Maxine – I apologized to you this morning, for this morning, and ended by saying “I expect too much of you.” I do. That is most definitely “my bad”. You sound so good to me as you carry on conversations over the phone, talking and laughing, laughing and talking. You so delight in yourself. You should. We all should. I honestly believe delighting in ourselves is a good thing. Except, it seems, when you do it. I really had no idea I had such a dark side. I find myself all envious, jealous, and enraged that you can still be flirtatious, cutesy tootsie, bubbly, feeling hilarity, wanting to direct so much attention to yourself as though your life is fun, fun, fun at age 89. I know it’s not. Your back hurts almost constantly, despite having nerves cut, twice; so that it shouldn’t bother you. You are well aware your memory fails you so utterly that you can’t think what I just said, nor does it help you know what you so urgently wanted to say to me. You’ve told me it makes you feel “stupid”. I don’t know anyone who wants to feel that way. I also know you hate your wrinkles. You watch Cindy Crawford’s infomercial several times a week, and when I’ve pointed out that you’re looking at women forty to fifty years younger, you admit that, yes; that is how you want to look. What woman wouldn’t, you ask? You want to look good in your casket and you’re planning to be sure you do. It’s funny to me you say that, mean it, and, no doubt will. Don’t we all secretly aspire to the same! And, your nose drips continually, you say; and so it seems, indeed, when we take the occasional walk you consent to. Sometimes, your stomach hurts like crazy, though not nearly as often as it used to, now that you’re putting some of your weight back on and drinking four ounces of milk before bed. The worse thing, it seems, is that your bladder and bowels can seem to have a mind of their own and do things no one in their right mind would consent to. So: I do know, your life is not fun, fun, fun.
I do expect too much of you. I keep thinking you are a woman who was once my mother-in-law, and that, if nothing else, should mean you can appreciate me, or enjoy me or find me interesting enough to listen with some empathy. That everything I say is a lead in for you to try to “top that” or otherwise bring the conversation to yourself irks me. That would be putting it mildly. After I apologized, and you basically said, “that’s all right” and I reflected on saying “I expect too much of you” without you taking offense or trying to understand what I might mean, I realized you’ve said, at times, “I’m the patient, here”, “this is my house” and that it really does escape you when I ask you to appreciate that I’m spending my life with an 89 year old who basically sits in one chair the entire day and I might like a conversation that doesn’t always center around just that individual. It’s not necessary that you spend your life and time in one spot. Having the capacity to walk and having been told by your nurse and your doctor that the best thing you can do for your memory and your back and getting rid of your cane, and incredibly, having others who watch you walk remark how fast you can walk, speaks volumes to me that that is what you should be doing. Why should I have to beg to get action?
I would hope that had I spent over $50,000 on an amazing organ that sat in my home four steps from my chosen chair, and were I attending every week my lifetime free lessons, I could follow through on my saying I would get to playing my organ. I have a lot to learn about the brain and how to motivate someone who’s arrived in your place, without raising your ire. Truly it exhausts me. I wish so much that all the energy you put into enthusing your various audiences over the phone about how delightful you are; or some of it, at least, could go into you daily enthusing yourself into improving your memory and the strength of your back.
My memory weakness is remembering that you basically cannot think. At least you cannot think in the way I have a near constant expectation of. I do not believe you are thinking most of the time when I am talking to you. Your responses and your behaviors do not jive with what I have said. I observe this when others try to talk with you as well. I do know you do not hear well. That does not explain all of it, though. The Alzheimer’s, (which is some big secret that I don’t understand) may well explain that thoroughly. OK, I have a long ways to go. It would be nice if I could talk to other people who are dealing with this. You do get to do what you do, or not. For me, I have the responsibility to deal with my unmet or even frustrated expectations. I have the responsibility to tend to my own needs, and that includes taking the occasional break. And, I’m thinking, finding a support group. Too bad I have no visitors to my site who will cheer lead, or not. At the very least, a comment might be nice. Sigh.