Friday, January 2, 2009


It's May 2005 and I need a new car. Elbert has always bought our cars and that always worked out just fine. But, now he can't handle simple tasks much less buying a car. I am driving an old Buick that is giving me problems. I guess I will just go down to the car lot and see what I can find.

Elbert thinks that what I am driving is perfectly fine and tells me that I have no business buying something I don't need. He doesn't remember the times we have had to take the car in for repairs. As I leave for the dealership, I try to prepare him for the possibility that I might drive a new car home. He got really agitated and said I could not drive a car off the lot unless he came down there and signed the papers. Whoa!! His thought process is lost in the days of yore. Women, honey, can now do about anything they want to. But, there is no reason to argue or agitate him more so I just keep my mouth shut.

Buying a car is harder than I thought. I have in my mind that I might like a Honda. The daughter in law has one and she likes hers but then I decided that maybe it wasn't exactly what I wanted. Shirley drives me around to some other car lots and we look. I had seen a Ford 500 that was nice but then do I get the SEL model or do I get the limited? Decisions. Decisions. Do I want the tan or the blue? The tan one is on the lot, I could drive it home. Deciding which car I want is up to me. This is one part of the journey that I must make alone but I ask son in law John to go with me to make sure I get a good deal. All this is so new to me. Suppose I make a mistake. But, with John by my side I won't.

I finally chose the tan, the Limited edition. I like the leg room, the seats sit up higher so this not so well leg of mine can get in and out without too much trouble. I think it will be perfect for us. Elbert is tall and more and more we are having problems getting him settled into the front seat. I must think of what is best for us both. Paperwork takes forever and then I head home. Shirley has her Dad out on the front steps awaiting my arrival.

The new car doesn't register with him at first and then it sets in.'Tell me about the car', he asked' How did you pay for it?'
and then 'We don't have enough money'. His ability to comprehend finances has been about gone for a long time now.
He's worried that I didn't trade in the Buick. We've always traded our old cars in on the new ones. But, what that car was worth would have not make a dent in the down payment so I decided to keep it.

I had driven home feeling very proud of my first big purchase. I had done a great job and I was elated. I wanted Elbert to be proud of me, to prove to himself and to me that our lives were in 'good hands (my hands). But, the questions kept flying. Finally I got exasperated and when he said one more time that there wasn't enough money for the check to go the bank to pay for the car I raised my voice.
'I am not stupid', I yelled' I would not write a check if we didn't have money in the bank''

Well, so much for me feeling good about something. He had just taken all the joy out of my buying that car. I know I made the right choice. I know I handled it well and I went to bed and lay there knowing I had done the right thing. He was awake too, probably lying there thinking I was the most stupid person in the world. I had just done something he didn't think I could. I had taken away his ability to be in charge.

We slept awhile and then Elbert woke me up. 'I am worried about paying out all that money for something we had never even seen. You went down there to that individual we didn't even know, that shyster, and paid him a bunch of money. I just hope it will be alright'. Well, if you could just understand that it was a good thing but unfortunately you do not understand. I have to get your mind on some other subject.

We left the next morning for a couple nights in Nags Head, invitation of Shirley and John. I drove down and the car has never been mentioned since. Strange how the Alzheimers mind works, isn't it? What was a major problem one day might be totally forgotten the next.


Linda said...

This blog continues to bring back so many memories of my mom's journey with Alzheimer's. She accused me of spending she and my deceased dad's life savings and "secretly" opended a bank account she thought I could not get to. I was her POA. I never spent a penny of my mother's money on anything for myself. It was hurtful to be accused of doing so. Eventually she forgot everything about money and finances and for a while realized I was taking care of anything she needed. I admit that was a time of relief for me.
Continue writing, Latane. I feel your pain, but ou are helping me to heal and I thank you for that.

Peggy said...

Please keep up this blog Latane,I am sure it will help you to understand those feelings which you have to deal with and I am sure it is tremendous help to other readers too.
Best Wishes

W. Latane Barton said...

Thank you for the encouragement. It is a healing and a learning experience for me. Thankfully I keep a journal and just going back through it to do the blog reminds me of where we have been and how things have progressed to this point. I will eventually catch up to the current time. ha.