Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thursdays with Jeanne

I start my day with an apparition at the foot of my bed, mumbling incoherently. I lift one eyebrow tentatively, just to make sure there is no blood or obvious mess or injury. As I slowly make my way out of my blessed retreat, the apparition vanishes. I stumble in the dark doing morning things, feed and medicate my old cats, make coffee, start breakfast. I go back upstairs and check on my Casper and he is fast asleep, curled easily on his side as if he has not been making early morning visits at all. I remain the most disappointed in myself. The screaming self pity is almost paralyzing. Oh, I go through the motions, but the joy in my life gradually leaks out, leaving me a shell, an apparition myself. I yearn for my babies...the grandkids whose presence is an actual antidote for the malaise that is life's end game. I can't seem to find the energy to do even simple things that would help. I am not curled on my side, giving up, mind you...I visited a day care center yesterday and endured the heartsick routine of filling in forms and filling in the outer world on the mindless, numbing loss that is our life. I am seeing a new therapist, but I always feel better when I am out and alone for a minute, so she only sees me that way. I talked to a neighbor who is caring for her mother with Alzheimer's about sharing duties on occasion. We spoke energetically about my bringing him with me to stay with her mother when she has a meeting and her bringing her mom to stay with him when I have an appointment. We smiled brightly and promised to be in touch. Then we both returned to our own homes and closed the door, overwhelmed at the prospect of handling two people with this disorder at the same time. My friend agreed that I could bring him to her on an occasional Thursday while I try to go back to yoga. I told her I would pick up dinner after yoga for the three of us. That way we could visit a little also. So the efforts are there, sort of, but the joy continues to leak. Late summer's beautiful weather is such a gift and it adds to the sadness that I can't seem to reach out and enjoy it. I talk about it and stand for moments with my face in the warm sunshine. I sit on my porch and breathe deeply the gentle air. But something is sorely missing... I go through the motions at home. I recognize the needs and the efforts required to address them. I am witnessing the journeys of others and the suffering. My friends' poor health, my family's challenges. I feel as though I am becoming a ghost. A cardboard cutout of myself. going through all the proper motions. but no one is home.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


The thoughts have now left with the language. Words have long been transposed but they are now chased ferociously by thought, which can't seem to get out of his head fast enough. I want to hold him tight and yell into his ear, "This is not a contest!" You don't have to send your thoughts out of your head so fast! Please slow down!" A good day is when he smiles a little and sends a good morning message in his own strange code, the anxiety lessened,the worst of it a vague and constant confusion. Nothing is quite right and people and places keep changing on him. But he is generally amiable and easy to get along with. But the bad days--holy terror ride Batman! Yesterday started out as a medium day--lots of confusion and general disquiet, but no overt problems, at least none that I addressed, even to myself. Lately I have been struggling to go on with my own life, to make decisions and plans that reflect that not only is he not well--I AM! In one of our last sessions before she died, my therapist urged me to remember --in the throes of caretaking--that I was not sick. So I may very well have overlooked some warning signs in his behavior in order to honor my own need to make a few simple plans and follow through with them. All I know is that after an afternoon of light shopping and eating out for lunch, all hell broke loose on our way home. We were cruising along, within 5 miles of home, surfeited and (I thought) happy, comfortably comatose from the sugar load of the ice cream cone adventure which had ended our outing. He suddenly began shouting from the back seat. He was angrily gesticulating and demanded to be let out of the car at once. He appeared to be in full blown paranoia and very, very angry with me. I was enormously grateful for the child proof locks on the car and prayed lustily that they would work, as they had not been tested before. He kept trying to open the door and to get out, even though we were in a busy street with traffic. The car episode is of course terrifying, but even more upsetting to me was the appearance of that size rage, completely out of the blue and with no apparent trigger.