Friday, November 20, 2009

An interesting Alzheimer's fact

We went to see the doctor a week ago and I finally remembered to ask him about temperature sensations in the Alzheimer's patient. Over the past few month my husband has been eternally cold. This was less a problem in September than it is in November. In a house where I will sleep practically naked, Bob is wearing flannel pajamas and has four blankets on top of him before he is warm enough.

When I'd mentioned this to my friends, women whose husbands also have AzD, they had all agreed they deal with the same issue.

Turns out that this is not uncommon. The doctor says that the difficulty may pass or ... linger. Whichever, try just to keep him comfortable -- thank God I'm through with hot flashes! He explained that the section of our brain that allows us to regulate bodily temperature runs right along the memory center, the hippocampus and others. Huh!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Taking an autumn walk

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. We have lived in this house, in this subdivision, which has but one entrance and is a single street with three branches leading to cul de sacs housing 40 families, for 25 years.
We have been the “walkers” in the neighborhood for 22 of those 25 years; once at a party when someone said, “Oh you’re the walkers,” I corrected them by saying, “No, we’re the Menchhofers.”

This is home. Today for the first time, Bob got lost.

A glorious autumn day, we went for a walk but called it quits after about 20 minutes. I have a bum knee, and the doctor said to let the pain tell me when to stop. After we got back and I settled on the couch with an ice pack, Bob decided he wanted to walk a bit more.

How long do you wait when you begin to feel nervous about a person with dementia going for a walk? Six out of 10 Alzheimer’s patients wander. He wasn’t “wandering;” he’d gone for a walk.

Ten minutes passed. He’d promised it would be a short one. Fifteen minutes. I decided if he wasn’t back by fifteen after the hour, I’d take a drive. Shortly afterwards the door bell rang; I could see Bob out on the porch; sometimes he has trouble figuring how to get inside, but I saw someone else at the door. John, a neighbor we don’t know except to exchange brief comments as he passes us, he’s a runner, had brought Bob home.

He introduced himself and gave me a firm handshake. He spoke pleasantly about the conversation they’d had and how it all worked out perfectly since he had needed to cool down and he and Bob walked home together; he was really telling me that he’d helped Bob find his way back.

Later I asked Bob if he’d gotten lost. He didn’t really answer. He did say that he was sort of looking around and then John started walking with him. He said that John immediately seemed to recognize that, with all the leaves falling, everything looked less familiar.

Bob is glad to have made a new friend.