Sometimes, there comes a time in our lives when we look at our aging parents and wonder: When did they get THAT old?
I know to the day how old my mother is. She was born in 1944. She has always been there for her children, her husband, her family and her closest friends. Occasionally, she gets stressed out, and it affects her health, but over-all, she’s always been fairly healthy. And unlike many of her generation, she isn’t on any long-term medications now.
Yesterday, my brother and I realized something was very wrong. She didn’t remember conversations from earlier in the day. When I returned home from a day out with Hubs and Kidling, there was a message on my machine she swore she didn’t leave there. I went upstairs to see her: she was nearly hysterical, claiming something was wrong somewhere in the family, and that she hadn’t spoken to my brother since the day before, and he ALWAYS calls when he’s working late and not coming over for supper. So, I called my brother. And I called my cousins. Family is fine. That’s when we started realizing Mom wasn’t: Not five minutes after assuring her my brother was home, relaxing, she was right back on about not hearing from him.
Off to the hospital. It got worse, it seemed. She couldn’t remember talking to the doctor. She asked two of the nurses the same questions half a dozen times. She ended up with a bad gas attack, her body’s general reaction to stress. When the bro asked her if she knew why she was at the hospital, she thought it was over that: it can appear to be a heart attack because of the pain. The doc wanted her to stay over-night. Brother wanted her to stay, because he wants answers. She wanted to come home. Brother finally resorted to some master manipulation to get her to agree to stay, he was that desperate to have every possibility checked. The idea of losing Mom in any way (especially, I think, losing her mentally even if she was still with us physically) drove him to the breaking point. I wasn’t far behind. But I know a little more about the family medical history than he does. And my cousin knows even more, since she grew up physically closer to our grandmother, who did develop Alzheimer’s, and whose mother deals with depression and depression-triggered problems. She also talks to Mom a few times a week, and saw some warning signs Bro and I missed.
Back to Mom’s trip to the hospital. She stayed. I have to have Hubs at the train station for 12:30 today, so at 1am, Bro brought me and my car home, got his truck, and went back. I called him once: he was still waiting to talk to the doctor, and promised to call me after he does, but Mom seems to be doing much better this morning.
So, was this a depression-related incident, like my cousin thinks? Or are we looking at a whole lot of changes because of Alzheimer’s? I’m not sure how well I will cope in either case, although having dealt with my own depression issues, I am more familiar with that than the Alzheimer’s.
This blog may have just gotten a damn sight more serious and personal.