Well, it’s been quite a week. Trying to find a new routine, a new normal, while navigating our way through uncharted territory. I’m not going to lie. It’s been kind of rough. We seem to be settling now, but certain events of the week are unresolved so there’s some looming uncertainty. I’m hopeful it will pass but if there’s one thing you can count on around here, it’s that you never know what might happen next!
When Keith was diagnosed last January, I decided to send our youngest two kids to school. I’d been homeschooling for many years but things hadn’t been going well for a while. Among other issues related to the kids’ personalities, Keith’s increasingly short temper made it very hard for the kids to be kids. So, it is with great irony that we are now homeschooling again. It’s a lot different now though since I don’t have to make up the curriculum and am not working. We’ve only done one week so far, but the kids have actually been doing really well and have been good about working through their assignments.
Having us all home all day though – the kids from school and me from my job driving school bus – has been hard on Keith. He isn’t used to having people (and noise!) in the house all day. The routine has been disrupted, and that is very difficult for him. It’s very difficult for us too . . . .
At the worst moments of the week, Keith was very agitated and that creates a lot of chaos for the whole house. Whenever he came out of the office, he was ranting, slamming doors from one end of the house to the other, and just being unpleasant.
When FTD erodes a brain, the affected individual generally sees things only through their own perspective. They may become suspicious, almost paranoid, that everyone is against them. And small wonder! In their mind, they are the same as always. All of their rights are being taken away, and they can’t understand why. They aren’t in denial – that part of the brain just isn’t working right anymore. No amount of reasoning, explaining, or logic will help them see it better or understand. It would be like trying to convince you that the sky is green. You know it isn’t green, it’s never been green, and it never will be green. For them, they’re fine, they’ve always been fine, and they always will be fine. We all know the acronym of “FINE,” right? Say it with me, “F****d up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Egotistical.” That’s FTD in one big nutshell. (I’ve heard the “E” stand for “emotional” too, but Egotistical fits better in FTD Land.)
The last two days have been better, thank goodness . . . hang on while I find some wood to knock on . . . . So we muddle through. Like many states, we’re on “stay home” orders, which only means so much when you have three adult kids who work in the state across the river and are “essential personnel” (manufacturing, a car wash supervisor, and grocery store florist), and Keith, himself, who works as a dishwasher two days a week in the local hospital. I have some concerns about one of them bringing the virus home, but am glad that they are able to continue working. It’s such a mixed set of feelings.
Keith, who usually watches the news constantly, was completely unaware of the stay home orders until I mentioned it the day it was going into effect. He has said relatively little about the entire pandemic, but when he does, it’s usually to blame political parties, throw around some racial slurs, and/or just express annoyance with everyone’s stupidity. I have to admit, his comments are often pretty funny – even if they’re awful and we know we shouldn’t laugh. Keith always had an incredibly quick wit and wicked sense of humor, so it’s nice that some of it has been retained. Unfortunately, it’s often much more cutting than it used to be, and frequently very off-color. So, we stifle guilty laughter behind our closed hands, not daring to make eye contact with each other.
So, if you’re getting to spend extra time in your house, try to enjoy it. Play some games, work on some projects, do things you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had time for. I’ve been teaching our youngest one some embroidery that she’s been pestering me about, and I was able to finish crocheting a blanket I started a year ago. It is my dearest hope that all of my friends and family stay healthy and safe.
Until next time . . . . . this is dementia.