Thursday, September 10, 2009

Can You Fix It?

Grace has been calling me over more often. Unlike the crabby Grace of a year ago, she is actually sweeter to me than before. She just wants me to look at her and smile, so I comply. It’s so easy. All I have to do is say something with a smile and she really doesn’t care what I’ve said. Most of the time she doesn’t understand. Sometimes she asks me to repeat.

Me: “I’m going out running now.”
Grace: “What?”
Me: “I’m going for a run.”
Grace: “You’re doing something with a form?”
Me: “Ruh - Ning”
Grace: “You’re what?”
Me: “I love you.”
Grace: “I love you too.”

I have found that if I give her a little hug, it really cheers her up. It’s not always a simple thing to do given the positions she adopts while on her favorite couch. I know what she weighs, but I am always amazed at how tiny and boney she is.

Last night she called me over and said, “My heart is backing away. Can you fix it?”
I told her I could try to make her laugh, if that would help. She just shook her head at that. I really can’t be certain what that means, but I can take a few guesses. All sorts of things run through my head.

One of the behaviors in Alzheimer’s patients is their loss of language skills. They start to use words inappropriately or substitute a word for another meaning. I’m sure at another more brain healthy time in her life she could have told me exactly what she needed. Most likely she expressed this as well as she could. Her eyes stared at me afterwards hoping I would have an answer. I didn’t .

I am also painfully aware that I am the fixer in her life. She has a request, I make it happen. I bring home her ice cream, she sees me as the leader of the caregivers, she knows I am taking care of her. However, she has hit on something I can't fix. It makes me feel like I'm failing her.

She is most likely aware of her own deterioration. I don’t think she is in pain, but I think she knows she is leaving us.

Very very slowly.

No comments: