Saturday, April 20, 2013

David at Nine Months

You know when something is troubling you, and it isn't the thing that is really troubling you? Like when you imagine punching the stranger who stands too close to you in a line? It's not them that you really want to punch. It's the idiot spouse/boss/parent/friend who let you down, lied, tore your shirt - whatever - you know what I mean.

Well recently I have been finding myself more vulnerable over the smallest of things and tonight I just asked myself; am I really this upset (and I mean snot and tears and no sleep despite sleeping pills) just because of something someone said?
No - here is what I am really upset about....and this takes courage for me to share.

It's nine months today that David died and I can't stand the traumatic happenings of last year that lead to his death. I cant stand myself for letting him stay in the absurd and atrocious McLean Hospital. That I was bullied by the staff and other people into agreeing that David stay there and receive barbaric treatment from people who have no understanding of the complexity of Alzheimer's Disease.
That I was continually lied to and I allowed it to happen.

Yes yes we can all say, he was sick and eventually would have died. It would have got worse. Yeah we can all say that. Me saying that, however, is not releasing me from the pain, the guilt and the vivid memories that haunt me. Anytime I see an ambulance, anytime I recognize the symptoms on a person who appears healthy, anytime that I see the word Alzheimer's or Cancer, my heart pumps as though it needs to explode.

I watched those nurses continually overdose David. I sat with him while he was tied to a chair, or placed in a padded room, or the awful July 4th visit where the silence from all of the patients made me realize that medication time had been doubled for an easier day.  When they reported lies about how he had been, for example: "he raced down the corridor to strangle his wife." I asked them how could he have run when he could no longer walk? The delightful moment when the Doctor threatened me by suggesting I required treatment myself because I kept questioning their method. When I sat on the floor with David slumped in my arms just staring at me, and I was too scared to ask for help because the nurses said I got in their way.

I let my husband stay there through fear.
And again, we get back to the original lesson of life. It is our duty to love and honor ourselves and truly trust your own instincts. If I had done that - I would not be sitting here in a rented apartment, wondering how to pay for half a tombstone and crying because this time last year I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.

Davids actual Alzheimer's Doctor - who I begged to help me - told me afterwards that he had let David and I down. Yes, Dr.Dickerson you did,  not as much as I let us down though. Because I knew from that first visit that McLean Hospital was the very worse place that David could go to.

If one care giver decides against bad advice to permit a loved one with Alzheimer's to McLean, because they read this, then I sing with joy. If one person from Alzheimer's Association decides to finally explore the so called methods of McLean Hospital, then I can say - at last!
If one person finally sits down and considers if a care giver is overwhelmed because they are loving and not just a "tired, old lazy lump" then perhaps my bad experience could help another.
If in printing this post, I could release a tiny bit of the pain I am holding, then blogging is worth it.

Being a widow sucks. There is nothing redeemable about this situation. I am exhausted in pretending that it is OK. The range of emotions are too varied to cope with. It's like expecting a one year old to successfully manage an existing company.  I know this month I have experienced strength and wisdom. I know when my smile has been genuine.  I know when I have enjoyed a good glass of wine compared to a warm house special!
All I continue to ask for is an easy lightness to support me through the next three months. I'm living with death and that should actually count for something.

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