Life's irritations

Didn't I tell you that today would be better!!  The sun is shining, a two hour walk in the fresh air has cleared my head and I'm ready to face the world again.  I've also been thinking about the little irritations dementia is causing in my life.  These are what Jake calls 'first world problems', they're not important, not earth shattering, not at the top of anyone's list of concerns but they are irritating none the less.  It used to be a long list and they used to bother me a lot however I've just sat down to write about them all and discovered that I could only think of two which is amazing and tells you all you need to know about the level of acceptance that exists on my part.  What used to be an irritation has apparently ceased to be one and I wondered why this was then I realised it's mainly because I've found solutions to the vast majority of them.  Watching the same programmes every evening?  Buy noise cancelling head phones, sort out the internet and watch what I want to watch on the laptop while Ash watches his endless quiz shows.  Having to cook meals every single day to the point of being so bored I don't care what we eat?  Search the internet once a week for new, easy recipes and then make sure we buy the ingredients for them when we go grocery shopping.  Ash using too many firelighters?  Ask a friend to show me how to make my own and then use those as an excuse to take over lighting the fire ensuring that we only use one each night.   Ash uninterested in any conversation I try to start?  Invite friends over or arrange to meet up with them so that my voice can be heard.  Getting bored with going on the same two walks in the village every day?  Organise weekly walks with friends and visit parts of the local countryside I've never seen before.  The list goes on and on and now it appears we're down to just those two irritations I mentioned at the beginning and I don't have a solution to either of those yet however I haven't given up on them.

Irritation no. 1:  Every single morning when we wake up I say 'good morning' in as bright and cheerful voice as I can manage.  Every single morning Ash replies 'what?'!

Irritation no. 2:  Every  night when I begin to cook tea no matter how long I say it will be before I dish up Ash gets up from his seat in front of the fire, switches the tv off and proceeds to lay the table in the dining room.  When he's done that he switches the tv on in that room, sits on a dining chair and carries on watching his programme.

Neither of these hurts anyone, least of all me but I find them irritating and I have no idea why however at the moment these are the only two I can bring to mind and when I remember where we were two years ago I think these are probably manageable.

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Lesley said…
No idea about number 2, but I wonder what would happen if you said nothing in the morning until Ash does. That thought was inspired by an earlier quote you used - 'A wise man once said nothing'! You never know, you might (eventually) get a cheery 'good morning'!
Jane said…
What happens if I say nothing is that we lie in silence until I get up to make the tea and then he thinks there's something wrong and becomes anxious. This isn't actually a problem just an irritation and the solution will come when I find a way to overcome my irritation rather than me getting him to change the way he is. He can't help it, it's just something he does on a daily basis.
dasntn said…
Hi Jane

couple of thoughts - not directly about the irritations.

TV - Dramas on TV use a lot of the viewers short term memory, to build up an understanding of characters and plot. This gets too difficult to follow and frustrating for dementia sufferers.
Quiz shows are for the most part very short term term - question then answer. They also use more long term memory (for the answers) which, in general, dementia suffers retain (sadly not my wife, who lost her long term memory early in the journey).

A strategy I use, which in someways is a bit convoluted because it sounds depressing, but is meant to be uplifting - is the "Best Day of the Rest of Your Life together" (just made up that name for it!)
Given the degenerative nature of the condition, meaning things will get worse than they are today, this moment, is probably one of the best times you will spend together for the rest of your time together. So this is a good day.
As I said, it's a touch convoluted, and I wasn't sure if I should share it but I do find it works for me (sometimes!).
Jane said…
Am so pleased you shared this and I will remember it. Ash watches quiz shows from about 4pm and I'm constantly amazed at how many questions he can answer, in fact he loves it when I get stuff wrong or just say 'I have no idea'! I generally watch with him until 8.30 and then find something else to watch as it's still nice to have something to share and we do discuss the answers. I also like the fact that sometimes I've watched one particular episode so often I know almost all the answers and then I sound intelligent!
dasntn said…
Hi Jane
glad that I was right to share it - I was a bit worried that it could sound negative.
Jane said…
Not negative at all but acceptance of how life is and the importance of making the best of what we have while we have it. As the saying goes 'if you can't beat them join them'.