Friday, August 12, 2016

"That Was a Close Call"


Jim and I are headed to Philadelphia next weekend for a wedding. We are very fond of this dear young couple and are looking forward to this very special event. Previously http://oneoflifeslittlesurprises.blogspot.com/2016/07/mental-gymnastics.html I wrote about our experience of buying a new suit for Jim. He planned on wearing a white shirt that he had purchased a couple of years ago. It fit well and was still in style.

Today he discovered a discoloration near the collar. My vision is perfect, but I honestly could not see what he was talking about. But once he is convinced, it is very difficult to get him going in a different direction. And, the supposed discoloration was on the inside of the collar, not at all visible while wearing. It suddenly took on an urgency that is almost impossible for me to describe. He wanted to go immediately to the men's store (where we bought the suit) to get a new shirt. "I have to do it right now because there are only a couple of days left!" It was 3:30 in the afternoon, pouring rain, and I was in the middle of a project. I suggested that we wait until tomorrow morning to go, and reminded him that the wedding was a week away. Didn't work. He was so worked up, so anxious, it was hard to watch. "You don't expect me to sleep on this, do you???"

So, off we go. I managed to get into my car before he could even think about driving. He certainly was in no shape to drive, given his anxiety level. We successfully purchased a very nice new white shirt. On the way home he was visibly more relaxed. The rain was off and on, but suddenly started to pour torrential rains. Fortunately we were close to the highway exit and could meander at slower speeds safely to get home. As we exited the highway he said "Boy, that was a close call!" I thought he was talking about the rain. When I replied something about the heavy rain, he said "No! I mean it was a close call about the shirt! I didn't know what I was going to do!"

His world has gotten smaller. I see that more and more, as he ascribes intense meaning and emotion to what I would consider the minutia of life. This is the only explanation I can think of to explain the anxiety he experiences when something doesn't go quite right in his life.

Fortunately these anxious moments are not often. I'm learning how to help him through these times when they do happen. Basically it means being willing to go with the flow, not challenge, offer reassurance, and essentially be supportive.

We have some wonderful neighbors. We especially enjoy the young family who live next door to us. The other day I ran into Molly (the mom). She asked me if Jim was OK. She said that she and her husband had noticed some changes.....It was so sweet, her expression of caring and concern. I told her that Jim was having some problems with his memory, but I also let her know that he did not acknowledge any memory deficits. She said all the right things. And, said to let them know if there was anything they could do, or if we needed any help. How lucky we are to have such a wonderful family living right next door to us!

Jim and I have always enjoyed following politics together. One of our proud possessions is a photograph of Jim and Hillary. The picture was taken at a political event when she was doing her "listening tour" while running for NY state senator in 1999. Prior to my retirement, we had talked about traveling to the different states during the presidential primaries to be a part of the process and to witness firsthand history in the making. That kind of travel is not feasible with Jim's health changes, but we sure do enjoy following all the political news. Thank goodness for the internet news sources. Jim has had problems retaining some of the details of the political stories. But by checking his news feed frequently throughout the day it helps him recall with better clarity. We still love to talk about politics and commiserate about the latest news. (Seems like there is a big breaking story every day!)

Well, once again, thank you dear readers for listening to me. When I sit down to type, the words just flow. And I feel like I am talking out loud to each and every one of you. For that I am grateful.

15 comments:

  1. Oh dear, just reading the shirt episode made me tense up. I am so glad you have good neighbors. I am passionate about politics. I read and study all the time. Right now I'm reading and studying the Republican Party, trying to figure out what may be ahead. That party is in for troubling times for some time to come I believe. I also believe Democrats are not going to be in a good place in 2020. I'll be watching to see if they correct some of their problems between now and then. For the time being I'm keeping up with the antics of Donald Trump. As long as the focus is on him Hillary will continue to rise in the polls. I hope the press never notices her between now and November. Then it will be on to four years of mortal hell. Hopefully she'll get 2 good years to accomplish a few things but unless Democrats wake up and go to the polls in 2018 Congress will flip back to Republican control and we'll be gridlocked again. I fully expect the Republicans to try and impeach her for something.

