We have tried a new thing. Sometime during the past couple weeks I tripped over Hello Fresh. There are several of these around and as the pandemic pandemonium wears on I have cooked enough dinners that I am bored with my repertoire of recipes. Time for a new thing, new ideas and new spices. Time for someone else to select the menu for tonight.
One small critique: both the prep time and cook time are optimistic. Perhaps you and your significant other are supposed to be in the kitchen together enjoying a glass of wine while assembling this fine repast. That could work.
The back of the menu card has very specific instructions. I made one or two additions along the way. I used parchment paper under the chicken breasts. I put the broccoli in a bowl to toss with the olive oil. I have cooked many vegetables in the oven this way. It seems to me that the optimum roasting temperature is about 400 – 425 degrees Fahrenheit. (about 220 C) I set my timer to 20 minutes which seemed to cook the chicken breasts and Broccoli to perfection.
In this case six medium Yukon golds, a little bag of broccoli tops, out of the picture are two small chicken breasts, cheese, sour cream packets and seasonings. The little glass bowls are part of a set that I bought many years ago from Williams Sonoma. They have been pretty handy for 25 years or so.
There is a fair amount of shrapnel after the prep. The back row is waiting for the potatoes to cook. The bigger bowl with butter is waiting for the broccoli.
I have several of these cookie sheet pans. This one is about 11 by 17 inches. (A standard B-size drawing for all engineers.) The chicken crust has cheese in it so the parchment paper aids with clean up.
The portions seem just right.
I will have to work on my drizzle technique. I am more of a glopper.
Overall a good meal and a well planned cooking experience. A glass of wine while assembling this would have been great.
The parkie ate all her chicken, half of the broccoli and some of the mashed potatoes. She is not a big fan of onions and I wonder what onions taste like without out a sense of smell. The chicken has French’s Red Hot seasoning on it so it had some flavor for her.
Parkinson’s disease sucks but this at least was a successful dining experience.
I don’t know why that is. They just do. They are not sad but some are. Life long love is precious. Some say that it is rare. Perhaps what makes me tear up is the fact that many people do not find love that lasts for a lifetime. Perhaps an inner joy in me appears when I discover a story like ours. Perhaps my tears are tears of joy for, I cry at weddings and births too.
In the Fall/Winter Miamian (The magazine of Miami University) is a wonderful love story. Many Miami University grads met their life partners there while in school Oxford, Ohio. I imagine this is true of many university campuses but at Miami it is legendary. The story is about two people who met at a basketball game but did not know each other. They were set up by friends and began to date. During this time she noted that they could get a one hour PE credit for taking a social dance class. He did not want to do that but she insisted with, “If you’re going to date me, we will do this.” Later as they found out that they were in different sections of the class, she wanted to drop the class because it was not what she wanted it to be. He responded with, “If you’re going to date me, you are going to take this class.” The woman teaching the class allowed them to take their final exam together. It was a waltz. It was a metaphor for the rest of their lives.
Today she is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. And he is her caregiver. As time progressed she needed more care than he was capable. As he was moving her into a facility to care for her better the pandemic struck the U.S. The facility was about to lock the doors to curtail the spread of the virus to their residents. Could he move in with her? Yes. He has moved in with her to the assisted living facility to be with her throughout this Covid-19 pandemic. They locked the doors to the facility to stop the spread. True love.
I wonder about our future with Parkinson’s disease. As time progresses I notice that my life partner struggles with many of the simple organizational tasks associated with day to day living. I have taken over many of these, most of which fall into the category of chores – laundry, cleaning, cooking and the like. I wonder if it might have been better for me to not assume some of these tasks. It is not that I mind doing them but I have taken many of the daily routine tasks away from Cheryl and she has little of the daily routine chores to help her organize time during the day.
As it is, I am able to keep up with daily living chores. But I cannot resist looking towards the future and wondering about what is next.
