Tuesday, August 20, 2013


One of the problems I've had is finding time alone where I can write. It's hard to relax when you have someone hanging over your shoulder. Probably because I was an only child I've always had a need to have plenty of "alone" time. Living in the country there were never other kids around. So it was the dog and me. I always liked it that way. My imagination would soar with all kinds of wonderful things.

Years later here I am with Alan constantly shadowing me. If I walk out of a room he's right behind me. If I'm in the kitchen, he's standing on the other side of the cabinet watching me. If I'm at the computer he's sitting right behind me staring at my back. If I try to take a nap, I wake up with him sitting and just staring at me watching me sleep. It's hard to keep laughing when you feel like standing up, pulling your hair out and screaming. Sometimes it just creeps you out.

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. At least he's not trying to paint everything pink. That's because he finally ran out of pink paint. He also finally ran out of green, yellow and black paint. Thank God.

I've always been a really good cook but Alan quit eating. He would take a few bites and quit. Was his taste changing? I would change the things I was cooking. It was a constant battle and I didn't know what was going on. Every bite he took seemed to be preceded by me say, "Alan eat."" I would fuss and fume. The minute I turned my back, he would slip out of the room and throw his food out.

Since he would wander back and forth so much, I had decided it would help keep him in front of his food if I could find a show he liked on television. That actually worked. ONCE.

I'm subscribed to a great web site. They send helpful emails, have a great forum where you can get advice and keeps you up to date on the different stages of Alzheimer's disease.  If you're dealing with a family member or even if you're a caretaker, go to

I got an email one day that covered the exact problem I was having with Alan's eating habits. It told me that the least little thing would distract him from his food. I immediately started turning off the television at meal time. Sure enough, problem solved. Not completely, of course, but it's much better now.

The web site keeps you informed as to what stage of Alzheimer's you're dealing with, and what changes to expect next. I suggest you try it if you're a caretaker.

I also discovered from the web site, indeed, his taste buds were changing. That was why he was craving so many sweets. The taste buds that detect sweet are the last to go.

That also answered the question of why I can no longer visit friends. Alan will immediately start wandering around, even going as far as snooping in their cabinets, searching for candy or fruit. You can't take your eyes off of him for a minute. It's just easier to stay home and not have to deal with the embarrassment. After one visit, friends no longer want you to visit again.

There are also moments of amusement. Although Alan still dresses himself, his choice of clothing ranges anywhere from constant wear of a pair of dirty pants he refuses to take off for washing, to MY shirts.

He was always a snappy dresser, referring to himself as a "clothes horse". We finally got tired of renting tuxedos so we gave up and just bought him one. It got plenty of wear because our favorite activity was ballroom dancing. Around the holidays that tux got plenty of wear.

Sitting and enjoying my morning coffee the other day, Alan walks in. It's 5:30 a.m. I look up and there stands Alan, fully dressed in his tux. I didn't say a word. I believe in picking my battles. If it keeps him happy, it works for me. But it was 5:30 a.m. and I hadn't started my first cup of coffee yet.

The next day it was the tux from the waist up and a ragged pair of brown pants. He wore that for two days. The third night he asked "What time does the dance start?" I told him the truth. There was no dance. The next day the tux had disappeared and he's now wearing one of my shirts.

He still takes walks down to the end of our street and back. So far, so good. He doesn't wander off. I have no idea what the neighbors think when Alan parades up and down dressed in that tuxedo. Doesn't matter to me what they think. I just hide in the house and cringe.

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