To the best of my ability what’s written on my blog is the truth. I readily admit it’s not the whole truth. There are uncomfortable facts I leave out. That’s why I haven’t told you about my mom. Around a year and a half ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Today I asked my dad if he minded me talking about it on the blog, so here we go.
Often times Stef has commented my parents don’t act like old people. They have always looked and acted younger than their contemporaries. Under those circumstances it was easy to believe they had dodged aging.
For my mom it began with her forgetting things. Less short term memory goes with getting older, but this was worse. Some of her friends contacted my sister and me to make sure we knew. That’s why we spent a weekend in Florida late this summer.
Things have progressed rapidly from there.
Trudi and I tried our best to recommend my dad get help with the house and with my mom. They’re not eating as healthy as they once did. It’s tough for my dad to see well enough to keep the house as it once was. Little things.
He is reticent to get help. We understand. But in solely caring for my mom, his wife of 63 years, he has taken on a job that’s taxing him more than he’ll admit… maybe more than he knows.
Within the last few months my mom has increasingly withdrawn from the outside world. Until a few weeks ago she spoke on the phone, but her answers became single words–usually single syllables.
I used to speak with her every night. There are no more conversations.
There are things that can be done, drugs that can be taken, but the truth is in 2011 Alzheimer’s can’t be stopped. Even if its progress is slowed my mom won’t come back from where she is.
A week ago she began to complain of dental pain. The dentist found nothing. An MRI followed. The neurologist found nothing.
It’s probably neuralgia, a pain caused by irritation or damage to nerve endings. Is the diagnosis important? My mom’s in pain on a steady basis and there’s little that can be done. She is moving deeper into her cocoon.
Our family has been very involved trying to do the best for her. That’s all we can do.
My mom’s still with us and we’re hopeful she’ll be able to join four generations of our family in Milwaukee over Thanksgiving. It doesn’t seem likely right now.
Here’s a video I made for my parents five years ago. This is what I want to think of when I think of my mom.