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Speechless

source: wikipedia“My goal is to live until our son turns 18.” “13 months from now? Is there something you’re not telling me?” “Well, I didn’t expect to be on disability at 55, and I think it’s important for a child to have their parents until they are 18, don’t you?” I was quite a sight with my mouth open like a fish’s and tears spilling out of my eyes. “Frankly, I’m speechless. My goal is to live to be 100 and healthy.”

This is just part of the conversation my husband and I were having last night as we did the dinner dishes. It’s a good thing I wasn’t holding anything breakable or I would have been cleaning it up!

College was a big topic of conversation yesterday in our house. Our son’s first choice college is a local private university that would be a wonderful fit for his personality. It’s also expensive. I’ve discussed this with our son, and he knows that if the university does not come through scholarships, grants, or magic to reduce the tuition, he won’t be going there. Steve and I have discussed this and the cost and agreed that we’ll work to swing this if our son is accepted because we feel it would be a good fit. Sunday Steve decided that we can not afford this college and acted as though this was something we had never discussed.

This vacillating has been happening for a couple of months now and I’m really not enjoying it! After the cat peed in Robert’s closet a few times, Steve decided to take out the carpet in the closet and install wood. I thought this was a great idea. If the cat peed, it would be easy to clean up, and since any trace of pee would be gone with a new floor, the cat probably wouldn’t use the closet as a litter box again. Steve purchased the wood for the closet and then decided it wouldn’t look good (it’s in a closet for crying out loud!!) and put the “cleaned” carpet back into the closet. Something similar happened again with the bathroom. Steve constructed a new wall so we could remove the door into the small shower/toilet room. After the basic construction, Steve asked me if I wanted him to remove it, and told me he would be putting a new door on the shower/toilet room. WHAT??

Sunday I reminded Steve we’d discussed this and had already reached an agreement. Steve said it would be as if our son was receiving his inheritance for college, but he didn’t care because he wouldn’t be here. I thought he meant that when he was dead at 80+ years of age and there would be no inheritance left.  That wasn’t what he meant at all. Because he was diagnosed with MCI and has slowed down in the last four years, he envisions a MUCH shorter life expectancy. I don’t. I imagine many years of caregiving, but not fewer years of Steve.

This conversation went on for quite a while, and while it did include more of my tears, it also included lots of hysterical laughter. Somewhere in the conversation, I asked Steve when he had planned to let me know this because if he was dying that soon, I should start looking for a new husband. (Give me a brake here, there was nothing logical about the conversation!) Since I’d said I wouldn’t get married again (which I have said), Steve didn’t think I needed to know yet. But since I brought it up, Steve advised me to become a Cougar and marry a much younger man!!!!!!! This really was a rather crazy conversation. We even discussed how much younger the man should be and considered possibilities! (None!)

Steve said he’s always felt that living until our son is 18 was important, but it wasn’t anything he felt he needed to worry about until almost four years ago. Don’t take offense here, guys, but MEN!!!

A couple of weeks ago Steve went to his therapist and was SHOCKED when she told him he wouldn’t ever be going back to work full-time. Our son and I knew this but I guess Steve didn’t. I’ve tried to soften the blow, because it is still quite a blow to Steve, by telling him that if a person had been off work for any reason for an extended time, they would probably have to ease back into working full-time. His response was, “I don’t buy that, and I don’t buy that I’m never going back to work full-time.” Okie dokie!

As our saga continues, watch out world! I’m on the prowl!

About G-J

Avatar of G-J
I am a caregiver for my 59-year-old husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in December 2009. His employer put him on disability and he had to retire one year later when he couldn't return to work. I am also the mother to our son who is now a high school senior. We have a cat, Sagwa, who rounds out our family. In addition to blogging here, I volunteer at my son's high school in the scholarship office, teach a class I created called, "Keep Your Brain Buff" at our city's Senior Center, lead a writing group at the Alzheimer's Association, and advocate for people with all types of dementia. In November, I will be participating in my third Walk to End Alzheimer's.

6 comments

  1. Avatar of Richard

    G-J, I understand what Steve is going through. The day the doctor told me that was to date one of the top four “Worse” days of my life. I guarantee you after 10 years I still get emotional when I think about that appointment and I now have come to terms with it but still hate knowing it. I was at the top of my career when it happened and was heading for a second year of top salesman and Multi figure income to only be pulled out from under me.

    Support him (as I know you do), listen to him, don’t judge and don’t say anything like, “You’ll get use to it.” That does not help one bit, it’s our manhood, who we are and with Steve to know people are out there on his designs, his life, love, that would be even more emotional. If he ever wants to talk, he’s free to give me a call at anytime (916) 849-4043.

    – Richard / : ^{ ) >

  2. Avatar of EllysGdaughter

    Dear G-J, I can relate to the somewhat nonsensical conversations. I have learned to laugh, ask more questions just to see what Grandma is “up to”. I try to blog about them so I can remember the funny things and hopefully forget those really hard or bad times! Grandma wanted to know where the bedroom furniture went – about a year after we moved in. She said she would need it after we left! I had this image of her using the bedroom furniture in her mansion in heaven amidst all the beautiful things He prepared for her!

  3. Avatar of Trish

    Hi, G-J, Oh my gosh! What a conversation! He’s lucky you didn’t beat him with the dish towel. :-) I don’t even know what to say – I’m speechless too. It sounds like you handled it well because you two ended up joking around about the cougar thing. Hang in there!

  4. Avatar of Kathy

    LOL G-J!!

    Your last sentence made me snort!!
    I can sooooo relate to those kinds of conversations!
    I can also relate to them catching you off guard and spilling some tears.

    I wish I knew the kind of things I could tell you to say and make Steve feel better and more accepting of his situation. Losing ones independence by no fault of their own is heartbreaking to watch and gaining that responsibility on yourself at times is difficult. But you and Steve and Robert make a great team.

    Maybe you can try what I’ve been doing. I find myself, after the initial shock of a rough topic, telling Hubby, “Well, if you plan on dying just wait until after( x y or z), because if you miss (x y or z), (somebody’s) gonna kill you”
    So far we we’ve held him off for a few years ;-)

    Thinking of you always G-J

  5. Avatar of ejourneys

    Oh, G-J, I can relate to these conversations, too! There’s a reason I have my digital recorder by my side. :-) Luckily, my partner wants our conversations recorded, because while they often sound nonsensical to me, they make perfect sense to her and she wants them preserved for posterity.

    The recordings help me because they reinforce the fact that, yes, I really did hear that, and I wasn’t imagining things. (Pointing out to my partner things she’s said in past conversations that conflict with her revisions doesn’t resolve anything. She just comes up with various rationalizations to make everything “fit.”)

    There is in all this a fine line between hilarity and heartbreak. I hear you on both. (((Hugs)))

  6. Avatar of Pegi

    Gj, what a conversation! Sounds, like so many others here, only too familiar. I’m glad you are able to handle this with humor and laughter; and even the occasional tear. I tend to over react and get snitty when hubby starts talking such nonsense. After ten years, I still listen to hubby’s stories about when he worked. I think the not working thing initially was harder on him then having to deal with the ailments. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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