I am aware all the time that our trouble is as a mosquito bite, compared to the tragedies around the world. From the middle east wars to starvation of millions in Africa to the victimization of the unfortunate here at home, never mind the coming climate change miseries.
Small stuff indeed, my pain. And just one more drop in an ocean of grief. But multiplied by tens of millions all over the world, over decades and centuries, and it is not so small. This is an epidemic of a new kind.
Today was a day to look the nightmare in the eye.
When i got to the care home all was well. There was a full shift of experienced care staff and a good LPN and RN. The ward was humming with good energy.
Himself was marching off down the hall to somewhere – SO tempted to say Kansas!!!- and invited me to join him.
We walked up and down a while, each turn of the hall apparently new and potentially dangerous. Then I noticed his shoes were wonky, and eventually the care aid and I figured out he had on two left shoes, one from an old set and one from a new pair.
Ok, no prob. The 3 of us set off to get the shoes fixed but then the scene devolved as the patient used the toilet (with coaching – no not on the floor, sit there) and subsequently got very very angry when the staff tried to remove a shoe.
I wondered later if he thought it was his foot she was trying to take off? Certainly his identification of my hands and feet is non-existent, including trying to eat my hand the other day.
The scene threatened to become a full 4 scale red alert melt down, but the staff skillfully diffused it all, let him go without a wash or clean pull ups, just making sure he had clean hands. They reassured me that they would “catch him later” in a better space, and I know they will. (Note to govt bureaucrats: this is why staffing levels need to be higher for dementia patients, and this is why expecting a lone care giver to handle at home is… well …. insane.)
10 minutes later we were eating lunch happily, the entire episode forgotten. No lingering bad mood even, which is most unusual. Just the usual confusion about food and eating, and the usual offer to me to share his cookies: “what about you, babe?”
Me? Faced once more with the total horror of that destroyed mind, my beloved behaving in ways he would be completely appalled at, ways he would never mean to do, Me, I go home and weep the afternoon away.
Some days are nightmares.