Just Keep Swimming


Just Keep Swimming

O.K. Beginning two months or so ago the scenarios I am going to mention began impacting the world of myself and my husband who has FTD. If anyone were to ask him, he may know these events but would not relate to them on an emotional level unless he was directly impacted, meaning if the kinds of food he wants are not in the house or the Roku will not function properly. Outside of that he may "know" but he does not relate. I, however, am experiencing it, feeling it, working through it and looking for the humor. Believe me! I am looking for the humor.

As a reminder, I am the full-time and sole caregiver of my 70-year-old husband who has been diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Degeneration (Dementia).

About two months ago my left knee began hurting at the back of the knee. I have had knee replacement surgery and blood clots so when I say my knee hurt it was painful to the max. As if that were not enough I twisted that knee trying to help my husband up off the floor. The pain at that moment flashed down to the bottom of feet and up to the bottom of my buttocks. I thought I was going to pass out. I could not put my left foot down and apply pressure without shooting pain. There's more but I will cut to the chase. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor/surgeon. They did an MRI and said chances were good that I could have arthroscopic surgery for a meniscus tear. Phew! NOT! When the surgeon had time to review the MRI thoroughly he determined that nothing less than a total knee replacement would work. Too much junk in my knee and that was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

During this time my husband was at a plateau with his FTD.  He could get up and down under his own power, most of the time. Remember: Food! Roku! Happy man!

In no particular order I am going to fill in the blanks on what has happened since I was told I need a total knee replacement. If I don't do it this way I will never get it told.

  1. Diagnosis: Need total left knee replacement

  2. Gland on right side of my face became swollen and I began feeling run down and possibly with a low grade fever.

  3. I was finding new and really old lady ways to walk and spare the knee and was void of any concerns about my appearance.

  4. I forgot to complete my time sheets for the money I get paid for looking after my husband. It is not much money but it comes in handy. I had it spent in my mind and had not signed and submitted it in reality.  The money would come in the next paycheck, in two weeks. Big gulp! Electricity was due.

  5. I freaked inside about the money and finally got up the nerve to ask my brother to loan me the money and catch him up later.

  6. He wanted to do it bank to bank. I wanted western union. He did it bank to bank. It took four days for the money to be available. I still had to borrow money to buy food. Borrow from a neighbor. Oh the shame of it all!

  7. I return to the doctor for the follow-up appointment where I learn about the knee replacement. I get a shot in my knee to help with pain.

  8. I wanted surgery to be on June 1. Because of that shot to the knee June 1 was too early. I chose August 1.

  9. Ongoing battle with the house and keeping it livable, i.e. clean! Losing the battle. Losing it mentally because I have clutter everywhere, my knee hurts and...

  10. I get a sinus infection. It is why my gland was swollen. I thought it would go away. No! I went to the doctor and got two shots, antibiotics, Duke's magic mouthwash and a bunch of "to do regularly" stuff.

  11. We have an old model t.v. It is the size of a small VW. I used the Roku adapter to use the older t.v. and receive Roku. My husband lost the t.v. remote and the Roku remote. This began the plaintive call of the "FTD Husband", "Did you find the remotes yet?" Repeat this to yourself every fifteen minutes until your own eyeballs fall out and you will understand.

  12. We find the remotes! Yes!

  13. Roku will not work on the t.v. we had hooked it to prior to the loss of the remotes. It won't work.

  14. Plaintive alternative call of the FTD spouse, "Did you fix Roku?"

  15. I bought a large, more modern, off brand t.v. from the pawn shop. It had HDMI meaning easy set up and I could not beat the price. I lugged it into the living room, hooked up HDMI and Roku took a deep breath and lived again.

  16. Leaving out the times we lost the remotes again and the interventions I made to show him how to use the remotes which is when I remind him that pointing the remote at the ceiling is aborting his original purpose, and looking for something to watch...not counting any of that...tonight, after about a full week of glorious newer t.v. experience, I glance up at the t.v. that works like a dream and smoke is coming out the back and the intoxicating smell of electrical smoke filled my nostrils.

  17. I freak out! One, the t.v. could have burnt the house down. Two, what will I do tomorrow when my husband wakes up and Roku is working, if we had a t.v. to watch it on. I can't afford a t.v. from a real store. Tomorrow looms in front of me as I scramble for my thoughts and my ideas. Nope. Empty head.

  18. My husband has been on a plateau of relative good days. This week and in the snap of a finger, or so it seems, he has taken a turn into a slump. Typical of the FTD and always surprising to the caregiver. What a mean old disease! He is weak and his walking is hesitant and his legs are stiff and he is running a low grade fever. I consider a visit to the hospital. I make an appointment with his doctor for tomorrow.

  19. Tomorrow I take my son to child support court (he does not have a car) and I take my husband to the doctor and I do what I can to make the Roku work with the old t.v. for now and I try to remember to take my antibiotics and other stuff.

When Finding Nemo first came out I began receiving phone calls from friends. They told me I must see Finding Nemo because I was in the movie. I did not have a clue what a Nemo was or how I could be in the movie. I watched the movie and knew immediately that I was Dory! Since that time I have learned to embrace the Dory part of me. In that spirit I titled this blog: Just keep swimming!

Caregiving requires the spirit of a Dory! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!

I gotta go. I am thinking of killing at least two of my four cats before I turn in for the morning! They glance my way with scornful looks. They are not afraid! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!

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Lillie Fuller

Caregiving is for the birds when we are sick or don't feel good.. funny thing, it doesn't go away!


Great post Annc....I'm sry about your knee and sure relate to getting sick and yet caregiving must still go on somehow! I had to laugh at the tv remote part cause we deal with that on a daily basis also, lol. I love your analogy to \"'Dory\" and keeping your sense of humor though all you are contending with.