Saturday, November 7, 2009

Taking an autumn walk

The image “http://machouse.mhvt.net/mac/apple_motion_sample/motion_falling_leaves.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. We have lived in this house, in this subdivision, which has but one entrance and is a single street with three branches leading to cul de sacs housing 40 families, for 25 years.
We have been the “walkers” in the neighborhood for 22 of those 25 years; once at a party when someone said, “Oh you’re the walkers,” I corrected them by saying, “No, we’re the Menchhofers.”

This is home. Today for the first time, Bob got lost.

A glorious autumn day, we went for a walk but called it quits after about 20 minutes. I have a bum knee, and the doctor said to let the pain tell me when to stop. After we got back and I settled on the couch with an ice pack, Bob decided he wanted to walk a bit more.

How long do you wait when you begin to feel nervous about a person with dementia going for a walk? Six out of 10 Alzheimer’s patients wander. He wasn’t “wandering;” he’d gone for a walk.

Ten minutes passed. He’d promised it would be a short one. Fifteen minutes. I decided if he wasn’t back by fifteen after the hour, I’d take a drive. Shortly afterwards the door bell rang; I could see Bob out on the porch; sometimes he has trouble figuring how to get inside, but I saw someone else at the door. John, a neighbor we don’t know except to exchange brief comments as he passes us, he’s a runner, had brought Bob home.

He introduced himself and gave me a firm handshake. He spoke pleasantly about the conversation they’d had and how it all worked out perfectly since he had needed to cool down and he and Bob walked home together; he was really telling me that he’d helped Bob find his way back.

Later I asked Bob if he’d gotten lost. He didn’t really answer. He did say that he was sort of looking around and then John started walking with him. He said that John immediately seemed to recognize that, with all the leaves falling, everything looked less familiar.

Bob is glad to have made a new friend.

1 comment:

  1. Be still my heart. Thank heaven for good neighbors!

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