Last evening as we drove to our granddaughter’s high school graduation it became apparent to me that although Cheryl knew who I was she did not really know who I am. She started talking about events in the past that we had done or children and grandchildren, sometimes mixing those together. Her discussion might start out as Paul and I did this or Paul and I did that or Paul told me etc. It makes one wonder about the complexity of the human mind.
In one of these conversations, an incredibly lucid one, she said to me that she thought her Parkinson disease was getting worse. (AHA) She went on to say that her memory was very bad at times. I just took a deep breath and let her continue. She explained that she was having a harder and harder time remembering names and relationships (she said “who they belong to”) and that thought bothered her. Throughout the rest of the evening at the graduation ceremony, pictures in the courtyard outside the high school and on the way home, this failure to remember names and relationships was forefront on her mind.
This information is very important to Cheryl. Embarrassment or shyness keeps her from merely asking, “who are you?” I told her that she can always ask me who the other people are and I would tell if I knew. I am not shy. I merely say, I’m sorry I’ve lost your name in my head.
Most times these drive along conversations fall into the category of prattle and I can respond with, ugh-huh or yes that is probably true or I don’t know about that but, yesterday evening it was more serious than that. Last night it affected her sleep as she began to worry about how everyone fits together. She could not find those relationships in her head to her satisfaction. She spent the three hours from eleven PM to two AM speaking to herself in a low voice and fidgeting with her hands. Fidgeting often accompanies her discussions with herself as well as others.
There was a lot of hugging and reassurance that I would always help. She on the other hand is aware of her memories dissipating into the ether and it scares her.
Indeed, her disease is getting worse.
Living in the present is all that is left when one cannot plan ahead nor remember past experiences. Disappointment was rampant in our drive along yesterday. Regan’s graduation ceremony, however, was well orchestrated. She is on to the next thing. (Smartphones take really crappy long photos but here is some from the ceremony.)
This morning after Tony Decouple told us that they were following news of what could become news later today, I turned him off. Perhaps in the future Ronald and Donald will fight it out in the abortion war staged for prime time but how will that solve the debt crisis? A cacophony of unimportant drivel assails one’s ears on the commercial news broadcasts.
Social media is no more informative.
“That is ….. on so many different levels” – How does one interpret that omment? Tony knowingly nods his head and Nate agrees. Buy this thing through our Deals and keep miscellaneous stuff from falling in the crack between the console and the seat. Try not getting it out while the car is moving at fifty miles an hour. Why is there a crack? Remember bench seats? Romantic.
As humans we interpret what we hear against our education and prior knowledge. What is important to us may not be important to others. Unless we can construct a way to make it important to others.
Guns are bad. Guns are good. Mental health is bad. Mental health is good. Take this drug and remove fat. Take this drug to make type two diabetes to go away. Take this drug to combat the effects of taking that drug. Take this drug and be stronger, stiffer and last longer; this one is not advertised. Men just know about it. Take this drug and live nine months longer even though you will die anyway. There is a thought. We are all going to die. No one gets out of here alive.
Bent carrot disease has a patron. His name is Peyronie. Cancer has Hodgkin. Dementia has both Lewey and Alzheimer. Movement has Parkinson.
It is going to warm up to 80 degrees today but tomorrow it going to be much colder, only 72 degrees. Much colder is a modifier I probably would not have used but Tara, the weather interpreter, has to be heard above the other unimportant noise. Why have television stations devoted so much money and technology to something that is essentially a PowerPoint presentation?
I wonder how many people change their drive to work based on the traffic report? That used to come via a reporter in a helicopter who was barely able to talk over the top of the engine noise and the wop-wop of the blades. The internet has made so many things safer. No more flying in the fog. I am so glad Al invented the internet.
What does it all mean? A fusillade of information unimportant for living daily life bombards us all day long.
Today as I encouraged Cheryl to wake up and get out of bed it occurs to me that the changes are very slow. This morning is very different. It is hard to recover from a night of little or no sleep.
Yesterday she was awake very early simply because she had not slept overnight. I was not awake overnight to observe her but I get up two or three times to use the toilet. I long for the days when my bladder could contain my overnight urine output until morning but alas those days are gone. (I have digressed.) Each time I made this trip she was awake and talking to me. As I attempted to fall asleep, she squirmed as she attempted sleep. Each time I woke up she was in a different position. It suffices to say she slept little overnight.
Yesterday she was delusional and hallucinal and those experiences went to talking to her mother, my mother, seeing our two sons around, seeing her deceased sister and our smallest grandchild, Zachary.
