Over the years since his dementia diagnosis, my husband has invented ways to control anything he can in his increasingly hazy life. I’ve written about his stacks of coins, never-ending twig collecting, his sweeping, folding, smoothing, polishing, wiping.
I. Want. To. Scream! And sometimes I do. Having said that, I’m sure he wants to scream too.
His latest attempt at control is not only baffling, it’s downright dangerous. I discovered it several weeks ago when I went down to the basement, a dungeon I try to avoid. Dark at mid-day, the windows are grimy and any light coming in is grayed.
I flipped the two switches several times. Nothing. I scrabbled around and finally discovered Peter had removed the bulbs from the six overhead fixtures. I don’t know why and I didn’t ask because I’m sure he wouldn’t have known either.
I put new LED bulbs in all the sockets. He took them out. I talked to him about the danger of going down the steps and walking around in the dark.
I put the bulbs in again. He took them out again.
Our basement is not a finished space. Hazards lurk — bicycles, tools, piles of newspapers and magazines, chairs, tables, workbenches. I thought I’d solved the problem with my little chat about dangers in the dark.
Today I realized I hadn’t. The bulbs were gone again. Why did I think he’d remember?