Here's the deal with Alzheimer disease. The only thing that is predictable is that it is unpredictable! Once that fact is accepted the emotional roller coaster is less dramatic.
In my last post, I wrote about Jerry's being unresponsive. Actually, the last several visits have been that way. I remember last year the same thing happened. This time last spring, I was calling brain donation centers, organ donor programs, and picking out songs for Jerry's memorial service. That's the way I work.....face things "head on." ..."take the bull by the horns" so to speak.
Then, Jerry rebounded. I was a wreck!
After his last glossy eyed visit, I just had to go see him again. Something was drawing me back. So today, when I drove up in the parking lot, his activity director was just leaving to go home. She greeted me with, "We took Jerry out for pizza today! He ate all his pizza, my french fries, and a huge piece of chocolate cake! We just got back, so I hope he's still alert so you'll have a good visit."
Why was I not surprised! I was delighted! When I walked in, I could see through the windows that he was out in the back yard with Tom, the tool man. Tom calls Jerry, "Colonel Jerry". I call Tom, "Major Tom". They were sitting in the rocking chairs on the back porch. When Jerry saw me, he stood straight up! That was the end of Tom. It was all ME from then on! We had a wonderful visit.
Now, when I say wonderful visit..here's what I mean. We sat...like on your grandmother's front porch..in the good ole summertime. Very little was said..but as the breeze swayed the trees and the sun lit the hanging baskets of pink and white mandevilla, we just rocked....rocked, holding hands. Jerry would pat my leg. Healthy tomato plants were growing in pots on the sidewalk and I talked about tomato sandwiches, black eyed peas and cornbread. We connected. It was perfect and I know he knew who I was.
The visit didn't last long, maybe 45 minutes. I've learned not to expect much. But I was grateful for the 45 minutes. in fact, it was enough. I mean....how long can one talk about black eyed peas and cornbread! After about 45 minutes, Jerry began to look restless..a little fidgety. I knew it was time. Time to move on....(either to the dining room or the potty.) Either or both. Probably both. TIme to summon the aide. Then, they moved on.