Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Game, set, match

After a battery of testing, they've determined my mom's problem isn't physical. As I suspected, they've decided she's most likely got Alzheimer's and is now being placed on a drug designed to reduce her paranoia and hallucinations.

Let me tell you: You just haven't lived until your mom calls to tell you that the county is putting up a fence around it, the lady in the bed next to hers was killed by the man who controls all the patients minds, and that you are an (expletive deleted) for not helping her. When it happens at 1 a.m., well then, what more is there?

My mother seldom swore. When she did, she would turn a little red and immediately apologize. The woman on the phone? She shrieks out words I didn't know she knew. And when not busy petting the birds on the floor of her hospital room, she's hating me for something I didn't know I did.

Where's the manual for this?

My mother left last Thursday morning and I'm not sure she's ever coming back. Now I understand why she spent nearly an entire summer crying, the year they diagnosed her own mother with Alzheimers. I'd never seen her cry much before that - maybe once or twice. Or since, until the past few days.

I understand her because now I am her - all those years ago, trying to parse the unfathomable, trying to recover from a total knock-out body slam.

Mood swings and abrupt personality changes are two of the first signs of Alzheimer's Disease. Usually, though, they're a bit more gradual. Unfortunately, trauma, injury and surgery can expedite matters.

And while I logically comprehend this. . .I can read it on a screen, or paper, for example, and none of the words are too big or too complex for my brain. . .I cannot find a way to accept it. To do much more than she did all those years ago. . .to do anything but feel tears roll down my face as I talk to one or another mean strangers inside the familiar shape and face of the kindhearted, good natured mother I've known for nearly 40 years.

I can't do this. The dinners, the laundry, the bills, the Drug Mart stuff, even the complete overhaul of their house; those I could - and did - do.

But I simply don't come equipped for the kind of pain and suffering this involves. Not without following her down the rabbit hole. Which, when I'm talking to her, seems almost a safer and happier place to be than this sudden, shocking, horrible reality.
That is so sad. I can't imagine how you must feel. I will pray for you that you find peace of mind.
I wish there were some way to offer comfort, but all I can offer is my prayers, and hope that they bring some comfort.
Thanks, both ofyou. I didn't really see these until now, but appreciate your kind thoughts.
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