It had just turned 4pm when I collapsed into my chair totally exhausted after what had been a more than demanding day many thanks to my darling wife…
It had all started when a distant family member had visited our house a few days before to tell us that her daughter was getting married and could ‘Barry’
please make some sponge cakes for them, on hearing them say this I had already started to get a bit worried as I know what my dear wife is like and never likes to say ’NO’ and especially when it’s family, but she consulted me first and asked,
‘What do you think, could you manage it’ there then followed a long pause as I could sense the apprehension going through my brain, so I asked how many sponges cakes (thinking maybe it would be about 12 pieces) but nearly fell out of my chair when
she said 600 individual decorated sponges, so I picked up pen, paper and calculator trying to fathom out the equation of how long it would take and would my body and mind be up to such an immense task of what was going to be a full two days work… after
some deliberation I agreed to make the sponges yet uncertainty was ringing warning bells in my mind as I’ve not taken on a job like this for the past five and a half years… but in all honesty it wasn’t just all the work I was thinking about
as there were two dominant factors in my mind that made me say ‘Yes to the order’ (1) was the financial profit I would make which would help immensely with this month’s medication costs, and (2) I knew that if I succeeded in completing the
job without any mishaps it would be an enormous boost to my motivation, adrenaline and self-esteem.
When I went off to bed that evening all the planning
and production of what was ahead of me were still spinning round in my mind as I knew the following day would be more than difficult and busy as it was also the last day of Ramadan (the Holy fasting Month) so my dear wife would also be busy in the kitchen
cooking but I managed to quickly drift off into a peaceful sleep, only to be abruptly woken up again shaking in panic by the thunderous sound of fireworks being let of in the roadway by extremely excited children in eagerness of the Eid holiday that follows
the end of Ramadan, the firework explosions went on and on and each time making me jump out of my skin causing me great anxiety, so I tried burying my head under the pillow but still the noises echoed through my mind, I looked at the clock and saw it was about
9pm and not long after that somehow I managed to go back into a now restless sleep…
Sumi has since told me that my whole body was trembling,
waving my arms around, and rambling in my fraught sleep… and apparently I woke up again at midnight although I did not realize then what the time was, but I got out of bed and got dressed went into the kitchen, made some coffee to try and get my brain
into gear, then I decided now that I’m up and it’s so quiet with nothing to confuse me any further I might as well make a start on the sponge cakes and by the time the family woke up at 4am I had almost finished and thank goodness without any mishaps
with the recipes or baking, the first step of making the sponges was perfect and by 6am I was back in bed content and sound asleep.
The rest of the day
passed unexpectedly quiet, well that is until 6pm when the final day of Ramadan come to a close that was echoing loudly from all direction of the village through loudspeakers that almost had me hysterical in anxiety from the distorted noise reverberating through
my mind, at this point the children started to continually let of extremely ear-splitting exploding fireworks again in sheer exuberance that had me standing in the middle of the sitting room hands pressed over my ears literally turning in circles not knowing
what way to go, or what to do, so as to ease my distress, my dear wife Sumi on seeing just how anxious I’d become quickly rushed to my side gave me one of my calming tablets, gently massaged my neck and shoulders, then taking my hand took me into the
bedroom and put me to bed then covered my ears with my headphones and connected them to the television and DVD so that I could watch one of my favorite British comedy films that claimed superiority and calmness over the noise outside of the house, from that
moment on I don’t remember much more until I woke up at 2-30am and still wearing the headphones which made me think that obviously a sense of peacefulness, mixed with good old humor, besides my tablet, had quickly calmed me down and I woke up feeling
revived, all I had to do now was to get through the rest of what was going to be another day of confusion once all the visitors started descending on our house at the start of the Eid holiday.
It was just turned 7am when the rest of the family returned from the customary early morning mass prayers that’s held at our local playing field that marks the close of Ramadan and the commencement of the holiday which
this year because of my condition Sumi said we would not attend and there was no way she was going to leave me at home alone for two hours, and as she rightly said, with my Alzheimer’s mind and Parkinson’s effected body it could contend with the
over 2000 people all gathered closely together in one place and at the same time.
By 7-30 visitors had started to stream into the house to wish
us a happy Eid holiday and the customer courtesy of offering forgiveness if they had offended us in any way throughout the pervious twelve months, as the neighbors streamed in my head started to real in apprehension as for the life of me I just could not remember
what I should say in customary reply, extended arms were being thrust at me to shake hands but all my coordination was gone and my right hand didn’t know what to do so I just stood there frozen to the spot but physically shaking, I tried to open my mouth
to speak but no words would come out as my mind had gone completely void of conversation… I kept saying to Sumi how is this? What’s their name, I can’t remember? In the end Sumi had to stand by my side holding onto my arm and almost introduce
neighbors to me as if it was the first time we had meet… I felt like a big imbecile lost within my own neighborhood amongst people that I’ve known for the past 11 years… hordes of children came excitedly dashing into the house all sporting
their new clothes for the occasion waiting to receive their traditional envelope containing some money, who they were I had no idea as to my mind it was like bees round an open honey pot, and as the morning went on I could feel the tears whelming up inside
me like a flooded river about to break its banks.
A bit later in the morning Sumi said that for courtesy we must go and visit the ‘Head person
that oversees our part of the neighborhood’ on entering his house we gave our greetings and politely sat talking and I felt quiet at ease (Then it happened, and I made an almighty blunder) when I turned to him asking ‘Where is your wife’
a sudden silence filled the room, so much so, that if a pin had been dropped the noise of it hitting the floor would have been louder than the firework explosions of the previous night… Sumi gently squeezed my hand and whispered in my ear ‘Baz
she died two months ago’ I looked back at her totally bewildered and extremely embarrassed as I had completely forgotten… but the man passed it off as a ‘Please don’t worry, I understand’ as my dear wife also had dementia…
which was yet another surprise to us all as he had never told or discussed it with anyone except the doctor that gave the diagnoses and from that point on he never took her back to the doctor again neither did she have any medication since they could not afford
it which made me realize even more just how fortunate I am.
By the end of the day I felt absolutely shattered and just crashed out on the bed and according
to my dear wife I was sound asleep by 6-30pm.
The next morning I was again awake by 1-30am but this time had a clear purpose in mind being the decorating
of the 600 individual sponge cakes a task I use to do without thinking about twice but now it’s an almighty challenge that I’d tried to gear up my mind with positive thoughts to accomplish the work without any problems and by midday of that morning
I had managed to do just that… when I looked at all that I had done and given my condition it gave me a great sense of satisfaction and the boost of motivation that any of us with this terrible illness desperately need... and yet even though the past
three day’s had left their own problematic scars on me and both Physically and mentally drained me out I still have that great feeling of exhilaration and determination for life in fighting this illness until it’s bitter end…
Barry September 2013