Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For Better or For Worse

This post was written by a dear friend of mine who knows all about caregiving from personal experience. For this post we will call her NJJ. Please welcome her to the Cafe.

"For better or for worse..."

Although I remember hearing those words fifty-five years ago and have every intention of keeping that promise---I will readily admit that I did not have the slightest clue as to what that commitment might entail.

I first noticed a troubling sign when my husband asked which way to turn to go to a restaurant we visited frequently. That was several years ago and I managed to brush off any real concern by convincing myself that he was just preoccupied.

Over the next few years, many similar occurrences cropped up---not recognizing friends he had known for years, not remembering how to use household appliances, trips we had taken, and even when and where our children were born.

When he began to lose his balance, as well as thirty pounds of weight, we made trips to specialists for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s tests that proved those diseases were not the cause.

Then when anxiety attacks became a daily ritual, his doctor prescribed an antidepressant that has made a difference in his attitude.

Although MRI’s and CAT scans have provided no proof, the “professionals” believe he has suffered several mini strokes and, therefore, suffers from a “mild” dementia. He has been prescribed medications that are purely speculative, which concerns me.

He is no longer allowed to drive and has fallen a total of 25 times down stairs, off porches, and in the middle of the room. Fortunately, he has thus far been able to pick himself up; however, I constantly worry that his ability to do so will change. These happenings are sporadic.

Some days are almost “normal” and he even reminds me to do the things that I have on my calendar.

While stress as a caregiver has taken its toll, I have absolutely no doubt that he would be far more miserable if he were forced to stay in an unfamiliar environment.

With the support of many friends, I plan to continue to “carry the load” and help him through a very difficult, frustrating time in our lives.


1 comment:

Pleasant Days said...

This article brought tears to my eyes. Bravo, for your friend. Please wish her many Pleasant Days for me. My heart and prayers go out to her.