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    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2012
    I have just learned something I believe. I am starting my 7th month of being alone at home and while many things have occured inside and it's undeniable I am getting more stable as the months pass, there is something deeper beyond what has been understandable so far. I think this is one of the words I've been looking for.

    Here is the Wikipedia version which I found nice and clear and which I suspect you will recognize:

    "Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event. When that trauma leads to posttraumatic stress disorder, damage may involve physical changes inside the brain and to brain chemistry, which changes the person's response to future stress.

    A traumatic event involves a single experience, or an enduring or repeating event or events, that completely overwhelm the individual's ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved with that experience. The sense of being overwhelmed can be delayed by weeks, years or even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances. Psychological trauma can lead to serious long-term negative consequences that are often overlooked even by mental health professionals: "If clinicians fail to look through a trauma lens and to conceptualize client problems as related possibly to current or past trauma, they may fail to see that trauma victims, young and old, organize much of their lives around repetitive patterns of reliving and warding off traumatic memories, reminders, and affects."

    Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are a few common aspects. There is frequently a violation of the person's familiar ideas about the world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity. This is also seen when people or institutions, depended on for survival, violate or betray or disillusion the person in some unforeseen way.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2012
    I have trauma. And I suspect it is going to be true that a large percentage of Alzheimer's spouses and (and Parkinson's spouses) have a form of post traumatic stress disorder afterwards which is developed during.

    I fit into this like a glove. Put simply these events have been so powerful that my mind no longer sees things and believes things in the way that was once 'Wolf'. Beneath the obvious where every phrase is right next door to the obvious, is a serious psychological state where I have undergone such trauma, that my mind has changed how it sees reality to protect me. This is evidenced strongly in how I react to events and thoughts.

    It also lays a believable foundation (to me) for why at many moments I feel somewhat alien in my own skin. It also clarifies the conflict inside that I can feel virtually every day at times and comes to the fore when I am thinking about what I will do or must do.

    My personality is coming to all the changes I am now facing with what is 'me'. But what is 'me' has changed because underneath my mind knows how much damage and hurt this has caused inside beyond what I would care to conciously admit - to the point that I have two simultaneous threads of reality running parallel.

    That might be described as the thoughts I have of who I am (and was) and the truth of how I react and think now. The conflict is that they are substantially different. I can feel that conflict when I push myself to do things I have not naturally recently been inclined to do and react in ways that wouldn't have been normal for me before.

    The danger is that while it is obvious that events like this would have affects like this - trauma is a very real psychological condition further compounded by our strong reluctance to accept we may have been seriously affected by powerful events that have happened to us.

    I see this very thing around me in other forms. A reasonable example might be the fear of getting old as we are getting old. I would ask for Bama's (and others) patience here because my lifelong experience is that when a younger person speaks about getting old to an older person, that older person poo-poo's it completely which can't be right either. Some I know have such a fear of the truth in the mirror and on the calendar, that they go to extreme lengths to protect themselves. For instance you can be sure they have forgotten any such conversation or reference to age within minutes. They squirm and even ask you not to speak of it. The extreme 10% in this example I would say have actual mental trauma about getting older.

    Here in AD and it's related forms, the power and reality of the events and their effect on our lives are so clear and evident that their seriousness is overlooked by their obviousness.

    Not everyone gets this and I don't believe it's a permanent state although I do believe it will take real effort and understanding to re-convince the mind that has been convinced of the truths - that those are not the truths. The truth is I want to be happy again and I'm willing to risk further hurts and disappointments without undue concern.

    Uh huh. Talk to the hand. I fit that first post like a custom made glove.
    Wolf: I've had/have/PTSD or Psych Trauma and reacted much as your post describes. In my case it was not the separation from the love of my life, or AD related at all, it was as the result of being in a violent life threating confrontation. One that resulted in the death of another human being.

    I believe that intense burst of adrenaline released during those brief moments was such an extream and overwhelming jolt, that the circuits in my brain were permanently altered. I was still shaking uncontrollably 24 hours after the event and would lapse into that behavior at the least reminder.

