A peaceful, pancake-stuffed morning. After breakfast I am taking a few quiet moments with my jigsaw puzzle, when my love looks up and earnestly asks, “What is your name?” “I’m Delores.” “de… DeGlorious?” (we have a friend we affectionately call “Glorious.”) “Delores.” “Oh.”
“What’s this?” my love, the former carpenter asks, picking up a tape measure. “It’s a tool to tell you how long things are.” “Oh that’s interesting, how does it work?” “Well there’s a tab you pull out, that gives you a measuring stick.” “Where?” Much fumbling and pulling at various bumps and edges ensues. “Here,” I say, having pity and losing patience at the same time. “Oh,” he casts one glance at it and puts it down, turning to talk about breakfast.
Ironically, one of the first indicators I had that things were going sideways was when he began to cut boards incorrectly. He had annoyed me with his insistence on measuring to the sixteenth inch, but suddenly he was usually out by inches, or even feet, and often requiring a trip back to the mill for more boards. I started dropping whatever I was doing and rushing to help him, every time he had to measure and saw. That was about 5 years before diagnosis.
There is a gentle stroke on my shoulder. I open one eye and see it is 4:30 in the morning. “Are you okay?” he asks. “Yes,” I say, “I’m fine,” and I roll over and go back to sleep. Four minutes later, the scenario repeats. And again. (In retrospect I realise I should have used the word “Okay” instead of introducing more confusion with “Fine.”) Twenty minutes later, the scene repeats, but this time I mutter, “Well, I would be okay if someone wasn’t waking me up to ask me how I am.” “What?” “Oh just joking,” and this time we sleep for an extra two hours. That morning, he hugged me and said, “I am so glad you are okay. I was so worried. Oh boy, (affectionate chuckle), oh girl!”
In the old days, I often had tough deadlines and a lot of work, and my love would scope out the scene and quietly cook dinner and then clean up, while I went back to work. Last week, just as I was packing up my papers for an important meeting the next day, I discovered an accounting error. My love wrung his hands and said, “I wish I could help you but I just don’t understand.” I cooked dinner, and then got up from the table and went straight back to the computer to track the error. My love came in, surveyed the scene, and silently went out. In a few minutes I heard him, quietly, slowly, and steadily picking up one dish, washing and drying it, and picking up another, and washing and drying it. Over and over. When I emerged, problem solved, I found all the dishes arrayed on the counter, each one separately laid out. How happy I was to tell him that he had helped me very much.