I honestly didn't realize how his presence impacted my daily routines until suddenly he was gone. I went for my monthly grocery shopping shortly after his hospital admittance, and from that point on, I knew that my life would hold changes. Not major changes, but many small ones.
In choosing food items from the store shelves, without consideration of his unique eating habits, I began to taste some of the differences my life would enjoy. Literally taste them. I focused on foods I liked, instead of the low-calorie, soft foods he needed. I bought the granola with nuts, for instance. I indulged in more than one vegetarian entree, knowing that he wouldn't devour the whole expensive package in one or two sittings. I didn't have to purchase plenty of juices or cheeses, leaving money for my favorites instead, like frozen waffles or guacamole.
When I came home, I gradually made other changes. Such as removing his personal dishes from the dish rack, where he liked to keep them even after they had dried. Moving his pill organizer off the microwave so mine would be easier to access. I even started sleeping on his side of the bed, because it's by the door and therefore closer to the bathroom.
What a feeling of relief that I didn't have to turn off the light every time I left a room, immediately put my purse and keys where they weren't seen as soon as I came home, change the toilet paper roll as soon as one was empty and then hoping he didn't find where I'd hidden the empty roll. Strategize how to keep his hoarding tendencies under wrap, which included toilet paper rolls, or anything made of plastic, cardboard, glass, or metal. Make sure there was nothing on the floor for him to trip on. And I'm sure I'm leaving out other behaviors and routines that I have been freed from since he's been in rehab!
But it hasn't been all fun and games. I've felt an emptiness with him gone. If I didn't know that our separation was not permanent, it would be much harder to bear. I had a taste of that kind of despair the first week after the accident though, when we didn't know if this rehab would turn into long-term care.
Dementia is so unpredictable, and none of us knew what taking him out of his home environment for so long would do to him. It was very discouraging to think that he may never be coming home again. I'm so thankful that this scenario didn't materialize this time, but am fully aware that it may still be part of our future.
All in all, I'm happy about my little "vacation" here at home, but not when I think of all the pain and suffering Dean's had to endure to make it happen. The pain seems to far outweigh the little benefits I've enjoyed.
It reminds me of the pain Jesus endured to allow me to go to heaven someday. Lord, I'm not worth it! Surely He suffered far more than I deserve. But like a devoted Husband, out of love, Christ would do it all over again. Just for me.
|Dean with daughter and granddaughters|