    There is help available that will enable you to alleviate most of the symptoms. My self confident, arrogantance of youth in those days said I could depend on the theory that time heals all wounds. I delayed seeking professional help and suffered the torments of the damned for months. PTSD or Psych Trauma events remain permanently etched on the chips of our mind's memory banks. they never leave, time doesn't not necessarily cause them to fade into oblivion.
    With professional help Psych Trauma/PTSD victims can be taught not to access those memory files quite so frequently, how to read those files when you do that unintentional file search triggered by whatever. I was taught how all that transpired into prospective and yes with time you cease to review those memory bank files quite so frequently and intently and life does go on.

    Wolf I hope for you that Joy can and will return. Keep in mind, however the new JOY is never quite 100% the same of what the former joy we had was. Love is unique, be it the love of life when given a second chance at it or the love of another.
    I have trauma. Maybe we should make a tee shirt. All of us here need one.
    Thanks Wolf.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2012
    Wolf - as I read your post it brought back so many memories. When I was going through counseling for my abusive childhood (physical, mental and emotional) that is exactly what it was. I first had to go through my memories - right or wrong - and own them. This took a year of 2 hours once a week. For most of those two hours I was crying and in my 'black hole' which enabled me to handle the intense pain. After a year my counselor told me it was time to make a decision - stay in my comfort zone which was the pain, stinky thinking, and resulting reactions OR step over the fence.

    At first I stradled it then took a leap of faith into a frightening, scary world. I had to reconcile the past pain and learn to not react to triggers. It is those triggers that result in the PTSD. For soldiers fireworks will trigger reactions - memories of guns firing. For me it was seeing certain types of me (usually heavyset men since one of my abusers was a big guy) and the worst is profanity. When I can't help being around people that use profanity I have to suck it in especially if they are loud mouths. The young workamper we have uses it and despite my requesting not using it in the office, she does. After all these years it still turns my skin - not so much the words as the loud voice she uses. More than once my son will use it and I just want to flatten him. He learned to us it in the Marine Corp and that makes him a 'man' according to him.

    From reading your post that is the process you describe we must go through to come out 'overcomers' on the other side. I know I try to use those skills I learned to not sink into depression but easier said than done. I know believe after reading your post that what I learned to get past abuse will have to be used to get past all the emotional crap from this journey. I know I told my sister after a year of hybernating in her room following her husband's death it was time she made a decision - life or slow death. Well, she choose the slow death which resulted in a stroke and she has not made an effort to move forward. Personally, I would rather be dead than to sit around waiting for death. If I can't live, then give me death!

    I believe that is what we have witnessed from those whose spouse has died here - they are numb, then start the healing process. Some get to it quickly, others it takes a long time. It takes a lot of energy to step out and move forward. There is a book I read years ago called 'Three steps forward, two steps back.' I remember times when I felt I was 3 steps forward, 4 steps back. Gradually it got to be 3 forward, 2.99 back, 3 forward, 2 back, etc. If I can remember what I learned years ago in counseling and that I taught others when I counseled them, maybe when this is over I won't have so much work to go on (if I survive!). You write about it, you are recognizing it and maybe you also will not have it so hard - hard but not so hard.
    • CommentAuthorFayeBay*
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2012 edited
    This is a subject I am all too familiar with but have no idea how to put into words.
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2012

    Thank you for sharing this. It validates something I've been thinking and feeling for quite a while.

    I believe that being a caregiver involves more than stress and overwork and grief. It is definitely a trauma—an ongoing one. We are watching our spouses die in slow motion right in front of our eyes, and we can't do anything about it. And I'm watching my own life be destroyed right along with my husband's. There's nothing left of that life any more. It's hard to heal from something when it goes on and on and on. And when someone wants to tell me that one day this will be over, they seem to forget that means that my husband will have died. That is definitely not something to look forward to.

