Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s adjusting to change

Future Ready? Not Quite Where Alzheimer’s Is Concerned.

future.jpg

 

I have not posted much recently because I’ve been caught up in a flurry of moving preparations (although the move is months away), arranging repairs and renovation at the new house, starting the process of getting rid of stuff at the old. And in that flurry I have probably not been paying as much detailed attention to Ralph as usual. But we just spent half an hour together in my car after dropping his car to be serviced. In that time we had this exact same conversation close to ten times, approximately every two to three minutes:

What else do we have to do today?

Dr. Ling at 1.

What time will the car ready for us to pick up?

They’ll call us when it’s ready.

Should I leave the dogs locked up?

Yes, because we have a doctor appointment.

 

I’m used to the repetition of course. But it seems to have become more intense lately. I casually asked him whether he’d noticed any changes in his memory.

No. Have you?

Yes, I said then caught myself so added to soften the blow,

But then again my memory is worse too.

In fact, it is worse and I worry frequently about a factoid I read early on—that Alzheimer’s caregivers are statistically more prone to develop Alzheimer’s than the general population.  Every time I lose my keys, cell phone, or someone’s first name I do panic a little. And to my dismay, those occasions are increasing.

But Ralph loved my answer.

Well, that’s not going to be good, he laughed. We’re going to be rambling around the house saying “Who Are You?” to each other.

Yep. I forced my own laugh, thinking of the changes I am making in our new house to make it both wheelchair accessible and generally easier for caregiving down the road. Ralph is not ready to think about that possibility in a real way, but I have to. Just writing that makes me realize why my anxiety level has been high and why I have been avoiding posting here—the act of moving brings our future into stark, unavoidable relief.

Ralph’s Ready to Move: A Small Alzheimer’s Victory Worth Celebrating

 

house key

So Alice, are you excited about moving?” Ralph asked last night striding into the kitchen as I was dropping corn into a pot for dinner.

Yes, sure.” I said carefully keeping my eyes on the pot, not daring to ask him the same question back, afraid what he might answer. (Also, to tell the truth, my own eagerness to move is mixed with plenty of anxiety I don’t share with him about the practical details and emotional upheaval involved.)

Well, I think it’s going to be great. I’m over the farm. I’m ready for something new.

What? Did I hear him right? Going to be great? Over the farm? Something new? I listened as he went on to say how much he was looking forward to spending more time with BabyRalph and his big half-sister and looking forward to doing things in Nola.

Was this enthusiastic guy Ralph? My Ralph who greets every suggestion of an activity, whether dinner at a favorite or a visit with his oldest friends  or a call to his children, with resistance? Whose most positive response afterwards is usually “It was okay“?

Yep, that Ralph. He actually is showing a new energized interest. He is choosing to be happy not scared.

I admit I am patting myself on the back a little for handling this major change better than I thought I could. For waiting until the time was right, for slowly readying Ralph for the idea, for involving him in the decision-making even if I might have chosen differently, for spending time each day showing him pictures until he actually remembered and got the mental reality of the move locked in place.

I may be premature in my self-congratulations; so much might still go wrong, like Ralph getting there and being miserable. But I want to share this moment because none of us—carers and carees both— congratulate ourselves enough for all the hurdles we manage each day. I am/we are busy worrying, second guessing and struggling to maintain against the tide of Alzheimer’s, whether it is coming as a slow undertow or massive waves. But facing incapacity, managing meds, making a quick or deliberate decision, swallowing impatience, struggling with frustration, facing grief—it’s hard to remember these are efforts that deserve to be applauded.

So here’s to all we do right despite ourselves! clapping.jpg(And tomorrow when I am back on the dark side, annoyed and impatient, you can remind me what a happy Pollyanna I was today.)