Happy Birthday to Me

Coffee, mine and his.

Today had a nice start to it. After going for a coffee at Mom’s I returned to Dennis and started our morning routine. I usually ask whether he wants to get up in the recliner, even though I make the choice myself. I think it’s good for him to be more upright for a while, and also gives me a chance to change the bed linens if they need it. Today he said “yes”, and it was because he wanted coffee. Coffee is the only drink he gets, other than mouthwash and water, and it evidently is tied emotionally to normal life in a very important way. He asks for it often, even though it only amounts to five or six spoonful before he is tired.

As we sipped our coffee I told him it was my birthday and invited him to say the greeting to me. He said it clearly and I was thrilled!

“Happy birthday.”

“Oh! You are really talking good this morning!”

A surprised look, as if I would ever think otherwise.

“So, since it’s my birthday, what month is it?”


“and what date in April is it?”

After a long pause which I thought might not ever end, “Eighth”

Again I was amazed at what he can dredge up out of the usual garbled and confused jumble that his mind has become.

Unfortunately these times are happening less and less. Dennis often has episodes of anxious behavior. Loud, rapid breathing, agitated hand and foot movements, and some loud vocalization’s occur even though his eyes are open and he seems awake. He hands me imaginary somethings and asks me to put them in the box. He joins in a conversation when the other caregiver and I are talking and I assume it’s something relevant to what we’re doing, but no. He wants to know if I’ve cooked salmon, or if I’m ready for the representative from Rhode Island to visit us (what?!). And it’s often the dog that told him to say that – the dog we don’t have but he sees right there in front of us.

A couple of nights I’ve treated this confusion with a sleep medicine, but I have to wonder if he’s more confused after he wakes up. He’s also having signs of pain, which he mostly denies feeling. He calls out loudly and pulls his legs up. Today, after one loud outburst, I asked him if he felt pain and he finally said yes. I asked him where the pain was and he said “my heart”. This is new. I’m not sure how accurate his evaluation is. but it is significant if only because he is usually denying any pain.

I’m getting very tired. Daytime naps are now a must.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me

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