Tag Archives: exercise

Ann’s Update: 8 Mar 2011

Dear All,

Okay, I’m B-A-A-A-CK.  And never mind asking where I’ve been, because I wouldn’t tell you even if I knew.

Sasha is not only doing well, he’s doing remarkably well on the physical front, and even a little bit on the mental front.  Our two Tibetan ladies, who usually take over during days, have been responsible for the improvements in Sasha’s body.  They exercise him almost continuously, sometimes gentle upper-body stretching, which strengthens his arms, sometimes standing at the kitchen sink, lifting feet and legs (one at a time for now), and once a day, walking all the way to and from the lab.  Gradually, they’ve weaned him off the walker and back to a walking stick (with one of the women next to him at all times), and as of today, he can walk all by himself with his stick — not fast, but steadily — although, again, with a capable, strong woman right behind him (they are really strong, these gals — all three of them).

No more shuffling steps, thank you very much, and no more moments of dizziness.  With the increased strength in his legs — and arms — he’s beginning to hold himself differently now.  A bit straighter, a bit more like the original Sasha we’ve been missing for so long.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the mental side of things.

Love and Blessings — Ann

Ann’s Update: 4 Feb 2011

Dear Everyone (except males between ages 15 and 34 living in Nigeria),

Let’s see what reaction THAT brings about!  The China remark and its responses brightened my day immensely, since it inspired a couple of tiny surges of adrenaline in me (in obvious response to the tidal waves of adrenaline in those who responded), and if there’s anything I need to help me get out of bed, it’s a pile of tiny surges of adrenaline.

We are getting better and better (“we” meaning Sasha), but there’s one problem that remains, of course: the one that makes it necessary to have 24-hour caregiving.  Sasha’s brilliant mind (over 180 I.Q.) is, as you know, suffering from mild dementia.  We’re finding out a lot about so-called dementia.  For one thing, the state of mind — the acuity of mind — varies tremendously over every 24-hour period.  There are days when he’s at the top of his form, as the British say, full of puns and funny comments, and when he’s in the lab (three times now), his chemistry is right there, with a few small holes here and there, but basically intact.

But at night (thus the term, “sundowning”), there is anything from mild misperception to frank hallucinations.  And, unlike what one would expect, his profound experience with altered states doesn’t help him, because these states are full of anxiety and unease.  Even when he’s having no pain from the peripheral neuropathy, he’s inclined to lie in bed and toss and turn, and when you ask him what’s wrong, he says, “I don’t know,” and if you ask if he has pain, he says, “I don’t know,” and then he argues for getting back into the Lazyboy chair (where he’s spent many hours in the evening), where he’ll go to sleep — usually.  The only thing wrong about this sequence of events is that, unless he spends some hours with his feet up on the bed, his feet will begin to swell.  The only thing wrong with swollen feet is that they are inclined to produce small cracks in the thin skin, and those cracks can form ulcers, and ulcers are what we’ve been fighting for the past year.  With less than good blood flow, ulcers are real trouble, and they just won’t heal.

It’s possible that some of the sundowning at its worst may be due to one of his meds., Lyrica, which is one of the few good nerve pain medications available.  One of its nastier side-effects can be, “mood-alteration,” which is pharma-speak for “messing with your head.”  So we might be faced with a choice:  attacks of nerve pain, or increase in sundowning.  Even if we had no drugs that affected the mind, Sasha would still have a certain amount of sundowning, because it’s one of the things that goes with dementia.  I’m grateful that it isn’t worse than it is, but one hates to see it there at all.  I’m also aware of the fact that my reaction to it is part of the remaining shreds of denial — my semi-conscious refusal to accept the existence of any dementia at all.

My problem, not his.

We’ll see what the doctor says.

Bedtime.  I should get on the stationary bicycle, because my legs are feeling very tired and achy, and I’ve got to get their strength back.  But bed is so much more inviting.

Bicycle in the morning.

Goodnight and Good Sleep to all of you.  And Blessings.

Ann and Him.

Ann’s Update: 4 Dec 2010

Dear Members of the Most Evolved Network on Earth,

Tania and I took Sasha to the plastic surgeon on Wednesday, and we were joined by Dr. Paul, our new and already beloved primary care physician.  Both doctors examined Sasha’s Achilles tendon wound (since no one had thought to put Sasha on a gurney or table, they had to turn themselves almost upside down to see the ulcer), and they expressed approval and pleasure at what they saw.  They also promised to put him on some kind of surface which would allow him to turn onto his stomach, next Wednesday, when they see him again.

Granulation tissue, according to the doctors, is beginning to form around the wound, and that means that healing is beginning, and THAT means making plans for a skin graft is now reasonable.  Assuming, of course, that everything continues to look good.  For the first time, we heard details about the skin graft experience, such as:  Sasha will be in a hospital bed for five or six days — depending on how well the graft “takes.”  The surgeon said, “We want to do it at exactly the right time — not too soon and certainly not too late — because it’s a one-time thing, and we’ve got just one chance to get it right.” Surgeons like a bit of drama, now and then, so it’s best not to react to such pronouncements with too much panic.

Also, Sasha’s left leg will be elevated, much like a patient with a leg cast after a fracture, to prevent a pushing down of blood, as happens when one sits or stands, because the skin graft is very delicate, and needs to be left quiet and peaceful until it takes.  He’ll be able to exercise all the other parts of his body, thank heaven, but not the left leg.

Sasha is up several times a day, now, using the walker, and we’re trying to get his legs strengthened, as fast as possible, because the skin-graft adventure will inevitably leave his elevated leg weak for a while.

I’ll try to write the next updates during the day, so I can put in more time, giving you details and pictures of what’s going on, instead of fighting the impulse to close my eyes and go to sleep.

Goodnight, Dear Hearts, and thank you for your messages.  I’m going to bed.

Blessings  —–   Ann