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scary thoughts



The painters are still here, it is still raining every second day and our life has sped up again. That might have been the reason for an incident last night. It was well after midnight when someone shouting woke me up. It was Ray. He was shouting: “ Are you there Les?” when I answered “I’m here.” He said: “I don’t know where the toilet is in this place.”


For a carer this is really scary. Les, his older brother and Ray shared a room in their mid-teens. It was a back verandah and their younger brother was up the other end. So I guess shouting to each other was the normal method of communication. Using someone else’s name can mean all kinds of things, like he has had another stroke, he has had a memory lapse, he is confused etc. The thought that he might have had a stroke which had robbed him of current memories was my first thought. That would have been really scary.


Can you imagine living with someone who no longer remembers the period of time you have been in their lives, who thinks you are his sister or his mother or his aunt? One of my acquaintances had that happen to her. One day her husband woke up and had no memory of her at all. He wanted to know what right she had to be in his house etc. She.thought really quickly and said: “I’m your housekeeper.” She moved her possessions to the spare room and lived there quite happily. He accepted that she showered him, cooked his meals etc. The doctors thought he had had some kind of seizure and that had speeded up the dementia. All you can do under those circumstances is accommodate the delusion and go on with life.


Happily once the lights were on and Ray could see the familiar surroundings and the same old wife as usual in her night attire he calmly accepted the urinal which was in it’s usual place. He didn’t say anything further and went straight back to sleep. I mentioned it this morning and he said he thought he was having a dream. I think so too but worry lest this is a sign of things to come. I might add I did not go back to sleep but came out onto the computer for a while until my mind stopped worrying about what had happened.


It is so hard sometimes to contemplate what may or may not be in our future. I belong to a couple of dementia sites and some of the posts talk about the loss of recognition as it is so painful for the caregiver to no longer be know for who he or she is. Not something I want in my future with Ray at all.


I didn’t do anything much today; I left Ray on the front verandah with his word puzzles and worked on repotting my pot plants. By the time the painters got here just after lunch he was heading for bed. They have promised me that tomorrow they will start packing up and returning the verandahs, front and back, back to the way they were – weather permitting of course.


The rest of the house will be painted in late September, one room at a time. That way hopefully we can accommodate Ray and let him have some of his normal routine. And hopefully by then the weather will be warmer and paint will dry faster.


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No Sue, I can't imagine not knowing my wife, thinking she is my mom, sister or somebody else. Nor forget where the toilet is. Speaking of that...I hate it when my wife move the furniture around in the bedroom.


I get up head for the bathroom door and hit a wall! Well at least we know Ray's condition, we just have to accept it and hope for the best! The thing that scares me is some people with dementia will walk out the door, take off and days later found dead in the neighborhood a few houses from where they lived!


It just happened here last week, the man was 79, found in the fenced back yard of another elderly guy!

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It sounds like he may have been in the middle of a dream when he realized he had to go to the bathroom. If he starts calling out to his brother during the daytime when he's awake and alert, then you have to worry more about the dementia getting worse.


For years before Gary had his stroke, he would often call me Clara (his oldest sister), and many times he would call one of his sons, Chuck (his older brother). I always thought his mind was on too many things at once and he didn't take the time to think about what he was saying. He also could never remember people's names if he wasn't around them often. He would expect me to remember for him.



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Sue, Since Dick's stroke I have been "Mother". Pressed to name me he almost always uses his first wife's name. It is the aphasia but I have long dreaded the possibility that Dick will forget who I am with advancing dementia. I have recently read Creating Moments of Joy by Jolene Brackey and pray I will be able to have the strength to be gracious when and if that time comes.


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Hi Sue


I can relate to your thoughts, my father had dementia when he was 74 and one night around 2am I got a telephone call from my stepmother saying your dad has gone! My first thought was he had passed away then she relieved my anxiety by saying he was not in the house and she had no idea were he was, by this time I was wide awake and half dressed got into my car and drove down to dads house thinking along the way that he would be in the shed down the backyard.

When I arrived I checked the place out and he was no were to be found, I woke the neighbors up so I could search there back yards without any luck then drove around the streets for an hour or so still no sign of him. We then telephoned the police who were very polite and understanding sending two squad cars out to search for him, about 1 hour later they returned to dads house with dad sitting in the back seat what a relief it was to see him sitting there. He had woke up during the night left the house in his PJs thank god he put his wallet in his shirt pocket and walked several miles to the pacific Highway the highway from Brisbane to north Qld. So you know how busily it would be 4 lanes each way, he then apparently walked another 5 mile or so and crossed the road and went into this 24-hour service station (gas station) and purchased a cup of tea and just sat down to enjoy it.

The attendant who was on duty had the foresight to call the police.

End of Story.



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Hi Sue,


George calls me Momma most of the time because he can't remember my name. Sometimes he calls me Marie (his sister's name. I know he knows I am his wife because he still likes to pat my bumm everytime I walk by him, in fact he is grinning at me as I write this. He is so funny and hasn't lost his sense of humor. When he is real tired that is when he is the least cognizant and his aphasia is the worst. He usually cracks up when he tries to say something and it comes out all garbled. I laugh and tell him he has invented his own language. Can you believe it's been four years since his stroke? I know it's been a lot more for Ray. I keep forgetting to chat on Tuesday nite but I miss the commaradarie. Take care and maybe next week I can remember to logon. HUGS, Wendie

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Sue, my darling sister Mary Beth just learned that her mother-in-law has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and is trying to deal with that. Marty (the mother-in-law) does not remember her son, Dave (Mary Beth's husband) but knows who Mary Beth is. We discussed how a very close friend was brought to Mommy's wake by his daughter. He had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers. He talked about sled riding with Mom and Dad back in 1962. His daughter says to Mary and I, he remembers sled riding with your parents but doesn't remember what he had for breakfast or who I am. You just have to laugh. My guess is a dream. As soon as you flipped on the lights he reoriented. Bruce still calls me Bonnie (his ex-wife) when he is overtired or frustrated (a good sign I guess). Plus you have to add in the disarray the house is in and you know he is feeling it. Good weather, his verandas back in order and strangers out of his house will help. However, if he calls you Bonnie, you know you are in trouble-lol. Debbie

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Sue: today I was Deidre (Bruce's best friend's middle child). Funny tho, Bruce usually called her Morticia. He is close to all three kids, But Dee was born allergic to the world and for years I was the only one her parents allowed to babysit her. She has been most dedicated to Bruce-bakes him cookies and always visits when in town. Later I was Jules, my cat who came along when Bruce and I started living together. His name was Ulysses, but Bruce always called him Jules and soon after meeting Bruce, Jules became his cat. Jules died the day I started nursing school-18 years ago. Very traumatic for both of us. There's no telling, Debbie

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