Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alzheimer's...Is this really "living"?

Ever since I got that terrible news, my mind has kind of been in a fog.  "Did he really say that I had Alzheimer's?"  The questions still remains unanswered.  How do you deal with news like that?  Personally, I don't think that I have been doing well, as far as coping with this is concerned.  I don't really have a life anymore.  Every waking second is consumed with my Alzheimer's.  (My Alzheimer's!  That's a hell of a thing to try to grasp.  This is the first time that I've actually referred to it as "mine".)  It's always lurking in the back of my mind.  How long do I really have?  I'm not taking about how long I'll live, I want to get a ballpark idea on how much time I have with all my marbles intact.  How long will I be able to continue being ME?  How long will I be able to work, how about being able to read and more importantly, how long will I be able to write?  How am I going to be able to provide for my wife, so that she will be able to live fairly comfortably after I am gone?  People tend to think that they can take care of those things later.  The problem is that I don't have a "later" anymore! 

Scherry made an appointment with a Neurologist that the Alzheimer's Association referred us to in a couple of weeks.  Scherry told me that this Neurologist specializes in Alzheimer's.  That is the earliest that I could get in.  I want to actually get a copy of my MRI and CAT scan X-Rays and have the Neurologist look at those instead of just reading the findings.  I want her to show me what is going on inside of my head!  I can feel what's going on, my headaches are more frequent now.  At least the intensity varies, so that I am not hurting as much all of the time. 

But the emotional agony is constant.  Just a few weeks ago, I was joking that my next fifty years are going to be better than my first fifty.  I had made some plans, some big plans.  I had dreams!  I had goals!  Now what am I left with?  I had started a business and just got my business cards about a week before I found out about the Alzheimer's.  Now what do I do?  What will I be able to do?  The uncertainty is maddening!  All of these thoughts are going constantly through my head all of the time.  How does a person escape from this constant uncertainty and worry?  A week off would be nice.  Couldn't I just take a week off from the Alzheimer's worries once in a while?

Having seen Alzheimer's progress, I realize that soon I will lose my memories, my identity, my very essence.  All that will be left will be a shell of my former self.  It will be like my soul just decided to take off and leave my body behind.  I don't know what kind of personality this person will have.  I am afraid that all the wonderful memories that Scherry has of our life together will be forgotten as she has to deal with what is left of me.  On a lighter note, I mentioned this concern to Scherry and told her that we need to name this guy so that he won't be confused with me, because frankly, he may be nothing like me at all.  Scherry chose the name "Zippy".  Now it's kind of a running joke with us.  You know what they say, if you don't laugh about it you're going to cry.

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