Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here We Are

It has taken me a while to reach this place, my husband has had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for 5 years and had symptoms for several years prior, of acceptance.   After the diagnosis, the Doctor sent us to a counselor to figure out how to live with the disease.  Looking back, the year we spent, set the ground work for where I am now.  I had a lot of resentment, since everything was from my husband’s perceptive.  Didn’t that therapist know this was my life that was being disrupted, my feelings that were hurting?   During the early days of diagnosis, sweet husband would throw things and say ugly things to be.  Having lived through the pain and torment of those early days and understanding what my sweet husband’s brain is going through, I have compassion and know that even though this impacts me, it really is all about him.    I can change my attitude, my opinion, form memories, but my husband cannot, so my attitude and beliefs are the game changer for us.  I do not want to be embarrassed by what he says or does.  He has a disease.  I don’t want to fuss at him or nag.  Again, he has a disease, I have control of my thoughts and actions.  He clearly does not.

I know that the rules for treating people doesn’t change, just because they  have a disease.  I have a degree in working with children with emotional disabilities.  They sometimes get distressed and throw things at me or say ugly things to me.  I always treat them with respect and dignity   Sound familiar.  Something wasn’t working at home.  My husband and I have had a very caring relationship for many years and now things were different.   So now I had to figure out how to take my skill set from school and bring it home.  The thing that wasn't working at home was with me.  My attitudes and behavior was what needed changing, not his.  So I vowed to treat him with respect and dignity, no matter what.

I want him to have the best quality of life that is possible for him at each stage.    It hasn’t been easy.  Our life situation has an impact of what we can financially afford.  In the beginning, he really believed that he could hold down a job.  The fact for 2 years prior he couldn’t hold one did not persuade him so I stopped trying.   Instead, I looked at what he could do at home to improve our condition.  Our money situation was shot, so I examined what could help.  Putting in a garden and hanging our clothes out on the line could help.  So that’s where we started.  Of course, we don’t have a large yard, so we started digging up 4 foot strips.  We added 1 or 2 a year, since he dug them by hand.  Occasionally we were able to afford to rent a rototiller, but mostly he turned the area over by himself.  We have had fresh vegetables for 4 years now and he is very proud of his accomplishments.  He hangs clothes out almost all year long.  We have a place inside if it is too cold or wet.   We compost and he is in charge of dumping the cans.  I am in charge of the rest of it.   I am proud of our accomplishments.

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