We had a great birthday party for my mom this past weekend. Lots of good food, laughter and conversation made for a nice celebration. Jim did a great job helping me with what ever I needed. I didn't notice anything amiss during the party. If Jim was confused or said something that was off, I didn't see it.
After everyone left, we cleaned things up together. He was exhausted, I could tell. Evenings and times when he is tired are the hardest for him. About 2 weeks ago he had a couple of his medications changed. For some reason, after everyone left the party he became focused on the meds, saying things that didn't even make sense.
Jim: "What are the three meds?"
Me: "You mean what are the two new medications?"
Jim: "Why do you call them three different words? You're confusing me."
Me: "I'm not calling them different names, I'm using the same names. A couple of weeks ago you started two new medications; they are ____ and ____."
Jim: "There you go again. Why do you call them three different words?"
At this point, I have no idea what to say. But I attempt to recount the history behind the two new medications and tell him that the names I'm using for the meds are the same names that I have been using for 2 weeks. I even get the bottles to show him.
None of this goes well. He is so confused. And I'm realizing that my attempts to provide clear, logical explanations are not being processed at all. So, I hold his hand, hug him, give him a kiss, and say "we're both tired, and this is hard for both of us to understand. Let's talk about it tomorrow morning when we're both more rested." He accepted that! It was that easy!
I need to remember that my attempts at rational conversation are not always processed well by him. Sometimes it is better to just keep it very simple, or as above, delay the conversation to another time. By the way, the next morning I don't think he remembered any of this conversation. He didn't bring it up, and I certainly didn't!
I usually go to bed about an hour before Jim does. He is more of a night owl, and I am the early bird. The other night when he came in to bed he woke me up to tell me that he couldn't find his glasses. I told him I'd help him find them in the morning. He accepted this and came to bed. The next morning I said "last night you said you lost your glasses. Do you want me to help you look for them?"
Jim: "I said that?"
Me: "Yes, and I can help you look for them."
Jim: "Was I asleep when I said that?" "Were you dreaming?"
Me: "Look! Here are your glasses!"
The problem with word finding continues, and actually occurs many times a day now. This is definitely an increase from 6 months ago. It is mainly nouns, which sometimes makes it hard to figure out what he is talking about. I usually ask a bunch of questions so I can key in on what he is talking about. Fortunately he is frequently talking about something we have discussed within the last few hours, so I can usually figure it out.
Jim: "Where do you find the thing on the ..........(long pause)"
Me: "Are you talking about your car?"
Jim: "No.....you know..... the thing........" (puts hands to his head in frustration)
Me: "Are you talking about your Kindle?"
Jim: "Yes! Where is the thing on my Kindle?"
From there I was able to figure out he was looking for the volume control button. How frustrating it must be for him not to be able to articulate what he wants to say. I've gotten pretty good at guessing what he needs to say.
Sometimes I visualize his brain as full of cobwebs (plaques and tangles are the medical terms) covering all this valuable matter. If only we could brush away those cobwebs!
I read this great article that you can read here that essentially discusses the issue of "would you rather be right, or would you rather have peace". The answer is pretty easy for me. The author is Marie Marley who has written about Alzheimers based on her experiences with her husband. I might read one of her books. I say might, because I'm not sure if it would be sad, or if it would give me hope, or maybe something in-between.
I've got a great week ahead. I'm having lunch with a very dear friend of mine tomorrow. Thursday is "mom day" (groceries, errands etc), Friday is lunch with a very good friend of mine who is still working. Add in my usual YMCA classes, and I am a happy camper. Jim does best if I'm not away for a long period of time. All of these activities are within a time frame where he should be fine by himself. It's great to have these things to look forward to!
Well, thanks again dear readers for checking in with me and reading my words. As I type, I hear myself talking and smiling, knowing that very kind and thoughtful folks are listening. Until next time...