Tonight I asked Jim how many years we have been married. At first he said he didn’t know, then answered, “13”.
“No. Guess again.”
“I don’t know.”
“What year were we married?”
“What year is it?”
“So, how many years is that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ok. 97 – 2007 is how many?”
“How many from 2007 – 2013?”
“So, how many would that be?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
“It was 10. So how much would 10 plus 6 be?”
“Yep, you are right. We have been married 16 years.”
So goes a conversation with someone in the earliest of stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Unless you live with someone day in and day out, you really could not comprehend the frustration at the inconsistencies. Jim normally is a math wizard, and I feel compelled to try to keep his mind active. Letting him know that he can still figure things out is important, hence the above conversation.
This morning Jim had to go give blood for some tests. We talked many times yesterday about this for a variety of reasons. I told him to put out his sheet with the tests listed and the prescription. As usual, about 6:30 a.m. this morning he got up and went downstairs to start his day. I could hear him. I was just about to hop in the shower when I remembered he was supposed to be fasting. Oh snap! (ok, I might have said something a little stronger than that, but for the sake of your eyes, I am refraining from putting the exact words used) I quickly ran downstairs to ask him if he had eaten anything.
“No, just a peanut butter pretzel.”
“Jim, you were supposed to be fasting.”
Ughhh. Another one of those moments…..anyone could have forgotten. My “old Jim” probably wouldn’t have. BUT, I need to accept the “new Jim”. On top of that, I felt immense guilt that last night I hadn’t put out a note or two to remind him. I should have. I meant to. I didn’t. I was tired and I went walking with a friend and failed to be one step ahead. I forgot.
Luckily, Jim called the lab. They let him know he could come in this afternoon if he didn’t eat anything all day. So that is what he did. He must have been starving, but he didn’t complain and just kept on keeping on.
I love that man. He is such a good person and such an easy going guy. (Please be sure to remind me of this at a future date when I am having a hard time recalling this fact!)
We are moving on down on the bucket list and will be headed to Chincoteague tomorrow after Brad’s baseball game. We won’t be there too long, but hopefully long enough to get in a bike ride or two, visit some of the shops and bakery and relax as a family with no agenda in mind. I am really looking forward to getting away with the kids and Jim to a place that is sacred to us. I am REALLY hoping I get a chance to visit one of my favorite all time stores; The Coffee Shop.
I have come to realize that these overnight trips take a lot more forethought and planning. I will need to go through not only my stuff, but Jim’s as well. Frances and Brad pack their own bags, with me just going over verbally what they should have in there. I will also have to make sure we have the bug spray, sunscreen,snacks, money for the toll, beach towels, bike helmets and the camera and well, you get the idea.
I am sure for so many people, this is standard for each trip. But I have come to realize that I cannot just tell each family member to do something, I must go behind them and make sure it is done. When you work full time and have a million things going on in your head, this is actually much more difficult than it sounds. Especially when you have gotten used to having a spouse that spoils you by being on top of these types of things. There is a slim chance he will be on top of things and be able to help load up the car. He might remember to put ice in the cooler instead of just the items that are supposed to stay cold. He might be able to help load the items in the van in a manner he taught me when we were packing up for our drive across country after we were married. Then again, he might not.
Yes, the inconsistencies get you. You never know what each day will bring.
We had a our support group meeting this week. What a wonderful group of people. All of us seem to be at about the same point in this journey. Jim arrived before I did. He filled them in a little and told them what a good time we had in Boston and at the ball game. He also told them the Red Sox won the game. When they told me this after we were split into our separate groups, it was another one of those punches to the gut. I just wasn’t expecting it. I almost started crying. I was able to hold it together because they were so supportive and could see the immediate disbelief and they completely understood the look I must have had on my face.
Yet, today we were talking to someone and Jim let them know that the Red Sox had lost the game. How does this disease work? One day they know something and the next they don’t and then the next day they know again?
Inconsistencies happen. Life happens. It will be ok and we will be ok.
Lookout Chincoteague, here we come!