Visual hallucinations are one of the most difficult things that I encounter in living with Lewy body dementia (LBD). The flood of emotions that occur are overwhelming at best. I even have one friend who has visual hallucinations almost 24/7 and many days in a row.
Approximately, one week ago, I experienced my first visual hallucination in over two years. Previously, I had seen small children, small animals, gold spots on my legs and wavy trim around the door. These are the type things that Dr. Dennis Dixon of the Mayo Clinic has documented in a one minute video. On all but one of those times, my wife could calm me by telling me, they were not there. On the other one, I challenged her; and, she had to get a flashlight and show me, they were not there.
My personality has changed recently. I have always been a very serious person. I knew how to laugh and enjoy living; but, I did it in a serious manner. Suddenly, I started a giggly laughing when she and I would be talking in the mornings. She had told me that she wished, she could video me so that she would have it latter. After this recent hallucination, she said, "I wished I had "taken a video of this". I told her that it was so real to me and was etched in my mind so deeply that I could reenact it. It is still etched in my brain today, ten days latter. I cannot look at the video and not start crying. I can feel my blood pressure rising and my heart rate racing. The hallucination occurred just before, she was about to put eye drops in my eyes.
We did this within one hour of the hallucination. After my wife viewed the video, she said, "that is almost exactly like what happened". The one thing that she noticed was, "you did not laugh as much in the video as you did when the hallucination was occurring". I noticed one other difference. In the video, I did not challenge her when she said that the gold spots were not on the ceiling. When the hallucination occurred, I challenged her the first time. When she told me the second time that she still did not see them, I was able to accept what she was saying.
At the time of my diagnosis in June 2012, I told my family that I would be totally transparent with them and others because I wanted people to have a better understanding about LBD and other dementia. I have shared a link below to the video with the hope that it will help persons living with dementia. I want them to have a better understanding of what they might experience is real. Also, I would hope that it would beneficial to persons that are helping the person with dementia have a better understanding of what it is like when this occurs. I share this with the FULL approval of my entire immediate family. I have shown it to two of my friends, a nurse friend of many years who is the lead nurse at a Hospice, a friend who is living with Alzheimer's, a care partner and the administrator and marketing director at the Memory Care Community that I visited on Monday.
WARNING: WATCHING THIS VIDEO MIGHT BE DISTURBING.
Video of Robert Bowles - Visual Hallucination - February 15, 2015
©2015 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.