Last week I wake up to another hazy, foggy day, fourth in a row. For the last three days, I’ve still gone out for a little trundle, occupied myself in the house, or simply given in and hidden underneath the duvet. But I was able to keep my mood on an even keele. Just living with the nuisance of dementia clinging even tighter, but not allowing it the lip service of acknowledgment…but today…..
The weather was dull, very breezy, rainy and univiting. My head felt heavy under the weight of dementia bursting from my head. The thought of a trundle just didn’t appeal, as if going out would make dementia visible , striding beside me. laughing at my slow pace for all to see.
No today, my mood matched the weather. I was fed up of dementia hanging around like an unwelcome guest. I sat in the Conservatory with my camera, trying to distract myself, to lift myself out of this state with the aid of nature. It worked for that hour, lost as I was in the camera lense watching the determined squirrel not be be out done by my squirrel proof feeders. A whole hour it tried various manoeuvres, attacking from various angles, just like the dementia was doing to me, attacking me from all angles, leaving me lethargic, empty and wondering what barrier I could put up against it, just like the bird feeders had been designed to do.
But after an hour of hanging upside down, trying to remove the lid, climbing up the fence and attacking from beneath,
…the squirrel gave up and made do with the seeds the birds had dropped, them looking quite pleased with themselves at being able to hop on, take a tasty morsel and fly off in full view of this squirrel. Robins and Blue Tits, Dunnocks and Sparrows, all revelling in their ability to succeed where the squirrel had failed.
Just like I’d failed to outmanoeuvre dementia today. I knew how he felt, as he scraped up the left overs that had fallen to the ground…
I was getting cold, the heating not due on for hours. If I changed the settings, I wouldn’t know how to put it right, so I choose to leave it, easier that way. Upstairs, my bed provides a comfort of warmth and a view of the tree tops. I put a hottie inside each pocket, just in case…
I load the photos through the camera app, so they magically transfer to my ipad. The light suddenly appearing on the camera signalling connection and the magic starts before my eyes. One photo after another making an appearance on screen. I feel my mouth turn up at the corners at the appearance of the squirrel, no emotion, just the movement. My hands thank goodness know what to do, because my brain is riddled with sludge today, a thick dark sludge….
My eye lids, heavy from the lack of sleep these past few nights, seccumb to gravity, yet I feel my eyes wide open beneath the darkness, resting in the shadows. I despartely try and convince them to sleep but they like me feel empty today, driven down in mood by the constant attack from dementia.
Some days are easier to cope with, easier to ride the haze, allow it to have its way but today it’s brought me down, made me feel like I’m not winning this battle I didn’t ask to fight.
I see a bag next to my bed and reach inside, not remembering what I placed in there and take out a single pebble. It smells of the sea, or is that my wishful thinking? I remembered I’d placed them there to do Christmas themed images on them. Without expression, without real interest mt fingers search my photos for images I’d found on a better day to try and copy. I slide the acrylic pens out of their box onto the bed beside me, all colours,but I select a black one automatically to draw the outline, my fingers once again reassuringly helping me to feel human, to feel capable. I copy the image in front of me, bit by bit. A mushroom shape for the hat, a small squashed circle for the face, 2 circular eyes and a round nose, a scarf wrapped round its neck and a large round squashed body, arms at his side. I pick up the red pen and start colouring the hat, small circular movements or single strokes one after the other allowing me to colour it in, then the same with the scarf and 2 tiny buttons.
The only sound is the pen on the rough stone and my breathing. I would normally be full of concentration, full of enthusiasm but not today. Today I’m doing it to show dementia I can, but not with my usual conviction. I watch with empty eyes as the image comes to life
I sigh a huge sigh at its completion instead of with joy and satisfaction, but I did it. I realise the empty day will continue and resign myself to the fact that today is a sad day, nothing able to lighten my mood. And I feel my eyelids succumb to gravity once more and somewhere in the distance I hear a pen drop to the floor…