PT. 8 CAREGIVER SERIES
“How We Got Here”
The night of January 10, 2014, ended on a fairly even note, but I knew things had to change. I could not go through another day like the one I had just survived. It was my 44th birthday and it had been awful. One I would never be able to forget and yes, I still couldn’t talk!
I went into my bedroom, my sanctuary from craziness, armed with my sweet tea (as usual), my tablet (as always), a broken heart and a feeling that if I didn’t figure some things out we would all go crazy.
I went to my old friend Google at first and just looked up Alzheimer’s Disease. Of course, I got the meaning, symptoms, and signs, but I already knew that. I had taken mom to two doctors already. I needed to know how to learn to live with it on a daily basis to keep myself from going insane.
I found an interesting website called the Alzheimer Reading Room (those that are here often know I talk about this site all the time), but this was my very first visit. That article I read “Communicating in Alzheimer’s World“, I believe it saved our lives. I read it twice and cried so hard because these were the answers I needed to hear. I actually left a comment and it’s funny I looked back to make sure I copied the link to that article correctly and my first comments ever made on any Social Media are right there…still. It brings back tears to see what I wrote and to remember the desperation and the depression I was feeling.
You see when I was released from the hospital one of the Dr.s that was taking care of me brought me a name and a phone number for a therapist. She didn’t want to upset me, but she knew I was depressed and overwhelmed and wanted me to talk to someone about it. I guess eventually I did…it was just Bob DeMarco and then all of you. If you go back and read this article and I really hope you do, check out the comments at the bottom.
Mr. DeMarco answered me back almost immediately. Somebody had actually heard me and was throwing me a life preserver. I stayed up that whole night reading article after article. The more I read the more confident I became. At first I was a little too gungho. I made so many changes at once that I overwhelmed myself that way. I started a rigorous exercise program, quit smoking and made many more changes.
Over these many months I have tried to figure out what works for us. I am ashamed to say that I picked smoking back up after quitting for two months, the exercise comes as it can for me with RA. If I can’t walk it doesn’t mean mom can’t. I have neighbors that keep an eye on her and since we live on a dead end road we are good for now. I know this will not always be okay. She stops and visits so I always know what houses she has been past and sitting on the front porch I can see all but about 500 feet of her walk.
I use many tips and tricks to make our life easier. Some days are good, some are great and some are just barely getting by. The main thing that I had to learn was that I can’t change mom, that was never going to happen. I had to change myself, how I thought about Alzheimer’s and most importantly that I WAS NOT ALONE as I had first believed. It is mom’s world now, we just live in it. If she says it’s raining out and the sun is shining brightly in our house, it’s raining. Whatever she says that’s just the way it is.
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy, and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!