As I look back at the progression of this disease, I am amazed at my innocence and naivete. When I moved my family in with Mom back in 2004, it was a solution that was aimed at addressing issues that involved other family members more than Mom's immediate needs. I thought the move would be temporary. At the time, she needed little assistance, she mostly needed limited supervision. She would occasionally forget to pay bills or go to scheduled doctor's appointments. Even though Alzheimer's was Mom's greatest fear, I never considered that it would be her reality.
But, as each piece of independence was stripped from Mom, the reality became more obvious. She had several emergency hospital visits resulting from taking her medications repeatedly during the day. She would get lost driving streets that she had driven for 40 years. She lost her memory of friends and acquaintances that she had know for as many years. But, the memories of her childhood were fresh. I took her to many doctors looking for the answer that I had already diagnosed. Finally, after a couple of years of asking the question, we were finally given the answer that was already known.
And, even then, I was ignorant of what this disease would do. I never realized the sacrifices that it would ask of my children. Or what it would demand of me. I certainly never considered that it would take my Mom and leave an unrecognizable shell of who she was. She was right to be fearful of this disease. But, the biggest surprise was the toll it took on my relationship with my brothers. My children and I will be the only thing that survives this hideous situation. But, even we will be forever changed and scarred by evilness that is Alzheimer's.