Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feeding the hungry

Either I'm going crazy or getting good at living in the Alzheimer's world.

Bob's been having hallucinations again; he did this several months ago but back then he could agree that they were not real. Not so now.
Today we had finished lunch when Bob said, "But what about those men? I think they're hungry."
My usual response, "What?" Then I said, "Show them to me."

As we returned to the kitchen, I thought about what I've learned: if the person with dementia isn't frightened by the hallucinations, then don't try to talk him out of them.

"Do you want me to give them something to eat? We have left overs from lunch."
"Uh, yes, uh, I think, uh, that would be ... good."
I set containers with left-overs out on the table. He asked me about something to drink so I added a glass of water.

I left the kitchen feeling charitable and he said, "I'm glad we could help them."

He is a dear man and a good human being.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Monday morning

Where are the tissues?
Where are the cats?
Did you give that young man breakfast (the talking head on tv)?
Shhh, don’t talk so loud.
They got my juice!
Where are the cats?
Is the house locked up?
I need a tissue.
Where are the cats?
Who are those people over there (no one)?
I’m cold.
I guess if they were that thirsty.
Where are the cats?
Shhh, don’t talk so loud.
Why should we go for a walk?
Is the house locked up?
I can’t find anything!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The long good bye

It happens little by little and then all at once.

Like tonight I realized that I have become a nurse / companion, not a wife and friend. I make sure he takes his pills, eats properly, washes and dresses. I think about what makes him happy and contented. I subvert my own desires and needs because he is ill.

No longer do we have conversations even though we sit together with our morning coffee. Sometimes I watch the news and he catches half of a word "murder" or he hears a name and is sure we know the person, because we’ve heard the name so often, like Rob Blagoiavich.

Usually I don’t watch the news because I get frustrated with having to help him understand what is not understandable for him. The gulf oil spill concerns him deeply because of the possibility of sharks and rays.

We sit next to each other at dinner but I am helping him find what’s on the plate. Sometimes I pretend we’re strangers and I am being kind. We are strangers.

It happens all at once, you realize what you’ve become, and it happens little by little.