PSP Association
5,298 members • 7,293 posts

A "Newby" Checks In

Merry Christmas, Everybody!🎄

My name is Kat. My husband, David, was diagnosed w/Atypical Parkinsonism in May 2013, then w/PSP in Dec 2015. He is 61. What a roller coaster this ride is...already. Diapers full-time, a walker & wheelchair, choking. His grief and anxiety are (understandably) BIG! One day at a time keeps me from freaking out.

Thank you for being here.

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Welcome, Kat. This site saved me. Its so good to know that others know how you feel.

My husband died in October and I still benefit from the support.

love from Jean x

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Jean, I am so sorry for your loss, and my heart is with you this Christmas. Thank you for the warm welcome. Peace.

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Oh how I hate psp so much xx.

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Welcome to a group no one wants to belong to. We all relate one way or another.Ranting,crying,screaming is in courage.

Dee in BC

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Thank you.

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Hi !

Enclose is my experience, I hope it can inspire some positive actions to other caregivers. In short these are my experiences on PSP disease expecting they could be useful :

First:

If physicians agree that there is suspicion of a Parkinson like neurological disease (PSP, CBD, etc.), then I suggest to start an intensive and systematic - gymnastic program as well as walking, up and down stairs, speech therapy, etc. as soon as possible, trying to slow down eventual muscle dysfunction.

Bearing in mind that Parkinsonian patients become significantly more fatigued (parallel to disease progression) for the same activities than those not sick, then they requires more frequent rest periods.

2017-12-17

So far PSP is a disease without pharmacological treatment yet. The only thing you can do is counteract the symptoms…....but, despite how hard this disease is for everyone it is possible achieve a reasonable quality of life, even interesting.

My wife suffers from PSP. The first specific symptoms show up in March 2012 : difficulty speaking as if she had a stone in her mouth and a slight tremor in the ring finger. The definitive diagnosis was done in June 2015 (after troubles in eye movements were detected, which was the specific symptom that added to the difficulty in speech and walking instability confirmed the PSP diagnosis). Dat scan between 2012 and 2015 did not confirm the suspicions about Parkinson's, PSP, CBE, etc.

In my opinion, as far as it is possible, the best place for a PSP patients is their own home. This entails the need for other assistants to help the main caregiver and the capacity to cope with the considerable expenses that this generates. It also demands a reasonable good health of the caregiver since the management of all tasks that it carries out with it produces a remarkable fatigue physical and psychic. In principle, the limits I have set to send the patient to a nursing home are: dementia, very aggressive behaviour, the need to apply specialized medical care or if the patient´s needs became more complex and persistent tan it could hold up at home.

The non-strictly medical parameters that the main caregiver must manage:

1) Falls. From 2008 to 2016 my wife has fallen 11 times some of them serious. From 2008 until the first specific symptoms of PSP in 2012 she showed some instability and suffered two serious falls that nobody related to PSP. A fall with serious consequences is usually accompanied by an enhancement of the symptoms and some decrease on the quality of life.

Avoid falls: Learn transfer techniques, use wheelchairs with seat belt and anti-bedsores cushion (our anti-bedsores cushion came from: JAY - Sunrise Medical Ltd brand.), make suitable the bathroom, set up handrails on each side of the bed, make use of an articulated bed, also use a plastic wheelchair (type ETAC) special for hygiene and shower, etc.

My wife has regularly used a wheelchair since June 2016 (Four years after the onset of the first symptom). The wheelchair is made in aluminum and is foldable, easily transportable in the car trunk (aluminum wheelchair is: Ergo Lite 2 from KARMA brand). Weight supported: 70 kilogram.

2) Prevent cold and flu to avoid eventual common pneumonia (pneumococcal). Vaccination for flu and pneumonia could be advisable.

3) Phlegm and choking. It is not a big problem that the patient swallows his phlegm.

For phlegm to be fluid it is important to drink fluids. Also helps steam boiling water with a few drops of Eucalyptus essence and a small spoonful of Vicks Vaporub with a towel covering head and bowl. (Olbas oil in U.K.)

In case of choking raise both arms at shoulder height, breathe only through the nose intensely, retain air a couple of seconds and then force the cough.

The physiotherapists have exercises to improve the cough response to choking.

4) Prevent solids or regular liquids from reaching the lungs to avoid eventual “aspiration pneumonia” (with falls this is another very important risk). Add thickeners to drinks (water, Aquarius orange or lemon, etc.); to drink it is advisable a plastic straw with the chin as near as possible to the chest. The food must be moderately doughy and in small pieces if solid. Mediterranean diet emphasizing on fruits (peeled fruit avoiding the presence of seeds) and vegetables. Fruit compotes in small pieces or better crushed using a hand blender. Ice cream are well tolerated.

5) Gymnastic tables 6 days a week: passive in bed (Move all major muscles) and active (helped by 1 or 2 people): At least go up and down 50 steps (odd days), walk 200-300 meters (even days), speech therapy exercises and exercises mouth and ocular muscles. Then she needs to rest at least 30 '.

We have seen that laughter and good hydration (moisturizers for skin and liquids by mouth) help to mantain in good shape the face muscles.

