I’m at a loss for words…

11 12 2008

img_3810I was attacking it with great gusto.  An old refrigerator, doors long ago torn off and disposed of – used for storage in that dark, damp space of the basement.  The next day was garbage day – my goal…one more bag.  This was a “special” place of storage for disposable tableware: little plastic coffee cups with handles, knives, forks, spoons, cups – you get the picture.

But what you don’t know is that some of them I am SURE were left overs from my wedding 30 years ago.  Again, the recycler in me had to think twice.  Surely there was a homeless shelter somewhere that could use this stuff but could I live with the news the next day that the crowd that gathered for Christmas dinner was all hospitalized with some mysterious illness from black mold or something?  I had to throw them away.

When I get angry, I can’t fill the bags fast enough.  Nothing is quite as satisfying as a good purge.  Of course, it is much easier to do in someone else’s space.  I turn off my brain and think of the good I’m doing for what remains of my mom’s respiratory health and well being by getting this stuff out of the house.

As has happened before, something takes my breath away (besides the fact that I’m working without a face mask)…I find something so sacred that Billy wrapped it specially and even wrote on the outside to keep predators like me at bay.

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I shake my head again at the cruelty of dementia…it took away his letters. This guy who loved crossword puzzles and got them done in the time after dinner and before the end of the news,  lost so many words in the end.  Cooky contaner.  I expected a pretty colored tin and all I found was the cheapest plastic kind that held a bunch of common store bought cookies.  Nothing special.  Except to Billy.  It was kooky!

We were having dinner with friends tonight and got to talking about toddlers (they have one),  brain injuries and dementia.  They all have things in common.  Spending any time at all with anyone in these three categories as a caregiver, you do a lot of repetition.

With the toddler you don’t mind as much because you are introducing them to the wonders of the world around them.  To the one with a brain injury you are re-teaching and anxious with wild hope that they will reconnect. Dementia just leaves sadness and loss.  It is a step into the abyss.

Today I’m OK with walking along side those who didn’t ask for this to be their lot and help them face each day with whatever dignity they still have left.  There are days that are exasperating.  I just have to pretend I’m an speech therapist and get into the zone.  How many times to do we need to look at the calendar to see the date when we are writing ten checks one right after the other?

The answer is 10.  Ten times we go over the date and look at it again. Maybe it was to remind me that I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now.





coping mechanisms

22 09 2008

 

It was last December when I snapped this picture of Billy using one of his favorite coping mechanisms. When things got too overwhelming for him, he’d just take out one of the multiple “snot rags” he’d have on his person at any given time – hang it over his glasses and check out.  He knew what was best for his brain at the time. Having worked with many brain injury patients over the last three years – I understand some of the things that happened…too much light, too much noise, too much activity, too much stress.  A time out for the brain.

So after a good cleaning of the livingroom today and exorcising all the flu bugs – I went to Blockbuster and got season one of 30 Rock…just like hanging a snot rag over my brain.  There’s not much in life that Tina Fey can’t fix for me.