FOR GREGORY. He was not a VICTIM of ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, he was a HERO!
PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Gregory arrived at the bedroom door, where I was working at my computer. He couldn't tell me what he wanted to tell me. He finally said, "Can I show you something?"
Back in the kitchen where he was making his lunch, he pointed at the salad drawer which was sitting on the counter. "Do you notice what's missing?" He said this is a way that felt like because something was missing he couldn't go on with making his lunch. I went into my problem solving mode (probably a mistake.)
"Nothing is missing." I said.
"No." At least nothing that would prevent him from continuing his lunch preparation.
I got more basic. "You mean there are no carrots?" Everything else was there but the carrots.
"Then what. The only thing we are out of is carrots."
"But you just said 'No." OK. And why are you telling me this? So I can put the on the grocery list?"
"Is the fact there there are no carrots stopping you from making lunch?"
"Then why are you telling me about this?"
"Is it because you want me to put them on the grocery list?" Repeated.
"Then what do you want me to do?" Repeated.
I walked over to the cabinet where we keep the grocery list and showed him. "Do you want me to put them on the list?
"Yes. I guess." I didn't dare ask what he meant by I guess since we had had such difficulty traveling so far as it was.
I, stupidly and knowing better, then continued to review all the gives and takes, pushes and pulls, yes's and no's that got us to that point and ended by saying, "And you probably haven't followed anything I've just said and why do I go on?"
"It's not your fault." Then why do I carry on. Sometimes these exchanges, communications or lack there-of just get rolling and can't stop. I am trying to be better. I want to be better. I wish I was better. And then I feel like shit!
Perhaps I should try to write about the good things that happen.
Like Gregory just having brought me half a pear (the other half for his lunch) sliced and beautifully arranged on a plate.
Or the fact that this time when folding the underwear, he got his size and my size correctly into different piles. In the past I have found myself unwittingly trying to fit myself into his underpants which were neatly folded into my drawer. Not a pretty sight if you know how slender he is and how ample I am.
Or how he tells me every night before we drift off to sleep how much he loves me.
For these things I am grateful.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
He was so pleased to hand me the card he purchased for me, details of which were included in yesterday's post. It meant a lot to me that he remembered and I was pleased to help him follow through with his remembering. Below is a picture of the card.
Covert analysis: Unusual card. Not of the type he would usually get for me. Not really romantic. Since he couldn't sign his name and at my suggestion to draw something he added what looks like tears? blood dripping for the heart? who knows?
Overt analysis: So pleased. Hugged him and thanked him. Sat down together to look through the photography book that "we bought for each other" and even thought it was still morning, broke into the candy "we bought for each other."
Reality analysis: Honestly pleased. He did the best he could. He expressed his love for me. He felt good about the exchange and therefore so did I. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY.
Tonight we go to a fancy restaurant for dinner then to see "Midsummer's Night Dream" at the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.
"We can stop in at Barnes and Nobel and you can buy one for me." I replied, pleased that he knew Valentine's Day was not too far off.
Tonight on our way home from dinner with friends we stopped in at B&N and I pointed him towards the Valentine's Department saying, "Go pick out one for me, I'll pay for it, and I promise I won't peek."
I was looking at books when he came up to me and said, "I think I found one but there is a problem."
"Show me, and I won't peek." He showed me a display card but there were no extras available. I explained the situation and pointed him towards another rack of cards. "You'll have to find another one you like."
He found one he liked, gave it to me (I didn't peek) and I paid for it asking the cashier to put it into the envelope without my seeing it.
We got home. I gave the card to Gregory and through no more about it. I was at my computer doing some writing and five or ten minutes later asked into the living room, "Are you doing OK?"
"No." came the reply. I went to see what the matter was. Gregory had been sitting at his desk, red envelope in hand, "I don't know what to do."
"Well take the card out of the envelope. I won't peek." He did so. "Now open the card." He did so. "And sign your name on it."
"That's not easy, I can't write."
Thinking fast on my feet, I gave him his pencil holder full of colored pencils (all the while not peeking) and said, "Well then draw me a picture." Which he did, put it in the envelope without help, and sealed it. "How did that go?"
"You know," he realized, "I don't think I can write anymore."
"Well, that's OK, you can tell me and I'll write for you." He liked that.
Now comes the difficult part for me, waiting to see what the card looks like. Last March when he proudly gave me my birthday card, it showed two bears in adjoining rockers, holding hands, but the card wished me a Happy Easter. It certainly was the thought that mattered, although I felt sad.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
I have nick named Gregory (if only in my mind,) MOUSE.
On one hand it reminds me of the adorable, yet complex character in the "Tales of the City" by Amistad Maupin.
It also is a quick way to keep awareness of what it must be like to experience what Gregory is going through based on the above study's mouse's inability to do something as innate, and simple as building a nest.
Mouse. My little mouse.
For more than three decades, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cityhas blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.
(This is the life (in French) and welcome to it (in Spanish.)
Last night, just before bedtime,
as we were having a Cheerios snack,
Gregory had the jug of milk in one hand,
his cereal bowl on the counter, and
he was stumped about what to do next.
This morning, making his breakfast,
as I was making my coffee,
Gregory had the electric tea pot in one hand,
his tea mug in the other, and
he was stumped about what to do next.
many times a day, hour, or minute,
Gregory on the one hand,
me on the other, and
we are often stumped about what to do next.