about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 12: Need a refill?

on October 6, 2012

I got to the shaky, shivery, exhausted stage early last night (surprise!) so I put myself to bed before 9 p.m. I slept right through the night and woke up late. And I’m ready for another serious night’s sleep already!

There is something really draining about coping with someone with dementia. We step out of the ordinary predictable world into another planet where nothing is predictable, and most of the surprises are not going to be pleasant ones. It’s nightmarish. There’s that horrid helplessness you get in dreams when you know you’re walking down the street in the altogether but there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Living on our nerves is exhausting. Squashing our normal reactions and forcing calm and patience and pleasant responses to that question being asked or that comment being made for the nth time costs us. Dealing with upsets while remaining calm. Calming down an upset adult who no longer has any social inhibitions. The list goes on, and the exhaustion is inevitable.

So, yes, recovery is necessary. And preferably sleep, uninterrupted and healing, so we can face another day.

But our advantage is that we can and will recover. It usually takes me around 36 hours to feel that I’m back on an even keel. And yes, I can feel this is tough on me.

But it’s worse for him. He’s not going to get better. Not going to wake up with all his memory and all his marbles intact tomorrow morning. In fact, tomorrow he may be another step further down the slope. Another step along the terrible road so delicately called the ‘dementia journey’.

I am grateful that it does not appear to upset him. Unlike a friend, quite recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She had thought she’d lost her door keys (again) and I was helping her look for them. We found them quite easily but she confided to me, ‘I hate this.’

We all hate dementia.

The challenge is to go on loving our husbands/wives/parents who have been turned into sometimes frightening strangers by this disease, and to love ourselves enough to continue being of loving use to them.

The text: ‘Love one another, for love comes from God.’ 1 John 4:7

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You know how drained and exhausted we get. Please refill us with Your love that we may have enough for ourselves and for our loved one who needs us so much.

Self-care suggestion: My favourite ways of being kind to myself is a bubble bath and then a good night’s sleep. What do you find soothes and restores you?



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