Try as I might to be brave and face the loss of communication with a dear sweet lady, there are days and nights this burden of lost is too great. I have known her since I was a little girl and we have shared good times and bad, but now what she faces terrifies me. I want her to come back. I want the Aphasia to leave, so that when we talk she will understand what I am saying to her.
At first it seemed normal, the loss of energy and falling asleep in her chair. Sure she was a little slow to react, and had trouble learning new things. It just seemed like normal aging, after all she is 85 years old. But then other things started happening, like using the wrong words when she spoke, and being forgetful and then there was the lack of ability to concentrate, and weight loss, from forgeting to eat.
One day I went to visit, and was planning on doing grocery shopping for her. I watched as she tried to use her checkbook, but was confused by the month and date and the check numbers. I offered to help, but she became angry and irritated at the thought of someone else doing what she had done all these years by herself. It was an awkward moment, for I knew that if I did not help her, we would sit for hours as she tried to count, but would be unable to understand what the numbers meant. I spoke in soft tones to reassure her that it was okay to let me help and she could do it the next time. She turned to me with her arms wide open and and such sadness in her face that I reached for her and hugged her and we both cried. I feel such emptiness and sadness knowing my dear sweet lady with memory loss may have the begining Alzheimers.
She was taken to her the doctor, who performed several tests on her mental status and memory, then did blood work and a MRI, an EEG, and PET Scan. Family members were thinking it might be a brain tumor, or hoping it was a diease process that could be stopped or cured with a pill or surgery. But the results are in and the progressive diease can not be stopped. The pills offered by the doctor made her dizzy and ill, and due to danger of her falling, she stopped taking them.
Family and friends, have come together to help care for her and keep her in her own home, where she is familar with her surroundings and safe. Everyday I go and make her meals and a pot of coffee and show her how to use the microwave. Everyday I show her how to turn the TV on and answer questions about who has put dishes in her cupboards and moved things around where she can not find them. Some days the questions are laced with suspicion that someone is coming into her house and stealing things. It is always someone else, as she lives in a mixed up world, not mentally aware one moment, and completely lucid the next. The frustration builds with each day being different, but also with this illness stealing her memories.
I want to bring her back out of this lost state before it gets worse and she does not know me anymore, or loses orientation with time and place. I pray each day and night that she be spared from knowing what is happening to her, for now she is aware something is wrong, and it breaks my heart knowing that I am losing her and she won't be coming back.
In years past, this dear lady sewed beautiful quilts and handmade most of her clothes. She had beautiful flowers in her backyard and traveled with her friends to far off places like Alaska and Montana. She was fun to be with and knowledgeble about many plants and wildlife, and country living. She had loved and lost her husband years ago, who was as important in my life as she is, and I am over come with grief and sadness, as I write this, for this dear sweet wonderful lady is my Mother.