It is an odd conversation for two people who have spent the greater portion of their lives together but these days it is less so. Last evening Cheryl was lucid in her confusion. She was unsure of where she was and she was unsure of who I am. We calmly discussed those things. She seemed to know that I am Paul and that her husband is Paul but was unable to associate the two concepts in her mind. We talked around those concepts for some time. She expressed the fact that it was sometimes a little worrisome that we were staying here for long periods of time.
The conversation changed to; if you could take me home then I could get some rest. I think I am very tired. A friend and work colleague had told me a story recently about a similar experience with his mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. He got her to put on her coat and rolled her around in her wheelchair and announced, “We’re home!” I tried a similar tactic.
I got her to bring whatever she needed with her and we got in the car and drove around about a four mile long rectangle. On the last leg we turned right onto our street in the same way we might have come from other short trips to take a walk or visit the kids, she said when we get home to the condo, I am going to get ready for bed. She had recognized the approach to our home from the west. Her mind said to her – we are home – I guess. She was okay when we walked in the door.
As I went back out to the garage to turn off the lights and lock up she said to me,”You’ll call me when you get back home?” This is something her mother always wanted the kids to do. Cheryl always called her mom when we arrived home after we left her house to say we arrived safely. I do not know if the other kids did this or not.
I told here that I would stay with her until she was settled in. I did not ask her – who am I? I have done this in the past and although it sometimes bumps her into current reality it was not working tonight.
Earlier she had told me; you are Paul but a different Paul. It seemed as though she was offering an answer that she thought I wanted to hear much like a child trying to please a parent would do. After “taking her home” I did not want to disturb that. I told her again that I would stay with her that night and she seemed satisfied with that.
Sometime you have to drive around the block to get to the start and when you care deeply about a person you love you can easily go the extra four miles.