Husband's last camping trip

Husband's last camping trip

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My child-man

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.  How I wish it were that easy to not take husband.  I would love nothing better than to board that plane alone.  It is not possible, as he remembers that Jack is graduating, that we are going to the graduation and we will fly.  I think by not taking him, well, that may do him in.  

As far as what happened to husband, it's something I'd rather not talk about, but, to put it in a nutshell, he became delusional, disoriented and uncontrollable.  Kristen and I could not bring him out of it.  It was an awful scene.  It took many hours to bring him out of it.  Even when I brought him home, he was still in a state, but, seemed more aware of his surroundings.  By Saturday, he seemed more like himself, or, rather, more like what he has become.  We have settled back into our routine, only now, I have this cloud over me.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I had a long talk with FIL on the phone yesterday.  He has been ill and I didn't want to burden him, but, husband called him and I took over.  Told him everything that had happened last week.  We share a common bond, he and I, after all.  He told me that husband was entering the final stages of this disease, that's what husband's mother had done as well.  He said, soon, too soon, husband will cease to talk, watch him closely for any delusions,  and play the waiting game.  I told him about placing husband and he agreed.

He cried, I cried.  

The other kids know of my decision and all agree with me.  Jack is the only one who does not know.  He will find out soon enough.

Husband has been so so.  I talked with him about flying, and how he has to be on his best behavior.  He promised he would behave.  What other married couple talk this way?  Telling your husband he has to behave on a plane?  Oh, how I hate this. 

I am looking forward to leaving the city for awhile.  Going someplace I have never been.  I was reading the brochure on Jack's graduation.  We will have plenty of time for play.  It will be nice.  Jack says that he wants to take us places while there.  He hasn't seen much of San Antonio, but, a lot of the guys are taking their families around and about the sights and he wants to take us.  May do me some good.

We leave one week from today.  I will board that plane with excitement.  I will try not to think about the ugly of Alzheimer's.  I will try not to look at husband.  I will try to forget that he is dying and play pretend we are just like any other couple, going to their son's graduation.  I will try to escape it all.  Even if it's for 4 days only.

Yes, I'll do fine.  The only thing that keeps me going right now is seeing Jack's face.  That child-man.  How I will hug him.  Just to see his face again.  

Oh yes, I'll do just fine.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's final

I'm still here.  I have had a very rough time since last Thursday.  Mentally and physically.  I have had to come to the conclusion that within 6 months, I will have to place husband in a nursing home.  This decision has been solely based on what happened last week.

Husband had to be taken by ambulance to hospital.  There, they put him on Suicide Watch.  I could not see him.  They would come out every few hours and let me know how he was doing.  I was finally able to bring him home late, early Friday morning.

It's not that I'm throwing in the towel, or giving up.  No.  I just know that for him to receive the best care and to be in a medical environment, well, a nursing home will have to suffice.

I don't know how I'm feeling anymore.  I was so looking forward to going to San Antonio and seeing my boy graduate.  Oh, I'm still going, but, with a somber outlook on the future.

But, I will smile and be so happy and proud of my son.  He doesn't need to know what has transpired.  He'll find out soon enough.

This is where I am at today.  I have made my final decision.  Each time I look at husband and see nothing in his eyes, it makes me feel better about my decision.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I have had a rough couple of days.  Husband spent Thursday in the hospital.  He had an episode that I could not quite ignore.  He is better and I am left to pick up the pieces.  My emotions are all over the place.  I am mad, sad and everything in-between.

I am supposed to meet with some people who offer Caregiver services.  If I agree for one to come to the house, I will be able to look for a job.  This care giving on my own is not working.  I have realized I can't do it on my own.  I don't think anyone can.

If this Caregiver thing does not work out, then I will have no other choice but to place husband in a nursing facility where they are equipped to handle difficult situations.

My heart is heavy today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wheelchair vs Scooter Chair

I think I've found one of the reasons why husband has to go to the bathroom so much at night.  He drinks a lot of water.  We both do.  So, I've eliminated any water past 8 PM.  Last night was OK, he did get up once, but, made it to the bathroom.  No accidents.  I was exhausted yesterday.  Needless to say, I slept like a rock last night.

We had a decent day yesterday.  Husband seemed quiet and somewhat depressed.  I thought of calling Dr A's office, to see if maybe I should take him in.  Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done, it's the process and progression of the disease.  But, when someone you love is sick, your first instinct is to take them to the Dr's.

We never did get a Scooter Chair.  Medicare and Humana would not approve it because we have a manual wheelchair and they said it would work fine.  I am not happy with Humana, but, the coverage is good.

