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    For the past week or so, Dennis has been pretty good. No egregious mistakes and trying really hard to be responsible and taking care of business. I work three pretty long days as a psychotherapist (I’m great with my patients. Ironic, no?) and so I’m gone from 9 to 7 every Tuesday through Thursday and even some hours on Monday and Friday every couple of weeks. So he’s home alone those days or if I’m lucky, he subs at the local high school on Monday/Friday. When he’s out on those days I have several hours alone and it’s wonderful.
    Tonight I came home and he’d made a really nice dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli. He was pleased that he’d made the meatloaf from memory. He cooks every night and in the past was a great cook. He was actually really good at everything not so long ago. He could fix anything, figure out any computer problem. He was a wonderful writer and has written me (in the distant past) beautiful letters and poems. He loved me so incredibly and I him for close to 40 years. He used to make all the travel arrangements, do the taxes, all the paperwork for buying and selling houses. He taught physics at an inner city high school and loved his funny, crazy and smart foreign and American students. He had a great sense of humor.
    Just writing about how he used to be makes me so incredibly incredibly sad.
    I keep thinking that maybe just maybe all of this is because he retired. He’s home all day by himself and the only people he sees now are doctors. We have many nice couple friends most of whom don’t see much change in him. But he only sees them with me on the weekends. He’s also been recently diagnosed with adult ADD and was given a prescription for Ritalin. He has also been on Prosac for about 4 months (which he says does nothing for him).
    But he is not the same. He couldn’t do the taxes this year blaming it on the Turbo Tax program that he’s used for many years. We recently bought a house in Maine for our daughter and he did nothing to further the loan process or deal with the realtor, bank, mortgage co. He showed absolutely no interest in buying the place or helping to secure the loan or anything to do with it. He’s happy that we can help our daughter but that’s the extent of it and everything else. He’s happy to go anywhere, do anything but initiates nothing.
    To continue. I’m afraid I’ll lose my text so I’m starting anew thread.
    He’s really become half (or less) the man he used to be. We only talk about my work and our kids and I initiate virtually every conversation. Because he’s so agreeable now, it’s easy to miss that he’s really not contributing to the conversation the way he used to. I hear so much about how many dementia patients become angry and difficult I should count my lucky stars that he is sweeter than ever. But it’s kind of like living with baby Huey.
    So, I get pulled into thinking that he’s really ok, just retired, unstimulated, ADD, getting a little old and forgetful or all of the above. Then, he’ll do something that is just nuts and I freak out.
    Tonight we watch Better Call Saul. We’d watched 4 episodes in a row over the past two nights and tonight watched a 5th. At the end of the show, I saw that we’d actually watched episode 10 instead #5 where we should have been. It’s a show that has a lot of look backs and is a little hard to follow so it wasn’t evident that we’d skipped 5 episodes.
    Anyway, I said, “Oh, no, we missed all the previous episodes! Didn’t you check to see which one you clicked on?”
    He responded that he’d asked me and I’d said it was ok. That simply didn’t happen. He didn’t ask me and I didn’t watch him choose the episode (I feel like I have to watch him do everything or he makes a mistake).
    I know it’s a minor, stupid thing but it’s something that NEVER would have happened a couple of years ago.
    Earlier, we were talking about a Christmas present he’d gotten me (mats -really good ones- for my car). Long ago he was trained (by me) to never ever get me household items for gifts, and he was a creative, thoughtful gift giver. I loved his presents. Car mats? Really? After 42 years of gift giving before and after marriage? “You said you wanted them!” He said. Yes, but not for Christmas! Another stupid thing. Not important, but it was so different from before.
    We also talked about the other gift he gave me. I had a ring that had become too small for my arthritic knuckle and it needed a “gate.” That’s a clasp on a ring instead of just enlarging it. I’d told him that I’d like to wear that ring again and that a gate would make it possible. Instead he just had it enlarged. We went to the jewelry store together after Christmas and I got a ring guard (I think that’s what it’s called) just so I could wear it. The gate is rally pricey and after Christmas it was just too much money. So I’ve been wearing the ring with the ring guard ever since.
    Yesterday I complained about it bothering my finger and he had no memory of getting the ring englarged. He absolutely maintained that I went with him to the jewelry store to get it enlarged.
    Some things make me shake my head and other just shake me. What will one year bring? Three years? How can I manage this man physically?
    Once again, am I crazy? Am I overreacting? Could his behavior be explained by anything else? Is it possible that he won’t get worse? That he’ll stay a little “eccentric “ forever?
    Before he rolled over to sleep like a baby while I lie awake tying this missive, he said, “Don’t worry. We’re going to grow old together and I love you.”
    God help me.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2019
    I would question the ADD diagnosis. If he has dementia apathy and lack of interest in doing things is common. It is a part of the disease we have to get use to and accept cause it will only get worse. I looked into giving ritalin for Alzheimer's and it has been studied for apathy. But, it doesn't seem to be helping your husband. It could be severe depression but you need a doctor that will really explore whether that is it, dementia or a treatable disease.

    I forget how old he is but he could progress fast or slow; he could loose some ground then plateau for a few months or even years. My husband was diagnosed in 2008 and only this year has he progressed more rapidly. His dad went over 20 years, his sister only 9 years. There was a woman that use to be here whose husband had the true early onset and was gone in a couple years. There are others here who have been in the trenches longer than me.

    Personally I made it without going crazy by taking it a day at a time not pondering all the time on what will never be - like growing old together.

    If possible I would consider cutting your hours so you are not so tired and better able to cope. Accept you are going to be taking over everything. Make sure you have all the legal paperwork done and start learning to do the things you don't know especially things he can help you learn.
    I agree with everything Charlotte said above. Try to see a neurologist and get a really definitive diagnosis. That adult ADD diagnosis does sound strange to me. What you are describing sounds just like what my husband was like in the earliest stages of Alzheimers. In the beginning it is very frustrating, because you yourself may be the only one who is seeing the deficits. Friends will say, "He seems OK to me." and you will just want to scream. Our journey lasted 14 years, and he died with my arms around him on Sept. 2, 2014. As the time goes by, look for small, simple, self-nourishing things to keep you grounded, relaxed, and reasonably sane. I started out by getting my Masters online, which kept my mind active for a couple years while I was home with him in the evenings. I also stayed in my job (public health nurse) as long as I could, although I eventually left the workforce to take care of him myself, with some home care aides in place, and eventually Hospice at home. By the end, I was living in leggings, hoodie, and Uggs--up day and night--Exhaustion was my middle name--and my one nod to self-care and sanity was the quiet five minutes in the early morning with a cup of coffee on our screened porch--before the craziness and exhaustion started up again. Anyway, I don't want to scare you or belabor the point. But as Charlotte said: One day at a time, try to find your moments inside the new reality. Don't discourage yourself by wondering how long it can last, accept you will be responsible for everything so make it as easy and organized as you can, and get your legal ducks in a row: durable power of attorney, etc. You seem to have significant assets: Make sure you get his name off everything and have the computer set up so he can't get into your finances and wreak havoc. It will feel "grabby" and mean, but you have to do it. My husband was 25 years older than I--(It's true that age is just a number.)--I married him for his mind and personality--and that was the first thing to go. Sheesh.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2019
    Swampskater, Reading your post about the taxes reminded me that the first clear sign of my father's Alzheimer's was the IRS notifying him there was a mathematical mistake on his taxes. That was before computer tax programs. He was a CPA who was a whiz with numbers and had never before made a mistake on taxes or anything else like that.