Friday, December 30, 2016

"Hurtin for Certain"

The end of another year lends me to think more about the future of our lives and what will happen to my dear husband who suffers (or not) with FTD.

Due to a string of unusual events, a fabulous concert and going back to work, I missed seeing Gary for a couple of days.  After 31 years of marriage, that seems an eternity. 

My last visit was pretty normal.  Annie the dog greeted me with licks to the face and the excitement of a happy puppy.  All the residents feel it when she is excited and perk a bit. 

Gary had just started with dinner and I approached him and his feeding angel from behind.  He is always in a wheelchair now and I noticed that he was leaning heavily to the right and was propped with a pillow.  Reena, the angel, who knows Gary very well said that he had started this a couple of hours ago and they just could not get him to sit straight.  I took over feeding him and noticed that he was wide awake, aware that I was there and eating normally.  Since he was sitting at such an angle, I found that I spilled more soup on him than I was getting in his mouth.  It was easier to feed him the solid food. 

After dinner was cleared, I held his hand and stroked his face and head.  He always likes this.  I rubbed his arms and legs and he responded with holding my hand, tugging constantly at my sleeve and rubbing my knee.  I told him that my sleeve would not come down to my wrist as it was a 3/4 sleeve blouse.  He repeated, "3/4 sleeve.  Sorry."  As the evening progressed he quietly said, in an original thought, "Hurtin for certain.  Hurtin for certain."  He used to say that when he would be in pain or recovering from a hangover.  I asked him in varying ways what was hurting.  "Is it your hand (still swollen)?  Is it your hip?  Is it your back? Honey, try to tell me what hurts."  No response.

He stopped saying it but I reported his verbal utterance so they can address it with the Hospice Nurse in the morning.  He needs a PRN pain medication available in case he has pain. 

I sat with him for a while longer.  He played with any piece of clothing that had a fold, a crease or a wrinkle.  He seemed to be mesmerized by touching the cloth.  He was not touching me, just the cloth.  Then, he switched to squeezing my arm, leg and knee again.  I told him I loved him and he repeated exactly what I said....I don't know if he was expressing that he loves me or repeating what he heard.  Either way, I will accept it and appreciate it.

I kissed him goodbye and told him I would be back tomorrow.  He acknowledged and kissed me goodbye in return.  I felt empty as I walked away. 

The hard part of FTD is that they cannot express themselves.  I don't know what he is thinking or feeling.  He does not seem to be frustrated or happy or content or well, anything.  He just is.  I know he would want the best for me and for me to be happy.  I want for him the same......

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