As I donned my chef’s outfit yesterday to prepare Sunday Lunch Maureen asked how she could help? I suggested she could lay the table. She moved into the dining room and began setting out the table. When I caught up with what she had been doing I noticed she had put ou four knives and a fork. There were no place settings with cutlery and table mats randomly scattered around.
Maureen then offered to help with the preparation of vegetables. She coped well with chopping peeled carrots but struggled with the cauliflower. In the end she asked me to take over. My sous chef is finding it increasingly difficult to make a helpful contribution in the kitchen.
If I supervise Maureen closely things are done in a safe and helpful manner. Leave her to her own devices and danger lurks, with attempts to boil the kettle with the lid off alongside other random behavior. When she helps with washing up; dirty pots are often on the draining board alongside those that have been cleaned.
When we sat down to eat Maureen decided that it was too warm in the dining room. She drew the blinds and then couldn’t work out how to open the patio doors. Then she decided her knife was sticky. She returned from the kitchen with three and asked me if I had one. I was already eating with all equipment at hand. She then decided that her fork was sticky and went to replace it. She had laid the table with the ‘sticky cutlery
Maureen said she wasn’t really hungry, as we had recently had lunch. All she had eaten earlier was breakfast. When we moved to the lounge to eat sweet she spilled food on her T Shirt. She went to wipe it off and returned without her sweet. It took her some time, and my help, to find where she had left it in the kitchen.
After dinner we watched TV for a while and I suggested it was time for a siesta. I was relieved when she took up my suggestion as we had walked a fair distance before lunch. After half an hour Maureen woke up and decided it was time for bed. I didn’t tell her it wasn’t even 7 ‘o’ clock as she was obviously tired. ‘Half asleep’ as she puts it, she struggled to get ready for bed, even with my assistance.
The events of the afternoon led me to regret not progressing an additional carer sit over the weekend. Just another body in the house helps me to cope more easily with Maureen. My extremely capable wife is no more, and another pair of hands is so welcome. I think the time is approaching to have carers on hand most days: so that I have the energy to keep Maureen fed, watered and safe.
Just to be on the safe side I initially decided to sleep in the spare room last night. Maureen has closed our bedroom door. She seems to do this when she isn’t quite sure who I am. I didn’t to risk a repetition of the other night with more of those deafening screams .
Once in the spare bedroom I heard her moving about next door. Thinking she might become confused, and anxious, I entered the marital bedroom. As I slipped into bed she let out a loud scream. I reassured her it was me and she said ‘I had frightened her as she didn’t know who it was’. Maureen apologised for screaming and we soon settled down for the night together.
When Sue our new social worker comes to get to know us on Tuesday, she will hear that Maureen’s verbal ability is intact. Maureen will confabulate to put on a good show. She will pull out all the stops to convince the social worker that she is ‘sane and doesn’t need to be locked away’. If Sue asks her if she reads she will confabulate that she scans the newspaper daily. If she asks her to put on her reading glasses Maureen is unlikely be able to find them, as they have been missing for a week.
There is a vast difference between what Maureen will spin and reality. Maureen ‘lost her memory once’ as she frequently explains it. Good luck Sue as you try to sort out the conflicting realities and get to know us.