I decided that I needed to join Maureen in bed at 9.30 last night as she seemed very frightened. She had taken herself upstairs half an hour previously, without a word’, after waking from dozing on the sofa. Just to be on the safe side I followed her upstairs shortly afterwards to assist her with night time routines. Then I went down stairs to settle for a bit of Bruce Willis on the TV.
My plans for a bit of relaxation were interrupted by the need to put the lights back on as the trip had gone on our fuse box. I mentioned this to Maureen as I joined her in the bedroom, and she said: ‘I wouldn’t know what to do if I was by myself’. I did my best to reassure her over this recurring theme but her comments caused me to reflect on what has happened to my wife.
Before I ‘ran off to live with Maureen’ or ‘dumped myself on her’, depending on whose version you take, she had lived by herself for eight years. In that time she had managed her own affairs with little assistance from others. She kept a claw hammer under the bed just to be on the safe side.
In the early days we both struggled to adopt top living together: me with a very organised woman; Maureen with a rather chaotic individual. To some extent positions are now reversed following stroke but Maureen doesn’t have the luxury of a sound environment in which to learn.
Maureen’s experience following stroke has major shortcomings. Grimsby hospital missed the boat and failed to diagnose stroke. Once vascular dementia was diagnosed Maureen has been subjected to Prescribed Disengagement (Swaffer). She has also been at the mercy of financial austerity: initially ‘supported’ by professionals who did not understand dementia. (This new set up on WordPress makes it difficult for me to refer back to posts that detail these complications in our lives).
2016 provides an opportunity to move forward. Professional staff will be returning from their holidays next week. I intend to work alongside Sue our social worker, and Mel my Admiral Nurse, to devise a strategy for the next stage of our journey. We all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet so that neuroplasticity rings out from the rafters in this household: then my capable wife will be back.