Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Seasons of Alzheimer's Disease

I think that Alzheimer's Disease has  four definite Seasons.

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Springtime, where there is forgetting but not very unusual, so it is dismissed.

Then  Summer of Alzheimer's arrives. This is a season when the forgetting gets worse and there is fear because the person knows that something is wrong but batteries of tests show nothing... Seizures can occure along with other physical symptoms. Attention tends to stray. Simple calculations become impossible and ordinary daily activities grow increasingly difficult.

Then Fall comes to the brain. It is a season of mood swings. Out bursts of anger, bouts of fearfulness and periods of lack of emotion, indifference and listlessness. I think this is the season that Peggy is experiencing.

Then, the Winter of Alzheimer's Disease comes and  the person tends to get increasingly disoriented and may wander off and become lost. Physical problems, such as an odd gait or loss of coordination, gradually develop. In this Winter Season, the person may become unable to communicate, physically helpless and incontinent.   Then... We, who love, wait for the "Winter of The Mind" to take Peggy away in it's icy grip.

It is snowing outside as I write. The snow is beautiful as it covers all the brown, deadness of winter. It rains down and coats the landscape beautifully in a fluffy, white blanket.

Peggy has been enduring the seasons of Alzheimer's.. The winter of her mind is coming! Alzheimer's is raining down a cold snow on her brain. Would, that I had the power to go inside her head with snow shovels and salt. Then, I could melt the winter snow from her mind. Sad... that I am not that powerful on this winter day. I  have to watch her disappear in a massive snow drift and there is nothing that I can do to melt the winter from her mind. She is moving through the seasons with frightful speed.

Winter is coming and none of us are ready for the snow fall that will take her away. All we can do is stand close to her and try to keep her warm as she disappears in the deep snows of Alzheimer's.

I love you today, Peggy!      Mary Louise


quroboros said...

Very insightful, also very sad. Our world is arranged in fours.. 4 seasons and 4 directions (N,S, E & W). But I find it helpful to think on the spiritual beliefs of my Cherokee ancestors. We think of the world as having SIX directions; the standard 4 plus the earth below & sky realm above. Maybe simplistic, but it's a way to keep in mind that we are part of a larger universe and not limited to only what we can see or touch. Blessings of peace.. ~Holly

sistercdr said...

Winter has come for my father. Through the sadness I try to remember that winter is a time of rest for the renewal of the earth. It helps me to think that his spirit is being renewed even though only he and God can reach it now.

ckays1967 said...

Winter is coming and none of us are ready for the snow fall that will take her away. All we can do is stand close to her and try to keep her warm as she disappears in the deep snows of Alzheimer's.

This so completely tells how you feel about losing your sister this way. There is no relief from the wait. My prayers to you.

rha4497496 said...

ML: God Bless you and your sisters! This is beautifully written!

carolhehe said...

My gosh, what a helpless feeling it must be to watch your loved one go like this. I shed tears for you.

merelyp said...

Your thoughts are so vividly expressed via language--but the manipulated photo is just EXCELLENT, too. What a fabulous journal.