TURN UP THE MUSIC
Usually I tried to take Alan out every day, even if it was just to go for a walk, I knew that I had to keep him on the move, not let him succumb to sitting in a chair falling asleep in front of the T.V. I think it did his body and spirit good. So did listening to music, and dancing which he had always loved. Although I’m not sure about our neighbors when he turned up the volume until the speakers vibrated, and he would take hold of my hand and swirl me around the room with the pair of us singing our hearts out…..”I would do anything for love, I’d run right into hell and back” (Meatloaf) how true those words were.
Of course, when we did go out we always stopped somewhere for a coffee and a donut or cookie, he had a real sweet tooth. Now it seems there are various studies correlating Alzheimer’s to sugar and inflammation, but with hindsight, I still wouldn’t have deprived him of those simple pleasures – we all have to make choices in life. He’d never been on any medication, never had any surgery, wasn’t overweight, didn’t have diabetes or blood pressure problems – to look at he was “as strong as an ox and fit as a fiddle”, people didn’t believe there was anything wrong with him. His body was still upright, and he wasn’t shuffling his feet.
On those occasions we were at home and I was trying to get chores done, he would become increasingly agitated usually it was over money, or him accusing me of something unsavory. He was constantly accusing me, and anyone else who came to visit of stealing from him. During this time he was extremely agitated, and very aggressive, and he was always hiding things, then forgetting where he had put them, which in turn would cause more agitation. He would constantly ask me where his wallet was, I would show him it was in his pocket, but he kept telling me I was stealing his money and would call the Police to have me arrested. So he started hiding his wallet and the pair of us would spend hours trying to find it. Mind you when I did find it, it always made him so happy and he would hug me, and tell me how much he loved me. I always tried to make it like a game of treasure hunt – looking back it was almost worth it to have such a joyous reaction from him. Prior to his illness, he had always carried a large amount of cash together with credit cards etc. When he was napping I had managed to removed his credit cards, but I left a few bills in his wallet, largely because if we did go for a walk to the store (he was still smoking at that time); I tried to preserve his sense of self, by letting him interact with the store clerk asking for what he wanted, and paying her cash. Even though I could have stepped in and purchased them for him, I wanted him to retain his dignity. Fortunately, it was always the same lady who was very patient and understanding, and he delighted in the fact he was able to make her laugh. We both enjoyed the walk in the air and listening to the birds, but it was becoming more apparent his brain wasn’t sending signals to the body, and frequently he had to defecate behind a bush – more often than not he didn’t make it.