So Much Pain

Over the past few weeks, dad’s leg cramps have slowly been returning. After getting those horrible things under control after our ER visit in February, I was hoping they were gone for good.  No such luck. Slowly, they’ve been making themselves known.  One here, two there until they all came marching back again.  Two nights ago, they showed up in dad’s lower back and he spent a lot of long, miserable hours in tears from the pain of them.  Mom has become highly educated on many natural remedies that help with RLS and cramping.  Nothing she had used successfully in the past was working anymore.  Because the leg cramps had been slowly intruding, mom had started the long process of getting in touch with dad’s VA doctor.  Here where we live, there is one doctor for 1700 VA patients…I won’t even get started on that statement. My blog post would suddenly be hijacked by a very ugly rant, which isn’t the purpose of this post…It only pertains to this in that it takes a long time to get information to and a response back from dad’s doctor.  Often, things are lost in translation and you don’t find that out until you’re in desperate need of new medication or an appointment, which I am not blaming on dad’s doctor.  She’s very good and one of the only doctors, if not the only doctor, who actually reads his charts before seeing him or having a phone appointment about him.  That is worth it’s weight in gold as anyone with a chronic illness knows.  So, back to the fact that mom had been working at getting in touch with dad’s doctor quite awhile previous to these last horrible bouts of cramps.  Thankfully, she had a phone appointment scheduled for that very day.  Dad is now on another high potency muscle relaxant, along with his baclofin from the first ER visit.  Things have calmed down dramatically.  The result of all this cramping seems to be that, at least for right now, dad’s left leg is not working again.  He can’t lift it off the ground and it, once again, doesn’t hold his weight.  When he moves it, it causes pain up in his lower back.  That’s a bummer.  He was doing so much better with his mobility and getting the use of his legs back.  He’s only walked once since February and that was the other day, so there is some question in our minds as to whether that little walk he took with his walker contributed to this new cramping crisis.  Dad has severe degenerative disc disease and in my mind at least, it’s possible that his lower back is so damaged that it can’t handle having the legs ‘walk’ anymore.  The cramping and pain that were produced in the lower back certainly makes you want to err on the side of caution, at any rate.  At this point, it’s a none issue since dad can’t use his left leg.  We shall see how things go from here.  Hopefully, contrary to dad’s repeated history, this medication will continue to be effective in controlling the spasms and cramps and he will be able to continue all three medications he’s now on.  Often, we start out with great success, only to have it go bad weeks or months into using them.  That seems to be the story of dad’s life in regards to medications.  Whether that’s common in LBD patients, I don’t know.  I’d be interested in finding out.  Mentally, dad continues to be relatively stable but he does experience delusions and will repeat the same conversation over and over.  When he gets onto a subject, whether it makes sense or not, he’ll stay on that topic for quite some time.  Often there is a lot of confusion in his mind regarding real life happenings today and things he’s seen on television or remembers from his past.  Many times past and present merge into one big confusing conversation and, at times, the things he comes up with are  pretty humorous .  He’s still got a great sense of humor although some of it is unintentional now, and when you crack up because you just can’t help it, he takes it in stride realizing he said something that didn’t make any sense but knowing it must have been funny.  There are times where he’s so earnest and serious about something that is just soooo far out there, you don’t dare laugh.  Dementia is the weirdest but it does come with bonuses because he can be going through agony and be more than miserable and get a break for an hour or two and then tell you his legs have been quiet for days and he’s been having a good week.  That is a real blessing in my book.  To know that he doesn’t remember and will forget this agony promptly is one thing I can be thankful for.


About sehanna

I'm a stay at home wife and mom of three, who enjoys my 'job' very much. My children are getting older and beginning to stretch their wings, which is leaving me more time to pursue my interest in writing.
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