Friday, January 22, 2016

Breaking past denial

I know it was a dumb question and I knew what the geriatric doc was going to say when I asked it but I had to.  At what point is hubby ready for a memory care unit?  Of course, even you, dear reader, can guess her answer. "When you can't take care of him anymore."  And when and how do I do that? And why did I feel like I was going to burst into tears. I don't know.  The doc wants me back without him for a talk next week.
There are days he drives me nuts with the same questions over and over.  And not being able to follow the simplest directions and work the remote for the TV.  At this point to most anyone else he seems fine, sweet, pleasant and wanting so much to be helpful that he drives some residents on walkers and scooters crazy trying to help.  He can dress himself but it will be in the same clothes he wore the day before if I don't intervene.  I routinely cruise his closet to find his dirty clothes even though the laundry basket sits on the floor of his closet.  He will not brush his teeth unless I tell him to in spite of the reminder I posted on the bathroom mirror.  And he continues to sleep a lot, I mean a lot, like 12 hours if you count the nodding off in his recliner.
        One of the funny/great things he does now is sweep the porch and the walkways.  He will disappear for an hour or so with his red broom.  It is great exercise for him as he comes in sweaty and it has endeared him to our lil' ol' lady neighbors.  It only concerns me that he frequently can't stand up straight after one of his walks.  If I am out of the apartment, he will leave me a cute little note saying "I've gone for a walk."  Sure enough he and the broom are gone.
     Today I had to laugh.  I had an appointment with the eye doctor for a checkup.  I knew it would take a while as I always have to wait while my eyes dilate.  I was thinking I would go alone but my shadow said, "I want to go with you."  Cautioning him that it would be a long wait for him, he still insisted.  "You might be in a wreck or something so I need to go with you."  I said, "What would you do?"  "I don't know but I need to be there."  Sweet man and so he came along.  He hasn't driven a car in 3 years and never carries his cell phone.
      He still loves to go to movies and eat out.  I order for him as he can't remember what he wanted on the menu but we manage.  I choose the movie and he agrees.  And he is willing to sit there through poetry readings and seems to enjoy them.  So I guess we aren't there yet.
       We are still planning to move to San Antonio to be near our son but I'm dreading pulling up roots again.  More loss.  I knew when we moved here that it would be temporary because this community doesn't have continuing care which we will need at some point.  The doc says go now while He-Who-Sleeps-Alot can still get oriented and I know she is right.  Our son says, "Come now while you can choose.  If you wait for a crisis, you may not have what you would like available."  Sooooo....I am looking around at the apartment and deciding what I can get rid of.  I laugh and think "I don't have time to move."
      San Antonio has more retirement communities to choose from than Houston due to the military wanting to retire there.  We have found several we like, none have the space we have here but we can certainly shed some things (I think???).  I insist that our next apartment will have its own washer and dryer and that I can walk to a connected memory care unit.
      So now to unplug from family and friends here and go forward.  Getting old is all about loss I have decided.  One's body can't do what it used to, one doesn't look like one used to, and friends pass away or move away to be near their sons or daughters.  I can't imagine being without family support in this late stage of life.  I'm so grateful for all their support...priceless!


  1. Thank you - it must be very hard - what you are going through. It is great you can have a sense of humor. Enjoy as much as you can while you have it and also take care of yourself.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I am not alone in this struggle.. There are thousands of us hoping that someday there will be a cure.

  3. I'm an echo--take care of yourself,Kay. And--you are taking care of many of us by letting us share your trip through this. It's a journey I know we are going to take soon and every step of the way, I'll benefit from you. And echo again--the sense of humor makes life bearable when it seems it's not.

    I'm not far away, you know that. Call, whenever!

  4. I always enjoy reading your posts, Kay. It truly is pickles and roses! I hope it is a source of comfort in some way for you to write them. Jean and I had a friend much older than us who put herself into assisted living when she was still driving,
    still able to take care of herself, and still able to make the choice for herself. In fact I took her around to a few places and helped her make the choice as I had done it for my mother. I think your son is right. Start making plans and go now. The fact that San Antonio has what you need, more places to choose from, and is near family is a blessing of the highest order. Don't dwell on how hard you think it will be, just focus on what needs to be done. And on the fact that you're doing it for Ken, and YOU!

  5. can you use the woman who helped you with your previous move? She was a godsend for Martha. Thinking of you at this time. I'm on the beach on the Pacific. Wish you were here........HUGS>

  6. This is a hard road you're walking......I've been on it with my Mother for 13 years. In all of this, take care of you. Call if you should want to talk. Let me know if there is anything I can do. We will miss you GREATLY.

  7. All our prayers and thoughts are with you and Ken. You are such a great role model and witness to love and life.

    I'd love to help with the move in anyway - Seriously!