In addition to being a movement disorder, Parkinson’s seems to destroy in some people the ability to perform parallel tasks. Cheryl has filled her days that I have removed the chores from with a task that her mother used to perform for the family. Elaine used to keep track of and send an appropriate card to children and couples on the recognition of their birthdays and anniversaries. Intermingled with this was additional well wishes for illness, deaths and other life events. It is somewhat unique in her extended family as I have noticed no one else doing this. Facebook has the unintended consequence of reducing within a family notes, cards, phone calls and other intimate connections. (Perhaps a good new year resolution is to get off Facebook and onto the phone or email or snail mail to reconnect.)
I have digressed. The simple act of keeping an address list up-to-date and maintaining a calendar with birthdays, anniversaries, deaths or other dates is confusing to one who is loosing her ability to remember which pocket of her purse holds the chap stick she put in there moments before. I help her and have helped her a bit around the fringes but I am resistant to take over this task in its entirety. It is something she wants to do. It seems to be something she likes to do. It is something that frustrates her greatly upon occasion. It is something that derails her objective when she discovers an incorrect address or thinks she has discovered an incorrect address because she has remembered an address from “auld lang syne”. When this happens one must stop and wait for the correct address to appear from the email inbox – or text message stream which is a variety of the same thing.
This is merely an example of a deteriorating brain and I wonder if I will be able to keep up with her needs into the future. The husband of the couple interviewed in the Miamian recognized that he was unable to tend to her needs completely and decided assisted living was the answer. His wife has Alzheimer’s which is by my perception much more debilitating than the slow progression of Parkinson’s disease dementia but will I recognize when I am unable to take care of her on my own?
Our love is here to stay. Their love is also. I will always cry when I find a love story of two people devoted to each other for life.
Parkinson’s disease sucks. I hope I can recognize where it is sucking us toward.
Most little things are not important to care about. Our niece, Natalie, who cleans for us once said you are neat people in response to a comment from Cheryl about how quick and efficient she is at cleaning our place. She is right about that Cheryl and I are neat people generally. Clutter of newspapers and magazines will appear during the week but by weekend they are in the recycle bin. I get up and make the bed every day. While I am cooking dinner which is something I find myself doing more and more often these days, I put things in the dishwasher as I complete a task. We put the dishes in the dishwasher right after using them.
I’m not big on dusting which is why I hired Natalie to do that for me but since she has been dusting and cleaning every couple weeks, I have spent time spiffing up my office. Lately I have noticed a slight changes here and there with Cheryl’s behavior about neatness. It seems to be another sign of the degradation of mind caused by the Parkinson’s disease. Something else for the caregiver to do.
The inconsistency of PD is often confusing to me and always frustrating for Cheryl. I have mentioned this before. Paul McCartney has a new album out and on it a song titled “Seize the Day”. Absolutely one should seize the day but often with a parkie one must seize the moment. Her day might be disconnected from reality one moment and acutely aware twenty minutes later.
Mail… junk mail
As one gets older the junk mail increases. At least that is my perception. Cheryl used to be able to discriminate junk mail advertising and new credit card offers without opening the envelope. These days each envelope is opened and ruminated over. I think that’s how the Readers Digest started to get delivered. She may have asked me in a weak moment – Do you like Readers Digest? The subscription has been renewed until 2025 or so. Oh well. It was cheap.
Perpetual Christmas card list
Finally it is the end of an excruciating three weeks of getting the Christmas card list in order and sending them out. Cheryl has been looking at printing out and re-looking at the list of addresses she has from 2018, 2019 and edits from this year. This is all made so much harder by the fact that the original list of addresses is kept in an Access database which makes little sense to me. The list itself is a couple names short of 100. Both Aunt Alberta the last of my father’s core family and Aunt Ruth the last of my mother’s core family have passed away in the past twelve or thirteen months. Cheryl’s sister Janice is also gone, as is my brother Bill. Things need to be adjusted.
This exercise is more than just making sure that the address list is accurate. It is a time to think about those folks. Maybe a letter is needed for the card. Maybe a phone call is needed to get current. To me it’s about the list. To Cheryl it is more than that. The sewing machine becomes desk to finish off the last 30 or so cards that require extra thought. Lots of distractions jump in the way of sorting through these last cards.
