Thursday, August 10, 2023

This Stranger Makes Me Very Nervous...

After having a good week of socializing, Pam has seen a major decline.  Wednesday was the monthly lunch with her sisters.   Saturday morning was the monthly Condo Coffee Hour.  A small group of the residents congregate, drink coffee and consume home-made cakes and snacks.  Just like when we were in high school, the women congregate in one room and the men in the other.  Of course, the  men are closer to the food.  And the crowning event of the week is what I refer to as the gathering of the GDTC Old Folks.   They are a small group of couples that have been friends for many years.  The men all used to run and hike together.   It has been quite a while since we gathered and it was a wonderful time of memories.

 The Old Folks met as a result of their membership in the Greater Derry Track Club, beginning in the 1980's.  I began my involvement by writing a few club newsletters and eventually became President for a couple of years.  We ran fun runs, road races, and even a few marathons together.   In an effort to expand our horizons, we began hiking together.  We climbed a number of the four thousand footers in New Hampshire, including several trips up Mount Washington.  We also did some backpacking, across the Pemigewassett Wilderness.  Eventually, we began winter hiking.  This was both challenging and exhilarating.  Our expeditions up Mount Lafayette and Mount Madison began in sub-zero temperatures at the parking lot.  Fresh snowfall made for some beautiful pictures and lots of practice on the snowshoes.

Pam seemed to have a good time on Saturday, engaging with friends and talking about old times.   Sunday night seems to have been a major turning point for her.  Near midnight I heard her crying in her sleep.  I went in to console her and let her know that she was safe.  But she never woke up.   She did wake about 4 am and seemed very confused.  We sat on the couch together and I was rubbing her knee, but she seemed very nervous.  Eventually, I asked if she knew who I was.   Her first response was a giggle, which I have come to expect when she doesn't want to answer the question.  But I eventually got my answer.... she does not know me.  I have tried to prepare myself for this moment.  but there is no adequate preparation for this.  She still remembers our daughters, so I am hoping with their help I can make Pam feel safe with me.

 In addition, Pam is having more and more trouble moving around the condo.  Her balance is really bad at times.  She seems to be in a fog for the first hour or so after getting up in the morning.  She is needing more assistance in the bathroom  and getting dressed.  Last night she was looking for our current home health aide to assist her in the bathroom.  And I have noticed that the tremors in her arms have gotten stronger.  We are about one month into having home health aides providing some coverage for Pam.  I will need to spend some time thinking about what will be the most effective use of their time.  They are currently here four hours a day Tuesday thru Thursday afternoons.

This dementia journey takes another turn.  I have done a lot of reading to prepare myself for what is coming.  But when it arrives, I am completely ill prepared emotionally.  No one deserves what this journey forces us to endure.


  1. You're right, Cuz - no one deserves this. Don't beat yourself up for not being prepared - I doubt anyone could be. Sending you and Pam much love from the other side of the country and political spectrum.

  2. "forces us to endure". Well said. Maybe tell Pam your her live in aid to help her feel comfortable?

  3. Bruce,

    Thanks again for the update. I agree with Mark, there is no way any of us are prepared for anything like this; it is big, serious stuff. It is also truly heartbreaking. Your commitment and persistence are inspirational. Keep up the good work and know that you and your family are in our prayers.

  4. Your last sentence sums it all up.