Husband's last camping trip

Husband's last camping trip

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Downside, Upside

Husband has gone back into his own world again. It happens so suddenly. One minute, he is there, the next, gone. He will silently slip away and retreat into the unknown.

There was a movie a long time ago called Sybil. Sally Field starred in this movie and I believe she received some kind of TV award for her role. It was a mesmerizing, true story of a young girl with multiple personalities. She eventually overcame this illness, with years of help from a Dr.

In this movie, the Dr would ask to speak to one of the personalities. Her face would go blank, she would drop her head and a certain personality would suddenly appear. The face would take on a whole different look. It was stunning, her portrayal of this woman.

Husband, in a way, is like that now. When he is "there", his face looks different. Not the eyes, but his face. When he goes into his own world, his face takes on a whole different look. The eyes stay the same. At times, they look even bigger, rounder. Once I see that, I know he is "gone".

Living with someone with his type of disease, you learn to adjust to the changes. I watch and listen when he is "gone", sense what kind of mood he is in and go from there. If it is anger he is showing, then I try to defuse the anger. If it is one of sadness, I suggest ways to bring him out of it. If it is depression, I let him sleep. If it is total confusion, I have to be ready for anything. If he wanders the house, I know agitation has set in. I make light of it, offering a snack, a TV show he likes, urging the dogs to play with husband or anything to occupy him. Sometimes it works, other times, he will fight me on everything. You just don't know.

There is no class you can take to learn this. I go on my gut instincts. When husband was diagnosed, they did not give me a study sheet. There was no book I could read on what to expect. Each and everyone afflicted with this is unique. Oh, sure, there are some things all Alzheimer's patients do, but it depends on their original personalities. No one told me this. I've had to learn it on my own. There is no Final Exam. All I've ever been told is, it's one of the hardest things I'll ever have to go through.

There are days that I surprise myself. Especially the hard days. Could it be that God was preparing me for many years? With 7 children, each and everyone one of the children had different personalities. I learned how to adjust to the many differences in my children. Now, after all the years of raising children, I am faced with the many changes in my husband. Here we go again, I often say to my self.

I'm not perfect, (gasp, what?) I make mistakes with husband every day. I get angry and frustrated. I oftentimes hate my life. I hate the position I've been put in. I hate not having the lifestyle I once had. I hate not having my husband whole. I hate everything about it. Everything.

However, in all of this hate, I see the good as well. I'm going to have my moments. Let me have them. To know that God has entrusted me to care for husband, as sick as he is, God knows I can do this. He is the one who gives me the strength to go on. A little worse for the wear, mind you, but, I will make it through to the end.

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