When are we going home?

Bo got up from his nap on the living room sofa and was looking out the French doors at our back yard.

“When are we going home?”  he asked.

My heart dropped.

“We are home.”  I was alarmed.

“Oh, …” he looked confused, “I guess I was sleeping.”

I walked over to him,  put my arm around his shoulder and pointing out the doors, asked,  “What is that, Boris?”

“Our back yard,”  he sounded sure but his brow was wrinkled.

“You must have still been asleep,”  I soothed.

But was he? I ask myself what kind of sleep he experiences when he takes his many naps during the day.  Is it a deep, dreaming sleep that doesn’t really clear up as he gets up?  Or is he just lying there, not sleeping, but too tired to get up?

He sleeps lighter at night now,  awakening if I enter or leave the room,  or if I sit up in bed. I know that Alzheimers patients often reverse their days and wander at night.  So far,  that hasn’t happened although he does get up to let the cat out and sometimes has a snack.

The stress that he occasionally demonstrates in early evening is a sign of “sundowning,” a dementia-related sleeplessness and agitation.  I  pray this doesn’t increase.  I’ve seen patients at a nursing home who are pacing and panicked, lost and confused.

The gray,  rainy weather seriously affects his days.   He wants to sleep.  Two days ago we had a particularly ugly day, and mid-afternoon, after running some errands with Emma and me,  he went up to bed “for a nap”  at four o’clock.  When I went up a litte later,  I found him under the covers, undressed for the night, the room dark.

But when I told him it was dinner time,  he got up to eat,  then returned to bed.  He now eats well,  having gone through the period when he didn’t want to eat.  He seems to enjoy his food, especially the desserts and ice cream.

Yesterday was different.  He slept less,  walked the dog several times,  and we went to the store after dinner to look for a new dog bed for Emma.  He had a sundae when he came home — then he went to bed.  A better day.

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6 Responses to When are we going home?

  1. greg says:

    I smiled for Boris because I know that he, when in his happy place, is content. I have walked in your shoes and journeyed the path of confussion, sundaes, going home, long naps, and conversations of the past. It is hard for us, but for Boris, just redirect and refocus questions that seem to work well for him. I do that for mom, for I know it makes her content. It is no longer what I want because it is now all about her.

  2. Dianne says:

    Good morning Nancy. As I read your post this morning I am experiencing my first Santa Ana winds. They come from the desert and I understand they contribute to amazing hazes over the ocean. My journey into the unknown is coming upon a one year anniversary, can you believe it? As I read about your journey with Bo my heart aches for you, but I also think you have an appreciation for the little mile markers along the way…Bo enjoying food and desserts again. I’m happy that you can have hopeful moments with glimmers of joy for a “good day”. Love, Dianne

  3. Barney Hungerford says:

    Hi, Nancy; you are so great with Boris. I wish I could help you.

  4. Frances says:

    Nancy, I check for your blog updates regularly, and always read them with a sense of “Yes! That’s exactly how it is!” It’s somehow comforting or reassuring to read of your experiences with Boris and to identify with your emotions. Just want you to know that here in S. CA I’m still appreciating your blog. It reminds me always that I’m not the only one in this experience called caregiving. Thank you for recording your journey along the Alzheimer’s road. Hugs to you!

    • Thanks so much for your message, Frances. It really is comforting to know that there are others out there experiencing the same thing — that I’m not losing my sense of balance sometimes. Hugs to you too!

  5. Marko says:

    Aunt Nancy,
    I’m glad he has found happiness in food again. I’ve got many fond memories of spending a summer week at your house waterskiing and enjoying over-sized portions of ice cream and pie with Uncle Bo. Of course, he would still shake his head at my love for Fruity Pebbles, which you always had when I came.

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