One Very Bad Day In Memoryland– A Blip or Ralph’s Future?

 

IMG_0470This is the view I went to sleep and woke up to this morning and will again tomorrow, a far different view that I posted, was it only yesterday morning? And was it only yesterday that I mentioned a niggling suspicion that something was more “off” than usual with Ralph? It seems like ages ago.

After I posted those concerns yesterday, I went to wake Ralph up for the second or third time in the morning and this time I made him get out of bed. He’d slept for about sixteen hours and although he was not as spacey as the night before (including symptoms I realize now that I downplayed in my post) he still didn’t seem quite right to me.  I couldn’t exactly say why, but intuition kicked in and I called the Brain Center at Emory. They took my symptom description extremely seriously and told me to head to an urgent care. Urgent Care listened to the symptoms and immediately sent me to my local hospital emergency room. It freaked me out a little that Emory was so concerned.

Even as we drove and I repeatedly retold Ralph where we were going and the reason, I wasn’t sure if I was over-reacting. Was there something actually wrong or was Ralph just exhibiting his new level of cognitive impairment (that scary word dementia swirling in my head)? And which would be worse—that he’d had a small stroke (or that a large one was about to come) or that his Alzheimer’s had progressed?

Actually, at this point in real time (real time interrupted every two minutes as I jump up to turn off his malfunctioning hydration buzzer) I don’t know which is true. The hospital admitted him because the tests run yesterday showed his white blood cell count seriously elevated, but the doctors are puzzled because the tests so far show no sign of the infections that usually accompany this kind of count. The count itself  has come down somewhat today, perhaps because Ralph has been getting intravenous hydration, but the numbers are  nowhere near normal and the hospital is keeping him at least another night while waiting for some more testing results.

Meanwhile, again perhaps thanks to hydration, he seems lucid when he is awake. But, except when a couple of close friends visited, he has mostly been asleep. I’m not sure if he is exhausted by this experience, if he is ill, or if this is about how much he’d like to sleep most of the time at home if I let him. Similarly, is illness or being in the hospital or some combination of both the reason he has no appetite and is generally shaky weak and without a modicum of energy? More worrisome because so out of character, Ralph has not asked about his dogs; nor, amazingly, has he voiced any interest in smoking.

The doctors have said that cognitively compromised individuals are more prone to becoming disoriented as a result of what would seem minor illnesses or health issues, including anxiety, for others. Given that we are moving in three weeks, (and don’t let me get started on the practicalities that threaten to go awry now) Ralph is certainly under stress. But has the stress caused him a temporary physical and mental set back or has his new normal dropped a notch or more. The doctors tell me I did the right thing in bringing him in, and given his blood count I guess they are right, but I wonder if he is now on a slope that is only slippery but also more steeply downhill than I am ready to handle.

And there goes that damn buzzer again!

 

 

16 thoughts on “One Very Bad Day In Memoryland– A Blip or Ralph’s Future?

  1. You have a lot on your plate and little of it is good. I know you are worried, confused, and doubtful. But you will get through this. You will make some alterations to your plans and work things out as you move along. You will be ok. I wish I could hug you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This wasn’t quite what I meant when I asked for a picture of your new view! Sorry to hear about what has happened and hope Ralph is better soon. If he has been dehydrated it may be a urinary tract infection. Dad always became more confused when he had an infection brewing (in his case usually respiratory or uti). One of the most difficult things was ensuring he drank enough not to become dehydrated. He never seemed to feel the need to drink. The poor man must have got so fed up with me constantly offering him drinks of juice, or a glass of water or a cup of tea. As for the downward slope, I can only speak for vascular dementia in which case there is a dip then a levelling out, remaining on a plateau for while. No wonder you needed a hug – sending another – and wishing you well for the move to go as smoothly as it can.

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  3. Oh, I am so very sorry… this is so scary. My heart goes out to you. Please keep posting and let us know what’s going on. Robert was what I would call slow/subdued today and when I asked him about it he said he was very tired. He can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. :/ I hope the dr’s find out what’s wrong. Praying for you both.

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    1. Oops, read your other note before this. I will post in a bit about what doctors have found, but wanted to say to you personally that I appreciate even more today how difficult it is for all of us to read what is going on with our spouses on a daily basis. When is tired tired and when is it something else? All you can do is trust your instinct and not beat yourself up when your instinct is slightly off. We can only know so much.

      Liked by 1 person

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