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Usually, I write about incidents that are occurring in my life, and you write to tell me that you can relate to them. In this instance, you were the ones who told me. You told me this drove you crazy, and wanted to make you run away and hide someplace by yourself. Well, you certainly were right, and now it is I who can relate to your writings.

My husband is behaving like a clingy two-year old. He will not leave me alone. He does not follow me around the house, as many of you have related happens with your spouses. In our situation, if I leave the house, he calls at least 3 times in a 3 hour span. Monday is my Trim Club day. I drive 45 minutes to meet my cousin; we sit for an hour listening to a lecture about how we should not eat stuffing on Thanksgiving because it’s “just another day” (yeah, okay); and then we go out to lunch (no bread, please), and enjoy each other’s company. I am usually gone from home for 4 hours. This past Monday, I called him AFTER the meeting to remind him that I was going out to lunch. He was upset because he did not want me gone that long – he had forgotten that I was going out to lunch (I figured he would forget – that is why I called him to remind him!). An hour later, he called to ask where I was and what was taking me so long. I told him that I was almost finished eating, and would soon be on my way home. 45 minutes later, I pulled into my driveway, and my cell phone was ringing. “Where are you? What is taking you so long?” AARGGH! I wanted to pull my hair out of my head.

Yesterday morning, a gorgeous November day in Florida – 78 degrees; clear blue sky; no humidity- I decided to go for a walk (Remember – I’m in training for the Memory Walk). I told him before I went that I was going to walk to the pool – a round trip of just a little over a mile. It took me 25 minutes (yes, I know I’m a bit slow – but my goal is distance, not time). I was four houses from home, and my cell phone rang – “Where are you?  You’ve been gone such a long time.” AARGGH!  Give me a break!

Remember what it was like to try to engage in a telephone conversation when our children were toddlers? That is when they needed us the most. Whatever it was, it was an emergency, and it had to be addressed NOW. This happens all of the time in my house, but here is last night's example. I was on the phone with a dear friend from up North. I hadn’t spoken to her since before our San Francisco trip. My husband comes into my office to tell me that he was using his laptop, and the Internet went down. He said I had to reset the router, try to reconnect to the Internet, go into the den to let him know if it was connected, wait for him to see if he had the connection; if not, I was to reset the router again, go back into the den……you get the idea. All the while I was on the phone. He had absolutely no comprehension that perhaps, just perhaps, I was being rude to my friend. There was no understanding, none at all,  that his Internet emergency could have waited 20 minutes until my phone call was finished. Trying to explain it was completely futile. All it accomplished was to frustrate me to the point that I wanted to get on a plane and fly to San Francisco again – by myself.   

Being aware, as I am, that the reasons for his neediness are all Alzheimer’s related, does not help me deal with the feeling of being smothered. I know that he is in a childlike stage in which he is afraid of losing me; I am his lifeline; his protector; his memory; his support system. I know this. But I can’t BREATHE. I need some BREATHING ROOM.

A big part of the problem is that he has so little to do during the day, and no one besides me to talk to. He is not cognitively compromised enough to be in Day Care, but he is starving for activities and male companionship.  We are working on a solution. Every other week, he goes shopping and to lunch with a non-Alzheimer friend. We are now in the process of adding a weekly get-together with one of his Alzheimer buddies, who also has nothing to do when he is not with his wife. Hopefully, that will help.

To be fair, I always let him know what the Blog subject will be. We discuss it, and if he has any major objections, and would like to add his comments, I include them. As you can imagine, this subject did not go over well – he was insulted and hurt. He said that he was only worried about me, and that was why he called so many times. He said I should be grateful to have a husband who worries so much about me.

As for the phone interruptions, he could not see what the fuss was about. No, I didn’t expect he would. His AD disrupts the reasoning that would allow him to understand it.

So there you have it – his feelings and rationale for the behavior – I feel it is important to present the AD spouse’s perspective – sometimes they make no sense, and sometimes they are very perceptive and informative, as I am finding out in my research for my AD Spouse’s Perspective project.

Once again, I would like to hear from you on this subject- I will be posting it under the existing topic - When Your Spouse Behaves Like a Child.

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