Is this one of those “Aha” moments that a Facebook friend talks about? Aha! She is not able to focus her thoughts long enough to ask for help. When she asks for aid, it is very hard to understand when I must not push back when she wants to do it differently. I was not able to accept micromanagement in my working career either. This is frustrating. There are four more addresses to go.
We wrote a generic message to those who were left to go. We did this in the car riding to visit my son yesterday. Today when I asked her for the notes she took so I could write it up, she did not know what I was talking about. I had to be very specific in my discussion. But we got there. This is the note:
I have written this short note to everyone on my Christmas card list. My Parkinson’s disease is making typing and writing more difficult as time progresses. So, even though I would like to write a longer note, I cannot do it. I do want to find out how everyone is doing this year, so, if you are interested please send a text message to 5——–0 or email to me@Gmail.com and Paul will set up a Zoom meeting to keep in touch.
Thanks to you all and have a very Merry Christmas!
printed 6 to a page
I probably spend too much time trying to understand why I am angry (at myself) and frustrated (with myself) about a stupid list of addresses. I printed the labels – weeks ago. I just went in to check on the last four. She is handwriting an address for a fifth one to someone not on the list at all. Carpe Diem…
In a Facebook Parkinson’s disease caregiver’s group – a person asked in a posting if anyone else got driven crazy with questions. I am not. I wish I was. Occasionally she will wander down a rabbit hole and come out the other side anxious about loosing a piece of information, email draft, telephone number or address.
What day is this? Is Scott going with us? What do you think Jan wants on her pizza? Are we staying here or can we go home? Did that guy bring my pills yet? … I do get these sorts of questions.
There is very little straight line activity in Cheryl’s world. Her world has many distractions along the way.
I have read and re-read this several times. I am whining but there it is – a couple weeks in the life of a PD caregiver. It certainly is an odd disease. And it sucks!
This particular image has nothing whatever to do with anything I have written here but amusement parks used to have photo booths in them. Remember photo booths?
There is no value to looking backward in time. It is, however, enjoyable to reminisce about days gone by.
This morning she says to me, “Are we ever going home?” … in an angry tone.
It is kind of an odd conversation but more common conversation to have in the morning. Because she seems to be in a different place in her head, even though she can see all of her possessions and her earrings and her clothes et cetera nearby.
It’s just really, really interesting and disturbing. I am unsure of how to react sometimes and what to do about it. This morning I did pretty much nothing and told her that we were in fact home. This is where we slept last night.
Then I asked her if she needed my help find a shirt or anything like that to put on and that seemed to deflect her mind. AHA – so maybe in the future. What I will do is look for those opportunities to answer her question and then move on to a new topic because she doesn’t seem to get lost when I change direction. She doesn’t insist on talking about where we live and why we are there and etc. Poof! She looks for a shirt.
In the past few weeks we have had conversations about dreams, Jan and furniture. She has a different reality – which is probably the wrong way to say it – sometimes in the evening, sometimes in the morning. It is difficult for me to ignore the fact that she perceives something different than I do. My natural tendency is to correct her perception. (What can I say – I am male. It is built into my jeans. Yep – purposeful use of the homonym.)
I guess we are creeping toward the non-benign form of Parkinson’s disease. Sadly.
I have told her many times that I will stay close by to help guide. She seems to understand for now.
Some days it is hard to find any humor. We use to tease each other. Now she does not understand and thinks I am being mean.
As we travel this Parkinson’s journey the engineer in me is hunting for a fix for various things that arise. Lately the sometimes appearance of “Sundowner Syndrome” (SS) has me hunting for information and hoping for a solution. This Web MD article has some useful tips about how combat Lewy body dementia which can be a late stage Parkinson symptom. We do many of the suggested things such as, physical exercise, increased lighting and redirecting. Some actually seem to help.
Many if not most PD patients have trouble sleeping. I think Cheryl may be in the “most” category. These are just perceptions on my part but it seems she has about a three day cycle. On the third day she sleeps well at night. Poor sleep seems to contribute to SS.
Caregiver and sleep
The role of caregiver is a tiring one. One can spend much of the day assessing mood, movement, confusion and cognition. In the background of my thoughts is a constant “what am I missing” anxiety. In most cases it is a misplaced anxiety because I have become very good at ignoring my own needs and thinking ahead for Cheryl. — Oh, wait… maybe I forgot my own needs?