    I, too, have the feeling that I'm not quite at home in my body any more. I'm definitely not the same person I used to be. That person is not even buried deep down inside me, like it used to be. We are in our tenth year since diagnosis, and that doesn't count the years before that when DH and I both knew that something was very wrong, but could not get a diagnosis. With that many years of caregiving behind me, it isn't surprising that I would have changed permanently. This isn't a crisis, where you live through it and go on with your life—this is my life now. The old normal is gone forever, and it isn't coming back. And neither am I.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2012
    It's a serious topic which doesn't solve how to get through a day; but, is definitely one of the key's in understanding for some of us.

    I had none of these perceptions when I had her with me. I became a pro at blocking out things except what was in front of me and necessary as we all do. We think about things but I suspect few go deep with them or at least I didn't.

    It's only in the last month or so after some six months on my own where each month has been a little different and only now is there sufficient looking outward from inside in a deeper more involved way and from that a recognition that things are not what they were inside. I'm not suddenly somebody else and I'm still quite recognizable to myself in many ways. I understand what I've been through and I know it's one day at a time and all that; but, there's more to it than that.

    I now have to begin understanding and recognizing that I've actually changed because of the traumatic events that I am going through, be accepting that I can be grateful that our minds help us and that my changes inside are almost certainly to protect myself, and begin the work of gradually convincing myself that I want to and can do certain things one step at a time while remaining sensitive to the fact that I am fragile and it's going to take real evidence for my insides to start opening to potential hurts and trust that I can bounce off them and to allow myself to stay away from those where I think I can't.

    Again, always sounds obvious. Like saying we have to learn to accept this which isn't actually saying anything at all because there's absolutely zero information in that phrase. But the difference is that I now believe I have a mental/medical condition where I'm not prone to jumping to conclusions but this sounds seriously like truth. I suspect that opinion is going to help me make some better choices. Time is definitely going to tell.

    Notice that some fall in love, get married, or otherwise have happy lives again. The point is to find our way when this is passed. And while no single word can encapsulate that, true meanings can and do when we are open to them. That includes not facing something if we're not.
    I'm not at the point where I have anything constructive to contribute from a personal perspective. I'm processing the reconciliation of the last two years of what I would call constant trauma to the years that came before. Sometimes the memories of the final couple of months seem to be fading, or at least the intensity, guilt and anger experienced during that time. I'm confident of my decisions at the very end but not yet of much before that.

    As I find letters, journals and other written words of the years before I realize how complex our relationship was and how much I increasingly believe the trauma extends back at least 8 years. Before then, the clarity of my husband's words provoke a lot of behavioral grief on my part as I wonder if we really ever lived that life.

    "Treatment of Complicated Mourning" by Therese Rando is an old text that has given me a lot of comfort. IMO she comes from a pretty strong trauma related perspective. She can be literal in using "mourning" as after death but I don't think anyone would go wrong substituting "grief" for much of what she writes.
    One of the most curative actions one can take to cope with PTSD, Psych Trauma, mourning, grief, the label matters not, is to talk about the stress and share your feelings. This is what makes this site unique, its membership is willing to listen. The membership here listens to one another offering suggestions and solice, contrary to most acquaintances who have little or no interest listening to our personal issues & caregiver problems. Here, in this forum, we're all in the same boat, and all doing our best to keep one another afloat
    • CommentAuthorFayeBay*
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2012 edited
    After he passed on I was going through his personal papers
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    For reasons that I'll explain in more detail later, I searched the message boards for "PSTD" and found this 5-year-old thread. Although it's not exactly what I was looking for, I think the comments are excellent so I'm bringing it to the top.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    The reason I brought this thread to the top is that I'm wondering if I have a little bit of PSTD. My husband struggled to breathe for a day and a half before he died and the medical staff were not able to give him respite. I was completely unprepared for this but even if I had known it might happen, it would not have helped me to deal with it. I would have done anything to stop his suffering. This past week, memories of this began to intrude into my thinking. If I let them, these memories can take over entirely, leading to a panic attack.
    Yes, myrtle, I had a similar experience. The horrific memories will float up as if my head is a magic 8 ball. I just finished getting tax information gathered up and viewing the receipts and expenses triggered it big time. Every time I drive past Hospice Home, I am reminded. And sometimes the panic comes even though I wasn't conscious of thinking about his illness and demise.

