Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Dementia Update


Shelley and me before her ten day quarantine

Shelley and me today

I haven’t written a recent update about our daughter who has early onset dementia.  Some caregivers find it easier to share than I do. I’m not sure why it’s hard for me. Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid readers will find my stories about a suffering daughter an uncomfortable read.

I participate in a group of caregivers whose loved ones have Alzheimer’s or dementia. We ask for advice, encouragement, and sometimes we vent frustrations, but we understand each other and make no judgments. We’re all enduring the same heartache.

I've missed our daughter. I haven’t seen her in about twelve days, but I saw her today. Yay!  I was excited.

After my last visit, she tested positive for Covid, and the facility had to quarantine her. She had no symptoms, and for that, I’m thankful. Six people were placed into isolation, and she was one of them.

I doubt she understood why she was moved, and what happened. I’m sure she missed me. I visit  three or four times a week. She knows who I am, although she gets terminology mixed. Instead of mom, she calls me Daddy.

I’ve called to check on her. They tell me she’s fine and doing well, but I needed to see for myself.

When Covid was new, we had to visit through a window.

 Later, I was designated as an Essential Caregiver, and I was permitted inside her room.  I couldn’t go into other parts of the facility, but I could visit her in her quarters. For that, I was happy.

It’s heartbreaking to see a loved one slowly diminish.

She’s a tiny thing. She always has been. She’s stands 5 feet tall these days. As a full-term baby, she weighed a whopping 4lbs and 4oz. She stayed in the hospital for ten days, and I brought her home at 4lbs and 13oz. I think the doctor got tired of me badgering him to let her leave the hospital. He’d said she could leave the hospital at 5 lbs, but I wanted my baby home with me. I wanted to take care of her and make sure she was okay.

Now, decades later, I want the same thing again. I want her well and at home.

Dementia is a sad disease. It steals the mind and robs the body.

She remembered me today and our songs. And get this! She called me Momma several times! Joy of all joys! We sang together. After my absence, I was afraid she would have declined and not remember me or our songs.  It was a blessing to see her recall.

She sleeps a lot. When I went inside to find her, she was asleep on the sofa in the community living room. I woke her and took her to her room. We visited for about forty-five minuets and then she fell asleep while still talking to me.

I continue to hope someone will find answers to the diseases under the Alzheimer’s umbrella.

In happier days. Before dementia.




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