Age is just a number
Going to a restaurant with someone with Alzheimer’s is a bit like going out with a toddler. They don’t make conversation and they play with all the stuff on the table. Rick loves to put his water glass right on the edge of the table so that it’s likely to spill. He does this at home as well. My worry is that the knife will be used instead of the fork. It’s a bit lonely and I’m a bit nervous when we go out. Rick laughs at other people’s conversations sitting near us even if they are speaking in another language.
Today he put his shoes on the wrong feet and I corrected them. At the restaurant he was uncomfortable sitting on the bench opposite me but he gets mad when I tell him to fix the pillow behind him. I ended up sitting on the same side as him, fixing the pillow, cutting his pizza into bites and helping him eat the Caesar salad. Someone with Alzheimer’s doesn’t remember how to fork their food or stab it. No matter what he’s eating he lifts it onto the fork; salad and pizza and blueberries are a problem.
It worked out for me to sit next to him because we could eat together and be snugly. We enjoyed our lunch and had a good time.
For some reason our age difference is very obvious lately. No matter where we go people assume that he’s my father. The age difference didn’t really come up before. I guess because I’m helping him or taking care of him it appears that way. When I was 17 and Rick was 34 it just didn’t seem like a big deal. My friends thought that it was gross. I guess I would think it was gross now that I am an adult. Rick was younger than his real age. I was used to being around people 17 years older than me. I was a surprise to my parents. My mother had me when she was 42 and in 1967 that wasn’t the norm. At first the doctors thought that she had a tumor in her stomach, but it turned out to be me (I’m not a tumor imagine Arnold’s voice). I remember when they would tell the story; the doctor called, my mom answered the black old fashioned rotary phone on the wall in the kitchen and when he said it “it’s not a tumor, it’s a baby,” she fainted.
It’s weird that the distance in our ages seems larger now. I guess that I am an old soul but I still love cartoons and to act silly. Rick was a late bloomer. He didn’t even get his driver’s license until he was 25. So we both have our quirks, but we fit.
My aunt had this dreadful disease as well as one of my good friends’ husbands. I saw the tremendous effort both families took to keep them at home and take care of them. As awful as it may feel in this moment you are still making memories that you will carry with you forever. You don’t recognize them now but some of these “quirks” will become so endearing. Sending you hugs. <3