    The cognitive mistakes are scary because they also trigger memories of AD. It is a warped and bad merry-go-round, but it does start to slow down eventually.

    I have heard similar stories from other surviving spouses. This traumatic response is probably more common than we realize. You just need to be careful and take your time so you don't get hurt.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    marche, Thanks for posting. I was wondering if you had experienced this since your husband also had such a hard time. I find it odd that nothing in the hospice literature tells us that the dying process can be so horrific. (Although what good would that knowledge do, anyhow, except to cause dread?) Nor does it address the traumatic effect of watching a loved one go through this. One of the most shocking things for me was what I learned about myself -- that I am capable of mercy killing, given the means and opportunity, which thankfully I did not have. This realization has shaken me. I wish I could have gone through life without thinking about this stuff. I know that some people are interested in personal growth, but I am not. I'm just tired.
    You hung in there by his side through it all, Myrtle. I have seen some rough deaths in my years as a nurse, even with all being done that could be done. You were there, right there until the end, and I'm sure he knows and appreciates that. Not everyone can do what you did for your husband. It is hard on the ones watching at the bedside, and hard on the ones left behind after the person dies, but you were there all through the struggle, Myrtle. It says a lot about you and your strength. Not knowing all the details, I can't really comment on the clinical care he was given, but I know from my own experiences that sometimes it is a very fine line between keeping the patient comfortable and giving a little too much medication and killing the patient. Any health care worker that I know of or have worked with in this situation has been very careful not to cross that line.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    But why? We do not allow our pets to suffer like this. If my husbands medication (morphine, I guess) had not been increased when his breathing became bad, I
    would not have watched him suffer, I would have put the pillow over his head. I was crackers by then so perhaps I could have claimed insanity as a plea if I was charged with murder.
    So sorry for you Myrtle, to be left with such vile memories and what does it say about our society that we have to let our loved ones suffer yet we can save our pets from such horror.

    ......Thanks for bringing this subject to the top. It's one of my favorite complaints
    about our wonderful humanitarian country.

    ......After a long, painful illness, my brother-in-law, John, was terminally
    ill and on his way out. The hospital had called the family and said they
    didn't expect him to live through the night. The family had gathered late
    that night at his bedside to say their last goodbyes and John seemed rather
    happy that it would soon be over. He was all doped up with pain medication
    as he bid them farewell.
    .......His oldest son, Ted, told me that he went back to the hospital the next
    morning and found that John was still alive. His dad told him he woke up this
    morning and said to myself....."Oh shit....I'm still alive".
    ......Well.....later that day, John got his wish, but it started me thinking about
    the right to die. I'm sure John would have ended his suffering sooner if he
    could have done so. They call it suicide and there is no law against suicide,
    but John, in his condition at that time, didn't have the where-with-all to do it
    without help. And there is a law against that. They call it assisted suicide.
    ......I know that some countries around the world, and four of our own states
    have changed their laws in this regard, But what about the rest of us?
    ......In my own case, My Dear Helen lived with vascular dementia for her last
    eight years but it was in no way painful for her, but if it had been, I
    would have wasted no time in putting an end to it. Making myself a criminal.
    ......In the case of prisoners who have come to realize the horrible atrocities
    they have committed, and desire nothing more than to just die and have to
    devise devious and ingenious ways to kill themselves in their prison cells,
    the government says can't kill yourself....We have to murder you.
    My great aunt, Thelma, who suffered from incurable cancer for years in a
    nursing home found a way out and just refused to eat or drink, but it took
    almost a week. Good for her, but if you're a criminal, they have a way to
    prevent that.
    .......Now I'm wondering, Am I crazy for thinking we should have a right to die.
    I know we have a right to live. But isn't dying a part of living? Getting
    assistance to live when we want to live is no problem, But how about assistance
    in dying when we want to die?
    ...... No question about it ....... Forcing a person to live can sometimes be cruel
    and inhumane punishment.
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    My mother grew up in rural Northern Ireland in the early 1900’s, and although it was a strongly Catholic community, she said that it was not unusual for family to put a pillow over a suffering or terminal ill person’s face. “What else could you do? You knew they weren’t going to get better, and you couldn’t let them suffer.”
    I believe in snowing the person under with enough medication so they are not in pain. Where it gets sticky is that the meds like morphine also slow the respirations--and if you administer too much, you'll stop the respirations. I've been on the front lines for years with these kinds of issues--been at a lot of deathbeds professionally as well as two personally--my dad and my husband. It is very easy to make comments about how you would kill someone to put them out of their misery. Let me tell you all, it is a different story when you are really, truly, in a position to do it. And I'm not doing it.

