Driving Around and Around

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I drove about 70 miles today.
Yesterday, I drove 30 miles.

My life has become a series of car rides.  Rides to do errands.  Rides to entertain Emma and Bo.  Rides to fill in the empty spaces.  Rides to nowhere in particular.

Bo’s Alzheimer’s has sort of reversed its course.  No, not for the better, but his nights and days have become more normal, and that means that he is awake from morning until night,  and he has nothing to do.  If I get up at 7:30,  so does he.  If I get up at 8:30, he does too.   And then he wants to know what we’re going to do today.

When I say that I need to go someplace,  to do something,  he asks, “Can I come with you?”

I know that he is so bored, feeling useless and helpless.  He’s mixed up,  isn’t sure where he is or how he got here.  Almost every day he asks me what he should be doing.  Today,  he was standing by the sliding doors,  staring at the backyard.  Then he came to me and said,  “What do I need to do?  You’ll have to tell me.

I explained that there was nothing to do yet.  When it’s warmer, we will do things together – clear the vines from the fence,  spread the Hollytone around the azaleas, whatever I can think of to keep him busy.  But he tires so quickly, our yard work will be in very small spurts.

“Well, you have to tell me everything,” he repeated.  He was so sad.

So, in the meantime,  we drive around and around … and around for hours.  We drive up and down the streets of nearby (and some not so nearby) towns,  take new country roads, visit places I haven’t been to in years.   I make a turn every time Bo comments that he’s “never been there before.”

We go to every park I can find and walk Emma,  who by the way is a VERY HAPPY dog because she loves the car!  Every ride is a new route to Bo.  He enjoys the classical music in the car,  humming or whistling along with it as we joggle along, and he comments many times each trip, “Those sure are small houses.”  Interestingly,   he never complains of the buzzing in his ears that makes him so miserable at home.

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9 Responses to Driving Around and Around

  1. Dean says:

    Boris always loved his cars — it does not surprise me at all that he likes the rides.

  2. maureen says:

    Let’s do coffee soon, I’ll text you.

  3. Julio Feldman says:

    Take care and make time for yourself.

  4. dianne says:

    Can we meet for coffee next week when I am in town. I’m bringing Marissa. Ryan and I are volunteering for shore clean up.

    • You mean the week of the 22nd? Absolutely! I’m trying to drive up to Boston this week with Bo if he gets up tomorrow morning. It’s a big chance, but I really want to see my sister-in-law and this is the only way possible. Bo’s remaining brother in North Jersey is moving to Ohio at the end of the month. The end of relatives around me. Love to see you and Marissa. Nancy

  5. Kathe Shakespeare says:

    Nancy, thanks so much for sharing your days. Your patience is a real inspiration. Perhaps one day you, Debbie G. and I can get together for coffee in Haddonfeld.

  6. Teri Francis says:

    Aw, Nancy … your posts are all so touching. The driving struck me with both sweet and sad memories of driving my mom around when she was still capable of getting in and out of the car. So many times, I just wanted to do the errands and go for rides by myself — just for a break, but I knew Mom needed a break as well, so it would take a little longer, but it was worth it. We’d drive familiar routes that she once knew like the back of her hand, but they were all new to her again. But there is something peaceful in that confined space and time together that didn’t always exist in the house. Bless you for the kind, patient, and loving spirit you have and share with Bo — and for the gift of sharing your stories. They do inspire us — and remind us to have patience and take the “longer” route when we can. There is a great gift in that can’t really be defined … it can only be felt. And sometimes that “feeling” is our most important way of communicating with our loved ones affected by Alzheimers. Hugs. — Teri

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