There is no clear and consistent reason that is obvious to either of us that explains the restless nights that come at random — and far too often.  Sometimes there have been a couple of long naps during the day that might explain it.  Not this time.  Sometimes there is caffeine later in the day; there was a little in the mid-afternoon.  Sometimes there has not been enough in her stomach, occasionally due to poor timing of an ice cream treat, stealing her appetite for supper.  Sometimes there is an activity the next day that has caught her attention and refuses to allow her to relax.

Sometimes it is the hallucinations.  That was the presenting reason two nights ago.  When I was using the monitor to watch, her head would lift up quickly and the she would look intently at something.  Her head moved in that way every minute or so, often less than a minute.  Often she would be up on her elbow, many times up and sitting on the side of the bed.  It lasted until some time between 3:30am and 4:00am.

The hallucinations were the usual ones, animals, threads, needles, people.  While I recognize there is a disease producing the problem, nonetheless, I got more frustrated as the night wore on.  There was, of course, no reasoning away the hallucinations.

Not long after we both finally got to sleep (a couple of commode trips during the sleep time), it was time for me to get up, since Wednesday morning is the Spiritual Formation group that meets on the deck at 7:30am.  I get up at 6:30am each Wednesday and move as quickly as I can to get myself showered and dressed, the coffee made (the most important task), set up the deck, get Mary Ann’s pills and yogurt and ice water and granola bar opened.

Normally on Wednesday mornings, I set up all the above items in the bedroom on a table next to her transfer chair so that if she wakes up before the group is done, she can get her pills taken and food in her stomach on her own.  She almost always sleeps until the bath aid comes around 9am.

Not yesterday!  After being awake and active until perhaps 3:45am, she got up shortly after 7am.   As a result, I needed to stay with her rather than go out to join the group.  After about forty-five minutes, she chose to get back into bed for a while.  I was able then to go out and participate in the group for a time.

It is embarrassing to admit how selfish I am, but I was mostly concerned about the pain in my back and the fact that both the night and my morning were being stolen from me.  I should have  been  more concerned about the challenges the day would bring Mary Ann, since she would be tired and the hallucinations would be worse  than usual.

The day went surprisingly well yesterday.  I began this post last evening but was too tired to finish it.  I just shut down.  We both got a decent night’s sleep last night.  For a few hours today, we had the wonderful gift of a young lady who lifted the wheel chair in and out of the car for a grocery store trip and our Parkinson’s Support Group meeting.  Since then a challenging commode trip and return to bed has irritated my back again, but it still seems to be improving some.  She appears a little restless at the moment, but I hope for some rest tonight.  As always, we will just see what tomorrow brings.

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This morning I had a chance to go up to favorite spot I like to visit when there is a Sunday morning Volunteer.  (By the way, those who worry that we might not be getting to church, we attend the evening service on Sundays.)  I relish the chance for a little time to do some meditative reading, have some quiet time, and soak in the scenery and the wildlife, especially the birds.  I walked along the edge of a marsh below the dam, as I often do when I head up to the lake.  There are some Red-Winged Blackbirds that send out alarms and do fly-overs every time I take that path.  I am not sure what they think I am going to do, but they are determined that whatever it is, I don’t do it.

Something I wrote in my post yesterday came to mind as I spent the time away this morning.  Yesterday, I listed some of the things that I am not doing, options I have given up on for the moment, as we are living the life we have at the moment.  As I thought about that, I began to wonder if in the course of letting go of those options, I am also cutting back too much on what Mary Ann and I try to do to add interest to our lives.

While I have posted often with attitude, attitude that left the impression we will tackle anything, the truth is, I am often reluctant to push the envelop of our apparent limitations.

The disincentives that come with going out of the house to do much of anything seem pretty powerful.  I am afraid that sometimes I give those disincentives more power than they deserve.  It is so much easier to just go with the flow and do as little as possible that challenges us than it is to do the work of getting out.  I have to admit to just plain laziness.

Sometimes Mary Ann doesn’t want to tackle going out and needs for me to be more assertive.  Sometimes Mary Ann seems oblivious to the all the challenges and wants to go and do something, but I am the one that thinks of all the reasons not to do it. Sometimes it is just a matter of being tired because we have had a rough night, as in the night before last.

I don’t want Mary Ann to miss out on activities we are still able to do that may no longer be possible for us to do in the not too distant future.  At the same time, we both have to accept that one of the consequences of the Parkinon’s presence in our lives is that I need to do more of the work for both of us when we go out and participate in activities.  We cannot void those consequences and live the life we might have had if the Parkinson’s had not joined us.

Just as I have to accept what I need to do for Mary Ann to have a decent quality of life, Mary Ann has to accept that I have limited stamina and, frankly, have a lazy streak in me.  Not only do we need to live the life we have, not the one we wish we had, but we have to accept the spouse we have, not the one we would like him/her to be.   Otherwise we will always be disappointed with one another.

I won’t presume to speak for Mary Ann, but I have the spouse I want.  I accept and embrace all that comes with our life together.  In spite of the presence of the Parkinson’s in our lives, I want Mary Ann to have the best quality of life she can have.  I need to be careful not to be too cautious so that we do have the most fulfilling life we can given our circumstances.  At the same time, we need to accept each other’s limitations and imperfections, and not spend our time upset about what we are missing.  Our time is too precious to waste on regrets.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.