This article tells how quickly moods can and do change with dementia. Notice how one situation was quieted when one dear friend stepped up with a simple solution. The panic really has to become quieted also because otherwise there would be a scene.
Last Sunday began the same as all my visits to see Bill or pick him up for Sunday meetings. We got ready for a meeting and got there early enough to visit with everyone. He was a little angst-ridden, to begin with, but as soon as our dear friends saw him, they went and said hello to him. There is one little boy about 2 1/2 years that always runs up to him yelling, “Bill, Bill” and throwing his little arms up in the air to signal Bill to pick him up. Oh, what a delight it is to see both of their eyes light up.
That is how our Sunday began. After the meeting, we went with our outstanding friends to grab a bite to eat, then said that we would see them later that afternoon at the farewell party being given for a couple leaving for a different language congregation about 20 miles from here. That may sound silly since they are only going 20 miles, but it is a great gap in the time we will be able to spend with them. This congregation is being set up so the Surcease (probably spelled badly) can learn about Jehovah in their own language.
It was once said best when the JW’s began to print literature and form new congregations on reservations in the southwest. A young Indian said something that touches my heart as much as it touches the Indians. Her comment was that before, reading the information in English was okay because they learned from that information they read; but now reading it in their own language touches their hearts because now they understand the meaning behind the words when they read it in their own language. So when people are learning something new to them, it always means so much more to see the words in their native tongue. This way, not only does it go into their minds, it goes into their hearts they get the full meaning of the words. I had never thought of it that way. I guess that I too expected that everyone spoke English and never gave it a thought of how they understood it or if they got the real meaning behind the words.
So it is with the new congregations that this couple is going to help get started and work to make it grow. We then bid our lunch mates goodbye until then. Bill and I were tired from the morning activities and settled down to watch some videos. We took turns napping in our recliners and we both felt happy and satisfied.
When we got to the gathering we put down our dish with the others and I set up my camera to take pictures of the occasion. Bill came over to me just about in a panic because he did not know what to do with this card that someone, he didn’t remember who, gave to him and he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with it. I suggested that he could just put it on a table and if it was meant to be passed around, someone will pick it up.
That tiresome anxiety quickly grew as Bill began to get that familiar look of dread and confusion in his eyes. He didn’t know who he was supposed to give it to and couldn’t remember who gave it to him. This becomes a life and death feeling to the person with dementia. I calmly made the same suggestion and other similar ones to him while he kept repeating himself and I saw that he was about to lose control in a panic.
My own breathing quickened and my temples started to pound in high blood pressure frenzy. Tears commenced to well up when a friend stepped closer to us and gave him a suggestion that instantly put him back at ease in this good-sized crowd. Sometimes a friend or a simple but different solution to the problem can cause his composure to return instantly. No one knows why it just can and does happen. An embarrassing scene was cut short of happening when that dear friend stepped up and suggested that he put it in his back pocket so everyone could see that he still had it and the person who gave it to him could just take it back. A hug for my friend and a whispered “Thank you” said it all to her.
When we left the party we went straight home. He’s allowed one night a month to be gone overnight. This was his July overnighter. We watched a little TV and went to bed. I took my blood pressure and it was a little high, but nothing even close for a reason to worry.
We had planned to watch some Netflix and maybe go for a walk the next day. It felt good to sleep in on Monday. I took my blood pressure and it was a bit high but no problem. I took my meds and gave Bill his and we went to the donut shop for coffee and what else? Donuts. (I do realize that donut is not spelled right, but that is the way this shop spells it) This was enjoyable and after running a couple of errands, we made it back home.
Bill just can’t get his mind to understand why he has to be there. He understands why when I tell him so, but he can’t retain it. I had to check my blood pressure throughout the day, and it was a little higher each time despite the medication so I just took an anti-anxiety pill and took it an hour later. This was getting a bit serious now. It was reading 175/110. I told Bill I needed to take him back early because I thought I had better stop by the ER in Joplin to make sure that my blood pressure goes down. When I went back home I took it one more time it was 195/122. I drove straight to the hospital. Once they got the medicine into me it started to go down. Three hours later they sent me home but not before the doctor said I had acute bronchitis. With prescriptions in hand, I headed home letting Bill know they discharged me. Everything is fine again.
I took him out again on Friday and we just spent the day together. I kept an eye on my BP because it felt as if it was getting out of control again. I took him back around 3 PM but didn’t decide to go to the hospital until my BP was stroke inducing high. Fool that I am, I drove myself to the hospital again. I couldn’t find anyone to take me. I was put through the same tests and sent home once my BP was in the normal range. I need to take those anti-anxiety pills when he is with me, and maybe on a more regular schedule.
I still say that last Sunday was the best time we’ve had in a while. A day of friends and friendship; it proved to be a day saver when one noticed what was going on and had the courage to come forward and make a small suggestion.