Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kinds of Memory, Christmas Travel and Home

A day before we left on our trip hubby and I were at Cracker Barrel, the restaurant/gift shop. We are seated. DH excuses himself to go to the bathroom. He isn't coming back to our table at Cracker Barrel. I go looking for him. He thought I was shopping. I bring him to the table. He is surprise that we had been seated. He doesn't remember.

DH recalls going up in a plane with Jake. I do not recall that, but have heard both DH and Jake discuss their plane trip. How do two Alzheimer's men have the same memory that Sally and I know never happened?!

Both men see that the other one is going downhill.

“Time is change; we measure its passage by how much things alter.”― Nadine Gordime

If you have Alzheimer's. however, time is so present and memories are so fickle and subjective. There may be a few recent memories, but not accurate short-term ones. Long-term memories start to become fuzzy.

I do capitalize on recent memories when I tell hubby that it is 7 am or 7 pm and time to take our pills: Sweetheart, you wouldn't want me to take your pills like I did when I landed in the hospital, so let's both take our pills NOW.

For the Christmas week we had the pleasure of flying to his son's home in another state, and enjoying family and their extended family including two great grandchildren. I became my husband's one constant as we were away from home. He even asked his own son who that son's mother is, forgetting that she is hubby's first wife.

I made daily sheets for him to remind him of what was happening and to let him know when we would be returning to Plant City, Florida. Even so he needed many reassurances from me. Sally and Jake took us to the airport and they would pick us up from the airport,

One morning on our trip he woke me asking Where is here? I explained that we were at his son's home. Although he became somewhat oriented to the lovely three story home where we stayed and he had often been before, he forgot that we had a bed and bathroom in the basement.

He said he would go downstairs.

"No, sweetheart, you need to go upstairs," I reminded him.

When he was on the third story watching TV with his son in the media room, he called me on my cell phone to see if I was anywhere around.

"I am right below you--the next story down," I reminded him. Often DH then responds that he is just checking to see if I am kicking and breathing. He wants to find out if I am kicking and breathing at our own home as well.

We heard a noise in the middle of the night and I remarked that I didn't know what it was. He said it was just the noise of an elevator. Now there was no elevator in the three story home where we were staying--but I didn't correct him.

On the trip we had wonderful hospitality and all the comforts of home. I gave DH a daily schedule and kept his clothes and toiletries where he could easily find them. But for DH, it wasn't home, confirming that Alzheimer's patients are so dependent on their spouse/caregiver and their own home.


  1. Oh my goodness, that post reminded me so much of the trips that Elbert and I took during Alzhiemers. Them needing that constant reassurance, needing to see something familiar to their mind, it's so heart-wrenching. I hope you had a wonderful time and that you do get to take another trip or two.

  2. Moses had it right in Psalm 90. "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." This verse has become so important to me as Gary has progressed with AD and the familiar places have been fading and especially as we have had to adjust to leaving our long time home 3 years ago. Since as Christians, God is our dwelling place, (hiding place), He will be the source of comfort and familiarity to our souls. Moses didn't have a permanent home either, and he knew the secret of finding his security in God. The surroundings may change, or lost to A.D., but our REAL "dwelling place", holds us securely. (One of the ways he does that is spousal love that reassures the lost one as they go along.)

  3. I wonder if the Alzheimer patient worries about the future and how the disease will affect them or are they so 'present' that they don't think much about the future.. just like they don't think about the past?

  4. Even without Alzheimer's my elderly parents like the familiarity of home and reassurence of family members on outings. Iit's get that you had a little break away. XO

  5. Good comments here and I do not have all the answers but am like the other caregivers who wrote here trusting in the LORD.

    The future, hmm. Both for DH and for the disease, and for Ruby's parents.

    This post was a draft started some time ago, and then refined early Tuesday morning on our trip before the electricity went out from roughly 9 am to 8 PM. When we went to bed hubby had no memory that the electicty had gone out.

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  7. Thanks, Rhinosplasti. It looks like you are a medical doctor in Turkey--just guessing from the link--I don't speak your language. I write here about my husband's mixed dementrite ia--his saga. I put in other information on my life such as senior health (I am a young 68 year old). Then I also am likely to write about coconut oil, my part-time work and hobbies such as my poems (raps) and crafts. My Christian faith is another mix in this blog.