Monday, June 24, 2013

Sadness and Gratitude

Monsoon in Bangkok

Right after Bob recovered from pneumonia another family medical emergency cropped up that had me scurrying to Bangkok since Bali wasn't equipped to deal with the problem. I was in that dynamic city for three weeks and in daily e-mail or phone connection with my office in Bali.

In the middle of the second week Bob's caregivers wrote to say he was peeing every hour and stumbling or falling down. He'd scrapped his head falling off the bed from a seated position. Now when he sits there they put pillows below him just to be safe. 

I felt far away and helpless so at my suggestion the boys took Bob to test for a urinary tract infection. It was the only thing I could think of that might be bothering him but he passed with flying colors - no infection. 

When I got back to Bali I went to see him. He was stark naked, as he often is these days, sitting on the couch engrossed in an Indonesian movie.  He was happy to see me and we chatted in his nonsensical way that I pretend to understand. He seemed peaceful and soft and he loved it when I stroked his arm and massaged his shoulders. 

Trekking in Nepal 1988
I thought what a good life he has and then sadness descended, remembering who he was before Alzheimer's.  I tried to brush it away as we sipped tea and ate chocolate mint cookies, gazing out at the garden. Daisy dog danced around our chairs.

I thought how we almost lost Bob a month ago. The sadness intensified.  I realized I'm not ready to let him go and that I need to come to peace with his passing when the time comes.  This is, after all, what he wanted - to not linger long with this disease.

That evening Ketut called to say he and Bob had just returned from the clinic. Bob had fallen down again and needed three stitches in his head. I'm at a loss of what to do to keep him safe now.  Mostly a mellow man, Bob's ire quickly rises if he feels 'minded' or treated like a child.  I'm sure the caregivers will come up with a solution - one I would never think of. They're cleaver men who really care about my husband. I have so much to be grateful for in this ever changing landscape of Alz World.

If you have any ideas about how to keep Bob from falling or at least lessening the chances, I would appreciate hearing them.