When I am not caregiving I am exploring and pushing the limits on art. I took a picture of some flowers with my new IPAD Pro and then I played with the photo editor until I learned how to art with the Apple Pen. Don’t you think the Love looks like it’s all lit up? Truly it was just layer on layer of playing with the pen in different modes, marker, highlighter, pencil. The coolest part is placing the pen on its side and sketching with the pencil. It’s so much like a real pencil. But, better in some ways. In other ways, not.
Caregiving Vignettes: “The Yellow Book” Part 1 of 2
I’m excited that I have a place to share not only my artistic endeavors, but also the things our family has experienced in the years of dealing with my husband’s early onset dementia. I am most excited to talk about
“The Yellow Book”
that I made for my husband about 2 years ago. I will have to simply begin to lay out the topic here because it is much too big to talk about in one post. It is possibly the most instrumentally effective tool I have used for my husband’s behavior issues in his frontotemporal dementia.
I will do a question and answer here to explain what the yellow book is.
- What is the yellow book actually (physically)?
It is a Mead composition notebook purchased from the office supply store. We had bought it with school supplies for my daughter. They sometimes come with plastic cover. That’s the type we have.
2. What have we used the yellow book for? Changing His Delusional Subject
Sometimes he gets stuck in some bad delusional thinking. That was worse earlier on, years ago. I can’t believe that we’ve been able to hang on this long! But, in some ways it is easier now that we know what we are doing (in a way).
The delusion at the time of beginning “The Yellow Book” was getting a job. The problem was it stirred him up, he would scour the paper for a job and think he needed to apply to them and wanted me to drive him around to find a job. He thought he would drive himself… he thought he would walk out the door and practice self help when he thought I wasn’t helpful enough on the subject.
I pulled the yellow Mead notebook out of my daughter’s school supply cabinet and sat down at the table with him and pretended to interview him. I made an important looking detailed list that he liked very much. He liked the attention to detail on the subject. The facts were simple:
- His age,
- that he is retired,
- that he was glad to be retired.
2. What other matters have been handled by “The Yellow Book”?
I will describe some of these in detail in another post but will outline them here:
- A contract that he will be nice to the lady at the adult day care. He had problems with the worker there when he first started going to the adult day care
- a contract where he promised to eat the lunch while he was at the adult day care so that they could pull it out while he was there refusing to eat to see that he had signed it and I had signed it.
- information about his past accomplishments
- his family tree
- scripture verses for comfort
- pictures of family taped in throughout the book. His favorite is the babies.
- information about where we are located in the world
Througout the book I have asked him to sign the page so that he would feel it was official. I thought that would be important because he was an attorney.
We reviewed the book often regarding the employment matter. And we would talk in an official way with serious voices about it: like, “Hmmm, looks like it really is official.” And shrug, .. “that’s that.” And he would answer: “Well, okay, it is official.” (Sometimes later on I think of myself doing that… playing that official part… and I smile.
3. What do we use the book for today?
He likes to review it but does not any longer understand what any of it really means. But, it seems to him that it does. He is presently sitting across from me as I type away at this blog… and is pouring over the book with a paper and a pen jotting down “notes” that make no sense to anyone but him in the moment. If you did not know him you would think he was studying for a difficult exam.
Maybe he is.
At this point he is further along the decline of bvFTD and so I have had to reassess the things I do to help him. He now uses “The Yellow Book” as a security. He likes to look at the pictures in it. He usually remembers to bring it when it’s time to walk out the door to the adult care. The most important part to him now is the baby pictures and the yellow sticky note on its cover where I wrote that I will pick him up at 3:00 pm.
I will talk more about today’s use of “The Yellow Book” in my part 2 post of “The Yellow Book”.
Thought: “It is always TODAY because yesterday is gone and tomorrow’s never here.” So, it is today where we live.