Today the head nurse was showing a gentleman the ward and explaining various things.
I was feeding Wayne his fruit/bran muffin/ plum/peach/ yogurt/applesauce(!) combination.
The fellow looked at me with hollow eyes – probably he hadn’t had a good sleep in years. You will tomorrow night, dear, maybe 13 or 14 hours – and you’ll reach for her to find an empty pillow – your brain reacting with both sadness and relief.
I wanted to tell him how well taken care of she will be – if she is admitted, I’ll hope to get a chance so he can sleep in peace.
There are so many personalities and residents in various stages of Alzheimer’s on Wayne’s ward.
As I was feeding Wayne yesterday I heard, “Why don’t you comb your hair?”
“Why don’t you comb your hair?”
I turned to see Madam “talking” to a very bald man sitting across from her. He didn’t respond and looked right thru her.
It is sadly humorous as he had no hair and hers wasn’t combed!
Please understand I’m not laughing at them but this type conversation gives me a chuckle inside.
I read about an elderly gentleman who couldn’t reach his feet when stretching.
He stacked copy paper and each day removed a few sheets as he slowly worked toward his goal. By losing only a few sheets per day, he didn’t notice the decline.
This is the way our journey thru Alzheimer’s (I hate you Alzheimer’s) has been. Wayne has declined so markedly over the past year but I really just didn’t notice the insidious affects of the disease.
For instance, one day I realized as I was feeding him, “Hey, when did this happen, I can’t remember!”
When did he no longer recognize a toothbrush? Have been brushing his teeth for so long that his doing it is a faint memory.
When did he no longer speak in sentences? He does manage the odd phrase but no longer sentences.
When did his eyes fail him to the point he no longer is able to focus on an item? I often take my I Pad loaded with beautiful flower pics and when I hold it for him to see, he looks at the ceiling, right or left but never at the pic.
One decline that has never happened is his gentlemanly behavior and his thank you’s. Our son said it best, “Alzheimer’s may have robbed Dad of his memory but not his personality.” Amen to that, dear man. What a battle you have fought for over 14 years.
Monday, during my visit with Wayne, I had been taking pictures of him and having lots of laughs.
The camera was at my right hand on the table when Wayne began to sing ever so softly. It sounded like a wee child singing Jesus Loves Me and although I couldn’t make out the words, he definitely was singing to that tune.
Without alarming him, I tried to change my camera to video and just as I did, he stopped singing. My heart hasn’t stopped singing.
The reason this is so special to me, a story he told me when he was about 55 years of age. His elementary teacher told him to not sing as he couldn’t sing so don’t try. I could have fainted to hear this and it’s been a sad piece of his history. I was so happy he “overcame” her judgement and I’d love to tell her.
We have been through very difficult weeks but the last 6 days have been filled with joy and happiness.
It’s such a treat to see Wayne laugh and smile and “enjoy his own jokes”.
A year ago I gave away all his stuffed animals -they were large and wonderful but he no longer responded to them. Thought some child should have them so donated all of them.Just on a whim, I bought a medium sized bright yellow rabbit. He loved it.
After stroking it and loving it for an hour, it was lunch time.
I saw him striking the dining room table speaking – paying closer attention,I heard him “talking” to Buddy his cat.
“You’re a good boy,yes, you are. You’re a really good boy.”
Every night Wayne would stroke Buddy and talk to him before sending him to his blanket at the foot of the bed.
Broke my heart in a way and yet, maybe Wayne was comforted and did feel and see Buddy.
When I upload my pics, I’ll post Wayne’s picture of happiness!