Since bringing Bo home, he has steadily declined, not because of his stay at Spring Cottage, but because the disease seems to be moving more quickly, robbing him of his cognition.
He lives in the present now – no past, no future. No judgment.
I am on crutches because of a bad knee and he cannot remember for even three minutes that I’m injured or why. Doesn’t even understand the crutches. If we talk about it, he asks why it happened, then immediately forgets. His next comment may be to ask if we’re going out even though I’ve just told him that I can neither walk nor drive.
He can no longer follow any directions unless I am pointing things out, simplifying and repeating. I’m not sure if it’s all processing or speed of ideas or that he simply doesn’t know the name of anything, seeming to not recognize objects. I know that my frustration shows.
This afternoon he picked up a pile of thorny stems and was going to break them into small pieces so I hobbled into the garage and got him a pair of leather gloves. He looked at them, then tried to put one on his foot.
I asked him to place a cushion on the lawn chair, but he couldn’t figure out what to do, put it on the table in front of him. It’s impossible for him to go upstairs or to the basement to get something so I can no longer ask him to bring a waste can downstairs or get milk from the basement refrigerator.
He can no longer identify the trashcans I have set out in the yard and driveway for his leaves and twigs. More often he comes into the house, two hands filled, asking where to put them. (He put them into the laundry basket a few days ago.) He may be standing beside a can on the patio as I’m pointing it out, but he won’t see it.
Yesterday morning, for the first time, he came downstairs completely in disarray. Shirt with chocolate on the front, toothpaste spread across his face as if he had tried to wash his face with it, hair uncombed, unshaven. I took him back up to start over.
And almost every day now he moves into the sundowning stage around four o’clock, fretting, worried and wanting to “go home.” He is still totally aware that something is wrong and that, as he says, “I’m worthless. A nobody. Useless. I don’t understand.”
And as it has for so many years now, my heart breaks for this kind and gentle man.