Routine is incredibly important to Billy. His morning routine goes sort of like this:
He wakes up at least by 4:30 (usually earlier), takes his shower, comes back to the bedroom carrying his mousse, brush, and razor (no idea why), and then he starts telling me it's time to get up. He does this every morning - Saturday and Sunday included. While I'm in the shower, Billy makes the bed perfectly. When I get back into the bedroom, he is dressed and ready to go and waits rather impatiently for me to get my makeup on and get dressed.
This routine works well on weekdays with the exception of Tuesday. That's the day my sister has a housekeeper come to clean. With four beds to change, she asks that we strip the bed and lay out clean sheets. I usually tell Billy on my way into the shower that the housekeeper is coming, and I ask him to take the sheets off the bed. He always says he will, and when I come back into the room, the bed is made perfectly. This morning was no exception, and I asked him to help me take the sheets and pillowcases off the bed. It took a while to get the pillowcases off because as soon as he takes one off and starts on the other, he gets confused and puts the first pillowcase on the second pillow. Over and over, I say, "Put the pillowcases in the hamper." He finally gets that done, and we begin on the sheets. When the sheets are off the bed, he remakes it with the comforter, pillows, and shams.
Billy really thrives on his routines, and if that helps him get through the day, I have no problem with it. One big issue with AD patients is their sleep routines become distorted. This started with Billy about 6 months ago, and the doctor recommended melatonin. It didn't help at all, so I asked for something stronger. He is now taking Ambien, but last night I decided to give him Trazadone because I had given it to him once before, and he slept well. BIG MISTAKE! He went to sleep easily, but when I was winding down and turning off the television at 11:30, he woke up and decided it was time to get ready for the day. I tried really hard to get him to stay in bed, but he finally got up to take his shower a little after that. He did come back to bed, but he woke me up almost every hour to tell me it was time to get up. I gave in at 4:30. We are back to the Ambien tonight, and I am praying he sleeps all night. I must have my sleep - otherwise I can never make it sitting in principals' meeting for 7 or 8 hours tomorrow. I will fall out of my chair.
I've mentioned my fellow caregiver friend I met through blogging - Karen. A common theme in her blog is her weariness. When she doesn't say it directly, you can sense it. She has managed to keep her husband at home for 10 years with early onset AD. She works all day while an aide is provided, and when she gets home, she is his caregiver. She feeds him supper, shaves him, and gets him into bed with the help of her daughter or son. By then, she has no energy left.
You sort of ease into this role without realizing it. One day you're doing things with your spouse, and the next day, you realize you're doing things for your spouse. You also realize you are never alone anymore, and I like spending some time by myself. That is a thing of the past.
I hear steady "sleep breathing" beside me now. I'm taking that as my cue -- good night, all!