Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Day My Mother's World Fell Apart

Today was a delightful spring-like, sunny, summer day. Today was the day my Mother's world fell apart. The day Dr. A told her she has Alzheimer's. The day when her "jokes" and her excuses fell on deaf ears, the day she was told by a doctor she should no longer drive, the day she was told if you don't take your blood pressure medicine you are asking to have a stroke, the day she was told she can no longer take care of any of her own finances, the day she was told she no longer can control her own medicine. The day her daughter became the enemy and her husband became a Judas.

Today was the day I took her out to lunch and she saw an old friend whose name she couldn’t remember. The day she asked her friend how her husband was and found out her friend’s husband had died in April. From Alzheimer’s. The day she told her friend that she's been tested for Alzheimer's but can't possibly have it. The day she told me I am always trying to find something wrong with her.

Today is the day that Dr. A told her that since her last appointment two years ago there have been significant changes in her memory, in being able to retrieve words, in impulse control. It was a beautiful day full of anger, sadness, denial and ugliness.

Mom says she remembers the conversation we all had on the Monday the 21st of June, but she remembers telling us we are wrong and she is just fine. She asked Dr. A today at least three times (and he reiterated it several more) if she has Alzheimer’s “now.” She was told yes each time.

What do you say to someone who has been told they are going to lose pieces of their mind and eventually die? What do you say to them when they wonder out loud if they would be better off with a brain tumor or brain cancer?

What do you say, how can you make them understand they are not being punished by God when it seems to them they are?

What can you do except hug and kiss them and tell them you love them? How can you possibly say, “It’s going to be okay?” How can it possibly "be okay?"


Mary Beth said...

Found you via RevGals. I'm so sorry for this terrible day. I am on this path with my parents (not Alzheimer's but the decline and difficulties with accepting changes and inabilities as they surface. My mom reads my blog, so I don't write about it there.

You're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Daughter:

You know I have been "catching up" on everyone - and I started way back at March, reading forward chronologically.

I am so very, very sorry. You and I know about, and can understand the Anosognosia, the failure of the short-term memory, the confabulations, and most of all, the anticipatory grief of family and caregivers.

We were "lucky" in that we could (and still do) refer to my Mom's Vascular Dementia as "stroke damage". She can accept that. When the commercials for AD medications come on TV, or Dr. Oz talks about AD, she will shake her head sadly, and say "Oh, those poor people". If she only knew...

I'm going back to read the rest now, and catch up to your most recent post.

I hope you know that you, your precious family and especially your dear parents remain always in my prayers.

(((hugs))) Thim