Friday, April 6, 2012

Care for a Care Giver

It was me who proposed that April was: Apply Prize Reflections In Life.

So I am going to be truly honest with you and share that yesterday I was not a good care partner.
There is an image of Alzheimer's that highlights the forgetfulness, the tender, yet empty eyes and the end of the movie "The Notebook" where you realize James Garner is talking about Gena Rowlands, his wife who does not remember him.

Yesterday was a typical day. We woke to David being very concerned over what to wear as hundreds of people were coming to our house to hear me speak. Not true by the way.
I had piles of work to get through and during most of it, David stood by my side puffing loudly as though he had a trumpet. By this time he was scared about me going to New York. Which I'm not.
I knew that I needed to get some bills into the post and I know that leaving them in the mail box is not a good idea in our house. I just took a risk because I had no time. Sadly on the fourth time of  David bringing them back in and me putting them back out, David suddenly grabbed them and ran off down the street. I was at the time only wearing a towel, yes it was 3pm, and that was the earliest time I managed to get a shower. That's a good day. Having a shower is not possible on a daily basis.
When he returned ten minutes later the mail had been lost and naturally forgotten.
$3,000 worth of bills.
Truly it's nothing. At the time when you are Humpty Dumpty perched on the wall - it is everything.
I flipped. I lost my smile. The anger could not rush out of me any faster. I was the exorcist girl again.

This is living with Alzheimer's. I am not bold enough to share how the day ended. For the first time ever, I hated David. I have never felt that for him, only love. I hated my life. Hated my ugliness and the boredom of the stress. The illness pushes you to this, beyond this. I am sick of it, and sick from it.

As Care partners, care givers - we know the bigger picture things and the ideal solutions. What we sometimes need is a punching bag and to accept that we are going through a grieving process. I am losing my husband and I resent most things that take away from the focus of loving.

Alzheimer's (any illness) grabs hold of the care giver and changes them. Please, please try not to let that happen.
Our friend Jen came flying (literally, I believe she and the little blue truck can do that). Reminding me to be me and caring for David while I found time to breathe. If you are a friend - even sharing dinner helps, as there is no such thing as a relaxing fun dinner out. The help does not have to be the ultimate answer and solution to everything. "Hey, while you're there, try and come up with the cure." It's not possible!
Just an hour, a pint of milk, whatever, it helps.
I am trying to learn from my weakness and "The Demon Drama of Beat Street." I hope that my sharing may inspire another who feels scared of their own anger.
We need support and smiles. The occasional reminders that we do not have to wear the blue hospital socks every day.

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