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, December 17, 2013

Christmas With Friends

We usually spend Christmas with what we call our "Gay Family," a group of 10-12 gay men with whom for the last 35 or so years we have been celebrating birthdays, holidays, and special occasions; traveling to Italy, Spain, and France; renting summer homes and ski lodges; sharing blood family and friends; and just having an all around good time. They say the best family is the one you have created for yourself (not to diminish the value of one's blood family.) This e-mail outlines where Gregory and I are this Christmas time.

Dear Boyz,

First, I wanted to let you know that we will not be joining you for Christmas in Racine ... my executive decision based on the fact that during these last few months Gregory seems to be failing at an increased rate and I have to be "on duty" 24/7/365.

This morning for example I had to help him go to the bathroom, shave, and get dressed. He was thirsty but I had to help him identify what he was feeling and hand him the glass of water. He forgot the order of putting on his underwear and his sweats. Tried to enter his undershirt through the head hold and didn't know how to get his leg into the sweat pants. He no longer can navigate a breakfast tray which I prepare with all his favorites so I have to serve one item at a time and often prompt him on how to use the spoon or even how to eat or drink. Today he seems to think, "Something is not quite right," but nothing is different than yesterday. Maybe tomorrow some skills will return but others will disappear. Some come and go some are gone permanently.

While I have still been trying to keep him active and involved, I have had to make some decisions on what we can do and when. Honestly, my decision about not being in Racine for Christmas is about taking care of me so I can take care of him. I just can't face the extra work of getting him ready, packing us up, driving to and from Racine, worrying  about snow or not, caring for and attending to him away from home during the party, and trying to enjoy myself as well. I know that there would be great support for him at the party, but still. What I (he) need(s) is a quiet holiday at home alone with Christmas dinner and watching "A Christmas Carol." 

We will still be doing New Year's Eve, which is on a Tuesday this year, and hope you can join us. Being at home will make it easier for him (and me.) Arrival time 6:30 for a glass of wine, dinner at Pine Yard at 7:45, back to the condo for cookies etc. Let me know if you can join us so I can make reservations at the restaurant.

Thanks for being there and for your support,
Michael & Gregory

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