*Long post alert*
I have been avoiding putting up blog posts just like my last one for the longest time. I knew it would open a can of worms if I did, because then I’d need to talk about other stuff as well. I think we’re at that place where we might need to talk about the other stuff.
Where do I even start?
I guess I should start by saying that I’m a little … sensitive to conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers. My Nana died from the disease just before Christmas, and her decline was so horrific, I never managed to find the balls to deal with it myself. I just watched my poor dad and little sister take the brunt of it all, looking a little bit older and more depressed with each visit.
Not that long ago I worried that my Grandfather might have been showing early signs of the disease. I was quite concerned about it at one point, but my mother reassured me that he was just a cantankerous old man and, for the most part, he was playing the memory-loss game. For the record, he really is a cantankerous old man, slightly racist, lazy, and he’s cunning and manipulative enough to play the ‘I can’t remember’ card. We’ve all kept an eye on him, and it seems that everything is okay. But we are monitoring it.
Fast forward a year or so, and I went to the shops with Bear. He put the basket on the side, asked for a couple of carrier bags, and then started taking things out of the basket and putting them in the bag.
“Excuse me, sir, I haven’t scanned those yet and you’re putting them in your bag.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry!”
He was mortified. I could see it in his face. It was like, just for a split second, he’d entirely forgotten how shops worked. He forgot that the cashier would need to scan the items before he put them in his bag.
We were on our way back home when he admitted that it wasn’t the first time it had happened, and he’d also left money in the cash machine a few times. One time he lost the money entirely, and another time, just a few days before, a nice chap had run after him and given him his cash.
He forgot to pay once at The Range too. The Range? Of all the places! He told me that he’d forgotten to pay for a few items in a few stores, and more so over the last couple of years. Either something would be under his arm or in his hand at the till, and he’d forget to put it on the counter, or he’d just walk clean out of the shop with something in his hand, forgetting that he had the thing in his hand and needed to pay for it. It would actually be quite funny if it wasn’t so … well, not funny.
Also: where the bloody hell are the security guards? I can tell you where they are. They are following me around the store. Me. With my designer handbag, Tiffany bracelet, iPhone 7 Plus and my beautifully coiffed and coloured hair … Yeah, sure. I look like the kinda gal who’d shoplift. Pffft. Don’t worry about the slightly scruffy guy with the beard and bomber jacket who’s actually nicking shit. Not that I want to get him into trouble, of course, but y’know.
“I’m a bit worried I’m going to get arrested for shoplifting, you know. My memory has always been quite bad, but it’s getting a lot worse.”
As you can probably imagine, my sensitive little self is freaking the fuck out. We discussed it. I told him that I thought we needed to make a doctor’s appointment. That’s when he said this:
“Oh, yeah, we probably should. I’ve been bleeding out of my ass, and I also think I might be diabetic. I’m asleep all the time.”
What? Sorry … WHAT?
We have LIVED TOGETHER for 4 months and he has not ONCE mentioned this shit to me. Well, apart from the sleep thing. He’s always napping. I figured I should probably investigate further. I asked him questions about his memory, and everything else he’d told me, and we made an appointment to see a doctor who was, quite frankly, fucking useless. Still better than my old ones though, which is saying something.
Bear was sent for blood tests, and he also had a finger up the butt. It’s a mild case of piles, apparently, but he was also sent for a camera up the butt too. It was every bit as traumatic as you’d think it might have been for him, but I couldn’t help but laugh. Sorry, but I have zero sympathy. I’ve been through it all. My ass has been invaded by more medical dudes than I care to remember now.
The good news – Bear doesn’t have any bowel related problems, with the exception of some IBS and that mild case of piles. (HA!) He also doesn’t have diabetes. But, for the record, the receptionist lost the results, the hospital said they didn’t have the samples, and then the doctor told Bear that everything was fine. It was only when we chased for a follow-up appointment that the doc told us the REAL news.
Bear’s cholesterol is up and he needs medication for that, he also needs some vitamin supplements because his calcium levels are down. The doctor didn’t want to worry about the memory stuff because Bear “wasn’t old enough”. Also, there would have been signs in the blood test results if there had been anything wrong.
“So … what’s causing the memory problems then? Could it be his past alcoholism?”
“Erm … alcoholism … ? Was he an alcoholic?”
It’s a good job I went in with Bear really. It’s also a good job we asked for that follow-up appointment, otherwise Bear would never have received the medication needed for his high cholesterol. (Which he forgets to take.) The doctor said “fine” on the phone, no need for a follow-up, no medication needed … until we demanded an appointment. It’s only the same doctor that Bear has been seeing for the last couple of years too. How could he NOT have a clue about Bear’s history? 20-year alcohol battle that he just gave up overnight …
Surely that’s the kind of thing you’d have a quick read-up of before the patient walked into the room?
We had some more chit-chat about Bear’s symptoms, and his alcoholism, and we were referred. We should wait for a letter.
We got that letter. We have someone coming to the house in a few weeks time for an at-home assessment. Well … this seems as serious as fuck all of a sudden. I actually thought the memory loss was down to his past alcoholism and stress. Now we’re having a dementia assessment?
