This blog is about life with my husband who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and Frontal Lobe Dementia in 2008. He was 64 at the time although now, knowing more about the disease, Alzheimer's was present many, many years ago, which is why early detection is so important. As you read the blog "Al" represents the way that Alzheimer's is invading our daily lives.
Driving home from work yesterday Bob's watch (which he wears faithfully but is not able to read) made a beeping sound. Bob looked down at his watch and said "oh, it must be time." Sheri replied with a chuckle in her voice "time for what?" Looking out the front window of the car Bob hesitated and then waving his pointer finger back and forth "Al" replied "Time to move all these cars around and get them back in line."
Bob depends solely on the routine Sheri has provided for him. One little change to the routine and "Al" does not know if he is coming or going. But then again in this crazy Alzheimer world she lives in, between her work, Bob and "Al", Sheri not sure most days if she is coming or going either. :)
Bob was telling Sheri he was very busy at "work" (code for Adult Day Center) yesterday, because he did all the scheduling of all the buses ( as they passed the Metro Mobility bus on the street). Then he had to intstuct everyone on moving the huge piles of dirt ( as they passed a construction site). Sheri was hoping as they passed the bank that "Al" might have found some money or something, but as usual the only thing Bob said about the bank is that it had gone out of business :)
Sheri and Bob were in the kitchen and "Al" asked Sheri if he should close the door. Sheri usually has a pretty quick thinking reponse but this time it escaped her as she stood looking around, mainly becasue... there is no door in the kitchen. :)
Sheri was trying to get Bob to help get the laundry caught up. She piled the clean clothes on the bed and gave "Al" some hangers. The project was slow, very slow. Even slower than Sheri expected, especially since "Al" kept insisting he was only holding half a shirt? :(
Sheri had a busy morning. It has been almost a month with a very leaky washing machine. The company that she rents this tiny house from finally got her a new washing machine and it was installed this morning. Bob and "Al" wanted to help the delivery men. Sheri distracted him by saying "you know, they are gonna need these nuts and bolts why don't you work on these." "Bob seemed content with that and "Al" forgot all about the men installing the washer when Bob's favorite singer Daniel O'Donnell appeared on the TV :)
Being creativity and redirection is a necessity in Sheri's world :)
Sheri thinks she may have unintentionally convinced herself that if she kept the routine exactly the same every day and if she watched what Bob did closely enough, that she could hold "Al" at bay and only subtle changes would come. Although she knows the structure she gives certainly helps, there is no stopping the invasion of "Al". With each new phase of care, she finds herself challenging her lines in the sand. As caregivers we feel defeated when change appears. The more personal nature of these new needs has left Sheri feeling like she has crossed the line into quick sand and is... sinking.
Sheri hates this disease.
"Al" was struggling to put Bob's belt through the belt loops on Bob's jeans yesterday morning. Sheri is sure that the fact that the belt "Al" was using, was really Sheri's camera strap might have had something to do with it. ;)