Recently I began to think seriously about what I need to stay healthy both physically and mentally. In the summer and warm months I enjoy riding my bicycle around. It is a love left over from my childhood. When the kids where teenage I took it up again for a few years. About three years ago I did it once again. It allows me to empty my head. I listen to a book or podcast while riding and pretty soon a couple hours are gone and I have given no thought to Cheryl and PD. That is until this year, the year of the pandemic and the year of fear and misinformation.
It has not happened for a some time but approximately 3 years ago and about two years ago Cheryl had a bad episode with fatigue and meds. I took her to the hospital the first time and the fire department took her to the hospital the second time. Both cases where less than satisfactory experiences. Hospitals are not set up to deal with Parkinson’s patients. PD patients have very special medication needs. They have very specific medication needs. This year of pandemic quarantine and isolation and the free flowing misinformation and social media idiocy, whenever I rode my bike around my favorite path I was often worried about Cheryl. I was unable to let go and empty my head. I kept track of time. It was exercise and not relaxation. I became totally focused on keeping her out of any sort of hospital setting and as a result I was unable to dissociate from that thought train.
Even caregivers need proper sleep. On those days previous that I had ridden my favorite route without any thought of Cheryl and her well-being, I slept well. That total relaxation and refresh seems missing to me. I have asked my niece and friends if they would be willing to sit with Cheryl while I disappear for a bit of time. Time that I have come to think of as do-nothing time. I am developing a network of care for her and me.
Mindfulness and resting conscience
It is not sleep but a relaxation technique. Many folks are able to meditate and pray and give their conscience state to something else.
None of those prayers written in the Baltimore Catechism do it for me nor do hands pointing up icons give me peace of mind. I empty my head as best I can and think about good times past and try to not dwell on those and long for their return. I try to empty my head of distracting thoughts about the future which tend to go toward death and wondering what that is like. I try to listen to my heartbeat and let go of anxiety about Cheryl’s care and stay in the present for her — not dwell on what unknowns may be brought by the future.
When I am able to do this the day looks fine.
Foggy or bright? — each morning I get up and attempt to discover how Cheryl is doing that day. Last evening for example we had dinner with our friend Jane who joined us for spaghetti and conversation. Towards the end Cheryl felt like she had to lay down and rest. Jane helped me clean up the dishes and she returned to her home across the hallway. When Cheryl returned her view of reality was confused. She wanted to know if we were ever going to return to “that other place.” We had a long conversation about where we live. It is as though she perceives two realities. She knows where we live but she wonders why we do not ever go home.
We later played Scrabble for a diversion and she went to bed. In the morning she seemed to have no memory of any of that confusion from the previous evening.
I get anxious when she ignores things that I want her to do so that she can get a good night’s sleep. And then I remember that I may not know all the answers. I take a deep breath and try to help her move slowly toward the bedroom at night.
The sun-downers thing that seems to be developing is different at each presentation. Sometimes it manifests as an urgent need to complete some task and mentally she is unable to finish – which makes her anxious – which makes her try harder – which makes her anxious – which makes her frustrated – and so on with a mental state that is almost manic. This may keep going even if I manage to direct her into bed. Her mind does not easily let go of the circular task/completion anxiety loop.
It made me think of Randy Newman’s song from Toy Story. I recently heard it on some news program.
You’ve got a friend in me You’ve got a friend in me When the road looks rough ahead And you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed You just remember what your old pal said Boy, you’ve got a friend in me Yeah, you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me You’ve got a friend in me You got troubles, and I got ’em too There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you We stick together and we see it through ‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me You’ve got a friend in me
Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am Bigger and stronger too, maybe But none of them will ever love you the way I do It’s me and you, boy
And as the years go by Our friendship will never die You’re gonna see it’s our destiny You’ve got a friend in me You’ve got a friend in me You’ve got a friend in me
– Randy Newman, Toy Story
She will always be my friend. I just want to be hers and give her a smooth path.