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    1. I heard last night where Reince Priebus is "Trump sitting" to make sure he stays on message. Priebus showed up at his rally and actually introduced Trump to the crowd. But I don't think Trump can help himself. He always seems to fall back to his extreme comments that really get people riled up!

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  2. It was really special of you to stop what you were doing and just going for the new shirt. It gave him such peace of mind and I doubt you would have had any peace had you not gone. Bending prevents breakage. You have really neat neighbors who not only observe but are supportive. Priceless.
    How neat that Jim got to meet Hillary. I am pretty sure if she just stays on message and lets Donald destroy himself with his own mouth, we will be OK. History is just around the corner.

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    1. I love your comment! You always say just the right thing :-)

      "Bending prevents breakage." I like that; I never thought of it that way before, but it is so true.

      Yes, Donald seems to just not be able to help himself. He is on a solid path to self destruction. I'm guessing it will be an electrifying election night; I can't wait! I'll actually stay up beyond my usual early bedtime to watch (hopefully) history being made.

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  3. I remember the year my Mom was dying of a brain tumor she got the same way for awhile: every little detail in her small world had to be tended to RIGHT NOW. We did what you did, Carole; we stopped what we were doing and took care of it. When my husband's health was at its worst, he did the same thing. He was totally focused on every little minuscule change in his very small world, and completely oblivious to what others were experiencing. He is not normally that way at all! It's so hard to have your "patient" erase your existence right when you're giving your all to them. I can't fix anything you're experiencing, but I can empathize.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen. It sounds as though you have had more than your share of challenges in caregiving. Having an empathic nature surely goes a long way in our world. I'm sure your husband (and mine) deep down appreciate us for all we do, even if they are not able to show it in the moment.

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  4. It's a blessing to have neighbors who know you and care for you.

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  5. I am so grateful! It is one of the main reasons I love where we live. But at some point it will be too much to keep up, and we'll need to make a move. You and B will have plenty of experience in the art of meeting neighbors and establishing yourself in a new community :-)

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  6. I read your posts with plenty of empathy for your plight. And I don't know if I have told you how much it means to me to hear how you cope. Although we are currently still cognitively intact, who knows what the future holds? You give me hope that I will find a way if that ends up happening to us. :-(

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    1. Thanks DJan. I certainly have made my share of mistakes, but I am learning from them, hopefully. My mom struggled mightily when my dad developed dementia. I remember the times when he would insist that he "had to go home!" (he was home). Mom would call me and put dad on the phone. It was part distraction I think, that helped him calm down. I remember saying to him "Dad, are you sitting in your recliner chair?". He'd pause and then say "yes". I then would say "well then you are exactly where you are supposed to be". He accepted that. And then we'd go on to talk about whatever was on our minds. I still miss him terribly. We were kindred souls. I'm glad that I was able to be a part of his life at a time when he needed me the most. I guess I learned something from those times with my dad.

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  7. Very interesting to track Jim's dementia. And very nice of your neighbor to offer you help if you need it.

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    1. You're right, it is a kind of tracking. I hadn't thought of it that way. I imagine in retrospect it will document this part of our lives together.

      I feel so fortunate to have good neighbors :-)

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  8. You are so very eloquent so I can almost feel you world as it is unfolding. I wish you all the best but I think you have the strength to do this. I am watching and if it helps, visualizing good things for you.

    Be well.

    b+

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  9. You are so very eloquent so I can almost feel you world as it is unfolding. I wish you all the best but I think you have the strength to do this. I am watching and if it helps, visualizing good things for you.

    Be well.

    b+

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    1. Thanks for your comment Barb. I appreciate your well wishes. "Visualizing good things", I like that thought. I should probably do more of that myself. The power of positive expectations can influence our reactions, thoughts and behaviors.

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