[Note: Two months have passed since I last wrote. It has been a difficult two months during which my mother became very ill, then on August 1 she died. At the same time, Bo began to decline more quickly. His memory is now gone. He has no knowledge of Mother’s death despite the fact that he attended the Memorial service this week. I wrote the following blog at the beginning of all of this but never posted it.]
I’m beginning to dread late afternoons and dinner time. That’s when Bo gets up from a nap and his worst confusion begins. It usually starts with the question:
“When are we leaving?”
“Leaving? To go where?”
“To go home.”
“We are home. This is our house.”
He looks at me quizzically, then shakes his head to clear it.
“There’s something happening to me,” he says sadly. “I don’t understand. When are we leaving?” he immediately asks again.
I’m standing at the sink, wondering if I should just say, “Tomorrow.” I try to gauge the mood and some days I attempt to explain that this is where we live, where we’ve lived for 36 years. Other days I say we’re leaving tomorrow.
Trying to find out where he thinks he is, I ask him where we’re going. He can’t get the words out, doesn’t remember where it is that we’re going home to. Sometimes he asks the state, but none of it makes sense to him.
“But when did we come here?” he asks repeatedly.
The thing is that not only is he confused and lost, but he also keeps asking these same questions over and over. It’s a cycle that won’t stop, but I have to interrupt the cycle some way. Often I stop what I’m doing and say, “Let’s take the dog for her ride now.” Maybe we can stop somewhere and eat. Take a long walk. This helps.
The other thing that can help is if he lies back down for another nap. He may wake up more clear-headed.
Two days ago he didn’t know me. Kept asking me if I’d seen Nancy. Also wanted to know if his mother knew I was living here.
This morning he wanted to know if there were other people here besides the Germans. When I tried to figure this out by asking what other kinds of people were here, he just stopped and didn’t know what he was thinking about, and like so many other times, the conversation just faded away.
I have developed a strategy to help myself handle the mealtime frustration. I put the day’s crossword puzzle beside my plate, and as we’re eating and he’s asking questions, I answer, but I’m focusing on the puzzle. Most meals he asks me if I usually “win” and I say, “Yes.” Multitasking helps a lot.
His confusion seems like a maze to me, a maze that he’s trapped in and can’t even verbalize. Each direction he tries to go in becomes a dead end of lost words and ideas.