A Necessary Trip

I know changes of any kind can be very upsetting, both to the elderly and to someone not feeling well, but we needed to travel. Dennis has been very emotional since his LBD diagnosis and at times feels like any moment could be his last. He has wanted to visit his hometown in Pennsylvania and see his family again, one more time. I agreed.

He also is still convinced that our condo is improperly grounded and has an electric field that is killing him. He felt that two weeks on the road might make such a difference in how he felt that he would be using his computer again, doing research, reading, and working on his book project. I asked him to think about what it might mean if he didn’t feel any better after time away from the condo. “It would mean that I wasn’t gone long enough. That’s the logical conclusion.” So, although I will look forward to a return home at some point, he will not. He’s already dreading it and doesn’t hesitate to say so.

The travel to Pennsylvania went fairly well, although it was a bit like traveling with a small child as far as getting in and out of restaurants and the motel. All things seem exaggerated to Dennis and are potentially upsetting. The 10 minute delay due to traffic conditions becomes “the most awful” part of the route, even though it was par for the course to my way of thinking. The pay stations on the toll road were “terribly stressful” and upset his stomach. Stopping for the night caused him to be so grateful for God’s help in solving our problem when I wasn’t aware that there was a problem – it was the plan.

I expected that he would feel exuberant after his first night of rest at his brother’s house, but he was very quiet and wanted to go back to sleep instead of having breakfast at the hometown cafe. He had very little energy all day and fell asleep for a while, surrounded by visiting relatives and busy chatter. He cried when talking to his sister and brother, and kept thinking of things to talk about of a “final” nature. I can see that this visit might take a lot out of him. I don’t think I can do anything to help with that.


Exactly What?

What exactly am I to do?

He came shuffling from the bedroom where he had gone to sleep and found me, still working on the computer. I dread the sound of him coming because I know he is going to tell me some new reason why he has to get out of this house.

“Do you see this?” He hold up his hand with the fingers curled nearly shut. “My hand was frozen like this. Locked. I couldn’t move it.”

His face has “that look”. Haunted, bleary eyed, almost motionless even when he’s talking and trying to be dramatic.

I don’t know what to say. “It’s a movement disorder, Parkinsonian problem. How do you want to remedy the situation?”

“There is no remedy. I have to get out of this place.” He teeters and catches himself as he turns and shuffles out again.

I think for a while and follow him into the dark room. We talk. I’m desperate. He’s desperate. In frustration I tell him to get his clothes on and get in the truck. I’ll take him somewhere remote and we’ll both sleep there tonight. He refuses my offer. The truck is not grounded, so it wouldn’t do any good.

He’s so good at throwing something crazy back at me, almost like a test, but he doesn’t think it’s crazy at all. “We need to call Mayo Clinic and see what they do for this. They’re here in the Midwest where there are lots of dairy farms with grounding problems. They probably have people with this and know what to do.”

This sounds ridiculous to me, and I know what Mayo Clinic will think when they see his diagnosis, but it is something I can do. I can ask. Will that satisfy him? I tell him they aren’t going to get back to him tonight.

He knows that. “They’ll probably just tell me to get away from the house.”

Yeah, probably.

Taking a Vacation

I took one. It was planned last year, involving expense and arrangements with other people so I could not easily change the plan, although I considered doing that. To be gone for seven days required more effort and stress for others than I had thought it would.

I am glad that I had the foresight to ask youngest daughter Esther if she could come to stay while I was gone – to keep her father company, and to help her grandmother not feel the whole weight of socialization. I also wanted feedback on my own observations and assessments. I don’t always know if I am seeing what I think I’m seeing, or if I’m just being impatient and somewhat biased because of my closeness to the issue.

There were hard moments for both of them – Esther confirmed this – but overall she did a great job of making him happy, helping him feel guided and informed. She gave him tips on calming himself, on exercising with dance, and being lighthearted and silly as therapy. They talked. They did things together. It was good for him and good for their relationship. I am grateful for all she supplied, but also aware of the cost for her. Taking solo vacations is probably not something I will be doing a lot.

However, we can take vacations together, the husband and I. And that will be another adventure, I’m sure.