Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sundowning and Obsessions

I have been noticing that about Sundown time we run into snags here. When life isn't comfortable or is confusing, DH gets agitated. Jake does also.

Friday night we went out to dinner with Sally and Jake. The four of us were at a round table and Jake was concerned we weren't sitting correctly at the table. Sally was sitting closer to me so we could chat. Jake was obsessed with how we sat. Jake wouldn't let his obsession go until we had squared off the whole table. Jake went up to pay their bill and I went up to pay our bill. Sally meanwhile at the round table asked my husband if he was upset about not driving anymore like Jake. He told her that he knew it was best he didn't drive anymore. Jake and DH have different obsessions.

One sundowning episode when DH didn't like the restaurant, he said to me, If you take me here again, I will divorce you and If you take me here again I will shoot you. I know it is the disease and sundowntime that I have written about earlier on this blog. I bought this up days later and DH says he was just teasing or that maybe I was making things up. They are in a different world at sundown--an Alzheimer's world.

I worked six days last week. When I got home on Saturday, it was my husband's time to obsess--late afternoon. I told him that while I taught, I had the car's oil changed. I reported to him that the mechanic had actually found the source of the oil leak, thinking that he would be glad to know this news. Not so.

"So why didn't you get it fixed?" he wanted to know.

"Because I only found out about the location of the leak when the mechanic picked me up," was my reply. It soon became clear to me that hubby wasn't processing this information and he decided late afternoon of a Saturday that we needed to go out to get the car fixed. Even though I was tired and wanted to stay home, we left on an adventure. With obsessions, you just have to see where the Alzheimer's spouse is taking you. An obsessed person doesn't think about making a phone call to get the appointment. DH apparently needed to get out of the house.

The garage door closer that is kept in our car needed a battery and DH has been closing it with a switch in the garage when I left all week. Confusing to DH now. On our trip to find a late Saturday car repair I said to hubby: "I will drive the car out of the garage and pick you up at the front door." This didn't make sense to him as he kept forgetting that he couldn't get in the car with me and that I couldn't use the garage door closer in the car to close the door. He was mad. It was confusing.

Now our Plant City Firestone has shut down and we drove to nearby Sefner for their Firestone--our new mechanics to keep our Expedition running. On the way there, DH forgot, of course,  where we were going. When we got to our new mechanics, I arranged for an appointment for next week. Then we went on to Wal-Mart to get several items including the small battery for the garage door opener and to have DH's watch set ahead an hour.

I reflect that this stage of Alzheimer's is much like Autism. Individuals with both diseases have short-term memory problems and tend to obsess about issues. In both situations distraction and reminders help. So by the time we got to Firestone, the obsessive purpose for the trip was no longer an issue. Hubby was distracted by the enjoyable ride in the country past strawberry fields and farm houses, remarking that he doesn't get out much and doesn't remember the road we were traveling on. He also remarked that it is good that he doesn't drive anymore.

Rather than get upset, I, the caregiver, just go with the flow. I just need to enjoy my days with hubby and find the humor. The other night when DH was praying, he told the LORD that whatever that thought was that he had, the LORD knew. The LORD does know all about our Alzheimer's journey, the obsessions and all. Thank you, LORD!

1 comment:

  1. Go with the flow is the best we can do on bad dementia days.
    I had to laugh at your husbands response to the eating establishment.
    Perhaps I am safe by sticking to the 2 restaurants my Hubby likes and not trying anything new ;-)