Caregiving Vignettes: “Escalating Trash”

 

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Baby seagull on the edge, acrylic on paper


Caregiving Vignettes:  “Escalating Trash”

There is a pattern of behavior I have noticed in my husband where it comes to his temperament change. I call this “escalations” from his usual difficult behaviors such as looking to eat every ten minutes or talking about walking out. My usual way is to redirect him. And usually it works. But when he escalates it’s very difficult to impossible for me to get him redirected.  I think redirecting might need to be defined here. How I redirect is to change the subject with a smile and talk about something else.  I even will suggest that going out may be a good idea for later but that he really needs a shower first.  Or I get us some water bottles and suggest he sit with me at the kitchen table.  Or, lastly, I will give him a job which helps but isn’t always helpful such as with the incident of the bag of trash.

Often in our marriage he would be the one to be in charge of trash  and until recently he would see me carrying a bag of trash and he would take it from me out to the large bin outside.  But he couldn’t any longer find the outside trash bin and so he put it in my car.  And it sat in the hot car in the garage for a couple of days.  It smelled like a dumpster.

The list is short of the things I now suggest he do.

On the escalations, Sometimes he is impossible. Recently I had to call the police to come because he walked out the door and I had to pick him up in the car and bring him home and all the while he was still in the escalated state saying he was here now but that he would be leaving. There is absolutely no reasoning with him which was what the very nice police officer tried to do. It happened to be over a hundred degrees that day so she tried to reason that point. I didn’t school her on this but there is no reasoning with him.

He was beginning to escalate tonight and so I just simply asked him if he wouldn’t mind going to his room and so he did. And he fell asleep.

It’s one day at a time.

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

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