Thursday, April 21, 2011

On the Plus Side . . .

Seeing the silver lining in difficult situations is my specialty but can be challenging at times even for a Pollyanna like me. I do my best not to obsess about Robert’s long-term future but I am failing miserably lately. Robert forgetting his roommate’s name the other night really threw me for a loop. Is his memory going to further decline? Will his balance issues continue to get worse eventually landing him in a wheelchair? What will his life be like in a year? In five years?

What is his life expectancy? (Yes, I worry about this.)

Where’s the silver lining? Where are the positives that I can hold on to? He remembered his roommate’s name last night but needed confirmation that he was correct. He was! That’s progress but still disconcerting. We’ll put that in the “plus” column anyway.

Robert’s incontinence is getting worse (more frequent accidents in the daytime) but, on the plus side we may have found a solution for the nighttime incontinence. See? Silver lining! I am having him try out nighttime briefs that are kept closed with adhesive instead of the pull-up type. One Aide has reported that the sheets were dry the following morning. Yay! Another one for the plus column.

(I don’t have any more reports since that first one because why would the New Home want to inform me about anything like that? After I’ve asked them a hundred times to communicate with me? Me and my crazy expectations. Enough of that snarkiness – trying to stay positive here).

Back to the positives: Day Program called today to discuss the increased incontinence and leaking onto his clothes. (In case you missed it, the plus in that sentence is that they called me.) Day Program suggests regularly reminding Robert to use the restroom. This is a great idea but (as they kindly put it) Robert can be “pretty head strong about his independence.” What a nice way to say he’s a stubborn hard head! After talking with Robert tonight, he seemed to be on board with the idea which is heartening. Robert gets really embarrassed when he has accidents so I am willing to try anything to prevent them. I greatly appreciate the Day Program being proactive about this (plus, plus, plus!).

(The New Home hasn’t been proactive about anything except they did install that “bell” for Robert after his latest fall. He’s supposed to use it before he gets out of bed. As I suspected, he uses it when he’s in bed and wondering where his medication is. And when he needs to throw something in the garbage. And when the television remote was lost he used it to ask the Aide to change the channel. He’s never used it before he gets out of bed. Gee, I wonder who told them that would happen??)

Oops, slipped away from the plus column for a minute. . .

In spite of the increased memory and incontinence issues, Robert continues to tell jokes. He makes himself (and others around him) giggle several times a day. The smirk he gets on his face when he says “just joking, just joking” tells me he delights in making other people laugh.

It doesn’t get much more positive than that.

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