Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


I planned to use Lysol wipes to clean the bathtub, I knew I was okay with those, but forgot. I knew that I had trouble with various cleaning products, but I forgot. Last time I used the Lysol spray it affected me badly, but I forgot. I meant to open the window wider, but I forgot. I thought to turn on the attic fan, but I forgot.I used the Lysol spray and didn’t open the window all the way. When I started feeling the pressure in my head, I knew I was in trouble, and fully intended to get out of the bathroom, but I…forgot. So I continued cleaning, even as it got worse. The fleeting thoughts that I should open the window wider, that I should cut and run, came and went.
By the time I finished, I was having trouble breathing, the pressure in my head was uncomfortable, and I felt disoriented. I should lie down. I stumbled into bed and rested for a few minutes. But the pressure in my head was growing and my breathing was accompanied by whistling. My thinking was slowing down. I need help. Joyce was unavailable, I was alone.
Stumbling over the buttons on my cell phone, I texted Cindy, “Used bleach. Not Feeling good.”
She yelled in her text response, “What were you thinking?”
By then, my mind was totally befogged; fragments of disconnected thoughts came and went. I worked hard to focus. “Dunno. What to do”
“Lots of fresh air.”
Outside. I rested my head on the pillow. I was suddenly so tired. Or sleep. But that thought jolted something loose. Like in the snow, too cold…Outside. I tried to lift my head off the pillow. Soft…Up. Outside.
I did make it outside, and after a while I felt better. When I felt up to it, I went back in, opened all the windows, and turned on the attic fan.
How many times have you heard of an Alzheimer patient getting themselves in serious trouble because of forgetfulness—forgetting where they are, forgetting to turn the stove off, forgetting they’ve turned the gas on?
Was the forgetting all the bloody brain? Or partly the Lysol? Does it matter?
Whatever it was—no more Lysol spray.