The next few paragraphs are by Sharron’s husband, Tom. This is my observations on the changes.
Sharron loved to shop. Arts and Crafts, clothes, groceries, specialty foods and more. It did not matter what really; it was mostly about the looking around and the occasional fantastic find. She would come home and show off her acquisitions, or surprise me with something at dinner. Living in the good old USA, land of plenty was for her. She would sniff out the best deal, or find the recent elusive item mentioned on the food network. For grocery shopping she would get what we need by finding it, determining the best price, grab it then move on.
A little over two years ago I remember us in one of our busier grocery stores. There were people in every aisle. I was with her; we were looking at something simple like a can of beans. Store brand, Del Monte, Green Giant, etc. Some are at eye level, others at your feet. She looked at one, then another. She was hesitant, unsure what to put in the cart. What I know now is that she was confused. The distraction of people up and down the aisle, combined with remembering each price to determine best value and we have a situation. I said something like “the Green Giant is on sale for 68 cents.” She asked me why I am confusing her. The point here is that something as routine as getting a staple at the store can become a challenge.
So, WE have changed. At a store simple is better. Rushing is bad. Crowds are bad. We still comparison shop for nutrition (fiber and fat), but we do not confound the decision making by drilling down to save a nickel her, a dime there.
This year our times in the grocery store are shorter. On bad days we hit a point of sensory overload. Some days I say something wrong, or forget about the ‘no rushing’ strategy. Whatever the driver, she is ready to go home, to that quiet, comfortable, boring place, she loves and hates.
To those who understand – this title can be rather amusing. I could also title it – “Where did that thought go?” or “Where did that word go?” For those of us with memory problems our days are spent trying to remember all the little things. If not for my day planner that I always keep on desk I’d be lost for everything I do or plan or have done that day goes into that book. It never moves and I never take it with me for it tells ME my life. If you are where I am then you can understand, if not you can say “Oh, I have a day planner too!!” You do not have a day planner like I do and you do not use it to remember what you did a few days ago.
At the EASE meeting last night we discussed communication with our Care Partners. It was wonderful to hear the different stories of how our Care Partners communicate, or don’t communicate and funny stories of how we sometimes are the Care Partner. Having AD or any memory problem can be hard on loved ones so sometimes we have to step back, take a breath and show some love for those special men and women. They don’t want pity, they want to help and support us – we are after all PARTNERS and most of us have been married over 14 yrs. so being a partner I was reminded isn’t anything new – just different now and different is OK.
I’d like to thank the EASE group for surprising me with a birthday cake & to one of my wonderful AD friends for actually singing to me (Wonderfully) two Elvis songs…………….took my breath away, not only to be sung to but to hear this man sing. You are amazing!!
Now that summer is in full swing so is our calendar but that’s a good thing. Staying busy and staying connected to people is a good thing for AD people. As I told you I’ve not told anyone about my condition in our community and I won’t for a while – maybe because I don’t want pity, I don’t want to be different, I don’t want to be corrected and I don’t want AD minimized. I may appear “normal” to those around me and telling someone opens up a whole new world – so for now I will appear “normal” for a little while longer. As I said in EASE last night, when I am stuck on finding a word or forgetting a story in the middle I always say , “I need more wine!!”
Enjoy the week.
I do hope that we have a Spring and not just hop into Summer, though Summer is my favorite month I’m finding that as I get older the heat can be harsh but I’ll take that over snow anytime. What I love is weather where I can open the windows (I love the Spring yellow dust!!) and not have to run the AC or heat – saving money is a good thing…………….especially when you don’t know where life is going to take you.
My sweet Tom and I went to our first EASE class last night – “Early Alzheimer Support and Education. We’ve been waiting over a year for the wonderful Alzheimer’s team to get trained. For their first class they were so together, organized, caring and had cookies!!! My favorite type of class. For those with a few extra bucks or with an Alzheimer’s family member this is a great organization to contribute to. Most of their “worker bees” are caring, compassionate volunteers. God Bless them all.
We went around the room and introduced ourselves with mostly where we were raised, education, work, who we live with and what we expect to gain from this program. Not only was I excited to be there but there were also 2 other women!! The class we used to go to once a month, as I said before, were all men and ME.
Life is rough with dementia of any sort and very frustrating. I’ve not told many people but when I do they give ME praise for being so brave or either say, “Oh, I’ve misplaced my keys, etc.” They don’t get it or they may think that this is an old persons disease. All I say is that it’s not like that…………….there is no one who can feel what I feel – the confusion and the lost days. I have not only bad days but bad weeks and I feel so lucky to have Tom. I can think of a lot of husbands who would have given up and left. Thank you my Sweetest Baboo.
Now on to “Bob”……….I am very organized and my house is always clean and the laundry is done but I so hate to dust and clean the floors – in comes “Bob” as we’ve named him – my early birthday present – a Roomba!! What a joy to see him wiz around cleaning – I’m not sure who spends more time watching him, me or Tom. Thank you Tom for my birthday present. My birthday next Tuesday will be spent picking up our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and going to our next EASE meeting. For today – life is good!!
Speaking of a good life not only do we get to take mini vacations and long ones but we are able to watch our Grandson, Riley (9 yrs.) in Karate class & school plays and watch Emma (6 yrs.) in her school play, T-ball and field hockey. My goodness they are a joy to me.
Until next time remember to love the one you’re with as life changes in a flash.