Holidays and Pill Troubles (or Two Steps Forward and One Step Back)

It’s been a while since my last update, and I apologize for that, but it has, overall, been a very good week.

Honestly, I’ve been enjoying decorating the house for Jacquelynn and trying very hard to bring as much holiday joy into the place as possible, and a lot of things have been sidelined in favor of that task.   We’ve also had a run of incredible weather and have therefore been taking more and more of her beloved brisk walks through the neighborhood.

I even took an hour-and-a-half to myself for a motorcycle ride yesterday. It’s never easy leaving her here alone, but she insisted I go, and I must admit that I had a very good time just riding and breathing.  She had a nice nap while I was gone, too.

Jacquelynn has, for whatever reason, taken a bit of a step backward in relation to taking her pills.  As I’ve mentioned before, between three prescriptions and all her supplements, she now has between 37 and 40 individual doses to take daily (some are only 2-or-3 weekly).  By working as many of these into her food (smoothies, primarily) as possible, I have her down to 20 actual pills daily. These have begun to give her a problem.

Initially, and for many weeks now, Jacquelynn has simply drunk her water or cranberry juice and shot each pill down on command. She has begun, however, to fight them. She moves her jaw around, maneuvers the pill about her mouth with her tongue, and makes a very tense production over almost every pill she takes. I think it began several days ago when one, in particular, gave her fits going down, and she finally resorted to chewing it.* Since then, she has difficulty with even the tiniest of them, often requiring repeated attempts with each.

Unfortunately, my attempts to help are sometimes interpreted by her as complaints, and occasionally even insulting. She is still very sensitive and emotionally fragile. There have been multiple tear-filled confrontations as she felt I was judging or criticizing her when I was simply trying to help.

Yes, I still make the mistake of assuming she’ll understand my intent when I reach out. And sometimes, she will. More often, though, she feels put down and will respond with a tearful “I’m not stupid.” I’d give anything to avoid ever letting her feel that I’m calling her such a thing, but it can be difficult to see her reactions coming. I never really know what to expect as far as reactions from her, to be candid, and that’s both frightening and exhausting.

On a lighter note, she seems to have completely avoided any adverse side effects from going off the Risperidone. Aside from the few times she awoke and thought she saw something scary (usually my shadow on the ceiling from the nightlight), there hasn’t been a single scare. I’m going out on a limb and conclude that she’s past the need for any antipsychotics.

But she still struggles for words, and is, in fact, having a rough couple of days on that front. The more difficulty she has in finding the right word or expression, the more she feels as if she’s not actually getting better, and the harder it can be to lift her confidence again. I need for her to stay confident. She needs to feel confident, because if she stops believing in her success, then she will inevitably fail.

But thus far today (it’s almost 6 p.m. as I write this), her pills have all gone down with relative ease. We took a trip to the library to pick up a book I had on reserve and did a little shopping, and she always enjoys her time out of the house. She has even asked if she might read the book when I’m finished with it. Now, it has been a long time since she expressed an actual desire and intent to do any reading, and I’m extremely pleased to hear her do so. I’m very curious if her short-term memory will allow her to get anything out of it. Fingers crossed, I’m very hopeful.

Tomorrow is another warmer-than-usual day, though it may rain a bit. We’re still planning a couple of walks and a trip to Whole Foods and Costco. She’s looking forward to taking a drive tomorrow evening to see some of the outdoor light displays in our area.  That used to be a favorite activity this time of year, but we haven’t done so in years.  I’m hoping it’ll make her smile.


*Fortunately, this particular pill was not one which forbids chewing.  Some few of them prohibit cutting or in any way breaking the pill before swallowing.

And, yes, I know I’ve used this lead image before.  Still, it seems more than apropos of late.

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