How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chapter 2: My Father's Apocalypse "The Love She Gives"

November 2009

       My mother is living in a land in which she is a foreigner. She does not know the language or the culture. I see her struggling to grasp the language of Alzheimer’s: “progressive”, “aphasia”, and “long term”.  She puzzles over her husband’s deep sudden stumbles into depression that are becoming more and more frequent.  She tries to speak his language, to anticipate his needs, but sometimes she falls short of the target, and then she blames herself. She is juggling doctor appointments for her husband at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, a six hour car trip once every month. She drives her husband thirty minutes away every Monday morning to the V.A Center for his group therapy for PTSD. A PTSD that is a holdover from his Vietnam days.
        My dad is not a safe enough driver any longer to allow him to drive distances more than 2 or 3 miles by himself, so mom drives him almost everywhere  She quit her job right before his diagnoses. She didn’t want to. My mom is a very social woman and she loved working part time in doctor’s offices, seeing people, talking, laughing, and interacting with others. Now she lays her husband’s medicines out each day, and makes sure he takes them. She watches her husband closely for drug side effects and contacts the doctors when certain prescriptions have only made him worse, not better. This has happened more than once. The drugged out almost catatonic state that some of the drugs induce is worse than the Alzheimer’s. 
            She makes sure that her husband gets away from the house for a little while each day, even if it’s just for a short drive to town, or a pop in visit at my house for a cup of coffee and conversation on the front porch. She plays interpreter between the Land of Alzheimer’s and the rest of the world. She translates what her husband wants to say into what words that others will understand. And she does this so smoothly that people don’t realize the ruse dance of language that is occurring right in front of them. She pays the bills. She takes care of making appointments, paying taxes, and paying the house insurance, I’m not even certain that my dad knows what is due when.  My mother knows she is losing her husband. She frets that something will happen to her and then no one will take care of her husband properly. No matter how much I try to reassure her that I would step up to the bat if anything ever happened to her, she still shakes her head and says, “No, it will be too much for you”.  So, I have stopped trying to reassure her. I know what I will do in the event that my mother isn’t around to care for her husband. I will do what she is doing. I don’t know how. I don’t even know if I can do it as well as mom, but I would find a way. He is her husband, but he is my dad. I am his daughter. His blood runs through my veins.

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