Saturday, November 16, 2019
How Much Farther?
Yesterday I received the news that a friend of my parents had passed away. She was a sweet and kind person, she was also a friend of my sister and I to be honest because she was one of those adults that children loved to be around. We couldn't believe that she was a teacher, there were very few teachers that kind and caring when we were children. I often wondered what would it be like to be one of her students, she even (with permission) brought us kittens once, how can you not like someone that brings you kittens.
The news was not really sad that she died, it's probably a blessing. It's sad in what happened to her and frankly, quite disturbing to my sister and I. She unfortunately also suffered from Alzheimer's disease. This was definitely one of those stories of a beautiful life robbed way too early. She began to show problems right after retirement. She never got to have that retirement period of being old enough to finish working but still young enough to travel and enjoy herself. It was pretty much straight to the nursing home, multiple doctors appointments and getting her affairs in order.
The thing that frightens us is her timeline of illness. She is older than mom but not by a lot, maybe 5 to 7 years; however she was completely "gone" mentally, at least eleven years ago. I remember because my father often asked about her, we were worried about what was going to happen to mom. I often felt this woman would pass shortly after my Dad, yet here we are all these years later. It's quite possible that she died of natural causes and not the Alzheimer's, even after having it so long. As a testament to what a good teacher she was, many former students, (now adults) still came to see her, even though she no longer could remember them.
I often say to people now, that it's not the thought of mom dying that gives me the greatest anxiety, it's the thought that she could live and suffer for another ten years or more. I was mommy's boy, I will be heartbroken when she is gone but I'm stressed at seeing her like this now. I also heard a frightening statistic, many Alzheimer's patients outlive the family members looking after them.
My sister and I also feel the clock ticking, mom suddenly showed signs at 66 but now when we think back, there may have been earlier signs. One of her younger brothers showed signs at a much earlier age. This weighs on my mind. This morning for example, I cooked eggs for breakfast. Later on as I was walking past the stove, I could feel heat coming off it. When I checked, I realized that I had cooked my eggs and then just walked away to eat, leaving the round on. This frightened me, I have done that a couple of times now. I begin to wonder, was I just sleepy, did I have something on my mind, was I just not paying attention, could this be an early sign of something else?
What a horrible disease, it takes away the ability of perfectly healthy, normal people, to live their fullest lives during their senior years. Not only that but it seems to have the ability to drag out their humiliation and confusion for up to twenty years. Rest in peace kind lady.
Posted by Sooo-this-is-me at 12:22 PM
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It is one of the worst diagnoses that a person who is otherwise healthy can recieve .... You post certainly hits home in many ways.
My aunt passed away a few years ago, and she had Alzheimer;s for many many years.Her husband even found a facility to care for her, that had apartments on the property for loved ones to rent so they could visit as often as possible. My uncle talked about the years of her not remembering him or their family.
It's hard on the patient and almost as hard, in a different way, on those left behind.
A friend of mine , "only" 67, has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Both parents had it so she has been extremely careful to keep her mind and body active. She was a member of a draft horse team which does displays , parades etc. and she noticed that she could not learn the new pattern. The horse knew it! So she had two separate tests and now faces the horrid truth.
My husband (79) has Parkinson's, also a terrible diagnosis. We live from week to week.
I often leave the burner on, or yikes, have left candles burning all night!!! Granted their contained in glass holders. Once or twice even forgot to lock the door. I think mine is just being carefree and careless though. I hope.
My father was getting dementia, but luckily didn't suffer it long because of the cancer.
About leaving the burner on: I too have done it once or twice. Now I generally turn the burner off and let the eggs or whatever finish cooking from residual heat in the pan. AND, I make it a point to move the pan off the burner (gas) so I'll have a visual reminder should I forget and leave the burner on.
I too have walked away from a burner . On the third time, I decided to get the Crockpot out, which is fine as I never wanted to be known for my cooking.
I agree with what you say. That's why it's so important to live life to the fullest right now.
Keep in mind, we all have senior moments as we get older and they are indicative of no specific diagnosis. I was once told the difference between having a senior moment and dementia is knowing you had a senior moment. This is what happens as we get older.
I've left a gas burner on several times in recent history. Cleary, there are a lot of us who do it.
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