Saturday, August 16, 2008


I was surprised to hear from someone asking me on how to travel with a spouse who is afflicted with dementia/Alzheimer.
She reminded me that I had gone away with B after he was diagnosed.
So the memory film came into action.
Two experiences come to mind. Numero Uno!
Our friend in San Fran wanted to return to Spain, we had been there the year before
and we travel well together. I am guessing it was about 5 years ago, Bob was still able to drive.
By then I had spent a great deal on very expensive medication. The cost was around 600 to 700 a month and we truly did not know if it would help. (It did) My saving dwindling too fast I just had to refuse to go anywhere. Next thing I know tickets were purchased for us and we went together to Torremolinos. I had the promise from our friend that with the two of us to watch over Bob , what could go wrong?
First of all , in a great deal of the restrooms in airports you have one big hallway to the toilets.
You can get in on both sides and you come out in different aisles. Not always but it can happen. It happened in the Madrid airport when B got lost and we had to go search for him.
Incident number one, none of us had thought about. I watched him like a hawk when he used the fascilities in the airplane and making sure he knew where I was standing , waiting for him.
During our vacation it was not too bad, we did have 2 to keep an eye on him.
However one day when I went shopping for our lunch, our friend decided to smoke on the balcony, Exit Bob who decided to find me.
Lost again, we were lucky our tour guide saw him in a side street and brought him back.
We each had a sofa bed situated in a corner so I quickly put them together , in that order B would have to step over me at night and I would wake up.
Our friend did not perceive the emergency in the situation, B could still have conversations and just had glitches of not knowing where he was.
I knew better, by then I knew how quickly he could get lost, outside a bathroom in a restaurant, sightseeing with others, he also learned to follow me and vice versa.
Our visit went pretty well, it was a bit of a chore to be on "watch" all the time but we also had a lot of fun.
On the way home we missed our last plane. We had to taxi from Kennedy to La Guardia in 5 o clock traffic, the foreign kid drove from one street to another and I was wondering if we
were still in NY state. Fortunately he knew his way and got us there just in time for us
to wait in line in case someone was a no show.
All of this was enormous confusion for B. He just did not get it.
He just did not know what was going on and as we ran in the long aisles of La Guardia
I constantly had to grab him to move quickly and stay with me.
Then he decided he needed the bathroom so I had to ask a gentleman to make sure he came out of the right exit. I almost went in after him, I guess I could have been arrested but at that moment did not give it much thought.
3 minutes before take off we were assigned seats, separate seats.
Try that one!!! I brought him to his seat in the back and returned up front waving all the way so he would understand that I was on the plane.
I was a wreck, sweating from running, anxious, hungry and afraid to use the bathroom myself till we went into the plane.
When we landed I was in the mainstream of people getting off and I just could not get to the side till he came, pushing and shoving I found myself right by the door of the plane and stopped there to catch him. He had other ideas, he went by the stewardess ready to get into the cockpit, not a wise move. I think 3 people jumped him while I was screaming out his name.
We got home and I decided that a plane trip with him was not going to happen again, not ever.

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