A quick note before I get started. Mom has spent the past couple of days in bed. Her self-imposed bedrest is, she says, the result of sweating night and day. When you dig a little further, she reveals that she’s feeling quite weak. Her temperature is normal but her blood pressure is extremely high (I saw the readings). It’s a wonder she isn’t at least irritable; I would be. Mom has been on a BP medication for the past couple of weeks – Clonidine twice a day. Starting today, she’s receiving additional doses PRN (as needed).
Lisa and I attended another Alzheimer’s support group meeting this evening. This was a different location and different people each with a similar story. The only dis-similarities were the degree to which their loved ones exhibited unusual behaviors.
We heard stories about people who:
- have anger issues
- sleep most of the time
- eat often because they forget they’ve just eaten
- exhibit childish behaviors
- get lost frequently, even in familiar settings
- are irritable
- are paranoid
- can’t be reasoned with
These stories are made all the more poignant when you realize they’re being shared mostly by spouses or adult children who are caregiving for their loved ones in their own homes. The people now beset with these problems were, just yesterday, soul-mates, parents, mentors. Their caregivers are laden with emotional loss and the day-in-day-out grind of dealing with a loved-one who is half now their whole. ‘For better or for worse’ seems somehow insufficient, and the looks on the faces of the people gathered this evening showed how wearing things can become.
That’s what they’ve got. Here’s what I’ve got. Mom…
- depends on God for her every need: spiritual, physical, financial
- lives in an Assisted Living facility surrounded by the things she loves
- is cared for by professionals who treat Mom as family
- will bend over backwards to not be a burden
- never has an unkind word for, or about, anyone
I’m not going to discount my role as Mom’s caregiver. But the message came clearly to me this evening: I’ve got it good. I should be thankful.