Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a blink of an eye

Five years ago, even though we had a few mystery symptoms that were going on with my husband (we blamed it on stress and depression) my life was pretty easy going, until that moment, that "blink of an eye moment".   We were visiting friends, having an ordinary life, my husband grabbed his head and slid down the wall.  After he started talking nonsense and walked, dragging his leg, we rushed him into the hospital.  Within the next few months he was given a diagnosis of dementia.

It has taken trial and error, grieving, soul searching, friends, family, professionals and God's strength to guide me along our journey.  I learned that God has prepared me for the tasks ahead.  My professional training,  I am a special education teacher who works with students with emotionally disturbed students, works well when applied at home.  My students have a difficult time communicating wants and needs and sometimes use aggression to get what they need. It took me a while to understand that what I was trained for at work could help me at home.

All has changed from that moment and continues to change as his Alzheimer's takes away his functioning piece by piece.  I love this man, whom I have shared my life.  This disease does not change that.  I want him to be able to live out his life in dignity.

We recently had another blink of an eye moment.  We almost lost him to an infection.  He had a kidney infection, pneumonia, and now congestive heart failure.  He fought hard to survive and our family and friends battled along with him.  They arranged for meals at the hospital for me, took care of our pets, mowed our yard, washed my clothes, prayed, and helped get the house ready for his return.   

I wasn't ready to let him go and I don't think he was ready yet either.  While in the ICU, I played his favorite music, brought sunflowers from his garden and declared his room a "no cry zone".  Everyone was only allowed to celebrate his life with joy and laughter.

This last "blink of an eye" moment has again changed everything and I am again learning to adjust.  We had found our new normal and were comfortable in that.   This moment in time has moved me closer to the realities that are coming. 

He has lost a lot of his abilities due to his infection.  He may get some of them back, that does happen with dementia.  Now things are different again.      

I am determined that when the time comes, that "blink of an eye moment", I will do it bravely, do it without tears and again fight for his dignity.  In a disease that takes all, we are determined to give our all.  

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