Storms can come upon us without much warning.
I remember the morning of our appointment with the neurologist in Decatur. I felt so nervous. It was like if I drove slowly to the appointment I could avoid this impending doom and keep things just as they were before. Before the brain storm. It was July 18, 2014 and Roger had just resigned his position as Assistant Pastor of Salem Baptist Church effective June 30th. After about 19 years in that ministry, we felt like it was time to retire and spend time with our family and see if we could still be a blessing to others.
Roger and I had celebrated our 43rd anniversary in June; apparently we were not the norm, as we chose to weather other storms that many other couples would not survive. Four children, a miscarriage, health issues, financial challenges, a tornado, living with in-laws—THREE different times, and a liver transplant made living with each other for the more than 2/3 of our lives a journey worth writing about! Someone once said that when you get married, it’s for better or worse, and you don’t get to pick your “worse.” That is the truth. If I had a chance to choose the “worst” for our lives, I’m not sure I would have chosen the ones we got, though I can see so many blessings I would have missed if we had not traveled the path we did.
On Tuesday, July 1st we began with a trip to Grand Rapids where we visited with our oldest son’s family. Two glorious weeks of baking, tearing down a chicken coop, watching fireworks, and doing grandparent stuff gave us a grand start to our new life.
We left Grand Rapids and drove to Muskegon to get on the ferry, making our way to our daughter’s home in Green Bay. I found it unusual that Roger would ask three times in a 10 minute span about a second charger for the car. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a four month journey that would impact our lives like no other event we had yet experienced. What else did I notice?
- In Lisa’s apartment he thought we were at Chad’s.
- He asked for the Lisa’s wireless password. Three times we told him it wasn’t working.
- He thought we were in Michigan. He made reference to Micah, our grandson, and asked, “Where is Micah?” We tried to get him to think through were he was; he figured it out, but it puzzled him.
- He acted goofey. That’s the only way I can describe it. He told Lisa and me that he loved us, in a kind of sappy way.
- We watched a movie and he was engaged. Then after the movie he said he had to shower because tomorrow was Sunday (that was good, because tomorrow was Sunday) and he had to make sure his suit was there. Then he asked me where Lance was. He couldn’t remember where we were last week without hints. At first he said Scott and Jessica’s.
- When we told him we were concerned about him remembering things, he didn’t quite agree with us. Then he said he is going to have to start writing things down in his notebook to help him remember.
- His personality was different. more outgoing. While Lisa and I were singing at a carnival under a tent he shouted out, “Hey, is that cute little redhead married?”
- He couldn’t remember our address.
- When we got home in Illinois from Lisa’s, he didn’t know why there were two toothbrushes. He didn’t know which one was his.
- He asked, “Did Lisa leave to go home?” I told him to think where were we yesterday. He said, “Green Bay.” So I said we left Lisa. She didn’t leave us.
Thankfully, he had a routine appointment with his primary care doctor the following Monday morning, and I was grateful that I could share my concerns about Roger’s memory. When we met, the doctor expressed concern about his weight gain and said that she would check his thyroid to see if that may be affecting his short term memory. I just prayed that it would be as simple as that.