Posts

Stress takes its toll

Image
 I knew stress had an effect;  I'd looked on as friends retired and the lines, which had seemed permanently etched onto their faces, fell away almost overnight and I'd hoped that one day that might happen to me.  What I didn't realise however was that stress would play a part not just in my face and my body but in how I lived my life too. As dementia pushed at the edges of our lives things began to get difficult and, even before the diagnosis, we both started to change and I think I panicked.  We were no longer a team, our relationship was going down the pan and everything I held dear seemed to be disappearing.  I no longer knew who we were or where we were heading and I had no idea what to do about it. A couple of weeks ago the 7 year old, in answer to the question 'why will you eat spicy sausages when you're away from home but not here?' replied 'because it's something I can control'.  We were all stunned by his response but I could see where he wa

Something's missing

Image
Do you know what I miss most about Ash?  It's his strength.  Not just physical strength, although he had that in abundance, but he was so strong emotionally and mentally.   Unlike me he never gave up on anything once he'd started it, if he found something difficult he'd just keep trying until he'd mastered it and he was always looking for new challenges so  life was never boring. I think about this as I watch his confidence drain away in almost every situation, as I watch him stand in a room trying to work out what to do, as he struggles to lift a large log for the fire and I've thought about it today as he's slept the afternoon away.  I've watched him through all of this and realised that the part of him which I always thought was indestructible has gone for good and that makes me sad for him just as much as for me.  We were always so evenly matched, we complemented each other and now all that has gone. Dementia is such a thief; it creeps in and steals the

Reasons to be cheerful

Image
Lots of reasons to be cheerful at the moment. Worked out (with a little help) why the gas cylinder is leaking and how to fix it.  New part arriving tomorrow. Discovered why the oil gauge in the house is flashing and showing an odd symbol.  Plumber booked to fit a new one. Work to replace the leaky veranda roof starts tomorrow morning. Because of the work to the veranda roof a skip arrives in the morning which means I can start clearing sheds of the rubbish which has been accumulating over several years. Been out and about meeting friends I haven't seen in ages, helped celebrate a birthday and have a wedding to look forward to at the end of the month. New outfit for the wedding, in a size I haven't been able to get into for nearly 40 years, is now hanging in the wardrobe. The weight I've lost is staying away. AND The stats page for this blog is showing that yesterday 945 people looked at it. If those aren't reasons to be cheerful I'm not quite sure what will do it. D

Keeping one step ahead

Image
 Life with dementia is, I've decided, all about keeping one step ahead.  I told you yesterday about the incident with the cooker and how I now have to turn the gas off at the cylinder whenever I'm not cooking but there's more. Ash has a bad shoulder and for a couple of months I've been taking mild painkillers in with his morning cup of tea.  I keep them downstairs with his other tablets but keep spares in the bathroom cabinet and I thought we'd got into a nice routine with them.  Then I noticed a packet on the bathroom window sill and realised that, on the mornings he woke early, he was helping himself.  I had no way of knowing what time he'd taken them and he had no memory at all of having taken them which means I may have inadvertently given him a double dose so now I've resorted to hiding all of them just so I can keep track. And there's more.  Ash wears hearing aids and if we run out of batteries we have a 20 mile round trip to pick up replacements s

Solutions, solutions

Image
 I've said on more than one occasion that there is almost always a solution to a problem if we only look hard enough and yesterday saw me coming up with two of them. The first difficulty came when Ash put bread under the grill and then walked away, forgetting all about it and making himself a sandwich instead.  Luckily I smelt burning and raced through to switch it all off while at the same time looking down a very narrow life path as it dawned on me that leaving Ash on his own might have just become a thing of the past.  Selfishly, while he was distraught at what he'd done, I was in despair as I saw my freedom disappear in front of my eyes.   I promise you I kept calm but he kept apologising and apologising which drove me completely crazy until, in the end, I went out to the garden just to get some head space.  Some people use gardening as a way of calming down but it's never had that effect on me.  Fresh air and time on my own were definitely needed however and I couldn&#

It's all in the planning

Image
 It really is all in the planning and that planning was so worth the effort.  If you remember, not so long ago I couldn't tell Ash that L was coming until ten minutes before she arrived.  Any earlier and his anxiety would spin out of control meaning the day would begin badly and take a long time to recover.  On Wednesday I took my courage in my hands and told him at 9.30 that Mum wasn't well, that I was leaving at 12 noon and had no idea what time I would be back. I told him there was nothing to worry about because L would be arriving before I left and that she knew exactly what to do about the fish and chips for tea because she'd done it before.  You may not remember this but she really had done it before during the week when I'd organised two ten hour visits as a step towards just this moment. Also as part of the planning, the week before I'd given L the information folder I'd put together for Jake so that she had a whole seven days in which to read and absorb

Exciting times ahead

Image
 You'll be pleased to know that I'm over yesterday's little blip and back on track partly due, I think, to the fact that the next step of the carer plan means I have a night off tomorrow.  The lovely L is coming at lunch time and I'm going to spend the afternoon with my mum followed by the evening and night with Jake and the seven year old then a whole day to myself on Thursday, coming home for 5pm. Keep your fingers crossed for me because if this works it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.  If it doesn't then of course I'll have to have a rethink because, however much I need my life to open up a little, I won't do anything which distresses Ash.   This has been in the planning for ages, even before my week away, but it was only this morning when I realised how excited I am and that showed me something else too.  When you share your life with dementia, however much you love, care for, and are committed to the person with the diagnosis your life shri