A medical supply store here locally is coming this afternoon to install a new charger for the older scooter chair father in law gave to us months ago.  They gave me quite a discount with a free installation thrown in.  I cannot transport it, but, it will work just fine here in the house.  The walker will be put away.  It doesn't help anymore.  He will be put in the chair permanently now.

I have to call Humana this morning.  I need to find out if they will pay for a nurse to come to the home.  I hate calling them.  They have me listed as Power of Attorney, (papers from attorney 2 years ago) and still insist on speaking to husband,  even after I tell them he has Alzheimer's, but, they want him to give them permission to speak with me.  It's an ordeal.  By the time I finally get to speak with them, I'm frustrated, and have to really hold my tongue.

I have had my moments since night before last.  The happiness and excitement about going to Jack's graduation has been replaced with such sadness.

I caught Kristen crying in her room yesterday.  I was concerned and asked her what was wrong.  She just pointed to our bedroom.  Nothing more needed to be said.

Husband has gotten up.  He looks confused.  He is nodding off as he sits in his chair in the living room.  It's not a pretty sight.  He will jerk his head upright, look around the room, realize he is in the living room, then, nod off again.

Another day in the life.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I woke up around 1 AM to hear husband talking to himself in the bathroom.  I keep a nightlight on in the bathroom for him so he can see in the middle of the night.  I got up, went into the bathroom and found him in the shower, going to the bathroom.  He had wet himself.  He was upset I had found him this way.

By then, the dogs were restless, so I let them outside.  I heard the shower go on.  Brought the dogs back in and went back to bed.  I sat on the side of the bed and waited for the shower to go off.  After several minutes, dogs still restless, I went into the bathroom and asked him what he was doing.  He said he was taking a shower, to leave him alone.  Uh, no, wasn't going to do that.  I went and got him clean underwear and sat on the toilet, and waited for him to finish.  Finally, he turned the water off.

And there, in the shower, at 1:30 in the morning, my husband, that big strong, hard working man, who has fought the good fight, broke down completely.  He cried like no wife should ever witness again.  He was leaning against the shower wall, sobbing, telling me I should put him in a home, he was a burden.  I got a towel, started talking to him as I was drying him off.  Told him I loved him, I was there for him, I wasn't going anywhere.

Helped him out of the shower, sat him on the toilet and finished drying him.  He was still sobbing.  Big, wracking sobs.  Helped him to bed, where I covered him up, soothed his hair, still damp from his forehead.  As I was doing so, I imagined that monster, just inside his head, laughing and mocking me.

No wife should of witnessed that.  My heart is a mess.

It is now 2:30 in the morning.  I cannot sleep.  So, I came here.

When the sun comes up, as it always does, I will, for the first time, put my big, strong husband in diapers.

That sun, the promise of a new day.  Only, that promise of a new day will mean something much more now.  It will mark our final journey into the depths of hell known as the final stages of Alzheimer's.

May the Lord be with us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time for Nurse

Husband wanted to go to Sportsman's Warehouse yesterday.  Now, after my experience with Wal Mart the day before, I could not imagine myself in any store.

Oh, the things one will do for love.

Of course, it was busy.  What was I thinking?  Husband wanted to get a Dry Box.  I had no clue what this was, but, pushed him through the throngs of people to ask for assistance in locating a Dry Box.

Luckily, the people there are very nice and helpful.  We came, we saw and we conquered!!

Once home, he said his shoulder and arm was bothering him.  I got him settled in bed and decided to have a nice quiet Sunday.  And it was.

There has been a noticeable change in husband.  His memory is just about gone in some aspects.  Of course he remembers who I am, who the kids are, and that we are going to San Antonio.  Everything else has been wiped out.  He asked several times over the course of yesterday, what day it was.  What was the date, was I cooking dinner, what was I cooking for dinner, did he have any clean clothes, (uh, duh) was I going to do laundry (ditto) and what day it was.  Over and over and over and over and over.

Since the fall last week, he has not been sleeping much during the day.  Which is good, however, it makes my days long.  When I ask him a question, he stares blankly at me for a minute, then will give me an answer. Most of the time, I have a hard time understanding him.  I am getting used to it, and have had to really concentrate on what he is saying.  When around other people, they look to me to translate on what he is saying.  He gets frustrated at times, trying to remember a word.  He stumbles on words and his speech is slurred.

When we see Dr A in December, I am going to ask for Home Health Care.  I know it's time.  At least that'll give me some free time to run errands, or, go to Starbucks, sit outside, and enjoy an espresso.  The nurse will also be able to advise me on anything I will need to address.

