How quckly an hour passes when I am working at the computer and how slowly a half hour moves when I arrive early for a meeting. How long it takes for the traffic light to turn green when I am late for a gym class and how long the class feels when we are exercising with heavy weights!
And when I spend time at the memory care center, I realize my husband has no sense of time whatsoever. His day is marked by his bodily functions, eat, sleep, digest, walk, sit, sleep some more and walk some more. Once in a while my husband has a moment of lucidity as today a careworker tells me he asked her, "Will you watch a movie with me?"
She responded, "What is the movie about? " He was holding a DVD disc in its cover.
"I don't know," he answered, "That's why I want to watch it."
The Sound of Music was playing at the time, but he paid the tv no attention. Sometimes it seems as if he tunes the whole world out and attends to problems and situations in his head, mumbling about solutions that he is trying to work out.
Just as the careworkers rotate their shifts and the units to which they are asigned, my husband takes my appearances and disappearances in stride. His needs are being met; he feels safe and secure as long as he sees me regularly. He holds my hand as we walk together. He repeats "Let's get out of here" or "I don't like this one bit." If I miss a day, he wanders the halls looking for me, the eternal optimist, loving and trusting that I will return.
This is such a devastating disease, destroying brain cells and the ability to communicate. He hates what is happening to him, but I think it is a misnomer to say he is an Alzheimer "sufferer." From two years before the diagnosis and as long as he could think clearly, he fought to keep his life manageable and productive.He tried to be as independent as possible for as long as he could and now he is content to be cared for by others. We who knew him before, remember him and the time we spent lovingly together, but we also appreciate him now and we still build memories of the time we spend together.