You never know what new wrinkle a dementia patient is going to come up with.
Charlie and I do not share a bedroom because he says I snore and keep him awake (that's a topic for another day). Charlie is something of a "neat freak," so when he undresses at night he hangs his discarded clothes on hangars instead of dumping them on the floor.
I should be grateful for that, right?
Not so much.
You see, lately he has taken to hanging his dirty underwear on hangars suspended from the double window in his room. When I asked him why he would do such a thing he says, "I like to air them out."
Figure that one out. It seems he airs them out so he can wear them again the next day, and the next, and the next. See where I am going with this?
Once I have made his bed in the morning, I don't check his room again until bedtime. One evening, I went in to turn down his bed and discovered three pairs of underwear hanging in the windows. This has become a daily ritual with him. He hangs his used shirts from the closet door and drapes his T-shirts neatly over the rocker.
I'm sure the neighbors are beginning to think I am nuts. I am tempted to put a sign out doors screaming, "It's not me—it's Charlie!"
I have finally decided that he is having a bit of a moisture problem throughout the day, and instead of telling me and risking the advent of Depends, he hangs them up to dry, hoping I won't discover the transgression.
Who knows what goes on in the head of a dementia patient? They can be oblivious and cunning at the same time.
My solution for the problem (so far) has been to make frequent rounds to check and see if Charlie's laundry is hanging in the window and tossing the offending items into the washer. This doesn't make him happy.
Of the few things he remembers, the fact that he did his laundry is one of them. First of all, he doesn't like that he has been caught in the act, and secondly he thinks I am wasting water by throwing them in the washer. He can't understand why he shouldn't wear them again, once they have "aired out."
Although I remind him daily to put his dirty clothes in the laundry, he insists on hanging them around his room—not even in his closet, but suspended from every available spot.
Why is it he can remember to hang them up but can't remember where to hang them? The cleaning lady comes on Tuesday and we have a good laugh over Charlie's laundry room.
I know a good wife would undress him, put him into bed and dispose of his clothes properly. But I am trying desperately to keep him independent as long as possible. He says he is going to live to be ninety-four, the age his mother died. But I know I will probably not be around that long to look after him. Therefore, I am trying to keep him on the right track so he can survive without me. I'm afraid it's a losing battle.
Oh my, what will he come up with next?