It’s nearly impossible to believe a year has passed since Mom began her sharp and unexpectedly rapid decline at the hand of Alzheimer’s. It was about this time in 2012 that I realized scheduling a big vacation months in advance was a bad idea. At the time, though, things were “okay”… who knew what a difference one summer could make.
Praying for Comfort
There were fewer and fewer good days; she wasn’t eating – beginning to even turn her nose up at some of her favorite sweets – and was losing weight quickly. From that point on, her diet consisted primarily of Ensure until the end. Oh how excited we felt when she would eat a cracker or a couple of grapes; more than that and it was as though we’d hit the lottery, we were downright joyous!
In those weeks, it was indescribably painful to see her so distraught; screaming, hitting her head, and often inconsolable. In the few rare peaceful moments she had, she would stare at the ceiling, entranced, with a soft smile on her face and eyes almost sparkling. There’s not a doubt in my mind it was the very beginning of her transition. As upsetting as it was, seeing her at peace like that was also an incredible relief, but those moments of respite never lasted long. All too soon, the terror she was obviously feeling would return.
Time For Hospice?
Finally, the time came where I knew I needed to make a decision. I called hospice to have them come out and do an assessment; unfortunately, we had a mind blowing, horrific experience with the intake nurse. I ended up asking her to leave before the process had been completed. On Monday, I called the office and told them to destroy the paperwork – I had changed my mind (there’s more to the story…).
It was the beginning of the final dizzying, nausea-inducing rollercoaster ride that lasted for the next 3 or so months. I thought I had seen it all, but I hadn’t seen anything yet…
Hopelessly Unpredictable Progression
So crazy to think earlier that same year I truly thought that she could easily live another 10 years or more. Physically, she was strong. But things can – and often do – change very rapidly where this disease is concerned.
Mom wasn’t done fighting, though. While she never bounced back to where she had been, she did turn things around one more time – for a short spell – before that final downward spiral. I went from being certain she only had weeks left to believing she might actually rebound; however, that was not the case. Amazing how your mind plays games, but with this disease, “rebound” is a very relative term…
If you would like to help us raise awareness, research dollars, and funds to help families on this journey right now, visit Marilyn’s Mighty Memory Makers’ page to join the team or make a monetary donation. In just two weeks, we’ll be walking to #ENDALZ.