As we progress down the sad road of Parkinson and intermingled dementia I am always looking for ways to help Cheryl or get help for her and me. This web blog by Cheryl Hughes is and has been a source and an inspiration to me.
For the past few days as Cheryl has struggled through various mental clouds I have begun to ask about and look for trusted home health services. She is coming off of a UTI which I am getting pretty good at recognizing just by behavior. Some sort of mild sleep disturbing cough (thankfully not Covid related) has messed with sleep cycles for her and me. All of that is easing as the antibiotics have been used up. We are slowly drifting into our weekly sameness.
The past week of April has been beautiful in Ohio. On Tuesday I road my Rad City bike out of our drive onto the public roads. This is something that I have spent the winter gathering the courage to do. I rode around late morning to early afternoon on residential streets near me so that I did not have to deal with rush hour frantic antics. I greatly enjoyed my ride and although it was not long I realized that I was relaxed when I returned. My cousin-in-law was sitting in the kitchen with Cheryl having lunch and I was pleasantly fatigued.
It is time for me to get some consistent considerate help. It will cost money but there is that story about camels and needles that reminds me of my real responsibilities. Financially rich is not a good description of us but I am acutely aware that Cheryl’s care will cost more as time goes on. I may be too concerned about that but it is something I think about often.
Cheryl Hughes has pointed me to DailyCaring.com which is now sending me email newsletters. This website may prove invaluable as I try to learn more about helping Cheryl. Other friends have pointed me to a home care group that I will contact in the coming week to get established.
For the past couple days Cheryl’s watch has been missing. It is THE WATCH. As a routine each night we place the watch on what I call the little hat. It is actually a little ring holder that was given to her by Anna. She put her rings and her watch on it but a little more that a year ago I purchased for her a gold chain to wear her rings as a necklace. She had lost enough weight in her hands that her rings would fall off in the car or a chair or the restaurant. This last was the scariest.
But I have digressed. –THE WATCH – has been missing since at least Wednesday. Kathy came to visit on Wednesday. I first noticed that her watch was missing in action when I made dinner and Cheryl and I sat down to eat it. She is right handed so she wears her watch on her left wrist. I noticed it was not on her wrist but I did not say anything because sometimes she does not wear it. Later when we went to bed I noticed that it was not on the little hat. For a couple days I would surreptitiously search for THE WATCH.
About noon today as she was preparing to take a shower and I was searching, I found her watch. She often puts rubber bands on collections of random items in her office. Her watch was on a book shelf in her office near some items that had been banded together. My heart leaped for joy. (I have not been following my own rule of looking around her office to see where things might be.)
Lately, however, I have become anxious about Cheryl’s mental health. The watch story is not about that, it seems to me to be slowly worsening as time goes on. And I think that I am getting used to it. (That idea makes me anxious and adds a fear of not recognizing changes immediately.) My daily notes about bedtimes, falls and other behavior are no longer daily. I note falls and other anomalies. Bedtimes are between 9:30 and 10:30 typically. Her impostor delusion (a noted behavior) seems to appear if she is up later than 11 PM and disappears into her office to “work on stuff.” Last night was one of those nights. I drove her around a four mile loop in the rain as she anxiously gripped her purse waiting to get home.
She was okay with me helping to change her clothes and get into bed when we got back. She wished me farewell and safe driving home. I left the bed room and open and closed a few doors as though I was leaving. I took off my jeans and sweatshirt that I had put on over my pajamas to make the drive. I turned off the lights and gently eased into our bedroom as her husband coming to bed. It worked. I worry that one time it will not work. So far my fear is unfounded but I still worry because I do not have another plan except for sleeping in the living area on the pull out sofa-bed.
At one time in the past I asked her if she remembered any of that. I learned that a reminder in the morning of odd behavior is unwarranted and perhaps even stupid. Introspection of failed ideas is useful.
I still wonder (and worry) about her failing memory and confusion and general mental heath. And of course how to pay for it all should she need extra care that I am unable to give her. Maybe I need some counseling? Or something to ease my mind? Engineers spend too much time what-iffing the situation.
On the morning news the U.S. Congress spent much of the taxpayer’s dollars annoying the CEO of TikTok. That social media platform gets more time per average viewer that Facebook and Twitter. Alas when will we discover the unimportance of Facebook and other social media? … except as another form of 1960’s TV.