Mondays With Mother: An Alzheimer's Story

In 2002 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It is a hard road, and we live it one day at a time. This is a chronicle of her disease and my Monday visits with her.

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Name: Anne Robertson
Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fourth of July

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I moved on June 27 and so did not get to The Birches on that day. Since the next Monday was the Fourth of July, I did not have my usual visit, but instead the family convened at Marie's for a cookout and celebration of Marie's birthday. David and Laurie picked Mother up and brought her down for the occasion.

She did really well. She ate a lot...and overall she is gaining weight. She was not anxious at all, and the only difficulty was keeping her from taking the chocolate and other food items that Marie got as gifts. The sweet tooth wins out over everything. If dessert is in view, it had better be time to eat it. She's ready.

But she is not belligerent and responds quickly and easily when told "no," or "wait." That sentence sounds terrible. It's like talking about a dog...not that I have anything against dogs, but when you pull back and look at it, how very sad that we end up talking about grown, educated people in such a way.

I am in the process of setting up my new house. I've put Mother's picture on the piano. It's a lovely picture from her college days, and I am sad to look at it. I look at it the way you look at pictures of people who have died...with wistfulness and the knowledge that someday people will look at my picture that way. In some ways it is my picture. When I walk by, she becomes me, and I understand that book title, "My mother, my self."

Next week will also be different, since I have to be here at Vacation Bible School on Monday morning until noon. I'll go to The Birches in the afternoon.


Blogger Gail Rae said...

Anne, I think the only difference between telling the demented "no" and "wait" and telling an educated person who is not demented the same thing is that the educated people have the need to decorate commands to make them seem more mutual. But, in the end, a command is a command, a person is a person and a dog is a dog.
Demanding a stripping away of the decoration and getting back to basics is one of the peculiar enlightenments of dementia, for those looking on, I think.

11:57 AM  

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