“Hold on, I’m buttering my bagel!”
That was the exasperated reply on the other end of the phone one morning last week. Me? I burst out laughing. And I promised Preston that would be a blog title one day. Today is that day.
I love my husband. He’s my joy. He’s my sidekick. He’s a gift that I genuinely treasure.
No two days are ever alike with him anymore. Some days, he seems so lost and hidden within himself. He’ll get lost in his Ipad games for hours on end. Or maybe he’ll watch 17 shows of “Forged in Fire” back to back. On those days, it’s a struggle to pull him out of himself and get him to fully engage in our lives. I try to hide the tears. I try harder not to verbally compare him to an earlier version of himself in what seems a lifetime ago.
Then other days, he’ll leave me standing with my mouth wide open at the pure intelligence and logical reasoning that he’ll speak of. He’s my old Preston. The one that can hang the moon and make all life’s bumps disappear with just a simple intelligent conversation. He can recite dates and complex formulas at ease. He can remember the street name where he lived as a child in Florida. These are the days he hops on his tractor and scrapes the driveway.
Then there’s the days that he can’t remember what day it is. Or how to open the hood on the tractor. Or that he made arrangements for a friend to come and take him fishing the next day. Sometimes he forgets that Hunter is home. Or where he went. Or who he is with. He forgets to take his medicine, but is OCD about filling his pill containers every Tuesday evening. He forgets to brush his teeth, but he’ll never leave home without his hair properly fixed. He can’t remember our anniversary, but he can remember an old employee and recite every position the fellow held working for him.
His brain is an amazing and complex organ. Recently, we met with a neuropsychiatrist after a full neuro-psych evaluation. She was absolutely amazed(as all the doctors have been) that Preston functions as well as he does having his type of brain aneurysm. But he has “quirks”, as I call them. One of those “quirks” is full blown episodes of uncontrollable emotions. I thought he was having tantrums. Come to find out, most of these episodes can be chalked up to me being the cause. Preston’s brain doesn’t like change. Things have to be repititive. If I tell him that we’re going to Olive Garden at 2:15, I can’t switch gears on him and take him at 3:15. It messes up the complex system that he has designed in his brain to help him cope with life. And he gets out of synch. NOBODY Likes it when Preston gets out of synch!
She also introduced us to the “D” word. Dementia. I don’t think I heard much more after that except for a few key words. Brain stimulants. Therapy. Medicine. No cure. Slow down progress. I don’t want to believe that’s the path we are on. Then I remember the 3 times in the last week that he’s forgotten the stove, crockpot and grill.
Next week, we start another round with all his doctors after taking a few months off. We meet with the neurologist first and will be starting some new medications that will help stimulant his brain and other medicine to control the emotional outbursts. Preston has been on medication before for this, but it made him so flat, emotionless, and zombie-like. We worked with the doctor to wean him off and I promised him that we would keep him off of it as long as we could. Now they are telling us that it’s no longer an option, and deep down inside we both know it’s true. I still struggle with trying to honor my promise to my husband. I don’t ever want him to think I betrayed him.
It was only recently that I’ve even been able to talk about this part of our journey. God has placed some absolutely wonderful friends in our lives that have helped us by not only praying for us constantly, but investing in our lives. Preston has friends that consistently text him and take him fishing or to the golf course. God’s given me the ability to swallow my pride and share the day to day struggles that I have with my prayer group. I have my beloved crow that throws me on the back of her broom when she takes one look and knows I need a break.
I’m always learning to be (more) still and know that He is the great “I AM”. Not me. My job to love my sweet hubby, and that’s the one thing in this world that I know I can do!
It’s the one thing I can do well, besides laugh at his buttered bagels.