Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Day by Day Things Are Getting Worse,


there’s no let up.

Beloved is in hospital now. He has fallen once too often.

The last few nights while he was still at home were horrendous. On the first of them I went into his bedroom downstairs, carrying his morning tea, as always. No Beloved to be seen. I had locked all the doors so he couldn’t have got out. So where was he? He couldn’t really manage stairs anymore, but still, I tried upstairs. He was lying curled up in a foetal position on the bare mattress on his previous bed, half undressed and covered only by the mattress protector gauze sheet. It was a bitterly cold night and the heating in the unused bedroom was off. I coaxed him downstairs, avoiding walking close in front of him in case he toppled over and took me with him. The Aga in the kitchen is always on, after half an hour he began to warm up and stopped shivering. I had no idea how long he had been up there, but at some time during the night Millie came into my room, sighing and thumping, until she settled down.

The next such morning I found him standing in the kitchen, in his pyjamas, going through the motions of putting a kettle on. Great relief on my part; he was ok, hadn’t done anything silly during the night and I could take over and make breakfast. I thought I’d better fetch his dressing gown from his bedroom first though, it wasn’t really warm enough to stand around in pyjamas. I walked in and instantly saw that he had trashed his bedroom. Lamps were thrown all over the place, chairs toppled over, slippers and his (luckily empty) urinal bottle on the bed, duvets and blankets knotted and bunched up, papers from his desk strewn about, electric plugs pulled from their sockets, and a rather heavy bedside table pushed to a new position in the room. Where did the strength and fury come from in such a weak and feeble man? Again, Millie had come in search of me some time during the night, but, again, I paid her no attention.

Then, on Saturday morning, Millie came up to me for the third time and I finally understood that she was telling me something was amiss. I ran downstairs and there he was, on the floor in the living room, again half undressed, on his side, neck bent and head leaning against the very cold conservatory sliding doors. He was moaning and breathing laboriously, fluttering hands scrambling for a hold on any surface he could find. He was about to pull down the curtains and topple an expensive lamp when I caught his arms. I rushed to get a blanket to cover him and a pillow for his head and phoned for an ambulance. I didn’t even try to raise him. The ambulance crew came within five minutes. They were the same two paramedics who had picked him up just before Christmas. They took one look, felt for broken bones, couldn’t find any, and gently hauled him up. One of them fetched a stretcher while the other wrapped him in blankets. “This is not the same man we picked up a couple of weeks ago”, they said.  "He cannot stay home this time, he has to come in and be checked out.”

As he lay upon the stretcher and they were wheeling him out he gave me such an imploring look of confused agony and helpless entreaty I couldn’t hold back the tears. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, I could do for him except trust the professionals, who were taking him out of my life, to look after him.

One of the rough, tough and burly chaps looked back at me. “We’ll take good care of him,” he said.

He’s now been in hospital for three days; in spite of what should be a less fraught situation the nightmare continues.








48 comments:

  1. Oh my sweet baby girl. I want so much to give you a warm hug and make you a cup of tea and just sit next to you for a while. I am so sorry. So very sorry.

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  2. You must be beside yourself...the circumstances leading to his being hospitalised were dreadful, even though, as I know from when my mother had a fall a check over in hospital is routine for elderly people.
    Do you have someone to accompany you to the hospital....and someone to make you a coffee and lend an ear at home?

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  3. I also am so sorry for this that you are going through. I hope you have someone to be with you through this ordeal.

    Continued love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

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  4. Your words are powerful. I do hope you find the aid even an extraordinary woman like yourself deserves at such a terrible time. Thank you for fearlessly pulling back the curtain and showing us the truth. God Bless you. I love you. Aloha

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  5. Dear Friko,
    If Beloved does return home, you must have a baby monitor and some kind of alarm bell that triggers if he opens his door. I'm so sorry for what you're going through.

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  6. The right thing has been done for him to be taken out of the house. It's a very tough decision for you but it's the right one.

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  7. So sad losing your best friend this way. It must take a part of you as he retreats. Hugs

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  8. How impossible this all is, and yet, there you are. One step in front of the other, it's all you can do. That the crew came within five minutes seems miraculous. It would not happen here, I don't believe. Yes, there is no choice but to trust in the professionals--and, as you describe them, at least, they seem trustworthy chaps, and kind.

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  9. The line that really caught at my hearty was "....taking him out of my life..."So sad for you but safer for both of you.

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  10. Crying for you. Crying with you. And for and with beloved.
    Words are inadequate. I am so sorry.

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  11. Oh, my dear, Friko, how difficult and painful this is. You are fortunate that the ambulance got to you so quickly and that the people that came were familiar and so kind with your situation. We hear a lot in the news lately about how difficult things are in the NHS so it's good to know that you were able to be helped so quickly.