It’s pretty bad. He forgets stuff every day. At first we just thought it was general forgetting of stuff, but he really is shocking for it. He’ll forget whether or not he’s put sugar in my tea and then put more in … regularly. He’ll forget when he’s making tea, walking off right in the middle of the job. It’ll be an hour later before he remembers what he’s doing, and by that point the tea has definitely stewed and it’s gone cold. He’ll forget he’s had a cigarette and then light up another one. He’ll forget to make himself a coffee when he’s making me one. It’s like he can only handle one simple task at once … but only sometimes. Like there’s another side to him that just doesn’t function that well. He’s not like it all the time.
He forgets to turn the oven off. He’s forgotten to turn the hob off a few times. We’ve had to buy a calendar because he’s forgotten about entire appointments. Not just when or where it is, but the actual appointment itself. We also had to buy a pad for lists. If he goes to the shop without a list, he won’t come back with everything we need. Sometimes he doesn’t come back with any of it. It’s frustrating as fuck.
We’ll come up with a plan to go out. We’ll go here, there, and right there after that. While we’re out, he’ll forget about a place on the list. It’s usually a place I want to go to, and I’ll get annoyed that he’s forgotten.
He’s forgotten about bills. He’s forgotten about money I’ve lent him. He’s forgotten entire discussions we’ve had, and not just ours, his and his son’s too. I tried to keep a diary of all the little forgetful things that kept happening, but there were so many occasions that I ended up with half a document on my phone, another on my laptop, and another list on a pad in a handbag I’ve not used since last month.
And then he collapsed. Yep.
We were arguing, I walked off into the bedroom to calm down and stop the fight before we started name-calling (because I HATE that), he followed me and then collapsed right into my arms.
I managed to heave him half onto the bed, so that his legs were dangling down, and I talked to him. His eyes were rolled back in his head. He was murmuring, but nothing that made any sense was coming out. I ran and grabbed a towel before running it under the cold tap, because I literally didn’t have a shit what else to do, and I sat with him again.
“Babe, I’m going to call an ambulance. I need you to talk to me.”
He murmured again, something that sounded like a no, and I lightly tapped his face with my hand.
“Talk to me or I’ll go and call an ambulance.”
He did start talking to me, but it was a few minutes before he made any sense. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes, from him collapsing, to him sitting upright on the bed again. I made him lift one arm, and then the other, and I asked him questions – date, prime minister, name of his mum / son / me, etc.
“I think I should call an ambulance. I’m pretty sure that could have been a stroke. I mean, I wrote about all the symptoms a few times a while back … I should call for help.”
He wouldn’t let me. He said he just had a “funny turn” and that he was feeling fine now. He’d have a cigarette and a coffee and then he’d be as right as rain. He did, and then he was. But still … there’s this niggling feeling that we shouldn’t have ignored it. His doctor did ignore it though. We tried to tell him the next time we saw him, but he changed the subject. He didn’t feel it was that important. He didn’t even tap it into the screen. He brushed it off, mid-sentence … twice.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am stressed to the fucking max. This wasn’t meant to happen. Even if it’s not the worst possible outcome, something is wrong. Something that we are going to need to face. Another fucking problem. Our relationship has been packed with problems. I’m starting to think the universe is trying to tell me something.
His anger and frustration has gotten seriously out of control over the last couple of months, and I know this is affecting him a lot more than he’s willing to admit. He’s super clumsy too, but apparently he’s always been that way. He’s knocked over four drinks in a week. Full drinks too. Most of them coffee – a beer stein full of coffee with about a hundred sugars in. Cleaning that shit out of the carpet is getting really tedious.
I didn’t want to say any of this to anyone until we knew one way or another. We haven’t really told anyone, apart from my mum, and that’s only because I had a snotty meltdown one morning when my freezer malfunctioned and all my groceries defrosted. But you know what the NHS is like, slow as you like, and it’s still another two weeks until we have that at-home assessment. There’s been talks of a brain scan and stuff, but we’re just waiting to see what happens.
I woke up to a whole bunch of comments on my blog from last night, and however blind-sided you think I am by him, I do want you to know the full story. Admittedly, knowing the full story is quite difficult when I haven’t told you any of it. What kind of blogger am I?
We’re in limbo right now. I feel like the girl who cried wolf. Nana had dementia, and then I thought my Grandfather might be showing early signs of it, and now my boyfriend – MY FUCKING BOYFRIEND – is having a home assessment and potentially a brain scan to determine whether or not his memory loss is due to dementia, or maybe long time alcoholism. Or maybe there’s nothing wrong. Maybe I just need to accept that this is what he’s like?
I love this man very much. I’m not with him because I don’t want to date again, or because I feel I should be with him. I’m with him because I very much want to be. I know his behaviour IS seemingly emotionally abusive right now, but I sorta feel like this post explains a lot of it. I also want you to know that this behaviour is not normal for him. He’s quite controlling, I hold my hands up to that, but this right now is something else.
I should have started with this post.
I almost feel like now I’ve started blogging about this, I won’t stop. I’m so sorry if this takes over, in advance. I am frightened. I cannot express to you how happy this man makes me. Everyone who knows us, knows that we are the cute, adorable couple we show on Instagram. He really is my best friend. The thought of all of the above … I can’t even think about any of that right now. I wanted to make plans to marry this man. I wanted to have a baby with this man. Not right now, obviously, I’m not stupid. But he was my for-real-deal. He IS my for-real-deal. I am taking this one day at a time, and I’m dealing with him and all of his temper tantrums along the way.
I don’t know what else to do?