Keeping one step ahead
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 so I've taken to stashing the packets away in order to be able, once again, to keep one step ahead rather than find we've run out just as the last one dies. Yesterday evening he came through to ask me for a new battery which was fine because I knew there were two left, only there weren't. I went in the drawer to find a completely empty packet. Collected new ones this morning and now have a new hiding place he knows nothing about.
And there's more. Every night when we go to bed Ash runs his own bath. Last night he got in and, deciding it needed topping up, turned on the hot tap but then couldn't work out how to switch it off again so sat with scalding hot water pouring in, right next to his left leg. Luckily I wasn't far away and managed to sort it out but this means I now need to run the bath before he gets in and I need to do it in a way that doesn't look as though I'm taking over.
I realise none of these are difficult to do, and that other people's lives are far more complicated than mine, but sometimes it's only when I write this stuff down that I realise how much of a hold dementia has on my life. Relaxing, just for a minute, really isn't an option for any of us living this life but on the other hand, dealing with it all does at least give me the illusion of being in control.
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