I had a little scare this morning, a brief moment of pause, a moment when I felt a chill. It’s a little funny now, but in those few minutes of conversation concern, fear and even panic set in. Every morning Walt’s routine is the same, he wakes up, puts on a pot of coffee and goes downstairs on the Playstation to see if Josh has left him a message and to play a little bit before getting ready for work or starting his day. The only variation on Saturday is that Walt will wait to make coffee until I get up….during the week he makes it before he heads downstairs.
So this morning I was surprised when I walked into the kitchen and there wasn’t any coffee made but thought maybe Walt decided to wait a bit today before putting it on. I opened the curtains, put a few glasses in the dishwasher, sat down with my lap top at the kitchen table and I could hear Walt coming up the stairs. When he walked into the kitchen he teased me about not starting the coffee, I’m not quite used to this new coffee pot yet, then he went about the kitchen getting the coffee ready. As he is running water into the carafe this conversation took place:
Me: I’ve got a little running I need to do, I have to run to Kroger, to the other Meijer to see if they have any of the coffee that’s on sale, get the meats for the week and then to Randazzo.
Walt: In a few hours I’m going to run up to Lowes for some totes, work a little more on the storage room.
Me: In a few hours??
Walt: Yea, I want to get it done early, I don’t want to wait until later in the day.
Me: You’re going today?
Walt: Yea, when else am I going to go?
Me: You’re going before work?
Walt: No, I’m not working today, what are you talking about?
Me: Sweetie it’s Friday.
Walt: Are you ok, it’s Saturday.
Me: Walt, it’s Friday
Walt: No it’s not, it’s Saturday, are you sure you’re ok?
**This is where panic sets in because he is determined that today is Saturday and I’m the one with the confusion issue. I physically got up out of the chair so I could look right at him**
Me: WALT!!! Remember, I was supposed to take Josh and Kaylee to Karate last night, Karate is on Thursday night. Josh and I had dinner instead. Today is Friday.
Walt: Oh, Oh, you’re right! WoW, I thought today was Saturday, I have to go to work today!
Me: Are you OK?
Walt: Yea, yea I’m fine, I just really thought it was Saturday.
Me: Are you sure??
Walt: Yea, I’m fine, I just lost track of the days.
It wouldn’t have been so scary had Walt just agreed with me the first time I said it was Friday, but when he thought I was wrong and challenged me about it I got just a little bit worried. I’ve had more than my fair share of family members suffering from strokes, dementia and Alzheimer’s so I know what each is capable of doing.
I watched dementia take my Busia from us, coherent one minute, grabbing my arm the next begging me to take her out of the hospital because the nurses were trying to kill her. Eventually, in her mind, Busia lived in some other place, some other time …..lost. No longer able to share a joke or funny story, no more weekend trips up to the cottage. No more chicken wings in a too ketchupie, greasy bbq sauce, no more pasta mixed with cream of mushroom soup to feed the masses who showed up to the cottage on weekends. No more deli chicken and deli pasta lunches after shopping. No more popping in to the Mercier house, I close my eyes and I can see everything in the house, it’s not clouded or forgotten, it’s exactly the way it was, the way it always was. I see Busia sitting in her chair, Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy on the TV, an Awrey or Sanders coffee cake on the kitchen table. I can hear her, “Leona, Patsy, Carole, Nancy”……it always took Boo a few names before she got to our own, there were so many of us. The hardest part was watching my mom try to take care of Busia at home until it became to much….after a while it wasn’t a good idea for either of them and busia was put in a nursing home. I admire my mom a lot, we all came and went Mom and Dad lived it every day. Even though we saw the deterioration in Busia, Mom and Dad lived with it, that had to be the hardest part of all.
I’ve seen my dad and brother both go through strokes, my brother still relying on a cane and sometimes a wheelchair, never really fully regaining the use of his arm and hand. My ex-mother-in-law’s stroke was so bad it left her unable to speak or walk, I know in her head when she spoke she heard words, we only heard garble. When I close my eyes I can still see the fear and frustration in her eyes, it haunts me 30 years later.
So for a split second I was frightened…..now Walt is walking around, teasing and joking, telling me how I screwed up his plans. He woke up so sure today was Saturday, he was looking forward to getting a little rest and relaxation then I woke up and took it away. He is hustling and bustling around here exactly like he does every morning before work. All is good.
Before I sign off and head out to get my errands done I’ll leave you with a slow cooker recipe, Creamy Italian Chicken. I found this through Life As A Lofthouse’s blog on Pinterest; http://life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.ca/2012/08/crockpot-creamy-italian-chicken.html. This is another one of those slow cooker recipes that has just a few ingredients but is packed with flavor. If you try it drop us a quick note let us know how you liked it, we love hearing from you.
CREAMY ITALIAN CHICKEN
What You’ll Need:
4 -6 boneless, skin-less chicken breasts
1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
2 (10 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, cut into cubes
Egg Noodles or Rice