Thursday, August 25, 2016

A New Reality: One or Two Spaces

It is 1:52, Thursday, 25 August, 2016. I have three hours before there will be a nock on the door for the evening meal. It takes four hours to do a complete search of the apartment. The place is getting too big or we must remove a lot of stuff.

Up until yesterday, my wife paid little attention to stuff on my desk or file cabinet. Yesterday that was all she wanted to "check out". The new power cord for the air ionizer, particle agglomerator, arrived. I opened the package and had it in my hands about 10 minutes; unfolding the cord and getting ready to plug in. The phone rang. I answered and hung up. The new power cord was gone. Nor did we find it last night.

As we were getting into bed, my wife threw a pillow at me in an unexpected but teasing way. My body responded in a way that I have not felt in about 75 years. I had a quick and bad temper as a little kid. I found that I felt better after such an experience (now we know: the rage relieved my allergies, I felt better for a few hours). I also learned that it could get me into troubles; say things or do things that can never be undone.

This morning she only wanted to sit at my desk and examine everything. That means pick it up, look it over, and then put it somewhere else in the apartment; sometimes with and sometimes without any sense of order. The blue fitted bed sheet I laid on the day bed, as I got ready to put the blue sheet on my bed, vanished as I turned away for a minute. I found it later, compressed to 1/4 the size I had last seen it in a small packing box.

Our oldest son set up the "Find My iPhone" as part of his complete overhaul of this computer last weekend. The iPad has been missing the last 2 days. I could not remember how to find it this morning. His response to my iPhone message was a message, and using TeamViewer to show me how to get started. The iPad's robust ringing led me to an old CPAP case.

Most people put new things on top of whatever is already in the space. My wife puts them within or underneath.

And so I have been pushed to the brink again. First it was my back that landed us here at Provision Living at Columbia. Now we must learn to live in residential care either together ($7,000/mo) or in two separate spaces.

The cost of separate spaces is obscene (over $10,000/mo), but two other couples are now doing it; they have sold their cars. The last couple split yesterday as the "caregiver" had not had a decent nights sleep in the past two weeks. We have no trouble sleeping on three beds in a studio apartment.

He and I are no longer looking at residential care as a substitute or replacement for living in our own houses as homes. Former apartment dwellers can skip this adjustment. We are looking to make the best of the situation we find ourselves with the funds we have.

I do not want to be pushed to the point that I again feel that blast of heat that starts in the chest and then sweeps out to the ends of my fingers, toes, and ears. Time stops. I float for a moment, suspended in space. It is not the rational world that I like, and am comfortable in, and I feel safe when I can get sufficient facts on which to base conclusions . It is not the emotional world that is fun and I am comfortable in when shared with friends and loved ones; but in which I feel less safe.

It is not the same, but boarders on the world I have had to share with tobacco addicts before I realized their problem was their addition rather than anything else they may say or do with tobacco. I could tolerate them (and their apologists, who work them for profit in several ways) for a period of time before my feeling became a slowly increasing boiling, rather than a sudden, unexpected bolt out of the blue. This was periodically accompanied with severe digestional track upsets. I have had one here.

One space or two spaces? There are no residential care sites in Columbia, MO, that are tobacco smoke free. (Only the University of MO, medical center no longer hires tobacco addicts.) During 6 months here at Provision Living at Columbia, I have found tolerable air quality (tobacco addicts and Air Scent powered dispensers).

Independent advisors still tell me to "stay the course". So we clear out all the stuff we can from this studio apartment that still leaves my wife with things she "needs". If I pick up something she wants, she has no difficulty letting me know. I also must clear out the lockable two drawer file cabinet for space to put what I must not lose. [My wife is the only one in the 22-person unit to exhibit this extreme pack rat behavior, in our apartment and the activity area.]

Plan two: If two spaces become necessary for any of the above reasons as well as the progressive nature of "memory gaps", then pick a memory care site near a willing relative where there is no tobacco smoke or the use of misnamed and misused air fresheners.

It is now 3:47 and I have been polled for supper. I often order one each of the two main options. My wife and I then accept or trade at the table. This gets us out of the problem several residents have of forgetting what they ordered; and when seeing the plates, want to switch, or order something entirely different (which is always available but may require a 30 minute wait for it to be cooked).

I hope this "on the spot reporting" conveys some of the feeling of life in residential care. It has helped me "cool down". I personally cannot feel that we have been here six months. I have been so busy adjusting to constantly changing conditions "one time, get it right, permanent choices" that time has just roared by.

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