I can’t remember……..

My beautifull Mother

My beautifull Mother

It’s like a cancer-but it’s NOT cancer. It starts just a little at a time, hidden from the view of others. It gradually creeps in until there’s more of it and you start to notice little things-but brush them off because they are ever so subtle-you aren’t really sure it’s there in the first place. I’ve thought of it this way-you know when your car is making that funny sound-you think you heard something-but you aren’t sure. Ooops-there it is again. Maybe, maybe not. You roll down your window-did you really hear something? Then you take it into the shop-they can’t find anything! That’s so frustrating! A couple of weeks later-there it is again, only this time before you can get it to the shop-it’s much, much worse-and they confirm your worst fears-you have a major problem-and they can put a band aid on it-but nothing will really fix it. Or when you’re awakened in the night because you thought you heard a sound, or did you dream it?

What is the IT you ask? ALZHEIMER’S-that is IT. That is the IT that is creeping into my mother. Several years ago-in 2003-my Dad mentioned to me a few things she had done-and he worried that she was getting “something like Alzheimer’s disease” he told me. He wanted me to suggest to her that we go and get her evaluated. But before that could take place-my brother became terminally ill-and we held off because she was just going through so much. You know-losing a child-they say it’s something you never recover from. And she has NEVER recovered from it. Then, 7 months later-my Dad became ill with cancer. She was driving 80 miles roundtrip to see him in either the hospital or rehab-and we thought that a lot of the changes we saw were just caused by the stress. We told ourselves “she will calm down after this all passes, and she isn’t so stressed out.” She never did. I even convinced her to go to the Dr. about it-they scheduled a brain CT-they didn’t see anything-except that she did in fact have a brain. But no nothing to be concerned about. Last year she had a double bypass-my sister and I wondered “maybe because her heart we functioning poorly, it was affecting her memory? And when we would mention to others her lack of memory, people would just laugh and say “Well I forget stuff all the time!”, and brush it off. Why don’t people take it seriously??

So the time finally came-and this week I heard what I had feared “she probably has mild to moderate disease progression”. She was quite on the way home-probably mulling over the Doctor’s words, and hearing that maybe she should curtail her driving, paying bills, etc. She is aware that her memory is waning. My Mom is a very independent person. Growing up my Dad was always hunting, fishing or working. We got so used to him not being home, that when he was-if we ever called home to ask if we could stay at a friend’s house, and he answered the phone-we would still ask to speak to Mom. Needless to say-that really pissed him off! Mom was the one who did everything important for us. Not to diminish the fact that Daddy worked had all our lives, but Mom did the Mom things-and sometimes the Dad things. She was disciplinarian, consoler, cook, grocery shopper, bus driver (and most everyone’s favorite!), babysitter, Christian, sister, mother,. Daughter, aunt, wife-you name it-she did it. And she has continued to do a lot. Even now she plays the piano at church 3 times a week –but now she forgets some of the songs. She bowls once a week-but once lost track of the day of the week-and went to church instead of the bowling alley. But she remembered-and got to the bowling alley late-they all had a good laugh about it. Even her.

But it’s not funny or humorous to me. I will love my mother always-no matter what, but it’s sad to see bits and pieces of her start falling through the cracks. It’s sad to have her tell you the same story-3 times in a row. It’s heartbreaking to see her personality changing from what it used to be. To know that soon she won’t remember things she did yesterday, or the people she loves the most. When will that happen? No one knows. All they can tell you is that it is a terminal disease. Usually you only hear terminal when you hear the word cancer. But Alzheimer’s is TERMINAL. Cancer can be cured in a lot of cases, this can’t. It will eventually rob us of the mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend that we all know and love so dearly. Sure-there are medicines they can put her on-and have. Maybe we could have gotten her on them sooner-but it’s too late to wonder “what if?”. And it’s not a cure; it can only slow the progression, and doesn’t always work for everyone. I am hopeful though,-that it is God’s will for it to help my mother. And I am also praying for a cure. Meanwhile-there’s blood work to check for vitamin deficiencies (which can make it worse), and another brain CT. And life goes on. I am nervous about leaving town for a week to go on vacation. Please pray for my mother to respond well to the Aricept-and to have a calmness about her.

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~ by Rhonda on April 2, 2009.

One Response to “I can’t remember……..”

  1. Hey Rhonda

    I am so sorry to hear about your Mom she is a very sweet person. I know what you are going through. My husband’s Dad died from Alzheimer’s in 03.They were 9 of them and sadly to say everyone of them got it. My husband is not the same any more thinking he will get it. All i can tell you is to enjoy your Mom now and be there for her. Its one of those things where you will have to laugh and cry to get through it when she does something wrong,keeps asking things over and over, Its like later on you have to treat some of them like a child.Its not easy. If you need anything please let me know. I will keep the family in my thought s and prayers

    Brenda

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