AS TIME PASSES BY
This was my mom in 2010 celebrating her 86th Birthday. At that time Alzheimer's had already made it's mark upon her. Mom will be 89 years old tomorrow and as she has aged, so has the progression of Alzheimer's. These last 2 weeks have been pretty stressful, and for me many tears have fallen from my eyes.
Last week mom went from an ambulance to the emergency room, and then was admitted into the hospital. Only to find out that she had terrible arthritis in her knee, which left her unable to walk. Today she is in a rehab program at a nursing home, a place she will not be able to leave. This has become her "new" home. Although I knew it was inevitable, I did not think that this was how it would happen. My mom never mentioned to anyone through all these years that she ever had any pain in her leg.
Mom is incapable of following the physical therapist's instructions. She is now wearing a diaper out of necessity, and not because she is incontinent. Since she has no way of walking she cannot get to the bathroom. Trying to explain any of this is too complicated for her to understand. Given the disease and her age I truly believe that mom will probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
I need to take a deep breath and take hold of my emotions, and pull myself together and wipe away the tears. Mom was given medication since she was babbling which makes me wonder how quick she might become a "zombie". She can still speak and although it has been difficult for me to collect my daily kisses, I am hopeful that they will return. She has always been able to bounce back. Facing reality, probably not this time.
I was able to have her spell several words with me this week. Which left me knowing that she was still capable of thinking. She spelt for me beautiful, sunshine, education and fabulous. Needless to say she actually spelt each one correctly. We also sang "you are my sunshine," as she said and I quote her, "oh how I love that song."
As hard of a week this was for me and my brother, I can only imagine how difficult it was for her. I am sure there were moments where not only was she confused but frightened as well. I guess the one good thing about this disease is that as quick as the thought appears, that is how quick it disappears .
I am saddened that although the nurses and staff seem nice to mom, they somehow do not really understand how to try and communicate with her. While she is still verbal, mom did not respond when the nutritionist asked what food she would like to eat. When I see someone with Alzheimer's even if they can no longer speak I find a way to relate to them. Behind their glazing eyes is a person who is still alive and breathing. More training needs to be done in hospitals and nursing homes across this country so these workers can understand this horrific disease.
I have seventeen long days until I get to see mom, and I wish that I will never have to leave her. Unfortunately this cannot be . So for the days that I will be with her, I must try to enjoy every passing moment that I can share with her . I know that if my mom could understand what was going on ,she would try to comfort me and tell me, not to worry .
As time goes by each second of everyday my mom is slipping away. It hurts me terribly, yet I must except the truth. I pray that mom's last days, no matter how many she has left she will be able to feel all the love that I have for her.