This turning point in this disease has been hard for me to see.  The falls, the massive confusion, the memory, the speech, the everything.  I find myself watching a commercial on TV and getting tears in my eyes.

Yes, I need the help.  Why does it have to hurt so much though?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shopaholic? Not me!

So, husband has decided to see things my way.  He was much better yesterday.  Will see what today brings.

Marie's car is still broke down, so, I took her and the kids to Wal Mart yesterday.  On a Saturday afternoon.  10 days before Halloween.  OY!!

I knew it was bad before I even entered the store.  There were only about 12 shopping carts left.  Now, I do not like shopping.  I do not like Wal Mart all that well, except for their prices.  I do not like ignorant shoppers.  I do not like rude shoppers.

What I do like is, a regular grocery store, playing soft music, going up to the deli and having 1 person in front of me, instead of 14.  I do like being able to stroll the aisles, glancing at products, checking prices, instead of, stopping and having person behind you make a huge sigh because you stopped.  I do like to browse the meat section, checking out meats, instead of when checking out meats, having someone reach all the way around you and grab a package of meat.

There is a good point I'm trying to make.  With my very limited budget, and my dislike for shopping, I will never become a Shopaholic.

Score 1 for me.

Disclaimer:  This post is not intended to slam Wal Mart.  I shop at Wal Mart too.  Just not on a Saturday afternoon, 10 days before any given Holiday.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ad Lib for real

Husband is turning into one of the worst patients I have ever seen.  Oh, he's a handful, I'll tell ya.  He's supposed to rest, elevate his arm and I will ice it several times per day, 20 minutes each time.   Every time I turned around yesterday, there he was, holding on to his walker and wincing in pain.  I would guide him back to bed,  all the while reminding him of Dr's orders.  Reminding an Alzheimer's patient of Dr's orders is like trying to drink a cup of coffee with a fork!!

I would apply an ice pack, time it on my microwave, and go back in, 2 minutes later, to find the ice pack on the bed.  He would tell me 20 minutes were up.  I then would have to explain to him that it had only been 2 minutes and put it back on.  Of course, he would argue with me, telling me he knows how to tell time, that he had been timing it on the clock in the bedroom.  Now, husband can no longer tell time of any clock mind you, but, he insisted that he was timing it on his own.  Oh, yes, he's a handful alright.  Exasperating is the word that comes to mind.

Pat, Christine & Jason came over for a visit last night.  We had a nice time visiting with them.  They brought a cake.  Christine was upset that husband has gone downhill so fast since Jack left.  She said he sounded like he was drunk.  She was very concerned that I had to take him to the hospital relating to his fall.  I guess it is a shock to some who have not seen him in weeks, to see just how much he has declined.  She did ask me how I planned on flying husband to San Antonio.  Won't it be hard, she asked.  Of course, I replied.  But, being that I'm around him 24/7,  well, you just do it.

When husband is talking and gets confused on a word, I automatically fill in the blanks for him.  He always looks at me and I add the word he cannot pronounce anymore.  It's just something I do.  Pat & Christine were surprised that I do this.  I explained to them, when you are around him all the time, it comes natural and goes with the territory.

After they had left, husband got settled in bed, I was sitting here in the living room thinking about that.  I do do that, I thought.  No one teaches you anything on Alzheimer's patients.  It's just something that comes natural to me.  Could be from having children.  You know, when they are first learning how to talk? You always know what they are trying to say, so, you fill in the blanks.  Same with husband now.

With this disease taking over, it's been exhausting and a great learning curve for me, all at the same time.  I surprise myself that I take things in stride, see what damage has been done, adjust to that, mentally taking notes on what he can and can't do anymore.  I pick up when he can't.

Reminds me of a play with a live audience.  Say, one person forgets their lines, the other actor will swoop down and ad lib, until that person recovers enough to finish their lines.  And, the show goes on.

In my case, this is no play with a live audience.  It's the real deal.  Real life stuff.  But, for husband's sake, the show must go on.  Or, life must go on.  It's that simple.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Twisted Slings

I had an interesting day yesterday.  As I mentioned earlier, husband took a bad fall Tuesday morning.  By yesterday morning, he could not lift his right arm.  I told him that was it, I was taking him in.  So, around 10:30 AM, off we went to University Hospital of New Mexico.  Instead of the ER, I took him to the Adult Urgent Care, located near the ER.  I had no wish to spend at least 12 hours in the ER.  I opted to spend 5 hours in Urgent Care.

