Please note that this is a personal story submitted by an About.com reader.
About six months after my husband, Carlos, had a stroke (in March of 2003), he began to experience periods of depression and accompanying listlessness. Nothing interested him. Although he'd watch the television screen, he seemed to be looking off into space, without the slightest interest in whatever appeared on the screen.
When I called this to the attention of his doctor, she ordered blood testing, which showed that he had a Vitamin B deficiency. Monthly Vitamin B injections seemed to combat this problem.
However, his memory was malfunctioning. Although he had periods of appearing to be normal, there were other times he seemed to be confused.
About six months later, a psychiatrist (after giving him various tests) diagnosed him as having "Alzheimer's Type."
Since that time his situation has slowly gone downhill.
At first I felt that Carlos was simply bored with life. He had no family here (it's a second marriage for the two of us), and I felt that it was natural for him to remember his once-active lifestyle. I secretly knew, though, that this was probably not true.
The first three years after the stroke brought little change. He attends a day care center twice a week, where he interacts with other seniors who are similarly disabled.
Since I'm actively involved in the community, and often attend meetings, he probably feels that the day-care center is a place where he, too, can attend meetings, and thus give him a sense of self worth.
Carlos does not know that he has Alzheimer's, and I feel that it's not necessary for him to know. He's a macho Mexican, and macho Mexicans never admit that they could have a problem, particularly a mental problem.
About eight months ago he began to inappropriately touch women. Although his actions seemed to be impulsive, they increased as time went by, and the day-care center threatened to expel him. He is now taking medication to control these impulses.
He has reached the stage where every day is a revelation. The past month has been particularly difficult, as he's been experiencing severe pain in the calf of his right leg, and it was swollen from his knee to the tip of his toes. Three visits to the ER of the local hospital didn't result in any diagnosis of his problem, and pain pills were prescribed. Two days ago, we were back in the ER with him experiencing still more pain, but this time in his lower back area. Again, though, no diagnosis could be made.
Me? Well, I manage the best that I can. When he tries to arise from his chair, with me pulling him up, he often falls back into the chair, crying out in pain, and pulls me back into the chair on top of him.
Then, yesterday, when he lost complete control of his bowels, I can only say that it was a BIG MESS! Next chapter? Darned if I know!!!
In the meantime, his primary care physician is only available by appointment. I talked with the psychiatrist who first diagnosed him as being "Alzheimer's Type" and his only statement was...."It'll get worse!"
Shirley can be contacted
shirley2 at impulse.net