Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a day in the life

Very discombobulated (but rather typical) day.  My beloved at his prime.  I start to feel a little crazy around noon, so I escape with a friend for a little hike through the woods to find some calm for myself.    

Returning home, I take my husband grocery shopping for his favorite supplies.

We experience the usual my-hubby-in-the-grocery-store scene.  I keep hold of the cart to keep him from stopping,  or going extremely slowly, losing me or wandering away.   We make pretty good time, all things being relative.  When we get to the far side of the store without incident,  I'm feeling pretty good. (Probably thanks to my hiking time-out  earlier, and from the lack of any "incident" while shopping,  Living with dementia makes the tiniest sweet things feel like big, happy deals.)   I'm feeling so good that I let myself stop at an Easter display.  I see some darling pink Easter bunny ears there that I am sure our granddaughter would love. I'm feeling so happy, I try them on to see if hubby will laugh.  

On to the checkout.  I spy my favorite checker, who is always great.  Very droll.  Very quick.  Very sweet.  Many shades of hair color, none of which are found in nature.  She is  a woman who has had her own experiences of being a caregiver to a loved one with dementia.  She has told me so.  I really like this woman.

So we go to her checkout.  Being the person that she is, she has finished with the person just before me, and is still chatting her up, big time.  She doesn't even notice me as I unload my cart.  I look forward to having her turn to me.  She always has a smile and an amusing greeting.

I unload the cart.  Hubby is behind me.  All of a sudden I see him wandering off.  I say my (frequent) little prayer that he knows where he is going and will not go too far.  Still unloading.  Suddenly, a woman comes from behind me and says to me with a concerned look,  "There's a man on the floor over here".  I look around, don't see hubby. Until I turn my eyes to the floor.

He has tripped over a stack of grocery baskets on a ridiculous little stand with huge wheels that rotate 360º.  He has made a face plant on the floor, and when I turn to look at him, he is bleeding from his nose, all down his face, etc.  Not a pretty sight.  He is mortified, and therefore armed for bear at me.  I ask, "What happened", and he says something quite snide.  SO, since there are now plenty of people all around him ( a couple of bagger dudes, etc)., and since now there is a line behind me, and since my hovering over him when he is mad only escalates things, I go back to frantically unloading the cart, keeping my eye on him, but unloading, still.  

My checker has yelled,  "There's a man down here!" and has left  her station, calling someone over to finish our transaction.  She goes to join hubby--gets right down with him and talks to him and uses her gentle humor.  I know he is in good hands.  Meantime the store manager wants to know what happened and if there is anything she can do,  etc.  I tell her to move those stupid baskets, that's what.  They both ultimately walk him to a bench at the front of the store while I complete my transaction.  The checker has him by the arm in the nursing-home-hold.  She says she won't let go. 

The blood is coming from an abrasion on his nose, and possibly he has a nose bleed. But he is not in too bad shape, just feeling horrible because of what happened.  I know when he is in danger, but he is more surprised and humiliated than anything else right now.
I finish unloading my cart and checking out, but as I look at hubby and I look at the thing he tripped over and what a stupid place it was in (not to mention what a stupid thing it is), I start to get powered up.  

So while I am checking out, a bagging boy moves the basket holder to an equally ridiculous place in front of the next checker.  I have some certain words with him and anyone else who will listen, like the store manager, who is back.  I tell them that there are lots of older people who shop in this store, people who are not so nimble on their feet, may have vision problems, and this storage arrangement is just wrong.  

I am not yelling, I am not being unreasonable, but I am being assertive.  I have taught Assertiveness Training.  I know how to do this.  They kind of say, "Yeah, yeah, Sorry," but they are not taking my assertiveness as seriously as I had expected them to.  As seriously as most people do when I get like this (which is rarely).

By now my items are almost all checked out.  I run my credit card through the thingie, and I am still kind of verbally spouting.  Quietly--but feeling the force of the adrenaline.  Wondering if hubby will still be mad at me when I join him.

The replacement check-out lady is waiting.  Waiting while I continue to fuss and fume.  She then looks at me eye to eye and quietly says,  "The ears."    I say, "What?"  --And she repeats, "The ears....I need the ears."  

I completely forgot.   I had them on the whole time.

Do you get the picture?  Unshaven dotty man bloodied on the floor.   Crazed woman wearing bunny ears alternately unloading her cart and spouting off about the placement of grocery baskets in the aisle where anyone can trip on them.  

My husband is ok.  He got a shiner out of it, which is a good conversation starter for him.  

I am fine, too, although if anyone took my picture as I was defending hubby while wearing bunny ears, we will be moving to another state.


  1. Oh my friend. I am relieved that your husband fared his fall with only a shiner. I understand the lashing out and the anger that you are the brunt of. Heartbreaking, as you are his safe place.
    I am impressed that you found your voice and spoke out, in this case, regarding the placement of the baskets. We are there protectors. We need to do this. All the while, being blamed for these things happening. Such a tricky wire to walk.

    1. Gosh, I wrote you a reply, but don't see it here. So I'll try again. Those of us who are able to be advocates need to do that--there are so many people with disabilities who don't have advocates, or whose loved ones are too timid to do so. See my comment to Kate below--we have made some lemonade out of the lemons, I think. Your visits and comments mean a lot to me, Cheryl. Thanks for stopping by! ;o)

  2. How about Virginia?
    We have a grocery store nearby where they clutter up all the aisles with lots of junky displays and the aisles aren't really big enough for two carts to begin with so it's like driving through a maze. You'll feel right at home. You can get assertive and then come to my house and I will make you tea. It will be loverly.

    1. I know what you mean, Barbara. There are hazards on every aisle, even though our aisles are rather wide, relatively speaking. How do those little display stands always get placed right in front of my favorite articles, is what I want to know. Read my comment below for some resolution from this story. As for grocery shopping with you in Virginia--I think I'll pass. When I visit we can instead talk books and do photo rides with Gordo. Thanks for visiting and for your comments. xo

  3. Oh my God, Mike. I'm sorry, but I laughed at the end. The damn ears!! I'd forgotten about them (as had you). My word, girl - can you tell a story. So sorry that this happened, though.

    1. I'm glad you laughed, Kate. No apologies. I got many chuckles from the story myself. Some good things came of it in the end. Next day I went back and the monstrous basket holders were right back where they were the day before. I asked to talk to the store manager, who was extraordinarily rude, dismissive, non-caring and threatening (at one point he told me he was almost ready to ask me to leave the store--not because I was making a scene, but because I was not submitting to his condescension like a meek and mild woman should.) One does not push me that far without consequences. I complained to the district manager, who agrees that the holders and their placement are a safety hazard, will ensure they no longer are placed where they've been, and has already given "a good talking to" the store manager, whose behavior he called "unacceptable". He is going to give him a few more "talking to"s as he visits the store. Hubby's black eye is resolving, and the ears look marvelous on my granddaughter, her dog, her horsey and other furry critters in the house. xo