Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Descent

I’ve been watching her decline. It’s subtle and it’s obvious.

Time has less meaning for her. Just a year ago, she knew what time I should be home and if I was late, there was a lecture. Now I can leave for days and there is little notice.

She is not so picky about food. I remember the demand of visible butter on her potatoes. Now she eats not knowing what she is eating and apparently not caring. However if I eat anything in front of her, she demands to know what it is and wants some for herself. Fortunately she can be distracted as her lack of teeth make our diets a bit different.

She still can fool visitors. Only she receives her guest as she reclines on the couch instead of being seated. Grace knows somewhere on her brain stem to smile and nod as people speak to her. Her contributions are negligible, but she appears attentive. I wonder when that will fade.

Recently we had a change in caregivers. A gentleman from the agency brought the prospect by to the “interview.” He sat near Grace trying to make conversation. He wasn’t too successful, but his efforts were cheery and kind. Grace would have nothing of it. She called me over time and time again to tell me “they are FRAUDS!!!” I never determined what the nature of the fraudulence was but got a little hint later when she told me the man was selling these women for sex. Quite a complex, though decidedly incorrect thought.

Tonight I came home to see her toddling in her walker, aided by our trusty caregiver, to her room. She stopped at the door to the closet under the stairs and opened it. She was sure that was her room and there was a fair amount of negotiation that the caregiver had to engage in to convince her to pass the closet up.

Alzheimer's steals our loved ones little teaspoonfuls at a time. Usually it doesn’t get me. But seeing her confused by the closet did. Why does that bother me and the others not?

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