Thrashing In His Sleep

Posted by Julie Chitwood @billchitwood, Feb 15, 2022

Bill's nightmares and thrashing have gotten progressively worse lately (could be connected to his CKD, which also can give dementia problems). He has been hitting me in the head as he thrashes. Normally not enough to worry about except I received a cochlear implant in November of last year. Being his on it can displace it, requiring surgery. Not a good idea.

He also keeps grabbing me and pulling me down to his sitting level.

I plan on sleeping in the guest room from now on, which he isn't happy about and neither am I. For one thing it is on the other side of the house and I would never hear me if he needed me.

I also have to figure out a way to consistently ignore his long, strong arms. Being pulled off balance at age 81 isn't a good thing either. He just wants to give me a kiss and doesn't understand what he is doing wrong.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers: Dementia Support Group.

Hi Julie @billchitwood I am sad to read of your current challenge. I fully understand what works for one person and their loved one might not work for others, but here is what I did at that stage. I rearranged our bedroom and added a hospital bed. The railings helped me be more comfortable at night knowing my wife wouldn't thrash herself out of her side of our bed. An additional benefit was the ratings help provide me a non-vision impairing barrier for those grabbing situations. My wife quickly began to grab the rails first rather than my arms right away.

As I said…just what worked for us.

Strength, Courage, & Peace

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@IndianaScott

Hi Julie @billchitwood I am sad to read of your current challenge. I fully understand what works for one person and their loved one might not work for others, but here is what I did at that stage. I rearranged our bedroom and added a hospital bed. The railings helped me be more comfortable at night knowing my wife wouldn't thrash herself out of her side of our bed. An additional benefit was the ratings help provide me a non-vision impairing barrier for those grabbing situations. My wife quickly began to grab the rails first rather than my arms right away.

As I said…just what worked for us.

Strength, Courage, & Peace

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Our doctor has been trying to talk Bill into it but so far no luck. he might change his mind now. Or at least give it some consideration. Thank you for the information.

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If you sleep in another room, how about getting a monitor, like a baby monitor, so you could see and hear him? My husband has similar problems as your's and talks in his sleep and gets up multiple times a night. The only way I can get rest, so I can take care of both of us, is to sleep in another room.

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Bill is having more and more problems working his computer. He thinks it is the computer. I'm pretty sure it is him. He wants me to call Dell and have them send him a new computer. I'm ignoring the request and since he is having problems making (and receiving) phone calls he hasn't been able to do it on his own. He is also getting progressively angry at certain ads on TV – and on other ads wanting to buy their products that his doctor has said are bad for his CKD! Each time the ad comes on he urges me to buy it for him and I have to remind him what the doctor said,, which he doesn't remember even reminded. Would be funny if not so sad.

I also can't get him to stop picking at his skin – going through a lot of brandades.

All of a sudden he wants to start driving – by himself – after two years of being content to let me or daughter drive. I've hidden the car keys. Not only would he get lost but would be a danger to himself and others on the road. He also, after all our married life of having me handle the finances, wants to 'take them over'. God help me! I have to constantly bail him out of spam/con deals he gets into.

His latest is getting angry with me about something (I joined the kids to go to a Faire last Sunday for example) and tells me to go live with them.

I had been kidding myself he wasn't as bad as I feared but lately I think he is much worse.

Latest, after 'forgiving' me for leaving him alone, he said that if I love him I will stay by his side constantly until he dies, which he thinks could be a few years or a few months. He has never wanted visitors – even family know he can only handle about a two day visit – so he would not do well with bringing some one in. He made sure the Home Health people didn't last! He is extremely good at 'showtime'. Vegas kids were here two weeks ago – 2 days – and were so pleased at how well he is doing.

Usually I'm pretty good at ignoring him. Sunday I admit I did consider packing a bag, hopping a plane, and visiting Maryland crew for a few days!

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Not sure if he is getting worse or I'm over thinking it. Yesterday he couldn't remember our daughter-in-law of 30 years, name. Having problems remembering our street address (admittedly we've lived quite a few places!). He now thinks I'm making it up that he hit my cochlear implant a couple of weeks ago or that he is thrashing and hitting out in bed. On his good days I start thinking it is my imagination.

