Yesterday, Ming went to see Anthony at the nursing home at around noon because, even though I didn’t see Ants on the weekend (because I was having a bit of a break with my friends at a nearby chalet), on Monday my stupid hands had become a bit infected and very sore and I felt unable to make the journey into town. But by 4pm I couldn’t stand not seeing Ants so I drove into the nursing home and arrived in Anthony’s room at 5pm.
Ming had already told him, earlier in the day, that I wouldn’t be in, so he was surprised and absolutely overjoyed. “My beautiful, beautiful girl,” he kept repeating. His dinner arrived and we shared a beer and I helped him with food, phone and television and then I had to go home again. I was probably in there a bit over an hour and, by the time I left, Ants was a bit confused as he always is in the evenings now. But he was happy! And he didn’t mind that I was going home at all. For me, the relief that he could say goodbye to me happily was so wonderful that I drove home on a bit of a high.
But every day is different of course. So today, when Ming and I visited for a couple of hours in the early afternoon, Anthony became so sad when we had to go (including begging us to take him with us) that it broke my heart all over again because he even articulated it: “When you both leave, I get so upset.”
Ming is better at handling this than I am. “Dad – pull yourself together! We’ll see you tomorrow!” For me it is much more difficult to extricate myself from Anthony’s heartbreak so I tend to prolong goodbyes with so many kisses and hugs that Ming nearly vomits!
I guess, because I don’t have a routine of what time I visit Ants (except that it is nearly every day), and the fact that I am not bringing him home so much, because he is too heavy now and quite often unable to move or walk without help, every single day has become an unpredictable journey of fear. The other wives of the other men Anthony’s age all have a routine; they visit their husbands at the same time every day, but these wives are in their 70s or 80s and live nearby.
This is not me complaining or asking for advice; it’s more of an attempt to give some insight into the unpredictable nature of PDD (Parkinson’s Disease Dementia) and how one day, no matter what time of day, Ants might say, “Okay, see you tomorrow, Jules” and the next day it might be “Please don’t leave me, Jules!” I can never know what to expect in any way at all – again, no matter what time of day, although evenings are worse – lucidity, confusion, joy, fear, confusion, love, hope, conversation, confusion, helplessness, uncertainty, disorientation, confusion, misery ….
To grasp my husband’s big, old hands with my younger infected hands today was very painful because he had a grip I haven’t felt for a long time – he held on tightly until I said “You’re hurting my hands, Ants!” and he immediately released them. It was worth it though, because he lost his grip a couple of years ago (PD).
On a lighter note, I am having a break from cooking tea for Ming because, for the first time ever, he is doing it all by himself – yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the ducklings took a break from Godfrey (when he wasn’t looking!) to take bread out of my hands.
It is quite possible, of course, that, due to recent circumstances, I have either had, or am having, a nervous breakdown. That would be a very convenient excuse for not answering the phone, not opening a month’s worth of mail, not keeping up with blogs, and blogging in a way that is almost ridiculously high and low – sorry!
Oh, Home and Away is on in 5 minutes – now that is a break from reality – haha!