This journal, beginning in 2010, records the journey for Bill,55, Lyn,50 and Jack, 16 as we learn about and try to understand dementia and how it will change our lives.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
"There is only one way to happiness and that is to stop worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."
- Epictetus -
What a nightmare. Or would I call it a dream? It took me a couple of hours to remember the actual dream. I was too busy dealing with the physical results. I woke sitting straight up out of bed this morning, heart pounding, sweating, feeling a pounding, smothering pressure. Ah, so this is the proverbial elephant on your chest I have heard others speak of. Truly, I woke struggling to catch my breath.
After washing my face and getting enough control of my shaking legs to actually walk down the stairs without falling, I made my way downstairs. For a brief moment I forgot the feelings that were overcoming me. The coffee tasted delicious as I sat down to begin my day.It is my usual fix for emotional overload. I'm a suppresser. Emotions- extreme emotions- are beyond my comfort zone and this day was going to be a whopper. Tears fell freely, anger flared, I actually considered eating my first born. There was a fog that enveloped me throughout my morning- actually throughout my whole day.
It was funny when it dawned on me what had caused my dark mood. The memory was gone and suddenly it was there again. The dream. Flashes come to my minds eye. He's with me. He's out of control. I chase frantically after him as he acts out impulsively. He runs left, he runs right, he runs in front of cars... a crowd... he disappears in the crowd... where is he... oh my gawd, he has the keys. He has the keys. We are at a gas station where he overpowers me and takes the keys. He gets in, hits the gas, screaming out of the parking lot without removing the gas pump hose. I see the hose pull, the gas pump sway back and forth, tipping, tipping... the car, watch out for the car... that's when I woke, sweat dripping from my body, fear writhing in my body. How do I keep him safe? He's going to kill us, to kill somebody else. I was reliving my fears before putting Bill in the nursing home in February, seven months ago.
Man, it pisses me off when I hit these funks, these momentary lapses in feeling safe, of feeling like I have control of the situation. The triggers just appear. This week is full of triggers.
My fear will be gone for weeks at a time, then suddenly reappear. Most of my stress and fear seems to come out in my dreams. I know there are literally hundreds of studies on dreams and suppressed emotions. I could be an entire study. The triggers? Daily life. Today is my mom and dad's anniversary... I miss my father so much after dying unexpectedly two years ago. I can still hear is laugh, feel him hold me. Such a daddy's girl. Tomorrow is our anniversary. Twenty five years. And this week is also the 18th birthday of our son, Jack. Jack is our miracle baby. He was born despite my having cancer and undergoing almost two years of chemo and radiation. The miracle baby that saved our marriage at the time turns 18. It should be a significant event for all of us, right? So much responsibility, figuring out where to have the party so we can include his dad... worrying about how to keep us all safe, make it a celebration, I see the wedding pictures every day. Those along with all the other happy family pictures are stacked up against the wall upstairs. I don't know what to do with them? Hang them? Pack them? Do I put these away and pretend they don't exist? Is it fair to Jack to just erase those phases in our life? Doesn't he have a right to remember even though it's so hard on me, so contradictory to the emotions I feel, the memories that I hold in my heart. It's so unfair. He's so nice to those in the nursing home and I know it appears to them that he is the victim here, that he has been abandoned by his wife, by his son. It's so hard to go, to visit, to answer his questions about when he gets to come home. Do I give him hope? Do I tell him the truth? The truth didn't work out so well for us in the past. It was like living the movie the first fifty dates over and over again except ours was the nightmare version. You can't drive. You can't teach. You have Alzheimer's. Watching his denial, the grueling emotions of anger, pacing, writhing, and finally coming to the conclusion to end it all- for all of us.
Ok, so I made it through another day- this one not quite as easy as others, but I made it. We made it. Dreams....