Carol Howell Talks Dementia: Dementia and Patience

Life has been challenging since January 13.

I have learned a great deal since that time. Who would have guessed a flooded kitchen would make me a better caregiver? While I always seek to improve my caregiving skills, I never planned to do so through a disaster in my kitchen.

Let’s go back to January 13th. It was a calm and productive day when I noticed water on the hardwood flooring in the kitchen. I dried it up and proceeded with my day. Later I noticed more water on the flooring, and I wondered how I missed it earlier. Later in the evening, my husband said, “You spilled water on the floor in front of the kitchen sink. Why didn’t you clean it up?”

Oh, back the truck up! What was going on? I explained how I had dried the flooring twice earlier. We then knew something wasn’t quite right. Reality hit, and we realized we had a water problem. That is also when the lesson in caregiving began. What was the lesson, you ask? The lesson was probably one of the hardest lessons of life, and it is known as patience. UGH! Old Testament Job did not enjoy his lesson on patience, and I certainly can understand why.

I am sixty days beyond the “spilled water” day, and I have no kitchen. The concrete floor is covered with butcher paper, the cabinets are a card table, the countertops are bath towels, and the sink is a utility sink I had to fight to get. New cabinets have been ordered, but the insurance company does not guarantee or care if they match the remaining cabinets. The flooring is no longer available, and the insulation and sheetrock were missing throughout the massive snowstorm of 2015 (truthfully, we received barely enough snow to even see it, but it was COLD!). However, here is the important part. My Type A personality has begun to learn patience.

Arguing with the HOA, the insurance company, the incompetent repairmen, or even myself all prove to just frustrate me, cause hives to appear on my arms and give me a headache many days in a row. What I was doing was not working well, so I decided to relax, breathe, and make visits to the gym a priority. All these things have come together to make me a bit more patient. Notice I said a “bit!”

You can bet my mother, who has mid-stage Alzheimer’s, will benefit from this small improvement in my character. The stress has not been easy, but I am excited to have made progress. When Old Testament Job came through his days of trial and experienced life on the other side of disaster (and his disasters make my kitchen story so very insignificant), his character and life were greatly enhanced. Maybe there is hope for me.

Hope that gives you Something to Ponder.

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