Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another Step

Today was tough and enlightening.
David suddenly looked at me and said "I don't know who you are."
That was the first time he has said it with such fear and accusation toward me.
He has confused me with other people, imagined that we have just met, or that I'm wealthy, or stealing from him. In all those modes I have still, presumed I was Jayne, or at least a form of me.
To have your husband look at you and scream in a public place; "I don't know who you are" is right up there with the bucket list of experiences you wonder how you would react to.

During the very difficult hour or so that followed in trying to get him back home with me, I felt extremely calm, in control and loving. I could see his pure fright, practically feel it, and his loss of understanding as to everything around him, that with ordinary circumstances is a familiar place - our favorite local book store.

I moved slowly, spoke quietly and gently, kept eye contact and just loved. That's all I wanted to do and that's all that was required.

These sudden moods can arrive so quickly. If I were to paint them, I would paint a tornado. It's as though the mind loses control and picks everything up with it, in an angry, vicious speed.
My advice for anyone with the fear of the what may come - is to be prepared. To stay as local as you can, when you begin to notice that traveling or just being out is becoming difficult.
I'm going to put a photograph of our home in my bag to show him. Perhaps also a photograph of the two of us together, it may help, when this happens again. I kept saying I wanted to take him home, and it was as though he were hearing I want to throw you into a dark, black hole.

We got through it though and for now that episode is closed. I cried later and I send out my love now to every partner, friend, family member who has to handle this. Isn't it a wonder that human beings can switch into a coping mode when required?

"I don't know who you are" he screamed. Me neither to be honest David, though I do know that my love for you, helped me today. Perhaps, as long as we wade through each storm, we'll be OK and we'll work it out eventually.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bruises

Thank you for great responses regarding a good old, weird, not to be forgotten bruise. Here are my favorite answers, in no particular order.

Best Friend, My Pink & Golden Star - Brenda
Side of head after falling off front of stage when lighting failed - name of play 'Say Something Happened'.
(Brenda also, ironically nearly broke a leg during this performance.)

Beautiful Sheryl -
Well I guess mine would be from the forceps when I was pulled out of ,my Mother's womb. I still have the bruise today. The doctor said it would go away but it never did!

Gorgeous Sandy -
Have you seen my rollarcoaster bruise? An original, earned by riding the Coney Island Comet ALONE!

My San Francisco Laughter Fix Michael -
First TV commercial I was booked for. Went to bed, woke up with a big bruise under my right eye. Looked like I was in a street fight. It took the poor make up person an hour to cover it. All I could think was they were going to fire me. Still have no idea what happened and it lasted a week!
Dashing Rob -
Do hickeys count as bruises?
(Thanks for the image of that my dear Rob!)

Oldest Dear Friend Jim (not oldest in age!)
I did fall off my bike on the way home from the pub one evening and bruised my ribs something rotten. But there’s nothing odd about that, is there? ;-)
(I have seen Jim fall over before, so I know this to be true. Though I believe he has seen me fall over too!)

My Dearest Rachel -
My most embarrassing bruise was actually the one I gave my husband by kicking his shin with a wooden clog. He still bears the scar from 1972!

My London Toy Boy Gavin -
Last year I tried to squeeze a spot on my face. The resulting bruise looked like a love bite on my cheek.
A picture can be seen on Twitter!

The funniest has to go to Dynamic Shannon -
When I was 10, and much much smaller, I was at a friends house who had a pool and a water slide. There was a bucket we used to pour water down the slide, then we would throw the bucket back into the pool. When it was my turn, I managed to slide down successfully only to land butt first into the damned bucket. I am talking about me, folded in half, stuck in a bucket, and then sinking to the bottom of the pool because I couldn't move my arms or legs to stay afloat. My mom had to pull me out, and it took a couple of people pulling on the bucket to get it off my ass. The giant, circular bruise it left went all the way around my lower back, ass cheeks, and upper thighs and lasted for a few weeks. It was super nasty looking!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Laptop Lid Slamming

When you have a form of Turrets that only surfaces when you are working, you may want to consider that your job is causing stress. I feel guilty to talk about work stress when people need jobs. So please forgive my self indulgent self.