Once I got him settled in the waiting room, he had to go to the bathroom.  Luckily, the bathroom is handicapped equipped, so it was an easy feat.  We waited about 30 minutes before they called his name.  As the nurse took hold of his wheelchair, she said, "No, you can stay here, I've got him, I'm only going to do vitals and bring him back out here."  I said, "Ma'am, he has Alzheimer's."  Nurse, eyes wide, said, "Oh, well, follow me."  I gave her the low down on why we were there, gave him his weight and height.

Back out in the lobby we went.  After about an hours wait time, a girl came in.  The receptionist asked her why she was there.  She said she had been puking since Tuesday, could not hold anything down.  She got checked in and during this time, I said a silent prayer that she would not sit next to me, as (1) I don't handle puke well and (2) I didn't want to catch what she had.  Of course, she sat right behind me, in perfect line for her to puke all over me.  Lo and behold, just then, they called husband's name.

Another hour of waiting when finally, the Dr came in.  She was very nice, examined husband, asked him all kinds of questions to which husband nodded his head (you know, the sign that he does not understand anything) which was my cue to announce who I was and that husband "has Alzheimer's".  She looks immediately at husband's eyes, (she knows her stuff) and turns to me to finish off her round of questions.   She says the shoulder may be fractured, it's swollen, or the collar bone.  Or, it could be that he dislocated the shoulder.  She orders X-rays.

We didn't have to wait long, so, during our wait, I had to go to the bathroom.  When I got out, I saw a nurse wheeling husband down the hallway to X-ray.  I offered to come along, but, she said she could handle it.  I sat back down in the exam room and, as she was wheeling husband, she asked what is name was.  He told her.  Then, she asked his birth date.  Proudly, I heard husband speak loud and clear his birth date.  Once that was done, I heard him say, "I know my name and birth date", like a child.  I got a twinge of sadness, yet had to chuckle about it at the same time.

Making this long story short, no fractures, no dislocations, just a severe contusion to the shoulder.  They put him in a sling, told me to apply ice for 20 minutes several times a day and keep it elevated.  Because he is on some high powered drugs, they could not prescribe any pain med.    We were set free.

By the time I got him to the curb to park, so I could take the shuttle to my car, then back up to get husband, he had somehow got the sling twisted up around his neck, his arm hanging at his side.  What a sight.  I started laughing, trying to fix him up.  Got the shuttle, threatening husband to "stay right here", remembering he couldn't use his arm to roll the wheelchair anywhere anyway.  Once I got back up, he had that sling twisted up again.  Stop to fix again.  We left to start our way back home, just in time for rush hour traffic to begin.

I will say, husband is the worst patient ever.  I took the sling off of him, elevated his arm and iced it.  He ate dinner and finally fell asleep.  What a day.  Of course, as the story of my life goes, I always gotta have a funny to go along with a serious event!!

By the way, once we get back from San Antonio there will be some serious pictures here!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How's your day?

I am in countdown mode as of today.  It's not just the idea of seeing my boy again and all that he accomplished at basic training, it's the very idea of going somewhere.  With all that being said, I am a little nervous for husband.  This constant state of confusion can lead to a very difficult trip, but, I am thinking positive.

I don't go out much.  I stay home, take care of my home, care for husband, and when we do go out, it's not far and not for long.  So, to actually leave my house for 4 whole days, well, yes, one can get a little flutter of excitement.

Tyler will watch the dogs.  Got that covered.  My little one, Snowball, is going to be a mess while I'm gone.  He is so attached to me.  I made a joke the other day and said he was going to need counseling when I get back.  Bessie on the other hand, is attached to me, but, she is independent, just let her bark her fool head off and she's good!

Yesterday I went through my closet and brought out the winter clothes.  It's getting pretty chilly here in the mornings, warming up some, but, the shorts have been put away.  Last night, while watching TV, I got a fire going in the fireplace.  It warmed up the room.  I have not turned the heat on yet.  I don't want my gas bill to go up.  Kind of testing myself, seeing just how long I can go without heat in the house.

I ran to Walgreens yesterday.  The clerk noticed my unusual upbeat manner.  She was so nice and asked me how my day was going.  I wanted to stand on the counter and announce to everyone in the store that I, was going on a big jet airplane to see my son graduate from basic training in the Air Force.  Then, my common sense kicked in and decided not to.  I told her my day was fabulous and made sure she was having a good day.

Funny, what a little trip will do for a person's morale!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Big Girl Pants

Thank you for the sweet comments on our trip to see Jack graduate from Air Force Basic Training.  I am excited to go.  Jack called Monday night and was just as excited.  He has done so well.  He said the worst thing has been the muggy weather.  He also said that the first 3 weeks were the hardest for him, but, has made friends, several of them are going to the same technical school he's going to, so, it's not that bad. My son has turned out to be a fine young man.

