wings and things


on August 22, 2015

Oh I am such an idiot!

Okay, this is what happened. I stayed with Anthony later than usual this afternoon because his favourite nephew arrived for a visit and I didn’t want to miss out on that. Then, Anthony’s 5pm dinner arrived as the nephew was leaving, so I ended up helping Ants with the soup, mornay and dessert.

Once that was done, I turned the television onto the ABC News channel and put it on mute as I gathered my stuff to leave. Usually I say I am going shopping, or to the chemist and I’ll be back soon but tonight I told the truth.

The only reason I admitted I was going home was because the first thing he said to me when I arrived this afternoon was:

You didn’t come back last night. Where did you go?

Now the trouble with lies is that sometimes you forget them. So I said:

I can’t remember!

Anyway, as I was putting a jumper on him, and getting a blanket for his knees, and putting the two camellias I’d picked into water, and settling myself into a chair next to him, I suddenly remembered. The following is our conversation:

Me: That’s right! I remember now!

Anthony: You always say I’m the forgetful one.

Me: Well I’m getting just as bad. Anyway, I went home to make the pea and ham soup – remember I showed you those massive ham hocks?

Anthony: Where is the soup?

Me: Whoops – I forgot to bring you some. I will tomorrow. Sorry!

Anthony: Well I’ve just come back from U. and I.’s place in Serpentine. [Note: these relatives are deceased, and Serpentine is 160 kms north]

Me: Really? So you must be exhausted!

Anthony: Yes. So I just want you to get some paper animals in the glove box.

Me: Okay – anything else?

Anthony: A couple of paper animals.

Me: Which ones?

Anthony: Well, they should be in the letterbox … but dead.

Me: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.

Anthony: You might be sitting on them. Get up.

Me [getting up]: Nope – no paper animals.

Anthony: They don’t appear to be there.

Me: You’re hallucinating again, Ants.

Anthony: You always say that.

Me: Can you just shut up so we can watch the series?

Anthony [fussing with the blanket on his knees – a constant thing]: The little chap’s had a good day; he hasn’t moved much.

Me: That’s good. It means he’s happy, Ants!

So the fragments of our afternoon conversation ranged from eloquent to incoherent, nonsensical to logical, silent to noisy etc. and I still haven’t figured out if the ‘little chap’ on Anthony’s knee is baby Ming or a dog!

All in all, it was a great afternoon but, just as I was leaving, Anthony suddenly became agitated.

Anthony: But you can’t leave me here. We need to be in the same bed.

Me: I have to go home to rescue the pea soup and I’ll come back tomorrow morning.

Anthony: Why can’t you stay here with me tonight? I don’t know this place! I’ve only ever stayed here once before and it’s where J. and P. got married.

Me [sternly]: Listen, Ants, you are in a nursing home and you are sleeping here tonight and I am going home but will be back tomorrow morning.

Anthony: No!

At this point one of the wonderful carers, having overheard our conversation from an adjacent room, came into Anthony’s room to reassure him and I gave him a millionth kiss and left.

It’s the first time for ages that I have felt distressed driving home. No tears but just distressed that he was distressed.

So an hour ago I rang the nursing home and the nurse-in-charge told me that he had just been settled into bed but she would go and check again. She is, by far, Anthony’s favourite and, when he was upset and confused earlier he actually asked for her by name, describing her as the nice one in the red shirt. She has even been nicknamed his ‘girlfriend’.

Anyway, I’ve now decided to never ever tell Ants that I am going home – never! I will go back to saying things like:

Just going to the chemist to get toothpaste; what kind of chocolate do you feel like; do you want beer? etc. AND: I won’t be long – see you soon….

No more whoopsies!


45 responses to “Whoops!

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Interesting that even though you’ve been cautious, you still slipped … but it won’t happen again. … just a learning experience for you. πŸ™‚

  2. Your journey with Ants through this disease is always so heart-wrenching and heart-warming. Your courage and compassion leave me in awe.
    Much love to you and your beautiful heart.

