My Wife and I have just returned from a two week, automobile trip, to see the Ark, my sister in Cleveland, and my Wife's 95 year old cousin in Iowa. To say that almost 3000 miles in the car was tiring would be an understatement. But keeping myself in a near constant state of "Showtime" was far more demanding and is taking a far greater toll on my mental and physical state.
The "Ark" is a fabulous reproduction of Noah's Ark. It just opened 7 July and it is still a work in progress. But the "Ark" is complete and mesmerizing.
From there, we drove to Cleveland, a 4 hour drive up Interstate 71. When we got to my Sister's home, she was not there and was not answering her cell phone. As w looked around her home for a clue, the Landlord came out and told us she was in the Hospital. She got sick at a restaurant the frequent and was taken to the Hospital. She and her older Son thought it was he "sugar" but it turned out to be a bad, newly found, case of colitis. She stayed in the Hospital for all of our visit and a total of a week! She is now home, with visiting nurses and home rehab. We did have a good time with my Nephew and his wife. It was great to catch up with them.
So, we left for Iowa, a two day drive across Interstate 80. At this point, I should tell you, my Wife did all the driving!! Her Second Cousin knew he Father when he came to America from Germany in 1927. He worked on her Father's farm and then joined the U.S. Army. This Cousin is 95, till lives alone, independently, with some great help from her neighbors, but cooks, cleans, shops, and goes to Church every week!! Some of the other cousins came over on Wednesday and we had a good time. But, during these times like in Cleveland and in Iowa, I was constantly trying to be "Normal". On the last day in Iowa, I was all out of "Normal" and became very abrupt, grouchy, and hard to deal with. Friday morning, a day early, we headed home, a three day trip!
This entire trip started as a trip to the "Ark".but grew because, as long as we are there, we should visit my Sister and then the Cousin. We both knew this would be a step too far, but we had to do it. Both of the relatives we visited we had not seen in 2 years and they are in no shape to travel. So, we tried it. And now, for the rest of the story.
I am beat. I am disoriented. I am angry and frustrated. I am having great difficulty controlling my emotions. My mental capabilities seem to be not working too well. I cannot find the right words, but the most entertaining part is how my depth perception is effected. Every time a car got close to us I screamed, squirmed in my seat, told Linda to "look out", and in general, I was very uncomfortable. As for my wife, she thinks I am a bad passenger!! She's right.
Another issues in my 13 year old poodle, Marcel, is very upset over me being gone. He is moping, won't eat, and is depressed! Believe it or not, his coat is not entirely gray!! I did not expect this impact on him. The 15 year old female, Cherie, is doing well, but Marcel is a basket case and I am worried I may loose him. I am actually forcing him to sit with me instead of in his dog bed.
All in all, I wish I had not made the trip. It was way too much for me. And it has been stressful for my Wife. Let alone the fact that she is waiting for the other shore to drop with me. She is watching how I react, and how I recover from the trip. Again, I should never have made this trip. We should have gone to the "Ark" and back. Or maybe, no trip at all.
I think, no, I know, this will be my last trip. We saw, while they are still alive, two relatives that are precious too us. The reality is, I cannot travel and return the same as I was when I left. That is the reality of LBD and any other form of Dementia. I need to be in my safety net, my cocoon, for my mental and physical well being.