Oh boy. This is a follow up to a previous post about Jim losing the car keys when he took the dog for a walk….
Today I received an e-mail from a reader. She let me know her child attends the elementary church school located at the end of our street. She mentioned a message sent out today about a set of keys that were found on the corner and were at the church office. I knew as soon as I read the message that those were Jim’s keys. And yes, they were indeed Jim’s keys. Complete with the little key fob to help us find them when they are lost.
I was at once elated to have found these keys with the help of someone that had read my words and put two and two together. She mentioned in her message that she often sees him walking by with the dog. Are you getting the same sense of community that I am getting? I feel so protected and looked after. Something I don’t feel with my husband, for obvious reasons.
I was also completely confused and sad. How was it Jim was so certain the keys had been in the trashcan? He continues to say that he heard it beeping when he pressed the button. But obviously and thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Now, on to the elephant in the room….Jim driving. We have limited his driving to close places and familiar roads. But this decision is mine to make. Remember, he was tested last July and passed the four hour test. But I have seen his decline, our friends have seen his decline and our children have seen his decline. He is not the same man that took that lengthy and thorough examination last year.
It is easy to say, ”He shouldn’t be driving, so just don’t let him drive.” There are many ramifications that come along with this decision. The least of which is helping chauffer the children to and from, helping with grocery shopping, running quick errands and providing a back up when I am not home and Frances misses the bus or needs to be picked up from school. The main thought is the deprivation from this point forward of independence for Jim. Without the ability to grab a set of keys, start the ignition and put the car in gear, Jim is completely and 100% dependent on someone else to get him anywhere. I wouldn’t trust him to navigate the bus system. I suppose he could take a cab, but again, there is a bit of dependency on someone else to provide the transportation. This is a weighty issue and I know the answer, but I really don’t want to be the one to pull the trigger.
Thankfully, Jim is a kind and gentle soul. He goes along easily (99% of the time) with my decisions and accepts that I am making the best decisions for our family. I have discussed his driving, or not driving, with him and he simply said, “ok.” Yes, I do know how lucky I am. Yes, I know how many caregivers go through torturous times with taking the keys from a loved one. I am lucky. But then again, not so much.
As if the emotional roller coaster I have been on the past couple of months hasn’t been enough, I now am at that crossroads I have been dreading for a long time. With our very hectic and busy schedules, only having one driver is going to make things much more complicated. I have known this day was coming, but it was always sometime in the future and I was trying to focus on the “right now” moments.
I would rather take his car keys from him a day too early than a day too late. That is the only solace I can keep repeating to myself to help me stay focused and true to what this decision is being based on.
Again, this life sucks. This disease, sucks. This all just really sucks. More for Jim than for me. And he seems to take it all in stride. Thankfully, that is definitely a bright spot in such gloom and doom. He has a great attitude and continues to help as much as he can and shows his family how grateful he is for our love.
As I struggle with this judgement call and the upcoming consequences of such a monumental decision, I must steadfastly focus on those positives and learn to appreciate those small blessings.