Sunday, October 14, 2012
Can you hear me now?
There is so much going on right now and I don’t mean to ignore my readers. I apologize for not being able to post more often. In just two more weeks we will be moving into our new house. I’ll be back to having a dedicated office instead of working off the kitchen table while the two toddlers and three little ladies run in and out with many requests for all sorts of things. Hectic is an understatement for the situation right now.
Riley has reached a point of physical recovery that he is now as good as he is going to get. He shuffles from room to room without his walker while using every handhold available to keep him from falling. When we leave the house, I insist that he use the walker or the wheelchair – he always chooses the walker.
His OCD is only slightly tolerable for me. He squares the corners of the DVDs to the edge of the table and straightens his blankets on his bed several times throughout the day. Any wrinkle is cause for smoothing. He has a regimen and any deviation upsets him greatly.
The diagnosis for Riley is “alcohol dementia”. Basically, it’s the same are regular dementia except it was brought on from his alcoholism. The bad news is that it will get progressively worse even though he is not consuming any alcohol.
From the outside, he would appear to be just a normal old guy who has past his prime. You can have short logical conversations with him. But, his ability to relate events of the past in an accurate manner seems to be sketchy at best. He sometimes doesn’t remember where we really live or why we are living with our grandchildren. He believes he is in charge and issues ultimatums and dictates actions. No one is listening to him. We hear him and breathe a sigh when he starts, but we don’t really pay attention. If he asked any of us if we can hear him now, we’d say “NO”.
I have noticed little lapses of memory in my own brain. I seem to be without as much patience as I had in the past and I often yell at Riley when he steps on my last nerve. This disturbs me. I spent some time with a social worker last week and she informed me that often times the caretaker starts to display some of the same traits of craziness as the person needing the caretaking. Well… this is not good. It will take a lot of restraint and control of my own emotions to not join Riley in his crazy world.
Sometimes I think things were easier when he was drunk. But, then I think about it and realize that I do not need nor want to hurry the process of him returning to drinking. I know that eventually he will find a way to obtain alcohol. It may not be in the form of vodka or beer. It will more likely be something from our panty, like vanilla extract. Or it possibly could be something from the medicine cabinet, like mouth wash or cough syrup. Once that happens, I’ll be faced with more decisions that I don’t want to make.
The social worker asked if there was anything on my plate that I could remove with an idea of making my life a little easier right now. I ran through my mental list of projects – blog; OARS Facebook support group; OARS website; editing my book for Kindle; developing the cookbook for an OARS fundraising; turning OARS into a non-profit organization; going back to work at a real job; planning a reunion for my family; general cooking and cleaning in this house; negotiating a lease for the new house; plan and organize the move; etc; etc.
Well, I don’t really see what I would eliminate, but maybe I can prioritize a little better. Maybe if I can just designate some time for a long leisurely bath or an early morning walk, that might give the break I need to be able to keep my brain devoid of too much craziness. Personally, I think I’m just frustrated with the responsibility of taking care of someone who cannot understand that he needs to have a caretaker. I’m frustrated that I don’t feel qualified to give him what he needs and yet I manage to do it every single day.
In my opinion, once we get into the new house things will be easier because we will have more than 1200 square feet all for just Riley and me. I will have space for working on my projects. The privacy of not having to share a bedroom with Riley will be THE best thing. Cooking from my own pantry on my own time schedule will be awesome. Yes. I believe things will settle down and become more “normal” inside the craziness.
I’m very impressed at that OARS has grown to 100 members in less than a year. I reached out for help in creating OARS into a group with real meetings and becoming a non-profit organization. The future for OARS is bright indeed. We are planning an inaugural live meeting in the early Spring which will allow us to come together face-to-face. We will be planning the direction of our group, forming committees, establishing relationships with others who live close to us, and scheduling live meetings in many areas of the country. I reached out and found that they could in fact “hear me now.” Our vision may be lofty, but with all of us working together it can become reality.
To join OARS, go to Facebook and search for OARS F&F Group, request permission to join and you should be granted access in less than 6 hours. If you would like to help support our vision, you may go to our fundraising site and make a donation. Every donation is highly appreciated and, while they last, you will receive a tote bag in return. We accept donations of any amount from $1.00 to whatever you are comfortable in giving. Go to the link below to contribute:
I can hear Riley moving around in his room and I know he will soon be out here in the kitchen. He will want coffee and breakfast. He will want to “talk” and I will make an effort to “hear him now.”