    Snow them under, but don't kill them. None of us are God.

    Just coming back to add that my DH was under-medicated until four days before his death, when the nurse made a home visit and the aide cursed him out about the way Hospice was allowing my DH to be so agitated and uncomfortable. The aide said, "This is BS--we are supposed to be helping people--not leaving them like this." Well, Hallelujah--and how long had I been begging for the morphine? So we finally started it, and it was a godsend. He just slept the last four days away peacefully--never struggled after that. But I had been told for years that Hospices across the country chronically under-medicated their patients. So I was angry and frustrated, but not really surprised. And I don't know why they do that. I remember at a conference on health care ethics at Terence Cardinal Cooke Hospital in Manhattan around ten years ago, it was a big discussion subject. Nobody can really explain why dying patients are under-medicated. I think it has something to do with health care people treating narcotics like plutonium--they're just afraid to use too much. Makes absolutely no sense.

    OK, end of rant.
    There may be a fine line between "snowing someone under" and enough morphine to depress respirations.

    Rural Ireland in the early 1900's most likely didn't have anything for intractable pain other than whiskey. We cannot really say what we would or would not do in those circumstances during that time. Some cancers have terrible pain even in our country where pain is treated. I cannot imagine what our ancestors endured. We don't even know what death by cholera or plague is like, but from what I have read, death is a welcome caller.

    I'm not about to say I would or would not hasten an inevitable death. We can talk hypotheticals all day long but at the end of the day it all depends on the circumstances and the people involved. There are no absolutes in life. . .
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    My Doctor said that the increased morphine would kill my husband and I was happy to do that.
    Isn't gradually "snowing them under," to decrease the pain the same thing Elizabeth?
    But just that they don't do it fast enough in hospitals or hospice?
    As you are a professional medical person I understand your dilemma but the rest of us are probably only speaking from a personal level which as you said is very different.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Wise words Marche, as always.
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    When I expressed shock to my mother, "But that's murder," I got the impression from her that the extreme poverty was a factor, too. I was very young at the time, but the gist of at least part of what she said was, '"There wasn't enough food to go around."
    Cassie, no, it's not the same.

    Well, dear friends and fellow health care warriors in the trenches, we will never totally come up with the absolute correct answer. Lots of love, lots of prayers, lots of trying hard to do the best you can do under difficult and varying circumstances. At least we have each other to discuss these issues many people just would never "get it" and/or would be too uncomfortable to handle these kinds of discussions. Love, prayers, peace, and all God's blessings to all of you. Good night for now--see you all tomorrow.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Wow. When I posted my original comments about this subject, I hesitated because I thought the subject might be too distressing or indelicate to speak about. I should have known that the hardy souls on this site would be able to handle it. You guys are great!