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Last Wed Bill had two (all day) appointments at Mayo. At the first one they took his vitals, which were 73/38 53. Ended with a 911 call and ambulance trip (with me riding shotgun) to Mayo's ER in Phoenix. Finally at 7pm (with both daughter and I frozen) they had a bed for him.
They finally got the BP stable although still Bradycardia for heart beat (remaining in low 50s). By Sunday they transferred him to a skilled NH for two weeks in Mesa (a long drive, especially with no transportation during the day). Better place wouldn't take him due to perceived behavior problems (under control with medication as Mayo tried to explain).
They think his extensive prescriptions and OTC drugs might have caused it so monitoring closely how he is reacting to no more high BP med.
But last night Bill called wanting me to get him home as his few sessions of therapy have him cured now. When I tried to explain about the prescription(s) he turned from sweet talk to bully talk. Announced he would get a taxi and I was to have his credit card ready as he would apparently arrive COD. Also back to wanting his own place, but I could live with him.
He assumed I would call Mayo this morning to start his release. I didn't say anything. If he wants to believe I will call that is fine (my message to Mayo might take at least a week to go through the system lol). I'm considering letting any call from him today go to voicemail (he has been having a lot of problems with phones).
His kids are not happy with him as they realize he needs the therapy to help prevent falls. Last Wed morning he started to fall but was right next to a wall, which caught him. He doesn't remember his falls, only thinking he had one in December of 2019! Gets angry if I try to remind him of six more, two requiring 911 calls. He is considered mild dementia – forgets things but can put on a good act. But has major problems with anything mechanical. He thought his call button was the volume control for the TV.
Our twin granddaughters are arriving late Friday night for the weekend (all sorts of family get togethers planned, which Bill would not attend. Anyway, he is trying to use this to talk Sante into releasing him tomorrow.

My thought, if he does get himself released or thrown out, is to refuse to help him – as he is stating he doesn't need any help any more! Other than making sure he gets his medications and watching to make sure he is okay. But if he wants water, instead of letting him bully me with anger, I'll follow the doctor's instructions and let him get it himself. His hardest time is in the morning after getting dressed – so Robin suggested just getting enough water for his pills and then he would be okay to get more a little later.

I have the feeling he will never last the final week at the SNF! He is back to thinking Robin and I are plotting against him.

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@billchitwood

Last Wed Bill had two (all day) appointments at Mayo. At the first one they took his vitals, which were 73/38 53. Ended with a 911 call and ambulance trip (with me riding shotgun) to Mayo's ER in Phoenix. Finally at 7pm (with both daughter and I frozen) they had a bed for him.
They finally got the BP stable although still Bradycardia for heart beat (remaining in low 50s). By Sunday they transferred him to a skilled NH for two weeks in Mesa (a long drive, especially with no transportation during the day). Better place wouldn't take him due to perceived behavior problems (under control with medication as Mayo tried to explain).
They think his extensive prescriptions and OTC drugs might have caused it so monitoring closely how he is reacting to no more high BP med.
But last night Bill called wanting me to get him home as his few sessions of therapy have him cured now. When I tried to explain about the prescription(s) he turned from sweet talk to bully talk. Announced he would get a taxi and I was to have his credit card ready as he would apparently arrive COD. Also back to wanting his own place, but I could live with him.
He assumed I would call Mayo this morning to start his release. I didn't say anything. If he wants to believe I will call that is fine (my message to Mayo might take at least a week to go through the system lol). I'm considering letting any call from him today go to voicemail (he has been having a lot of problems with phones).
His kids are not happy with him as they realize he needs the therapy to help prevent falls. Last Wed morning he started to fall but was right next to a wall, which caught him. He doesn't remember his falls, only thinking he had one in December of 2019! Gets angry if I try to remind him of six more, two requiring 911 calls. He is considered mild dementia – forgets things but can put on a good act. But has major problems with anything mechanical. He thought his call button was the volume control for the TV.
Our twin granddaughters are arriving late Friday night for the weekend (all sorts of family get togethers planned, which Bill would not attend. Anyway, he is trying to use this to talk Sante into releasing him tomorrow.

My thought, if he does get himself released or thrown out, is to refuse to help him – as he is stating he doesn't need any help any more! Other than making sure he gets his medications and watching to make sure he is okay. But if he wants water, instead of letting him bully me with anger, I'll follow the doctor's instructions and let him get it himself. His hardest time is in the morning after getting dressed – so Robin suggested just getting enough water for his pills and then he would be okay to get more a little later.

I have the feeling he will never last the final week at the SNF! He is back to thinking Robin and I are plotting against him.

