I have endured so much. Does that sound dramatic or what?! Every day is a challenge with the repetition of questions, the confusion, the forgetfulness, and the delusions. I feel like I can roll with the flow pretty darn good. It’s been a learning experience, but I’ve learned to not try to reason with Bob or to change his mind. If he doesn’t want to eat, he doesn’t eat. If he wants cookies and M&M’s three meals a day, then that’s what he has. If he wonders who I am and why I am sleeping in his bed, I try to make a joke of how lucky he is to have such a beautiful woman sleeping next to him. If the tells me that he was on the Police Department for 502 years, I congratulate him for a long and happy career. If he wants to watch a Spanish infomercial and call it football, I don’t change the channel. If he wants to wear the same clothes three days in a row, I wait until he falls asleep and then I set out clean clothes for the next morning. If he wants to have my deceased parents over for dinner, I tell him that they are coming soon but not tonight. If I must remind him to put on his mask 100 times, I just do it.
But today I snapped. What was it that caused me to have a huge meltdown and end up crying out for God to help me? What was it? Bob wouldn’t brush his teeth. He claims he has never brushed them before, and he doesn’t know how to do it. Bob says the toothpaste doesn’t smell good and he doesn’t want to put it in his mouth. I dug through the cabinets and found three different types of toothpaste thinking one of them would be the one to spark an interest in brushing his teeth. Nope, none of them was want Bob wanted. So, he methodically and slowly shaved, showered, doused himself with aftershave, sprinkled powder everywhere, and put foot cream on his feet. But no, he didn’t brush his teeth. I know tomorrow he might but still today, he refused.
I did all the wrong things. Tried to reason. Tried to explain. Tired to use logic. Tried to appeal to his common sense. Raised my voice. Got in his face. Tried to convince him that I knew what I was talking about. Tried to convince him he was confused and mixed up. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
So now, I’ve climbed back down off of the ledge I was teetering on and I’m calmly thinking about today’s issue. You would think I would have learned by now that whatever Bob does and says is out of his control. It’s the disease’s fault and not Bob’s fault. Being upset with him is a waste of my energy and trying to reason, cajole, or persuade is a total waste of effort. Some lessons are hard to completely learn.
God knows what Bob needs and it is NOT brushing his teeth daily or fighting over brushing his teeth. Bob needs a loving kind wife who cares gently for him in difficult moments. Thanks for answering my prayer when I cried out.
Next time, God, I’ll remember to consult you first!