Husband took a bad fall yesterday, in the hallway, on tile floor.  He didn't hit his head, but, his right arm is sore and back as well.  He is suppose to use the walker in the house at all times, but, will forget it and attempt to walk away.  Last week I could not find his walker.  I asked him where it was, he looked at me blankly.  I went all through the house.  Just on a whim, I went outside and there it was, in the middle of the driveway!!  What?  When I brought it in, I asked him what he was doing outside, he stared at me and said the walker went out on it's own, he was not outside.  I had the front door open, so, I did not hear him go outside.  Guess I need to put chimes on the screen door as well?

I am doing OK.  I seem to be getting out of this slump I'd been in.  Could be because I am taking a plane trip to San Antonio?  I've also been having quiet times with myself.  Listening to my heart.  Discovering new things about me.  I'm not as sad as I've been as well.  Life is happening all around me, I just need to jump on that wagon.  I can't sit in this house and think of the inevitable, it'll drive me insane.  So, I've chosen to join the living again.  I have to.

It's not that I ignore husband, no, but, I am starting to plan my life without husband.  I know it's coming, you can see it everyday.  We all have choices, it's what choices you make that will shape your life.  In my case, I am making choices that will shape my future.  I will miss my husband, for sure, but, he's gone now anyways, his physical presence is here, yes, but, my husband is gone.  I have this pitiful body I'm caring for, like a rag doll.  I like to think he's got one foot in heaven.  If I think that way, it makes it easier on me to let go of his other foot.

My book is coming along.  It's hard, this writing stuff.  There are days I do no writing, then, like an explosion, out comes the laptop and smoke is left on the keyboard.  It has to be quiet in the house.  Now I get why writers have a quiet place.  I am thinking of turning Jack's old room into my office.  Someplace besides sitting here on my couch.

I don't know the first thing in getting this book published.  Do you have to pay money for them to publish?  Will my book be good enough for publishing?   I've searched on the internet for publishing companies, but, I think I will have to have a finished copy before I start pounding and hounding publishers.  I hope this book will be interesting enough.  Time will tell.

So, life continues.  It's hard dealing with husband, it's heartbreaking at times, but, like everything else in my life, I deal.  If there were a test at the end of each day, I would probably fail sometimes.  On the days that I don't fail, it's just that I've put on my Big Girl Pants and gotten through.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We are going to San Antonio for Jack's graduation.  My heart is happy and full this morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Let's play pretend today!!

Introducing adult diapers to husband yesterday did not go well.  I eased into it while he was eating breakfast.  I did not call them adult diapers, I said they were protective pads, as that is actually the name on the package.  Husband became quite angry and said he would never, ever wear diapers.  I explained to him that it was just for protection and if out somewhere, if there was an accident, it wouldn't show through.  Nothing I said worked.  I opened the package and showed him how they fit, comfortable and soft and how they would protect him.  It was a no go.

He finished his breakfast and went to bed for the whole day.  He would not talk to me.  He would not acknowledge me if I walked into the room.

End of Day 1 of introducing protective pads.

It's like everything else I've had to get him to use.  First, it was the cane.  He fought me on that, said he could walk just fine.  Then, using the walker.  That was a real fight.  Next, graduating to the wheelchair.  That was a biggie.  Now this.  It's going to be a challenge for me.  A big one.  I am going to leave this one alone for awhile.  After his reaction yesterday, I may have to let him have accidents while out and about, for him to make up his mind that he, in fact, does need to wear these protective pads.

Like I've said so many times before, I fly by the seat of my pants here, folks.

I don't know what today will be like.  He did say good morning to me as I got up this morning.  He may, in fact, have forgotten yesterday for all I know.  Actually, I hope so.  Once again, perks of Alzheimer's.

Husband has been very restless during the night.  Every time I woke up last night, he was in the bathroom.  A little spooky.

I have not heard from Jack in 2 weeks.  I am sure everything is OK, he may be so busy, what with them winding down Basic Training, getting ready for graduation.  I would love to hear from him.  I usually write him a long letter on Sunday, and try to send a card during the week.  I'd love to pick up the phone and have Jack on the other end say, "Hi Mom."

Today I will not mention protective pads.  I will go about my day, pretending nothing is wrong with husband. He likes it that way.  Other than a little problem with his legs, according to him, he's fine, just fine.

After yesterday, I think I will play pretend too.  Easier on me for sure.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Adult Diapers

Thanks for the comment about Jack and Thanksgiving.  I don't know what he's doing, but, he did tell me he would be home for two weeks at Christmas time.  That will be nice.

