Bad Day

Friday was one of the  worst days – for me.

I know that Bo was confused by my behavior because I was so stressed and I couldn’t hide it.

From the time he came downstairs,  he was anxious and confused.  Absolutely nothing I said to him stayed with him.  I repeated things (everything)  time after time after time.

He couldn’t get past the idea that he had “someplace to go” or some appointment (which he didn’t.)  He said that  maybe he had opened some letter? Maybe he had a phone call? I reassured him many times that there was no place he had to go, that I keep a detailed calendar.

After lunch  he insisted on picking up (by hand) all of the leaves.  If you know our yard, you know that we are surrounded by big trees with  leaves that are now floating down continuously.  The yard needed to be mowed,  but the leaves had to come up first.

But then he asked the question that caught me off guard. “Where do they come from?  I never saw them before.”   A shock went through me as I realized I actually had to explain autumn.  He had forgotten.

“They come from that big oak tree and all the other trees in our yard.  See all the leaves?  In the summer they are green and in the fall they change color and then they fall from the trees.”

“I don’t remember that happening before.”

I got out the leaf blower, but that didn’t do the job.  Then I got a large rake but I could see that he didn’t want to use it, so I ended up raking the yard  myself.  When I asked him to pick up the piles of leaves so we could get on the with mowing,  he was distracted and began picking leaves from the bushes.  I was so irritated and frustrated – I  ended up putting most of the leaves into the trash cans myself.

By now I was feeling rushed because I had an appointment at 5 and the lawn needed to be mowed before I left.  I needed to oversee the job. Plus, rain was in the forecast.

Then it happened.  The lawn mower wouldn’t start. I went inside to call a service man and when I returned to the garage, Bo had  the snow blower in the driveway considering how to start it.

“Honey, that’s not a lawn mower.”

“What is it?” he asked.

“The snow blower.  It’s for winter,”  I explained.  Then I asked him to put it back where he found it and, as always,  he very obediently did what I requested.

I came into the house and about a half hour later looked out the front window to see Bo “mowing” the front lawn with the weed whacker.  He did a very good job, actually.

Throughout the day,  I was losing patience, my temper.  I know my voice and actions showed how frustrated I was, but Bo never indicated that he even noticed.  I asked myself if he wondered why I acted the way I did.  Worst of all,  I sometimes stop myself and think, “What if this is the last memory he has of me – irritated and mean?”

It’s hard.

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7 Responses to Bad Day

  1. dianne says:

    Oh Nancy, what a cruel disease this is. You need to constantly validate yourself for just being human. xo, dw

  2. Rob says:

    Hey Nancy,
    Thanks for informing the rest of us what it’s like. I had little idea of why the disease is so devastating until I began reading your blog. xo Roberto el Tanguero

  3. Pat says:

    Dear Nancy, It’s terribly hard. Try not to be hard on yourself. You’re taking such good care of Bo. Someone once told me ‘don’t forget to take care of yourself’. It’s been good advice.

  4. Anna Fay says:

    N –
    These latest “memories” are probably already gone. He will remember the early ones – with all the joys and love of a young couple beginning a life together.

  5. greg says:

    Frustration is for us and not for him. Give him short answers, for only what he asks.
    Everyday is Groundhog Day for us but for those with dementia it is a brand new day, in their world.
    We may get in their world sometime, but don’t worry, they are happy and contented. Logic is not the answer; give them the answer that makes them happy and satisfy’s the situation
    We need to get together so you can have my mental notes. I have walked in your shoes.
    God bless you, for He gives no more than you can handle.

  6. Brad Sweeney says:

    Nancy, this is Brad Sweeney here checking in. Miriam sent your blog address along to me, and I am profoundly grateful that she did. I just wanted to thank you first and foremost for sharing your personal experiences surrounding Boris, because my mother is stricken with the same senseless condition. Your perspective is greatly appreciated. You have always been in my mind “A Woman of The Word/World,” and as we face each day’s/daze “new and exciting” challenges, it is a comfort to hear “your voice”. I know that it can’t be easy for you to reflect and share these stories and feelings, but know how much I respect what you are doing. You have a gift, and I thank you so much for sharing it with those that need it most.


    Brad Sweeney

  7. Barney Hungerford says:

    Nancy, don’t worry about Boris remembering your getting upset; he won’t. If he wants to pick up every leaf by hand, let him. Letting him cut the yard with a weed wacker was great. We all understand how great your doing. Keep up the great way your handling everything. Next time he wants to pick up every leaf, let him, get a chair, join hum in the yard, and read a book. The exercise is good for him no matter how he gets it. Will call you. Busy working on an engineering project and coaching a lot.

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