RUVO/KELLI BLACK/FLOATING WINDOWS/300 dpi
KELLI BLACK 2562/300
PURPLE GREEN SWIRL 2528/300dpi
L. R. PURPLE GREEN SWIRL
TURQUOISE WINDOWS 2534/300DPI
SISTER PIC OF REGULAR WINDOWS
GOLD CROPPED 300 dpi
GOLD CROPPED 300 dpi
CARAMEL SWIRL/300 dpi
CARAMEL SWRIL 2553/300dpi
BLUE & GOLD/2527/300 dpi
BLUE & GOLD
SINGE/ 2527 300 DPI
BLACK & GOLD
WASHED IN DEAN 300 DPI
RACHEL'S BLUE ORANGE2576/CROPPED
RACHEL CURVE 300
RACHEL'S /ORANGE / 2572/ CROPPED/300
DISCOVERING LOU RUVO
LOU RUVO CENTER FOR BRAIN HEALTH
by Craig Morgan Butelo with final edit by Kelli Kyle
A few years ago I came to Las Vegas to visit my parents. We had always been close even though we lived in different cities. I usually saw them twice a year although we spoke regularly on the telephone.
When we spoke on the phone, I did not notice much deterioration even though Mom began making comments about having trouble driving and not wanting to go grocery shopping. She felt anxious about going out in public. You see, she was gradually losing her wits. Dementia was slowly taking over her mind and the worst part was that she knew it.
Mom and Dad enjoyed many years of working together in the beauty shops that they owned. Mom and Dad doted on each other, they often baby talked to each other and reminisced about cruises they had taken together over the years. They always seemed to be like a couple dating rather than an old married couple. I suppose they made their lives their own. Considering I was an only child and I lived apart from them, it was almost is if they didn't have a child,
Mom and dad were both diagnosed at the Lou Ruvo Clinic. Dad had Alzheimer
disease, which is just another form of dementia. Dad's dementia was somewhat different from Mom's. Dad did not have a clue that anything was wrong. He could tell you the name of his horse or the dog that he had as a child. However he was not able to remember who came to the house to visit the day before, or even remember them being in the house at all. If you gently told him that he had a “little” dementia he would poo poo the very idea. As the only child, the reality soon set in that I would be their caretaker for life.
Mom could be a bit grumpy at times and she experienced severe de-ja-vu. She was certain that that people crossing the street or in the doctors' waiting rooms were the same people that she had seen before. I would sometimes argue with her about these visions. My intent was to try to keep her in reality by showing her that she was wrong. I know now that I should have humored her. Trying to keep her in reality was the biggest mistake that I made while taking care of her.
For a while I was able to work part time as a security officer. When my shift ended at midnight, I enjoyed cruising the Strip and downtown areas on my scooter. On some nights, I noticed that there were colored lights inside of the Lou Ruvo clinic and on other nights just plain white light. I once stopped and spoke to a security guard to ask about the lighting schedule thinking that it might make for an interesting photo. While talking to him I mentioned my parents dementia. He told me about the caretaker classes and support groups that were open to the public. I had wrongly assumed that ones own health insurance company must participate with Lou Ruvo in order to utilize their resources. However, he said to show up on Wednesday at 1 PM. It took a couple of weeks for me to get to my first class.
At my first meeting, during a round table discussion, one of the caretakers said that he had the business card of a great locksmith that would install door locks high upon on your house doors so that patients would not be able to easily wander outside of their homes. I actually thought that this was a frivolous thing to bring up. There must be more to these classes, I thought. . .
The meeting went on with the caretakers taking turns telling about the trials that they experienced that week. Some stories were sad and some were humorous. The caretaker classes, were moderated by the most wonderful and insightful, Donna Munic-Miller, Ph.D. Donna knew more about dementia than one could ever imagine. I quickly realized that this was not her first rodeo. Donna provided us with the various tools and support that helped us to care for our own parents and maintain our own sanity. She had a play book on the disease, literally. I made mistakes while caring for Mom and Dad but I brought these mistakes to class and got worthy feedback each time.
During one visit to the clinic, I met an employee who knew how to “twist the arm” of my parents' insurance provider. She convinced the insurance company to allot money to have them evaluated and put on the best drugs available. Most of my parents' other doctor visits lasted an average of eight minutes. The doctors at Lou Ruvo spent up to an hour talking to them and testing them. My plan was that when the Lou Ruvo money ran out then I would take my parents back to their insurance company doctors and suggest that those doctors keep prescribing the drugs that Lou Ruvo had prescribed; it worked!
One night from his bed, my father asked me why I was packing up my camera and things. I replied that I was going to put my gear on my bicycle and go to “his” Lou Ruvo Clinic and “straighten it out.” I don't know if you are familiar with the Frank Gehry designed architecture of the clinic but you will understand when you open my attachment picture. I do have other looks, but these were Dad's favorites.
If you could benefit from learning caretaker skills or if you need information and tools to navigate this type of illness, I strongly urge you to contact Lou Ruvo.
Most importantly, If you need it, I still have the business card from the locksmith that put door locks high upon our doors!
Craig Morgan Butelo
Las Vegas, NV