Two Sundays ago, as I was driving down our street on the way home, I passed Bo going the other way, so we stopped beside one another and I asked where he was going.
“To the dentist,” he said. “My tooth hurts.” He pointed to his lower right jaw.
“On Sunday?” I asked, thinking to myself, Did he just call our dentist on Sunday? Was he going to just knock on her door?
“Oh, I thought it was Saturday,” he said somewhat sheepishly. He turned the car around and we both went home.
Later that day I asked him how his tooth was and he didn’t recall having a toothache. Several times that week I asked him about his toothache, but he didn’t recall it then either.
Two days ago, he awoke before seven with a toothache. I gave him two Tylenol and said I’d call Dr. Haines, which he was eager for me to do. But by 8 am when I was ready to call, he no longer had the toothache and didn’t recall it. I made an appointment anyway for the next day (yesterday), explaining the situation to the receptionist, who knows about the Alzheimer’s.
But yesterday morning he had no toothache and wasn’t sure about the appointment; I explained that he needed to have his tooth checked anyway, reminding him about the previous toothaches He was skeptical, but went.
You see, a wonderful characteristic of Bo is that he is so cooperative. I’m so lucky that my kind and gentle husband continues to have the same personality. As you’ve probably heard, many Alzheimer’s patients undergo a major personality change, becoming belligerent, sometimes violent. I can only pray that this doesn’t happen to him.
So the tooth story continues. When he came home after half an hour, I asked about his tooth. He off handedly said, yes, he has another appointment. Another mistake on my part: I didn’t get up right then from the sofa and find out about the appointment. Later in the day, I checked the calendar, his bureau and wallet. No sign of an appointment. I asked him about it and this set off another characteristic of Bo’s condition: FIXATING.
Sometimes, an idea seems to penetrate his brain and he cannot let it go. That’s what happened with the appointment. He searched long after I assured him I would simply call on Monday to check on the date. He looked and looked. It went on even after he went upstairs to go to bed when he came back down and went to the garage to (again) check his car. I finally convinced him to go to bed and we’d solve it later.
Today I asked how his tooth is. “OK,” he said. Then he pointed to it and said, “but when I push on it, it hurts. I need to see the dentist.”