There seems to be some mystery about whoever first said “the eyes are the windows to the soul” but I thought of this quote today when I was doing some more research into Parkinson’s Disease and, more specifically, Parkinson’s Disease Dementia which Husband was diagnosed with some time ago but I didn’t tell him. The difference between Alzheimer’s Disease symptoms and PDD symptoms is fairly arbitrary and both dementias can be rather bewildering for the sufferer and the carer because of the unpredictability of almost every moment.
I am very familiar with Alzheimer’s Disease because I worked as a nurse in nursing homes for years before I changed professions and, somewhat ironically, I wrote a book about it which I’ve mentioned before (so this is not a plug for the book!) Yesterday, I found myself doing what I had suggested in my book all those years ago – I listened to what Husband was saying and I went along with it. So when, at one point, he described how the cops had come into the room with taser guns and he had to defend himself, I asked how many and suggested they might be security people to protect him. This worked better than saying something like , “You’re talking a lot of crap; snap out of it!”
One of the most disconcerting symptoms of PDD is what Son calls the ‘shark eye thing’ during which Husband’s eyes go blank and sort of dead. This makes him look extremely malevolent and it’s quite scary. It’s almost as if he is in a trance which is probably what it feels like. Yesterday at the hospital, Husband had shark eyes and sometimes it was as if he were looking straight through me to something else, or somewhere else.
Hallucinations are another PDD symptom and these featured periodically during yesterday as well. I was getting so used to reassuring Husband that there was nothing on the table or behind the curtain that when he suddenly said, “There he is! I told you – it’s my nephew coming up the stairs,” I just said, “No, there aren’t any stairs” (which was true), and “There’s nobody there,” when his nephew walked into the room surprising us both! I did feel pretty stupid!
Another funny but not funny moment over Easter was when I had to dash up to the shop and leave Husband alone. “Please don’t go walking around outside,” I implored, “I’ll only be 10 minutes at the most.” When he protested, I reminded him of all the times he’s fallen over when I haven’t been there (another reason I had to quit work). Anyway all was fine when I got back. Later, however, just after I had locked the gang in and let the dogs out for a run, I went out to the clothesline to hang some washing out and Jack, the Irish terrier, ran in front of me and, yeah, you guessed it, I fell over – badly! I landed hard on one knee and thought I’d shattered it, the pain was so bad. I limped back into the house crying from the pain (I am a wimp) and Husband, after being very sympathetic, said, his eyes sparkling with concern and humour, “You really need to watch your step, Jules.”
I can’t believe those sparkly eyes of just a few days ago have sharked again. Perhaps I should trip over my feet tomorrow when I visit Husband in the hospital!
The following is a pic of a pic of our pre-Parkinson’s days!
Yes, I know, I know – I need to get a scanner; I also need to get some groceries and pick up the lawnmowers and pay some bills and catch up with the housework….