Father in law did pick up husband yesterday.  They had a good time.  When FIL dropped husband off, he took me aside and gave me some plastic bottles, one large, one medium.  He said to use one in the car and one to keep at his bedside.  Husband had a few accidents at his dad's house.  We talked about that, FIL asked me if he was having accidents at home.  I told him yes.  FIL hung his head and looked so sad.  He then said, "It's the beginning of the end."   My first instinct was to put my arms around him.  Instead, I patted him on the back and replied, "I know."

Husband watched all of this with no reaction at all.  I looked at him.  There he was, a total blank look at the both of us.  He was in his own world, not knowing what was being said.  FIL left, I started dinner.  I asked husband if he had a good time.  He said he couldn't remember.  Great.

Husband fell asleep early, but, when I went to bed, he was in the shower.  I noticed the bathroom rug was outside the door.  I picked it up and it was wet.  When he finally opened the door, I asked him what he was doing he said, "I had a dream I was selling the house and...........", his voice trailed off, and he started mumbling to himself.  He was in a complete stupor.  I asked him about the rug.  He finally said he couldn't make it to the toilet.  I asked him if he needed clean underwear, he said he had some already.  When he put the underwear on, it was backwards and inside out.  I said nothing.

It is now time to break out the adult diapers.  I have a package in my closet.  I have kept them there waiting for "the day".  He will have to start wearing them.  It's time.

I knew there would come a time that we would advance to diapers; knew it all along.  But, it seemed so far off.  "There will come a time when patient will lose all bodily functions.  Adult diapers will have to be worn", is what I read.  

My heart is heavy this morning.  How degrading for him.  How sad I feel for him.  Sad for me.  Sad for our family.  Sad for the man he once was.  I miss that man.  I miss my husband.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Knock it off

Still in a slump.  I've tried to shake it off, but, it won't leave me.  I don't know how to describe it, it's just a slump.

I talked with my neighbor yesterday.  She has a 10 yr old that is mentally handicapped.  We were comparing notes on behavior problems with her girl and husband.  It was nice to have someone to talk to that kind of gets where I'm coming from.  Even if it's compared to a little girl.

I offered to take husband to father in law's house.  He called his dad, but, Lupe said they had company, that father in law would call later.  Husband was upset about the fact he didn't get to talk to his dad.  I told him maybe he really couldn't come to the phone.  Did no good.  He said he would never talk to his dad again.  His chin was quivering,  mumbled to himself and finally went to his bed.

A little later, father in law called and apologized for not coming to the phone.  Now, before the Genetics test came back positive, father in law would never apologize for anything.  Since the results came back positive, he has done a complete turn around.  We now share a common bond of dealing with this disease.

We talked for awhile, I explained that I had offered to take husband over there.  He said he would try to come by today or tomorrow and pick husband up for the day.  When I got off the phone, I told husband his dad was sorry he couldn't come to the phone, but, he said maybe today or tomorrow he would come pick up husband.  Husband seemed calmer about that, but, still was not in a good mood.

I am still trying to figure out how I am supposed to get to San Antonio, Texas for Jack's Air Force graduation.  I have no money to book a flight for us, no money for hotel, no money for car rental.  Nothing.  When he calls, he asks, "Mom, are you coming?"  I tell him yes.


Gotta get this monkey off my back.  Gotta pick myself up and continue this journey.  People are depending on me.  I've been talking to myself now.  Crazy.

Today, I shall tell me, "Knock it off."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not today, please

Life is happening all around me and yet, my life, or husband's life, is crumbling.  This monster is having a "coming out" party.  It is so obvious what is happening now that I am having a hard time dealing this week.

I took husband on a few errands with me yesterday.  I had to use the restroom, parked him in front of the bathrooms and, when I came out, the sight of him was oh so pitiful.  There he sat, in his wheelchair, slumped over, lifting his head, staring blankly at people walking by.  As long as I live, I will never forget that sight.  There are times that I don't think about Alzheimer's.  There are times we do not discuss what is happening to him.  There are times I'd like to think "he's OK".  But, not yesterday.

As we were driving home, he was slurring his words.  He asked me 2 times within a span of 5 minutes what we were having for dinner.  Still having that vision of him when I came out of the bathroom, it was hard for me to speak.

My brake pads needed replacing.  Tyler replaced them Monday morning.  On Sunday, however, husband went outside to look at the car.  He came in and told me the rotors were damaged as well.  I asked him how he knew that.  He said he looked at them through the hubcaps.  Now, I know zero about cars, but, the rotors?  I thought I had disc brakes.  All he talked about Sunday night was how damaged those rotors were.  I finally asked him to stop because I had no money to replace the rotors and he was upsetting me about the expense of replacing the rotors.

