According to Alzheimer's.net :
1 in 9 Americans over 65 has Alzheimer's.
On Tuesday we found out that my Sweetie is the one.
Like cancer, car accidents, rape, serial killers, or a bunch of other things, something that happens to other people, not you, or me, as the case may be. Only it does.
It wasn't a great surprise. Sweetie knew there's been something off for nearly a year. But the news sent shock waves through the small white doctor's office like we were ground zero for an A bomb test.
"The CT shows diminished volume in the frontal lobes …. consistent with the clinical assessment."
I quit listening soon after the doctor mentioned the "A" word. I stared at a poster with various pictures of colored brains on the wall across the room. Which illustration corresponded to what the doctor was saying? I don't know the difference between a frontal lobe and a cerebellum so I didn't really know where to look. A mute point because tears blocked my vision. At least I had someplace to focus other than my Sweetie. I didn't want him to see my tears.
I give the doctor (nurse practitioner, Debbie) credit. Her informative, yet gentle, demeanor helped pump air back into the room. She answered questions, offered suggestions, and, most important to me, took her time. We were not hurried out so another patient could be hurried in. For this I am grateful.
My good friend and mentor, Mtr. Judi Howell, offered this suggestion after hearing the news:
Look for God each and every day. He is there holding your hand each step of the way. You will recognize Him in places you never have before."
Trust me, it is hard to find God, or gratitude, or blessings in a big pile of poo poo. Yet, as I write this, I realize that God was there in that room with us. Debbie didn't look like Della Reese in Touched by an Angel, but I think she was an angelic force for good nonetheless.
So what do you do when you are sucker punched with information like this. Standing are in arm, wiping each other's tears on each other's shirts, Sweetie remarked this feels just like grieving. Ahh, grieving. While I don't know diddly squat about Alzheimer's Disease, I'm familiar with grieving and caregiving. I'm sure I'll fall back on the lessons I've learned. I'm just as sure I will rage, scream, cry, stomp my foot, sleep too much, eat too much, pray too little, laugh some, make mistakes, ask questions ignore the answers, and fail to wear my own f*!king oxygen mask. On the other hand I will fall back into writing because writing is my go to place for self-care. I'm ashamed to admit it takes a crisis to get my muse jolted into action.
Sweetie is okay with me sharing his, mine and our story. If we can figure out how to do it, we may co-blog. This won't be the first, or last blog written by someone with Alzheimer's Disease or a caregiver. But I'll try to keep it honest. That's why we read blogs, isn't it? To find some kind of truth in a crazy mixed up world. Not that my truth has to be your truth. If you're a fan of roller coasters, or traveling down a similar road, please join us as we make this journey.
This song is running through my head. It feels appropriate.
(Not so) Merry MEHello darkness, my old friendI've come to talk with you againBecause a vision softly creepingLeft its seeds while I was sleepingAnd the vision that was planted in my brainStill remainsWithin the sound of silence.
The Sounds of Silence, Paul Simon 1964