It is entirely true that I have mentioned multiple times how the recordings of Frank Sinatra have saved my life and brought incredible joy to our household. We enjoy Mr. Sinatra and his pals (Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, et.al.,) via the miracle of Spotify. I set up a library with Hubby’s favorite songs and albums. We have probably played them a hundred times. That much repetition of anything would be irritating enough but is made more so by a young English woman who comes on every fifteen minutes to thank us for listening. “You could be listening to the radio.” She explains, “Or listening to a six-track tape, if you knew what one looked like!” This may have been “cute” the first time, but the frequent repetitions have me ready to throw the listening device across the room, and even Hubby is fed up. He gets tough with her, telling her to get lost and get back to the music. it is much like those of us who use Waze, and have nasty conversations with our friendly lady when she gives us the wrong directions! Having had enough of this irritant, I foolishly suggested to Hubby that we pay for Spotify Premium to get rid of the ads, and have unlimited music. He declined the offer which would cost us about $7 per month. Hubby’s lecture followed as to how I am foolish with my expenditures. If he only knew! The $7 would be the least of what flows out with all the expenses which mount up when employing round-the-clock care-givers, renting equipment, purchasing medicines and sundry other items required to care for an elder Hubby. The $7 was definitely not going to be the straw to break this camel’s back!
Spotify has their service fine-tuned to essentially force you to go to the premium plan. Suddenly we could only play one album of Sinatra, over and over…and over. At the cost of total hair loss (from pulling it out strand by strand myself), I opted to spring for the massive fee. It was actually a joy to have tons of new music arrive.
Hubby can sing-along for hours. I know I have mentioned this before as well, however today was slightly different. In addition to the singing, he decided to embark on a very detailed, personal discussion with those performers whose music he was enhancing with his participation. Of course. it was by definition, a one-way discourse. It did not appear that he expected a response, so that was fine. He chattered away to his phone (which is only used for music and wi-fi access). He held it close to his lips when he was singing as if it was microphone. He went from singing to expounding into the same device. It was Saturday evening and as a result of a disastrous experience with the new care-giver hired to help us for 24 hours from 6 PM Friday night, we then found ourselves quite alone. That story is available on thedementiadiary.com website and is titled “The Hostage.”
(Personal note: When I was ready to post this week’s chapter, it was “The Hostage” which was next to be released. I stared at the title for a long time, thinking of the Hostages being held by Hamas in this horrible war which has been brought upon us. I have postponed releasing the chapter here, because of its title, which has nothing at all to do with the war. It just broke my heart to think of our captives and their suffering. It is however available on the website as it was released there earlier.)
Hubby was really happy as he revealed all kinds of personal angst, opinions and details to the performers singing to him from his telephone. His filter is now non-existent. While sitting around the corner, just feet away, I winced at the comments and revelations, but took solace in the fact that no one else could actually hear him.
Violet returned from her day off at about 9:30 PM this evening. Hubby was delighted to see her as he has become very accustomed to having his own personal valet and loves full time attention. He does not seem to realize that we pay for this service. He thinks it is his charm that makes it all possible. Violet suggested that it was time to turn off the music, as he had been singing for many, many hours. He admitted that his throat was sore and that he should give it a rest.
As she guided him to his bed to prepare for sleep, I was quite taken aback by his next question;
“Where did the people go?” He asked her.
“They have gone home.” She cleverly responded.
“Why didn’t they say goodbye?” He asked.
“They did. You just did not hear them. They will come again soon.” She brilliantly concluded the conversation. Hubby was satisfied with her answers.
At no time did I contemplate that he actually thought there were people sitting at the table with him as he was chattering away for hours. I thought the hallucinating had stopped when we corrected his medications long ago. Clearly his mind moves seamlessly from imagination to reality and back again. They all become one. Little wonder he is constantly confused. Apparently, I am as well!
Earlier in the evening, Hubby was singing in the living room and asked that I come to see the photograph of the two of us when we were madly in love. He was singing love songs to the me in the picture at the time (with the help of Spotify of course.) When I came to see which photo he was referring to, it was one of me and our son, taken about twenty years ago. Obviously neither of us looked as we do today. Hubby thought that it was a photo of himself with me.
Surely if I would line up some photos of our son side by side, I could explain to him that multiple photos could all be of the same person? I tried that. It did not work. Hubby asked me over and over who was in the middle photo, or the one on the right or left. I explained that they were all of our son. “You must be crazy,” was his response. (This is one of his favorite reactions when speaking to me. It makes me feel so worthwhile!)
When Violet arrived and saw the photos in front of him, Hubby pointed to the twenty-year old photo and told her “That is a photo of Barbara with her brother.” I do not have a brother. Why can I not give in to the truth that no matter how much I explain, it can neither be retained nor absorbed? Most spouses feel that “giving in” is “giving up.” But there is a time to face the facts we see before us.
This is one of the hardest parts of caring for a spouse who was amazing, sharp and clever. One continues to expect the “return” of their partner… if only we could do or say the right thing to trigger their memory! There is no right thing. Accepting this reality is beyond difficult for us all. If we refuse to accept this truth, we are the ones who suffer. Unrealistic expectations are not our friends.