Friday, July 1, 2011

Is he sensing the coming of the darkness

What was it he said today? When you're young and vital, you can go toward the dark and stay gone until just before the light dawns and still make it back in time. But when you're older you can't do that. You don't have the strength to pull away from the dark. Yes, that was it.

I watched him closely for signs of seizure or stroke, as he sat still, in his chair, careful not to bloody the fabric with his bandaged, bleeding elbow. A nest of angry bees had swarmed him out in the driveway as he unrolled some old carpet to check its condition. I had stepped out the front door just in time to see him running backward, tripping, and slamming his shoulder full weight onto the driveway, being covered with bees. His face and lips swelling until I barely knew him, he talked on about the past. But first he reminded me how he'd tried to protect me from the bees. It all happened so fast. All I could see was him sprawled on the ground but before he could shout, "Run!" a bee stung me on the lip.I took off back in the house to grab a box of baking soda to make a paste, and after doctoring us both which included Benedryl and Ativan, and all the excitement started settling down, he reluctantly agreed to sit in his chair and try to relax.

The back story on the ensuing conversation is that God told me right off the git'go that I would be instrumental in bringing peace between him and his family, even if that meant he went back home to them. (That was a big ol' Thy Will Be Done, I can tell you.) I remembered yesterday, when he confessed the reason he wanted to help me around the house was because he never did that before. He was married for 36 years and he never helped around the house? This is disturbing even now, but nothing new.

Neither is his rage.

A year ago, when I let the primary doctor know about the rage, he put him on Seroquel, ostensibly to help him sleep. It helped, but being expensive, every refill caused a new battle. But now the neurologist added Namenda and Aricept to the mix, one at a time, over a period of two months. It seems to be helping.

The neurologist told him it would "help his thinking". So now my beautiful husband with the bee stung lips, bloody elbow and wracked up shoulder is asking quietly, "What else was that Seroquel supposed to do besides help me sleep?"

Rage, I said.

His head nodded knowingly, as he mused that if he wanted to have any kind of life at all, he'd have to stay on Seroquel the rest of his life. "I was born with that rage in me. When I was five or six I had a little wagon, and the handle pinched my thumb and made a blood blister. I beat that wagon until it was torn completely up. Mr. McAllister said it was good to have fire and spirit, but if you couldn't control it, then it was not good at all. I should have been on this stuff all my life," he said.

I felt like saying Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Husband? This is how untypical instrospection is for this man.

Who's Out There? (c) Lin Cochran

This could be the start of something big.

Thy will be done.

The night the moon was closer to the earth than it will be ever in our lifetime, a cloud passed in front of the moon, forming a perfect face looking back at us.

Coach Broyle's Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers

This book comes highly recommended for caregivers. It is downloadable onto Amazon's Free Kindle App for PC's, which keeps it away from the curious at our house. He does not use the computer and we don't use the A word or the C word. I'm his wife, not his caregiver. Lately I've become his friend. He is talking now about way back in the day. I stand as his witness. This man knows exactly what is happening to him. I am attempting to accurately record his shifting perceptions.

To Believe in God

To Believe

To believe in God is to celebrate
the gift of life in the presence of death.
It is easy to celebrate life on the good days
when the sun is shining and laughter floats
through the air and children play and lovers love.
But life is more than sunshine.
There is also dusk and the starless night
when laughter dies and fear clings to the soul . . .
fear of losing someone dear.

That's when celebration becomes an act of faith.
Not a soft faith full of heavenly promises,
or a bromide faith which dulls the sharp throb of grief,
but an open faith . . . open to the dawn and to the dark.
A faith that reaches up to claim life's highest joys
and kneels down to taste the bitter wine of failure
and disappointment and sadness.
A faith that seeks every mood and in that exposure
grows more sensitive
feels more pain
knows more joy.

To believe in God is to celebrate life.
Not a piece of life but all of it . . .
the good and the bad, the happy and the sad.
Because God gave it all
and we live when we receive it all
and love it and use it and live it.

To believe in God is not to deny
the presence of ugliness
but to transform it into beauty;
not to deny the sounds of discord
but to blend them into harmony;
not to deny the confusion of chaos
but to create order.

To believe in God is to take anger
and make it into a sensitizing of the soul;
to take hatred
and transform it into a ministry of love.
To believe in God is to take the broken pieces of life
and fashion them into a cross.

Author Unknown