    The issue with my husband was not pain. It was something called Cheyne-Stokes respiration, a pattern of progressively deeper breathing, followed by a temporary stop in breathing called apnea. Hospice literature says it might happen in the final phase of dying but with my husband, it lasted for a day and a half. He was exhausted and suffering and despite my efforts, his mouth, which was slightly open, was bone dry and his lips developed sores. There are other conditions (e.g., seizures, congestion) that are not strictly speaking, pain, and which morphine would not alleviate.

    My husband was in the comfort care unit and the staff, who were clearly skilled, checked him regularly and changed his position every two hours. They gave him morphine, Ativan, and a drug for congestion and kept calling someone (hospice?) for authorization to give him more drugs. My impression was that the only thing they could do to stop this process was to administer a lethal dose of morphine, which of course they would not do. At that time there was a news story about the leader of North Korea's brother, who was murdered in Malaysia by a drop of a chemical weapon (a nerve poison) that was put on his face. I told my sister that if I had that poison, I would put a drop on my husband's face. (She was shocked.) I did not tell her that I would administer it to myself, too, for I could not have lived with the knowledge of what I had done.) That's how strongly his suffering affected me. And I guess that's why I'm having these intrusive thoughts and anxiety attacks.
    • CommentAuthorcassie*
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Yes Myrtle, we are all "hardy souls." And it is really good to be able to discuss whatever we need to without repercussions.
    But Marys' post about not enough food did shock me (just a little!)
    Cassie, here in the US there is the story of the Donner Party, a group crossing the mountains in wagons who got caught in a snowstorm and were stranded for the rest of the winter with no food. They were said to have resorted to cannibalism of members of the party who were dying. It is a horrific and gruesome story (I didn't even Google it for accuracy for this post because of that) but the lesson it teaches is that we humans do not know what we are capable of in certain situations. I have also read about the desperation of the starving Irish, certainly not cold and unfeeling people, but people pushed to the limits of human existence.

    I do think it is disingenuous that we are so worried about being charged with murder that we withhold adequate comfort from the dying. Meanwhile, children are being terribly abused, women are sold as sex slaves, genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. . . there is so much suffering out there but no one gets ruffled unless it ends in a death. As if death is so much worse than living life damaged and hurt beyond repair.

    Knowing about and preventing these abuses is a responsibility of all humans, but it is a burden to carry this knowledge around. Viewing something like the short videos on FB of bystanders rescuing a child, a dog, a whale caught in fishing line is antidote enough to keep me from completely losing faith in humanity and giving up.

    I post all of these musings because I do not know what I am capable of in desperate situations. The knowledge that we all possess a "Heart of Darkness" - especially me - is sobering and frightening at times.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2017 edited
    The Donner party evidence from archaeology is inconclusive. In history however it's not rare that groups that were literally starving to death resorted to it in desperation. It's also not rare that certain groups around the globe just did it.

    We have to remember that in the early 1900's the average family had eight children and two of them died. Death was common in virtually every family whether in Ireland or in the USA. Medication was a completely different world then and the current view of medicating people into a stupor and keeping them there didn't exist back then. Many, especially poorer families, had two choices - watch them suffer or end their suffering.

    Great post marche. It is purposeful to view the range of humankind in any one particular way. We possess a heart of darkness and a heart of light because most humans have considerable range in their behaviour. Many people return lost wallets just as many people try to steal them. I can as easily drown anyone in examples of where perfect strangers risked life and limb to help or that perfect strangers committed gruesome acts.

    When we think about it, if there is to be any judgement by a creator then this potential range of behaviour is necessarily so - otherwise there is nothing to be judged by. In the sweep of history which includes the old testament it's clear that we are generally moving to a kinder and more inclusive species. We don't condone slavery anymore. We offer safety nets. Many countries offer state health care. Many countries offer an old age pension. We don't treat the disabled and mentally ill like outcasts anymore. Even lepers. We have animal shelters. We have abuse shelters. Written laws, police, courts, judges, freedom of the press, and countless other Heart Of Light examples. Ask same sex people if humanity is gradually becoming more human.

    How well these things work is debatable; that they exist isn't.

