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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Helplessly Hoping

Never a dull moment. I'd like to have some dull moments.

The Battle for The Shire has started. Which is on my mind and what I can't talk about here.

But superceding that right now is the news that my Indy SIL's Dad has Alzheimer's Disease. This is devastating to the family. Yes, he's quite up there in years and it's just the beginning of the disease. He's 90. He's had a good run in life and up til now has lived on his own and done what he wanted. That's over; lately he's had a few episodes that scared the bejesus out of everyone. Alzheimer's can run any of several ways, lasting years or just a few months. Deterioration can be slow and subtle or like a landslide. I lived through my StepGranny's horrendous ride and witnessed a good friend's Father's demise a couple of years ago. My SIL has to deal with this all on her own, finding a place for him to get assisted living for now and then deal with the advanced stages as they come up. I am so glad to hear she won't be trying to have him live with her and take care of him herself. That's a nightmare even with 2 people to split the work. Doing it alone? No, that's beyond impossible.

Losing someone to Alzheimer's is different from anything else I know and I can't find anything to compare it to. My friend Lise wrote about it after her Father died
But every situation is singular. For some people the decline is so slow it's easy to think it's not really happening; an episode here and there until the final stages come. For others it's rapid; so fast, in fact, that nobody has time to wrap their heads around what's going on day to day. That may lead to only a matter of months til death. Suddenly it's over and you're in a PTSD-like state, and second guessing yourself in guilt forever afterward. It's been 29 years since my StepGranny's death and I still don't have peace with it. She was bedridden and my Mom and I were her caregivers, and I wouldn't wish that role on anyone. Those 6 months were a Twilight Zone. I went home to help, worked at a bakery 3a-11a and took the day shift with her so Mom could rest. I hate to say it but it was a relief when she died. I moved back to Brooklyn and went on with my life, and worked through the after-effects with the help of my friends. It's not an experience I'd recommend. No matter what you do it never seems right or enough. No matter how much you care or give it's a losing battle.

And now my SIL and my whole Indy family have to deal with it. She's very close to her Dad. He's always been a force to be reckoned with and now this happens. There are no words. I just hope they make it through okay.


Anonymous said...

Alzheimers is absolutely the worst because it robs you of your loved one before they actually pass on. It is so sad seeing them drift away from you and sometimes the person it leaves behind in no way resembles the person they were. Getting ourside care is really the best way to go. At least it leaves some semblance of your own life in order. Peaceful thoughts from me to them and to anyone who is going through this trauma.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

One of my greatest worries is that I or one of my loved ones will come down with this disease. My dad, a wonderful, intelligent man fell into dementia at around 90. He lived to 93 and it was so hard to to watch his decline and cope with his behavior.

The Elephant's Child said...

Dementia is one of the possibilities with MS and is the one that scares me most.
I cared for my mother after she developed alcohol related dementia and the mother I knew and would have liked to emulate died long before her body. An ugly, ugly time.
Sending so many good wishes.

Munir said...

The "A" word is one of the biggest fears I have to deal with right now. I used to remember prices of every kind of ice cream in every big name supermarket. Not any more. I cannot remember prices of things I bought yesterday. My friends say that as long as I remember faces and names of my loved ones, I don't have to worry as yet.

Austan said...

Alzheimer's is a thief. And a nightmare for everyone involved. The visiting nurse in Mary's case told me, "If we get lucky, she'll die of something else before the Alzheimer's takes her." We didn't get lucky and she certainly didn't. I think we all live in fear of it. I certainly don't have the memory I used to. I sometimes don't remember names of people I've known for years or even what I had for dinner last night. Aging isn't for sissies, that's for sure.