Reading about y'all's worse troubles makes me fear doing anything that might make my husband's state worse than it is now.
We are both 70 (married 50 years). At age 59 he was diagnosed with heart failure and diabetes (brittle diabetic on insulin). His health and especially his moods and memory/judgement have been up and down ever since, usually swinging with his blood sugar level (once to three times a day). He has good care from the VA, so if he were bipolar or had Alzheimer's they would have detected it. They gave him Bupropion for PTSD (Vietnam).
Most days he will have several good periods when he functions like his old self: high mental energy, somewhat extroverted, restless. We go to town, eat out, all is normal. Sometimes this lasts for a few days; he starts home improvement projects. On his bad days he usually sleeps most of the time.
The problem is when an upsetting incident happens on a high energy day. He freaks out, takes charge (he was oldest sibling as well as petty officer in Vietnam), soon is yelling at me -- but may forget all or most of it in a day or two, or even a shorter time.
His doctors say his diabetes and heart failure are improving; lesser problems like a neck injury or mysterious joint pain are improving -- so it is very easy for me to feel each temporary improvement in his mental/emotional functioning is permanent, he is back to normal! At those times, I get 'uppity'. If I disagree about something, I say so. If he snaps at me, I snap back. This can lead to him exhausting himself yelling at me, or exhausting himself going to town by himself without my usual help. We've seen couples counselors in past years, but that's a stressful thing too.
There's more, but I guess this is enough for a first post. I'm looking for a middle ground -- a middle tight-rope? -- between treating him as a lunatic to be humored AT ALL TIMES, and stressing him by acting what feels 'normal' to me.
I hear Dementia caregivers say, "The person you loved is already dead; just take care of the shell." I cannot believe that -- especially since the diagnoses are against Altheimer's (current brain scans etc), and a couples counselor we consulted through 2009-10 said there was nothing wrong with either of us brain-wise or dementia-wise except stress.
If there is some other group I should be posting to instead of here, I'd appreciate some key words to search for. I'm looking into local support groups, but online is much better for me timewise.