In Alzheimer world, you never can tell when the person is going to be “present” or “far away”. I try not to have any expectations when I go to visit. Of course, I’m hoping to be able to connect, but even if I don’t, it still works out ok.
Last week, our baby girl, Katie, came to visit. She brought her two adorable boys, Charlie and Jack. I know Katie was hoping to be able to connect with her dad. I’m sure she was hoping for a glimpse..a look in the eye....a smile that said....”oh, you’re my baby Katie.” Unfortunately, that did not happen. Jerry was so “far away.” However, even though he was far away, we still had a good visit.
We were able to go out to our little park in Riverbend under the shade trees. The boys were able to give hugs and play. We were able to walk. While that may not sound like a lot..it IS a lot in Alzheimer world. Even though little children may not seem to know what is happening...you can see by this image, that Charlie has a tender heart of concern and Jerry was able to feel the hug of a child. What a precious moment!
Today, when we went to visit, the food carts were outside the unit. They had just finished lunch. One of my favorite aides and I were chatting outside the door, when someone opened it. Jerry had been pacing and caught a glimpse of me. He came running. (Which is actually a slow trot.) The aide didn’t see him and was letting the door close behind her. He started crying. Others saw it and said, “Wait. Let him out.” We were together again.
We didn’t stay out long today. It was way too hot, so we went to the local mall. This mall is a slow, small mall, with very few stores and wide, wide, carpeted hallways. We walked from one end to the other. I could see his eyes wide. Can you imagine going from a protective unexposed environment to one that is filled with STUFF! It wasn’t long before he looked like a deer in headlights. HOWEVER, this is so cute. I bought a belt and after I purchased it, I handed the bag to Jerry to hold. I kissed him and said, “Thank you, Jerry. You just bought me belt.” He seem so pleased and smiled.
Once our walk in the mall was completed, we went back. It was time. That little journey, definitely sent him into a daze. It was good while it lasted though and I am so thankful we had that time. He easily transitioned right back into his “home” as one of the aides walked him down the hall. Crazy as it seems, this is a rich and rewarding journey.