Trying to explain something to someone who can't remember what you just said can be an extremely frustrating proposition. It's sad, too, especially when it's your loved one who loses a thought immediately and who seemingly isn't able to manage the simplest executive task. How can he remember what to do next when he's confused about what to do now?
For instance, the battery on my husband's truck is dead. It's a new battery, but the truck has been parked in the driveway for months without being started. Batteries, even new ones, lose their charge when not in use.
"Is something wrong with the truck?" he asks.
"The battery is dead," I explain. This is actually fine with me.
"It needs a new battery," he says.
"It is a new battery," I explain, "May you can charge it up?"
"How do you know?" His tone is defensive and aggressive and sarcastic at the same time.
"We just bought the battery a little while ago. Maybe it can be charged."
I help him to locate the battery charger and remind him how to hook it up. He takes offense at my help, but he clearly isn't able to complete the task on his own.
"You think you know everything!" he snarls, but the charger is hooked up and the battery is charging. It's only been a few minutes. He unplugs the charger and is upset that the truck won't start. He has forgotten that it takes a long time to charge a dead battery, or maybe he thinks it's been a long time.
The process is repeated several times. I don't know how many times, but I am starting to lose my patience a little bit.
"It needs a new battery," he mutters.
"It IS a new battery! You have to leave the charger on longer than five minutes for it to charge!"
"You think you know everything!" he snarls.