As I have written before, Jim does not always remember who I am. Sometimes it is fairly easy to help him remember, other times it is a bit more of a challenge.
It was after dinner, and he was concerned:
"Where is Carole?"
Me: "I'm Carole. I'm right here."
Jim: "No, I mean the other Carole."
Me: "Well, I am Carole, version 1 - 10."
We both laughed. I took what could have been a stressful moment and managed to turn it around with humor. I'm not always that successful, but I do find that a good dose of humor goes a long way in soothing the troubled waters.
We don't go to restaurants anymore. It is just too stressful. The difficulty with the menu, the noise, the people, the lighting. It just isn't worth it. The other night it occurred to me that we could order takeout from the local Chinese place, pick it up and bring it home to eat. Jim thought it was a great idea. We settled on what we were going to order, I made the call, and we headed out the door to pick it up.
It was a short, five minute ride. In those 5 minutes, Jim became quite upset. He insisted he did not agree to the plan, and angry because "You should have checked with me before ordering food!" We picked up the food, and I ended up throwing it away. He was so upset by the incident, it just seemed like I needed to get it out of site. I quickly threw something else together for dinner. He seemed to calm down.
About an hour after dinner he became upset. "Can't a person get any food around here? Where is dinner?" He had no recollection that we had already eaten. And so it goes. I think the anxiety from the takeout food incident was still circulating in his brain.
Overall, since starting on the citalopram for his anxiety I believe that he is doing better. At least this holds mostly true for when we are at home, with no distractions and nothing out of the ordinary. He still becomes quite anxious with anticipation of any plans, appointments, any changes etc.
Activity outside the house is always vulnerable to an upset. The full effect of the citalopram may take another 4 - 5 weeks. So perhaps his anxiety will improve further. But at the same time, I realize that nothing will make everything OK all the time. Dementia just doesn't work that way. There will always be challenges.
When I look over the past year I realize that Jim has lost a lot of ground over a relatively short period of time. There are a lot of theories out there to explain the differences between dementia that progresses more slowly, versus dementia that progress more rapidly.
This link has been quite helpful in preparing me for what to expect. When I look back, I realize that a year ago he was in stage 4. He is now in the beginning of stage 6.
Language has been more challenging for him, and I continue my strategy of responding with a neutral response when he says something I don't understand.
Today he wanted me to "find the staff". He also wanted me to "take care of the trees". I responded by saying "Is it OK if I do that tomorrow morning?" He was quite receptive to this delay. And of course he will have no recollection of this conversation.
Jim's receptiveness to Mike is intermittent. I never plan for time to myself, because I never know if Jim will be agreeable to spending time with Mike. Those few times when Jim has spent time with Mike have been nothing short of wonderful for me. I'm hoping that as time passes, the full effect of the citalopram will help Jim to be able to enjoy more time with Mike.
Jim is scheduled for a CT of his brain this Thursday. How do I get him there? Well, I've told him that all people 65 and older are encouraged to be screened for vascular disease. I told him that I've already had the test, and that the doctor would be scheduling one for him too. When I told him this, he thought it was a good idea. I won't bring it up again until the morning of the appointment. I hope he goes, and that it is not too stressful for him. I'm ready with my companion cards, and I will also write on the card that loud voices are upsetting to him. I'm also realistic in that he may not agree to go, or may become so anxious that it is not worth doing. We'll see. Either way is OK with me.
My top priority these days is to keep Jim happy and content. Every week that passes I get better at it, as I am always learning from Jim how best to help him through this next stage of his life.
Another post is written. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for listening. I so appreciate each one of you.