It came! AND the power package worked. There is nothing more to say. The joy on her face when she sat in it for the first time says it all.
Thank the lord and the heavens above. The Chair has arrived. It has been pronounced good and comfortable.
During this process I watched Cheryl get into and out of a sitting position. In her PCF class they do this as an exercise. A parkie seems to need two things to help with this. The chair needs to be steady and sturdy. No rockers, swingers or swivelers allowed here. We had a plain wooden rocker which is also less than satisfactory for getting up and out of. This chair is taller and solid. I tilts and reclines but has no other movment.
This meditation has guided me through these last few months since I read it. I have edited it a bit for me personally. I try to read it and hold it in my heart each day. In an email from him, James Clear makes points about success, happiness, health, wealth and peace of mind. I try to use mindfulness as a way to reduce my own anxiety and understand what it is that any higher power may have in store for Cheryl and me.
Wealth is the purchases you don’t make.
Spiritual wealth is tied in no fashion to material wealth. Over time Parkinson’s disease has robbed Cheryl of her abilities to control and reconcile our check book. Through our entire fifty years of marriage she has done this family task. My interest was usually – how are we doing this month dear? Are we winning or losing? Her response was often – we are winning but it will be a little tight this month. She is frugal. Material wealth is not in our cards. Neither of us are risk takers. But over time if it is not important for one to have the latest, newest, nicest shiny new object enough material wealth accumulates to see one through to the end.
Spiritual wealth is more illusory. Spiritual wealth requires work. How can I do my best job to acquire more spiritual wealth, more inner peace? What sort of spiritual purchases can I avoid to gain or regain wealth spiritually?
Routine in life is calming to me. Routine provides a place for one to put your thoughts and displace the anxiety that arises from new PD behaviors. But lately, my routine is not my routine. New things seem to get added each week. Like laundry, which I never did in our previously un-parkinsons life. I have adapted to this addition. Friday is now laundry day for clothes. Monday is laundry day for the sheets. Wednesday was for towels and the like but I left this up to Cheryl because every now and again she would decide it was time to clean and part of that was to wash the towels. Over time with her parkie mind it became random. I suppose this is a new routine to be added. Service given freely to others, in my case, my wife, who needs my help provides an opportunity to gain spiritual wealth. Not purchasing the anger that arises from the constant tug of war between my way v. the previous (her) way can help with spiritual wealth. Remaining mindful of the mental fragility that comes with some PD patients may add to stress in a caregiver. Acknowledging that fragility, recognizing the tug of war, and then letting any stress or anger with the disease go often for me gives way to a bit of grief for what is to come and a calmness (acceptance?) of what is to be. This is a sort of meditation.
I think we all long for an easy road regardless of whether we are giving care to someone with a chronic illness or not. I know I do. I long for the pre-parkinson banter. The snide comments and the snappy comebacks would make us laugh. We spent fifty years becoming comfortable with that banter and learning how to push each others button and how to not do so.
From Sunday’s Gospel–MT 21:28-32; ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but he did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ They said, ‘The first.’ … after this Matthew wanders off into the weeds talking about tax collectors and prostitutes.
This is an odd gospel reading. The first kid responds as a teenager might — nope, not today pops. I’m hangin’ with the guys. Then he changes his mind. He does not apologize. He just goes. The second kid is a liar. Families are complicated. The first child is a reluctant helper. The second child is an asshat. I do not know where Matthew is going with this story and he does not tell us. He goes off into a ditch about the less desirable elements of any societal group.
Greater spiritual wealth is gained by doing for others without grumpiness about it. Lesser spiritual wealth is achieved by doing only. Spiritual wealth is gained in both cases. It is human to grump occasionally. Don’t beat yourself up about it but do not be a liar. Liars are below prostitutes in the social order and they are asshats.
Happiness is the objects you don’t desire.
I desire very little in life. It is a low bar but as long as the money and I run out at about the same time, I am good with that.
Health is the injuries you don’t sustain.
Exercise and eating your veggies add up to relatively good health. Stretching when you get “on in years” is a must. If it hurts, stop! Physical therapists will tell you that over and over. All good advice.
