Sunday, April 26, 2009

Damned if you do ...

damned if you don't.

In caring for a person with Alzheiemers, the suggestion is that you give him the word he seeks or go along with his "adjusted language." In keeping with this advice, when Bob started calling the radio's remote control the "radio," I went along with that.

Today he was really frustrated when I told him we kept his (new birthday gift from the girls) iPod between the speaker and the radio. I went in to the bedroom to help out and found him holding the remote control and looking all about the room; he had NO idea about the speaker but he did have the "radio" in hand.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy 65th birthday, Bob

So today I dedicate myself to being only positive and pleasant, never getting impatient or trying to hurry Bob. That is my gift to him. Sound easy?

His sister in California sent him a “party in a bag” which consisted of a huge plastic bag filled with ribbons and confetti, party plates and napkins, and silly small gifts. I suggested he begin the day by opening this. A package wrapped in tissue paper took almost 20 minutes to open as he struggled not to tear the paper. In between attempts to open it, he talked with the cat. “How are you today, Ravi?” Pull at the paper. “Ravi, I love when you smile at me like that.” [Ravi was looking out the window.] “What do you think is inside this?”

[This is such a lesson in patience for me.]

Deeper into the package. It took a while to figure out what the miniature water guns were and then what they are for; I’m happy to say that Ann sent two. Two party blowers totally confused him. He blew and the “end” popped out; he was startled, but he was certain they should make noise. “Isn’t this fun, Ravi?” Finally, he tried to come up with a name for them; he wasn’t quite satisfied with party blowers but neither of us could be more creative.

A small wrapped box provided endless entertainment. He held it by the ribbon and spun it around in the sunlight. Like a small child, he was delighted by the way it sparkles. I had to remind him that there was something inside.
Happy Birthday, Bob.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Matter of Perspective

We have two cats; I won’t say they’re "ours" but we adopted them when my daughter and her husband moved to Scotland. It’s been a wonderful experience, and Bob absolutely adores them, dotes on them, obsesses on their health and well-being. I mean he really obsesses. Apparently that’s not uncommon with people who have dementia. Animals are such delightfully non-judgemental creatures after all. They could care less if he forgets a word as long as he pets them and doesn't forget their food – which I am ever present to remind him about.

Ravi, the orange tabby, likes to battle the bed covers when they’re not nicely made up and in the last couple of days he got me as he attacked and I could tell that it was time for a nail clipping.

This morning I hoisted him into my lap and set to work; he’s fairly good but he doesn’t like it and today he decided to attack my hand and the clippers. He’s growling and snapping; I clip and then “youch!”

Bob: “Oh poor Ravi, it’s all right. You’ll be fine. It’s almost over.”
Me: “Bob, he’s just fine! I’m dripping blood.”
Bob: “Oh good, he sounded like you were hurting him.”

Monday, April 6, 2009

A cold, snowy, not-April-like Monday

For several weeks now as we drive into work and daycare in the morning, we haven't been listening to anything but music. Today I thought we should get back into our daily intellectual-rigor assignment so I put on CD#5 from the Anticancer book; we listen and then talk about what we understand and think.

It didn't take long for me to realize that Bob was paying attention to everything but our book. Geeze! I mean this is just part of the doctor's orders! I stopped the CD a couple of times to help him refocus.

I felt myself growing increasingly tense and irritated. I felt myself blaming him for not trying. I didn't say anything out loud, but I heard my curtness. Surely he could. Funny thing is that the narrator was talking about stress and negative attitudes creating fertile soil for the seeds of disease to grow and develop. Damn it!
Bob should listen to this!! If he would just try ...

We pulled up in front of the Family Center, and he struggled to gather his things; "Be careful, sweetie," he said as he got out of the car. He always worries about me.

Only now, as I sit here in Walgreen's parking lot writing this, distressed at my own impatience and annoyance, do I look up and see that he was distracted by the snow, the beauty of the big white flakes falling silently onto a spring budded world.
I had been driving and doing business; he had been looking and experiencing the day. I had closed my eyes to one big D, Distraction, in the form of beauty and peace.

And a child shall lead them ...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In, beside, over, between, above

Prepositions are little words that, the English teacher in me says, show relationships between nouns. A person with AzD loses the knowledge of what these tiny words mean, not to mention the meaning of tons of other words as well. An example:

Me: Tomorrow is trash day; will you take the big garbage can that is sitting outside the garage up to the road?
DH: What?
Me: The big can is sitting on the driveway. Please drag it to the road.
DH: It's in the garage.
Me: No, I took it out and put it on the driveway so you could find it.
DH: There are two cans in the garage.
Me: You are right USUALLY. However one is outside the garage now.
DH: Do you want both cans on the road?
Me: Just the one outside the garage.
DH: Where is it?
Me: ON the driveway.
DH: In the garage?
Me: Never mind, honey, I'll take care of it.
DH: Two cans are in the garage. We always have two cans.
ME: It's ok.
DH: What do you want me to do with the cans in the garage?
Me: Nothing, but the one on the driveway wants to be up by the road.
DH: It does?
Me: Yup.
DH: There's a trash can on the garage?
Me: I'm going to go inside now.

It's my birthday; I have orange juice and champaign. I think I'll have a mimosa:)