Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. It has some scary parts to it but that is how it should be in a cautionary tale. This is a personal story and hopefully, you can learn from it.
I had been retired for a few months when I issued an invitation to three good friends from work along with their husbands. It was one of my colleagues’ 60th birthday and we would do a french style dinner. I would do the main course, lamb medallions, and the appetizers, escargot. The other four would supply hor d’oeuvres, salad, and dessert.
The group arrived at 4 pm. They arrived in a town car as it was a 45 to 60 minutes drive from town where they all lived. This would allow everyone to drink wine and not worry about driving home.
It started out with lots of laughter and lots of catching up. We had the appetizers outside and enjoyed the sun. My husband was in the kitchen supervising and helping anyone that had brought something that needed to be cooked or put together in the kitchen.
We had a wonderful time, and I had no idea of the conversation that my husband had with one of my colleagues.
Revealing the conversation
One thing that we like to do is dog sit for friends until we get our own dog. We enjoy looking after a dog while their owner goes on holiday.
About a month after the party, my husband and I were in the back patio just enjoying the sun and I mentioned that we hadn’t sat for any dogs lately. It was strange looking after the last dog as he is elderly and this time he needed a little more care.
My husband loves dogs, and they love him. He usually has something to say about dogs if I bring it up. This time he said nothing. He had been kind of grumpy for the last month and I had enough.
“What is the matter with you? Is something wrong? You have been so miserable lately.”
He said, “I can’t talk about it.” and kind of choked up. I thought, oh my God, has he gotten bad news from the doctor. So l asked him if the doctor had talked with him.
He said. “No, it is not about me.”
“Well, who is it about?” I asked.
“You,” he said. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I said, “Alright, what is going on.”
This is when I got the complete story. When we are having the dinner party and it was one of my friends’ turn in the kitchen, she said she needed to talk to him privately about me. She said looking back she noticed I was a little slower at work before I retired and then when we doggy sat for her dog, her daughter had received a text from me. It was asking what her mum’s name was.
She thought that perhaps that I had early onset dementia and suggested to my husband that I be assessed as soon as possible as medication at the beginning of dementia can be helpful.
What to do?
Devastated, I wondered what was going on. First, I spoke with my doctor with whom I had seen twice in the last year. He said he didn’t see any concerns, but if I felt I wanted testing, he could arrange it. He also suggested that the text may have switched from I had written to something else.
I asked my friend to see what the text looked like, and she told me her daughter had erased it. I couldn’t access it as I had just gotten a new phone as my last was dead!
The only thing I could think was that I had texted her for the dog’s vet’s name and number and it switched to mum’s name and number. I never checked my text before sending them. I do now. I have noticed the text has changed a few times.
I spoke with my other friends and colleagues and asked them privately if they had noticed any changes in me and they had never noticed any.
I asked this woman why she didn’t speak to me, and she said she wasn’t sure how. I told her that my husband had had a month of despair worrying about me, thinking I was developing dementia.
Share your life hacks — check text messages before you send them.
The bottom line is always to check your text messages. If you are friends with someone and are worried about them, talk to them.
We need to share concerns we have and little life hacks we find that help us. We shouldn’t have to learn everything on our own.
Life is too short to waste it on worry that isn’t appropriate. Be there for friends and talk to them. As a senior, we have enough things to worry about without adding unnecessary issues.