Mike Day 18 Forward: Our Wedding Anniversary…how sweet it is

June 14, 2011

Family, Health, Mike

First, Happy Anniversary to us.  It’s 31 years today since we were married.  I’m interested to see if Mike retained that information till this morning.  Lately, it seems as if sometimes his short term memory is improving with enough repetition of the same data…and then only for short periods.  Truthfully, the memory thing is a mixed blessing.  When I’ve lost patience and been grumpy about something he’s done or am fussing because he was mean, he never remembers it for long.  And I’m glad because I am not proud of those lapses and hate hurting him as I remind myself he can’t help himself when he acts that way.  

Morgans definitely took care of us table wise last night.  When we were seated there was the chair with arms that I had asked for at Mike’s seat.  We were away from the kitchen door and in a more secluded spot where we could see what was going on and be part of it without being in the midst of tables of other diners.  Mike, of course, began searching his pockets for money the second we sat down.  I reassured him that I had it covered…I had his debit card in my purse and he could pay for it by debit card.  When I showed him the card he looked at it as if it were the first time he was seeing it, turning it over to examine the back.  Was it unfamiliar or was he checking to be sure it was his?  I can’t tell, but he seemed satisfied and handed it back.  He perused the menu and chose the Porterhouse Steak.  I tried to convince him Filet might be a better choice but he was having none of that.  Porterhouse was what he wanted.  Porterhouse it was.  We started with appetizers.  He had spring rolls…and ate two of the three plus all the bed of greens they were on.  I pointed out that his salad was coming and he would have greens there, but he told me, logically enough, this IS salad.  When the salad course came he ate that.  A small square of pumpkin bread.  He ate the entire steak, some potatoes and ignored the absolutely gorgeous green beans.  I’ve never seen him turn his nose up at veggies.  Assuming he was full I let it go. 

The waitress tempted us with the dessert tray.  His eyes widened.  Mike definitely has a sweet tooth!    We ordered pie and coffee…to go he added for the waitress.  I said, well why to go honey?  I overrode his decision and he looked unhappy about it.  I prodded…why, honey is it too much for you?  Do you need to leave?  He nodded at the is it too much for you.  I persisted, what part is too much?  He said “the money”.  He had asked earlier….twice…if we had enough money for all of this and I reassured him we did.  Evidently I forgot that he could not retain information that long.  I pointed out that the money was the same if we ate it there or to go so he seemed mollified and dug into his pie with gusto when it arrived.  When it did arrive, we noticed Morgan’s had used red syrup to decorate the bowl…on the rim it said Happy Anniversary in red syrup.  How sweet.  (I had peanut butter pie…delicious and still with me.  LOL)  When the check arrived, the waitress put it next to me and with my eyes I silently motioned that it should go to Mike.  She set it by him with the tiniest sleight of hand and said “there you go sir, I’ll take that when you’re ready.”  We got out the debit card as he perused the bill, I reminded him how it would be processed, come back for signature and we’d add the tip then.  He handled it well and when it came back he signed in his new, halting fashion.  As we were leaving he asked how much tip we had left her since I wrote it in and I told him…he seemed satisfied with the amount and nodded his head in agreement. 

We spoke of driving up to visit my brother and sister-in-law before going home and I called them to check if they were home.  When they did not answer I told Mike they must be out so we’d go another time.  About half way home when he realized where we were and where we were headed, he asked if we weren’t going to Kim’s.  I again explained they weren’t home.  Guess the short term memory needed a bit more repetition of that.  All in all, a successful dinner and Mike was the romantic suitor I remembered from 30 0dd years ago.   When we got home, before he got out of the car, he looked at me sweetly and wished me a Happy Anniversary.  Before bedtime he tenderly cradled my face and told me he loved me, he was a lucky man I loved him as I do and told me it was so easy to love me, who wouldn’t.  Well…many people since I am kind of high maintenance and pretty hard to live with sometimes.  But Mike has always been secure enough to handle my very head strong personality and love me for it.  He hasn’t forgotten that in spite of the memory problems.  I was reminded how blessed I am that this guy is and has been in my life for 30 0dd years!

