The other #”F” word: Part ll


It’s common knowledge that “forgetfulness” is part and parcel of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

I’m finding that the collateral damage; anxiety, fear and depression (to name a few) that accompanies the “when”, “what” and “how much” Miss Cathy forgets to be very debilitating as the disease progresses.

The “When” took me quite by surprise because we hadn’t had an incident (or much of one) for quite a while then (seemingly) overnight things were different.

I was in a place where I started to second-guess (again) her diagnosis and wonder “why am I here?” because she seemed to be doing so well…..and for such a long period of time.

The “What” that was confusing her wasn’t just that she suddenly couldn’t remember things; she told me that she was having trouble ‘seeing’ as well.

To hear her explain it, the letters and numbers on the remote, telephone and alarm system weren’t just indecipherable; they seemed to be “moving” too.

Logic and reason did little to help her ‘see’ past what appeared to be true to her eyes.

I tried to reassure her that I was not being dismissive of what she saw. What troubled me was that she so readily accepted her new reality.

I was trying to get her to realize that regardless of what she was ‘seeing’ she should have been able to deduce that buttons do not ‘move’ and numbers do not ‘float’.

“Nope”, she said, “I understand what you’re saying, it just seems to me that my brain just doesn’t work that way.”

So, she would stare at imaginary moving numbers and push at buttons that weren’t where they were supposes to be.

“How much” she forgets and the price she pays for the loss varies from day to day; laboring over changing channels on the television or contacting someone on the phone (and being unsuccessful more often than not) she is absolutely spent, angry and/or highly agitated.

After one or more of these episodes I’ve watched as she toddles off to her bedroom to lie down, as quiet as a child in a ‘time out’, life punishing her for something she doesn’t understand that she didn’t do and is not her fault.

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