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  12. I add my sympathy to that of others. A dear friend lost her husband of many many years to dementia fairly recently so am fairly familiar (though not intimately so) with the many difficulties you face. My heart goes out to you, and it aches for you. Courage, my dear, you will do what's right. IT'S NOT FAIR!!

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  13. Dearest Friko, how I wish that I could help you. It is too much for one person to provide all the care that is needed. He is safer in the hospital now. Take some time to rest.

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  14. Oh you poor darling, what a tough situation. You are doing a great job of continuing on, while your hubby is getting the care only professionals can give. This is heart breaking and I pray you are getting rest.

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  15. You are in the midst of such a hard time. I hope you have someone close by whose counsel you can trust. It seems that you have reached a turning point and some hard decisions must be made soon. You have taken care of your Beloved but I fear that no one is caring for you. I hope that in these days you are getting some good rest as you will need energy and clarity for making plans.
    Thinking about you......

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  16. Dementia is such a cruel thing Friko - for your beloved to be torn from you in this manner. From half a world away my heart breaks for you and for beloved whose confusion is unimaginable. I feel humbled that you are sharing this heartbreaking journey via your blog.
    Thank you U. My love and thoughts are with you.

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  17. You are right, there was nothing you could have done in that moment other than call the ambulance, and until they arrived, you made him as comfortable as possible. Millie is a very good dog, knowing when something is not quite right and alerting you to it. How does she react to Beloved being away?
    And no, the professionals were definitely not taking him out of your life, as you put it. He is still very much part of your life, even though never again the way he used to be.

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  18. Dear Friko, I am new to your blog....but I'm holding your hand from afar and shedding a quiet tear with you....xx

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  19. Dear Friko - I cry with you ... so desperately sad and that frustration with strength is one of the extraordinary things that a human seems to be able to conjure up from within their tangled mind. I just hope the hospital isn't too far and you can fairly easily get in to see him and be with him ... thankfully you have Millie to be with you at home. My desperate thoughts as you journey on with your Beloved ... I sincerely hope there's some peace and solace around ... with big hugs - Hilary

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  20. Who is looking after you? dear Friko. This is such a terrible end to so many years together. Thinking of you...My best wishes Christine ( Lockwood Seasons)

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  21. It seems to have got so much worse so suddenly - it's like my daughter's father-in-law, who has a brain tumour and is now in a care home as his wife, a retired nurse, knew he was no longer safe at home. I hope he can be given some medication, anti psychosis or sedative, to help with his distress. I hope the sympathy of friends can give some help to yours. I'm so sorry.

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  22. There is a lot to be said for dying peacefully and instantly in your bed. The English health care system is quite good. You have to trust, but of course that does not ease your pain of having lost the person you knew. He will remember you at times for a while, but not forever. Sadly once he is past remembering, he will be in peace but still very much alive. The agitation and strange behaviour comes from remembering. In the bigger picture and sorry to say, you are now alone in the world, dependant on friends and family and yourself.

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  23. I'm catching up on your blog and finding myself reading through tears. Words cannot describe your situation yet you have done so with such poignancy. I can only send good wishes and virtual support: the emotional toll of seeing a vulnerable loved one imploring you with their eyes is beyond bearing, but you are doing so. As you write, we will stand beside you for what that is worth. There but for the grace of God go all of us. I once read that women have two of the hardest but most necessary of jobs - to bring life into the world, and to help life out of the world. I'm so sorry for your situation and that you are so alone but hope that good neighbours and the solidarity of your blog followers provides a little consolation.

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  24. Thinking of you so very much Friko, so very much.
    Anna xxx

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  25. No words come to me that can make this go away. I wish you peace and comfort in the little spaces of this enormous time. You must be exhausted in every way.

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  26. I am only commenting to let you know I am reading of your struggles with pain and sorrow. There is nothing I can say that will help you, just to let you know I am so sorry. the speed of all this is what amazes me the most. :-(

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  27. This is so very sad and the speed of it all seems unusual from what little I know about dementia. Could it be something else or something in addition to the dementia that could be helped? I am so sorry for you and can feel your desperation. Wish there was more to say of comfort.

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  28. I'm new to your blog but an old hand at dementia and end of life care. You describe the tumult so well. What helped me was forcing myself outside every day, it blew away some cobwebs and settled my feelings. I also turned to long overdue clearing out. I could control my to-do list and feel some good progress. I told myself that it was a gift to the next stage of my life, no matter what/when it happened.

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  29. I am so sorry, but at least the professionals have taken over and you are not having to do everything alone. Take good care of yourself now.

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  30. This time there was no denying it. I am glad they are checking him out. We most certainly can become a danger to ourselves and have to be watched 24/7. No one person can do that. love and hugs from Fargo.

