I am my wife’s primary provider and caregiver and we are both retired as of June, 2018. In November, 2017 my wife, Debbie, was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in the US. Last August, a neurologist in Panama, our retirement home, reclassified her diagnosis to major cognitive impairment, dysautonomia, and renal failure and also mentioned the possibility of Lewy Body disease. I felt she needed to be reevaluated here as symptoms had worsened. There have been 2 major incidents I have recognized as significant in her mental decline, last May and then again last December. Last May her symptoms began to show a more physical aspect and last December she began to be much more aggressive, argumentative and untrusting. Last May she was almost run over by a car crossing a street where she panicked and froze in the middle of the street. In December she began saying and doing things that made no sense such as seemingly combining stories of life experiences from several into one narrative that alone were mostly true, but when combined were simply untrue. Sometimes what she says is outright false. I have tried to get her to stop doing and saying things like this as it has strained my relationship with her, her family and our friends. I allowed her to spend time time with her new friends, hopefully helping to keep her out of harms way. Her spatial abilities have progressively gotten worse. I have had to stop her driving, wash clothes, cook, take long walks alone along the beach, and operate most anything that could hurt her. She has shown more and more agitation for my actions. Allowing her to say and do things with her friends has back fired on me apparently. She has managed to convince them that I am the devil in the flesh. She has told me that I am so mean to her and that I am critical of things she does and cannot do. I have let her do mundane tasks around the apartment in an effort to keep her as engaged as possible. She would put dishes away, often times still dirty, in the wrong places or she just left them on the counter top. If I asked was she going to put them away sometime, she would get offensive and it usually started an argument. If I just went in behind her and put them away myself, she would argue that I thought she was stupid and that she would take care of it. She would leave washed clothes for days until she decided it was time to put them away and at times would accuse me of having her refold them again after realizing they needed attention. I don’t know exactly what was said to her friends, but I noticed they started to avoid me and stopped talking to me very much about anything much more than pleasantries. A couple of weeks ago, I found important documents, my social security number, tax information, passwords, etc. flying around loose in the apartment flung around by the very strong winds here this time of year. As it turns out, this was a sign something nefarious was afoot. Evidently, a plan was plotted by her friends at the pool to have her son, who knows little about his mom’s condition, come to Panama and essentially kidnap her, empty our bank account here and take her back to the US. I didn’t know where she was for 5 days. I have tried to get her 3 adult children more involved with their mother to no avail, at least until now. They have discovered we have accumulated a retirement portfolio we set up back in 2018, in preparation for professional assistance my wife will undoubtedly require as time goes on as well as every day living expenses here in Panama. I flew back to the US once I discovered most of our money was withdrawn from here to secure our accounts there since, at this point, I had no idea what was happening since no one was talking. As far as I knew my wife was missing or had been kidnapped and someone was taking advantage of her condition. I walked down to the pool and advised them she was missing but rather than offer assistance to look for her, they accused me of accusing them of having something to do with her disappearance. A very strange reaction for people who are told someone is missing I think. I have hired an attorney back in the US, but I am frustrated that he or hardly anyone else has heard of Lewy Body disease or has any idea how this disease affects its victims and caregivers. I am reaching out to your organization, as people who understand this terrible disease, for assistance in helping me to move forward, to resolve this horrible situation I have found myself in. Thank you in advance.
Mar 12, 2020