I went first thing Monday morning to get the pads.  As I was paying for them, I asked her if they carried rotors.  She looked at me, frowned and said that my car has Disc Brakes.  Tyler came, replaced the pads and all is well with my car.  Later, I asked husband what he meant by telling me the rotors were bad, that I was right, I had disc brakes.  He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I thought the rotors were bad.  Tyler said they are still good, you didn't damage them after all."   To this day, he insists I have rotors.  But, I was lucky, I didn't damage them.  What????

Yep. it's like that around here, all day, every day.  If you ever get confused and frustrated, magnify that by 1,000 and you get where I am coming from.

Today, when I woke up, my first thought was, "I don't wanna play this game anymore."  I'm getting tired.  I actually don't think he's even aware anymore what's happening to him.  He just B bops around.

Hey, coach, can I have a time out, just today, please?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Taking comfort

Fall arrived here in the Land of Enchantment.  I woke up to cloudy skies, breezy, and it's cold.  The idea of having a fire in the fireplace tonight is tempting.  If it stays cold, I will have a fire tonight.  Cozy.  After that hot summer, this is a welcome relief.  I'll be happy to break out the sweats and socks.

Tyler is coming tomorrow to replace my brake pads.  When this started earlier this week, I felt so helpless, not knowing what to do about it.  Husband used to take care of all of that. I would mention something about the car, and he would take care of it.  Now?  I have to depend on my grown kids to help me out.  Thankfully, Tyler said he would take care of it, not to worry.

I am hoping to hear from Jack.  He has not called in a week.  I am getting used to him being gone now.  It's not so bad anymore.  Of course, I still miss him, but, it's getting easier for me.

The quiet is not so bad either.  In the afternoon is when I love it best.  When I go to bed at night is when it get's to me though.  Turning off all the lights, locking the doors, I realize in this big house, it's really just the two of us now.  What a change for me.

Husband is not coming out of his "mood" as fast as I thought.  He has been rather quiet and either sleeps all day, or, stares at the ceiling.  He doesn't seem interested in anything I say or do.  He's just "there", physically.  Mentally?  He's checked out.

Part of me is relieved, the other part?  Scared.  This is it, I say to myself.  This is what I have been waiting for.  I knew this stage was coming, braced myself even, for it to strike.  I believe we are in the final stage of this disease.  On one hand, I want it to be over for him.  On the other hand?  My mind drifts to the "after he's gone" part.  I hope I will do him proud and hold my head high.  I hope I can do this, without him.  I hope I don't live with regrets.

I have found myself shedding tears this week.  The tears have been brief, but, it comes in waves.  One minute, I'm fine, the next, my body gets these sobs.  Never felt like that before.  I have heard of people getting "wracked by sobs," well, now I think I'm experiencing them.  It's different form crying.  It makes me double over, just for a minute, then, it's gone.

Onto the first cold weekend of the season.  I look forward to having a fire burning tonight.  Not having much to look forward to anymore, it's the little things I take comfort in now.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Night time thoughts

We're still in a "mood" this early morning.  He seems a little better, but, still the "mood" is there.  I have to ride it out.  Soon, he will be back to "himself".  The wandering, confused husband he has become.

Sometimes, late at night I often ask myself, "how long?"  All this was triggered last week.  I was looking through pictures of happier days to send to Jack.  There were so many of husband looking so healthy and normal.  He had such an infectious smile.  In one of the pictures, something caught my eye.  I finally went back to it the other day.

And, there he was with those eyes.  They were smiling along with the rest of his face.  Bright, happy, full of life eyes.  I had a little catch in my throat and put the pictures in my closet, where I can't see them when I go in there.  Don't want to see them.  The reminder is just too much for me right now.

Also, while looking at those pictures, a thought hit me.  At that moment when the camera captured that smile, there was a monster inside of his brain.  Hiding, waiting for the right moment to make his presence known.  It wasn't too long after that one particular photo that the monster began to emerge.  Slight, little incidences one would not make much of anything about it, making light of it, never for once thinking it could be "the curse"  as the family calls it.

No, not my husband, I would think.  We have too much going on for "that" to happen.  We love each other. We have a family.  God won't let "that" strike again.

Slowly,  the monster has emerged.  He has woken up from his sleep and has completely destroyed my husband.  Such a pitiful man, my husband.  Can't walk, can't talk right, can't think for himself, can't remember anything and spends his days staring blankly at the ceiling or TV.

