Sunday, October 20, 2019

I Have A Story To Tell - Part III - Frustration

We have had some fantastic fall weather so far.  Many sunny days, with brilliant blue cloudless skies and an occasional gray rainy day here or there.  Today is going to be one of the dreary and misty days.
If the rest of our life turns out to be like this fall's weather, I would be more than okay with that.

In September Ross was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Ross is still going through diagnostic testing which he should finish up this week.  Perhaps we will soon have more definitive answers.

I made a decision, with Ross' approval,  to write, in serial format, about our journey.  It will not be a daily journal, but more like on a need to write basis.

This post is the third in the series.

Today I need to write about frustration.

A little background information might help explain.  Ross is highly intelligent.  Just like his life, Ross' educational background was widely varied.  He proudly attended the Naval Academy.
After his second term, he realized the disciplined and structured demand of the military was not the life he wanted to live.
He went on to graduate from the University of Toledo in Ohio with a master's degree in math and computer science degree.
He found his calling in teaching high school students.  He had a special relationship with his students, who often confided in him, knowing he would be understanding and supportive, no matter what.

Ross and I have similar even tempered dispositions.   Perhaps it has to do with the fact that we both are the eldest of our siblings.  We had to learn early in our life to adapt, listen, and make room in our life for others. 
I believe because of our mild manners, we mostly continue to live an even keeled and calm life.
Of course we are facing something now that might probably be the most challenging of our lives.

Although our frustrations come from different challenges, and may happen on a daily basis, we seem to be able to work through our feelings by communicating in a calm and reasonable way.    Mostly.

Yesterday, we had an incident.

It began with a trip to one of the big box stores.  The kind where you need to show a membership card to get through the door.  Ross easily found his card, but could not find his credit card.   Since I had mine, it wasn't going to be an issue.

We did our shopping and went on home.   When we got home, Ross found his credit card in his way too small and crowded wallet. He then decided to sort and organize all of the items.  He started to make piles of the different items.  He put credit cards together, id cards together, insurance cards together, etc.

After that, he tried to count the various cards and items, over 20 I would imagine.

When he began to struggle with simply counting, his frustration began to build quite quickly.  In an unusual emotional display of what I perceived as anger, he insisted that I stop what I was doing (which was making lunch for us) to help him.

After a long week of many appointments and sleepless nights, I reacted in a not so calm way.

After a cooling down period, as we usual do, we came together to talk about what happened.

He explained how hurtful it was to realize that after a thirty-plus successful career as a mathematician he was struggling with simply counting.

I tearfully expressed the frustration I felt trying to remain even tempered and patient all of the time.

Today on this dreary, misty Sunday, I understand that we both need extra help with all kinds of things. But at this point when IT is still new,  I am freezing cold, in a state of shock immobility.


  1. Hari OM
    Dear Lynda, that 'deer in headlights' feeling is just the pits, isn't it? As I watch my father's abilities fade, who was also at the top of his profession, that frustration becomes ever more apparent, the usual limiters on anger are eroding. So far, we four 'kids' have remained calm and unresponsive to the outbursts and they do pass over quickly. It can be challenging, though.

    I was glad to see you acknowledge there will be a need for external assistance to overcome some of the deeper hurdles you face together as Ross progresses. It is my hope that your medical support team have offered choices in that regard?

    Sending as much Love and hugs as is possible via the ether. YAM xx

  2. (((HUGS))) I can only imagine how stressful and isolating that must feel having to try to manage all that you are going through. I have not personally gone through what you are dealing with, but I know others who have and I've seen the stress and toll it takes on them. I pray for strength and patience for you. Sending you love from Missouri.

  3. I have no words, I can't imagine the pain. Cancer is bad enough but any type of dementia is so dehumanizing. Hugs to you both!

  4. I imagine it would be difficult to find easy tasks no longer so easy. Good wishes to both of you.

  5. Thank you for being brave enough to write about this new direction in life. We never really expect this to happen to anyone we know. There is so much we don't know about this illness. Thankfully, research is ongoing and I'm sure it will lead to treatments in the future.