Jan 30, 2012
Thursday marked my husband's 62nd birthday, and I used the early hours of the morning to track down birthday favors -- cake, card, flowers -- I wasn't sure if my husband would be aware enough of his surroundings to enjoy the day, but family wanted to come by with birthday greetings so I did my best to make the day festive.
It was a remarkable day all things considered. My husband absolutely beamed when I wished him happy birthday, and seemed more alert than he has been for days. When I teased him about not having told me what he wanted for his birthday, his eyes lit up and he decided, "I want to go out for a ride!" His enthusiasm and excitement about getting outdoors was very apparent, so I assured him we would definitely do so -- I reminded him his grandkids would be coming to visit if he wanted to wait, and that seemed to please him even more.
The afternoon was spent chatting with the kids and grandkids, and though hubby faded in and out and had some non-sequiter responses in conversations, it was a wonderful afternoon. He was able to blow out the candles on the cake with a little help from everyone, and even cut the first slice of cake -- I was a little nervous watching the knife in his unsteady hands, but all went well. Though he refused to eat any cake, he seemed to enjoy licking the frosting off his fingers :).
Despite all the activity and excitement, at the end of the evening my husband decided he still wanted to get out a bit, and we got him out safely to the car. He seemed to enjoy getting out, but as we got under way, his absent-minded state returned, and he seemed not to really notice his surroundings... he spent most of the ride in a catatonic state. When he started to fidget with the windows I didn't think much of it, but at one point during the ride he pulled open the door and shut it while the car was in motion. He continued to pull absently on the door handle, which had no child-safety lock, and after a couple of such attempts despite my discouraging it, I decided it was time to head back in.
The rest of the evening was uneventful, and both of us were absolutely exhausted. Nonetheless, my husband slept much less than I expected, and since Friday has been listless and agitated. This time, though, when I asked about having visiting nurses, he nodded, and queried absently, "Are they coming today?" It was a moment that felt both bittersweet and a great relief... when I asked him if he wanted the nurses to come right away, he seemed to ponder a moment, and said, "Not today."... "How about Monday?" I suggested. He nodded absently in agreement.
He has not consumed any solid food in almost two full weeks now, and yet is still walking on his own... my heart goes in my throat every time he gets up, but he refuses a steadying hand and wanders around unsteadily and aimlessly, talking about things and people that aren't there. Since Saturday evening he has not 'slept' but rather has been sitting up, making absent gestures and asking perplexing questions and making irrational requests...at one point yesterday he started putting on coat and socks, talking about going to someone's house and became very angry when I asked where he wanted to go and what he had in mind... I have to accept that at this point, rational thought is very limited, if at all...
This morning he is even more unresponsive and seems to have lost some bladder control. Though his condition isn't comatose, it isn't exactly conscious either... I feel like I should be doing something, but I don't know what else to do... all I can do is be here... but I feel so lost. Maybe Hospice will help with some guidance...