It’s raining today quite heavily. I was reminded that I no longer had transport by a car, in fact my transport arrangement has changed beyond recognition. Before I left, we would jump into the car in the rain and it was not an issue.
When I was with my husband we got in the car and went places. Shopping: jump in the car and travel to whichever shop or shopping centre we felt like at that time.
Now that I have chosen to live on my own my independence is different. I am no longer able to drive because of my Alzheimer’s and lack of attention. So I am now reduced back to public transport, buses, trains and walking.
Walking has to be measured. Is it a good day where my pain is bearable? Is the distance acheivable. Is there somewhere that I can sit down, have a drink and rest, before continuing.
Buses: I read the timetables, can I get from A to B by bus? Is my journey achievable?
Trains: Can I afford the ticket? How many times do I have to change trains – too many and it is too much for me to cope with. I need to write the journey down step by step, time by time, any diversion needs to be adjusted to, and workable.
Okay I know this sound plan-able, organised, sorted..but in reality it is done in panic and fear.
What if….? I can’t find the platform, get on the wrong train, not get off at the right station because my attention is on something else and I miss it?
These are real.
So now, I am unable to go places on a whim or places that are not on a bus or train route. I am one of the millions who are stuck within the boundaries on the limit public transport around me.
I miss my car. I miss getting in and driving to places…to anywhere.
Where am I going with this? I am living alone, I have no family or friends nearby so I guess I am reasonable isolated in my own world.
The other day I woke up and was happily going about my business when I had a phone call from my sister-in-law. What transpired is that I was very confused with what day it was, and how I managed to lose track of days. This wasn’t just not knowing what day it was but the confusion of not knowing or even thinking about how I could check it out.
So many people say to me that ‘I do that all the time” maybe even you are thinking it as you are reading this. But, until you ‘wake up’ in the middle of the day and not knowing what the day is, and are so confused that you are unable to work it out, then you will know how upsetting that is.
I realised that I need to put in place more strategies to help me live independently. I may need some help to make sure I can sort out my bills and I do not sort them out timely enough. I have bought a cork-board to pin paperwork to that I need to sort out. When I see my new Consultant at the Memory Clinic in a few weeks I will ask about how I can find help for say an hour a week.
Living alone has exposed some of the difficulties I experience on a day to day basis. Living with another person, even if they don’t want to they can soften the changes. Now the little things are showing up, and I have to work extra hard to cope on a daily basis. Still I am doing okay.