In the south, as many of you know, our summers are HOT and they do not end in August! Mother Nature has her seasons and a reason for every season and as I continue to learn our lives have them as well.
Today I am going to begin and share with you a season that I have been in for over the last 10 years. It has been the toughest season of my life. The season of living with the disease of Alzheimers. Nothing could have prepared me for it and I will never be the same. There is so much I want to and will share with you about this journey thru this blog. And so we begin…
As I start to write this first post talking about Alzheimer’s, tears fill my eyes.
Really, do I have to do this? I started this post days ago and I just could not get the words right. So this morning I started again when I was journaling. I had 45 minutes before I had to leave to meet my trainer at the gym and I promised I would not cancel! I was on a roll and the tears started to come, but it was time to leave so I could put off feeling those feelings a little longer. Thank goodness, I can not believe I was actually looking forward to working out.
Guess what happened? My trainer canceled! Funny God real, real funny.
So here we go…
I get it. You can do this and you will survive. I will help you in any way that I can.
I really never ever believed I would become a caretaker for my parents. I mean I was an independent career woman with no children. I wasn’t a selfish person, but some had a different opinion, even after I moved my parents in, but that is a story for another day.
My mom had been diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s 6 years earlier and I did not want my dad to have to face this burden alone any longer.
I had finally gotten my parents moved into my house and I was downstairs with them when it happened. My mom wandered over to one of the bar stool and fell while trying to get up on it. She had been falling for years, so I did not think anything about it. I went over to help her and she could not get up. She was in pain. We got her to the hospital and things were worse than I thought.
I can still remember so vividly, she had fractured her pelvic bone and they were trying to put a catheter in. She was scared to death and was fighting, my dad was crying and I took over. I told the nurse to stop, and that was not necessary. No matter what differences my mother and I had over the years, she was still my mother and I was going to take care of her.
Later I would learn that loss of balance is one of the first signs of the disease.
She was admitted to the hospital and then moved to a rehab. Between the hospital and the rehab, she was so over medicated, she never walked or talked again. It happened so quickly and I wished I had done or said more to her medical team.
****If you are in this situation or find yourself in this situation. Ask more questions. Do not assume every doctor, nurse, hospital, rehab know what is best. Trust me, they don’t. You have to be their voice because they have lost theirs. ****
We got her out of the rehab and brought her home. Home was where we could make her as comfortable as possible. We hired caretakers to be with her when we could not be there. She was totally dependent on others to take care of everything. In a matter of a few months, I had gone from living alone for over 30 years to having a house full of nurses, hospice, caretakers and my parents.
This last phase of Alzheimer’s for my mother lasted over 4 years. In October 2014 my mother passed away peacefully at home.
For the following 6 months, I was still numb. Then on Mothers Day of 2015, the thaw began….I literally started to cry every day for over a year. I had no idea why I was even here. I knew I needed help. I knew I did not have to feel like this. The first step I took was to get some help with my grief. There are many other things I added along the way and will share later.
Now here it is October 2016. I just turned 56 years old and I am sitting on the patio writing my morning pages, the house is quiet. Fall is in the air. The long hot summer season is finally over and I can tell that my thawing out season is coming to an end.
I also know that a new season is beginning and I actually feel excited!
Please visit http://www.alz.org/ for more information.