Can You Help Me?

It’s a bad day.

This kind of day happens more often now.  Bo is totally confused,  thinks someone has to treat him for something.  Doesn’t know what.  Can’t verbalize his concern.  Needs to contact someone.

At lunch,  he sat staring;  sometimes I drew his attention to his food.  The newspaper was on the table, the main article about a food truck bringing fresh produce to inner-city.  He struggled and struggled with the headline and picture,  couldn’t pronounce all of the words,  couldn’t grasp the idea when I explained it to him.  This was repeated over and over – probably six or seven times.

Then he moved his attention to Emma dog,  wondering how and when we feed her.  What is he to do to prepare her food?  At one point,  he actually asked if “they” are planning  (he signaled with his hand at his neck) to slit her throat!

WHERE do these ideas and questions come from?  Why are they in his head?

He walks around, closer to shuffling,  feeling terrible and not knowing what to do.

“Can you do something for me?” he asks as he comes into the room.


“Well, don’t I have to …”  his voice trails off….”I don’t know.” He sits, head hanging, hands clenched,  elbows on his knees.

“OH,  I don’t know what’s going on…”

“As soon as I wash my hair,  I’ll take you for a ride,” I say.

“Yeah,  but what am I supposed to do? …I don’t remember anyone telling me about …. go down there (he points)  … you know”…

I have no idea how to reply.

“Huh, “ he scratches his head.  Then he leans back, quiet….obviously in mental pain.  I sit here,  listen to him breathing, trying to figure out what to say or do.

The cycle continues.

He points out the window,  “I don’t understand.  I thought I was supposed to go down there….  I can’t understand.”

And then he breaks my heart:  “Nancy, can you help me?”

I decide to take the ride immediately to break this cycle,  so we get into the car and start down the street.  He is still agitated as we begin, but he will calm down with the scenery and the Irish music.  He begins going through things in the glove compartment and finds my business card.

He reads my name aloud.    “Do you know this person?”

I hold my breath, then say that’s who I am.


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8 Responses to Can You Help Me?

  1. Annamarie says:

    What a love story you two have written! Boris is such a wonderful man and you are an absolutely amazing wife, daughter…& best friend to so many. We love you. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  2. Maureen says:

    What a journey the two of you are on. God bless you both.

  3. thom sweeney says:

    Nancy, you’re so right about the hearbreak that happens when Helen is sruggling to “find the words” and cannot. Then there’s that momentary look in her eyes which telegraphs “help me finish this sentence – this thought.”…and I CAN’T because I don’t know what she’s trying to say to me. II’s that non-verbal cry from the “inner person”with that “help me” look in their eyes that is the most painful.

  4. Dianne says:

    My only hope is that all the wonderful years full of great careers, good friends, traveling to Paris for the millennium , bring you comfort during these “please help me days.” I hope you think about putting all these reflections into a book to help others on their journey through Bo’s Looking Glass.

  5. luandwords says:

    My Father is traveling this twisted path. Everything you write is painfully and beautifully familiar. I hope you are taking good care of yourself.

  6. charlotte guarino says:

    Nancy, your blogs leave me speechless. I guess it’s because I’ve been fortunate to avoid such a horrible illness by a loved one. Thank goodness. I pray that God keeps you strong as you move

  7. TP says:

    It took me awhile but I finally read through all your posts. My mom has AD and I’m one of her caregivers. A lot of what you talked about I can definitely relate to. This is a challenging time for patients and caregivers but one thing I’ve learned is you always have a choice to choose what thoughts go through your head. You can choose good thoughts or negative ones, which can make all the difference.

  8. I just started reading you today. Fear kept me from it before now. My Father. He is slipping away from my Mother. He barely remembers me, his 51 year old daughter. His only child. His wife of 56 years–he can’t remember she is his wife. May be for three days at a time and then she is one of the “girls” who helps around the house. I cannot reach the bottom, the depths of my grief. We learned the diagnosis in November. I told him over the phone myself. He doesn’t remember what is wrong now. He had some vertigo so he thinks that vertigo is his problem. He has not become violent but he does get confused. The town of 5000 where he and my Mother live is supportive–almost everyone knows and they are coping with their own loved ones’ AD, too.
    I will return and read more. I am so sorry for your loss and this long goodbye.

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