I often talk about Mike's "shakes" at night. I was told by his neurologist the last time he was in the hospital that they were caused by the disease. Basically, the area of the brain that controls those functions were being taken over by the AD and Mike had no control over them. There are times when he may not have them for quite some time. Then there are days when he has quite a few. They will happened anytime throughout the day and/or night.
At night when he has them, I hold him and rub his arm, cheek, shoulder, whatever seems to calm him down. I don't even know if what I do "calms him" or if it's just the shaking that subsdues on it's own. Whatever it may be, I do what I do so that Mike knows there's someone with him. While I do this at night, I often think about the other Alzheimer patients out there that don't have someone to hold them. Quite often, this disease makes it impossible for a family to keep their loved ones at home. I think about those people and wonder how much, if any, the lack of human touch has on the progression of the disease.
When Mike's doctors see him, they cannot believe how good he looks for being 7 1/2 years into this disease. Remember, for Early Onset Alzheimer's, the "average" life expectancy is 5-8 years. We all take great pride in those comments, because we know how much time we put into caring for Mike. Sure, there are those out there who will say that we should devote more time to ourselves, and me to the children - but I look at it as what I was taught through my Christian faith. God sacrificed so much for us - isn't life about sacrifice? What we have sacrificed as a family, has allowed Mike to live comfortably, peacefully and lovingly AT HOME. We have been blessed beyond measure for this and I will forever be indebted to everyone who has helped us along the way. Keeping Mike at home has been no small feat, but because of all the support we get, we have been able to continue.
The human touch is so important for all of us to feel connected and loved, and I am thrilled that we have been able connect with Mike every single day through touch. Please pray for all those who may not be as fortunate.