Wednesday, 2 December 2009

I hate Alzheimer's

I saw my parents for the first time in two weeks this evening.

I usually see them two or three times a week, taking mum to visit dad in the hospital where he now lives. I am used to his shrinking stature and abilities. Every time I go away and take a break, I come back and am shocked. I forget how much he has disappeared and how little he knows me. It kicks me in the guts, every time. I lose him all over again.

Tonight was particularly bad. Mum got very upset over a Christmas decoration, a long story....and ended up shouting at the ward manager when she was actually upset that Dad had had a good day yesterday and today he was so very absent from us again. These glimpses of the man – the husband and father – that he was once are so painful because they remind us of what we've lost and the ghost we now see.

It's tough going. I was always closer to Dad. He was getting very agitated at Mum being upset, I was trying to keep him calm and couldn't sort both of them out at once. Logically, I am terribly sad for Mum, but she has cried wolf at times, and the dramas of her own illness are so often that I now feel very little when she gets upset. It's just part of life with her. Unfair, I know.

Now I'm home and feeling guilty that I was not more focussed on her needs. I've lost him too, and sometimes it's so very hard to stay calm and strong for both of them.

She lives with chronic pain, and usually her crazy behaviour is courtesy of vast quantities of grief and morphine, the drugs do the talking. It's not her fault.

Sometimes, I just don't know what to say any more. I try to listen, try not to blame, try to not be angry with her. Often I fail.

I miss them.


  1. My dad had Alzheimer's before he died, but he passed away before he had to be placed in a nursing home; but he was headed there. He was mostly very child-like.

  2. Thanks. It tough going. I'm sorry to hear you've had your own experience of this. The children definitely become the parents in this scenario x