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Monday, 10 August 2009

Alzheimer’s: Part 4

By William Weatherstone of The Diesel Gypsy

My cousin has arrived and made my life more tolerable. I will never be able to reciprocate the value of her presence here.

I find it much harder to document my thoughts now as things deteriorate at a much more rapid state than I was expecting from past enquiries and expectations.

I was expecting to be involved in cleaning up after accidental body function accidents in bed. (How else can I describe it?) This would be my worst scenario.

Not so. She, in a trance, has controlled herself to robotically make her way to the throne room, perform her natural function and return to her bed on her own. I have the bathroom light and the kitchen light on all night so as there is no real chance of accidentally crashing into things.

I, in the meanwhile, having a more sensitive ear to sound than the most sophisticated military listening device can achieve, wakes up and sneakily stalks her movements to make sure of her success and returning to her bed intact.

In the meantime, I am here at 3AM with my finger stuck up in my butt, all beat to crap, wondering if I will ever survive this trauma? So I am still awake waiting for the next unexpected movement. (No sleep again.)

My cousin is now in the new learning stages of this disease. She left home to assist me with the knowledge of her past experience with her mother-in-law. Unexpectedly, there has been quite a difference in personal experiences.

First, her mother-in-law was bed ridden quite early and she is not used to my wife’s condition of being mobile. Mind you, it was a rude awakening for both of us.

It was a surprise to me how I became accustomed to the odd wetting of the bed (accidental, of course) and doing extra laundry, which amazingly to me, I was not bothered to clean up.

What really got to me was this was - in the olden days of my life, I was considered as having an explosive temper. On occasion it was displayed. (Sorry about that.)

In this case, what really gets to me, that perhaps I cannot handle, is that as a trucker I spend most of my time alone and have been used to that all my life. Now that we have this problem of the Alzheimer’s; it is affecting my temper considerably.

The one thing that I personally need is to be alone for a time to catch up on household bill payments, communicate with friends via internet or phone.

I will put my wife down to bed for sleep time, tuck her in and all that jazz. I go to the TV or PC to grab a few moments alone, and when I turn around, she is two feet behind me. Agh! Do the same routine again, and whammo, she is right behind me again. This putting to bed can go on 10 or 12 times in an hour.

Now, that drives me ballistic!

I have been putting her to bed since 9PM and have carried on for over an hour. I am totally baffed out.

I had to go to the doctor to get a suppressant(?) What would you call a slow-down pill?

I sort of went off the deep end the other night when she kept returning to me from bed every three or four minutes. I broke down and kicked the couch in anger and of course it did relieve a little tension but also cost me a wall repair, as I drove it through the plaster. The good part was that no humans were damaged in the incident.

After that episode, I promptly took a tiny little pill that I was issued to stop my aggressive actions. It did do as is required by my doctor.

I was issued only 10 units to be taken two times daily. I fooled them by taking only one when the occasion arrives. I am not a pill-popping type of person. I have seen what it does to truckers and addicts, an I have sworn will never happen to me.

At this moment, my cousin, who is in total amazement at the different version of this horrendous disease, is learning more and more. To help relieve her newfound pressures, I am taking us all out for fish and chips dinner. This is the highlight of an English-born family. (My wife’s side.)

Things at this time are up and down like a yo-yo. This is an all new experience for me, and I am not thrilled with it.

At this moment we are about to leave for a meal in the outside world.

After this, time will tell how things progress.

PS: I was in such a state for a while that I almost gave up writing this down. Hopefully all will survive this episode, and enjoy better times.

Take care,
William Weatherstone

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Hats off to you and to all caregivers who put their loved one's safety first. You describe so exquisitely clearly the punishing journeys -- yours and your wife's. I hold high both of you and your phenomenal cousin. Thanks for opening up and letting me and others know what's really going on. What a brave and honest man you are.

It is courageous of you to share these details of your journey. Though my journey with my husband is different, many details are the same. He is afraid to be alone, so I am with him nearly 24/7. As you describe, other chores suffer. I am finding out from support groups that each journey is different. Nothing is predictable. It means that we as caregivers, are always on guard for the next mood swing. No wonder we are tired....

Aah William. One never, ever knows what one can do when there is no other choice.
That one day it will be over is in-conceivable, and yet, one day it will.
You are so not alone.

You are so courageous to keep on caring for your wife. Many others would have put their partner in a home.

I can only imagine how tired you must be all the time and that makes for a short temper.

I really admire the fact that you are sharing this with others who, like linda, may be going through a similar journey. I know that no one signed on for this when they promised to care "in sickness and in health 'till death do you part".


I have followed your stories with interest and admiration for you.

Your wife is a lucky woman to have a husband of your character.

Good luck to both of you and also your wonderful cousin who has arrived to relieve you of part of your burden.

What a touching story. I hope that you are able to enjoy as much as you can. This is only my first post that I read, so I am not sure how severe the disease is, but I wish you all the best. You and your family go to great lengths to care for her.

So glad your cousin arrived. Perhaps held with putting your wife to bed can be of the most help at first.

While I can say little to assuage your personal anguish, may I relate the most comforting words I was given while on "the Journey" with my dad... He had been such a vital, macho man; I despaired for him at each moment of confusion or fear. A caretaker soothed me with the words "Remember, no matter what he is feeling or experiencing-it's only for a few moments" And it was true. Each time, I was able to swallow my tears just long enough to see the hurt and confusion fade from his eyes as he forgot what he had been thinking.. Now, my heart and tears are with you and your cousin. Be strong, play it by ear, and follow your gut instincts

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