My Dementia Diary 88 – Our Tightrope

Each day, my wife and I do our dance across an emotional tightrope. the goal is to get all the way across during the day, and then all the way back during the night, all the way without falling. 

These two cycles are based on the effectiveness of her day and night medications. When the little pills do their magic, the dance is relatively easy, she’s in a good mood or tired and she’s easy to lead. But, dancing on an emotional tightrope is precarious. There is little room for error. If I say the wrong words, do something that her mind takes negatively, break the routine that she’s come to expect, she is suddenly off balance, agitated, instantly filled with fear and often belligerent and aggressive.

Once this chain of behaviors begins, I can’t stop it.

We fall.

We fall and crash. There is no safety net. She becomes a person I do not know and I become a husband doing his best to stay calm and reassuring, keeping her from hurting herself, all the time beating myself up for whatever I did to trigger the pain she is going through. 

We never recover quickly from these falls. Sometimes it takes thirty minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes half the night. She slowly becomes more tranquil, quiet, peaceful. Eventually she will reach out and say she loves me.

I hold her tight and say, “I love you.!

Then we climb back onto our tightrope and start the dance again.

Growing up, I never once thought about running away to join the circus.

The circus, though, seems to have found me.

tio stib

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