In general it is important to encourage the patient to do things on their own. It is good that everything the patient can do by his own means, do it, even if it takes more time. With some help if necessary.

Without any scientific basis, only observation of few nearby neurological diseases PSP like, I have the impression that a specific program of intense gymnastics can slow down the disease progression in a significant way and is more effective the earlier the disease is detected.

6) Socialization. Almost every afternoon, social activity: cinema, city walk, show, museum, conference, meeting with grandchildren, snack with friends, parties, etc. After these events she needs to rest. It is advisable to have holidays in places where the moderate climate allows you to go out on the street and do walks-gymnastics as well as socialize.

The travels by car must be adapted to transport the patient and the wheelchair. High seats similar to Citroen Picasso are advisable.

The difficulty to follow the cadence of a normal conversation, being treated as a child or being the object of a special attention for his/her illness and not for the person who is locked inside that jail that is the PSP, produces feelings of frustration and humiliation. You have to try to avoid those situations but keep attending social events because although usually resisting to get out of the routine at the end the person with PSP have normally very good times.

In the event of troubles to handle the food (spaghetti, salad, etc.) or in a restaurant with companion who are NOT relatives (for instance: former university colleagues, etc.) and due to the velocity in serving meals, it is very likely that a person with PSP needs help to avoid a severe delay and therefore an unconfortable situation. This can create feelings of humiliation. The next times we must try to select the type of food and attend meals in which the rhythm of the meals could be very flexible.

7) Control of palliative medication against depression and insomnia. In our case right now: 1/2 Sertraline-50 at breakfast; 1/2 Sertraline-50 to lunch time; 1 Lorazepan-1mg one hour before dinner. Of course all these drugs were prescribed by a physician.

Recently she pay close attention after dinner to a light TV show. Surprisingly this activity has significantly improved her relaxation and rest at night.

She have had some episodes of constipation that have been corrected by applying an intensive Mediterranean diet based in fruits and vegetables and helped by the drug "Duphalac" (an oral osmotic laxative).

Drops of artificial tears to the eyes upon request. If you have problems applying the drops "Optrex spray" is an alternative.

8) Communication: There are magnetic letters of scrable (20 x 20mm, if they are bigger, better). We put the letters of the alphabet in a metal tray (may be worth one from the oven) well illuminated and placed at eyes level. She is pointing the letters and another person is writing on a blackboard the letters that she indicated. Up to present time it is the best system we could find.

To say yes or not she uses now the fist and the thumb finger.

We have a part-time hired person to perform gymnastics, personal hygiene and dressing. Another person lives with us. Those two persons help me a lot regularly and the children help whenever they can. Also we have some collaboration from the close friends.

All PSP patients seem to have similar symptoms but their appearance, intensity and sequence seems to be specific to each patient.

Various medications have been tried for pain episodes (falls). There have been some side effects such as confusion and daze, especially with opiaceous. Currently when an episode of pain arises we use progressively: Paracetamol, Nolotil (magnesic metamizol) in capsules and if the pain is acute Nolotil in glass ampoules orally. All these treatments under medical supervision.

Our plan has been designed and adapted simultaneously by the neurologist and the family physician. In the few occasional doubts or small emergencies we are guided by physicians who are a relative or close friends of us.

We found great help information in the comments of the members of this great association -HealthUnlocked-. Also the web "CurePSP": psp.org/ is a big help.

Releasing the PSP caregiver and allowing him/her to have life outside the home as well as to avoid strong or continuous physical and psychic efforts is fundamental. The main caregiver of a PSP patient is progressively taking additional tasks. To the personal previous work (when the disease had not been shown), must be added the work formerly done by the PSP patient, plus the management of the illness and the guidance of people who share the help team. A special and continous attention must be directed to the main caregiver and his/her medical history.

The bottom paragraphs are to remember that the main caregiver jobs and occupations grow at the same time as age..... without an important help is very difficult to carry out all these activities without suffer a severe wear down.

From my experience and also from my group of caregivers it is essential to find efficient help that allows areas of freedom and leisure as well as vacation periods for the caregivers, far away from the PSP problems. At least, a week of holidays each six month is advisable.

I hope and I wish these notes are useful.

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Luis,

Thank you for making the time to describe your experience thus far with your wife and her disease. She is so blessed to have you as her primary caregiver and team coordinator. I see a lot of very helpful information here.

I wish you well on the journey.

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Thank you.

you are Welcome.

Hug.

Luis

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Welcome to the best group there is - though really sorry you have had to join us. This is a great place to let off steam ask for suggestions.

My husband diagnosed PSP 4 years ago and sounds in similar situation

Best wishes Tippy

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Oh, Tippy,

What a relief it is to know that we are not alone. Let's choose to find the joy in each day.

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I know exactly what you mean. Try to enjoy Christmas and one day at a time.

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Wishing you the best!Your road ahead is not easy,you know that already.At times you will wish it all to be over,but then when it is you will wish for it back.Take care of yourself,and yes,one day at a time is the best way to deal with it! Janet

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Thank you for this loving response, Janet.

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