My wife and I have started to go out for walks and shopping together again these last few weeks. She, in her wheelchair and me doing the hard yakka...that's what the Australian say when you do the hard work...me doing the pushing! There have been a number of close calls when we came across bumps and uneven surfaces in our path.......all my fault. I have yet to master the art of pushing a wheelchair with patient and grace...but I am getting there.
Once again we are out and about in our suburbs doing things together. I have missed doing these things with her ever since her ability to walk took a downward turn a few months back.
Today she can still get to her feet with our assist but her body shakes and trembles with the effort and I can no longer trust her to remain upright without us holding on to her and with her weight completely on our arms for support. The physical deterioration of her physical self is graphic and can be seen almost on a weekly basis but I can tell you that for me I am overwhelmed by the love I feel for this girl that I married when I was 21 and she 23.
I am overwhelmed because as much as I can care for her, it is she that has to go through this terrible affliction that burdens those who have dementia. But she does not complain. Never have I heard her ask why she has been burdened by dementia...or maybe she does not know that she has dementia and she does not know what it is doing to her.
This is one of the saddest thing about dementia....you wonder what is going on inside the head of those who are afflicted with it...and when the one afflicted with it is your loved ones ...it is much harder because you have to do the thinking for them. They can no longer do it for themselves...and whatever you do for them you can never know if it is enough for their physical and mental well being and comfort....so you just have to keep trying.
Let me try and explain what this involves....
My wife and wife have been exchanging a lot of "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" whenever I ask if anything is good or bad - whether it be the meals she is having, the walks we go for, her comfort in bed and even her preference for the clothes we pick up for her to wear in the mornings.
Lately I have seen that she had been giving me the "thumbs down" for almost everything...even pumpkin soup which is her favorite! And them slowly it dawned upon me that she will give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" according to what was last shown by me....so if I reverse the sequence she will follow same. So now no more "thumbs up" or down...again I have to do the thinking for her and decide what is best for her.
Everyday is an event for me and my son as we do the caring of her from the time she awakes until she falls asleep. I say it is an event because it is the three of us doing things together.
How many of you still do things together with your children and your wife not only on a daily basis...but, like my son, my wife and me.....many times in a day! And we smile and talk to each other while doing it all. And I am grateful that we are still doing it now when my wife is 70, my son almost 40 and me 67...I am indeed grateful.
Life is good.