This is a picture I took last week after a heavy overnight thunderstorm. You can see the morning sun peeking through the trees. We've had an unusually hot and dry summer, so any rain is so appreciated.
This is the weekend we had planned to travel to Philadelphia for a wedding. It was not to be. Jim is not feeling well. It's complicated, and hard even for me to describe. This is one of those times where his difficulty with word finding becomes especially significant. Based on my observations and on what I can gather from his efforts to describe what he is feeling, I think part of the problem may be some dehydration. The extreme heat we have had, along with his compulsion to keep the yard perfect have likely led to the perfect storm of some heat exhaustion and not enough fluids.
We've discussed how many glasses of water he should drink a day. But tracking it is the kicker. There now is a pad and pencil with a chart to check off each glass he drinks. However he could drink a glass of water, be looking at the chart, and still not remember (process?) that he needs to make a check mark! So, I'm on high alert, at least for a few more days, to try to keep track of how much he is drinking. The good news is that he has a new awareness of the need to drink more, so I'm hoping after a few days this will become more routine for him and actually counting/recording will no longer be necessary.
If he is not back to baseline by Monday, he is in agreement to go see his doctor. And he has agreed and wants(!) me to go with him. Meanwhile, we'll focus on more fluids and more rest.
This morning we were discussing the ages of our niece and her husband. Here's how the conversation went.
Jim: "He's quite a bit older than she is."
(Looking back, at this point I should have just nodded my head and said "uh-huh". I mean, what is the point? Who cares? But I was not running this through my usual high alert caregiver filter.)
Me: "Well, it's actually a 2 year difference; she is 24 and he is 26"
Jim: "No! It's 10 years difference!"
Me: "Well, she is 24 and he is 26. 26 minus 24 is 2, so it is a 2 year difference."
Jim: "No, no, no! That is a 10 year difference!"
Me: Thinking he just needs to visualize this I write on a piece of paper : 26
Jim:" 4 plus 6 is 10! It is a 10 year difference!"
At this point I realize that I have done exactly what I should not have done. Every time I think I am getting good at just going with the flow, my exacting personality manages to rear its ugly head.
When Jim was doing his graduate work I'll never forget when he came home and told me he had just registered for the most advanced statistics course that the university offered. He excelled academically. He always had an intellectual curiosity that spanned a lot of different topics. He was a voracious reader. He still buys books for his Kindle, but I notice that he seldom finishes any of the books that he starts. I'm guessing that he is having trouble processing and understanding all of what he is reading. And he is likely having trouble remembering what he has just read.
It is becoming increasingly clear to me that he has NO idea that is is cognitively impaired. From what I have read, that is a common finding in dementia. Some people know and are very aware, but many do not. I suppose that it is a gift to him, to not be aware of his loss. I can only imagine how devastating it would be for him to discover what is happening to his brain.
We always have a birthday party at our house in September for my mom. Almost everyone is able to come, which means about 30 -35 family members. When I think of last year's party, it makes me realize how much Jim has changed since last year. We'll see people that we only see once or twice a year, so it will be interesting to see if others notice.
So, with my caregiver filter back in place, the rest of the day is going well. I think we'll head out for some ice cream; that certainly counts as fluids :-) Hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer day. Thanks for stopping by.