Friday, July 8, 2011

Knowing.....or not

This morning, my mother didn't know who Mary (my sister, and no, that's not her name) was. Granted, Mary wasn't in the room when I was talking about her, but typically, when a parent hears their child's name, they know of whom you speak.....except if a parent has Alzheimer's Disease. I assumed, correctly as it turned out, that if she didn't know Mary, she probably didn't know me either. That was a 9:00 am. It's now 4:45 pm and Mummy's asking me where Mary is. This is how we roll. Well, it's how AD rolls.

The only way to survive this disease, I have decided is to figure out which response is required in any given circumstance: wing it or weep. I tend to *wing it* a lot. By this I mean I work hard at not responding to what's in front of me. I'm using smile; go for the cheap laugh or ignore as my coping mechanism. On a day like today, when Barbs clearly doesn't know me, my thought process is basically, "What's the point of getting overwrought about it? Either it will pass or it won't. Just keep on moving."  Don't get me wrong. It's not like this has been an easy skill to acquire, but I've had three plus years. I'm getting there........slowly. So today, I simply ignored it and kept on moving.

I don't know that anyone can warn you about the emotional impact of care giving. Even if they could, there can be no real preparation. Care givers simply have to learn as they go. What I've learned is that I'm not in control of the situation, all I control is my responses, so I have to manage those. I do not always succeed but the trying keeps me young I guess.

Whether we are known or not is a pretty small thing in the grand scheme of things. I don't know what the average life span of an AD patient is, but I do know that the average life span in my family is about 90 years. Given that reality, I just have to hunker down and make the next 15 years of my mother's life the best I can manage. For that to happen, I have to choose either wing it or weep.

I'm taking the wings. Flap, flap.

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