Find some sort of exercise that you can enjoy and stick with it. If you want to body build do it. If you are a runner, do it. If you are a dog walker, do it. If you are a stroller, do it. If you can do yoga and like it, do it.
Take care of your mental health. If you spend a great portion of your day caring for another or others, take time for yourself occasionally. When your grumpiness takes control it is time to go out and find balance.
Do not hurry your relaxation.
Peace of mind is the arguments you don’t engage.
Taking extra meds to fight side effects brought on by the Parkinson’s meds. It is an argument that is unwinnable even without the loopy logic of PD. Stay away from there.
Cheryl first; me second. It use to bug me a bit that she would schedule my time without warning after she quit driving. I became a built in Uber driver. I actually referred to myself as the driver — as in — Do you want to join us for dinner? My reply — Don’t ask me I’m just the driver.
Do not do that to yourself as a caregiver. You are in this too.
Someone else is using my pads. Virginia is making some sandwiches. She is taking care of the baby left here. … it seems that more and more Cheryl is slipping into her own reality. Trying to correct her thinking about what is real and what is delusion merely creates heartache and anxiety.
Avoid the bad to protect the good. — Stay off Facebook and avoid political crapola in your life.
Success is largely the failures you avoid.
Failure can be turned into success if one takes the time to learn from that failure. Life is rarely a straight line.
Thoughtfulness, meditation and mindfulness help to bring peace of mind. These are all different names for prayer.
In a previous story I reported that THE CHAIR did not come as predicted on the tenth of September. I have since learned of other fat fingered fumbles one encounters when there is human involvement.
Between the attempted delivery of the incorrect chair on Thursday September 10th and my third attempt at acquiring information about delivery of the correct chair September 20th there was a furniture buyers convention at an undisclosed location. Woo Hoo! Party time with some work. I get it. I have been there. But there is a internal structure flaw that shows within Furniture Fair’s receiving and ordering system.
Mistakes happen when humans are involved. The incoming inspection department, if there is one, missed the fact that the Prestige Power Recliner was not powered. That is an easy check to make because the buttons to operate it are on the side. The manual chair has nothing at all. The incoming inspection merely requires looking two places; one look at the order sheet to read “Power” and one look to the right side of the chair itself. Alas, that did not happen.
Since incoming inspection was flawed and no report was made to the buyer it has been eleven days before manufacturing in Mississippi knew of their mistake. Longer in fact because an email to their customer service website (Southern Motion) revealed they had no knowledge of the mistake.
The customer – me – was not disappointed with the furniture store until the customer discovered through conversation the compounded error. In fact I was not disappointed with the manufacturer. After all shit happens. One just fixes it and moves on. But there was no reaction from the receiving department. Alas. And there was no reaction by the buyer group because they were away discovering new things to buy.
On another topic when I called to talk to someone at the Furniture Fair organization to ask about what was next I was always referred to the original salesman. That always seemed odd to me. I was pretty sure that other than the original sale he was no longer directly involved. At the store itself there was a clerical staff backing these sale guys up. I was pretty sure that when he entered our order it was merely going to the purchasing staff. He would not have been involved in the ordering, shipping, receiving and delivering process. At the outset he explained that the typical order to delivery time was 8 – 9 weeks and the pandemic had slowed that a bit. A very honest synopsis of the eventual process. When he was unavailable I was able to speak to the store manager. Nice gentlemen all, but why were they involved in my dilemma? Their whole role seemed to be to look in the computer and tell me nothing was happening. The girl who answered the phone line could have told me that nothing was happening.
Customer perception is one of inability to react to errors. The back office must be chaotic at best.
The day that we had these conversations, generally speaking, Cheryl was having a pretty good day. When she is in this “pretty good day” mode she remembers many of the funny little conversations we have had in the middle of the night if I ask about them. It is as though she can step away and talk about what she was seeing or thought she was seeing . Her cognizant brain is able to view her in-cognizant brain’s thoughts and interpret them as not quite right or even odd.
