Adaptation and Some Pleasant Results

After the realization a month ago that my mood so directly influences J’s, I’ve been channeling warmth and calm as steadily as I can – the result, a warm and cheerful atmosphere in the house. It took a long time for me to “get” this.

It seems there are stages of acceptance with this condition as with so much else in life. In the past, if I were to be short or crabby in front of J, she would have been able to smooth things out for me, or jolly me out of it, or challenge me lightly. If I came home from work burdened with something that had happened, she’d suggest I go sit down, read the paper and relax for a bit. If I was tense about getting ready for a trip, she might make a little joke about it, humor me. Or, she might say, “Don’t yell at ME!”, which would immediately correct the imbalance.

Now, it’s more like we share a mind, in some ways, and if I am short with her, she cannot separate herself from it. Now that I SEE that, it’s given me a lot more perspective to work with. It’s just not a favor to someone with dementia to be “real” with them about your feelings – a bit like yelling at someone in a foreign language, you can’t expect them to understand what it’s about, just that you’re upset.

So, there is a loss of a level of sharing that we once had in spades, but the gain is a a calm and pleasant atmosphere much more of the time.

This is where the counselor, the support group for caregivers and several thoughtful friends and relatives, and companion bloggers, come in – they have listened to me and provided encouragement and support for this new stage of acceptance. What a functional partnership looks like when one person has Alzheimer disease is just different from before. Lots to learn.


4 thoughts on “Adaptation and Some Pleasant Results

  1. Thanks for writing this. A new stage of acceptance….I like that idea. I’m not there yet. Someday I hope to be. It gives me hope to read about your experience with this. And you are right….so much to learn!

    I’lll probably blog about this at some point, but I am changing my primary care doctor to a Gerontologist, and Jim is interested in doing this too. She comes highly recommended. I plan to ask her for a referral for myself for a counselor. I desperately need some help in putting everything into a proper perspective. Jim will of course benefit being cared for by someone who specializes in geriatrics. She actually diagnosed my dad with Lewy Body Dementia when no one else knew what was wrong with him.

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    1. Yes, the counselor has been great – has experience with caregivers and just provides a thoughtful ear and a place to discuss ways to manage the situation.
      I do wish we had a gerontology team in town – the PC is kind and careful, but I think that a gerontologist is the way to go. The most important issues now are having medical care close by – no long car rides – and a team that understands the “cost” of further tests, procedures, and medications. All those are now vastly more difficult to manage, and a conservative approach is exceedingly welcome!
      Hang in there, it’s great to “know” you!

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  2. Can I steal your ideas for learning to do for yourselves something that use to be shared with J. I think being able to “weeble” and not fall down is a major ingredient in peacefulness. I am learning so much from your struggles. I can’t speak at all to how it must feel for you but I do know your being so open with your story gives me some chance for understanding I think that is how friendships last.

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