  3. ksbeth says:

    it’s okay, it happens and balance will be restored once more. we’re humans, we do the best we can, and it’s never perfect, made even harder because you’re dealing with a disease which is an ever-changing, moving target. )

  4. Anonymous says:

    thank you Jules for letting me have an insight into your world with Anthony, I have more compassion as a career reading what you are going through. Rosie xxx

  5. ingridrick says:

    Yes it’s the best way although it’s not exactly the truth it is to Ants and avoids unnecessary stress. He will be all better tomorrow …

  6. ingridrick says:

    Yes it’s the best way, although it’s not exactly the truth, it is to ants and avoids any stress. He will be better tomorrow …

  7. Judy says:

    I think with dementia, a whole different set of rules apply. There is another language going on. Rather than seeing your statements as “lies” – I see them as adding comfort and relating to Anothony’s language and demented world. You know this. Please do not feel guilty for forgetting his language. See how quickly he reminded you? I know the sadness is not about lying. It’s about the reality that he cannot relate to your world anymore. I remember when my mother left me in that way. Oh, how I missed sharing with her!

  8. Aww hugs for you Julie. I can’t imagine how stressful this can be at times. You’re a good wife, a good woman. ❀
    Diana xo

  9. It’s got to be so hard to watch everything you say/said… but I guess the word ‘home’ is one you have to try and avoid for sure… Diane

  10. susanpoozan says:

    You write so movingly but, oh dear, what a muddle can ensue!

  11. Amy says:

    I can imagine that you are learning something new every day. Your writing helps others who are in a similar situation.

  12. It may not be true true, but it is true in his world. Hubby’s mum sometimes does not recognize her room just having gone to the bathroom. Weird how the mind is so wonderful yet so fragile at times.

  13. Vicki says:

    Gosh, I think you handle these difficult situations in the most wonderful way, but accidents are bound to happen in ‘nursing home’ life just as they do in the outside world. Nothing is ever perfect and no disease is ever totally predictable.

    You’ve just got to do what you think is right at the time and hope it works out Just Fine.

    Just keep on doing your way and hope for the best. Vicki xx

  14. A little bump in the road, to keep you on your toes Jules πŸ˜€ Hugs xxoo

  15. When the truth hurts – leave it aside.
    You have done so well in recognizing that strategy.

  16. My Heartsong says:

    When I worked in long-term care I found it so hard when someone wanted me to take them “home’ so i would walk them down the hall then back again, get them talking and take them to their room , usually successfully while they forgot about where their previous home was-at least for the time being.I am so curious who the little chap is, too.

  17. Judith Post says:

    If you stay, you’ll have to compete with his girlfriend:) Glad you’re finding what makes Anthony happy–but that’s what you do.

  18. Heart-wrenching.

    You’re so brave, noble, inspiring and loving, you deserve a prize and a hug. And a day off, from having to be so brave, noble, inspiring and loving. I wish I had the power to grant you all the above. I hope the respect I feel for you somehow finds its way across the oceans to reach you. ❀

  19. Trisha says:

    I think you handled the whoops quite well!

  20. Always his girl, Julie. Always. You are so lovely together. Even in the confusion of his thoughts.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Yes, strangely, the situation is becoming more comfortable.

      • The way you write it, it doesn’t feel ‘strange’. It feels natural. Like once the shock and fear of what was happening to Anthony was behind you all-the natural being of your relationship settled back in to place!!!! I hope that makes sense.

  21. as i was reading this i felt so sad for you both. when i have been in hospital i have made the decision to give my love permission to spend less time and his relief is palpable. it was better this last time as i was able to transfer to doctors that are local. i will share with you that when i am inpatient the day drags on forever and his visits seem terribly short. i can’t imagine going through this every day for such a long time! you are amazing in your love, compassion and kindness.

    be kind to yourself, i am sending you love and big warm hugs

    • jmgoyder says:

      You never cease to amaze me Sandra. You and I have so much in common with our older husbands and our wonderful marriages and yet we are on opposite sides of the life/death fence in that you and Anthony are the ones who are terminal. I hope you know how valuable your words have been to me/us. My own words here seem so clumsy but I hope you get the gist of how much I admire, respect and love you. Jx

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