I live in a nice home in the hills with a great view. My step-daughter and 5 year old grandson live with me. They are gone this weekend to the Central Valley to a funeral. The house has never felt so empty.
The Hospice Doctor started Gary back on the Gabapentin today....a seizure medication that he was on for three years prior to going into Memory Care. His prior Psychiatrist put him on it to control his emotional outbursts. He used to sound like he was in pain and would audibly yelp. It stopped with the medication. When he moved to "The Happy Place", they took him off most medication. So, we went full circle as the tremors he had been experiencing were a minor form of seizure. Time will tell if this ceases the fits of terror Gary has been experiencing.
He looked so peaceful right before lunch. He often sits with his eyes closed but appears fully aware of his surroundings. Recently he has had a severe stress crease in his forehead when he does this. Today, the crease was gone and he seemed peaceful. He talked a little more than normal. This was right before he went back on the medicine.
I left and went for lunch. I drove a little out of the way in search of good barbeque......it was ok. A pedicure did nothing toward cheering my sad mood. The grocery store was a quick stop to pick up something tasty for dinner. As I walked through the isles and looked at things that normally touch my desires, I found myself numb. Nothing looked good.
As a stress-eater, this was unusual. I picked up some Artichoke Ravioli and headed for home. The bookwork that was needing attention was finished. Dog fed. Laundry done. What now? Oh yes, I have promised our Valuable Sailing Library to a friend's friend who will hopefully circumnavigate soon.
I packed the library and conjured many memories of our thousands of hours on San Francisco Bay. Gary wanted nothing worse than to pull up ties and sail away. We dreamed of it for years....he more-so than I . I have an adventurous gene but he had a passion. We had a deal. He could buy the yacht when I had my mountain home secured for us to return to when the sailing adventures became too much. We got the home in Panama about 10 years ago. In his quest to earn the money to buy the yacht, he started to decline and lost great sums of money to bad investments, fraudulent opportunities, etc. We never got the yacht. Deal broken.
So now, I packed up the Library and continued to also make the decision to add in his very expensive foul weather gear and personal flotation device. He will never wear it again. The emotion tied to that decision had some finality that added weight to the day. I choked down the emotion because I know there are many more decisions and emotional separations to come.
Television was the next order of the day. While I was deciding what to watch, a friend sent me a great picture of his family at a Tree Lighting event. It made me smile and I thanked him. Little things mean so much more to me now.
I watched "I Walk the Line" and something in the mood of the film and the music brought a tear to my eye. Then, the watershed of grief tears that I have been holding back for months began. I thought of the day, Gary's peaceful face and the years of great adventures. The grief for what will never be overwhelmed me and I sobbed. During that time, I recall letting out a guttural noise that scared our dog. She ran to my side and sat under my arm. She stayed there for what felt like an hour....I lost track. I let go of that grief, anger and overwhelm.
As I went to bed, I was almost hyperventilating. I slept, uninterrupted, for hours.
Sunday morning brought rain, a perfect topping for my somber mood. Church lifted my emotions.
I got to Gary's in time to get him ready for lunch. He ate a great meal and drank lots of water. After the table was cleaned, I pulled his chair to face me. He looked troubled. I asked him why he looked troubled. He very clearly looked at me and said, "I want to go home." Quiet......what do I say to that?
I told him that he was home and that he lived in a great place with caring angels to take care of him. As quickly as he surprised me with that though, his thoughts moved on to listening to the conversations in the room. If I always tell him the truth, my conscience is clean.
The caregivers came to put him down for a nap. I kissed him and said our usual love message. "I love you from the top of your head...." He continued with "to the bottom of my toes...." "...and everywhere in between...do you know what I mean?" This time he said, "No, I don't know what you mean." With that, I let them wheel him off and went on with my day.
Changes are inevitable in life. However, Frontotemporal Degeneration accelerate those changes for a family and especially for a couple. It cannot be controlled and it cannot be cured. It can be a living hell if one chooses to see it that way. When I started this blog, I made the decision to view it as an adventure. That decision is often hard to live by......