It has been nearly seven months since Billy came to live at Lexington Place. The first few weeks were so difficult, and I'm sure I cried every day when I left. As AD takes over Billy's brain, he understands less, and for several months, he was okay with us visiting and then leaving. Recently, he's gone back to wanting to leave with Shelley or me when we leave. It still breaks my heart when I tell him he has to stay, and he looks so disappointed. Last Saturday evening, he didn't do that, and it was easier, but I have to say it's still painful. I rock along pretty well feeling in control of my emotions, and then I get on overload and I lose that control. I'm sure that stress plays a role in my emotions, too, but lately I really miss having Billy to talk to about all the things going on. He's been my husband for 31 years, and he was my best friend for five years before that. I've shared everything with him for 36 years, and I miss having my husband with me.
If we could still share our thoughts and feelings, we would share in our complete happiness that Shelley has her first teaching job after working so hard to finish her degree. He would enjoy watching sports with our son-in-law and our brother-in-law. He loved to joke around with Shawn, and he still wants to do that...he just doesn't know what to say. I would also talk to him about my parents, and their health issues. It's funny that Billy asks my how my dad is about once a week. I don't know if he senses something, or if it's completely random. My dad is having health issues, and ironically, he has some of the same issues Billy has had with Alzheimer's. Dad's neurologist feels that he has Lewy Body Disease which is like having Alzheimer's mixed with Parkinson's. I haven't written about Dad in many months because he got upset with me for writing about his Thanksgiving episode, but I have to share that because it's a huge part of our lives right now. My mom's cancer has become active again, and this past week she started chemo - again. This time, the doctors plan to shrink the tumor significantly and then remove it surgically. Mom's health is our first priority right now, and Dad's health is up there also. I find myself wanting to "fix" things, and then I'm quickly reminded that I can't. I can't make all their decisions and shouldn't. Your prayers are needed and appreciated.
I got a call from Lexington Place this afternoon, and my heart always sinks a bit when I see that name on my ringing phone. They don't call to tell me how great he's been. I've mentioned before that the weekends are a challenge for Billy. He doesn't care for the weekend nurse, but he's been aggressive with the weekday nurses also lately. For several weeks now, the medical staff has been working on getting his meds to help him calm down, and at times he seems better, but he's had some violent episodes lately. That is not Billy's nature, but when the brain deteriorates, and he's faced with strong emotions, he goes into fight or flight mode - lately it's been fight. From what I could understand today, Billy got very upset when the nurse and two aides tried to change him. He doesn't do well with that many people doing that. I'm sure he feels like he's being ambushed. I plan to talk with the nurse tomorrow in person and try to understand exactly what happened, but Billy ended up with a busted nose and a swollen cheek. He looks like he was in a bar fight. When I got there to pick him up for our usual Saturday evening outing, he had not been shaved and he had blood on his shirt, but he was calm. [His pants have been falling off of him (literally), so I took some smaller clothes for him. When Billy entered LP in January, he could wear waist sizes 38 and 40. He now wears waist size 36, and I really don't remember him wearing that size since we married. I'm not sure how much weight he's lost total, and he's certainly not underweight, but I hope he stabilizes soon.] One of the aides and I got him shaved and cleaned up, and he did very well while we were out and about. After we shaved him this evening, he looked in the mirror, saw his face, and said, "What happened here?!" He had no clue.
I don't know the answer to making it better. I hate the thought of making him zombie-like to calm him down, and I hate that he's getting physically aggressive and coming out the loser. He apologizes after he calms down, so it seems that he knows he did something wrong, but he also has Alzheimer's!
I'm posting a series of pictures here that my sister took at Rosa's this evening. I want to hang on to any part of Billy that I have, and when I look at these pictures, his eyes make me sad. He does still laugh and smile some, but we rarely capture it in a picture.
|I love that Billy still kisses me as often as he can!|
|He thinks he's smiling in this picture. You can see how swollen his face is. |
I have no idea what's going on with my toothy smile! It looks fake.
|We couldn't get him to look up because he was eating Connor's frosty!|
|Finally! A smile!|
|And by picture number 5, he was getting tired of it all.|
My heart has been heavy lately. My brain has known all along that Billy would get worse, and I tried to prepare myself, but actually living it is hard. I had a happy moment tonight when he sang at church. I've not heard him sing in a long time, and for those who haven't known Billy for as long as others, Billy has a beautiful tenor voice. He sang with the praise team for years in our church in Midland, he sang in many weddings, and for many funerals. We sang Blessed Assurance at church this evening, and that is a hymn he has stored in that remaining long term memory. We typically sing contemporary songs which I love, but Billy has always liked the old hymns, and he can harmonize well. I can hardly stand to think of him not being with me, but it will be a joyous time when Billy sings praises in Heaven.