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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dude, Where's My Husband?

Did you know that people with C.T.E. wander?  Yeah, that was quite a revelation for me yesterday.  My first preview of this was the other night.  Calvin and I are sitting in the living room in our chairs.  Calvin is fast asleep.  Suddenly, Calvin jumps up, grabs a large dowel rod that he has been using as a cane, and announces: "I have to get to the park!"  My reply: "No, I don't think so, baby.  It is 11:30 pm and you, sir, are in nothing but your underpants."  Calvin:  "Oh, OK" retreats to his chair and falls asleep.

Pretty funny, right?  Well, last night, I'm in my chair enjoying some leftover pizza and Calvin announces that he needs to go find his cane tip.  These things do fall off so I was fine with it.  I checked out the window and saw Calvin looking around in the yard.  My mother-in-law calls.  As I am chatting with Inez, I look out the window and I don't see Calvin.  Panic- I mean hard-core-I'm-so-scared-I'm-gonna-throw-up panic.  I jump up, set my dinner down someplace safe, and hot foot it out to the car.  I start driving around our "suburban" neighborhood which is lovely by day but can get a little weird at night.  The sun is setting and there is no sign of Calvin.  I call my daughter and my daughter-in-law.  As I am talking to them, I spot Calvin.

I pull up to Calvin and ask what he is doing.  Oh friends, he looked at me with this confused look, like a lost and scared child.  "I don't know. I don't understand what I am doing."  This job of caretaker takes more ability to hide one's emotions than being a mom ever did.  You can fool a child.  If Mom isn't scared, it's OK.  But even an adult whose mind is being ravaged by dementia has enough savvy to know when we are scared.  So how do I hide my heart being torn into many small pieces by the look of fear and confusion on the face of the man I love?  I don't know.  I'm not even sure I managed it.  But I tried.  For Calvin's sake, I tried.

Now, I need a real solution to this and you, my friends, do too.  Thank God for the Alzheimer's Association.  No, this isn't a commercial, I'm sharing a solution to this problem.  The Alzheimer's Association has teamed up with MedicAlert (the medical bracelet folks) and created Safe Return for Alzheimer's (and C.T.E.) patients that wander.  If your loved one wanders off, you call the emergency number and the appropriate authorities are alerted to retrieve your loved one.  It's about the closest thing to peace of mind that we are going to get when our loved one, who is thoroughly confused and wandering alone.  I'll take that little bit of peace and gladly lay down $55.00 even though I can't really afford it.  Heck, I'll lay down the additional $35.00 to enroll myself because of my diabetes and my heart condition.  If I went down, Calvin would have no idea what to do or how to communicate with the emergency personnel.  So, for $35.00 I purchased peace of  mind for Calvin and he didn't even know it.  Here is the link for the MedicAlert + Safe Return program:  http://shop.alz.org/Care-and-Safety/MedicAlert-Alzheimers-Association-Safe-Return  While you are at the Alzheimer's Association website, be sure to check out all the cool resources.

Oh, and when I got Calvin home, safe and sound and in his chair.  I looked over at my dinner plate which I had put in a "safe place."  It was licked clean by our 125 pound pit bull Kruger.  Thanks, Kruger, you stinker.