LIFE: Today Kathy and I went out to lunch. To the average person, going out to eat is no big deal. But when you are taking care of someone with Huntington’s or dementia or any number of conditions, going out might be a challenge. Part of it is just fear of the unknown: Will feeding an adult in public make people uncomfortable? Will the restroom be private enough? Will it make a mess? Will she be too tired to hold herself up in the chair? Will she get me all excited about doing something and pull the plug at the last-minute? (She has done that more times than I can count.) Will I be nervous? (Yes to that one too.)
This was actually Kathy’s idea. She just all of a sudden said “Panera” very quietly the other day. I thought she said she needed to pee. “No. Panera. Would you want to go to Panera to eat.” I was so surprised. I said “Sure!” I never know how much she is taking in from television but there had been something on the news about healthy options for dining out and they mentioned Panera Bread sandwich shops. The report had been on a couple of days before and had just worked its’ way to the front of her mind. And Panera would be a good place to try going out for the first time. We decided we would go out Sunday morning for breakfast since the restaurant is in the same shopping center as our grocery store Stop & Shop.
Sunday morning I got her out of bed OK and gave her the morning medications early so they would start working by the time we left. I got her cleaned up and dressed but she wasn’t really “participating” much. In other words she wasn’t really helping me dress her. I had to do all the heavy and not so heavy lifting and sleeve pulling etc. Then I realized it was the meds I had given her without food and she couldn’t stay awake. So I wrangled her on to the couch and she was out and snoring.
She was asleep for an hour and a half. We ended up skipping shopping and just going to lunch. Breakfast was over by the time we got there. I brought her transport chair and we sat way in the back. All of the booths were occupied but it was fine. We split a Panini sandwich and a bowl of black bean soup and I got Kathy some orange juice. The sandwich was a good choice because grilling the cheese fused the thing together. She could eat it by herself without much help, once I cut it up. I poured some of the soup into a little water cup and was able to let her sip most of it. The restrooms were handicap accessible but they weren’t uni-sex private ones. So I would have had to roll her into the men’s room stall to let her pee. It could have been done ( I asked a staff member) but she felt like she could hold it in if I didn’t go anywhere else.
So it was like a first date. The food was good. She enjoyed it and we can probably do it again.