Blog

At lunch the other day I was sitting next to two old men.

I noticed they were talking about one of their wives having been recently diagnosed with dementia.

I couldn’t stop myself from listening as this is not an issue too far away from my heart.

He related the difficulties associated with memory loss and the pains he experienced with mood swings and forgotten conversations. I gathered that she is still with it enough to be out doing things on her own, including shopping. Apparently she can’t stop shopping and he complained that his house is like living “inside a bureau”, he actually said that. He didn’t mention if this is something new that she is doing, maybe as a way to relieve the stress of her recent diagnosis or what but he did say the words, “it is breaking me”.

He seemed genuinely in pain, and in need of this longtime friend seated across the table from him. Unfortunately that friend was hard of hearing so he had to repeat large parts of the conversation and speak very loudly, I didn’t even have to feign interest in something in their direction to hear the tale.

And then he said one of the most remarkable things I have ever heard.

“After 72 years of marriage we have hit our first rough patch”

Now, I’m sure he Brian Williams’d that up a bit for effect or maybe his 90+ year old brain can’t remember a previous rough patch. But certainly a 72 year marriage fell on hard times a couple of times.

But I was shocked at the number, 72. Even if they married the day he turned 18, there was a 90 year old man sitting next to me eating vegetable soup and a club sandwich. And not only that, but his 90 year old wife is only at the beginning stages of dementia, and still goes out shopping on her own, a lot.

I thought about that man and his story for the rest of the day and in the several days between hearing it and writing this.

I sure hope they both make it to year 75.

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Blog

The day my daughter was born was the first time I was in complete denial of a situation surrounding me.

It was 6:30am on a Sunday morning two weeks before our due date. My wife wakes me up saying we need to put together a bag of items for the hospital, the baby is coming.

I told her she was full of shit, that she had gas or something and needed to go back to bed. Little did I know that she had already been up for half an hour packing a bag and her contractions were less than five minutes apart.

I drove her to the hospital once we were ready, which didn’t take long since I can see the hospital from my back yard.

We get checked in through emergency and some nurses check her out but don’t say much. The very first doctor that comes in says “well you are having a baby today and it should be quick, your water is already broken and you are already quiet dilated”. My heart sank.

Never at any point during the pregnancy did I feel ready to be a dad and the surreal nature of the experience was a lot to handle. I didn’t know how long of a day I was in for, I didn’t know how much sleep I could count on for the foreseeable future, I didn’t know how much pain my wife would be in and if she would hurt her chronic back problems. I was worried about everything but the baby. That bastard was coming with reckless abandon.

Miraculously everything went well. Six hour labor, no real pain after the epidural, got a decent night’s sleep that first night.

It turned out she needed some treatment and we needed to leave her in the hospital a couple extra days. We stopped by near constantly, almost every feeding was done by us and we tried not to worry too much, which was incredibly difficult.

But we brought her home on New Year’s Day, just in time to watch the Wings play at the big house. She was mesmerized by the high contrast of red and white and was content. The first memory I have of my child at home is pure contentment.

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Bipolar Thoughts

I’ve always found that alcohol can solve all of my life’s problems.

Can’t sleep, alcohol.

Anxiety, alcohol.

Can’t talk to the pretty lady, alcohol.

Can’t sing in public, alcohol.

Depressed, alcohol.

Lonely, alcohol.

It always makes me feel better and solves the issues at hand.

But now, with my medications, and because I’ve been diagnosed with a bit of an alcohol problem, there is very little alcohol. My wife still lets me have beer, maybe because it is slower to act upon the body, but booze is almost off-limits.

A single drink, like the white Russian I am currently enjoying will stir up a fight. I don’t think it is because she is afraid to clean up the mess, but I am not exactly sure what the issue is. She doesn’t articulate it well beyond, “you aren’t supposed to have that stuff”. But let’s be honest, what doctor tells you it is okay to have alcohol?

The way I view it, I don’t have much time left on this Earth anyways, so I might as well enjoy it, reasonably.

I mean, I know I have had a problem in the past. I know the booze needs to be locked up in my basement, I know I get carried away and pass out and black out and it isn’t a good scene for anyone. But I need to blow off some of this steam somehow.

I’ll take up meditation in the morning, for now, I’m grabbing another drink.

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