jmgoyder

wings and things

Keeping a record

on September 14, 2015

Yesterday, after writing about Anthony not coming home, not asking to come home, and sometimes not remembering home and/or thinking he is home in his nursing home room, guess what?

He asked to come home. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly throughout the late morning and early afternoon. I was so taken aback because this hasn’t happened for ages – maybe months – so I was a bit unprepared. He kept trying to get up from his armchair (he needs help to do so) and, every half hour or so, repeated, “Come on Jules, let’s go.”

Me: It’s too cold and wet today, Ants. Let’s wait until the weather is better.

Anthony: I can light a fire in the fireplace.

Me: We don’t have any kindling.

Anthony: I’ll chop some in no time.

Me: It’s a bit late in the day, today. What about tomorrow morning?

Anthony: You’re unreasonable (removing my hand from his).

Me: What? Are you angry with me now?

Anthony: I haven’t been home for months. You keep stopping me!

After a couple of repeats of the same conversation, more or less, I decided to end it by promising to pick him up at 10.30am today and bring him home. Once that was established, he reached for my hand again and we continued to watch the television and eat olives.IMG_4740

When I got home last night I wondered if this sudden relapse into homesickness (which was a two-year nightmare for both of us which I blogged about on and off) might have been triggered by my conversation with Anthony’s nephew the other day about the possibility of bringing Ants home for the day. In retrospect, I should have steered this conversation away from the topic of ‘home’ (especially within Anthony’s earshot), but I had no way of anticipating that the idea would somehow stick and re-emerge days later.

Okay, so today was when I was supposed to fulfil my promise to Anthony that I would pick him up at 10.30am and bring him home. This may sound callous but I had no intention of doing this, simply because I can’t physically manage him by myself; he is too heavy.

So I made myself wait until after lunch to go in and see Anthony. And I have to say that it was with a mixture of dread and curiosity that I entered his room (with my bunch of camellias).

To my great relief, it was immediately apparent that Anthony had forgotten yesterday’s ‘home’ conversation. Instead:

Anthony: I didn’t expect to see you! You are good at geography.

Me: Look at these camellias!

Anthony: You’re so early! (It was 1pm)

Me: How do you like my boots? (I was wearing colourful boots)

Anthony: A bit way out.

Me: How Dare you!

Anthony: Sit down and shut up.

Me: Don’t you tell me to shut up!

Anthony: Can you put that that that trolley up in my room? (pointing to his walker) – also that woollen coil (pointing to the blanket on his knees).

Me (putting walker into his bathroom and closing door, readjusting his knee blanket): Okay – are you warm enough?

Anthony: Yes.

Me: Right, so can you stop fussing about the stupid blanket? It’s just a blanket!

Anthony: Yes, but look at the little fella (there is always either a child or a pet on Anthony’s lap from around 4pm).

Me: Yes, it’s a beautiful sight, beautiful.

Anthony (after a bit of a slumber): Jules?

Me: Yes? I’m here, Ants.

Anthony: Can you roll me up?

Me: Do you mean put your feet down? (I had his feet up in the armchair) How’s that?

Anthony: Bloody beautiful.

I always have pen and paper handy to scribble down my conversations with Anthony. Today and yesterday have been interesting in terms of his alertness (some days he sleeps and/or drowses during my visits).

It sometimes seems a bit odd to me that I am so fascinated by what is actually a tragic situation but Anthony has always inspired me in one way or another. At nearly 80, he has the most extraordinary resilience; he is positive without meaning to be; and he never complains except to say he is “a bit tired”.

Keeping a record of these conversations seems important somehow. For me, these transcribed tidbits of conversation make me feel as if I have a handle on our situation; that I can somehow control it into a manageable story that Anthony will appreciate.


34 responses to “Keeping a record

  1. tersiaburger says:

    Ah my friends lots of love. You are a warrior of love.

  2. ksbeth says:

    you have done the right thing. i learned over time, and through trial and error, to just going along with these things, make a plan, and then the worried person can move on, and will most likely forget it. i’m so glad you’ve learned so much from this experience – you’ve learned what the definition of ‘grit’ really is.

  3. Yvonne says:

    It’s good you are recording what is happening, how you are feeling and reacting to events as they happen. It’ll be something to treasure, years from now.

  4. Yvonne says:

    (Oops, I must have done something wrong, my comment went “Poof”!!!

    I think it is such a brilliant thing you do, recording various conversations, events and reactions. You’ll surely treasure them in years to come.

  5. Jenny McDonnell says:

    Hi Julie, thank you for documenting your conversations. Your words remind me of the many conversations with my Mum in her later years with Alzhiemers and sitting in her room at the Nursing home. It is such an intimate time betweeb loved ones.

  6. I think it’s wonderful that you give Anthony what he needs in the moment he needs it. Because really, that’s what matters.

  7. My comment went poor also and I liked what I wrote. Now can’t remember it. lol I guess the only thing we can expect in life is the ever changing unexpected. Just when we think it’s this or that way, things change. Hugs to you.

  8. Judy says:

    My heart goes out to you, Julie. This is a time of confusion and you are navigating such difficult moments with courage and love. Hang in there.

  9. susanpoozan says:

    So glad that all was forgotten the next day, you must have been relieved.

  10. ….. and you have all your blogs as well to remember how you felt at the time of the conversations… Diane

  11. I am glad you keep a record of the conversations so you can share them with us, also good that he seems to have forgotten about going home as that would be so stressful on you

  12. aFrankAngle says:

    Not only is your documentation helpful for you, I’m confident that it’s helpful someone out there going through a parallel journey. Stay the course and stay strong.

  13. Barb says:

    Isn’t it strange the homesickness and then the wiped slate as though it never happened. It sounds as though you handled everything beautifully. I’m so glad it worked out.

  14. Rhonda says:

    To quote a very special guy….bloody beautiful….xxx

  15. Your notes and blogs about Ants will some day be a great treasure for Ming.

  16. Your blog is going to be the greatest gift in so many ways to everyone in your family’s universe. Hugs Jules xxoo 😀

  17. you are so brave and i admire your determination to take the best care of your love and to share so openly the reality of what must be a road with many dips and pot holes. oh but those smooth sections make it all worth it!

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