C’est La Vie with Charlie


Last night I told Charlie I needed to make a run to the local Walmart today to pick up a birthday gift. He decided he would like to go with me.

At Walmart he can hop on a cart, navigate down the various aisles, and pretend he's in the woods on his ATV – providing he can remember how to run it. So, we agreed he would get up by 9:30 a.m. and join me in an infrequent trip to this bastion of shopping delights (not).

I gave him his wake-up call at the designated time. He groaned and said, "Okay, I'll get up." He did, for two minutes, and then he asked for a half-hour reprieve to go back to bed. I reluctantly granted his request; reluctant because I hate driving and shopping in our metropolis of West Lebanon during lunch hour. An hour later he appeared, freshly-shaven and ready for breakfast.

Since the onset of his dementia, his eating habits have become slower and slower. What used to take fifteen minutes now takes thirty minutes. By now I am chomping at the bit. The sunny skies have been replaced by ominous clouds and I am thinking that the fifteen-minute drive to town will mean arrival at the store just as the lunchtime shoppers fill up the parking lot. With Charlie's walking problems, it is imperative that I find a handicapped-parking place.

Just as we pulled out of the driveway it began to sprinkle. By the time we arrived at the store there was thunder, lightening and a downpour, and not an open parking place in sight. I drove around in frustration, finally spouted an unmentionable word and turned the car towards home.

A wasted trip—one that will have to be repeated tomorrow if I am to get that birthday gift in time for the party.

That's the way it goes with Charlie. He refuses to go to bed until close to midnight and prefers to stay in bed until noon. That means I either run errands by myself, leaving him cooped up in the house for days on end, or I do everything on his time frame, convenient or not. I personally prefer to run errands in the morning when the traffic is lighter and my stamina level is higher.

This man used to be a very considerate person, always putting my wants and needs ahead of his own. Now he has become narcissistic in his approach to everything. His excuse is that "he's retired" and should be able to do (or not do) anything he wants.

I realize this is the dementia talking, but it doesn't make it any easier to cope with the stress of living with the man.

Oh, and the "low tire pressure" alarm came on as we were driving home from town. Checking the tires has always been Charlie's job, so he insisted that he would check the tires this afternoon. I hope I can trust him not to put 50 lbs. of air in our 30 lb. tires! C'est la vie.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For AgingCare.com, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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C'est la vie with Charlie,
I often wonder how a wife deals with this issue, rather than a child. I have always thought that a wife would just be able to deal with the aging, yet, why. It seems the older generation, such as my parents the wife was the wife, mother, grandmother no matter what. Well, I know this is not true, how many women from my parents generation just did what was expected, most, yes I mean MOST.

As many women just did the duty's as expected, how many were resentful? how many were happy when womens's liberation came to fruition/ and how many just did their best. I do not know what generation you were born in, yet, I will say pain and heartache still abound, stress, frustration and sadness are just human feelings,no matter what age or generation. I have many a story. I am 51, and have been my mother's only caregiver for going on 7 years. I live in a retirement area, and see so many issues, most of the caregivers are husbands or wives.

I have yet to read a rule saying that we are not to feel stress, and jsut want to get the basic things done without so many complications. My mother sleeps late, takes forever to get readdy, and calls my name a hundred times a day. I understand that if I take her it is hard, and if I leave her for jsut a short period of time I come home to a mess, the heat on ( we live in Arizona ), so you can guess as I run around the house how hot I get.
What is the answer, well I wish I knew. If one more person say's just be patient, I will screem, yet, that scares our dog and cat.
Can you, or have you looked into getting any help? I recently found out with my mom's issues inthis state, I can get 4 hours of respite a week. I will say it seems as though they jsut know how to push our buttons, don't they?
I wish you well, and keep me informed.
Be Well Jazmine1
Marlis Powers,
I did not see your name with the article, so I hope you catch that.
I will repeat human feelings are just that, unless one has been a full time care giver, they jsut can not really understand.

Be Well, Julia Heaton/ Jazmine1