A grocery trip with the potential for disaster

Thursday is grocery shopping day in this house and the routine is always the same: leave the house at 9am, drive to town 15 minutes away then into the first of the two supermarkets we use.  Same two, in the same order, every week then onto the butchers followed by the veg shop.  We have the same route in each shop and the same routine which involves using the self checkout so we can go at our own speed.  Ash puts the shopping bag on the end of the checkout, I empty the trolley one item at a time and run everything through the scanner before handing each item to Ash to put into the bag.  This happens every week and we've settled into a gentle rhythm which means the trip is non threatening, stress free, quick and easy.  At least it has been until this morning when we got to the self checkout in the first supermarket to find a very helpful attendant who, for reasons I missed, needed us to use a particular checkout and he needed to put our first item through which he did with remarkable efficiency.  In fact he was so quick and so helpful that I didn't have time to think and suddenly we were into checking out without a bag in place and that's where life began to be just that little bit difficult.  If you don't share a life with dementia you won't see the problem here but problem there was.  I had quickly decided that all the items could be transferred to the bag after I'd paid but Ash's brain no longer works that way so he stood and stared at the place where there should have been a bag and had no idea what to do with the first item I gave him.  It took several attempts on my part before he grasped what he needed to do but I stayed calm (and I'm very proud of that because it wasn't a forgone conclusion), explained quietly how this could work and, eventually, everything was through the checkout, in the bag and we were back at the car ready to move onto the next supermarket.  So that particular disaster was averted but it shook him a little and by the time we got home he was still confused.  The really good thing however was that he realised he was confused and took himself off for a walk with the dog to clear his head.  By the time he got back half an hour later he was calm again and the rest of the day has passed off without trauma.  This realisation was a big and useful 'thing' because it enabled him to sort himself out fwhich in turn boosted his sense of achievement.  I have no idea whether it will continue and to be honest I suspect not  but today is was wonderful to see.

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