Thursday, December 1, 2016

You Aren't Gail...

Last year, we were driving down I-5 around sunset, which can be a confusing time of day for Alzheimer's patients. Here's what transpired, as written a year ago:

We were chatting pleasantly about the weekend we had just spent with my mom, who was ailing at the time. We all thought she would bounce back from this one, too (but she didn't).

He suddenly became very quiet and pensive. He looked at me strangely, shyly. "You aren't Gail," he ventured. "You aren't Joanne..."

"No, I'm not," I replied, "Those are your sisters, honey. I'm your wife. We've been married for 45 years." I figured this juicy tidbit of information would serve two purposes:  One, to help him recognize this old lady as the sweet young thing he used to know; and, two, to help him realize how much time has passed.

"Oh, that's right. I was confused there for a second."

"What's my name?" I asked calmly.

"Christiane," he replied.

"That's correct," I smiled.

"Something's going on with my brain. Is that why you won't let me drive?" I was taken aback by this question.

"It isn't that I won't let you drive," I explained, "It's that I think it isn't a very good idea. Just now, you weren't too sure who I was."


"So do you think it's a good idea for you to drive?" I asked.

"No," he said sadly. And it is sad. Very sad. And he won't remember having had this discussion, and we'll have it again tomorrow. And the next day. And again. And again...

And here we are, a year and a half later. The driving doesn't come up as often, thankfully. But his pickup truck sits in the driveway, collecting dust. We should probably sell it, since it hasn't gone anywhere in such a long time. But that just seems so final. I don't have the heart for it.

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