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  31. The speed with which this has happened is breathtaking and heartbreaking. I do believe the man who turned and said,"We'll take good care of him." Taking good care is what's needed all around: for his safety, and your sanity. And bless Millie -- it must be so distressing for her, too. Giving her an extra pat now and then will be good for you both.

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  32. Crying here for you. For him. For how it has ended. So very sorry my dear friend. We are never ready. Ever.
    Good old Millie. Give her extra kisses. It could be worse, cold comfort as that is.
    Lean on us all.You are incredibly brave. How lucky Beloved is.

    XO
    WWW

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  33. The ambulance crew took him to a spot where he could be safe. And you can be safe, too. Use this time to visit, to rest, to recharge your own batteries. If they send him home -- and it's probably a big if -- you will need to be ready. And if they don't, you will be on a different part of the journey.

    That Millie is a champ. She is so wise. She needs you more than ever, and that goes for you needing her. Pets help us heal our souls and Millie is up to the task. Sending hugs.

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  34. Something as simple as a urine infection can dramatically worsen confusion very quickly so a hospital stay makes sense . It does seem time, though, to investigate nearby care home options for spells of respite care .

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  35. Friko, I am so sorry. Your words strike fear into my heart. Love shouldn't have to end this way... but then, we don't always get to choose... or at some point, our choices are limited. I hate that you and Beloved have to go through this. And I hope that sharing your journey helps in some small way. When I was going through Cancer treatment, I read somewhere to "replace the fear with love"... so I'm sending love to both of you to help fight the fear.

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  36. oh sweetie. how awful for you and for him. I'm so sorry you are suffering this heartbreak. it's all happening so swiftly.

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  37. Sad to hear this. I have had relatives who have had dementia.

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  38. Dear Friko, our mutual friend Pondside has written eloquently what I would have mumbled through, trying to express what my feelings are for what you have experienced and for how the future will unfold.

    Hoping that you will feel the love and admiration that I am sending you. xo

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  39. What horrible news to come back to after an absence. My heart goes out to you, aches for you. You have such courage and will certainly need it. Dementia is cruel and is more and more widespread as we all grow older. No-one knows when it will come calling or for whom. It must be so painful for you to see your Beloved in that condition, knowing there is so little you can do. I cannot imagine coping with the lack of hope, that must be so hard to deal with. I do hope you find a support network, Friko. You must care for yourself, also. And I hope it helps to know that we "out here" care for you.

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  40. Thank goodness for Millie & for the quick response from emergency services. My eyes have filled with tears at the thought of your beloved's fragile state. May you, too, be receiving care from friends & loved ones during this time. x Bea

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  41. Dear Friko, I must tell you that I paused when I read that the paramedics "took
    Beloved out of your life." I don't think so. They took him out of your presence, but nobody can ever take him out of your life. As long as you can close your eyes and see those fingers playing; as long as you can hear that beautiful music in your
    head, he will be with you. I am so sorry that you must endure being separated from
    him, even though that separation is essential for both of you. I have spend some time thinking since I read your post. Whatever could I say to you? Surely there
    must be something?! All I can offer is something for you to ponder.
    Some years ago, Old Man and I were at a campground in our RV. Our young granddaughter, while running on the rocky road, had stubbed her toe. The nail was
    a mess. She was screaming loudly as I tried to survey the damage. Old Man was
    watching. He said, to my amazement, "Cailey, look at the butterfly!" The screaming stopped as she looked around. Her attention was less focused on the pain as she searched for a butterfly that perhaps wasn't even there. Old Man told me later that he had purposely distracted her. I saw him use that same tactic some months later when a friend tripped while walking with us on steep terrain. Our friend must have thought he was totally bonkers for asking her a totally irrelevant question, but her
    ankle hurt less after she had answered him.
    Those particular incidents dealt with physical pain. We know that there are other kinds of pain that hurt just as much. I wonder if the same strategy would not be
    equally valuable in dealing with inconsolable grief. Going to the theater, visiting
    with a friend, spending time with your delightful flowers, walking dear Millie. All of these might be "butterflies" for you. Looking for butterflies is never a bad thing. And, when you are feeling alone, try to replace the memory of his beseeching
    eyes with memories of those same eyes filled with love for you. I am sure all you
    have to do is call up those pictures in your head.
    I wish you restful sleep and a sense of many arms around you, holding you close.
    Rose

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  42. What an awful and distressing situation for you Friko. I'm sending you much love.

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  43. :-(
    This all is too sad and nothing can be done for him except to watch over him and keep him warm and safe. And what is to be done for you? Here is another hug Friko...

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  44. Thinking of all you must be going through....thanks for sharing xxx

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  45. Thinking of you, Friko, from afar. And give Millie a hug (or many); what a gift she is to you.

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  46. I too am sorry for your matters.

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  47. I am very sorry to read of this...Millie is a special dog. Hugs to you both.

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  48. Dear Friko. Praying for you and Beloved.

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