors involved causing more stress for him, to restrict his diet at this point seems cruel, or just give him a baby aspirin. 

In this latest research, I learned that we are lucky that speech and cognition may be all that has been affected. Paralysis is common, so we are relieved.  I go on to find that once a person has had a couple  of small strokes, there can be more to follow. And in some cases a lot more.  This can also set up for  an acute stroke. 

His doctors all agree that what we thought was an AD psychotic episode may have been a direct result of a subacute stroke. He's anxious, blood pressure rises, has a stroke, becomes disoriented, becomes aggressive, is confused, wants to run away, blood pressure continues to rise, more confusion ~ 


I think this may be the reason I did not want to write on it. If I am sounding like a broken record to myself, I shudder at what others must think. This blogs conception was for personal therapeutic purposes. After mentioning the plight of this portal to a very dear friend and recognizing  that it had turned from my therapy to consolation for many others, I began to detect a turn of prose.  

"NO", he exclaimed, "the beauty of the blog is your struggle, your daily caretaker responsibilities, what you are feeling."

In a quandary, I actually find myself relieved. This may be something I can do something about. Even though I do not want to limit WB's intake of his favorite foods, I can do it. Even though I do not want to add to the ever-growing prescription list, I can do it. I can and will make new appointments with his internist to review the blood pressure and cholesterol medicines.

Meanwhile, I will take him to the beach to visit with friends. If the weather cooperates, he can spend the days with us under the tent. If its just too hot, he will spend most days on the porch watching the tide and I will walk with him up and down the water's edge in the evenings before sunset.

Could this be the perfect set-up for living each day as if it were your last?

Note:  The visits are incredible and I continue to be constantly amazed with your support, your interest, your love. My plans are to rework the template to change it up a bit. Don't be surprised if you stop by one day and the landscape has changed!  It changes here fast, and often.

~Just Brantley

Keywords:  Subacute stroke, Billy Ray Brantley, Alzheimer's Dementia, Vascular Dementia. My name is Rhonda Brantley. My husband, Billy Ray Brantley has Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia and I am his caretaker.

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