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$30 and the Beach (a vent)
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 2:42 PM
Joined: 4/2/2013
Posts: 1565

So, we went to the beach, about an 8 hour trip from here. It was great in many ways, with waves of the blended family in and out and everyone helping me a lot. (Well, almost everyone - more on that in a minute.) 

It was also a good trip in that it gave my husband's two sons and daughters in law an extended length of time to see that he isn't the Dad they once knew.  He joined in on some conversations, but I would often observe him starting to laugh once he saw everyone else laughing, at a story or a joke. Most of the stories he told were old, old ones; he used to have fun telling stories of recent events, but no more.

But there's some mechanism, or lack of mechanism, now that keeps him from having much empathy.  We took our dogs (that's for some other forum on the web, about people who take their dogs everywhere.  Husband insisted that he and one dog sleep on the bed and he had no thought or care at all as to where I might sleep. The other rooms were full. So I used the couch and an air mattress. (You can see the venting is building up here...) He never asked once if I were tired, or if I had slept okay. 

He did try a couple of times to help with the dishes; the old husband would have insisted on doing them after every meal. He did walk the one dog some times. I was fortunate that the elder son took his dad on outings so I was able to get some things done. But mostly husband just sat there among the kids and looked around with a vague smile on his face. One of the grandchildren, age 9, is very bright and perceptive. I just happened to catch her one time looking at her grandfather in a way that I might describe as curious, but concerned. 

On the other hand, at some points he could talk very knowledgeably about where sights on the island were, where the ponies could be seen, etc. 

Before I go on, let me clear that I know he can't help these sad changes. his sons were leaving, they cleared up most of the garbage and took it to the cans outside. They told their Dad that I would drive him to the dumpsters to unload them. We had one more night and a little more garbage that I put in a couple of little white bags on the porch. I repeated several times that we would need to go to the dumpster before leaving. 

This is where it becomes my fault, really. I've gotten so that if I can't get him to understand I just dig in and give up. I shouldn't do that, I guess?

As we were getting ready to leave, I said one last time that I needed his help emptying the trash bins as they were very heavy. I also told him that the contract clearly stated there would be a $30 fee if they weren't emptied. He got very angry and agitated and refused, and I couldn't do it myself. So I just made the call that we would pay the $30. The old husband would have flipped out at the loss of $30. 

But there's more - so the family had left and we had the one more night. I had a very large pickup truck load of linens, groceries, appliances, etc., to load into the truck plus all of the house of course had to be rearranged to its original state. Husband absolutely refused to help. He sat there and petted the one dog. It took me four hours to load the truck, in the heat, in the dark. And he didn't care. I finally broke down at the end and cried and asked him why he wouldn't help. He said, I don't know why. I can't remember anything, and I'm really tired.

And then it hit me, so I asked him: had he been taking his medicine (zoloft, diabetes meds, etc.)?  And the answer: no. He had forgotten all of them and left them at home, and hadn't taken them for 8 days. 

What can you do? What on earth can one do?

Thanks for listening, friends.

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 3:22 PM
Joined: 12/30/2012
Posts: 3519

It is good the family had days with him to make their memories and see the sad changes. I have learned that unfortunately we have to pay now for things they used to be able to do. 

The $30 was worth it if it kept you safe from injury doing heavy lifting alone. Venting here is one of the best things about having friends who can relate.

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 3:32 PM
Joined: 11/28/2012
Posts: 2225

You have to remember the good and let the bad go.  I know exactly what you are saying.  I don't think my dh can think much outside himself either.


We had the wash machine over flow.  He was not far from it but didn't hear it.  Then stood and watched me clean it all up.



Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 5:12 PM
Joined: 11/5/2013
Posts: 138

Marjie - It might be time for you to step in and be in charge of his medications.  He obviously didn't remember his medications and missed 8 days.  And, as you saw, it had begun to affect him mentally and physically.  He might even begin to overmedicate.  It's not easy, but his medications should be monitored.  I had to hide the meds from my husband and administer them at the appropriate times.


I speak from personal experience.  My husband had been improperly medicating himself (he got confused when one doctor told him to take a multivitamin daily, and he got the impression that he was only supposed to take the multivitamin. He, too, was diabetic, and due to the missed meds, his blood sugars went wildly high (somewhere in the 400 range).  After about two weeks of missed medications, he passed out and hit his head on a desk.  Resulted in a two day hospital stay.  Yep, had to put on my big girl pants, quit my job, and become his full time caregiver (doctor recommended).


