Wow. Didn't mean for this blog to get dramatic this quickly....
Called my sister in Austin tonight. A month back, we learned that our 92 year old grandmother in south Mississippi has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. The disease had already progressed quite a bit by the time it was diagnosed, so most of the medications available to treat it will only slow its progress. My aunt says Mamaw has good days when she is still able to recognize people occasionally. But on her bad days she doesn't know anyone and doesn't even realize she's at home and keeps telling people she wants to "get the hell out of here," and that she knows good and well she's not at home. (This is a life-long church-going woman whom I've never heard curse and she's rapidly developing a colorful vocabulary.)
Since learning of Mamaw's illness, my sister and I have been planning a trip down to spend Thanksgiving with her and my aunt and uncle. (We normally spend Christmas at Mamaw's and Thanksgiving with my wife's family, but decided to do things differently this year.)
Tonight, though, my sister told me that my aunt had to put Mamaw in a nursing home, this past Wednesday. It's been discussed before, but we didn't figure it would happen this soon. Apparently Mamaw's becoming a danger to herself. She sleeps a lot during the day, but she keeps trying to get up in the middle of the night to wander around her now unfamiliar house. My aunt has caught her several times, but it's difficult to catch her every time. Mamaw has apparently fallen several times as a result. She's very frail anyway and has fallen a few times over the past couple of years, even breaking her arm in the process, once. If she's allowed to keep falling, she'll break something more important.
I truly hate that any person should have to spend time in a nursing home. It's one of my greatest fears for my own future. However, I also realize that there are circumstances that make it necessary. I think my aunt probably made the right call in this case. We also have the consolation that most of the time, Mamaw doesn't know where she is or who anyone else is, so one confusing unfamiliar location is probably as good as any other. At least in the nursing home, she'll have people to look after her 24/7.
I hope and pray the home is a good one. We're headed down there on schedule to see for ourselves and spend Thanksgiving with Mamaw.
In some ways I hope it's our last Thanksgiving with her. This is not a disease you bounce back from and no one should have to live like that.
If you're of a praying disposition, we could certainly use them.