Walking the walk

Saturday was another charity walk, this time for Alzheimers Disease. The Howard County Memory Walk was at Lake Elkhorn, which is all of a mile from my house, so Nic and MrNic met me at home and we walked to the lake. In some ways, this walk is the most important one for me. FIL was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease a year or so ago, although we had already been seeing signs for some time. Also, Creative Memories is a corporate sponsor, their Time for Triumph campaign raises money for research and treatment. Some studies indicate that making albums can be therapeutic for Alzheimers patients, both the act of making the album and the lasting reminders that the albums can provide. Before the walk began, I visited all the booths and picked up all sort of pamphlets about subjects that I wish I didn't have to think about. Dad is only just entering the moderate stage of the disease, but the effects are starting to show on the rest of the family. Last week, my MIL went in for her regular physical, only to find that her blood pressure had rocketed to 170/110 (she's normally in the 110/60 range.) So, I got the write-up about how to care for the caregiver. A few months ago, FIL got lost when driving to his brother-in-law's house, a route he's driven a few times a week for over 30 years; I also saw him take almost 2 full minutes to do a 3-point turn to avoid a snowbank when leaving our house last February. So, I got the information about when to cut off driving privleges. I picked up brochures from various assisted living facilities, even though I'm pretty sure that he'll be in a location closer to where my in-laws live currently, not one near my home. I started reading up on how to adjust the house, and family celebrations, and routines to compensate for the progression of the disease. I read about how to keep our minds active to try to hold back the effects of the disease, and how some vitamins may slow the progression. I thought about the frustration I see in my MIL when she has to keep repeating answers to the same questions she's just told FIL three or four times. I look at her, and I see myself if 30 years. Everytime DH can't come up with a word he's looking for, everytime he asks me (AGAIN) what he have planned for the weekend even though I've written it down on the calendar, I think of my in-laws. I try so hard not to get mad or frustrated or upset, because this is nothing. Before we know it, my husband's forgetfulness isn't going to be attributed to a lack of sleep or to his focusing his attention on the football game instead on what I'm telling him. Soon, it's going to be beyond his control. And soon my father-in-law is going to start losing more and more of what he has. This perpetually patient man is already starting to lash out at his wife because of what this disease does to him. He can't find his glasses, because they aren't in his pocket where he ALWAYS put them- he KNOWS he didn't put them in his golf bag! oh. well. there they are in his golf bag. I thought about all of this before the walk started. Then, we walked. And for a little while, I looked at the waterfowl on the lake and the turning leaves. For a little while I forgot how sad this disease makes me. This kind of forgetting is good, such a contrast to the "forgetting" that we are fighting so hard against with the research and the new drugs and the mind games of doing crossword puzzles to try to keep the deterioration at bay.


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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