June 28, 2014
I have often said of myself that I am a sprinter, not a marathoner. I cannot tolerate uncertainty well or unfinished business. I tend to rush to conclusions to avoid the pain of long transitions. I get through tough appointments by imagining what a short duration they will be. Alzheimer's allows no such niceties. It has its own nasty, twisted rhythms and demands, without mercy, that you live by its own bizarre timeline. I am being schooled in the fine art of agonizing loss and betrayal, both by my life partner and myself. Everything is stripped away in your own soul and psyche. There is no place to hide. The principal of this school keeps a low drumming knell of the time it itself only knows , and the requirement of your attendance through it all. This taskmaster forces your head into the grindstone, without letting up, without allowing a breath. I have exhausted every aspect of denial and escape known to me. Nothing works. Currently he is housed, once again, in a medical facility for rehab following a recurrent infection. This time he also has an aspirational pneumonia to accompany his UTI. This, says the somber sounding physician of the moment, is a progression of the disease. This, he intones, indicates he is in the final stage of dementia. I don't care. I no longer listen, or run to google, or pick up the ever present books or pamphlets. I no longer go to meetings or seek elder care attorney advice. I do not follow the research or ask questions with scientific overtones. I no longer care. I don't follow the rules either. They put him on pureed food and thickened liquids. I sneak in real food, cut up fine in lots of gravy, butter, sauce and real coke and real strawberry malts. When they leave the room, I feed him. They tell me, as we walk the halls together, "I am sorry. You have to have one of us with you when you walk." I reply they should not be sorry. They should just join us. They often say they can't because they are busy. We keep on walking. They said he was eligible for hospice, so I put him in the car and took him to our lake. He didn't notice or care, but I did. I usually feel as if I am wearing the dunce cap, but I no longer care. They roll their eyes at my non compliance. I smile and keep on going. I may not graduate with honors, but I have learned to dance in the rain.