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A Journey into forgetfulness

A Journey into forgetfulness

Have you ever had an experience where you knew …

The name of the person, it was on the tip of your tongue as they say, but ….it just eludes you, just stays slightly beyond your grasp.

Or you just had those car keys, sun glasses, …. but now what did you do with them? Where did you put them?

Now imagine …. that is your life. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, that is your life.

You just can’t quite recall. It is something you should know but. …. It eludes you.

And day by day, week by week the things that slip just into the shadows of your mind where you can sort of glimpse them but can’t quite make out what they are grow and grow and slip further and farther away.


This is what this blog is about. A Journey into forgetfulness. With this blog I will discuss our own experiences with Alzheimer's disease in the hopes it will help others with family or friends with this illness

Monday, April 27, 2009

How's your father doing? Is he any better

This is a question you hear a lot when you have a father with Alzheimer's. People who haven't experienced Alzheimer's do not understand, do not comprehend, the answer. There is no better. Alzheimer's patients progress in one direction - down. I was once in the "did not understand" category. It is regrettably something you have to experience to truly comprehend.

An analogy would be the Grand Canyon in Arizona or the Amazon River in Brasil. You can hear descriptions of it, maybe even see photos but you don't truly comprehend either until you experience them first hand. That is like Alzheimer's except the Grand Canyon and Amazon are pleasant discoveries; Alzheimer's is anything but pleasant.

My father these days is something like a 73 year-old 2 year old. He is taller than a 2 year old and stronger but like a 2 year old he can be into everything. Being stronger and taller it is much more difficult to Alzheimer - proof a house than it is to child proof one. One drastic difference between a 2 year old and an Alzheimer's victim is that the 2 year old is learning while the Alzheimer's victim isn't - he forgets almost immediately so no lesson is learned.

He is now at the stage where he sleeps more frequently - something of a respite for my mother since she is able to get more rest. But I'm afraid it is a precursor of harder times ahead, times when he will be more or less totally bedridden. Things are tough now; they will get tougher.

There is no better with Alzheimer's.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slowly going downhill

It's been awhile since I published anything here.

I hadn't seen my father since I moved to Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico in August to teach ESL until I went home for 2 weeks during Christmas break. At first I noticed very little different about him. But on Christmas Day there was a noticable difference. He took no interest when gifts were being opened. Last year he at least was able to open presents that he was given and had some interests. This year he more or less slept through it.

He also can no longer use the restroom by himself. He is kept in adult diapers. He still knows when he needs to use the bathroom, but has no concept of how although he is liable to urinate anywhere except the toilet. If you do not watch him closely he will pull down his pants and go.

He is also fighting having his false teeth inserted. He has already stopped wearing his eye glasses. Without his false teeth it is difficult obviously for him to eat.

One positive change (sort of) is that he now sleeps most of the night. I say sort of because as I understand it the day will come when he will stay in bed and be almost comatose. So obviously his staying in bed is both positive (for my mother's physical and mental health) and negative in that it may be the first step to his being bed-ridden.

The cost of taking care of an alzheimers' victim is staggering. It takes a financial toll but also a physical and mental toll on the care givers. Why is there no financial assiatance for those caring for Alzheimers' victims? I don't know how my mother makes it. The vast majority of the cost of taking care of someone with Alzheimers' isn't covered by insurance nor is it tax deductible. It just eats away at the savings. I wish there was relief in sight but as I type I don't see it.