I am finally OK with it all.  I have accepted it and live my life according to whatever the day has in store for me.  It's not easy, I have my moments, but, at the days end, as I look at my sleeping husband, the thought always is the same.

"How much longer, Lord?"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Simple, common sense

No,  I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  My landlord offered me $100 off my rent if I would clean out one of his rentals across the street from me.  Whew.  That was a job.  But, I got it all done.  My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, my feet hurt, but, I got $100 off my rent this month.  Yay for me.

I had left husband at home while I did this cleaning.  He was not happy about that.  For heaven's sake, I was across the street!!  That means nothing to him, however.  He has been in a "mood" since Monday.  I think I hit a wall this morning in regards to husband.  He is acting like a selfish, spoiled rotten 4 yr old.  I had to tell him to go into "his" room, and not come out until he can behave.  Nice words to say to your husband.  But, I'd had it.  Oh, by the way, he's still in there.

I never, ever, thought I would have to treat my husband like a child.  It's getting to that point where I am flying by the seat of my pants here, folks.   There is no "right" or "wrong" way to deal with this type of disease.  I am using my common sense.  If he acts like a child, I will treat him like a child.  Simple.

I am still reeling from the drastic lapse in memory since Jack left.  Every day I notice the memory getting worse and worse.  I hate it all.

When I got up this morning, I looked at him sleeping and thought to next year this time.  "He may not be here",  I thought to myself.  I had to remember to breathe when that thought hit me.  That's hard, but, on the other hand, he won't suffer anymore.

I just want it all to stop.  All of it.  The fear in his eyes is dreadful.  Then, when the fear leaves his eyes, that haunting look comes back.  Dead eyes.  That's what I call them lately.

We'll see what tonight brings.  I am cooking him one of his favorite dinners.  Maybe that'll bring him out of his funk.  If not, well then, I have to ride it out.

I'm getting good at riding out everything.  But, everyone has their limits.  I have days when I think I've reached it.  Then, I dig deep and find it, somewhere inside of me to go on.  

I have to, he's depending on me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The days of my life

Very low key weekend.  We hung around the house, I did deep cleaning on Saturday, did some grocery shopping, came home, fixed dinner, relaxed in front of the TV.

While I was at the store, Jack called.  Husband did not answer the phone the first time, but, he did pick up the phone the second time he called.  He got to talk to his son for a full 15 minutes.  He was in his element.  I was sorry I missed his call, but so glad that husband got to have time with is son without me hovering nearby.  They had a great talk.  Husband talked about it Saturday night and most of yesterday.  I had debated on taking husband with me, but, being that it was Saturday and Wal-Mart, well, you get the picture.

I am doing OK.  It is so quiet here, I can't get over it.  Many years ago, when the kids were all so little, I would dream of a clean and quiet house.  Well, it's happened and I don't quite know what to take of it.  I am going through an adjustment period, I'll get there, just takes time.

I did our usual laundry Saturday.  I haven't noticed how small it's gotten since Jack left.  1 load of whites/light colors, 1 load of dark colors, 1 small load of towels and 1 load of sheets.  I was done by 1:00 PM.  Now, that I can get used to any day of the week!!!  I actually looked for something to wash yesterday, thinking, "did I miss something?"

As far as Alzheimer's goes, it's there.  Something I can't ignore.  It's always there.  Husband did OK in the memory department this weekend.  Of course, I answered the same questions over and over, but, as far as his attitude, it was OK.  When I was putting away the clean laundry, he said, "Thank you for doing my laundry."  Had to pick my jaw up from the ground.  I've always heard, "Out of the mouth of babes," well, my new saying is, "Out of the mouth of an Alzheimer's patient."

As far as my book is going, well, it's going.  I did not do any writing this weekend.  I woke up this morning with an urge to write today.  During the writing of this book, so many memories have come into play, that, there are times I just don't want to "go there."  Today however, I am going to "go there."  Writing a book is not for the weak at heart, I'll tell ya.  It takes time and a lot of energy.  One would think sitting and typing is easy.  I'm here to tell you, not so.  Your mind has to be transported back, way back.  I am finding out you also have to have a good memory.  Luckily, my memory is intact.  All's well in that department.  Too good, if you ask me.  There are some things I'd like to forget, but, these are my memories.

Husband is still sleeping.  He will wake up soon enough.  I always hold my breath in anticipation of where we will be.  If he wakes up in a "near normal" state, then I know today will be OK.  If not, then, I brace myself for a trying day.  Lately, there have been more trying days than I'd like to count.

Let's all give a shout out to a "near normal" day!!!!