Late in the evening when I am able to sit quietly and think about where we are with this parkinson thing I start to realize how it is affecting me. I ponder and think about how it is affecting her. Self -doubt pursues me everywhere.
As Cheryl’s confusion and memory lost develop into her dementia, I wonder if she is aware of her disability. I wonder if she knows about what is going on around her. I wonder is if she is scared. I know it scares me. She has always been self reliant. She often resists help. She makes me feel intrusive and yet I know her mind is awash in confusion. (Do I actually know that? Is that a misconception?)
Yesterday we had lunch with our daughter and talked about their family’s planned trip to Florida. We talked about the logistics of getting six differing schedules aligned for a family vacation. I thought it might be nice to go to there with them. I held Cheryl’s hand and asked her if she would like to do that. She was reluctant but interested in visiting with other family. (If we went along would we be a burden to Anna’s family and their time off vacationing together?)
My daughter pointed out to me that I keep track of Cheryl’s health like a hawk. She asked if I was keeping track of my own health. I think I am. But when I drift into deep discernment, meditation, prayer and thought, I am unsure. I think back to times when Cheryl and I went off together somewhere sometimes for a week or so, sometimes with friends we met up with, sometimes for a weekend alone with just us to entertain each other. Once Cheryl planned a special surprise for my birthday, all the kids and grandkids showed up – it was a well kept secret. These are all wonderful memories and it makes me long for those times. I makes me attracted to the idea of vacationing.
I think Anna was trying to tell me that a vacation would be good. I agree with that thought and in this part of my life and our marriage it would be useful if I was able to get away from the day to day care for Cheryl. Maybe it is time to give that away and return to simply being a husband.
A vacation from caring seems attractive.
As I write this and think about that aspect it lifts my heart. Worry and anxiety are easier to bear if there is occasional relief. I think I need to work on that sort of relief.
It is late in the morning now and she is gently snoring in the bedroom. This is one of those days when the day just seems to be slipping away. I begin to worry that she may not sleep tonight. I wonder how a professional caregiver would respond. I talked to her earlier when I put her meds in the bathroom for later. As I sat on the edge of the bed and comforted her a bit she fell asleep, so, I got up and left her to rest some more.
I am not surprised that she is sleeping late. Although she did not disturb me overnight I think she slept fitfully. I slept my normal get up to go to the bathroom every 2-3 hours. Occasionally she was whispering a list of people out loud as she thought through the planning of a family reunion style gathering that our sister-in-law has taken over but Cheryl cannot let go of in her mind. No amount of “Tari is handling that” relieves her from thinking about logistics. I often hope that Tari will spontaneously call and talk about it but I recognize that she probably will not. (I sent her a text message and requested her to call Cheryl. I will wait and see if she does.)
I mentioned – return to simply being a husband. I big part of that idea is not doing Cheryl’s things for her.
Many things wander through my thoughts as I checked on Cheryl again and got cleaned up, brushed my teeth (now the coffee tastes funny) and put on clothes for the day. I can hear my mother’s voice as she told me years ago, “I do some of my best sleeping in the morning.” When Mom was still alive if I visited her before noon, she might be just barely awake. Once or twice I made her breakfast and sat with her for awhile. I start seeing that happen with my wife. (I suppose I do not want that for us. I want us to be young and vibrant or, at least, think we are.)
I know that she wants to go to church services tonight. It is just before Easter. Easter is a big deal for Cheryl. She has been talking about coloring eggs for several weeks. I have extra eggs in case I cannot get out of doing that. It is getting late, so, as a husband I will get her up and listen to the complaint while I do that.
She is up now at 11 AM. I made her favorite breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with grape jelly toast. She told me that after she was done with breakfast she wanted to lie down again.