My mother is 94, has a physical handicap keeping one knee from bending. Looking back at certain physical signs, I suspected she had Parkinson's or LBD for a while; small shuffling steps, haunched stance, movement problems, freezing during walking. So I took her to a neurologist a couple of years ago for an "expert" opinion. He did what I guess is usual procedure to ascertain her condition. But after all was said and done, he said that she may have some Parkinsonian symptoms but didn't say definitively. But if things get worse to come back.
Two years later, the typical Parkinson's tremors began and worsened. The hallucinations and delusions (which had happened before but only occasionally) were getting more frequent. Now they are almost daily!
The hallucinations and delusions that are really bothersome--to me more than her. Playing along isn't too bad--my husband does that better than me. But other times I just can't handle the things she comes up with. She often thinks she is pregnant. She thinks that the people on TV are real and can hear her; she talks to them but wonders why they don't acknowledge her. She wonders what the lump on her belly is (it's her Depends), but when I explain that to her, she just stares at me like she doesn't understand. I get a lot of blank stares from her, she just doesn't seem to understand much anymore. Normal for Parkinson's?
The delusions are hard to handle. She's thought we implanted a machine in her and asked to see a doctor about "her condition". When we "played along" and said we'd have Dr. X (who had passed away 8 years prior) come to examine her she knew he was dead but continued with the rest of her belief that a machine was implanted in her. Is this typical of delusions? Believing something is happening when it really isn't while at the same time knowing certain other things are for real? In one sentence she says something bizarre, like she's pregnant, and the next sentence she making complete sense. How do I handle this?
Then there's the "I don't know how to" thing. She tells me she doesn't know how to sit up in bed, which way to move left, right, or how it sit down. She tells me she needs to use the bathroom but when I get her up from her chair she asks me where she's going and doesn't know where the bathroom is.
There's more, like when she wakes up in the middle of the night and calls out to me by name, or says "hello" over and over and over and over and over...you get the picture. She doesn't stop until I go and inquire what she wants. Her usual response when I get there is "hi, it's nice to see you, how are you?" More times than not there is nothing she wants, or just doesn't remember why she was so frantically calling out. As you can imagine this is not fun at 2:00 in the AM! She is relentless when she wants something. Like some water that is always by her side but says she doesn't know it's there, so instead she calls for help over and over... Other times she tries to get up (usually from bed) and get "something" on her own which leads to her falling. I put a bed rail to prevent her from falling out of bed, but she has circumvented that a couple of times. She even tries to climb out of her lift chair. Funny thing about that chair, she's had it for about 5 years and from the beginning couldn't learn how to use the up down control. However, now it seems that when she's having an "episode" she can use that control to get up without problem.
I took her back to the neurologist this year because things were getting worse, that the hallucinations and delusions were worse along with moving about. He said if she's not upset by them then it's OK. HUH? He put her on L-dopa. It only helps with tremors.
Advancing Parkinson's and her handicap is more problematic. Getting her toileted is hardest, especially when she's having "off" days. Some days she sleeps all day. Other nights she's up. Some afternoon's she seems like she's in a trance (sundowning?). SNF is out.