The first indication of Boris’s slide into Alzheimer’s was about four years ago in the winter as we were watching movies together. We’re big fans of Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version) which we’ve probably watched 20 times, maybe more. That Mr. Collins just never stops being laughable, and Mr. Darcy’s pride never wavers.
But that winter, when we watched them, I noticed that he wasn’t as much interested as he always had been before. When we watched other movies – and we often rented 3 at a time online – he often asked me questions: Who is that? Why did he do that? How did she know that would happen? In each case, the answer was obvious.
I would become very irritated with him, thinking that he just wasn’t paying attention, accusing him of not looking at the screen. But then I began to realize that most of the questions were related to more subtle things; he wasn’t picking up cues in the dialog or interplay among characters.
The questions increased and so did the irritation in my voice, no doubt, and even though I began to suspect that something more may be going on, I tried to deny it.
Then there were the frequent: “I never ate that before” and “Never saw that before.” Liking to cook and thinking that maybe I’m a little good at it, I’d become very annoyed when he denied eating something that I’d cooked – memorably, I thought. But, as my grandmother liked to remind us, “Pride goeth before a fall” and I began to realize that I had no right to feel any indignation because some old things really are new to him.
.Later, when I read about the stages of Alzheimer’s, I realized what had been going on. But interestingly, of course, the real memory loss is mostly short-term. Early stage Alzheimer’s patients may clearly recall all of the details of something that happened twenty-five years ago, yet forget what was said or done five minutes ago.
The television was an issue in another way: the remote controls. As so many other people, we have 4 of them: Comcast, TV, DVD and VCR. You can put a man on the moon and visit Mars, but I have 4 controls? One complete set in the family room and another in the basement, which Bo always used, fixed and unscrambled if I got them messed up. We actually had Best Buy to thank for the system since they set both up in the beginning. Bo started having some difficulties, turning the wrong one on or off, getting a blank screen and not knowing what to do about it. Now it was my turn to solve the problems.
Since he was using the TV in the basement most of the time to watch his favorite westerns or war movies, and since my brother-in-law suggested that a Wii might be just the thing to keep him active, I visited Best Buy again.
Next blog: Best Buy continued..