It occurred to me this morning (early afternoon) as I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes that often we want our friends, lovers, significant others to be on our schedule. This is especially true if they rely on us for help. Cheryl has not been on my schedule for a long time. She is on parkie time.
Her dementia seems to have added a special aspect to her conception of time and place. Following instructions in a linear fashion is very hard for her to do. Even if you are not interested in doing what she has decided that she wants to do, it is simply easier to go along. It is actually able to steer the activity if you plan a little bit.
There are three things on Cheryl’s agenda for today; Christmas cards, snicker doodle cookies and a list of complaints for the doctor when we see him next week. For me it is merely laundry day. (But these are all things I will do in some part.)
I got up on my typical schedule at about 7:15 am or so. I figured out the Wordle but used up all of my guesses and got a “whew” for my effort. The morning news was not keeping my attention so I printed the address labels for the Christmas cards and placed them in a prominent spot on the dining room table. I made a boo-boo. More about this later.
At 9 am or so I finally encouraged Cheryl to get out of bed. She had gone to bed at 10 pm but I could hear her moving around while I was learning how to align the address information with the Avery labels that I had selected earlier in the day. I came to bed about 11:30 pm. She was up once after that.
Even though I was making every attempt I could think of without a direct command to get her interested in making the cookies, nothing happened. I gave in and finished the cookies.
The labels however was a businesslike activity and she selected that. All was well until she became confused. I had duplicated a page of the labels when I printed them. UGH! The silver-lining was that she recognized the error. She merely did not know how to react to it. (sad face here) In an earlier life she would have said, “Hey you duplicated a page we need to print the missing page.” (She might have added “dummy” as a tease.)
She discovered this just as I was leaving to take a walk and Cindy had come to sit with her. I took the offending page out of the rotation and suggested that she continue with the rest while I took my walk. While I was gone she just stopped. She was unable to continue. It did not occur to her that she could do the page of labels that was unduplicated. And my suggestion that she do that did not register in her mind.
Later in the afternoon I stayed nearby and repeatedly showed her what to do. She finished one more sheet of labels. We have only thirty to go. Last evening I wrote a small newsy letter to put inside of the cards. I had the cards and envelopes pre-printed with our names and return address.
It is becoming a long and disappointing road.