Friday, February 3, 2017

VISITING WALTER

      I have written several times about Walter. Walter was my neighbor, a retired college professor and a character.

      It was always interesting to stop and visit Walter or to go for a walk with him. He never wanted to turn around and go back home.

     Walter was a talker. His interests and knowledge were broad. He was bright and curious. He held nothing against you if you disagreed. He would respectfully listen to your point and go on.

     In my last post on Walter I told how he was removed from the home because his dementia had caused great insecurity for his wife. Walter stayed in the local hospital for a month and then a place was found for him in a senior's facility that took dementia patients.

     I went to visit Walter yesterday and I was appalled at the deterioration I found in him. Walter hasn't known me for a year but he would always tell people that I was a "good guy." He had always described me as a "good guy" and I will always remember that complement.

    I have seen dementia patients but I wasn't prepared for what I saw yesterday. I got there at a bad time as he was to go for supper in 5 minutes. I tried to explain that I would visit for five minutes as he had to go for supper. He replied that he was going to have a sleep. I pointed to the clock. That meant nothing to him. The water was  running in his sink. I pointed it out and he went in and was talking to the guy in the mirror. He had a jigsaw puzzle on a table. He told me not to touch it that it was somebody else's jig saw and he would be mad if I touched it.

    I just wasn't prepared to see somebody like Walter in total chaos. He has no sense of time. His wife told me he cannot read the clock or understand time. The staff came to get him for supper so I thought I walk with him to the dining room. He completely forgot that I was the person who came to visit him.

    What an awful way to end your life!

     I wasn't even a "good guy " yesterday.


37 comments:

  1. I can feel your sadness Red. It is such a cruel disease. You will always be a good guy, to go and visit attests to that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cruel is a good world to describe dementia.

      Delete
  2. I'm so sorry your friend is not doing well. Dementia is a cruel disease. My friend's mother just passed away from the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise also used cruel to describe dementia. How true.

      Delete
  3. Oh gosh! This is so sad. My father had Alzheimers and it was very difficult for my mother as well. My brother and I fear it for ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're all living longer so have a good chance for dementia.

      Delete
  4. He may not have been able to say it yesterday, but you know that the person who was truly Walter will always know it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's something that I look back at and appreciate his compliment.

      Delete
  5. It is a terrible disease. Some people progress so fast and with others it takes years. It sounds like your friend is declining quickly. You were a good guy to go and visit, and to care. It's hard to know what to do when someone doesn't know you and can't take in what you're saying. Like you say, it's an awful way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walter has had this for about three years but the last few months he's deteriorated quickly.

      Delete
  6. Frightening experience. Sad to end like this, many people suffer from dementia nowadays. Could it be because we live longer now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is because we live longer. Before people would die of something else.

      Delete
  7. I am so sorry to hear of the deterioration in your friend's illness. So sad to still be alive but then again not really. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sS alive in body only and the body isn't in any great shape either.

      Delete
  8. I feel your sadness also. My daughters father in-law had that terrible disease. He has since passed on but to him his wife was her maiden name in his eyes not to him the one he married. My Mom had that disease. She lived to be 90 odd but to her. I was the little girl. Also she tool towels from about four nursing residents bathrooms we were told . She told everyone they were stealing her towels until she was caught red handed. I pray I don't get the disease. When you have to live with them. And see them go on. So sad. At 80 she and Dad were put into a nursing home as Dad was getting dementia. I looked and cared for her for many years but then being married and then the kids were at an age. I should be home. She was put in Nursing home. As the Care givers for her. Dad was being ugly towards them. So it was time for them to be in a Nursing home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dementia comes to far too many people.

      Delete
  9. I think it important to realize that this is just a small part of his life. You are judging looking from the outside in. He isn't in pain. He is in good care. You can try talking about the good old days.
    He doesn't see what you see. It helps to focus on who he was in his prime, not this point in time. My late father had dementia. It wasn't pretty. I have had to banish those thoughts. Just let them go. He is where there are no demands made of him, including your expectations of who he was, for this is a brief moment in his time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walter isn't very sure about his past anymore. It just confuses him very badly. I can look back at what he was.

      Delete
  10. How sad for you to see your friend this way, but I commend you for making the effort to visit him. My mother couldn't tell time at the end. Quite sad.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My mom had this awful disease and now my wife has it in mid phase. Our motto these days is 'we're a team and keep on truckin...:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very sorry to hear about your wife's situation. Dementia is tough for everybody.

      Delete
  12. I'm very sorry. It's not something we've seen in my family, but it sounds like he's not far from the end. At least he's taken care of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's tough for the family to decide to take the patient out of the house. By that time dementia has progressed a long way.

      Delete
  13. Dementia is to me the saddest and most cruel death of all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YOU ARE LIVING THROUGH THAT ONE RIGHT NOW. yOU KNOW.

      Delete
  14. I'm so sorry about your friend's disease. My grandpa had alzheimers and I remember well the pain of watching him become someone we didn't know. It's a reminder to ignore the little aches and pains and live each day we have to the fullest, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, many times I complain when I shouldn't.

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. I've been watching him for the past three years but the last few months have been rapid.

      Delete
  16. None of us want to go this way. I can only hope that when it happens to someone they are not too acutely aware of their own deterioration.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You got a ton of comments on this. Clearly most of your readers have been touched by dementia in some way. I have seen angry people with dementia and placid people with dementia. It is not a nice way to exit. I hope they find a way to assist those with it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm sorry about your friend. Dementia is a horrible infliction. I have tremendous sympathy for people who suffer with it. My hospice client that I volunteer with has dementia and it is heartbreaking. His family has shown me photos of what he used to be like and how he used to be. Dementia has stripped him of all that.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh yes you were a good guy Red. You visited Walter and I hope you will visit him again. Next time you know what to expect. Apart from anything else, your visiting Walter will be a comfort to his wife. She will have a friend in the neighbourhood with whom to share reflections upon Walter and his present tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's a very difficult ending to a life and I'm so sorry you are experiencing this in your friend, Walter. It's so difficult to witness.

    And you'll always be "a good guy."

    ReplyDelete
  21. So sad Red when they slip so far into dementia, I am sorry he didn't know you :(

    ReplyDelete
  22. A sad story, Red. Sorry to hear about it. Through about the middle of my life I always heard that old age was going to be the "Golden Years." Wow, it has sure turned out to be a challenge!

    ReplyDelete