I would have loved to end the old year on a more cheerful note than the ‘Christmas Hates’ post and, even more so, to have been able to start the new year with renewed hope and energy.
I’ve been wondering if I should continue with this blog in its current incarnation, under the same heading, or if I should close it and start a new one under the same title as this post. Or maybe give up posting altogether, seeing how little time I have at my disposal.
My decision is to continue this blog as it is, except that it will deal primarily with what it is like to live with, and be the carer of, a loved one who now recognisably suffers from dementia. Friko’s World is the title of this blog, and Friko’s World it is, before and after the axe fell.
Not many of you will find it interesting and I won’t be upset if you stop reading. There is a lot of involuntary laughter but there is a lot of pain and heartache too. I will remain true to myself and honest with you who read. Some of you might be upset, some disgusted and some uplifted. It has absolutely amazed me finding out how many people suffer from some kind of mental illness in old age. Nearly everybody knows somebody who is a carer or has a dementia patient in their family and circle of friends.
The first major indications that something more than lapses of memory and the mislaying of days and times of day was wrong came a couple of weeks before Christmas. Beloved became quite agitated about our preparations for the festive season, pushing to go shopping for more and more groceries and drinks. As there were only the two of us, no family or friends expected, this was slightly odd. His daughter rang and I told her that her dad was uncharacteristically restless. We suspected an infection which needed treatment. When mild dementia sets in, an infection will send the patient completely confused, apt to go ‘doolally’ as an acquaintance, whose husband has Alzheimers, calls it.
A few days later I went up to Beloved’s bedroom to wake him for his morning bath, as his carer was on her way. He was not in his bed. In the gloom I peered into the room and saw a white form on the floor, partially naked, with a blanket pulled up over the legs. He had obviously, at some time during the night, got up, started to undress and fallen. I tried to get him to his legs. No luck. The carer came and tried too. Still no luck. I had, however, already called an ambulance; we are advised to do so if a patient has fallen and can neither be moved by others nor lift himself up. After making sure that nothing was broken or otherwise damaged two burly paramedics soon manipulated him upright again and began a series of tests. Beloved was shaking with cold. The first thing was to warm him up. Through chattering teeth he repeated several times to all assembled, i.e. me, the carer and the paramedics, that he’d been trapped under the wardrobe and had been unable to extricate himself. As warmth returned he wondered what kind of house he could possibly have landed in where wardrobes trapped people and carpets were laid on walls as well as floor.
The tests showed no abnormalities and it was decided that he should stay at home, where he would be able to recover in a calm and comfortable environment, rather than be shunted off to hospital where he’d probably have to wait in a draughty corridor for hours before any medic could deal with him.
So that’s what happened. We were just a few days away from Christmas.