Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coping with Alzheimer’s

My dad has Alzheimer's and has for years. He has been doing fairly well considering. Aricept had really helped slow the progress of the disease. Then all of a sudden, wham, it is progressing rather swiftly.

We went to visit (they moved away 4 yrs ago why? why?) and he took my son to get their traditional haircut together. Mom and I were watching from the car outside. Luckily. He comes walking out and totally forgot that cute little boy in the barbers chair was his grandson. I later ask JR why didn’t he stop Papa from leaving and he says “Mom, I looked up and wham he was gone—I didn’t know what to say—it scared me.” Then I went into the barber to make sure he was paid, and the man was telling me about it—so, I had to let him know I was aware and keeping an eye on him. God Bless the barber—he really looks after my dad when he goes in there.

Also, we arrived on Sunday night. By Monday, he forgot who we were. My former bro-in-law spends a lot of time at their farmhouse and often times, dad is asking—“Fannie, who is that guy in the ______ backyard? Living room? Patio? you get the idea.

The family, to cope, we laugh and joke. Sometimes, it seems mean. There are certain rituals that he has that we imitate often. But we all talked about it and decided since it wasn’t mean spirited and helped us cope. Why not? Of course—when we are burning in hell for doing this, we’ll have the answer to why not?

But this strong, brilliant man has changed so much it breaks my heart and I know if he could see himself, he would be so embarrassed. I hate the anger that he has. But what really kills me is seeing him cry. He has become so emotional and cries over everything. He is 83--one of the strong silent generation. To see him curled up sobbing like one of my children just rips my heart out.

My half-sisters--their mom also went through this though much more rapid. I see little symptoms in one of them. It worries me. Of course most days I worry me, too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi D - I know how hard this is to watch and live through. I hope your father and your family are able to find the strength to get through it.