Back from VACATION

Breaking Free

Breaking Free

One of the side effects of living with Alzheimer's disease is the emotional push and pull for the caregiver.  Jerry, even though he is in the last stage, is at peace in his Alzheimer world.  There is comfort in that. I see Jerry preparing to leave this world, yet, I see the earthly trappings still holding on.

But for the caregiver, the spectator, it is quite a different story.  In the last post, Jerry had stopped eating.  For several months his decline has been quite evident.  He is more hunched over and leaning forward now and there is concern that he may fall.  His gate is quite fast, possibly to keep from falling.  Like a "fast walker" leaning forward gains momentum.  I don't know what to do with this information accept stick it in my bag of Alzheimer facts to pass out when others ask.

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by to see Jerry around dinner time.  I was on the way to an art walk in downtown New Bern.  Usually, I go in the mornings and find Jerry napping in the activity room.  I was expecting the same since it was late in the day.  When I walked in, however, there he was ....PACING!  To my delight, he was right in front of the door, standing up right, dressed in a perfect dress shirt.  Clean shaven.  Not a wrinkle on his face.  He stopped in his tracks and looked my way.  He was irresistible! I held my arms open wide and he came right to me!  (I'd like to say his eyes were clear and focused but I'll take what I can get.)

I cannot tell you what this does to a caregiver.  The ying and yang of emotions!!!  One day, I'm told he isn't eating and is in sharp decline...the next day is relatively "spot on!"  What am I to do with that?  One day I am processing  "the end" and the next day I'm wanting to be elated that he is back from "vacation".  It's enough to make me throw in the towel!  The emotional fatigue is, well, something I cannot even explain.

I can, however, tell you how I cope with it.  WINE!  Just kidding.  Well...a little maybe.  Wine could never be the answer to coping with this.  It would cause an incredible headache!  Truly, however, I did eat a small filet and a glass of red wine when I got home.  I had myself a real pity party for about an hour....then went to bed.

The real way of coping for me is to RIDE LIKE THE WIND!  I worship when I ride.  My focus is on God....not Jerry....after all, EVERYTHING else is fleeting.  EVERYTHING else is temporary.  Before I know it.....I will have ridden 20-30 miles.  At least I did today.  The clouds were incredible.  The emotional stability has been renewed..and my legs have become like rubber.