When you look at a the header photo above do you see despair? Frustration? Pain? Boredom?
Nope, what you see is my husband sound asleep during what was supposed to be our regular half-hour Wednesday afternoon FaceTime chat. He simply could not keep his eyes open nor say anything that day. When I threatened to sing he managed a weak smile. I prodded him virtually, but he didn’t stir. Short of being able to poke him in the ribs, I could do nothing at all.
The longer I watched, iPad propped in front of me, the more upset I became. This was not normal. He was sleeping so soundly that when his head dropped to the tabletop, he didn’t even startle. I used the time to do what I do when things need sorting: write. I sent an email to the staff person who had alerted me to Peter’s unruly behavior more than a month earlier. At the time, she’d told me he’d been prescribed something to calm his rages. Was he overmedicated perhaps?
“I am…FaceTiming with Peter right now,” I wrote. “He is dead asleep again as he has been most times I’ve attempted to talk to him in recent weeks. Is this a result of the calming med he’s been on for some time…? If so, [it seems] more a chemical restraint….[I hate] seeing him this way.”
Later I learned that Peter had indeed been up all night. Was he sleeping in the daytime because he’d been wake all night, or because he’d been given more medication thanks to a middle-of-night tear? I didn’t get an answer then, but recently I did. Yes, he’s still taking the med to calm his outbursts, but worse, a new one has been added, not to modify behavior, rather because of his alarming A1C level.
My husband, who always boasted that his weight had been a steady 10.4 stone in English-speak (145 pounds) since he was 18, has ballooned to 11.6 stone (155 pounds). He has a pot belly now, I’m told. The plan is to monitor his blood glucose daily, assuming he’ll cooperate. He’s never at his best first thing in the morning so I do not see him putting up with a jab before he’s had his coffee.
The good news is that his escalating A1C was discovered and is being treated—left untreated, eye, heart or kidney disease could occur. The bad news is the new med can cause increased appetite.
The nights Peter is awake, he eats whatever he can find. Snacks are available but they aren’t ideal for a diabetic: pudding, Jello, chips for instance. Because he’s always hungry—hunger born of boredom, I think—the dietician has started fixing him a heavier snack late in the day. She is to call me so that between the two of us we can come up with a plan. For a start, since he’s the only resident up in the wee hours, why are snacks even available! He’d likely welcome a cup of tea. Yesterday I delivered new trousers to replace the ones he’d quite literally, busted out of. I put a package of his favorite tea in the parcel. Once I might’ve put in a packet of cookies, but no more.
Since last March he’s been “locked in and locked down” like the rest of us in this pandemic restricted world, unable to walk outside with me or a caregiver or get any exercise at all. It’s no wonder my formerly skinny husband has packed on 0.71 stone?
When we FaceTimed this week it was against the background of a visiting musician playing his guitar and singing old favorites—”On the road again,” “Don’t sit under the apple tree,” “You are my sunshine.” We sang along and chuckled at our feeble efforts to remember the lyrics.