It’s called looping. The circular repetition of an idea that never seems to stop. No matter how I try to reassure him, he keeps coming back to it. Can’t let it go.
Today was especially hard. In the past 6 hours, Bo asked me the same thing AT LEAST 40 times. Every few minutes. And as he wore me down, I began to lose my cool.
A friend told me last night that if he is around someone with a problem like this, he feels empathy and can simply put it out of his mind. I try but I can’t be so good. All day is a very long time.
Today Bo needed to contact someone (he could never remember whom) about something (he wasn’t sure what.) He wanted me to call this person and tell him that Bo wasn’t up to doing whatever it was; it was truly making him sick as he struggled to remember.
It started here at the house, so as a distraction, I convinced him to go to the store and to McDonald’s for lunch. This worked briefly, but then it continued. So we went to another store but still it continued. We came home, he tried to nap but couldn’t rest. I actually made a fake phone call, thinking if he heard me, he might relax. But it didn’t work, so we took a walk with the dog. Still, he continued, asking me every few feet as we walked around the block.
Every time he asked, I tried to convince him that I had called already. I told him that he had no one to see, no one coming to visit. I kept repeating it, hoping that one time it would break through the loop and he’d relax. But it didn’t.
At the same time, he became extremely tired and could barely finish his walk. When we got home, he went straight to lie on the sofa, and I gave him a snack … but the requests continued … would I contact (whom?) to say he wasn’t up to doing (what?) and it went on through dinner until I got him to go upstairs to bed. Even then he called me to the stairs five times to tell me the same thing until he finally settled down. By then, I was beside myself.
Actually, the last week or so has been very good. He has been getting up in the morning, having three meals a day, multiple naps, and going to bed early. His only real discomfort has been the awful tinnitus that he has frequently: “There’s a buzzing in my head.”
But this afternoon in the stores he didn’t seem to know what anything was. He’d point to a coffee pot or a pillow or earrings and ask, “What is that?” I bought him a new jacket and he didn’t understand why we were taking it with us.
Another turn in this journey.