Family Matters

I’ve just returned home and back to routine after three ‘rest’ days away with my daughter and her family in their little weekender in country Victoria. It’s often said that “a change is as good as a holiday” and it’s often true. Was for me – usually is! Visiting my wife, Dorothy in her Care home most days is not always a happy time for me and my family, all five of them, happily married and scattered far and wide, know that I benefit from a ‘break. Bless them!

Dorothy is mostly pleased to see me and is content in my company and will walk incessantly with me. Yesterday was a fine Melbourne day and I drove her out, as I sometimes do, for a short walk in a nearby park; but, by the time we returned, she had become erratic and, perhaps, ‘scatty’ might best describe her condition. I guess it’s the nature of this beast, Alzheimer’s, that her behaviour will change in almost every way and in unpredictable and inconsistent ways. I can normally cope with those moods or attitudes or behaviours but, yesterday, I must admit I found it hard going. So hard, in fact, that when she exclaimed, “Just go!”, I did go. It did tear at my heart, but with a kiss, I left her seated in a lounge chair and went and had a cry in the car. After I settled, I drove home wondering and musing on how things were, and how they would be……

I admit that I didn’t feel very settled when I arrived home, yesterday. Two, small, sweet sherries and an egg on toast for dinner did help, then sleep finally won and another day was over. This morning I dealt with some phone calls related to pharmacy accounts, then rode my electric bike to the care home (half on a bike track and half on a reasonably quiet road). I was apprehensive about how Dorothy would be behaving today, but I shouldn’t have been. She was delighted to see me, and we had a lovely time together, except for the crying bouts which still emerge and recede at any time! I had a snack in the cafeteria whilst Dorothy had her lunch with the other residents, then resumed my visit for a while longer. Before I left, I spoke to the manager about the disappearance of four of Dorothy’s night gowns (over the past few months). Normally, personal items are laundered on-site, but it seems they sometimes get accidentally bundled up with the bed linen which goes to an external laundry, and thence into a ‘black hole’. The manager will pursue their loss for me, but I must get some new ones, just in case, as Dorothy now has only one nightdress!

Today, I didn’t stay very long – about two hours. I don’t think I could have stayed much longer; I just feel a bit depressed today, despite Dorothy being so good and the joy of the bike ride. I am resolved to keep writing and focussing on positives……including the love of our wonderful children. Yes, family does matter!