Several days ago I wrote about Bo’s changes, how his sad decline is so noticeable, but today I write of an even greater change. Yesterday Jon moved him into a hospital bed where we can care for him more easily. Now, when I look into our bedroom … well, there are no words to express my sadness.
The change began four days ago when I went upstairs to see how things were going with Bo’s shower and discovered that the wet, glass shower doors were leaning against the bureau in our bedroom. Bo had passed out in the shower and Jon had to remove the doors to get him out. Bo was seated, slouching against the corner of the shower, his eyes closed, his head flopping sideways as Jon dried him, then picked him up like a baby and carried him to his bed.
When he was settled in the bed, I stood beside him, rubbing his forehead and holding his hand, wondering if this was the time. Jon had thought Bo was dying in the shower. But he began to slowly get a little better. By the next day he was chewing and swallowing when we fed him. (We have been on the alert, knowing that one of the final stages of Alzheimer’s is forgetting how to chew, pocketing food, and the inability to swallow.)
When the Hospice nurse visited later, she commented, “This is the first time I’ve really seen Bo as an Alzheimer’s patient. His look has changed. He’s weak, unfocused, and feeble.”
And then she and I talked about our future…again, but this time with a feeling of imminent decision in our words. There will be no antibiotics. Food will not be forced. Comfort is what is important. If he knew …. oh, if he knew how things are, he would be despondent. Nine years of no life, and now just lying there, unable to tell us anything, unable to understand, unable to decide. The final decisions all rest in my heart.
Bo’s slide into Alzheimer’s has been gentle and graceful, but now I’m having to think that it’s time for this to end. When I think of losing him, my heart breaks and, selfishly, I think of how it will affect me, my loss. But no one could want this existence for him, for a man who was so vibrant and smart , now so feeble and sad …. this is wrong.