Last year at this time my husband knew who I was. He could recognize our sons, even if he mixed up their names.
By spring he was still walking, talking, knowing us, and (mostly) going to the bathroom on his own. Sure, you could see the dementia creeping in. Sometimes he didn’t make sense when he spoke. He carried on conversations on his own, or with people who weren’t there. He got mixed up. Sometimes he went to the bathroom in the wrong place. But my husband was still in there, even if it got a little cloudy. He was there with us and he knew us and he knew himself.
By the summer he was locked in a secure unit in the hospital. They drugged him up so much he couldn’t feed himself. I’d called for help when he kept running out of the house, even to the point of trying to climb out the windows. What if he fell? And once he got out? He wasn’t properly dressed, he’d get lost, he’d get hit by a car. I couldn’t handle him on my own, but what they did to him was terrible.
I’d called hoping they’d give him medications to help with the agitation. Instead they insisted he needed to be moved to a locked long-term care nursing ward. Instead I took him home.
He never recovered from the shock of the hospital. He was weak from all the medications. But he got better and I got help at home. We had one more anniversary. One more grandchild. All of those days together with the love of my life. Until he passed, with me, at home.