    I would say this is a good thread but that would be self serving. Trauma is one articulation of PTSD. Trauma is also part of Stockholm Syndrome. The hostage sees the world in terms of the abductor because helplessness is traumatizing especially after years in abduction.

    Myrtle, whether we love something or don't doesn't change what that thing is. Willingness has nothing to do with cost to the human being.

    The indications of Stockholm Syndrome are when we see all things in terms of the other. It was a partnership of equal value parts. Half of that value still exists and could use some serious compassion. A medical team like they had would be better, but we're it.

    Marche speaks of 'heart of darkness' but the cruelest thing done in all this is done by us. The compassion we gave to them we do not give ourselves because that would be selfish - which is equal parts idiotic and cruel treatment.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2017
    I love the book The Leisure Seeker. In it the husband is suffering from AD and the wife cancer. Against their doctors and family wishes, who wants them to stay locked up at home to die, they get in their class C motorhome and head to California along Route 66 to relive days of younger years, one last big hooray! Once they get there, she ends it for both of them. She choose the way they wanted to end life, not family or doctors.

    My sister refused to give her husband more than one Vicodin a day for his pain for fear he would become addicted. The guy was 80 years old, suffered bone on bone pain throughout his body and had VaD. Hospice did come in but she refused comfort care other than the one Vicodin a day and tylenol. I think her thinking was so selfish cause she didn't want to loose him. They only had I think 2 years before his stroke, then it was a slow downhill from there. But she said he was her soulmate which is probably why she never recovered or even tried to after he died. As all know here, she stayed in her room, had TIAs and eventually a stroke and died in February almost 7 years to the date of her stroke and 9 years and a few days from when he died.

    My older brother had left a gun with my mom years ago. She always said if she ever started forgetting like her mom she would use it. The joke I make is 'she forgot' but I wish she never had. To see her those last years was so heartbreaking as she battled dementia and CHF. Her last years were worst than her mom or sisters ever experienced. She was juts a shell sitting there no speaking, walking, couldn't feed herself, etc - just there. My brother who gave her the gun said it would have never fired anyway - it was all rusted.

    I say the same thing and hope I don't forget. There was that article about a woman up in BC recently who took her life. She had decided when she got to a point in the disease she would take her life. Her husband helped her but only to get things ready (pills). She had to do it herself due to the law. I have told my husband a couple times if it were me and not him I would be dead by now. (he is not the type to take his life so know it won't affect him) I voted for the assisted suicide law in Oregon when I lived there because I got tired of old people helping put their spouse out of misery and pain going to jail. Just wasn't fair. Unfortunately the law does not apply to people with dementia. When the time comes they have to be able to consent to it and we all know people with dementia are not.

    As to what was asked earlier - yes, people who loose someone can have PTSD. I had it from childhood abuse and traumatic events during my adult life. October and holidays use to be horrible for me. When it would get near October my whole mood would change. It wasn't until I got in counseling in the 90s that I realized it was because so many bad things seems to happen in October - I might not consciously think about it but my subconscious knew and was reacting. When I am around someone who uses profanity, especially a lot, I get triggered because that is how my dad would verbally beat me down.

    One might be fine but when an anniversary of some traumatic event nears, you can be triggered. Recognizing and understanding what is happening is the first step in not letting the PTSD control you but you controlling it.
    • CommentAuthorBev*
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2017
    I was told my husband was dying while I was at a conference with hospice.i think they expected him to die that day or within a day or two. The nursing home asked me if I wanted to stay with him. I stayed with him in the same room for 11 days before he passed. The last four days were as Myrtle described. I prayed for him to stop breathing for good, as he would stop for a long time and then begin again. I was next to him when he took his last breath and was relieved and heartsick at the same time.

    I must say that, so far, I seem to be visualizing him the way he was pre-dementia. It's as though the man who was suffering from dementia was a different person. I'm glad I'm visualizing him this way. I hope what Myrtle is experiencing doesn't happen to me in the future.