Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why Me? Why Her?

Does Altzheimer's affect the brain like schizophrenia or a multiple personality disorder? What exactly does Altzheimers do to a person? Why, oh why does my mother seem like several different people? She changes personalities on a daily basis like someone would change their underwear. Sometimes she's a sweet granny type person. Sometimes she's an old woman about to take her last breath. Sometimes she is loving. Sometimes she is cruel. Some days she likes certain foods, many days she does not remember ever eating that particular food, and other days she hates those foods. Is it just a matter of losing memories? When my dad had a pace maker installed my daughter and I heard her telling her pastor a story....yes, we both were eavesdropping at it's finest. Anyways, she told the pastor about when she went to Auburn and was working on her Master's Degree. She went on to tell him how she took my daughter Kathryn with her to Kiddie College. Well....this would have been a great story....if it had been her. It wasn't her was mine. I went to Auburn and took mom has a G.E.D. She never even finished high school. She and my father came live with my husband and I in 2005 after my dad had a serious illness and needed to be watched. My mother was still working at the time. My husband is a saint....believe me. My mom is not an easy person to be around for the most part. It just depends on who is there that day. It is scary.

My dad has no short term memory....he had the pace maker installed in May of 2006 and woke up not knowing what day it is, what year it is, what time it is, where the bathroom was at the house, and what to do once he was in the bathroom, and asking repetitive simple questions. He forgets to eat....because he forgets short term stuff. Now...he can tell you what wire nut he used on house 25 years problem....he just can't remember....he has cancer and is taking chemo. Every day he wants to know why he has to go to the doctor's office. Maybe in 25 years it will click....but back to her....

Sometimes she goes to bed early at night and wakes before 6 in the morning....getting up countless time to use the bathroom. Other times she goes to bed late and sleeps til 8 and may not get up at all. She often does the opposite of what she needs to do. She seems to be slipping more and more everyday. She can't remember how to cook food she always did. She can't remember how to cut the oven on. She can't remember how to turn the iron on. She can't remember simple things that were told to her recently. Like what time I will be home without asking the question, "Now, what time will you be home?" dozens of times. My dad eats waffles and microwaved bacon for breakfast every day. I think she serves...because she remembers how to fix it. I do all the cooking, well Frank cooks sometimes too, mom sets the table and washes the dishes. She has quit driving in big cities....but still drives around our little town and to my aunt's house. I am waiting for the day I have to take that away from her and dreading it. We took my dad's keys away from him two years ago...and he does not even remember that.

Have I mentioned before that they have lived with us for 4 years now. On a daily basis I wonder how much longer I'll be able to keep going, just handling the day to day things. I don't want it to end. In spite of it all, I love them being here. But can Frank and I handle it if it gets worse, or I should say, when it gets worse. I am a teacher....I teach for a living.....and their health is draining my sick leave bank. This year already I have taken 9 days due to illnesses - theirs. I am an only child...they have no other choice. Frank and I decided we would set aside us time once a week. I get someone to check in on my parents and we have a date. If we had not been doing this....I don't think we would still be married....I did say already that mom was not easy to live with didn't I?

One particularly bad day...Frank got me in the car for one of our "dates." We drove to Auburn and I cried most of the way there....In desperation, I finally asked, "What could be worse?"....Frank's soft and profound remark left me laughing hysterically....humor is the best medicine. Frank said, 'My parents could live with us too." Lord help me but I actually felt a wave of relief that both of his parents are dead. He then told me to look up a passage...Philippians 4:13 - "I can do everything thought Him who gives me strength" (NIV). I am so glad I am a Christian....I can't imagine doing this alone....without God. Well, the journey will get rockier I am sure....but thanks to God, Frank, and blogging....I will survive! Thank you Jesus!


Tracy said...

Wow, your post was very touching, I do admire you and your husband so much. I can't begin to imagine how hard everything must be on you both but you are true Angels for being there for your parents like you are.
God Bless you...

Xazmin said...

Isn't it something how our families can be the source of our greatest joys, and our greatest trials at the same time? Hang in there. Also, that is one of my favorite scriptures.

lagirl said...

You know, it actually sounds like both your parents may have Alz. Have they been evaluated by a dr? Does your mom take Aricept? My Dad had Alz so I know firsthand how EXTREMELY difficult it is in caring for them as it progresses. Keep us posted.

Ann and Billy said...

I just read every word of your post. This is unusual for me as I mostly just look at pictures on blogs. I was very touched by what you wrote. We have several things in common.
My dad had cancer (the same kind yours does) and died from it six weeks after we found out. That was 20 years ago.
My mother has dementia or altzheimers. She is very easy to get along with though. She is in that stage where she knows something is wrong with her and has a very hard time remembering stuff. She would be living with me but my son moved in with her which is very helpful.
I too have a wonderful Christian husband who supports me 100% and loves my mother. I could not get through this without him and my faith in God.
God bless you.

♥Trina♥ said...

Alzheimer's stinks! If John's mom asked a question once this weekend, she asked it 50 times. If she told us something once, she told us 50 times. It's so depressing and frustrating, and we're not even there to see it on a daily basis. I truly don't know how caregivers do it. You, my sister-in-law, and my niece are truly angels!