Just this week he started the dishwasher and then decided he didn't want to run it yet. Instead of pressing and holding the cancel button he forced the door open while it was running. He was screaming, "how do you stop this?" but he didn't wait for an answer, he was already pulling on the door.
He takes hot pans out of the oven and places them on the counter, he leaves dish towels on the top of the stove, he chops food directly on the counter, not on a cutting board.
He left the back door open, not just unlocked but open twice overnight.
When I say anything to him he says, "nag, nag, nag".
He's highly educated and he hasn't always been so careless.
What should I do?

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He has non-hodgkins lymphoma, and the chemo regimen he just completed has put him in remission. We were both looking forward to his regaining some of his old energy and being able to take trips or do other fun stuff.
This behavior is especially disheartening I guess,because I was so optimistic.
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You can either talk to the doctor alone or you can make sure the doctor knows what's going on (by writing it all up and giving it to the nurse beforehand with instructions to have the doctor read it before he/she sees your husband). If your husband's oncologist is a good doctor, he'll bring up changes in behavior as just a part of the normal follow-up and you can discuss what's happening. If you're not comfortable with that approach, you can ask (ahead of time) for some private time with the doctor. What kind of cancer did your husband have?
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I too was thinking of chemo brain; it is a legitimately recognized side effect, especially if brain cancer is involved. My sister developed it after whole brain rads for metastatic cancer to her brain.

This is one of the best sources I've seen for balanced coverage of cancer. These hits are for articles on chemo brain. Although I can't say that I've read all of these, I have read some in the print copy of the magazine available to caregivers and those battling cancer.

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I have heard a couple of people who had chemo call it chemo brain. It really gets you mixed up and you don't think clearly. Maybe that's it and it will pass, but if not, then I would consider all the great suggestions you got above. I think it's important to keep in mind that people who are having lapses in memory, doing odd things, taking risks, are not doing these things to annoy or because they are careless or mean. There is something in their brain that is causing it and the key is to not take it personally. We also can't rely on them to handle things differently, since they aren't capable at the moment.
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Thank you for both for your sensible and helpful suggestions.
My husband has just completed six months of chemo with good results
I hope this is a temporary side effect. I will talk to his Oncologist next week
when we have an appointment. Do you think I should try to talk to the Dr. alone?
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Jeanne could not have said that any better. I want to add a to the chorus of "not his fault" and "talk to the doctor". Ten years ago this month, my husband started acting very stupidly, misunderstanding directions, not dressing properly for a big family occasion. Several days afterwards, when I'd decided that I'd made a terrible mistake in marrying him, he was discovered to have a really big aneurysm in his aorta that was leaking, causing lack of blood flow to the brain. Fortunately, they were able to replace the aorta and a leaky valve. (Makes him sound like a car, doesn't it?). Anyway, a change in mental status should ALWAYS be reported to the doctor. Always.
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Your profile says your husband has cancer.

His cognitive problems may be a result of the cancer itself.

They may be a reaction to his treatments or medications.

It is also possible, of course, to have diseases and conditions in addition to the cancer. Dementia is not an impossibility (though it isn't what comes to mind first here.)

I suggest you talk your concerns over with his doctor as a first step.

And then I think you need to accept that your intelligent , highly educated husband, is cognitively impaired. Maybe not permanently (depending on its cause) but definitely for right now.

What does that mean for how you treat him?

Recognize that he is not being "careless." Whatever is the cause here it is not something he signed up for and he cannot help it. This is Not His Fault. (Not yours, either, of course.)

So your job becomes protecting your counters and protecting his ego, ideally at the same time. Can you kind of "hang around" while he is cooking? Get out the trivet or towel or cutting board or whatever you set hot pans on when you see that need is coming up. Make sure he has a cutting board when appropriate. (Perhaps show him two and ask which one would be better for this task.) Quietly and unobtrusively remove towels from potentially dangerous places.Do your own door check before you go to bed. If you find a door open, close it and lock it. Don't mention it to him.

Sadly, many of us on his forum have had to compensate for a spouse who is no longer capable of doing things he or she used to do very easily. And many of us have dealt with spouses who insisted they could still do the tasks and resented any supervision. It is a very challenging balancing act to not insult them and make them feel worse and at the same time protect their safety and get the tasks done.

There are so many of us that have been in that position, I'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions. My first two recommendations are to 1) discuss it with providers who know his medical conditions, and 2) keep firmly in mind that this is not under his control, is not carelessness, and is Not His Fault.
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