“There will be sunshine…”

Today has been a weird day. It has been dark most of the day, with rain since before I was up at 6:30am. At about 2:00pm, the clouds cleared out and we had blazing sun. And then there is mom. LOL She has had bronchitis for a week. She has not gotten dressed since last Friday. So for most of today, she sat and watched the Game Show Network, or whatever it is called. Perfectly content to have her breakfast and lunch brought to her lap on the couch. Then, she all of a sudden says, “Well, I guess I had better get ready for the day.” Now mind you, this was at 2:00pm. It is now almost 5:00 and that task has still not been completed.

I have been doing laundry most of the day, slowly completing our loads. I had mom’s laundry ready to hang up and put away. I walked into her room and she was looking out onto the front yard through her window, drapes all the way open. I asked her what she was doing, since she was still in PJs. She turned, and started to yell at me. I saw she had her magnifying mirror in her hand, and her eyeliner in the other hand. (About 10 minutes prior to this, she had walked out of the bathroom, completely made up like she was heading to the theater for the evening performance of the Bolshoi Ballet). She then proceeds to yell at me and tell me it was quite obvious she was putting on her makeup (another layer). I noticed she had brought all of it from the bathroom into her room, including deodorant and razor. Sigh. I quit talking. I put her clothes into the closet and laid her other folded clothing on her bed, and I walked out.

Mom has been sick for 8 days with bronchitis. She has been on antibiotics and cough medication. I administered her cough medicine using the same dosage as children, and she slept through entire days, when she was really sick. Gradually she has not been as affected by the medication. Today, it seems like she woke up. Really woke up. And for whatever reason, she is pissed off at the world. And lucky me, I am her world. Alzheimer’s affects people in so many weird ways. Common concerns are bathing and toileting issues. Mom has spent the better part of two hours today perfecting her makeup, but hasn’t brushed her teeth in over 3 days. When I remind her, she yells at me. Sigh. She cannot get her clothing on and off without holding onto something, or even sitting down. She used to be so limber and agile. She is slowly having trouble making enough of a fist to hold a fork or to not spill at every meal. All her shirts and sweaters are stained and the dog loves where she sits, constantly licking up her spills. She would be so embarrassed if she knew. She is also getting to the point where soft foods are easier. She has trouble chewing and she cannot cut her food herself. So I cut all her food into bitesize pieces and keep our diet to pretty soft stuff. She cannot be bothered with crackers or chips, cookies or hard shelled tacos. Tacos, hard or soft, are pretty much out of the question anymore. They are too hard to hold all the ingredients inside of, in order to get them to her mouth. She cannot hold shampoo or conditioner in her hands when I squeeze it out for her (she cannot squeeze the shampoo bottle) and most of it ends up on the shower floor and not in her hair. If she gets her hair wet, she thinks she has showered. I have to hand her shampoo, conditioner, and then in turn, soap on a wash cloth. Otherwise, she will just get wet and be done. And I have to verbally tell her where to wash next. I have to remind her to rinse her hair, or wash off the soap. The other day she thought the water was too hot and turned it all the way to cold. In Alaska, cold water is like ice water in the lower 48. It caused quite a reaction!! LOL!

I am describing this because people think Alzheimer’s means they can’t remember. It is more than that, so much more. Their brains are not getting the signals they need to function. It is like pouring grease down a sink…it slowly clogs the drain, until just a trickle of water gets through, and until finally nothing gets through. Alzheimer’s causes the entire neurological system to slowly shut down. That affects their entire body. Everything that is neurologically controlled is affected. Their ability to speak, swallow, chew, sit, stand up, walk, get into and out of vehicles, feed themselves, watch TV, read, cook, hold a conversation, write their name, know the day/date/time. My mom does not know where she is. She commented on a fishing show which showed Alaska and her comment was, “They have good fishing way up there.” She does not know the time of year. She does not know who lives with us, aside from the two of us. My husband travels a lot for his job and when he gets home, I have to address him a few times as who he is and then she settles in. Once he is here a day or two, she knows who he is. Alzheimer’s is slowly taking away my mom from herself, and for those around her. She does not know who my kids or grandkids are. When they took her for a few hours last week, she was so confused, because I was not there. She cannot keep up with our conversations and thinks everyone is too loud. She is happy when Steve Harvey is on TV. She does not understand the games, but they make her happy. Eventually, her neurological system will slow down and get so clogged up, she will not be able to breathe or swallow and she will fall asleep and never wake up. And it is coming faster and faster.

And today was not a good day. We have sun again, after a brief but heavy random snowfall that lasted about 10 minutes. Ha-Ha. And I am trying so hard to let my attitude reflect the weather. There might be rain, clouds, even snow, but the sun always comes out. Sigh. Alzheimer’s sucks. It really does.


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