Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s

From chapter 4 of Through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s –a guide in two voices, by Robert and Anne Simpson, published by Augsburg 1999

[Bob has Alzheimer’s – Anne is his wife and caregiver.]

August 20.

ANNE: Bob and I have always juggled chronos, calendar time, and kairos, meaningful time. He would say that I am overly scheduled. I would say that he is ‘chronologically challenged.’ Bob procrastinates and makes decisions at the last minute, depending on how he feels. I like to have things decided – dates filled in, work assigned – well ahead of time.

Often, when we get together now to talk about our plans, I say too much, give him too many choices, and he balks.

But I don’t want to make plans without Bob’s input. I don’t know how much activity he can tolerate. Can he go out alone? How often and how long?

August is bustling with its annual infusion of tourists, houseguests, and summer activities. We have a lawn to mow and flowers to tend and many other outdoor projects. A long ‘to do’ list for a short summer. There are also invitations to local events and family gatherings across the state.

BOB: I can’t make decisions. I’m a failure. Anybody could do this! Maybe I can’t talk about the calendar any more – it gives me a headache.

But I like having ordered projects to do…so they don’t tumble down on me. It’s hard when I have two things. I get overwhelmed…I used to be able to let things pile up and not get overly anxious. Now I’m like a donkey between two bales of hay. I get confused. My mind goes blank. I stay and starve in the middle.
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