Essays on LBD Caregiving

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I wanted him to be the old Nelson, not who he was becoming after years of creeping dementia. I wanted to resurrect the Nelson I once knew and preserve the relationship we had nurtured as it was. I considered that “us” to be as good as it gets.

The day at the nursing home started out discombobulated. I lost my car keys on the way into Nelson’s room where I discovered it looked like moving day. All the books were off his shelves. Blankets were balled up. It happens now and then. I’m never sure if he really is preparing to move out or just doing busy work. I think it may have been busy work today because his first words to me were, “Wait ‘til you see the barn!

“What barn?” I asked.

Outside my window the sun shines its October brightness on a scantily clad maple tree that has shown off its fall color for each of the twenty-five years I have lived here. Change is in the air.

It’s good that we can’t see ahead. I think about that initiation into our marriage. Now I smugly mutter things under my breath when I hear young lovers say they pledge unconditional love, or pronounce expectations that they will always be together with their love.

One of the many difficulties associated with caregiving is that you will tend to disappear. The person you are caring for may be belligerent, ungrateful, treat you as though you were still the child. Deep down you know that they have no malicious intent. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the e-mail responses to my blog. I have laughed and cried, felt helpless, hopeful, and happy, as many of you have shared your own personal stories with me. So, I am back. Knowing that your stories and mine run so parallel is an antidote to the isolation and loss that nips at my heels. Connecting with you is the big stick that fends off the loneliness caused by lack of meaningful communication with my spouse.

Our daughter is getting married!  We are moving into a season of major changes in our family, and it is good. I get to be an instant grandma because her fiancé has an eight-year-old son. I made a treasure hunt for him when they visited us here in Ohio from Kansas, and I got a big hug for it!

Hurricane Ike reached his tempestuous tentacles all the way up to Ohio, and on a Sunday evening at 8:30 we found ourselves without power. I was prepared with small amounts of water and a four-battery flashlight. With my pioneer heart and long ago camping experience I felt prepared and unalarmed. Besides, the power would be back on soon.