"Life Isn't fair, but it's still good." Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
For some wonderful rules to live by, please click on the link under the photo. Regina Brett says it was one of her most requested and popular columns, and I can see why. I had heard some of these quotes before, but I had no idea who to attribute them to, I am glad I do now. There is wonderful wisdom here.....
Well, it is the end of a difficult week. For those who may not have read some of my posts from last year, my roommate, (and best friend in the world) Elaine, is navigating the tumultuous waters of Alzheimer's with her Mom, who moved in with us last year. It was a big adjustment for everyone. First of all we had to figure out how to expand two bedrooms into three. Luckily we had walled in the patio when we moved in, due to a cat that came along with us when we moved. That was a God thing. He was looking ahead even when we weren't.
And there were the little things we had to learn along the way. Signs on the microwave, TV remote and refrigerator. (which had to be replaced recently because the door was repeatedly left open) Reminders to that effect were met with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders......God has been serving us some humble pie. You see, Elaine and I were used to a tidy house, and when it was clean, it stayed clean for awhile. Even the cats are that way. Things left out of place are looked at with suspicion and given a wide berth. Now we follow the trail of potato chip grease everywhere she's walked. And no showers for weeks leads to smells this house has never held. And every suggestion of a bath or shower is met with hostility. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.
Living with Alzheimer's is like living on an emotional roller coaster. You never really know what each day will bring, so you have to be ready for anything. One day she seems almost normal and cognizant. Other days, she sits and cries but won't talk about why. And then there is the irrational anger that comes from nowhere. It is a tough job. And Elaine has had to let her career go, for now anyway. As she says, "Her Mom is her full time job now." And what a job she is......and not only does she have her Mom, her Dad is in a resthome with dementia.
And so many times the one who is care taking gets the brunt of all the hostility. It's a strange phenomenon I have seen again and again. Her Mom is a marvelous actress when other people are around, the picture of politeness, she is enough "with it" to not say much.....But alone with her daughter she becomes downright nasty and contentious. I have seen this change when she thinks I am not watching.
Night before last it got really ugly.......She has been coming out at night asking where her checkbook is, where her debit card is. She hasn't been capable of doing her own finances for 3 years. And then the other night she awakened Elaine out of a sound sleep.....yelling for her to wake up. This brought back memories from when they were kids. Their Mom never woke them up gently, always with yelling or shoving. I must have awakened after the 5th or 6th yell.
The anger was palpable. It echoed off the walls. Elaine was blindsided by it. Her Mom was literally shrieking, irrational, her face contorted, daggers flashing out of her eyes. And when she said, "I would be better off in the street"? That hurt most of all. At that moment, the knife plunged deep. Say all you want that it is the disease talking.....you doubt.
When every kind and good thing you have done is thrown back in your face, it smarts. Takes days to recover.
And the next morning she didn't remember a thing. Total amnesia.
Later, as we talked about it though, a light dawned. Elaine remembered the reason her Mom was taken off the (unnamed Alzheimer's drug) the last time. It was due to the terrible mood swings. Recently the Dr.had suggested that her Mom go back on it. It usually takes about 30 days for it to take effect, and it had been just about that long.
Hallelujah, thanks be to God. I am happy to say, her Mom is back off the drugs and so far, no more terrible outbursts. I say, what good is a medication that clarifies the mind, when it causes something worse. In my opinion, it prolongs the inevitable. A disclaimer here, I am not in the medical profession, but I think this was a very wise decision. Only time will tell.
In the meantime. We are heading to the coast for a week for a much needed break. I will see my family and she will see her brother and nephews and their families.......It will be very good.