GPS – and The Little Things

I haven’t written a blog in so long. A lot has happened in that time, and I just had writer’s block. Or maybe it was simply no motivation. A dear friend died of cancer, my mother was very ill, another friend had serious surgery, Bo continued to decline … A bad spring.

But summer’s here and Emma has blossomed. All of the flowers are planted, the sun shines and the Jersey mosquitoes are flying. And so ….. our story continues:

Bo’s GPS has failed.

You always hear about Alzheimer’s patients getting lost, wandering away from home. I now see why this happens. Their sense of location and direction simply disappears. This has been happening with increasing frequency for months. He has only lost his way that one time around Christmas when he was on the next block with the dog, but he generally doesn’t know where he is.

When I’m driving him somewhere, he often says, “Never been here before,” and it will be someplace that we’ve frequented. It may be on the main street of our town or just two blocks from our house.

Frequently he gets up from a nap and asks me when we’re going to go home. Today, for example, he asked me if we’re leaving in the morning. This time instead of trying to explain, I just said, “Probably. I’m not sure yet.” Then he asked when we came here and where we were before.

He’s returned to his old love of ice cream. Now it’s a constant …. All day, he forages in the freezer for some, then sometimes returns the box to melt in the refrigerator. I’m ashamed to admit it, but his habit of eating the ice cream with his hands absolutely makes me crazy and I’m not able to keep cool about it. I can’t get him to understand that no one else wants to eat ice cream from a box where someone was scraping around with his hands. There are always 6 half gallons (different flavors) in the freezer and he opens them all.

It’s the little things. The day-to-day, minute-to-minute things that are really causing me stress. The stress is impatience with myself. Why can’t I let everything go …. Just accept everything?

I reached into the refrigerator tonight for the barbecued chicken for dinner. It wasn’t there. Instead, there was just one leg left in the container. Where was the rest? In Emma’s stomach, I’m afraid – bones and all.

I ask him to get a container of sour cream from the refrigerator in the cellar. He comes back up and tells me there isn’t any. But I know there are 3 containers. I go down and find that he was looking in the cabinet instead.

We go to the car to take Emma for a ride. I start the engine and he says, “I need my …..” Opening and shutting his hands he signals that he needs gloves. So I turn off the engine, unlock the front door and get his gloves.

He wants to help me. So I ask him to do a chore. He immediately forgets, and I do it later. I ask him to wash the storm door glass. I get the paper towels and windex. He washes the window, and I find the towels and windex in the magazine basket.

I find five kitchen towels lined up in our bathroom. The trash is in the wrong recycle containers. The dog leash is in the kitchen cabinet.

I should have never bought him that pair of pajamas. It was actually his first pair – ever – but now he wants to wear them during the day, inside and outside.

If I’m not here, he doesn’t know to put milk on his Cheerios and eats them dry.

It’s sad and it’s cruel. He’s becoming a man-child before my eyes, forgetting where he is or how he got here. Sometimes he doesn’t know who I am. He can’t follow the plot of a simple story; often loses words or substitutes others. Today, for example, we were driving down a street where there were small houses and he said, “These sure are small rails.”

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11 Responses to GPS – and The Little Things

  1. maureen says:

    Keep writing you really had me laughing at some of the incidents and almost crying at others!

  2. Frances says:

    Nancy, it’s a big relief to find another journal entry from you! I’m so sorry you’ve had other stress and grief in your life in recent months. I have worried about you and have often prayed for you. On my worst days with my husband I think of you and wonder if you too are having the same experiences and are feeling too overwhelmed to write. Now, having read this latest from you, I see that our experiences continue to be amazingly similar . . . and in that there is an odd sort of comfort and assurance that this or that is par for the very rough course known as Alzheimer’s. As always, I send you my best wishes with a warm hug.

  3. Karen Phillips says:

    It seems much more difficult for me to read about Boris’ decline that it is if I actually hear it from you. I hope you are looking into finding ways to have a diversion from all of this. You are always in my thoughts.

    Love you,

  4. John Grayson says:

    Hi Nancy,

    God bless you for your faithfulness. Thank you for the very long and difficult day you spent to come to see Anna Fay the week before she died. She loved you and Borus so much. My prayer for you and for Borus is for holy Peace in the midst of the day. There is a wonderful prayer in the Episcopal prayer book: I know not what today will bring; but whatever it is, Lord make me ready. If I am to stand, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie down, help me to lie patiently. And if I am to do nothing, help me to do so galantly. And make these more than words, Lord. Give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

    John Grayson

  5. Mary Anne Rees says:

    HI Nancy —
    Have thought about you a lot about you lately. Thank you for the recent blog. I can’t even imagine how difficult this is for you.

  6. thom sweeney says:

    Oh Nancy. SOOO many similarities. I too find the spiral deepening. Helen too is driven to sweets. But the other thing is her fixation with everyone’s age. She stops people in restaurants and food markets, and asks them “How old are YOU? I’m 74” In my mind, I think it’s ONE of the few things she remembers….and therefore can talk about….and that makes her seem more relevant, to be able to “open a conversation” with people. I KNOW that there’s not much consolation in empathy, but that’s all I can offer you today, Nancy. We’re on the same train, headed for the same destination, and somehow it’s nice to know that you have company. thom

    • Oh, Thom, isn’t it so sad? Bo also has an obsession with age but it’s mostly our dog and cats. He asks me all day long how old they are. He also asks my mother’s age and Karen’s age (doesn’t remember her but when I tell him my friend had back surgery, he always asks.) Then he asks, “How is your mother?” After I tell him, he says, “Is she telling you the truth?”

  7. Dianne says:

    Oh my Nancy, to see that you have 2 friends on the same journey is sad but perhaps consoling for you to be able to network with each other. Your blogs are my connection to your everyday journey with Boris. Again I wish I was nearby to just be there for you. With love, dianne

  8. scott says:

    (Vega) provides optimum protection, anywhere in the world. Elderly and Alzheimer’s assistance.

  9. Everon Group says:

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    GPS Technology Loss of Independence News Articles Living with Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s Gps Vega Bracelet at Everon Group
    GPS Technology
    The GPS technology in these bracelets allows you to track your loved one if they aren’t where they are supposed to be. It is perfect for the in-between stage of Alzheimer’s where they are still able to go out and garden or take a walk in the neighborhood. The best part does not have to restrict their access, which gives them a measure of independence, but still gives you the peace of mind knowing that you can find them easily if they get lost.
    Loss of Independence
    Loss of independence is one of the hardest parts of advancing dementia. People who have been in control of their life for over 60 years are put in the position where this control is being lost piece by piece. Some things cannot be compromised – such as safety concerns like driving, as this not only is not safe for them but has the potential to harm others. A good compromise is allowing some freedom around the yard and neighboring areas, as most of the time they are able to get home easily. Having an Alzheimer’s bracelet can allow them that small freedom while relieving your stress by letting you find them if they are late coming home. Skype: Everon Group

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