Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You are so mean to me that I don't want to kiss you goodnight.

Dementia is a cruel, viscious, ugly disease.....and we don't even have a bad case of it! 

Gary went to THE CLUB on Monday and Tuesday.  Most days he says he enjoyed himself but on some days, he does not know what they did, what he had for lunch, or WHY he likes it.  I know why he enjoys it...its because no one ever expects "normal Gary from the past" or for him to do anything other than enjoy others' company, do crafts or like the entertainment.  He said this morning, I sometimes think I should live there. 

I am still learning to live with the man who is not the linear, logical, overthinking husband from the past.  Here is where the "mean" comment orginated.

Yesterday, Gary was picked up at The CLUB extra early by Paratransit.  (No clue why).  He had an hour "layover" at the Target bus stop before E-VAN retrieved him and took him home.  He called me around 5:10 and said that he and Diva were walking around "the ballfields at the school".  I instantly presumed that he was at Franklin High School which is about a mile and a half from home.  When I left work for home at 6:20, I called him to see if he would start dinner.  He was still walking but said he was on the asphalt paved path near the house.  (almost home).  At 6:50, I was driving down the street behind our house and there were Gary and Diva.....I didn't ask any questions rather stopped and got them in the car and we drove the several blocks to home.

No issues......until....Gary noticed that he had somehow lost the flowers he had picked for me on his walk.  I have to learn to not ask questions. 

"Where did you stop that you might have left them?" 
"Probably at the water fountain in the park." 
"What park?" 
"I don't know.  Why don't you let me drive down there and I will find them?"
"No, honey, you can't drive. Thank you for picking flowers off the bushes, but you really don't need to go get them for me."  The truth is, I did not want to drive around the neighborhood with no real destination. He obviously did not know where he had been. Besides, the final performance show of American Idol was coming on and then the finale of The Voice was airing and I have followed both all season.

We ate dinner and then he started again, "Can we please drive to the park and look for your flowers?"  I pointed out that he did not know which park he was referencing and that we would have to drive to several parks and I did not want to do that.  The conversation suddenly became about him not being clear on where he had walked and NOT the flowers.  After about 20 minutes of him not being able to answer questions about how he got from the ballparks to where I picked him up, he was TOTALLY frustrated and demanded that I drive him to the park. (Ten after 8 and we got in the car)

I was becoming increasingly more frustrated and angry because I knew our ride was in vain.  It was getting dark and he could not tell me which direction to drive. 

"Where do you want me to go?"
"Turn right, then right and drive till I tell yout to stop."  Six miles later and way too far from the house, I pointed out that he could not have walked that far and that he was confused.  I told him  that he had said he was at the ballparks and took him there to find some recollection for him.  Nothing.

We argued some more and I realized there was no logic that was going to settle him.  I drove to three different parks in the neighborhood and nothing looked familiar.  I then suggested that we go home and look a the GPS application which shows breadcrumbs as a history of his location during the time when he was possibly picking flowers.  He agreed.

At home, American Idol was over.  The Voice was coming on when we fired up the laptop and located the application.  I showed him where he had been from 5:00 to 6:50 when I picked him up.  He could not understand the "map pins" on the computer as a history for his whereabouts.  He kept saying, "Show me where the parks are..." I showed him how to find the green sections on the map and how to zoom in and zoom out.  Keep in mind that this is a man who a few years ago designed an interactive voice response system and was a Windows 3.1 user.....he has just lost that part of his memory and skills. I cannot express in words the illogical, confusing expressions of thought I witnessed during that laptop experience. 

Around 10:00, I was so exhausted and angry that he was no longer trying to understand where he was or even why he was still sitting at the computer that I gave up on The Voice and begged him to shut down the computer.  I understood that I was asking him to give up trying to remember something that had become critically important to him.  He was frustrated and angry and I had started yelling due to frustration. 

I went upstairs and could not even find a "spoiler alert" that could tell me who won The Voice.  Nothing was going well.

He came to bed.  He continued yelling and I went back downstairs to take some Valerian Root for sleep.  Overwhelm consumed me and I cried for awhile.  After sucking up my emotions and clearing my frustration, I went upstairs.  While lying in bed he said,"You are so mean to me that I don't want to kiss you goodnight."

Let that one sink in a minute.  We have always lived with the motto of not going to bed angry with one another.  I guess we have outlived that one as at that point, I knew that sleep was important.  I rationalized going to sleep rather than having further discussion but saying, "he probably won't remember tomorrow anyway." 

This sign of the memories of the night before and all that transpired.  I need to learn how to stop it all before it starts to avoid the aggravation.  His mind just does not work that way.

Today, he called me during his layover at the Target bus stop to ask about the date of Father's day.  He was going to buy his dad a card.  I reminded him that Delmar was in heaven and he said, "well, then I won't buy him a card." 

I am still dumbfounded by his spirit for life.  We just need to keep him happy and not thinking about things that frustrate him. Maybe one day I will learn to do that without being "mean."

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