World Alzheimer’s Day or Memories of Mom

It’s September 21 OR World Alzheimer’s Day……….It’s also a day that I just tend to think back on things; where my life is today and how the fuck this all happened…………………………………………..

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage. ~ President Ronald Reagan

I vaguely remember the day I thought my mom could actually have Alzheimer’s disease…… At the time, I didn’t realize there were other forms of dementia. I was sitting at the kitchen table. She had a sample box of Aricept and I was reading the list of warning signs…………….. “Oh shit… no. Maybe? No. Absolutely not. No. No. No. No.” Her doctor never said she had the disease, he just thought it might help with memory issues……………. you don’t think about the overall implications or the logic of giving your mom Aricept and what that actually entails………….. I remember thinking about Ronald Reagan, his son Ron—we worked together briefly at ABC in NYC…………………………. and then I thought about how long and messy this could potentially be: YEARS.

And then I thought about actually having to wipe my own mom.

Like a normal person, I ventured into denial, convincing myself that she was depressed. She had just retired and frankly, sitting at home all day is really rather depressing. “Mom, get a part-time job at Dillards,” I remember saying to her. “Want to go shopping?”

I said this to her in English.

Time passed. Denial set in. Mom’s just a flake. She’s getting older. She’s depressed. Maybe a trip to Ecuador will help….. Then, the little behaviors began to appear.

She would refuse to throw out old food. She once ate an “aged” burrito from God knows when only to vomit everywhere—repeatedly………. that was an especially fun afternoon.

She stopped cleaning. The house became a dusty sty. I would make her clean with me. She just wanted to watch TV all day.

She stopped paying attention to the road, telling me instead that God would protect her. God is not a good Co-Pilot by the way.

You get good at making excuses for these grotesque behaviors.

You know on some level what you’re likely dealing with, but the reality of this disease is simply too much to absorb.

Coping is not really possible at the beginning of this long, drawn out disease.

2010………………………………..We’re at the half way mark I suppose.

I knew something was horribly wrong in 2004.

She was diagnosed in 2006.

I came to terms with her disease in 2009.

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