end of week six
This time of the year as the church goes into Lent, a season of depriving yourself to benefit your soul, and in our neck of the woods the transition into autumn (fall) it seems as if I become reflective again. It is a sometime thing with me. Mostly I live life from day to day, don't plan too far ahead, don't look too far back. After going on for eight years since Ray's major strokes I know the danger of planning only to have those plans dashed by another stroke, or another critical incident.
Yesterday was the end of six weeks in hospital for Ray. Last week we were told he will come home on Monday, now it may be Tuesday or another day. There are still some final tests to do. On my part although I would love to see him home I know that he still is not stable on his feet. So it is probably safer for him to be where he is. And today when I had to run through the heavy rain to get into church I was thankful I then didn't have to unload a wheelchair and get Ray inside. There is a covered walkway but it is difficult with traffic backing up behind you.
Ray was okay yesterday but we had a talk about the things he doesn't do. Due to the dementia he has now lost a lot of the ability to initiate. So during the past six weeks he has only been out of his room for meals and to go to the gym when I am not there. I am the one who goes to find a wheelchair and takes him outside. He agrees to this if the weather is nice but yesterday declared it too hot and one day last week declared it too windy. I explained that at home I will have to over-ride this as we will need to go out on certain days whatever the weather. It was not received well but I can understand that in the past he would have just refused and stayed home and since the stokes this has been a sore point, in his opinion I am always "dragging him around".
This time he has had no further kitchen training, not that he makes anything in the kitchen now and little training with hand-eye co-ordination etc. There seems no concept of keeping up with daily activities. I know he is there primarily to heal but with Ray's combination of stroke damage and dementia it really is "move it or lose it" and I am afraid that he will not be able to get back to the simple concepts that make life run smoothly like carrying his cup from the table to the kitchen etc as all these things have been done for him for the last six weeks.
I left Ray watching a movie with a younger amputee. The weekend Activities Officer had asked "everyone in the place" to do this and Ray was her last hope. I don't think he would have done it except we were sitting in the area where the movie would be shown. It was a Bruce Willis movie so should have been okay. The young amputee, probably mid-forties, said he would like to see it. They were promised snacks and drinks so I hope they enjoyed that. It is so hard sometimes to get people who are in pain to relate to each other. With Ray's dementia his cheerful outgoing personality is slowly being replaced with a quieter one so he no longer reaches out to others in friendship as he used to.
My week six was more of the same, visiting Ray, housework, a few phone calls and dinner out with girlfriends on the Friday night. The phone calls, visitors at the hospital etc are decreasing, this week he may have no-one but me go visit him. It is hard to keep up friendships etc when Ray's ability to relate to people is slowly disappearing. I know though that we will have those who stay friends for old times sake and that is good. Because travelling on this stroke journey without the help of friends would be very lonely.
I am hopeful that in a few days time I can blog about Ray coming home. That has been the aim from the beginning. How that will go I don't know. I guess there will be what a friend of mine calls "shakedown time". But it is better to think optimistically that this will be the best thing for both of us.