Wondering and Wanderings.

Ken wandered in the night. Whatever is in his head has stolen his sleep.

Of course it’s cold, I feel the goosebumps on his arms and mine, the stone floor feels freezing on bare feet.

He isn’t being nasty, no not at all. But his tortured face is screwed in agony, he holds his hands to his temples, trying to cradle his head, full of anxieties he can’t let me know.

‘Something is up‘ as we say in Yorkshire but trying to work out what before light descends isn’t going to work.

The best I can do is get him back to bed.

Eventually after a few more laps of the kitchen I guide him, my palm under back upstairs.

He sleeps fitfully, I lie awake waiting for him to get out of bed again. Hettie snores. She doesn’t appreciate these night time disturbances any more than we do.

I awake half an hour late. Grateful there’s no carers knocking on the door.

Hettie is cross again, not only has her sleep been broken her 8am walk is on hold. She barks defiantly at the door. I don’t want her to wake Ken, so pull on my boots to take her onto the green.

Ken appears, he looks dreadful. A grey tinge and face that has aged ten years since yesterday. He is very disoriented, confused but not angry, more incredibly sad and lost. The power has shut down in his brain. The light has gone out of his eyes.

I manage to get him to have a few mouthfuls of fruit and fibre, most ends up on the table.

I go through the check list, trying to find out what’s going wrong, no sign of temperature or pain, maybe something is brewing or perhaps it’s lack of sleep.

‘Do you want to go back to bed Darling’

‘Please’ is the whisper.

Hettie barks at the door indignant that there has been yet another interruption to her routine. I feel a sharp annoyance she is being so persistent, I know Ken will be easily irritated. Then I remind myself she is a dog.

The sense of relief his face tells a story, Ken settles back under the covers, maybe the sleep will jumpstart his brain again.

He doesn’t move for another two hours. Meanwhile I walk Hettie around the green, my eye on the front door looking for any signs Ken is up. I daren’t venture further.

It’s the phone ringing that eventually wakes him. By now it’s half past twelve. He looks rough and his mouth must taste horrible, but it’s nothing a shower, shave and a toothbrush won’t sort out.

He is completely subservient, sometimes Ken is quite independent in the bathroom but today offers no interest. Then again I’m not feeling threatened, he simply can’t be bothered. Even brushing teeth leads to none of yesterday’s issues but I’m sure makes him feel much fresher.

He eats his lunch and looks completely transformed, he wanders around the house but it’s not with the earlier torment, he’s just wandering around.

I’m thinking everything is okay but then Ken becomes cross with me again. Help at the toilet hat has been received recently without a problem, suddenly outrageous and refused. I have no choice but to retreat, knowing he hasn’t had the care he needs.

Ken is sits on the sofa with a stoney face, luckily for us our CPN has a routine visit today. If anyone can turn things around it’s her.

I offer a quick resume of recent events.

She works hard to crack a smile, this is a lady who knows the right buttons to press. Whilst she appears to be joking she is observing every move Ken makes. She has chased our neurology follow up.

What goes on in Ken’s head is complicated for everyone, including experts to understand. I can only write my observations and feelings, and share just how difficult dementia is to deal with.

It’s all in the hope things one day change and this disease will be beaten.

Ken’s wandering around again.

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