Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lewy Body dementia - It's a Nightmare

My papa has Lewy Body dementia.  Hallucinations, Rem sleep disorder, Parkinsons disease symptoms, and vascular blindness.  This is what Robin Williams had to look forward to, and he may have already been experiencing some of the indicators.

Maybe he'd already injured someone, a loved one, while acting out dramatic and/or violent dreams while asleep.  Maybe his hallucinations were occupying more and more of his waking life.  Many with Lewy Body are drug intolerant, experiencing every side effect on the label, and those drugs that normally help with psychotic behavior can push someone with Lewy Body even further into psychosis.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that my father put a hospital nurse in the e.r. He's punched, bitten, and hurled himself out of his wheel chair, crept along the floor on all fours to escape a war zone, climbed onto night tables to signal incoming planes, all to escape and/or combat the villains in his dreams, who are in reality caregivers and family members.  What I envisioned as shepherding my father to the end of days has become a daily prayer for release.

Knowing what I know now about Lewy Body dementia and its impact on the entire family, I think that Robin Williams may have taken the graceful way out, for more than just himself.

*Lewy body dementia, Parkinsons dementia, and Vascular dementia are cousins.  The difference is in the way they present -  physical first then dementia, dementia and physical onset simultaneously, etc.

About 20% of all diagnosed dementias are Lewy Body.

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