He watched TV for a while and then became distracted.  He wandered around the room looking for the oddest things. Things he knew what he meant…but we couldn’t decipher and when he told us what they would do for him, didn’t make sense. He stood at the bathroom mirror and systematically picked the scab off his trach stoma.   Cameron did his hand strength exercises with him.  Mikey came down to distract and received a full measure of his verbal confusion and his stubbornness about following directions such as lay on your side etc etc.  But he got him settled in bed.  There he waited, watching a WWII show on the military channel till I was ready for bed.

Miraculously I was able to sleep all night.  I hit the bed about 10:15 and I shut my eyes to open them only when Teddy the Terrorist woke me up at 5:15 with his high pitched yap insisting on being taken outside.  I put on my slippers marveling at the fact I had slept all night and wondering if that also meant Mike had slept all night…normally I hear him and his slightest movement and wake up when he gets up.  Which is pretty often.    As I got around the side of the bed I heard Mike ask me what was wrong.   I was walking gingerly as always. ( I have arthritis, heel spurs, and plantar faschiitis in both feet.  The first walk of the morning is agony and has been for years. The rest are just painful. )  I explained my feet hurt but it was fine and back to sleep he went.  I marveled that for the first time since he got sick he was able to see that somebody else had discomfort and to inquire about it.  He’s been pretty wrapped inside his world without really recognizing the details of the world around him.  I looked on this as a victory of awareness that is increasing.  I guess it is not a big deal and the doctor’s and therapists would pooh pooh it…but I am grateful for any sign of improvement regardless of magnitude!  As I rounded the bed to his side and began to pass the nightstand I noticed something there.  Something oddly familiar yet strange.  Something that didn’t belong.  I picked it up in the dim morning light.  Immediately I recognized it as the dressing from his bedsore.  Sigh. And YUK.   A quick check told me he still had on the brief and it was dry.  I decided to conquer the dressing later, after his shower…and let him sleep a couple hours before his day started.   I’d like to pretend this decision was entirely altruistic.  It wasn’t.  I wanted the peace and quiet myself.   

I got into the bathroom feeling pretty good…certain he had slept the night and  other than removing his dressing (and probably contaminating the wound bed with lord knows what germs from the dogs, the things he touches etc….my mind is a fertile ground of imagination) the night was uneventful.  As soon as I opened the door to the bathroom I knew I was wrong.  He had definitely gotten up to go to the bathroom during the night.  And missed the toilet.  Half the tiny bathroom floor was wet.  And boy did it smell.  Good morning Robbie!  Before I could even use the toilet myself it was necessary to go get a bucket and clean the bathroom floor and commode…once again.  It was done 3 or 4 times yesterday.  I’ve never had a cleaner bathroom! I wish I could come to view it as a small price to pay for continence.  Truly.  I do.  I’m grateful.  I’d be more grateful if I could convince him to SIT when he pees….

In closing, I remind myself that car keys must be carefully hidden now.  More so than before.  When we left for dinner and we got to the passenger door, as I hesitated and waited for him to get in, Mike said “well, go ahead, get in.”  I was like, uuuuhhh…no, you get in, I’m driving.  That was sufficient for Mike who said OK…but I went on to remind him that the doctor had told him NO DRIVING…which of course, he didn’t remember and created a whole new discussion of how I was wrong and that it was bullshit and yadayada ya.  Finally I told him we’d see the doctor next week and he could ask him then.  I have no doubt in my mind he is unaware of the full extent of his limitations even as he recognizes intellectually he is not the same, unaware that he can’t drive and would see no problem in going out and getting in the car.  Oy vey. 

He’s off to Mel’s and therapy today…and Mikey, Cam and I are turning the bed.   I’m buying dog food.  And cleaning.  And if I’m lucky, working on my sewing software lessons.  We’ll see.

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