Paranoia raised its head

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by LynneMcV, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    3,612
    south-east London
    Well, today held some unexpected things.

    It started well enough for my husband with the usual shower, dressing, breakfast and cup of tea routine - but then out of the blue he took an instant dislike our grown-up son (who was in his room recovering from a nasty virus which struck over the weekend).

    As far as my husband was concerned son hated him, was a liar, a cheat, a coward, couldn't be trusted etc etc.

    He put on his hat and coat and went off for a walk to calm down (fortunately I had remembered to charge up the GPS device and had already put it in his coat pocket so I wasn't unduly worried about where he'd end up).

    While my husband was out I took the opportunity to call our son down and put him in the picture about the latest state of affairs. He looked hurt and worried, bless him, but we have talked about this scenario before and he does understand it is the disease.

    We agreed he should keep a low profile until we got to the bottom of things, so he stayed in his room on his computer for most of the day with me taking him up drinks and food at suitable periods!

    When my husband returned home he was in no better spirits, still going on about our son. He was shaking and crying and refused to come in the warm front room where I was working from home.

    He stood in the hallway for nearly two hours. I did manage to get him to drink some tea in the hallway but he was still adamant that he was staying where he was (our son couldn't have come down stairs even if he'd tried!)

    While my husband was out the room I phoned the Memory Clinic and GP for advice. The GP suspected a UTI (my husband is already on a long term antibiotic) and prescribed a stronger antibiotic over the phone but when I rang the chemist to check if it was ready I was told they couldn't get hold of it until tomorrow, about 11am. In fairness they did phone around other chemists in the area too and would have delivered it to my door - but there was none to be found.

    Anyway, I carried on doing a bit of work and popped into the hallway every now and then to comfort my husband and see if I could coax him into the warm. Eventually he reluctantly came in and allowed me to make him some lunch.

    During the course of the afternoon I casually slipped into our conversation all the nice things our son did - helping him buy a Valentine's card and gift; accompanying him on walks, collecting his medication, making him lunch and cups of tea daily, meeting him from the day centre etc.

    Gradually it started to work and my husband agreed to give our son the benefit of the doubt and accept that he was not an enemy.

    I asked if my husband would be ok with our son coming to join us and he said he was. Fortunately we all enjoyed a relaxed cuppa while joining in answering questions on The Chase, followed by dinner - and it was as if nothing had happened earlier.

    I think I will have to work from home all week until the antibiotics are finished. Usually our son steps in when I am at the office but it's not fair for me to put him in a situation where his dad might turn on him again.

    I suspect that my husband may be coming down with whatever virus my son had at the weekend and that is what has triggered the paranoia. If so, the antibiotics are unlikely to help but we'll give them a go.

    The doctor said if things don't improve he might need to go to hospital. Let's hope the upturn this evening lasts.
     
  2. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,125
    eastern USA
    My heart goes out to you. My father (died 1993, vascular dementia) had significant paranoia. We were truly at a loss for how to deal with it. It sounds like you worked out a way to handle it, but it is likely to come back in another form another day. I hope your son does understand it's not about him. My father called one of my sisters "that boy," when my mother had asked her to come and help with him. My sister still cries when she talks about my father's dying. Your son sounds so wonderful to take on the caring role for you when you have to go out.

    I don't have any suggestions for you but wanted to share that you are not alone in experiencing this.
     
  3. LynneMcV

    LynneMcV Volunteer Moderator

    May 9, 2012
    3,612
    south-east London
    Thanks CJ - it is definitely good to know that others out there understand, though I wouldn't wish this on anybody :)

    I've actually had a little laugh to myself this evening as my husband has now gone completely full circle and says his son is a lovely, decent chap. They've shaken hands (how British!) and now my husband is sharing (with his son) the Valentine's Day treats I bought him yesterday!

    I know the situation will rear its head again another day in one way or another - but I am glad it seems to have run its course for today and I can only marvel at the complexities of this disease!
     
  4. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,125
    eastern USA
    This would happen with my father, as well. One thing we didn't do at the time but which technology might make easier for you might be to video the two together or at least take some photos of their camaraderie, in case the images might help your husband cope better with his paranoia. Some on this site who have different forms of dementia sometimes post on the I have dementia forum about what they think is going on for them when they do certain kinds of things. I wonder if you might glean anything from that forum that might help you understand and find coping mechanisms. My father finally, in one of his paranoid states, paced so much (and went sleepless three nights) that he fell and broke his back and ended up in hospital. I hope you find ways of easing your OH's anxiety. What a strong, brave, and compassionate person you are to have him home and work so hard with and for him and your son.
     
  5. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015
    1,807
    Ireland
    You and your son are amazing. Sending support and hugs.

    Aisling
     

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