My experience with LBD

A terrible disease that rips away a persons dignity and independence. My father passed away on 7/15/14 from end stage lung cancer, but was in the hospital in the week prior due to a fall and subsequent broken hip…He was being cared for at home prior to that day by family. He was 87…Although he liked to say he was only 83. As others who are familiar with LBD know, there are good days where you think “wow, Dad is in great shape today”, and others where you wonder “what the heck happened”…He was diagnosed with LBD after being examined by a neurologist for hallucinations. After reading up on the disease, my father had all the symptoms of LBD with Parkinsonism. He knew he wasn’t right, but he didn’t fully grasp what was happening to him..I don’t know if we did the right thing, but as his family, we made the decision not to have a full blown discussion with him about it. I sometimes regret that. Whose to say if it was the right thing to do? I don’t know…He was getting progressively worse over the 3 years or so from his diagnosis. When he went into the hospital and they fixed his hip, we had hopes that he would recover from that and come home. He had other ideas. It was heartbreaking to realize that in his own mind, he was done with this life. He had so many physical ailments besides the LBD, and yet it was very rare to hear him complain..He’d complain about how you cooked his hamburger before he’d complain about something that didn’t feel right with him. Anyway, a couple of days after his hip was fixed he was fairly jovial, listening to music, smiling and laughing, but that didn’t last long, maybe a day. Then he went on what he called a “hunger strike”, refusing to eat or drink. The next day he closed his eyes and never opened them again. He was brought to another floor of the hospital for Hospice and the next day he was gone…They kept him calm with morphine and some other anti-anxiety and he was gone by the following morning. I miss him more than words can say. I don’t dwell on his passing, but just thinking about him brings me to tears because I miss him so much. I shared a lot of laughs with my Dad and I also think that he was probably the only person in my life that ever really “got” me. And I understood him too..I know he left this life when he wanted to (Dad was stubborn) and for the rest of my life I’ll hear him telling me “if I die today, I’ll still have lived a good life” ..I told him, no Dad, a great life. I’ll be forever grateful that he was my father and that I spent as much time with him as I could in the years before he passed, happily listening to all his stories, cooking for him, caring for him, laughing with him, knowing the time would come, just as it did with Mom, where there would be no more stories….I’m glad he didn’t have to spend any time in a nursing home which he would have hated no matter how good the facility..I’m glad we were able to take care of him in his home which made him happy. I’m glad that he made the decision to be done with this life and in so doing, he got back a piece of his independence, and finally, I’m glad I got to call him Dad.

Colleen Mahoney

Feb 04, 2015