The spectrum that is dementia

I have to admit that life has been a little difficult since I got back last Thursday, not so much because of Ash but because I've found it difficult to settle back into my humdrum life.

Against all expectations however yesterday was a good day.  I didn't have high hopes because Ash was up and wandering at 1am and in the morning I had that usual lack-of-sleep feeling of having been hit over the head with a cricket bat.  I had my shower and breakfast then laid on the bed feeling very sorry for myself - if only......., why? what if ......, all of those thoughts that go round in my head when I'm tired and I almost gave up on the day.  Then I realised this was entirely up to me.  I could spend the day doing nothing and feeling sorry for myself or I could get up and do something practical, something with an end result and one where I could see I'd made a difference.

For the past few weeks I've been looking at the sitting room in an evening and wishing I could re-arrange everything but all the advice around dementia tells us that change is unsettling and I didn't want to do anything to upset Ash or make life difficult for either of us.  So I've looked, I've planned, I've worked it all out in my head but that's where it's all stayed until yesterday.

Yesterday I gave myself a shake and announced that I thought we should change the furniture around to make more room for Max's bed.  That suggestion went down very well indeed and Ash was with me almost every step of the way.  We moved a sofa out into the summer house, we brought an arm chair in, we swapped two other armchairs around, we moved a cupboard and put it where an armchair used to be and, finally, I had the look I wanted.  I now have a lovely seating area at the end of the room where my bookshelves are and I can curl up there and lose myself whenever I want.  It's not perfect because perfect would have entailed Ash swapping his usual armchair for one in a completely different style but I got my head around mismatched chairs and it all looks rather lovely.

Today I wanted to return the photograph albums we'd been looking at recently to the bookshelves Ash built on a little mezzanine platform halfway up the stairs.  I pulled down the ladder, climbed up and asked him to hand me the albums only he had no idea what I was talking about.  We'd been piling them up about five minutes before, they were the only things on the table containing photos, but he still didn't know what I meant.  I climbed down, moved the pile of albums to the stairs and asked him to pass me them one at a time from there which he just about managed to do.

So yesterday saw Ash quite switched on, willing to move furniture, take photos of the dust behind what we moved and joking about the whole thing.  Today he was at the other end of the spectrum and unable to work out that a large folder containing photos was the photo album I was asking for.  I'm sure it was just that today he was tired from the exertions of yesterday but is there any wonder that I get confused over what he can and can't do.

The good thing is that all the recent activity has given me the jolt I need and I'm once again feeling positive about my life which just shows it really is all down to me and no-one else.

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Carol S said…
I think this is so true Jane. Our negative thoughts are the real enemy -and we are the only one who can change them. I guess just sitting around when we feel down is the worse thing we can do and getting active can be the perfect antidote. I’m glad you managed to turn your day around - and hope now you will to be able to relax and enjoy the results. 🤗
CW said…
I have this problem when I try to go to sleep at night. I have trouble shutting my mind down. Then the next day I'm sleep deprived and mentally foggy. Horrible. And you never know when your husband won't be able to understand a basic request (hand me the photo albums) even though he'd been looking at them for hours on end just the day before (or even 5 min. ago). It's one of the unbelievable things about Alzheimer's--their mind switches off and on like a light switch only you can't tell if the switch is on or off. :/\
Jane said…
I like the light switch explanation, it makes such a lot of sense so thank you for that Carol. I also know that my moods affect Ash so I do try hard to stay upbeat but it's so difficult when I'm tired. However I'm the only person who can motivate me and I just need to recognise when I need to give myself a good talking to.