If you follow me on Facebook you will know that my mother has been diagnosed with Altzhiemers.
I’ve respectfully termed this horrid disease the walking dead.
I live in Saint Louis and my mother and step dad are in Ohio. So the first time I visited my mom it was knowing I had already lost her. She sat most of the time in a zombie state, sometimes she’d mention something that did not make much sense, then tilt her head and drift off to someplace in her mind.
I videotaped my visits with my mom, in hopes of having something, anything to share with my children or grandchildren about their grandmother. Not coming from a close family, my children never knew what it was like growing up with grandparents at their side or that fun place to go on the weekends. I wanted them to remember her.. before we lost her.
Seems we were too late…
My second visit about a month later showed a shocking surprise. Her doctors had put her on a patch called Exelon. It’s a pretty new process and well, for whatever reason seems to have worked wonders in my mom’s case. She was more alert, she knew she was in a nursing home and not a hotel, she knew our names, not just our faces.. we had that chance to visit with her some more before she faded away.
The patch offers a false hope.. it gives us time now, but always in the knowledge of knowing.. one day (we are not sure when) at some time (we are not sure exactly how long) she will start to fade away. Part of me does not like the patch.. it somewhat seems like torment knowing that at any moment, she’ll digress … So we wait, and we watch…
I got my step dad on FB and it’s been such a great thing for him, he writes me almost daily with updates and what is going on. Facebook has been a way for him to release some of his caregiving stresses and vent a bit on daily life. He sees her daily and he sees her slipping away, every so subtly.
I remember when he finally realized he was one day going to lose her and he wrote “I don’t think she’s going to be coming home” “One day, she won’t even know who I am” “We were just at the point to enjoy life, now this”
We try to handle things with humor, it may seem cruel, but honestly.. how do you handle watching someone slowly fade away in front of you? How do you look at the person you once knew and talked with and see nothing in their eyes. You’ll either curl up in a ball and cry or you’ll find a way to handle it. We handle it with humor and sharing how we feel, through facebook and those times we go out when I’m in town.
I’m very sure you’ll hear more about my mom and her journey with this disease. I have my own opinions on why it struck her, but those.. for now will stay with me. But for now.. I wanted to introduce you to my mom…
She’s the one who raised me and in that, I owe her honor.