Monday, May 15, 2006

Fluctuating Cognition

One of the main symptoms of Lewy Body Disease is the affected person's abilities fluctuating from day to day, even hour to hour.
Today Mom had a sleepy day. After sleeping all night, she slept most of the day.
I didn't visit her until 6 pm, and the caregivers immediately reported that she had been sleeping in her recliner all day. It was difficult to get her awake to go to lunch and dinner.
When I greeted her, she immediately spoke to me and opened her eyes, looking normal to me for a few moments.
"I brought you from flowers from Marie."
"Oh, good. They're beautiful," she said, looking at them.
"Marie should have brought them herself, but today is her first day at her job, being a hostess for a restaurant."
"Oh, I see. She'll enjoy that."
"I see you had your hair done," I said.
"Yes, but that woman is always a problem," Mom said. True. The hairdresser sends customers back to their rooms if she isn't ready for them, sometimes makes a few curls with a curling iron instead of putting the hair on rollers to dry.
But while I spoke to Connie, her private caregiver, for a few minutes, Mom went back to sleep.
"Okay, Mom. I'll put the flowers in water. Look at this one--isn't it pretty?"
No response. She sat in her wheelchair with her eyes closed.
"You look sleepy, Mom."
No response.
"I guess we had such a big day yesterday, going to Denny's and everything, that you're tired today."
No response.
"Okay, I'm going to go to Sav-On and buy some Depends. I'll be back soon."
No response. Not even opening her eyes.
It's as if her brain were a computer that hadn't booted up properly. Just no screen there at all.
What a contrast to yesterday, when she did so much walking and talking, laughing and telling me one crazy story after another.
It's as if she were manic yesterday or in high gear but locked in neutral today.
Now I feel grateful for the interaction we had yesterday, strange as some of it was. At least she was somewhat like her old self, talking and laughing.
Today is scary. It reminds me that each day is a gift, not guaranteed for tomorrow.

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