She's now in the wandering stage, she knows my dads name (most of the time) but not their relationship. She believes I'm living with her brother (his name is Jay, my brothers name is J.W. so if you're easily confused I can see how you'd make that little jump). She talks constantly about going home to her family (hence the wandering off to get to them).
She doesn't know her address, her children (though she recognizes my voice she doesn't know who I am), and her personality has changed. She went from a kind woman who wouldn't fight with anyone to a usually kind woman who will fight over anything and be rude and uncaring. Or perhaps it's only rude and uncaring to us, if we were in her world and saw things through her eyes I'd probably be really proud of her for standing up for herself. At the moment she's still hiding food from dad so he won't "eat her out of house and home." She's very upset at the strange man coming in and eating her food.
She's losing control of her bodily functions - she needs help in the restroom but won't admit it and it isn't an issue any of us have a clue how to force.
She's passing out, often, having nosebleeds and when she's having a spell where she might pass out she says her tongue feels thick. Whatever that means. Her blood pressure which was once too high, is now quite low. Her caregiver is talking about taking her to a doctor to see about that last part.
Hygiene is difficult, she refuses to shower on a regular basis (a change from 9 months ago when she showered 3-4 times a night) and once she finds an outfit she likes, it's hard to get her to wear anything but that one.
We're officially on stage 6 of 7 but I would say we're at the early beginnings of 7. In my last conversations with her there were several occasions where her speech was impaired. She couldn't say the word she was trying to say so a completely different non-word came out.
She is still currently taking Aricept though I've pushed dad to discontinue the medicine. My hope has always been that she could take the medicine for as long as possible to delay the disease, but once the disease had a horrific grip that she could discontinue it and go as quickly as possible. The situation as it is now, makes me sick. But that - as any of you with relatives, or friends with this disease know - is a sick feeling that began shortly after diagnosis and won't leave until the suffering is over for her.
On the personal side of it, I'm praying God will take her. She's leading a miserable existence constantly scared, physically in pain (she's broken her ankle) and confused. My prayer time at church the last two Sundays has been intense prayer that God would please take her. I beg, I plead, all the while following the petition with my apologies for asking such a thing. I got a call saying she'd passed out in church two Sundays ago, and I wondered if my prayers had caused it then I hated myself that maybe if I had just prayed a little bit harder...
I feel blessed that I'm able to write this without the emotions that usually hit me when I write about this horrible disease and my mother. But I've talked to others enough, and read enough articles to know that it helps to read real-life stories of what people are going through and how they're coping/not coping. If you're going through this, you have my full sympathy. I would pray that you as a husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother - whatever your relationship is, find a way to live through the disease yourself.
But most of all, for those of you not affected by this awful disease - I pray that you never will be.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
If you're anything like me, sometimes you might need this reminder:
This is just alzheimers. It's a disease and it's hurting a few years here on earth for my mother. But here's what I know - an eternity is waiting for her. An eternity so beautiful and beyond description in it's wonder and greatness that she could have lived each of her 62 years with the disease and it would have been worth every minute of it for her. Bad things happen, diseases happen, but God is still good. One thing doesn't change the other.
Trust Him, depend on Him, and allow Him to see you through. He will. He always will.