Monday, March 28, 2016

It's So Different This Time

We are winding down our 3 months in the south. So grateful that we have been able to escape the cold winters. When I think of the last few years we have wintered in the south, I realize how different it is, this time.

Almost every day, I am asked what day it is, when do we have to go back, and does everyone know that we will be home soon. And every day, I answer. A large calendar to cross off the days did not help.

I spoke with my mom today. She is elderly and battling a return of her lymphoma. She is a trooper, and doing reasonably well on her new chemotherapy pill. She asked about my birthday and how we celebrated. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Jim did not remember. I have purposely limited her contact with Jim, avoiding situations where it would be obvious. When we drove her home on Christmas day, he needed turn by turn instructions on how to get to her apartment. I don't know if she noticed; if so, she never mentioned it. We've driven that route a million times over the years. She would worry if she knew what was going on, and she certainly doesn't need any more worries at this point in her life. In addition, with Jim's denial/lack of awareness, it makes it hard to speak of this to others. It feels like a betrayal.

In fact, writing this blog at times feels like a betrayal. But I do it for my sanity; it really is therapeutic for me.

This is the first year he has forgotten my birthday, and I did not have the heart to tell him or remind him, knowing he would feel so bad that he forgot. For as long as we have known each other, he always made a huge deal out of celebrating my birthday. Loving, thoughtful card, cake, balloons and gift. The saddest part is that it robs him of the enjoyment he would get from "surprising" me with the birthday celebration.

I just finished a great book on cardiovascular developments over the last century. So interesting and fascinating. I was telling Jim about it and mentioned the development of penicillin as a treatment for rheumatic fever, which was huge in preventing the associated heart disease. He immediately said, "thats right, penicillin was discovered by Fleming". I almost fell over. Jim has always been known for his broad based knowledge on a lot of topics. Smartest guy I knew. Somehow he remembered who discovered penicillin. Yet, an hour later when I mentioned our Grand Canyon trip we took last fall, he said "wait, I don't remember that!". I prompted him by reminding him of the helicopter tour we took. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally remembered, and offered up a few nice memories from our trip.

I realize that this is really still the beginning stage. There are many caregivers who cannot leave their loved ones alone. We are not there yet. So I'm grateful for what we have, and hope that I can properly prepare for what I know will be a continuing decline. For the few folks who have managed to find my blog, thanks for reading. It helps to know that we are all in this together.

5 comments:

  1. I sure understand that feeling of "betraying" my partner - but blog friends help make such a difference! Keep writing!

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    1. Thanks Jan for your words of encouragement! You are right, our blog friends provide a safe harbor for us as we find our way through this challenging time in our life. Thanks for stopping by ��

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  3. Carole, Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I hope you will visit again. I've taken the time to read through the posts on your blog. Sounds like you are in a stressful situation. I don't have the space here to go into my situation but I stay very close to home. I've not spent a night away from my husband since 2009. I certainly can identify with being asked over and over the same question. My husband is also OCD and has always been anxious and worries a lot. It's a real challenge let me tell you. Some of it I've lived with for many years, some of it's new. Our children are a huge support. They understand their dad. I can't imagine trying to deal with it by myself. We're pretty open around here. It does take some planning at times on how to approach things. It took a while for me to come to terms with taking over the driving. Telling him he could no longer drive when our grandson was in the car was another hard one. Dementia is only part of Bob's problems. He's 84 and has many health issues. I'm 74 and have no health issues. I'm glad my health is good. I'll be checking to see how you're doing.

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    1. Hi Linda. Thanks for your comment! I enjoy your blog. It's fun when reading one blog leads you to other interesting blogs.

      Thanks for sharing your situation with me. You certainly have some real challenges. So glad you have adult children that can help to support you. It's nice to know there are others out there that we can commiserate with. Thankfully your health is good (mine is too). The OCD stuff comes and goes, depending on the situation. Sometimes I think it relates to the level of anxiety.

      This blog doesn't have much of a following, but it has been therapeutic just to be able to write about it. Keep in touch Linda; I'll be following along on your blog too!

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