Fuzzy brain…earthquakes…snow…oh my!

We have had some excitement here. A big earthquake – 8.2 by early estimations. Some have downgraded it already to a 7-something. I am exhausted. It happened at 12:30am and even though we were hundreds of miles north of it, we still rocked and rolled. It felt like I was on a ship at sea. Hubby and mom slept right through it. I have an app on my phone and it was buzzing and buzzing, and woke me up fully, after I realized it had been an earthquake. Then the texts from family and friends began. It is nice to know people immediately thought of us. Just yesterday I was confused about the time back east, wondering whether it was a 4- or 5-hour difference. It is a four-hour difference. And we are between 1 and 2 hours behind most of our family members. Something most forgot when contacting us. Ha-Ha. I am exhausted because once my brain was awake, I was awake. I stayed up until about 2:30am…then fitfully slept until a well-meaning uncle called a little before 6am. And then I was up for the day. My brain feels all fuzzy today.

Realizing my brain was fuzzy, and as I was sitting here contemplating life, my mom’s snoring on the couch caught my attention. She was literally snoring. And twitching in her sleep. She was really out. That sort of REM sleep where the eyelids twitch. By noon, she had taken 4-5 naps, which she says she did not take. Then she said, “Well, I slept poorly last night. Oh, I don’t know. I have no idea if I slept or not. I don’t care. I am tired.” And then we discussed taking a shower, and perhaps it was a good idea to get going on it. She hates thinking about getting into her shower, but adores it once that hot water hits. And she loves the process of getting ready for the day. She was in her PJs, with a full face of make-up at 3:00pm yesterday, when she decided to get dressed for the day. I told her it was 3pm and she only had to get undressed again in another few hours. But she was determined. At 4:10pm she finally sat on the couch, after just going to “put on a few clothes, that will only take me a minute.” An hour and 10 minutes, with a re-applied face of full make-up…and when I say full make-up, I mean full. Foundation, blush, shadow, liner, mascara…and more hairspray than her short hair deserves. A tornado would not mess it up. The sad part was she had already spent about 30 minutes that same morning, putting on her make-up. And she did not even realize she had done it.

Alzheimer’s gives you a brain fog. We can all have them and there are many causes. Ever hear of “Pregnancy Brain” or “Mom Brain”?? It happens.Today I am foggy because I am anxious and tired. But the difference with Alzheimer’s and Dementia is that they do not bounce back. Once they forget, or loose ground, they cannot gain it back. We women get over “pregnancy brain” as our kids get older and we all sleep better. I can rest and work on my anxiety, get better nutrition, and I won’t have a foggy-brain anymore. But not mom. When she has what I have come to term, “a forgetting day,” she does not get that back. She cannot re-gain what she lost. And that is why it is known as a progressive disease you cannot stop. Medications can slow it down. But nothing stops Alzheimer’s. There are several nutritionists who swear they can reverse it, but they are few and far in between. And there is no substantive methodology or medication for those of us in the trenches, who are caregivers for our loved ones with this horrid disease.

My daughter-in-law suggested writing notes to remind mom to take care of herself. On the bathroom mirror. Using a dry-erase marker. (Google it…oh my!!) I did it and my mom thought I was nuts. We will see if it helps her remember! LOL! I am not sure that post-it-notes will help because my grandson sort of cornered that market. Almost my entire refrigerator is covered in his notes. (I love them so much).  And my mom just breezes by the notes, not bothering to even look at them. We have a dry-erase weekly calendar that I write on every Sunday night, laying out our week. But she doesn’t really look at it anymore. She has to be reminded what day it is…they all seem to blend together for her. *sigh*

Alzheimer’s has been making itself felt in our world more and more and more. It does not stop, nor does it let up. Somedays, it is almost like it is not there; those are days we celebrate and smile a lot. But more often than not, I am very aware it is haunting us. And it somedays feels like it’s this ugly monster, chasing those we love. Friends have told me they are placing their parents in memory care facilities because they are no longer safe at home. I get that. Others are bringing people in, to assist with the care of their parents. I am looking into that, because my prayer is that I can keep mom home with us. It is the plan, at this point. Each day I derive more comfort knowing that I am doing the right thing for our family, and for my mom. The best thing for all of us. My mom is getting better care than she ever has, up until this point in her life. And I am proud that I can provide that for her. We are blessed with excellent physicians who actually care about their patients and feel ours is a partnership. What a blessing! God is good. We will get through this. We had an earthquake and it woke us up. But then, in His goodness, the Lord provided a lovely snowfall, early this morning. The world around us is blanketed in white and the peace on the earth of fresh snow feeds my sprit. Thank you, Lord.


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