I’ve written about this before but it keeps coming up.
When I went to see Bob the other afternoon, he was listing left in the wheel chair watching TV with Wayan. Wayan brought him out onto the verandah so we could be together without the sound track. Daisy came bounding out from her bed under Bob’s to join us. She’s always happy to see me, jumping up as far as her short Doxy legs will allow.
Perhaps Bob was very tired, which he seems to be a lot these days, but he just couldn’t sit up straight and of course couldn’t say why. Now that he can’t get out of the wheel chair there’s no more gardening, no more walks on the beach or swimming at the pool, in other words, no more exercise.
The boys still wheel him outside to see what's going on in the village and he still likes to hang out at the warung, which seems to be a village gathering spot. It’s always good for people watching. But Bob is basically confined to the wheel chair, completely incontinent. Several times a day he tries to get up, but his body will not obey his mind’s command - a common symptom of late stage Alzheimer’s.
As I sat with Bob he not only listed to one side but came forward as well. We had to prop him up to keep him in the chair. I chatted with him and he clearly stated, “I’m pissed.” “At me?” I asked. “No......” then I couldn’t understand his words or meaning.
I wonder if he’s angry that his life has gotten to this - a place he so dreaded being in. Sadness over took me and I could barely keep the tears from leaking out - I don’t want him to see me cry because one of my goals is to do what I can to help him feel good.
Bob eventually fell asleep like that leaning on my arm. Wayan managed put him on the verandah couch where he fell into a deep sleep with me stretched out alongside him. I stroked his head from time to time and held his hand not wanting to disturb him but wanting contact.
The tears broke through my barriers and my heart broke one more time for my sweet husband. I’m not sad for me - I’ve built a wonderful life of rewarding work, many friends, a busy social life, and a place of solace inside. But I feel so sad for Bob, a once strapping handsome man who desperately feared this disease. He’d watched his mother and two of her sister’s die from it. He doesn’t know his own sister succumbed to it’s brain mangling ways last year.
Bob used to beg me to put him out of his misery if he ever got like he has been the last seven years. He so did not want to live like this. But life has it’s own way with us and so here he is. And if you’ve read some of my recent posts you know he’s still in there behind the curtain of the disease. Some times he peeks out to remind me.
Wayan told me later that after the nap he was sitting up straight again. I’m relieved to know it was fatigue and not a worsening of the disease. One of the signs in the last stage of Alzheimer’s is the inability to keep oneself upright.
As I drove home and back into my other life the sadness abated. What will be in store on the next visit?