Medicine is a better profession because of Dr. K. She is the embodiment of everything any patient or family would want in a doctor – warm and engaging, incredible rapor and bedside manner, optimistic while being realistic. She is a medical superstar. If only more doctors were like her.
Through my own readings and as Dr. K. explains, a patient can spend many years in the early, mild stages of dementia as mom apparently has. As the disease progresses from moderate to severe there is less time between stages so the decline is more noticeable; there are more functional impairments. This is what I am seeing now, and let me tell you, it’s quite painful.
Based on my descriptions to Dr. K., mom is definitely moving into the next stage of dementia. This is a frightful disease. There is no stopping it. It is a constant, insidious progression. With certain thresholds of damage there is a larger functional decline.
Mom now has what Dr. K. calls apraxia — she is unable to take what I’m telling her and act upon it. This is most visible in my reminders to her to take her meds, which is why I started having someone come up to give them to her. Behaviorally, she recently started to sometimes get a little confused, mostly in the afternoon; this was most evident this past Wednesday. She has also developed a degree of apathy, another symptom of the progression of the disease.
I’m hoping to get her into assisted living by the end of the month. I still question and wonder if I waited too long to move forward with this. Dr. K has reassured me I haven’t. She told me there’s no right or wrong — that I was just trying to help her maintain her independence for as long as I could, and not to beat myself up over this.
Can’t say that’s been easy for me to do these past couple of days.