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.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Sex and Alzheimer's
To briefly set the scene for the next paragraph, G and I came out Gay during a time when it was not accepted, there were few if any role models, if it was not against the law it was bullied. One kept totally private about ones sexuality. When one would go out to the bar (door located down an alley, no sign, usually thought to be run by the maffia) one was always looking over one's shoulder and waiting for the police to raid. No charges would be filed but there were repercussions: a night in a cell, fingers printed, your name appearing in the newspaper as a part of the raid, your family finding out, and the loss of your job.
Interestingly enough I think that Gregory (through his Dementia/Alzheimer's) is revisiting some of the homophobia of that time. I will ask for a kiss and he will not want one or say "not right" or push me away. A little later he will accept my show of affection. We (I on our behalf) are very open about our relationship of 40+ years as a same sex couple. We are who we are at the facility and have not had any troubles at all with staff or other families. That has been lovely. Our relationship is just as important as all the other family relationships and that is good. Also, extra legal protections have been taken care of so that I can make decisions on his behalf and his biological family has always been very supportive of our relationship as well.
Now that same-sex marriage is the Law of the Land, first in Illinois and now in the United States, Gregory and I have chosen not to marry. It is a bittersweet victory. First, Gregory is not of "sound mind" to be able to marry. Secondly and bluntly, healthcare for the poor is taken care of by the state or they die, the very wealthy never have had to worry about health care, the middle class takes care of itself until bankrupted. Gregory is on Medicaid and the state is paying for his care. If we were married I would have to pay for all of his care until all our money was gone. This way I can live comfortably enough and afford to have a private care man with him 6 hours a day 7 days a week to help provide for the social/emotional side of Gregory's days. The facility provides excellent health care but there is never enough time for the residents to get enough social/emotional. Gregory and I are very fortunate. If our "Care Guy" is not a saint, he is a very highly place angel.
I laugh, now Gregory and I are in the same place as the "hippies" and "common law marriages" of yesterday, when we say, "Why not just live together. Why do we need to get married. It is just a piece of paper anyway. Our commitment is to each other and that is what matters."