Thursday, April 3, 2008


The nicest part of Alzheimer's is the temper tantrums. Grace is seriously affected by the sunlight and as soon as it goes down she turns into another person.

One of our caregivers drew the short straw and is here from 4 to 8. She is a kind person with more patience than I have. Grace dislikes her. She dislikes her presence, not her. She told her tonight that the caregiver prevents her family from being around. Grace refuses to eat the dinner that she prepares, looks at her antibiotic from the oral surgeon with suspicion as if she were being poisoned. Grace makes nasty gestures at her; faces like you see in third grade from the nastiest girl in the class. She asks her over and over... "when are you leaving?"

Grace is certain that there is a plot. That we are intentionally doing things that take us away from her. That neither my husband nor me are telling the truth when we say we have work to do. If he leaves, he must be doing something other than what he said. She is suspicious of any reason we have for being out of the room. So she storms into the room I am in.

At night before she goes to bed, I go in her room. I turn up the heat, water the plant, pick up the dirty laundry and fill the dog's water bowl. Her suspicion and paranoia peak. "What were you doing in there? You were in there for a long time!!!"

Focusing on the caregiver, she yells. "I can't keep doing this!!! Something has to change!!!" How do I tell her that if she doesn't like it here, she'll have to live in a nursing home?

Right now she's yelling at my husband. She's bouncing off from one bizarre reason to another like a pinball machine. Her lines of logic are weak, random and short lived. She tells us that she is beside herself, that she is shaking, that she is going to throw up. I am certain these are all meant to evoke a response from us.

It takes everything inside me not to yell back; not to react. But honestly I don't know what to do. I can't reason with her because she can't reason. I can't explain anything to her, because she can't remember or learn. I can't change her situation and I can't make her understand. So what do I do? That pretty much exhausts my bag of tricks.

Meanwhile she yells. We're plotting, we're mean mean mean, we're terrible.

I guess we are.

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