So it’s June 2004 and we had phoned friends in Nova Scotia. After saying goodbye, he looked at me and said, “I want to go home.” In 39 years of marriage he had never used that expression – and he “went home” about every 4 years in the past.
An hour later we were booked to fly East on September 10/04 – I didn’t wait for Monday to ask if I could have the time off – there was no question – we had to go. Fortunately my boss was very willing to let me have the time.
*****It must be said to clarify any misunderstandings, no one knew of our plans, took us, paid for us or helped us in our plans to go.*****
*****Sad to say, My Man hasn’t had all the support he could from people who should support him, but that is a story to be told in future posts.*****
It still floors me that he could mask his disease so well at home. As I’ve mentioned, when something out of the “norm” happened, I chalked it up to stress.
Also, at home I basically “did everything” such as cook, shop, etc. therefore nothing jumped out at me. The garden beds I wanted – well, I thought he felt it was better to make walkways. There were many other examples but they could be explained away.
He told me later that he carried a small notebook in his pocket to write things down for work. Felt so sorry he probably went through agony to do a day’s work.
When I asked him how he had managed, he answered,”I had a system.”
He lead me to the window to see my new “raised” garden beds. My heart sank. No raised beds – the paths between had been dug down – – –
Never once did it enter my mind that we were dealing with a new phase of life. Not understanding this, I was furious inside. I dreamed of raised beds, I planned raised beds. But I had lovely sunken pathways.
The guardian angel tapped me lightly on the shoulder and sealed my lips – I responded with love thanking him for the great job. It was done to perfection as was his manner – but disease had invaded.
Monday evening we sat down with our coffee. He told me he had been laid off (effective Thursday) for lack of work. He was not upset at all – relieved, I’m sure. Something didn’t sound right – he was their longest working employee – 22 years with the company.
I knew then that something was terribly wrong – there was no lack of work. Their company was very busy and always short of staff. Later a fellow employee told me an ad was running in our local paper for his position at that very time.
Next morning I drove to work in a haze and functioned in a haze or worse. What was happening?
Whatever it was, knew it wasn’t good.
The next week I got a call (at work) from the owner of the company. He called to ask if we were ok about the “lay off”. Told him we were fine if that had to be but was puzzled why he was laid off with all the year’s seniority. He floored me – don’t you know your Man can’t function any longer in a job?? Do you realize that – – – and many points later, I nearly fainted. Told him I had no idea and would have got him help earlier if someone had told me. No one wanted to say anything! Unbelievable. Everyone knew at his company but I didn’t.
(We were give a prescription for Aricept on January 9, 2004)
It took a bit before we finally were offered Aricept. In our case it was delayed til results from all the scans, blood work and other tests came back. Due to his young age (58), there was a caution to not rush to diagnosis.
Aricept proved to be a miracle for us. It does not cure or stop Alzheimer’s but it slows the progress of symptoms. In less than 2 weeks life was dramatically better.
Some people choose to not take any of the medications, preferring to let life unfold. For others, it is not an option as it is very expensive. Sadly, for some, their body reacts badly and they have to stop taking it.
Our only problem was vicious night mares – so bad that I came close to stopping the med for him. But it helped so much otherwise that I persevered and after about 15 months they eased. Fatigue is a significant side effect – Aricept does not cause sleepiness.
Everyone has to decide what is best for the patient. My feeling was that it helped so much except for nightmares that I worked around that.
There is a good website with lots of info – of course, they make Aricept but I feel it’s worth a read if you have anyone in your circle who has/ may have Alzheimer’s.