The insurance company nurse comes twice a year to assess my husband. One of her questions is, Can he bathe himself, brush his teeth, toilet himself? She asks Peter, but looks to me for answers.
I know he scoffs silently at the mere mention of the topic. My answer is always an enthusiastic yes. On that point I am — we are — way luckier than many who live with any form of dementia.
Peter has been taking multiple showers a day for the past year or so. This wasn’t always the case. I used to have to remind him he needed a shower, but now, if he sweats even a tiny bit, he reacts as if he’s been dipped in pond scum. “I’m all sweaty,” he’ll say as he races through the house and up the stairs.
He almost never puts on clean clothes afterwards. I don’t understand, but I don’t question, glad that I don’t have to help him bathe nor wash piles of clothes…yet. For some reason, wearing a shirt that is damp and stinky doesn’t bother him. It’s the sweat itself that is his bugaboo.
The rest of the personal hygiene issues aren’t issues yet. From the articles I’ve read, I know what’s coming.
Peter always says, if asked how he is, “So far, so good.”
“It could be worse,” is what I say if anyone asks me.
National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest winner, 2016.