Yesterday and today I have been hunched over the laptop. Every five minutes I become highly religious and throw my hands in the air calling out to - please insert whatever higher power works for you and add a few choice words that your grandparents did not know existed.

Occasionally, I will scream "That's it!" and walk away, imagining that the laptop follows me in a sulky fashion, begging for another opportunity.

I have noticed that my shoulders are attached to my ears, my mouth has swallowed my neck and my gums are clenched, let alone my teeth. My face is so scrunched with lines, that I receive calls from Botox specialists.

I know it is time to hang up my hang ups about working. I know I am off course. Even Max The Cat no longer jumps when I scream out. My "hello how may I help you" sounds like "What on earth do you think you can get from me?" It's time to send my final table plan and confirmation.

Yesterday, I was so frustrated with a table rotation that I slammed the laptop lid down while typing mid sentence. Guess what got trapped? And I am not kidding!
A beauty roll of my stomach got caught in the ceremonial lid slamming. Yes, a roll of beauty fat! (Instead of beauty spots, I have beauty rolls; these are rare, delicious and what can I say, I'm a big beauty!)
Anyway, the fact that part of my stomach got caught proves how closely hunched I was over the keyboard.
It hurt, and today I have a purple circle, almost like a branding on a cow.

So I open up the airwaves - I want to hear about your weirdest bruise received, as this is certainly mine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Question Marks

Since I said April was going to focus on accepting Alzheimer's through ignoring it. I have realized how hard it is to be a care partner. In fact I will admit I have been living in Bed, Bath and Deny and still am reluctant to say in my heart that I am struggling with this illness. I am not complaining, I do not want to sound like a victim. Please understand that I always thought Self Esteem was something to do with ironing, so I approach everything from a level of others know better.
These are just facts that I want to share to highlight A Day in the Life of a Question Mark.
Examples:
  • For anyone who saw an odd couple in Big Job Lots (terrible name) on Saturday that was us. I am the Walter Matthau character. We had agony over buying a blue plant pot for the garden. It will break. Its the wrong color. What's it for? It's too heavy. At one point I looked at rope and said out loud "Wonder if that would hold me?" I was joking - honest Rachel, I was! 
  • Anxiety over me making dinner while "You've Got Mail" was on the TV.
  • Tears and nearly a panic attack over the TV mini series of Titanic. When was it going to start? Why would we watch it? What if we missed it? When it did start, he talked solidly throughout it. Apart from when the over loud commercials came on, which made him cry because he thought he had broken the TV. We gave up watching, though I think I guessed the end. It sinks right?
  • Today we were up at 6am to get dressed for the day in a suit, when we are doing nothing.
  • Panic now because I went to the bathroom and couldn't be found for a minute, despite me leaving the door open and shouting as to where I was! It is fortunate for the neighbors that I suffer with constipation.
Now, just for one moment, let's think of David going through all of these concerns, often captured in a replaying loop. I ask constantly how may I help? I say all the time Everything Is Safe. I have mastered a smile, a level of volume, a speed close enough to stop. My point is, I can do all of these things while David cannot because he has lost memory of control. I have noticed that his taste has changed and his sense of touch. There is no difference between hot or cold water. He will pat the sofa constantly thinking its me. Mind you - size and comfy padding, we are pretty similar.

I wrote to my friend today and said nothing much is going on and yet with Alzheimer's there is ALWAYS something going on. There are no easy choices, no quiet days. I must find a deeper solution than practical to this, as I feel its eating us both alive. There are smiles to be shared, I know there are. I just have to understand where I can find them within all that fear and the popping, hungry, demanding, debilitating question marks.