Dementia: Waiting In Vain

I had a much needed siesta yesterday afternoon sleeping well for a couple of hours.  Maureen appeared at the bedroom door around 5 pm asking if I would like a cup of tea.  Hoping it was code for a cuddle I dozed on for a while longer.  When I awoke and called out her name she said I wondered where you were.

I went downstairs to find a rather wet and bedraggled looking wife who had been looking for me in the pouring rain.  I assumed my role as ‘Tea Boy’ and put the kettle on while Maureen dried off.  I congratulated her once again on suggesting the additional radiator in the utility room which was now needed as a drying area for her soaked clothing.

Once tea was served we chatted again about moving home.  Maureen said she liked living in Cleethorpes and saw little advantage of moving nearer to the kids.  After a light tea we spent a pleasant hour listening to records as we tidied up the debris from our meal.

We are both hoping this wet spell will come to a close shortly but I haven’t had to water the garden tonight.  Maureen car is now on the drive again well shod and ready for an outing tomorrow: nearby Louth is one possibility.

‘Brother Bob’ would have a word or two to say about my experience yesterday afternoon:

I have woken this morning in a great deal of pain in my shoulders: an early morning shower has helped me but not Maureen.  Sleep disturbance has been a pain in our lives in the 20 or so years we have been together (there I go again I’m not exactly sure how long).  It is fairly easy for me to sort out this memory issue by searching for documentation that will confirm all sorts of things.  Maureen’s memory issues are not as simple to resolve and this morning she has returned to the familiar questions of ‘where are the others and why are we living here’.  My answers clearly make no sense to her as vascular changes mean that she simply can’t remember such detail or the same answers I give every morning.

Susan Macaulay has commented on my previous post encouraging me to keep telling it as it is: that will always be the mission of this Blog.  My change of focus is about  life beginning at seventy and when we can’t remember something it is not the end of the world.  We both need a Memory Bank to remind us of all sorts of things, otherwise we will forget important aspects of our life together.  Minimal work has already begun on this front: sorting out our wedding photographs and finding our Wedding Certificate may well be a helpful next step

We missed a call from Ian, Maureen’s eldest son, yesterday as I switch the phone off when we have a siesta.  He left a message to say that he would ring back this morning.  Maureen says she has no recollection of ever speaking to him on the phone.  She also doesn’t remember that we spent a couple of hours with him a few weeks ago when we visited Coventry.  

I realise that Maureen will have forgotten she has spoken to Ian shortly after she has put the phone down.  It is also likely that increased contact from her sons will not address the fact that she feels I’m her only friend: she isn’t sure if I’m her husband half the time.  However, as vascular damage continues  increased contact from family and friends is vital.  Maureen’s emotional memory remains intact and we all have to work on the feel good factor: it doesn’t matter if she can’t remember what brought about her positive feelings.

We have both decided to continue with further de-cluttering today.  It’s a bit damp outside this morning so we will need a wet weather programme until it brightens up.  Once it is fit to be outside there’s work to be done in the garden to make sure that yesterday’s profuse watering hasn’t taken a toll on our plants. The beauty of being 70 is being your own boss you can plan your own day and take breaks whenever you decide to take the weight off your feet or rest your eyes. 

 

Following my morning tai chi and meditation I just overheard Maureen whisper ‘I can go anywhere I like’: what a beautiful start to the day as the butterfly begins to emerge from the chrysalis.

Postscipt:  Around 8.30 am this morning I found the key to our back door on the front drive.  I have my own bunch of keys, Maureen tends to take keys out of doors and hold onto them for fear of being locked in.  I’m going to have to even more vigilant in future when things go missing and widen my search beyond  Maureen’s internal hidey holes.

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About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
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