Real Life Dramatic Events
Our real life story was full of dreadful worries and a seemingly endless parade of “cliffhangers.” These include:
- Ed has to have his right eye removed because it has a tumor in it. Has the cancer already spread somewhere else in his body? Will it eventually kill him? Will something happen to his left eye and then he’ll be blind?
- Will I ever, and if so how, get this strong-willed, fiercely independent Romanian to agree to stop driving before he kills himself or someone else? What will I do if he doesn’t stop of his own free will?
- When Ed’s in the early stages of dementia, I rummage through his personal papers (while he’s in the shower), trying to find out his financial status to find out whether he could afford a high-quality nursing home if he ever needs one. Will he come out of the bathroom unexpectedly and catch me and, if so, will there be serious consequences for our relationship?
- Will I be able to withstand the years of emotional abuse Ed perpetrates upon me as he becomes more and more demented or will I end, or significantly change, our relationship?
- Will Ed’s raging anger at me ever stop?
- The long-term care facilities I inspect as potential new homes for Ed are woefully unacceptable. It would break my heart to see him living in one of these places. Does a wonderful — or even just suitable — facility even exist in Cincinnati?
- Will I ever (and if so, how) be able to convince this stubborn, defiant, heavy-drinking man to agree to go to a nursing home or will I have to admit him against his will? If I do the latter will he ever speak to me again? Will our love really end like this? What will life be like if he never speaks to me again?
- Once at the Alois Center, Ed slaps the dietitian and pulls her hair. Will he repeat this type of violent behavior? Will the Center make him leave and I’ll have to find a new place for him? Given what he did, would any other facility even agree to accept him? What would I do then?
- The Alois Center moves Ed to a new unit, where he repeatedly and plaintively says, “I want to go home.” It breaks my heart. Will he ever adjust to this new home?
- I have a geropsychiatrist evaluate Ed to determine if any psychotropic medications might help him. He’d still be demented, but could they help decrease his depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviors? Could they help improve his overall quality of life or is he beyond help?
- I’m devastated and depressed about Ed’s condition. I feel like I’ll never be able to come to terms with it. I have lost my ‘old Ed’ forever. Will it be possible to find new ways to communicate and interact with him or will he be dead to me forever?
- Will my anguish and depression ever end or am I doomed to a life of continual misery?
- How much longer can Ed possibly live? He’s now 93. That’s the age at which Presidents Ford and Reagan – two of his heros – died. Will he die at the same age they did?
- Why does my little dog, Peter, calmly stay on Ed’s lap for the entire visit when during all visits for the past 17 months he jumped down after five minutes and came running over to me?
- During the next visit after Peter’s new behavior, Ed’s breathing is the most unusual it’s ever been. Is something serious wrong with him?
- At the end of the visit when Ed’s breathing is strange, he implores me for the first time ever, “Come back today, Kitty. Early today.” Why does he make this most unusual request?
- At 5:30 AM the morning after Ed asked me to “Come back early today,” the phone rings. Caller ID says it’s the Alois Center. Jeez. Why are they bothering me so early on a Sunday morning?