We were walking on our 1-ish mile loop
We were walking on our favorite one mile (not quite but close) loop near Mill Creek. She tells me – you know when I get up at night and some times I go into that closet by the bathroom where my pads are and get a new one because it seems like I leaked a little? I have pads in there. Do you know where I mean? Me – yes. The closet by the bath tub you mean? (I am not sure where this is going.) Her – yes. That’s the one. Well, I saw a lot of clothes in there that looked like mine. How did those get there? I don’t remember putting those in there but I’m pretty sure they are mine. At least they look like clothes that I have. (Insert a puzzled loving face here. Most emojis do not work.)
… Patience, wisdom or empathy — which one of those is necessary now? I just go with the flow most times because I am unsure if she is standing outside her thoughts or reliving them. I said to her that we put our clothes in that closet when we moved into our condo. And when I do the laundry I hang your shirts and pants in there if they need hanging so maybe I put them in there when you were not looking.
She responded with – I have no memory of moving. (Oh, poop.) She goes on to tell me – I remember looking at the condo but I really don’t have much memory of the day we moved. She phrased that in a fashion that indicated to me that she knew we had moved to a smaller place about 4 years ago but was simply fuzzy about the details. Four years ago she did not seem to be struggling mentally. I could have not noticed at that time because her mother was still alive and she was making a daily trip to Bridgeway Pointe where her mom was staying. Our life was busier then. Her main complaint was her knees which in my mind was the main reason we moved. Our condo is a flat one floor two bed-roomed affair with a small den that I have taken over for my man-space. There are no steps in or out.
She continued with – If you are looking for my clothes there’s some in there. At least they look like my clothes. Me – yes, I think they are. There are some in a tub too. Those are your winter things that are saved away for the season. Her – yes there are. Now at this point I am thinking she is coming to believe that her clothes are hanging in the closet. But then she says – I am not sure where your clothes are. Me – that’s okay I will look for them when we get home. They might be in my armoire. I will look. She seemed satisfied with that and we walked on talking about other things that were sky and weather related.
Early one morning the clock in our bedroom which is electronic and looks like the image above did not alarm at 7AM as it usually does. I woke up anyway at about a quarter after 7 and went to get Cheryl’s meds for 7 that day. I helped her up to the bathroom and after she took her meds and was heading back to bed for a bit she said – I don’t understand how do you know what clock to use. Me – I use that one to get up for your seven o’clock meds. It’s a little off. (I was thinking of the wind-up in the living area which bongs out the hour all day long.) Her – is it eastern time? Me – yes it is.
It was my mistake thinking she was comparing the clock’s displayed time to the gongs from the living room clock. No such thing. What she was really telling me is that this clock is confusing to her. About now it displayed 7:22AM or so because the alarm did not sound at 7AM. She did not recognize that the first dose of meds were a little late but she did recognize that the time was wrong. She could not make that connection.
Admittedly when I bought the clock I thought it would help her understand the time of day. In the picture above it displays “Morning”. it also says things like early morning, evening, afternoon, late afternoon and so on. I turned these messages off because at first she would say – what does that mean? Early morning? It is dark out. It seemed to be too much information so I turned it off. I said to her – yes it is eastern time. The whole daylight savings thing is confusing to her and an unimportant imposition by the deep state agency called NOAA. (smiley face.) It occurs to me that I could “spring ahead” or “fall back” at 2AM. I am often up about then for a potty break about then. I do not think the time police get up until about 6AM.
For the rest of this morning she was tired. And the same throughout the day. It is as though the whole discussion about time wore her out somehow.
Who is eating with us? Sometimes phrased as – Is (name) here too to eat? Or similar. Is everyone eating? — she will ask when I get her out of her office to eat the dinner I have prepared.
While she is working on her birthday card list or Christmas card list the people that she is thinking about become real to her. Occasionally she will talk to them. She will ask questions and talk about what she is doing.
With the pandemic pandemonium we have had many Zoom meetings – She will ask; Where will they all sit? Do we need more chairs?
Carpe diem – I attempted sourdough bread today … a bust on the first experiment. I guess I was hoping the starter would react like real yeast in a jar. Nope!
Maybe in a week after I can find a better name for the starter other than “Larry the Loser”. Maybe “Jack it Up” or “Spring Forward.” (another smiley face)