Small Steps Are Still Steps. Always Forward.

Now, that was a nice weekend! It was peaceful, fun, and had a great feeling of positivity and progress.   We listened to Christmas music and got a start on decorating the house, too. I have five of my planned nine trees up thus far.

I think maybe some of the new meds (hormones, primarily) are beginning to level. Her moods are a bit more stable than they were the first few days, for one thing.   Also, she seems to be a tiny bit better with short-term recall. This isn’t something I can quantify, rather more of an impression. Still, it feels a bit better to me.

There are, of course, still issues, some old, and some new. As her capability for independence has increased, I’m cautiously letting her do more things for herself, though I try to at least be close by if it’s anything of importance or carries any level of risk.   For instance, taking pills. As her motor skills have improved, she’s begun to take issue with me placing the pills into her mouth, so I will just put whatever she needs on the counter in front of her and busy myself somewhere close.   Occasionally (I’m guessing because she’s grown used to me doing it for her), she’ll just drink and swallow without the pill. Unfortunately, when I remind her of the pill, she thinks she’s taken it and doesn’t understand why I’m asking her to do it again. The cross feeling fades quickly, fortunately, but I wonder if that’s likely to change as her short-term memory continues to improve.

She still loses track mid-conversation and struggles for the right words. For some reason, nouns are the most difficult. The phone is “so you can call”, for example. Names of things and people are what she struggles with most, and I do understand that this is common. If the brain has to sacrifice something, nouns are more expendable than verbs.   Fight-or-flight, the most primal part of the primitive brain, seems almost always the last part to go as a patient declines, and that impulse needs no nouns, only verbs.

I’m also taking as an improvement the fact that she has consciously started a very important (to her) new daily regimen; she has told me that she wants to make sure that, at least once every day, she says “thank you” to me for all I do. I’ve told her it’s not necessary, but I do know how important it is to express your gratitude, so I’ve stopped discouraging it, and in fact, I believe it a big step that she made a commitment to do so all on her own, and she’s done so every day for the last week without anyone but herself to hold her to her promise to do so.

Personally, I’m calling that a clear improvement in memory.

Tomorrow we’re running an experiment. I’m going to a movie. I was going to go Friday, but I became a little uneasy about it so I postponed it.   It’s not a movie she wants to see, and I’ll be gone about 3 hours, total. She’ll have instructions to call me if anything comes up, and of course, I’ll leave the phone on (and probably hold it nervously in my hand the entire time). This will be the longest I’ve left her alone since I left my job at the beginning of September. I was away from 8-12 hours each day then, and she’s definitely better now, so this shouldn’t be a big deal.   But I’m nervous and I can tell she is a bit, too. But she’s also the one insisting I go. I know she’ll feel guilty as hell if I cancel again, so barring a setback, I’m figuring on going.

Wish us luck, and once again, I’m very grateful for all your thoughts and prayers. Many of you comment on these posts via Facebook, and I welcome any comments, questions or any other input you may wish to offer, either by commenting here at the blog or on FB.

I also want to thank a couple dear friends who have come forward and volunteered their time to help me get a bit of time to myself. You know who you are, and it remains very possible I may take you up on your kind offers.

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