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Bill ended up in the hospital again, this time with C.Diff (major bleeding and diarrhea). They put him on Vancomycin before releasing him after a couple of days. In tests it showed anemia; malnutrition, blood problems (which could have been exasperated by the C.Diff infection); nodules on lungs (test for previous Valley Fever showed negative); some mild calcification of the aorta valve; mild aneurism in that area as well; and lesion on tail of pancreas. Kids do not think he is in any danger as all findings seem to be in the 'mild' range. One heck of a lot of 'mid' problems to my way of thinking. He has lost over 5% of body weight in a month. Now coughing and having problems swallowing. No apatite. Family doctor advised to follow up with CT or MRI in 3 to 6 months on lungs and pancreas. Has an appointment with family doctor on the 11th.
At least the diarrhea has stopped (he had problems getting to the bathroom in time). Is receiving some more home health – which he resists. He finally consented to a shower yesterday after refusing for over 4 months (he would use shower wipes only). Even hospital or NH couldn't get him into the shower!
Has been angry/grumpy more lately (thank heavens for Seroquel – which has helped a lot).
A few days before ER/Hospital he fell backwards into the tub – required another 911 call as I couldn't get him out.
I'm thinking cumulative effect of so many 'mild' problems is not good – and kids are holding out 'mild' as a lodestone that there really isn't anything wrong. Thinks 162 looks good on his 6 foot frame (he is almost down to skin and bones). Yesterday slight swelling of his ankles. Kids really don't want to talk about symptoms.

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@billchitwood

Bill ended up in the hospital again, this time with C.Diff (major bleeding and diarrhea). They put him on Vancomycin before releasing him after a couple of days. In tests it showed anemia; malnutrition, blood problems (which could have been exasperated by the C.Diff infection); nodules on lungs (test for previous Valley Fever showed negative); some mild calcification of the aorta valve; mild aneurism in that area as well; and lesion on tail of pancreas. Kids do not think he is in any danger as all findings seem to be in the 'mild' range. One heck of a lot of 'mid' problems to my way of thinking. He has lost over 5% of body weight in a month. Now coughing and having problems swallowing. No apatite. Family doctor advised to follow up with CT or MRI in 3 to 6 months on lungs and pancreas. Has an appointment with family doctor on the 11th.
At least the diarrhea has stopped (he had problems getting to the bathroom in time). Is receiving some more home health – which he resists. He finally consented to a shower yesterday after refusing for over 4 months (he would use shower wipes only). Even hospital or NH couldn't get him into the shower!
Has been angry/grumpy more lately (thank heavens for Seroquel – which has helped a lot).
A few days before ER/Hospital he fell backwards into the tub – required another 911 call as I couldn't get him out.
I'm thinking cumulative effect of so many 'mild' problems is not good – and kids are holding out 'mild' as a lodestone that there really isn't anything wrong. Thinks 162 looks good on his 6 foot frame (he is almost down to skin and bones). Yesterday slight swelling of his ankles. Kids really don't want to talk about symptoms.

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Your children don’t want to see the reality of his condition, possibly in denial, because they aren’t ready to accept his poor health.
So sad that He is in such terrible shape! I’m sorry he has so many health problems and a bad attitude – that makes everything worse! Maybe next time he needs to go to the ER, call an 911 instead and then he will be in the hospital and will be tested for his ailments and may be entered for observation or whatever. You can ask for tests from your doctors whenever you feel it is necessary. You see what others cannot see, you are his eyes for him. I believe he should be in the hospital. You and Robin must be a nervous wreck with all of this going on. I pray you both are taking care of yourselves and finding some comfort.

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@janet7

Your children don’t want to see the reality of his condition, possibly in denial, because they aren’t ready to accept his poor health.
So sad that He is in such terrible shape! I’m sorry he has so many health problems and a bad attitude – that makes everything worse! Maybe next time he needs to go to the ER, call an 911 instead and then he will be in the hospital and will be tested for his ailments and may be entered for observation or whatever. You can ask for tests from your doctors whenever you feel it is necessary. You see what others cannot see, you are his eyes for him. I believe he should be in the hospital. You and Robin must be a nervous wreck with all of this going on. I pray you both are taking care of yourselves and finding some comfort.

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They did place him in the hospital from Friday night (we were hours upon hours at the ER Mayo). He was released late Sunday afternoon. Blew up at Robin and then me. The nurse was shocked as he had been so charming to the staff.
Today he did agree to doing a few balance exercises (5 minutes) and going for a short walk. Progress. Nurse stopped by and took his vitals, which were good. BP 120/60 (taking med to bring it up from serious low values – 72/38 at one point before med.
He even ate breakfast and lunch. His bones stick out.
Daughter and son-in-law coming to visit this weekend. They are more accepting as to the changes and problems.

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@billchitwood

They did place him in the hospital from Friday night (we were hours upon hours at the ER Mayo). He was released late Sunday afternoon. Blew up at Robin and then me. The nurse was shocked as he had been so charming to the staff.
Today he did agree to doing a few balance exercises (5 minutes) and going for a short walk. Progress. Nurse stopped by and took his vitals, which were good. BP 120/60 (taking med to bring it up from serious low values – 72/38 at one point before med.
He even ate breakfast and lunch. His bones stick out.
Daughter and son-in-law coming to visit this weekend. They are more accepting as to the changes and problems.

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A geriatric social worker would be helpful with financial assistance.

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