Hope I am not coming off as a know-it-all...just hope to save you some of the grief I went through.

Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7:17 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16404

Even I, with a diagnosis of cognitive impairment nos, missed my medication for two days in a row.  I posted about it.    


I'm not at all surprised your husband missed his medication on his trip.  I posted about my trip and how anxiety-stricken I was over trying to remember to pack what needed to be packed. 


Don't be surprised if it takes him a few days or even a few weeks to recover from the change in routine.  I'm still recovering from my overseas trip of 2 1/2 months ago.

Iris L.

Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 7:36 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035

And for the grandkids. Their parents should be explaining. Maria Shriver's, What's Happening to Grandpa?, is an excellent beginning. 

And having all together is wonderful, but next time your kids will be the ones to cart the groceries, linens etc and will be in charge of cleaning up afterwards.  And you may have to spell out exactly what was going on. Some may prefer denial. You need some care-partners.

And you have every right to vent.

And yes, you will need to be in charge of meds. And possibly other things.

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:44 PM
Joined: 4/2/2013
Posts: 1565

Thanks, everyone, very, very much for the advice and the validation. You're right about the meds, glojam1. But I'm worried about the approach. His temper seems to be ticking up again, and he's awfully proud as a retired medical professional. I'm starting slowly by starting to ask him every day if he is taking his meds. I'm sure pretty soon I'm going to have to take more of the reins...

and then...

I came home really tired with much to do. He had turned on his computer where a virus scammer had 'told' him that he needed to spend $349 (!!) to 'clean' his computer. And he did. Ackkkk. So tonight I spent on the phone w/the bank, the credit card co., and planning to take the computer first thing tomorrow to the geek squad. And he didn't understand, and got mad.

I don't have a good feeling about this summer...

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:28 PM
Joined: 10/27/2012
Posts: 589

Back in March we had our floors redone.  I moved everything in living room, dining room and 1 bedroom to the other 2 bedrooms which were not being done.  Husband just watched me do it.  I asked him to help move some books out of the bookcase.  He said ok and walked off.  I had to empty and move a waterbed-something I had never done.  I would never do all of that again.  

For some reason I guess their reasoner gets broken and they do not even see us doing all this work.  

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:35 PM
Joined: 4/29/2013
Posts: 1259

Yes, the frustration and anger.  I know they can't help it, but sometimes that doesn't help with the workload, the responsibilities, the sadness, and the helplessness.  I've learned to pay for the help I can afford, rather than wear myself out.  For me, being tired is my worst enemy.  I would have moved the dog and slept in my bed, and I'm glad you paid to have someone else haul the garbage.


Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:37 PM
Joined: 3/9/2012
Posts: 579

Marjorie, Every Sunday afternoon I fill the vitamin/meds containers.  His pills are put into a container that has AM & PM doses.  You can purchase some at the pharmacy that have slots for meds 3 or 4 times a day.  At breakfast I put the box by his plate.  He says "let's see - today must be Mon, Tues or whatever."  The first time he takes pills after the box has been filled, I leave the tab up for the next dose.  He still gets confused, but we look at the box and figure out what day we are on and whether he has taken the proper doses.  I put his box and mine together in a zip lock bag when we travel.  I sometimes have to chase him down with a glass of water, but this system seems to work for us at this time.
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:02 AM
Joined: 4/2/2013
Posts: 1565

Thanks again. Yes, I'm going to have get both of us organized about the meds. And you're right - I need to pack his meds for trips. But today, I need to get these scammers off of his computer! ......
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:56 PM
Joined: 11/5/2013
Posts: 138

Agree with the pill box suggestion.  And, perhaps if hubby sees you doing the same (taking your meds from a pill box), it will not be so obvious...make him feel more comfortable.


Yep, it's not easy.

Marjorie McCarthy
Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 4:20 PM
Joined: 12/20/2011
Posts: 556

I fill the pill box weekly and put his i days dose in front of him at breakfast. It's so funny every single day he asks, "Are these my pills?"

Now he has 2 he needs to take at night and I'm so bad at remembering.
Geesh, he doesn't even know who I am.I would just love a few days , with him away from here but scared to do so.
Your vacation sound so good but shame on the kids for not staying and loading truck.
I take that back as at least they were there for awhile.

Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:27 PM
Joined: 9/7/2013
Posts: 36

I set my cell phone alarm to remind me its time for his meds. Then I set it 30 minutes later as reminder it helps