This Weeks Later Stage Lewy Body Dialogue Chapter

Note: I am starting the "Later Stage" section of the blog with Chapter 98, the one that marks the beginning of Pat's transition from living at home into institutionalized care. I will publish a new chapter every week from Ch 98-154, the final chapter written in the Lewy Body Dialogue section of this blog. Chapters after Ch.155 will be posted in this blog but in the "Living after Lewy Body" section. 

Ch.98 Ron has a Panic Attack and Pat has a Urinary Tract Infection

June, 2021

          Pat began getting weaker about three weeks ago. A little at first, then more. About one week ago I began lifting her out of bed and from the car. She just didn’t have any energy. We were still doing ok, though, until, suddenly, “the center did not hold.”

          First, my lower back began hurting. Then Pat couldn’t get up in the morning for our monthly St.Paul area support group zoom meeting. In fact, she slept 16 hours straight. And then, in the middle of the meeting that I was attending alone, I sensed a panic attack developing. Soon, I was in bed next to Pat, shaking in dread, while she told me she loved me and tried to comfort me even in her weakness. I realized I/we needed immediate assistance, so I called my daughter Jenny; she arrived at our home within a half-hour from her place in Eau Claire. I found it quite astounding that the instant she said she was on her way I felt my panic attack begin to ebb.

          Jenny pretty much took charge. She had me call Pat’s doctor’s nurse, who advised we escort Pat immediately to the Eau Claire Mayo Clinic Hospital Emergency Room. Surprisingly, Pat made no objection, which confirmed that she was really, really sick. Within an hour at the hospital Pat was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and a “critically low” magnesium level.

          I’m writing this essay the next morning from home. Jenny is staying with Pat this morning while I will visit this afternoon. Pat is doing considerably better already, to the point she’s wanting to get out of the hospital. Probably, though, she will need a few more days in the hospital or a rehabilitation center to recover.

          I have now realized the limit of how long I can continue to maintain our current living arrangement. If Pat were to need me regularly to lift her from bed or the car, I could easily redevelop sciatic pain in my lower back and legs (I had a severe episode several years ago that almost resulted in surgery). Then we would both be in trouble.

           I never thought I was a superhero or impregnable, but I had hoped I wouldn’t need to address these limits for a few more years, until I reached 80 years old. So much for that theory. Now I need to get more serious about checking out ways to protect my body (lifting lessons might be useful for the hopefully occasional situation where Pat would need help) and we need to find better ways for Pat to get in and out of bed and cars. At a deeper level, though, we also need to look at moving into one of our children’s homes and we also need to check out assisted living or memory care centers availability to get on one or more waiting lists. We have both held off on these organizations way too long, but it’s certainly time now to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

          These are painful thoughts. BUT Pat is getting better, I planted our raised bed with flowers early this morning, and we are still a team.

Pat’s comments on Ron has a Panic Attack and Pat has a Urinary Tract Infection.

          I don’t remember Ron having a panic attack.

          I know you can’t keep lifting me forever.

          All in all, I feel pleased. I wasn’t at the time but I am now.

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