March 15. 2016
You learn something new every day, for instance I learned that there are around 88 different types of dementia (Alzheimers), my husband was diagnosed about two years ago with vascular dementia, the arteries in his head are narrowing or do we call that calcifying? It is no surprise that something like hit him at the age of about 93, he will be 95 this summer.
It came on slowly and I didn't "get it", I would tell him something and he'd say "I don't understand what you mean." I would get impatient and say "everyone else gets what I am saying." English is my second language, I began learning it at the age of eleven when I went to high school in Germany, but I kept wondering if I express myself correctly. Time went on and I suggested new hearing aids, he came home telling me that they told him he had trouble with comprehension. I mentioned that perhaps we should see a Neurologist and he agreed. He got a simple test and failed and we were told that he has dementia. He was prescribed medication with instructions to come back in three months. He did better on the memory test but I asked the doctor how can we be sure it is not something else like a tumor on the brain? I told him I wanted an MRI, well at his ripe old age and the new Obama are and Medicare cutting costs wherever so that our politicians can get bigger raises, the doctor told me he would have to manipulate things, I told him to go ahead and manipulate I wanted that MRI. It came back narrowing of the arteries in the brain.
Almost two years have past and things have gotten worse, his short term memory is literally gone,he still takes care of his physical needs, showers, dresses is continent and takes the dog to the dog park daily. He plays poker once a week with old friends and last winter he was on his way at 6:45 pm, the place is about a mile and a half from home. He called me and told me he didn't know where he was and I told him to find an intersection and call me. I went out thinking I could find him and realized no wonder he got lost, we have no street lights and landmarks disappear in the night. He called me to tell me he was home. After that his friends pick him up and bring him homes. During the day he would drive himself to the doctor and after a while that faded from his mind as well, so now I drive him wherever he needs to go.
Yesterday I took him to the doctor and afterwards I was going to take him to see his 92 year old friend in the nursing home where she was for rehab, time ran out and I promised to take him today.
I have pneumonia and basically have been sick since just before the new year and needed soberest. I heard the bell that signals that someone has left home and I figured he'd take the dog to the backyard. I got up and no husband, he had decided to go visit his friend. He came home hours later and said "I didn't find it," and I mentioned I'd have to take the car keys away soon. It will be one of the saddest day of my life. Today I drove him to see her but she had been discharged.
A friend and I go to support group three times a month, it's good to hear that I am not alone, I feel my case is worse because all of our 35 years my husband has handled all financials, insurance, house etc. and all of a sudden it is on my shoulders and I know nothing and he remembers nothing. What is hardest is the fact that all of a sudden you are alone, friends don't call and say "let's go out to lunch," and you feel isolated. Right now I'm sick and I feel like I've been locked in the house forever and I worry that without social stimulation I will fall into dementia before I know it, but I am sure that I am not the only one with that fear.
This is a pot I made some years ago called "Hands across the world." It is in the home of a friend. I sold my pottery something that I regret but felt I had to do, I am not sure it didn't help me stay sane.