Our family has season passes to a new kind of roller coaster. We wouldn't ever have purchased these tickets- but we weren't asked. They just came special delivery.
It's the up and down of loving someone with dementia/Alzheimer's. I felt a little guilty thinking about leaving town for the holiday. We went by Thursday night and she seemed settled and almost happy in her new little home. She was laughing with us. So, I figured it might be good for us to get our minds on something else for a few days. We headed out of town and all was calm.
Getting back too late Monday night for a visit, we were anxious to see her so for Tuesday date night- she was our first stop. We were totally unprepared for the scene.
We found several of the ladies, my sweet momma in law included, busily searching through drawers and closets. We watched for a minute, at first thinking they were socializing and thrilled she was hanging out with her friends. We soon realized they were on a mission. There were too many house guests and they were trying to find beds for all of them. Oh, and a car. A get-a-way car. They wanted to know if we needed a bed too, before we reminded them that we were just visiting and wouldn't need a bed for the night. Then, she realized who we were. We found her room and all giggled together about her "hat" which was really a pair of brown pants wrapped up like a scarf. Rex returned them to their rightful owner.
We had a few minutes with her before we lost her again. Not physically, she was right there in front of us, but not with us. We joined some of her friends in the living room since the chaos had settled and after the caregiver turned the channel from a VH1 movie to TV Land, we thought the ride had come to an end.
Not so fast.
Just as we were got her settled down and okay that she was home, Mrs. E. marched back into the room and announced "everyone, please get into your cars and go home. you should sleep in your own beds and not stay here any longer" gee, thanks. When asked why she was so upset- she announced there wasn't enough corn to go around.
She left, overheard the rumblings about her demands and returned about five times when we decided maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. As we got up to leave, she looked right at Rex and told him to give them all rides and was a bit miffed when he told her everyone was right where they belonged- no rides tonight.
Except for our emotions.
We found the room with the purple Iris' on the door, and I got her settled and ready for bed. I put on Old Dog, her favorite song and we danced a bit.
She looks up at me with those eyes... they're killing me.
I kissed her goodnight and hurried past the busy bee Mrs. E now going room to room with a new plan.
That darn locked door meant the tears started before we could get out. I hate it when that happens.
As I was telling my sister-in-law about our unplanned ride, I literally got stuck between laughter and tears. Trying to get out the funny and sad details all mixed together was more than I could do. It was the same feeling you get when you're creeping up the long steep hill and just as your reach the top, the coaster hesitates for just a few seconds but it seems like forever- and you're all mixed up with anticipation and fear and excitement and dread.
Then the drop. WHEE-you know it's coming and you're flying fast but have no control, just going with where it takes you and holding on for dear life- thankful for the seat belt or metal bar that keeps you in place as everything zooms past you.
This is a strange strange ride.
And one that has me hungry for more.
I'm reading as much as I can, asking questions and learning from the Alzheimer's Association, alz.org.
Do you know:
Alzheimer's is not a normal sign of aging.
The earliest Alzheimer's changes can start 20 years or more before diagnosis.
The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's
I think information may be the seat belt that holds us in place while we zoom up and down and round and round this strange ride.
Happy Wednesday y'all!
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