Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Time Is It?

This morning, we had to stop at the store on our way to a meeting. I was keeping a close eye on the clock, as being on time was important. We left the house at ten after or so and headed to the store. It's five minutes from the house.

"What time is it?" I asked as I parked the car.

He checked his watch. "9:41," he answered.

"9:41?!" I couldn't imagine how I could have been so wrong about the time when we left the house. Now, I was in a big hurry!

"9:41. Are you sure?"

"Yes," he said, showing me his watch to emphasize the point. "The little hand is on the 9, see? And the big hand is just past the 4. It's 9:41."

Okay. I was relieved that it was only 9:21, and I thought maybe he was just teasing me, as he is wont to do. But I wasn't sure.

So, as we were leaving the store after finishing our shopping, I asked him again what time it was. He glanced at his watch.

"It's 9:82. See?" And he turned his wrist to show me the time. Yep. 9:42.

I think it might be time for a digital watch.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Precious Memories

As I've mentioned before, my husband and I have a long common history. This has been a very valuable tool in helping him to remember things, because I was there, too.

Some of the memories are fun to relive together, looking at photos and being reminded of little details that get lost in the course of daily life, anyway. He probably doesn't actually remember being in some of the exotic locations we've visited, let alone the ordinary ones. But if I show him a photo of a place we've been together, he seems to connect with it. Or maybe he just likes the picture.

My mom's been having health issues of late. Not unusual for a woman in her 90's. But whenever we discuss my mother's health, the subject of his own parents' deaths comes up. He says he doesn't remember how his mother died, so I fill in the blanks for him. She died of cancer at the age of 49. In the early 70's. And then he says he doesn't remember what happened to his father. I remind him that his father was murdered at the age of 65. In the mid-80's. He asks if the responsible parties were arrested and prosecuted. I assure him that they were. He wants to know what has happened to them. One died in prison, the other is still in prison. Knowing this seems to calm him and bring him peace.

Lately, he's even been able to shed a few tears in association with these painful memories. This is something he didn't necessarily allow himself to do before, when his memories were properly filed in cabinets that worked. His emotions are not as tightly controlled as they once were.

This evening, when I was answering his usual questions, I said, "Wow. What would it be like if I wasn't here to answer these questions for you?"

He replied, "I would be a lot less happy."

So would I.

There's a Guest Room

I've been down for the count with a terrible case of the flu this week, so there's been more opportunity than usual for me to notice my husband's newest idiosyncrasies. I will focus here on one that's kind of cute, if seen in the right light. Right now, it's a "brain hiccup" rather than a permanent fixture; however, the horizon looks an awful lot nearer than it once did.

We were working on a jigsaw puzzle (a 100-piece one) together, and he confused me with one of his sisters. He realized he'd made a mistake, so he called me by the other sister's name. So I looked at him and asked him if he knew who I was. He said he'd been a little confused, but he knew who I was, and he said my name.

Then he said, "There are a couple of guest rooms, if you want to spend the night."

I said, "What?!"

Sometimes, it's hard to think before reacting. I took a breath and said, "Of course I'm going to spend the night. I live here."

On the plus side, he seemed delighted that I was staying. And then he seemed relieved to know that, in fact, we are married (to each other). I was happy to know that, should I have been a stranger, he would not have slept with me. Necessarily.

He then started his usual evening questioning. When did we meet? How old am I? How old are you? How long have we been married? Were you with me when I lived in [insert name of place]? What do you think of me? And so on. He is trying to fit the puzzle pieces of his memory together, and I find it interesting that his memory is stuck in the places where it is stuck.

I've noticed lately that he is beginning to have trouble expressing himself and relies on me to know and understand what he's trying to say, because he's lost the rest of the thought before having a chance to say it. It's a sad thing.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Unloading the Groceries

We went to Costco today, and included in our purchase was a set of three plastic bins for storage, nested together. I filled the top one with towels and other light items before placing it in the back seat of the car. Other items were placed in the trunk, loose, because they hadn't been boxed. When we got home, I removed the bins from the vehicle first. Here's our conversation:

Me:  "I'm going to take this inside, unload it, and bring it back out so we can load up the other stuff."

Him:  "What other stuff?"

Me:  "The stuff that's in the trunk."

Him:  "Oh."

Me:  "I'll be right back."

Him:  "Why?"

Me:  "So we can unload the rest of the stuff."

I take the containers inside, unload them, and go right back outside. He is struggling up the drive with a couple of boxed items.

Him:  "I think I dropped a box."

He sees that I am carrying the plastic bins.

Him:  "What are you doing with those?"

Me:  "I'm going to fill them back up."

Him:  "I dropped a box."

He takes his armload into the house. I see the box with the milk cartons on the ground. The box is split open, but nothing is spilling out. I go ahead and fill up the plastic bin with the other purchases. He comes back outside. This is both surprising and pleasing, as he normally would have forgotten that we're in the middle of doing something.

Him:  "Is that all?"

Me:  "Yes, except for the box you dropped." (I say it this way, thinking he will immediately know where to look.)

Him:  "What box? I didn't drop anything." (He is not being defensive. He really doesn't remember dropping it, even though it just happened, and he just told me about it.)

Me:  "It's okay. Nothing is spilling. It's right over there."

He starts to lift the box with one hand. I remind him that it's broken and needs to be picked up with both hands so the cartons don't slip out. He is insulted that I would think he needs to be reminded of this. Sigh.