Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My New Biggest Fear


We all have thing we are afraid of. Some are afraid of being alone, others of crowds, heights, the dark, driving at night etc. This is a different kind of fear.

I never really gave much thought to what Alzheimer's actually does to you until my grandmother was diagnosed. Then, I started reading everything I could get my hands on. Since Alzheimer's is a symptom of dementia, there is no test you can take to see if you have it. The only real way to know is through an autopsy. Everything else is just an educated guess.

We all forget things. We all misplace things. But for me, especially lately, I have become quite paranoid about this. I keep telling myself it is just stress but then I will forget something and it starts in my mind like a runaway train. This just serves to make the situation worse.

One thing I have noticed with Granny is that she forgets how to say certain words. She knows what she wants to say she just can't form the words to say it. I have started having trouble pronouncing certain words lately. Not all the time and not the same words but I am tripping over them nevertheless.

So I rationalize to myself. I am tired or stressed or angry or what ever. If I tell anyone in my family, they will start freaking out. If I don't tell and I forget how to get home one day I am screwed. It is a catch 22.

A lot has happened in my life over the last 2 years. I know that has a lot to do with it. My husband and I separated and then got back together, this whole job deal, my daughter and all her drama, taking care of my grandmother, the list goes on and on. Add to the that the fact that I am not as young or as sweet as I used to be and well, there you have it. I am sure that this is a temporary thing and it will pass but I still get frightened sometimes. Especially when I can't say words that I shouldn't have problems pronouncing. I now know why my grandmother never talked much the last few years. She was afraid she couldn't carry on a conversation. Her Alzheimer's has progressed to the point that now she just gets frustrated and tells me to forget it she is going crazy.

Now for something lighthearted. When she first went to live in the nursing home she was 90. When she gets mad she will tell you " I am 90 don't talk to me like that!" Well this lady is making fun of her. My grandmother is hard of hearing and can not keep up with her glasses much less a hearing aid. While she can't hear what the woman is saying, she knows by her gestures and facial expressions that she is being unkind. Well, she gets mad and starts yelling " I am 9 I am 9!" Ha! She really cracks me up. I just love her to death.

The photos above are of the brain. The one on the left is a normal brain and the one on the right is one affected by Alzheimer's. You can go to the Alzheimer's Association website and learn just how the brain is affected by Alzheimer's. If you closely at the one in the foreground, you will see a "ghost" image of the normal brain over this one. That will give you an idea of just how much your brain dies because of this disease.

6 Comments:

  1. Small Footprints said...
    It's so difficult because it's hard to distinguish between what is and isn't a problem. And when one is close to someone who has Alzheimer's or Dementia ... it's easy to be afraid and question one's own abilities.

    Since you've read all about Alzheimer's, you probably know about all of the recommended ways to prevent it ... like exercise, nutrition, etc. I also think that challenging ourselves, mentally, helps us keep certain skills. Writing a blog is an excellent way to force one's brain into recalling words and staying sharp. Trying something new .. something totally different ... also helps. And, as you mentioned, stress is a factor so ... reducing stress through exercise, meditation, etc. is important.

    You're not alone in your fears.

    Small Footprints
    http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com
    Inge' said...
    SF,
    You are right it is hard to distinguish sometimes.

    I have changed a lot of things you mentioned. Everything I have read claims that this isn't hereditary but it really makes me wonder sometimes. There are days when I go and visit her and don't even make it out of the parking lot before I am crying.

    Thanks for your comment and the ideas. I appreciate your insights.
    John said...
    Hi Inge',

    Happy Thanksgivings! A belated one, though :p

    I echo Small Footprint's words. Let's not live in fear, for love drives out all fear:

    There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
    ~ 1 John 4:18


    Let's focus instead on the love of our Father in heaven, for He loves us too much, and the practical things we can do to prevent it, some of which had been suggested by Small Footprints :)

    Let's have faith that just as the Lord had spoken in Psalm 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

    It shall not come near!!!

    Take care, and you are in my prayers.

    John
    Inge' said...
    John,
    Happy late Thanksgiving to you also.

    Thank you for the verses. Psalms is my favorite!

    I do try to stay positive and remember that God is in control, but there are days...
    morning.constitutional said...
    Hi Inge'

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving :) Alzheimer's is scary, and it is hard to tell if someone has it, or if it is even a different illness altogether. My grandfather had Lewey Body Dementia, which deteriorated his physical abilities as well as his mental abilities. He forgot who people were, and he would talk about people who he had known many years ago when in the military- people that have died already. He would say that they visited him when he was at a care facility. It's very difficult to watch someone you love go like that, and the fear of it happening to you is inevitable.

    Keep praying. I will do the same for you :)
    Inge' said...
    MC,
    Thanks for the encouragement. Sometimes my grandmother will ask for people that have died and she even convinced herself at one time that her 1st husband had remarried and he has been dead for over 20 years.

    It is definitely very scary and I am trying not to be paranoid about things but it sin't always easy.

    I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving also and look forward to reading more of your posts!

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