It will be 52 years in June since we married. On our 50th wedding anniversary, we renewed our vows. “In sickness and in health” has a whole new meaning now. We promised to support each other, no matter what. I take that very seriously. I met Brian in college. He worked as a software engineer for an energy company. He enjoyed his craft as scout master for many years. He used computer all the time. He used to teach me so many things. Today, he never turns the TV on, switch channels nor answer the phone. He doesn’t remember the people so close to him anymore. One of his closest pals of once asked; “Do you think I can come and visit?” I did not know what to tell him When he gets irritated with new people in his circle, he is eerie about opening up to them.
My Brian is a very sweet, laid back guy with a good sense of humor. He loves to problem solve everything. He is very supportive of the kids and me. I put in long hours at work as a schoolteacher, but he was very accommodating. I would get home usually around 7-to-7:30pm most school days. As I put dinner on the table, he would do other chores. I miss his “in charge” personality the most. His problem-solving abilities is one thing that makes him special to me. Sometimes, it feels like I have another child instead of a husband.
We have two children and three grandchildren. Sometimes he remembers them and sometimes doesn’t. My 10-year old grandson will never know the man I married because of the disease. I cry sometimes. I feel like there is no “me.” I feel stressed sometimes. It was difficult for me to get help. My children talked me into working with Caravita Home Care so I can have a break. It will create an opportunity to take care of me. 90% of my day is to make sure that I am taking care of him. I put so much on hold. No resentment, except that sometimes I get so jealous of people who can do things with their partners.
Brian didn’t like the doctor that diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. He kept saying; “This guy thinks I’m stupid.” I lost my brother 5 years ago to Aphasia. I started crying when the doctor said that word again. I watched my brother fade away to oblivion. It broke my heart everything time I get to see him. So, when I heard the diagnosis of Brian I said, “Oh my gosh; I going to go through this again!” But I told myself that I would take this one day at a time.
Two years ago, I saw a magnet that said; “choose joy” and it became my mantra. I get through the day to find something to validate a joyful moment so that I don’t go crazy. Little moments have become so important that a simple drive with him means everything now. My children have been very supportive. My son travels in from Tennessee weekly to support me.
I look forward to learning something new from Caravita staff. I ask for strength, patience, and wisdom for the best ways to do things right. I am so emotionally involved that sometimes I remind myself that; “This is not Brian; this is the Alzheimer’s doing this.” Brian is somewhat aware of his condition. When frustrated, I hear him say; “Oh, this stupid brain of mine …” I remind him that he has Alzheimer’s whenever the chance is opened. He has asked about what he can do to make it better. That breaks my heart. I sometimes try to imagine what goes on in his brain, what he is thinking and what he does or does not understand. Brian does not like to do the things he loves anymore.
My advice to families in my situation is to take it one day at a time. Research to educate yourself about the disease. See what is available out there. The Emory Integrated Memory Care Clinic is most ideal in Georgia. Read the unique and uplifting book; “The Spectrum of Hope: An Optimistic and New Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias” by Dr. Gayatri Devi. Find the spirit to be optimistic to cherish the time you have. Not all Alzheimer’s cases are the same. That gave me hope. Things are not always going to be the horror stories you hear. Get your finances and medical power of attorney in order once you get the diagnosis. Find joy in doing something special you cherish. The COVID pandemic was hard, as we couldn’t do most of the things we were used to. Our lives were not the same, as it had been the year before. As the economy begins to open, take advantage of these opportunities.
If the tables were turned, Brian would take care of me. I have had to learn to unclog drains. I miss the man I married.If you or an aging loved-one is considering Homecare Services in Roswell GA please contact the caring staff at CaraVita Home Care today. (770) 643-1712