I have not written here for a month, the longest stretch of silence since I began this blog. Then today I was hit with Alzheimer’s—commentary, advice, anecdotes–everywhere I turned. Well, actually it was all on NPR, but the station seemed to be barraging me all day, reminding me I could only hide so long.
So here I am back to report. Well, to report that nothing has changed.
For instance, I am looking for a new tractor mechanic, again. In mid-December Ralph ran our previous new tractor man off while I was at the grocery store. First Ralph called while I was in the dairy aisle to say he was calmly explaining about a repair that was still needed when the repairman turned on his heels, jumped in his truck and drove away. Ralph was genuinely upset because he didn’t understand what he could have said that upset anyone.
As soon as Ralph hung up, the guy called to say that he would be glad to work with me but that he could not work with Ralph again, that Ralph had yelled and swore at him. I apologized, of course, but in Ralph’s defense, the repairman a big beefy Southerner with motorcycle style tattoos so I think he’s never heard swear words. And I had warned him ahead, several times, that Ralph is on the Alzheimer’s spectrum.
In any case, the repair issue upsetting Ralph is not a big problem according to Jason, our tractor saint who was able to operate the bush hog (see early entries for explanation of machinery I can’t really explain) slowly but adequately.
UNTIL THE TIRE BLEW. Fortunately, a different company takes care of tractor tires. Someone came and changed the tire. Unfortunately, according to Ralph some lugs (is that the term) were lost along the way so the tractor can’t be run until they are replaced. But it’s freezing outside and Jason says he doesn’t need to mow again until the spring growth sets in. So as usual the tractor is one hold.
And then there was Christmas. Fifteen of us together in one house for six days give or take. Ralph loved most of it. I was more ambivalent. Everyone kept telling me he seemed “better.” And with everyone around, Ralph was more energetic. He also drank more and smoked more. And I was busy being the silent keeper of things running smoothly. A tiring role especially for someone with flu-like symptoms. By the last night I was exhausted, or that’s the excuse I’m giving for why I put the electric tea kettle on the stove and turned on the burner.
“Why is the stove smoking like that” someone casually asked just before the flames shot up. Ralph was the hero who put out the flame while everyone else opened windows and tried to allay my worries that I might be catching up to Ralph on the cognitive spectrum. I hope they’re right but I have learned one thing:
Nothing smells less like Christmas than burning plastic.
Now Ralph and I are back to our quiet routine, him napping and me doing chores and organizing his life.
Frankly I couldn’t be happier. I am sure there will be more ups and down this year but for now I am perfectly at peace with the status quo.
Happy New Year.