Tonight I called again and when I heard those same words I blurted out, ” If he is fine there then why isn’t he here? When he is here he cries a lot. He is so sad. Why isn’t he like that there?”
The nurse probably thought I was on crack, asking something like that. It probably sounded like I wanted him to be crying, but of course I don’t.
After I thought about it a quick second, I explained, ” Oh I don’t want him to cry. I am just trying to figure out why he is happy there and not here.”
She started laughing and I could sense her relief that I was not the wicked witch of the west.
She broke it down a little for me and said, ” He does cry here also, but not continuous. He speaks of death here and he says he is afraid to die. I told him that I was afraid to die too, but we all have to do it. Mr. Al, you have to think about the positive and get a way from the negative. Yes, he cries here, plus here he has different aids here at all times. It keeps his mind busy. Also, he doesn’t get out of bed unless he wants to or ask, and he doesn’t ask.”
I listened with intent trying to pick up on anything that may help me here at home with Al, but I wasn’t getting anything to really grab a hold of then she made the comment that put the puzzle pieces together.
She asked me one question, do you have kids?
Why yes I have kids, they are all grown up.
She went on with her explanation.” Do you remember when they went a way or they went to Grandma’s house for a week? Remember when you went back to get them and Grandma always said they were angels? Well this is how Al is too.”
I thought back to my kids when they were little. They would be the best darn kids ever and then suddenly with no warning they were causing me headaches and stressing me out to the max. I couldn’t wait until they went to Grandma’s.
I laughed out loud at my own thoughts and she continued on. ” This is how Al is. He is here. We are strangers, new people to see and get to know. He hasn’t learned how to press our buttons. Yes, even very ill patients can learn how to press the caregiver’s buttons. He is comfortable with you, where as here, he is still on guard of his actions. This is all there is too it. He is better here just like your kids were when they went to other homes.”
It all made sense. I didn’t want to hang up this time and weep because I wasn’t doing something good enough, or worse yet, discover he liked it elsewhere better than home. The fact is he loves me enough to let all his feelings show here at home. I should feel honored I guess but somehow seeing the sad, depressed side doesn’t thrill me. But, it does make me feel better to know that our life here at home is normal and he loves me enough to let his hair hang down and be free to be himself.