Yesterday evening was my regularly scheduled meeting with friends. We formed a stock club many years ago and we enjoy a few beers and talk about various get-rich-quick schemes as well as attempting to discover the next Walmart or Amazon. It is a satisfying evening for me and our son Scott comes over to hang with Mom for a couple hours.
We had a gift for our newest high school graduate so I enticed our son David to stop by and pick it up. As I was texting David and working out the details Cheryl wondered aloud if Scott was bringing Zachary with him. I texted Scott with that request.
Our daughter-in-law brought Zachary over after he had been fed at home. Scott came at the usual time to hang for awhile. And David came by for a few minutes to pick up the gift and chat with Cheryl for a few minutes. I left for my meeting.
She saw them all in reality instead of inside her head.
Afterward she went to bed and although she was awake when I returned from turning off the lights and reading for a bit she fell asleep shortly thereafter.
Today she really had a hard time getting started. I rolled her, she has a new transfer chair, to breakfast after getting her on and back off of the toilet. She ate scrammed eggs, toast, bacon and some orange juice. She has started reading the Wall Street Journal to which I subscribe. (Getting rich quick is still strong in me.) She likes the editorial pages. I rolled her back to the bedroom afterward and now I hear her moving around selecting her clothes for today.
Yesterday I looked at my notebook and realized I had written little in my journal for several days. I pondered the fact that things seem to smooth out for a bit. Usually it is a long enough bit that one can be lulled into the idea that things are changing. Things are changing for the better.
Stuff that lost your attention falls in the dumpster.
Last night after Cheryl’s previous night of reasonably good sleep stayed awake all night.
Today will be a long one. She will be tired all day. So will I.
I am either becoming used to the odd late night behaviors and reacting to them in a calm sane fashion or they are simply unremarkable to me and seem commonplace.
At the very least I should be thankful to the Almighty that we are in a place that does not drive me to my blog to write about and discern my own feelings and emotions.
At various points in our lives I imagine many of us feel this way. As summer approaches it is time to slow down and enjoy the world’s awakening.
One grand daughter is graduated from university and is on a long awaited tour of England, France and Italy. Cheryl’s sister is off to Italy with her gentleman friend Gene. Another grand daughter graduates from high school in a few days. Our daughter’s family is enjoying their new boat on this bright sunny May Sunday afternoon. Cheryl’s brother is on his boat. He posted a picture this morning on Facebook.
Cheryl seemed to have slept well. I made her current favorite breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon with grape jelly toast. She seems to be getting up later as time goes on.
Today we will take a walk somewhere in the sunshine.
Birthdays are a big deal to some. Not so much to others. Cheryl got several cards from friends through the mail.
This vase of flowers magically appeared on Cheryl’s birthday with Natalie when she came to clean. Her sister Nancy had sent flowers for her birthday and Natalie selected them.
In the evening we went to a little cafe nearby to celebrate Cheryl’s birthday with our daughter, granddaughter and her brother. As I was putting Cheryl’s walker out of the aisle in the crowded little restaurant, a woman seated by herself remarked that I was a good husband. She had watched me guide Cheryl into the booth near the window. I told her that I try to take care of Cheryl as best as I can. She told me her husband had passed away a few years previous and she missed him greatly.
When I paid our tab for dinner I paid for her dinner also.
Today is Cheryl’s birthday. She is not sure how old she is and that is a good thing in many aspects. When I remind her, her answer is, “Really?”
Tonight we will go to dinner to celebrate. It was a spontaneous decision on my part. Some of her family will come too. With parkie’s many decisions are spontaneous. One has to determine how the day is going.
Her sister Nancy sent her some spontaneous flowers. Our niece, Natalie, brought them with her when she came to clean our condo today.
Spontaneity is the spice of life and living in the moment is something we all need to do more often.
Cheryl was moving slowly this morning but she said yes when I asked if she wanted to go to exercise class. I asked her if she wanted her blue shoes. She said, no, I want the pink shoes.
An old do-wop song jumped into my head.
It is amazing the crap flying around in your brain. I wonder how that works.
In Cheryl’s case it does not work as well as it once did. Her memories are jumbled up. She remembers that our granddaughter Laurencia is about to be graduated from The Ohio State University but mixes that memory with her mother’s teaching career. I used to correct the story but I no longer do.
Our granddaughter Regan is finishing high school and will move on to attend Ohio University at the end of this month. That idea is jumbled up with our grandson Max who graduated last year and is going to Miami University. When Cheryl tells the story we have three graduates. One of whom has been teaching for a couple years.
She wore her pink shoes with gray shoelaces, a flowered shirt and man oh man…