Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Growing backwards

Today would have been my mom's 86th birthday if she hadn't died of Alzheimer's disease (AD) more than 5 years ago. AD is known as the Long  Goodbye. Abilities slowly fade away until the person can not do anything. It is childhood in reverse. Instead of gaining new skills, one loses them. I always tried to figure what level my mom was at. When she came to live with me in 2003 while I was trying to place her in a nursing home, she spoke as a 3 year old. She could no longer do puzzles, not even ones designed for 3 year olds. She could identify letters but could not read or sign her name. The most advanced skill she had was that she could tie her shoes.A year later, she could not speak at all except to say yes. Ultimately, she lost the ability to swallow. Even a 7 month  preemie could do that. Or maybe she just refused to swallow. It was not clear.

Recently my older aunt sent me a packet of my mom's letters dating from 1999. The ones from that year and the next year seemed like my old mom. Starting in 2001, she is forgetting words and grammar.

There are a lot of cars. I had a problem to make a left. The cars kept coming. I had my foot stopped and tried to move. I am still bumpy.

Sept 2002
 should tell you for the shoes and the powder. HR won't let me to anything. (HR is my father)

May 2002
I do a lot of working on the lawn. Always doing something. Its the best I can to do maybe. I'll get out of the JAIL.

Feb 2003
How are things going. Not much. I do all the work. I spent the days. HR didn't like what I would do. You have very nice and I have all the ones have.

April 2003
We had ICE and it a lot lost there for a home It had to get it back . I am confusing. I have put the dishwasher in 4 times.

Her later letters were written on scraps of paper like on the backs of flyers she received in the mail. Maybe she couldn't find her stationery. She stopped writing in April 2003. She could no longer take money out of the bank because her signature would not match the one on file. Around April, she could no longer balance her checkbook. In September of 2003, my father needed to hospitalized and I took her to my house as she could not be by herself. I had taken her out for a day in August and she still seemed like she could be left alone but in a month's time, she went downhill fast. I was working at the time. I found out I couldn't leave her for a minute. She'd turn on the stove after putting paper on it. She'd wander around at night. Very stressful. My father didn't want her in a home because he didn't want to pay for it. I eventually convinced him that she'd burn the house down. With his mobility issues, he would be burnt alive.

Glory be! The big snowstorm missed us! Poor Maya is sick throwing up and is lethargic. Finally she is getting better.

1 comment:

Alli said...

Hi Sue.. My father also had Alzheimers when he passed away 2 years ago. He lost his ability to speak 2 years prior. He sat looked out a window in the nursing home. Just starring expressionless and this was a man who had such an amazing laugh and the deepest blue eyes, they just looked blank and bloodshot. There were no letters left behind. Memories of him are sparse when he was older but I recall vividly when I was a child how much I loved my father..I miss him.. Love Alli xx


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